Tag Archives: Elizabeth Banks

Vic’s Review – Slither (2006)

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A small town is taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters.

“Slither”

Directed by James Gunn

8 out of 10

“What the fuck was that?”

Jeez, I don’t know where to begin here. “Slither” is just so much damn fun that I have to try and get my thoughts in order to write this review. There is so much to get into and rant gleefully about like a nerdy schoolgirl with this movie. It’s slimy, gory, reverential, hilarious, campy, nasty, smart and did I mention that it’s gory? Oh yeah, I did. It is an outrageous blend of hysterical sci fi and horror that is easily one of the most quote-able genre flicks to come along in a long time. It’s replay value is through the roof and it is written with a fan of these types of films in mind. It goes right for the jugular and never lets go because Gunn and company keep the movie consistently fresh. “Slither” hops genres too. It is a horror story wrapped in a science fiction film. Gunn incorporates humor and reverence into “Slither” and he does it knowing what  fans of these types of film want. Dark humor, intensity, heart and riotous mayhem.

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James Gunn is a “Troma” alum and he injects “Slither” with an affection for low budget tropes. Except it doesn’t look like a b movie but revels in  feeling like one. Gunn just about references every sci fi/horror classic known to man. Everything from Cronenbergs “Shiver” to “The Blob” to Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” to my favorite: R.J. MacReady’s Funeral Home which references  John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” Gunn gets the movie going with a classic sci fi adage.

A meteorite from space. It lands, not completely burned up, in Wheelsy, South Carolina. It transports an alien parasite/life form that is malevolent, vicious and cunning. Gunn cast Michael Rooker as Grant, who while screwing around in the woods outside his home gets attacked, assimilated and has his memories absorbed. Suffice it to say Gunn adds layer upon layer of  bawdy and lewd madness. Grant exhibits very strange behavior that involves eating raw meat and small animals plus what gives him away are those funky tentacles that protrude from his chest. Yuck.

The beautiful Elizabeth Banks (30 Rock) plays Grant’s wife, Starla (great name huh?) and she contacts Mal Reynolds, oops, I mean Nathan Fillion (Firefly, One Life to Live, Serenity) as Starla’s childhood crush, Sheriff Bill Pardy. Grant moves on to Brenda and impregnates her with the alien parasite and nasty little vermin offspring. Gunn in no slight way shows us how vile and impure all of this stuff really is. There is just about every conceivable grotesquerie there is in this freak-show. Men and women eat raw meat, explode, turn into zombies, get larger and larger with alien worm puss and not to mention Grant’s body absorbing townspeople and morphing into some large abomination worthy of Rob Bottin himself.

Actor Gregg Henry ( Body Double, Payback) plays the Mayor of  Wheelsy named…MacReady. Ha! I love it! Henry steals every scene he’s in as a foul mouthed, boozing and oafish politician. Henry gets to say some incredibly amazing lines from Gunn like: “Look up cocksucker!” or when told that martians are from mars he responds: “Or it’s a general term meaning ‘outer-space fucker.” Gunn just allocates such great material to all his actors and they excel in providing a fun ringside seat of alien/human decimation. Gunn also delivers some great action set pieces like when a teen named Kylie is assaulted by the alien slugs in her bathroom and she has to use her wits to survive not only the slugs trying to connect with her (she is also able to “see” what they really are and where they come from) but from assimilating her entire family.

The attack sequences also move from Pardy, Starla and Mac being chased in a pick up truck to the deputies being turned and killed to Brenda in the barn about to burst from all of the nasty and gooey aliens inside of her. Starla also is taken and brought back to the Grant-Monster who is nesting in the living room in her home. Starla tries to appeal to Grant who is in telepathic control of the rest of the infected deputies ( like a hive mind ) and townspeople. Grant’s memories come back but not before he discovers what he’s become. Gunn kicks up the atrocities and mayhem in fantastic fashion by giving “Slither’ a like-able and respectful air of tongue in cheek ridiculousness. There are gags abound too. The ending shall I say is indeed quite explosive and every bit as fitting as we have come to expect in this wild and hellacious movie.

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Gunn’s “Slither” is a joy to watch because of the respect and love that is put into the production. All the references aside the movie does have it’s own identity and it never fails to impress with the craftsmanship it displays. Great music, an endearing and capable cast and a very reminiscent but showy story makes the film all the more tantalizing to watch. It will at times remind some viewers of other cult films like “The Deadly Spawn” and even “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” but it never COPIES them or tries to be them. What Gunn does is akin to a love letter to these awesome drive in horror/sci fi stories about aliens taking over the earth not in spaceships but by invading our bodies and minds. It is a perfect homage without being a rip off.  

