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Capone gets run over by FAST AND FURIOUS, but actually likes ALIEN TRESPASS!!!

Hey folks. Capone in Chicago here, with reviews of two very different film that are both trying very hard to be entertaining. Only one succeeds in my humble estimation.
FAST AND FURIOUS Jesus, this movie is dumber than dick cheese. I don't really have a vendetta against any of the actors in this film. Vin Diesel has been in some pretty entertaining things over the years, despite his limited range as an actor; he spends a whole lot of time looking angry and contemplative in FAST AND FURIOUS, the fourth in the turbo-charged muscle car franchise. I guess the draw here is that this is the first of the sequels that has successfully reunited the four main characters from the first film. In addition to Diesel's Dominic and his wife-beater undershirts, we have Paul Walker, whose Brian is now an FBI agent investigating an international drug ring based in Mexico. Jordana Brewster is also on hand as Dominic's sister Mia, who was Brian's love interest in the first film. And the still-crazy Michelle Rodriguez is Letty, who has been traveling the world, on the run with Dominic using their skills as drivers to commit crazy moneymaking schemes, such as stealing fuel trucks while they are still moving. If you've seen the original teaser trailer then you've seen a good chunk of this opening sequence; the movie doesn't get any better than that. After the death of a close friend, Dominic decides it's time to return to the United States for a little vengeance, and it isn't long before he and Brian are working side by side trying to infiltrate the drug ring. The film's core problem is that I didn't give one or two shits about these two idiots solving a crime. In a film and a franchise like this, I want some motherfucking drivers racing some motherfucking cars, and I want lots of it. Fast and Furious gives us four extended races/chases (there might have been five, but it's possible I dozed off during all of the talking and missed one) and two of them are practically duplicate sequences inside a cross-border tunnel. But you know what? I would have been willing to put up with this nonsense if there had been something resembling a script. Instead what we get from screenwriter Chris Morgan (WANTED, THE FAST AND FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT) is a serious of rogue cop clichés from Walker, schoolyard tough-guy action from Diesel, and absolutely nothing for the women to do but look pretty. I'm a big supporter of director Justin Lin (BETTER LUCK TOMORROW; TOKYO DRIFT; FINISHING THE GAME), but this is by far his worst outing. The chase scene staging is choppy and shaky to the point where it's impossible to tell which cars are crashing and which are still in play during certain races. And while I certainly think most of the main actors have the ability to act well, they certainly come off as giving terrible performances here because the writing is so bad. I wish I made it a habit of taking notes during films, because I could have scribbled down at least a dozen cringe-inducing lines from each cast member. And everyone is just taking everything so damn seriously that it was a fairly common occurrence during the screening I went to for people to laugh at some of the more earnest lines and the so-serious delivery of said lines. FAST AND FURIOUS left me annoyed, bored, and eager to get the hell out of the theater and see something better right away. If you go in with the lowest possible expectations, you might have a good time at all the glitzy cinematography and occasional scantily clad female. And director Lin certainly has an eye for making Diesel's straining pectorals look shiny and lumpy on film under a host of tight shirts, but beyond those few high points, there's really nothing here to recommend.
ALIEN TRESPASS For many weeks leading up to me seeing this homage to '50s sci-fi monster movies, I'd been led to believe that this was some sort of comedic spoof of the genre. The problem with spoofing films like that is that it's almost impossible to spoof something that they are often far more humorous and self-mocking in their original form than any modern take on them could ever be. It's one of the reasons I've never been a big fan of MARS ATTACKS!; what could be funnier or more entertaining than the ultra-low-budget works from the generation of filmmakers that spawned Ed Wood? So the biggest surprise in watching ALIEN TRESPASS was that it's in no way a comedy. In fact, what director R.W. Goodwin (who worked on more than 100 episodes of "The X-Files" as either writer, director, or some level of producer; and was also an executive producer on "Tru Calling") is far more impressive: he has recreated a '50s monster movie with all the trimmings, including an phenomenally hideous monster that also looks like it cost about $49.99 to create. Some of you may disagree with my assessment of this film, but I think I'm on the money here, and I had a really fun time watching this tribute to all films made with love, passion and a teeny, tiny budget. Set in 1957, ALIEN TRESPASS opens with the obligatory fiery object hurling down toward Earth from space and landing in the California desert. Turns out the object in question contains a rampaging alien monster known as the Ghota, which movie at about a half-mile per hour and is bent on destroying all forms of life on our fair planet. The savior of the film is another alien named Urp, who takes over the body of an astronomer played by Eric McCormack, who does a great job dead-panning his lines while delivering all the necessary exposition to keep things rolling along. A young, pretty waitress (Jenni Baird) who has a crush on both the astronomer and the alien inhabiting him, assists Urp in his quest to save the world. My only complaint about the film is that I kind of wish it has been in black-and-white to add to the authenticity of this movie that feels like a long-lost science-fiction film, now found in a vault somewhere in the California desert. Alas, the film looks great in bright and shiny color, which actually makes the alien monster look just a little bit less convincing. It's a small flaw in a film that doesn't have extraordinarily high standards it's trying to match. ALIEN TRESPASS is by no means a great movie, but the performances are note perfect, and the feel of the film is spot on. I've never been much of an Eric McCormack fan, but he's damn-near perfect, especially in his alien-invaded scientist mode. I've heard people complain that the film isn't funny, and when I heard this my heart sunk a bit. But having seen the film, I understand now that laughs are not the end game. Director Goodwin is remaking a film that was both never made before and made hundreds of times in film history, if that makes any sense. More importantly, I had a great time watching this movie and reminiscing. -- Capone capone@aintitcoolmail.com



