For Your Consideration: BARB WIRE (1996)

 

 

Given that the summer movie season is upon us and that we’re getting a glut of superhero movies in that time, I thought it appropriate to look back at a deservedly forgotten comic book film Barb Wire, starring Pamela Anderson…

Sometimes I wonder when the discussion for bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen comes up, if there’s at least one executive who brings Barb Wire up as a reason to wait.

Don’t let opening stripper scene in water fool you – this movie is a straight up remake of Casablanca. If Humphrey Bogart had breasts and a penchant for corsets, we’d be calling it a ripoff.

In the event you haven’t seen this movie (or Casablanca), here’s the synopsis.

In the not too distant future, America is embroiled in the second world war – what it was about, apparently none of our business. What does matter is that there’s a new style of government called the American Congress and they like to dress like Nazis. Our story is set in Steel Harbor, a city that’s free yet, imprisoned with crime and home to our heroine, Barb. Barbara Karpinski if you happened to know her before the war, that is. She owns a nightclub, but acts as a bounty hunter during the day to pay the bills. Despite these two professions, she takes no sides and shows no emotions (which may or may not have been a acting limitation as opposed to a character choice).

And in true Casablanca form, a ex boyfriend wants her help to get out of town. Because we’ve all seen Casablanca, we know she does.

And lets face it. Humphrey Bogart had no business wearing anything figure hugging.

Lets just also talk about the night club where she does a stripper act under a torrent of water – which means that business hygiene standards of the future will have deteriorated dramatically between now and 2017

Nazi-chic is really big in the future. Then again, it’s incredibly slimming and great for the government official on the go.

Alternately, Pamela Anderson does change outfits in this movie. Its just she owns a lot of corsets. Black ones. At least she’s getting a lot of support, which I can’t emphasize enough – its critically important.

One common thing I find in a lot of these movies is that they’re mostly shot in darkness, either inside or outside. So shady interiors….

Or deep dark night….

Shady interiors….

….back to night…

Remember the time Tobias from Arrested Development decided to pursue a career as a leather daddy?

Not sure why I thought about that. Now back to the movie.

I’m not saying that Pam Anderson has had a lot of lip injections, I’m just saying she always looks like its a struggle to keep her lips closed over teeth….

Perhaps it would help if Pam was able to emote actual emotions while acting. Which may or may not be the definition of acting.

You’re wet and in a unhappy future with nothing but uncomfortable leather bustiers to wear. Emotions are not a priority. Which is why she makes this face in every scene.

“Hey Barb, the resistance is getting shut down by fake Nazis.”

“Barb, we’re splitting a pizza. Do you want to chip in?”

The weather may change, the hair gets styled, but you could set your watch to Pam Anderson’s acting face.

I’d be cheating everyone if I didn’t address this character:

A man who lives the life of a vagrant on the streets of Steel Harbor, surrounded by garbage and mysterious amounts of food. The abandoned ditch digger is his castle, the homeless gypsies his court, and the celebrated minds of society (aka Pamela Anderson) seek his council.

Therefore, he has been cleverly named Big Fatso.

This movie dares to go where Casablanca clearly was afraid to.

What’s Ron Howard’s brother doing in this movie? Does it matter?

What about this? Was this important to the story? Meh.

I’ll say this for the future – it may be bleak but at least there’s no water and ammo shortage.

Also, cows are still thriving to meet the demands of the leather industry. We can all sleep secure knowing that future has everything covered.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – The Host (2013)

In this week’s post we examine a film that not only came out a few months ago, but probably had a bigger budget than all the other films discussed, combined.  However, just because your film

shoot had studio money to burn, does not make it a worthy pursuit.

Also this:

I realize making fun of Twilight is the world’s easiest thing to do – but if you see this woman’s name stamped on anything, its best to just back out of the room slowly.
On the other hand, this is also the studio’s way of casting blame. “From Stephanie Meyer – so don’t look at us if you hated it….”
This film should also not be confused with this Japanese monster movie, which I haven’t seen but looks way awesome:

 

Moving on…
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, its in no way a rip off of Invasion of the Body Snatchers – its just the tale of a alien invasion that takes out people’s souls and wears their bodies like suits. Nothing like Invasion of the Body Snatchers at all. There’s a girl named Melanie who gets invaded, but the aliens were sloppy about the whole body snatching invasion and so the entire movie is her talking to her alien. They fall in love with two different guys and enjoy harvesting wheat. Also, Diane Krueger keeps her whites whiter while looking for pesky humans.
That being said, here’s the most mockable highlights of this little film:

Melanie wandered into someone’s well lit mansion/library/art gallery and was immediately caught by aliens. Melanie clearly has no concept of how an end times apocalypse works.

