Hollywoodland (2006)

hollywoodlandStarring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins, Robin Tunney, Kathleen Robertson, Lois Smith, Phillip MacKenzie, Larry Cedar

Directed by Allen Coulter

Expectations: Low.

threestar


I kicked off my run through the Superman films with Superman and the Mole Men, so it seems somewhat fitting that my last review before Man of Steel should come around full circle. Hollywoodland is centered around the death of George Reeves, star of Superman and the Mole Men and the TV series it spawned: The Adventures of Superman. Hindsight reveals this as a landmark series, and as part of the foundation for the superhero genre that now populates our multiplex theaters every summer. At the time, though, things were not quite all wine and roses. Reeves wasn’t especially fond of the Superman role, even though it gave him fame among the kiddos. If we buy into the film’s character being similar to the real Reeves, he struggled and hoped to get more well-respected roles (much like the Jayne Mansfield character in The Jayne Mansfield Story).

Hollywoodland combines two things I generally try to stay away from in film: movies about Hollywood (as in the filmmaking industry, not the city) and celebrity biopics. The film definitely had moments that reminded me why I feel this way, but the narrative is varied and interesting enough to largely sideline these personal issues. The film is definitely too slow and longer than it needs to be, though. First time filmmaker Allen Coulter tries to fight the boredom back with a time-jumping narrative structure, moving between the investigation of Reeves’s death and flashbacks of his troubled life. Sometimes this works well, and sometimes it feels like a crutch used to spice up a slow-moving storyline.

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Demonic Toys (1991)

Starring Tracy Scoggins, Bentley Mitchum, Daniel Cerny, Michael Russo, Barry Lynch, Ellen Dunning, Pete Schrum, Jeff Weston, William Thorne, Richard Speight Jr., Larry Cedar

Directed by Peter Manoogian

Featured Toys: Baby Oopsy Daisy, Jack Attack, Grizzly Teddy, Mr. Static

Expectations: Moderate, it’s one of the more well-known Full Moon titles.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-Movie scale:
threestar


Yet another film in Charles Band’s long pedigree of films featuring pint-sized murderers, Demonic Toys has a lot to live up to. Because so many of his films share these mini-attackers, they could easily run together if you’re not careful when crafting them. Demonic Toys actually manages to set itself apart from the crowd pretty quickly, thanks to hard-edged dialogue and a fair amount of graphic gore and fun special FX.

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The Gingerdead Man (2005)

Starring Robin Sydney, Ryan Locke, Alexia Aleman, Jonathan Chase, Maggie Blye, Daniela Melgoza, Newell Alexander, James Snyder, Larry Cedar, Gary Busey

Directed by Charles Band

Expectations: Moderate. Killer cookie, sounds good enough.

On the general scale:
halfstar

On the B-Movie scale:
onehalfstar


Sorry Charlie, this movie sucks. I don’t even know where to begin, but when I started having flashbacks to Thankskilling, I knew I wasn’t in friendly waters. The Gingerdead Man isn’t quite as bad as that awful killer turkey movie, but it does share a lot of qualities. The Gingerdead Man himself is a puppet that’s killing people while unleashing mildly amusing profanity-laden quips, and while they’re better written than Thankskilling‘s, they are just as facepalm-inducing. You would think that the man who literally created the killer puppet genre could wrench out a better film than this, but I suppose when you’ve made about forty in the genre you’re allowed a dud once in a while.

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