Readers Talkback
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  • April 3, 2009, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Am I FIRST?

    by StatelyWayneManor

    Alien Trespass = Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, no?

  • April 3, 2009, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Support Vin Diesel!!!!

    by teh awesome

    If we don't make him popular again we'll never get another CoR

  • April 3, 2009, 9:12 a.m. CST

    so 4 fast 4 furious...

    by MamboMan

    sucks. all i need to know.

  • April 3, 2009, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Alien Trespass

    by VicDiGital

    Perfect review for the film. I was also expecting something that was TRYing unsuccessfully to be funny (like "Lost Skeletons of Cadavera), but as you said, this was trying to just be a film from 1957, and it perfectly succeeds. At almost no point was there any winking to the audience. I got to attend a screening where R.W. Goodwin did a Q&A afterward, and he talked about how it was intended to be as if this film had indeed been discovered in a vault. In fact, in a few years when this is playing on TNT or SciFi (I refuse to call it SyFy), you'll probably just think it's a film from that era until you start to recognize a couple of people. Really fun little film.

  • April 3, 2009, 9:24 a.m. CST

    "You must bring me the Atmospherium!"

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Lost Skeleton Of Cadavera was hilarious, as was Mars Attacks!

  • April 3, 2009, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Saw it last night & it NUKED THE FRIDGE big time!

    by lanalangsucks

    I have no india what they were thinking!This thing sucked! Guess they will make another one.

  • April 3, 2009, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Nuked the fridge!

    by oaser

    Love it!! At least KOTCS gave us a new term to throw into the lexicon. Oh man -- what a treat.

  • April 3, 2009, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Diesel's straining pectorals Vs Chuck Norris's Chin

    by Dhaemon

    Their war, Our World

  • April 3, 2009, 9:36 a.m. CST

    I heard...

    by oaser

    That Chuck Norris lost his virginity before his own father, and that when Vin Diesel does a pushup, he's actually shoving the earth down. Crazy.

  • I mean, I'm not gay or anything, it's just something about those Peck's. Capone knows what I'm talkin about right? Owwww Yeeeeeaaaaahhhh.

  • April 3, 2009, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Dutch Rudder

    by Dhaemon

    Damn the limited text in the Subject line!

  • April 3, 2009, 9:42 a.m. CST

    But isn't that the point of F&F?

    by Jawa 007

    The over-seriousness and the dumb lines are part of the joy. Also, I live my life a quarter mile at a time, maybe that makes a difference?

  • April 3, 2009, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Exactly Jawa 007

    by Dhaemon

    If you didn't like the first movie, you'll most likely hate this one as well. The movies don't really take themselves seriously and neither should the review.

  • April 3, 2009, 9:52 a.m. CST

    Why can't all reviews be like that? Concise, funny and

    by Mr Nicholas

    spoiler-free? Nice one, Capone.

