Scary Movie 5

Dimension Films

Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, gore, drug use, nudity, ethnic slurs, cartoon violence and crude humor.

A Host Of Celebrity Cameos Can’t Save Insulting Horror Spoof

What do Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Mike Tyson, Katt Williams and Snoop Dogg have in common? They’re all celebrities whose names have been splashed across the tabloids in connection with controversy. But in a macabre gesture ostensibly intended to exploit their notoriety, this motley collection of the craziest people currently in the public eye was tapped to make cameo appearances in Scary Movie 5.

The picture was directed by Malcolm Lee (Undercover Brother) who opted for an overhaul of the series with a fresh set of characters rather than a sequel. That shouldn’t be a problem for purists, since each of the earlier installments has basically been a string of disconnected skits spoofing the latest horror movies.

Among the fright flicks lampooned here are Paranormal Activity, The Black Swan, Evil Dead, Sinister and Mama. However, this equal opportunity offender also takes potshots at offerings from other genres like The Help, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, Planet Of The Apes and 127 Hours.

Unfortunately, the disappointing production is little more than a crummy appeal to the lowest common denominator employing generous helpings of scatological humor. Worse, none of the sketches elicited even a perfunctory pity laugh from the audience I watched the movie with.

The point of departure is a sex scene in which Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan are joined in bed by a colorful menagerie of oddballs, animals and objects. The kinky copulating is sped-up in corny fashion à la a typical Benny Hill episode, and the action’s even underscored by the familiar strains of that frenetic melody routinely employed on the classic British comedy show.

But Charlie fails to survive the session, leaving his three orphaned children to be raised by his brother (Simon Rex) and girlfriend (Ashley Tisdale), and their hairy-armed housekeeper (Lidia Porto). The bodily function fare that ensues around the premises includes sight gags involving farting, projectile vomiting, poop disguised as a banana, a monkey tossing feces at a mirror, a woman putting a urine-soaked cell phone to her face, a dog with a toothbrush stuck in its tush, a child playing with a vibrator, a dog licking his own gonads, and a gay man with the hots for a fifth grader.

This vapid, vulgar insult to the intelligence couldn’t possibly have been tested on any focus groups. Can we all now agree that we’ve reached the cinematic saturation point with this rapidly-expiring franchise?

 

Poor (0 stars)

Running time: 85 minutes

 

 

Herman’s House

First Run Features

Unrated

Eccentric Artist Lobbies For Inmate’s Freedom In Unlikely-Couple Documentary

72-year-old Herman Wallace has been imprisoned at Louisiana’s infamous Angola penitentiary since he was found guilty of committing bank robbery back in 1967. His sentence was later lengthened to life after he was convicted of stabbing a prison guard to death solely on the testimony of a fellow inmate.

Was he a political prisoner who’d been railroaded on account of his membership in the Black Panther Party, or had he actually committed the murder? Unfortunately, that question is not the focus of Herman’s House, an unlikely-couple documentary directed by Angad Singh Bhalla.

Mr. Singh instead devotes his attention to the friendship forged between Herman and a woman half his age. “Jailbirds and the naïve girls who love them” has served as the theme of many a tv talk show, but rarely have any gangsters’ molls had the pedigree, sophistication or undying dedication of Jackie Sumell.

Sumell, an activist who once presented anti-abortion President Bush a quilt woven from hundreds of pro-choice feminists’ pubic hair, was a grad student in the art department at Stanford when she took an interest in Herman. What really rankled her was the fact that he held the record for solitary confinement in the country, currently at 40+ years and counting.

Over that period, he’s been cooped up in a six-by-nine-foot cell, which Jackie felt was a violation of the 8th Amendment’s sanction against cruel and unusual punishment. So, she struck up a long-distance correspondence with Herman via a combination of letters and phone calls.

And that led to a decision to draw attention to his plight by mounting an art exhibition featuring a full-scale replica of his prison cell. But this is where it gets weird. She also asked Herman what his dream home would look like, prior to then moving down to New Orleans, buying some land, and consulting architects to draw up plans for a place the two would ostensibly share should he ever be paroled.

Listen, this biopic basically revolves around Jackie’s earnest effort to turn Herman into a cause célèbre, but it carefully tiptoes around the more compelling elephant in the tiny cell, namely, whether there’s a romantic aspect to their relationship? A fascinating flick as much about a possible miscarriage of justice as about a case of arrested development who looks like a little girl playing house with an imaginary mate.

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Running time: 81 minutes

 

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:

For movies opening April 19, 2013

 

Oblivion (PG-13 for violence, nudity, sexuality and brief profanity). Post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller about an ex-Marine (Tom Cruise) with the fate of humanity in his hands in the wake of a war with extraterrestrials which devastated the planet. Cast includes Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Melissa Leo.

 

Ain’t In It For My Health (Unrated). Reverential rockumentary about Levon Helm, the late drummer, lead singer and founding member of The Band. Featuring appearances by Billy Bob Thornton, Libby Titus and Larry Campbell.

 

Errors Of The Human Body (Unrated). Psychological thriller, set in Dresden, revolving around a research scientist (Michael Eklund) who becomes the first victim of a newly-created lethal virus as the result of a lab accident. With Karoline Herfurth, Tómas Lemarquis and Rik Mayall.

 

Filly Brown (R for profanity, violence and drug use). Musical drama about a struggling hip-hop artist (Gina Rodriguez) trying to rap her way out of the barrio who finds herself facing a dilemma when a record producer (Pete Herrera) offers to sign her to a contract if she compromises her heartfelt feminist values. Supporting cast includes Lou Diamond Phillips, Edward James Olmos and Jenni Rivera.

 

Girl Rising (PG-13 for mature themes and disturbing images). Female empowerment documentary about nine women from different countries who found fulfillment after overcoming everything from child slavery to arranged marriages.

 

Home Run (PG-13 for mature themes). Prodigal Son saga about a disgraced pro baseball player (Scott Elrod) with an alcohol abuse problem who returns to his hometown to rehab. There, he cleans up his act with the help of his estranged childhood sweetheart (Dorian Brown) and rekindles his love for the game while coaching a rag-tag team of Little Leaguers. With James Devoti, Nicole Leigh and Drew Waters.

 

In The House (R for profanity and sexuality). Screen adaptation of The Boy In The Last Row, Juan Mayorga’s play about a high school student (Ernst Umhauer) whose essays about a classmate’s (Bastien Ughetto) family come to impress his jaded literature teacher (Fabrice Luchini). With Kristin Scott Thomas, Emmanuelle Seigner and Yolande Moreau. (In French with subtitles)

 

The Lords Of Salem (R for profanity, drug use, disturbing violence, frontal nudity, and graphic sexuality). Rob Zombie wrote and directed this horror flick starring his wife (Sheri Moon Zombie) as a radio DJ who unwittingly unleashes demonic forces by playing vinyl records from a mysterious box sent to the station. Featuring cult film favorites Dee Wallace (The Howling), Patricia Quinn (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Ken Foree (Dawn Of The Dead).

 

OCONOMOWOC (Unrated). Dysfunctional family comedy about a confused man (Brendan Marshall-Rashid) who moves back home with his alcoholic mom (Deborah Clifton) to go into the t-shirt business. With Andy Gillies, Andrew Rozanski and Cindy Pinzon.

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