The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Hansel & Gretel Get Baked (2013)
This one was a Netflix Instant suggestion, and the title alone had me interested. Then I saw that it starred Lara Flynn Boyle among others, and I figured why not give it a look. Let's see how it went.
Hansel & Gretel Get Baked is about a teenage stoner, Gretel, and her older brother, Hansel. Gretel's stoner boyfriend goes missing after he goes to an old lady's house to pick up more pot, and she goes to said old lady's house to investigate. Turns out this old lady, played by Lara Flynn Boyle, is a witch, and she's using the youth of her teen buyers to make her young again-- with deadly results for these teens. Now Gretel is suspicious of this old lady, and she wants to take her down. Will she succeed?
I don't know about this one. It had some identity issues. First off, it starts off really macabre, with the stoner boyfriend being tortured to death by the witch. Then it cools down and becomes more classic horror comedy, but that early part was a bit much; and I don't know how someone who enjoys the more hardcore stuff would feel about the fact that the film completely backs off that after only one scene. Also, this isn't so much stoner film than it is "people who get baked all the time are dumb", which isn't exactly how it's marketed. As far as the comedy went, it was hit or miss. One area that I didn't like revolved around Bianca Saad's Bianca character, where she was so "bad Latina stereotypes" that I was like "please just kill the character off so you can stop telling us all your ignorant opinions about Latinos with your wink wink nudge nudge." On the other hand, Lara Flynn Boyle was great, as was Molly Quinn, who played Gretel; and some of the horror comedy late in the film worked; but by the time the movie was wrapping up, I was ready for it to be over, which is never a good sign.
Lara Flynn Boyle was pretty fun as the witch though. She starts off looking really old like you see there, then later grows younger. Like many actors who relish playing a baddie, you can tell she enjoyed this too and really got after it, which helped the film. I hadn't seen her in anything since The Practice, which was almost ten years ago, so it was cool to see her in this. Also interesting: we've done two Sherilyn Fenn films recently, and I've noticed among Tumblrs I follow that are huge Twin Peaks fans, that they aren't fans of Boyle and think somehow her character took away from Fenn's. I'll be honest, I didn't see much of the second season, so I have no idea. (It's crazy though how Millennials have latched onto Twin Peaks.)
Remember this guy from the Twlight movies? Yep, he's Hansel. I remember in one of them-- maybe the second-- one of the Riff Trax guys commented that he looked like a "middle-aged lesbian woman". That was one of the funniest moments in the Twilight Riff Trax series for me, and throughout this film I could only see Hansel as a middle-aged lesbian woman. I see on his imdb bio that he was also in Star Trek: Insurrection, which I saw at the local dollar theater in college. Not bad to be a part of two major movie franchises-- and to be called a middle-aged lesbian woman by the Riff Trax guys. Some of the other folks who have small parts in this: Cary Elwes played an electric company worker, and Lochlyn Munro and Yancy Butler played cops. Nothing spectacular.
The opening credits for the film are done as medical marijuana pill bottle labels. That gave me the impression that the film would have something to do with medical marijuana in California, and maybe the way the federal government through the DEA are persecuting them. Later, when the cops come in, I thought maybe too we'd get some conversation on how the criminalization of marijuana fuels the prison-industrial complex, and how many people in the country are in jail for nonviolent drug offenses. None of those things happened. In fact, on some levels I got the sense that this was an anti-drug/anti-pot movie. There certainly wasn't any glorification of smoking weed, and I don't really see this as a stoner flick either. That might be as big a bait-and-switch as any I've seen in a film, because the cover makes it look like a stoner film, and will attract stoners. Maybe their low opinion of stoners tells them that anyone who's baked won't recognize the bait-and-switch.
Finally, let's discuss Molly C. Quinn. I know, we're back to "of course you want to talk about her Matt, you're a straight male!" That's fine, I get that, but I thought she was really good in the lead, and one thing I really liked was how cool her outfits were. Yep, go ahead, say it, but I'm serious. They were this mix of medieval and modern fashion, and were really well done. Yes, they were hot too, from the boots in some, to the leather-corset-hoodie-coat she wears at the end; but really cool too. No one else has anything like that, which disappointed me. It would've been cool to have more characters dressed like that.
I think this is one that has a cool title, and from there we're expecting a great film. It wasn't horrible, but I feel like the warts outweighed the bright spots, making it an overall pass for me. Still, it's availability on Instant makes it an easy watch, plus it's barely 90 minutes long, so it's not much of an investment if you want to try it anyway.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2081194/