  • April 3, 2009, 10:05 a.m. CST

    I saw Alien Trespass at AFI Dallas...

    by filmicdrummer17

    And I really, really enjoyed it. I had no idea what I was in for when I went in, but the fact that it's a pure homage, and not a spoof, made it work really well. CAPONE-- I had also thought it should have been in black and white, but at the Q&A afterwords Goodwin said that that was never considered; he mentioned "This Island Earth," the original "War of the Worlds", and "The Blob" as touchstones for it's color aesthetic. Which makes total sense.

  • April 3, 2009, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Vin Diesel gets a lifetime pass for The Iron Giant

    by tonagan

    That movie made me cry.

  • April 3, 2009, 10:07 a.m. CST

    4 Fast 4 Furious 4 Ever!

    by raystevensonwarzone

    This movie was great, don't listen to this frumpy review. I saw it at midnight and it was a ton of fun.

  • April 3, 2009, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Vin Diesel's lifetime pass...

    by StatelyWayneManor

    The Chronicles of Riddick made me cry...not in a good way.

  • April 3, 2009, 10:12 a.m. CST

    So people are still trying to pimp Nuke The Fridge...

    by DerLanghaarige

    ...as new catchphrase? Now it's been a year and nobody is using it, so I think it's time for you to give up. It made a small group of people chuckle for a few days, but these days are over.

  • April 3, 2009, 10:18 a.m. CST

    I hear people saying Nuke The Fridge all the time.......

    by lanalangsucks

    It was on the cover of TIME mag. too

  • April 3, 2009, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Shark Jump/Flames on Prime/Nuked Fridge...

    by StatelyWayneManor

  • April 3, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST

    The reason "catchphrase" failed is because INDY 4 Rocked

    by Proman1984

    And it was an amazing and powerful moment in the movie. The imagery of the nuclear explosion was stunning and no matter how you try to ridicule it it won't work. THAT MOMENT MADE SENSE. NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP ALL YOU BITCHES!

  • April 3, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST

    I would have liked it if Alien Trespass

    by StovetopStuffin'

    were in black and white, or better yet, made to look like old color film stock, like in The Blob. (which is actually the movie in the movie). That was the missing piece. And I wasn't a fan of the "Marshall Urp" line. It was too obvious to need pointing out. But it was a fun little film, and it kept my attention. I love those old sci fi films too, so that helps.

  • April 3, 2009, 10:42 a.m. CST

    What, "Aint it Cool" is a phrase too, like "Nuke The Fridge"!

    by lanalangsucks

    okay!

  • April 3, 2009, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Alien Trespass...

    by Kid Z

    ...I'll wait until it's on DVD, Netflick it, pop it in and crank off the color.

  • April 3, 2009, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Rubbish. This film is great.

    by Stuntcock Mike

  • April 3, 2009, 11:39 a.m. CST

    If AlienTrespass was 100% compentently made..

    by JackLint

    would you still recommend it? Or is it an empty shell relying on the gimmick (e.g. Bloody Valentine 3D)? The example I always bring up is Garth Mirenghi's Darkplace. Aside from the b-movie/show gimmick, it's actually very well written with some clever jokes that would work outside of the premise. How does Alien Trespass compare?

  • April 3, 2009, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Right On On Alien Trespass!

    by loquaciousmuse

    Totally agree. Not meant to be a comedy, meant to be a movie from the 50s, that happens to made now. I loved that movie!

  • April 3, 2009, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Darkplace comparison

    by VicDiGital

    Darkplace comparison doesn't really apply, because that show really played up the ridiculousness of 80's TV shows starring horror novelists. Alien Trespass just wants to make a movie that could have been produced in 1957. Nothing over-the-top silly except for the aliens. And even those were totally 'authentic'. There's nothing in Alien Trespass that is as laugh-out-loud funny as just about everything in Darkplace. But it's a very enjoyable film. (P.S., I agree about the Black and White comments. The modern-day vibrant colors made it look too, um, modern.

  • April 3, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Proman1984...

    by -guyinthebackrow

    You are joking, right?

  • April 3, 2009, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Alien Trespass

    by HebrewLantern

    is a great homage to the old sci fi movies of the 1950's and when watching it, it actually feels like you are watching one of those movies. i have had the pleasure of seeing two free showings of it and i loved it both times

  • April 3, 2009, 1:27 p.m. CST

    He's either joking or incredibly high

    by Outlaw

    Retardation is also very possible.

  • April 3, 2009, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Can you see the strings on the flying saucers?

    by StatelyWayneManor

    If I'm going to make a road trip; I need more incentive than the guy from Will & Grace.