Instead of letting the aliens put one of their own in her, she throws herself out the window, where they simply scoop her up and put an alien in her.

Had Melanie seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers, she may have come up with an alternate plan.

For the rest of this film, Melanie and her parasite, now known as The Seeker, will communicate. This will be conveyed to the audience by her staring into the camera and talking to herself.

We’re introduced to Diane Krueger’s character who’s name was probably said at some point, but given that her character required for the depth of cardboard, I don’t remember it.

Wooden characters that we don’t care about? I sense Stephanie Meyer has been in this room….

She asks Seeker to write down whatever memories are left behind. Its really wooden and we don’t care about it.

She obeys and writes down a really boring love story of something that happened earlier….

She met this guy while breaking into his house.

Again, Melanie does not know how an Apocalypse works. You don’t just mosey into an apartment and start going through the refrigerator for lunch meat.

She does however get a boyfriend out of it and they make out a lot. Which we all know, according to Stephanie Meyer’s Guide to the Apocalypse, is the only thing that matters.

Seeker then stares at herself in the mirror. Because she’s really interesting in that way.

She does however escape from a guy in a white suit who moves really awkwardly.

She steals a car and drives as far as she can and then has a accident only involving herself.

Oh Melanie/Seeker…..

Then runs into the desert and passes out. Thankfully, in the Apocalypse, a kind stranger shows up every fifteen minutes….

…and that kind stranger is John Hurt. Well done, Seeker! Most people just get a Guy From That Show a Few Years Ago. When it happens to me, I’ve got my fingers crossed for an Albert Finney or Michael Fassbender.

Diane Krueger is on the case! And just in time for her car to be polished within the very life of itself.

I watched this scene and started to hope for this scene from that other Host….

But whatever….

Melanie/Seeker is taken to a underground commune of hippies/survivors where her previous couch flame just happens to be there to tend to her wounds.

“Yeah, she’s possessed by an alien, but its a girl we used to know. So I’m conflicted. Better let it hang around and make the first move.”

There was this flashback, so Uncle John Hurt has a really good point.

Meanwhile, Diane Krueger is not amused.

Also, if in the future, your alien invasion has left you confused as to who is human and who is alien, let their choice in transportation be your guide.  No alien would be seen dead in a beat up 1994 Chevy Impala.

The action REALLY heats up when everyone goes out to the fields to harvest wheat.

Like, lots of wheat.

 

So. Much. Wheat.

They broke up the action with a car chase scene.  Despite the amount of dust being kicked up, the shine will never go out.  NEVER.
These two are the ones being chased, and not, I repeat, NOT in a ad for Foster Grants.
 Thanks to the quality acting work going on, I am in no way distracted by the fact they are posing in sunglasses with guns. Totally legit.

Its legit because the aliens lost and therefore, humans are better drivers.  Or something. For further questions, ask Stephanie Meyers.

One of our heroes bravely hides behind a bush thats shorter than him. Based on Melanie and this guys actions, humans have not done one thing to prove they deserve to survive.

In true Stephanie Meyers fashion, the other hero tries to kill Melanie/Seeker, but instead falls in the water. She saves his life and then….

…decides she’s in love with him. After all, he did just try to kill her.

I hate this movie. I hate it with the same breath and fire that I hate a Twilight experience.

Its really awkward though, when your host body loves one guy and your parasite loves the other. But thats what happens.
“Its Stephanie Meyer’s fault!” signed, The Studio that released The Host.
Just FYI ladies, no man will buy the whole, “That wasn’t me making out with your best friend! That was my parasite entity!” excuse.

When Cardboard Diane Krueger chases down Melanie/Seeker, a classic case of “The Villain Can Easily Win This” happens….

…but wait! Killing goes against the aliens’ code of ethics. So it doesn’t happen.

Speaking of endings that were ridiculously easy, Melanie’s Seeker gets bored with the movie and decides to step out of room. Presumably to find a better movie to be in.

 

Just a gentle alien parasite that only needed to be gently coaxed out of one’s soul that it was devouring for eternity. Simply cut and let it ooze out.
Quite possibly the stupidest yet easiest way the human race has ever been conquered in cinematic history.
“Its Stephanie Meyers’ fault. Don’t blame us – The Studio That Gave Us The Host.

It neatly fits in a dish….

 

…in which Melanie considers sending it back to Earth…

….but changes her mind and sticks it in the body of a dead girl that they found in the desert.

Seriously. That’s what happened.

“Think of it this way- She wasn’t using her body anyway…”

Lets see what Japan’s Host vision looks like…

So much thematically satisfying…..

And if you need someone to blame, you know who to call.