Welcome to Adventures in Poor Taste’s weekly movie review roundup. I’ll be posting a slathering of movie reviews each week to give folks a healthy helping of what’s good and not so good. New and old, the reviews cover anything from the pleasantly innocent Winnie The Pooh to disturbingly twisted Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom.


In Theaters Now



Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, (February 2012)


Genre: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy


This metaphor speaks volumes.

This movie wants nothing to do with melodrama and wants everything to do with adrenalized malfeasance. By no means a complete movie, but what it does well is all that matters. This film has moments I’ve never seen in a movie before and some great action. I went in with low expectations, mostly because the first Ghost Rider movie stank it up. This movie had some of that stank, but it improved on the model with exciting action and weird pacing and acting.

Grade: B


Recently Released on Disc



Martha Marcy May Marlene, (October 2011)


Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama


Reflections and mirrors are always a great way to express duel personalities. Also to literally duel your personality.

On DVD this week, this film captures a damaged psyche incredibly well. This was my favorite film of 2011 for many reasons, not least of which is Elizabeth Olson’s awesome acting. At some point in the film she will be known by all the title names due to her identity being messed with. The superb acting along with the sound and cinematography create an unnerving sense of anxiety and fear that grips you for every moment. A real shame this wasn’t nominated for best picture.

Grade: A


The Rum Diary, (October 2011)


Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Comedy


At its core it’s a movie about a writer. Who drinks a lot. And by a lot I mean so much the movie title is in reference to it.

Johnny Depp really nails the Hunter Thompson persona and if you loved Fear and Loathing this is a must see. Unfortunately as a film it plateaus 15 minutes in and never really reaches any satisfying places. It’s as if it’s a TV show waiting for the finale.

Grade: C+


Take Shelter, (September 2011)


Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Drama

This film taps into the lugubrious trappings of the economic crisis through a man who is going through an emotional breakdown for unknown reasons. Some say Michael Shannon should have been nominated for an Oscar. They’re probably right. It’s nearly a horror story, only the victim is a marriage and the monster uncontrollable mental problems.

Grade: B+


Project Nim, (July 2011)


Genre: Documentary


In the sequel they will train the monkey kung fu instead of sign language. <-My hope.

A chimpanzee is raised as a human while learning sign language from a team of researchers. The movie appropriately uncovers the darker side of human nature and also the failed expectation of an animal becoming human.

Grade: B+


The Woman, (October 2011)


Genre: Horror


Contrary to popular belief that is a woman in The Woman playing one hell of a wild woman.

This movie is hard to peg for the first 2/3rds of the film. Then it goes full bonkers with all the hilarious gore and disturbing domestic horrors it was alluding to the whole time. Those first 2/3rds should have been scary/strange rather than strange/boring.

Grade: C+


The Guard, (July 2011)


Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Comedy


If you like Ireland, racism jokes, and prostitutes you’ve come to the right movie.

Something a little different with humor and decent story. It’s a great area to explore; the racism of Ireland and preconceptions we might have of small town people. Above all else the movie is well directed. Don’t expect a laugh riot as it’s about the story and not a straight comedy.

Grade: B+


Oldy, But Goody?



The Deadly Spawn, (April 1983)


Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror


The original title, “Attack of the Toothed Penis from Outer Space” didn’t stick.

Film geeks are attacked by an alien monster literally in their basement. This is goofy B monster movie stuff that’s so bad it’s good fair. The monsters aren’t half bad, but it requires a certain taste in films to enjoy.

Grade: C


My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, (December 2009)


Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense


Samurai sword + madman = bad news bears.

Michael Shannon did mental illness before Take Shelter, although this time he isn’t an upstanding father but a sad man-child who lives at home. Not bad, but a little weak overall. Thea cting though is stellar, especially when mom gets chopped with a samurai sword. What really got me on the dvd was a short film called The Plastic Bag where Herzog narrates as the life of a plastic bag and it’s adventure to the Pacific Ocean. Timeless.

Grade: B


American: The Bill Hicks Story, (April 2011)


Genre: Documentary,Comedy


This guy would have been hugely successful during the Bush presidency.

Documents the rise of Bill Hicks and his untimely death. The animation is on the creepy side, but there’s a great collection of interviews and stand up here to chew on. The man was doing highly political comedy a decade before it became all the rage. In the age of The Daily Show this guy would have killed it.

Grade: B+