It remains vivid, eye opening and vulgar in every way and even if you are not a gore hound you will find that you can never take your eyes off the movie. Fillion (who intentionally chews the scenery in parts) is hilariously astounded by everything going on and Banks is spunky and deft in having to adapt to killing the creatures and fending off the Grant-Monster.That leaves Rooker who is perfect as Grant. Serious as a heart attack and completely brutal and bestial in the role. “Slither” is a wonderful watch and if you want to escape into an absolutely fucked up universe of monsters and alien slugs you need to watch this movie and try not to turn away in disgust because if you do you may miss a reference or a great sight gag.  Highly recommended!!!

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“Slither” is currently available on Netflix Instant Streaming.

Here are other movies that “Slither” references. See if you can catch them!

Predator

Evil Dead

Videodrome

From Beyond

Night of the Creeps

Deadly Blessing

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Role Models

Danny (Paul Rudd) and Wheeler (Sean William Scott) have coasted their way through jobs at an energy drink company. But when their goofing off catches up with them, they’re sentenced to community service with the Sturdy Wings mentoring program. The assignment is supposed to teach them responsibility, but it just proves that they’re the last people who should be taking care of kids. Elizabeth Banks co-stars in a film directed by David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer).

Matt
Rating: 7 out of 10

Here are two typecast actors in Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott who in “Role Models” play their typical roles. Rudd is the uptight jerk with girl problems going through life changes like in “I love you, man” and Scott is the hornball bachelor as he was in “American Pie” “Road Trip” and “Cop Out.” But the movie works on a bunch of levels, despite it’s formulaic approach.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse, another typecasted actor from his nerdy roles in “Superbad” as McLovin and “Kick Ass,” is a role-playing super geek, paired with Rudd in a mentoring program required by court order. Scott through the same program is paired with his pervert equal, played by youngster Bobb’e J. Thompson. There’s nice chemistry between them, and the director of Sturdy Wings is played by another likable, but typecast, Jane Lynch, who plays the tough, crazy girl in films like “Best in Show,” “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and television’s “Glee.”

All of these actors are talented, funny, and get the job done. This film is exactly what you’d expect, a foul-mouthed comedy where it’s protagonists learn life lessons, despite that, there are some really funny moments. If you’re in the mood for a comedy, this is a pretty good one.

W.

Oscar winner Oliver Stone directs an all-star cast in this satiric retrospective of the life and political career of George W. Bush (Josh Brolin), from his troubles as a young adult through his governorship of Texas and all the way to the Oval Office. Richard Dreyfuss plays Vice President Dick Cheney, with Elizabeth Banks as First Lady Laura Bush and Thandie Newton as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Directed by Oliver Stone (World Trade Center, Any Given Sunday).

Matt
Rating: 4 out of 10

Oliver Stone is one of the most overrated directors in Hollywood. I lobbied my brother to put him on our list, but he didn’t make the cut.

“W.” came out too soon, much like the flop “World Trade Center.” Bush was still in office when this hit theaters, and no one cared then or now. Stone can’t get a budget, but actors like Brolin and Al Pacino still come out and work for him. “W.” lacked focus and realism. Stone didn’t want to totally nail Bush against the wall, which is easily done and justifiable. Instead, he wanted to show that Bush is human, and like the rest of us, makes mistakes. Stone portrayed Bush with great naivete, taking the stance that he actually was duped into believing that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction by bigger powers like Dick Cheney — played to perfection by Richard Dreyfuss, a lone golden nugget in this below average film.He also took the stance that Bush wanted to get revenge for his daddy and his cabinet wanted to finish the job he never did.

Personally, I found this to be a cartoonish apology by Stone on Bush’s behalf, taking the position that he didn’t know better, so it made everything OK. There was also the portrayal of Colin Powell by Jeffrey Wright as the voice of reason, the veteran with a conscious who tries to talk the cabinet out of going to war because of the lack of proof. Powell later admitted to fabricating the weapons of mass destruction speech he gave to the United Nations. I have a hard time believing he was the voice of reason.

In the end, the story is not very strong — it jumps from his youth to presidency numerous times and develops neither. With a watered down story and weak direction, “W.” is a clunker.