  • April 3, 2009, 3:35 p.m. CST

    F&F 4 Toys

    by Dhaemon

    Vin Diesel now with straining pectoral action!

  • April 3, 2009, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Is ScriptGirl starring in this movie??

    by SoldierSquirrel

    In the trailer for Alien Trespass (http://tinyurl.com/crekor) - is it just me, or is that ScriptGirl blowing out the candles after we first see Eric McCormack taking off his glasses? If it's not her, who is it??

  • April 3, 2009, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Lin is a terrible director

    by RobFromBackEast

    Annapolis was a joke, and this was shit as well.

  • April 3, 2009, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Yes, Lin is...

    by seniorspeilbergio

    I saw Better Luck Tommorow and I thought it was entirely predictable. The whole movie felt like a story that I had seen a thousand times before. It was like a film that, if it was made about a decade prior (like around 1993); it would have been fresh and original. Too little, too late. Alien Trespass looks cool. I love those 50's Monster B-movies and have been waiting to see someone capture that style without the lame self awareness in a bad attempt to be as funny as those movies are now. Just do it straight like those guys back then did. Like John Waters once said, "Great camp can't be made. It can only be found". It doesn't suprise me that an X-files writer is the one to finally figure this out. Those guys were always a step ahead of everyone else. Glad to see they still got it. I do however wish it wasn't shot on modern film stock. Does anyone know if it's possible to actually have a film lab re-issue an old film stock from back in the day? I've always wanted to see that done and I seem to remember there was a movie a few years back, starring Richard Gere; that actually did this but I'm not sure.

  • April 4, 2009, 8:23 p.m. CST

    Capone your out of touch

    by FatalMISTER Z

    I watched this movie in a theater full of the most annoying white trash red-necks I have ever seen and despite the idiot sitting next to me who read the sub titles out loud and made some stupid comment everytime a car crashed I managed to find this a very enjoyable movie. This movie took me back to the same place the first one did and that is hard to do three movies later. I don't think you get the point of this type of movie and I think you take it way to serious. I almost didn't go see this movie because of your lame ass review. That would have been a shame. Z

  • April 5, 2009, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Justin Lin Is A Great Director!

    by Media Messiah

    The guy has something special about him. He makes you care about the characters in his movies...and gives you reason to cry and laugh with them...and mourn them, if they die, and cheer, when they win. He's not just a technical wiz, like most directors these days, he brings heart to the proceedings...and tells clear and concise stories amid a plethora of other Hollywood films that have no vision and who's souls seem to be lost amid dozens of rewrites and studio tested editing, somehow, however, through that sea of misfires trolled out by others, Justin Lin seems to always stay above water, steering his movies past cliched and obvious Hollywood mines...delivering films that are always a cut above the competition.

  • April 5, 2009, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Your Review of F&F

    by JOHNCONNORS_FORESKIN_CAMEO

    Fuckin' sucks... I know you try to rebel against everything mainstream but FUCK! You suck.

  • April 5, 2009, 5:04 p.m. CST

    well I liked Mars Attacks

    by The Amazing G

    and Alien Trespass sounds awesome, too bad it's limited release

  • April 6, 2009, 12:34 a.m. CST

    Capone - You're Dead on the Money About ALIEN TRESSPASS

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    This month's FANGORIA (the one with ChromeSkull on the cover) has a great little interview with the creators of ALIEN TRESSPASS and they say exactly what you say here - the goal is to make an honorary 50s movie, not to spoof them.

  • April 6, 2009, 1:12 a.m. CST

    FAST & F4RIOUS

    by Bjornegar

    I wanted to be the first to type that.

  • April 6, 2009, 1:46 a.m. CST

    5AST & 5URIOU5ER

    by The Dreaded Rear Admiral

    Followed by F6ST & FURI6ST6ST? Or will the numbers just outnumber the letters for 9A99 & FUR999ER?

  • April 6, 2009, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Not LOST SKELETON But...

    by cadavra

    Blamire's follow-up, TRAIL OF THE SCREAMING FOREHEAD. AT was made by the same executive producers, who butchered FOREHEAD, then put it on ice and made their own version; it's no more than a pale shadow of Larry's original masterpiece, which hopefully will someday see the light of day.

  • April 6, 2009, 8:16 p.m. CST

    you are a douche!

    by olraz75

    your a pretty douchey critic brother..if your trying to be the next richard roeper your on your way...