Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's Not A Movie, It's Not Horror, It's...

Bullet In The Face (2012) IFC Miniseries

This six episode dark comedy captured my attention right away, partly because of the cast, partly because it just looked too funny to pass up. I mean you've got Eddie Izzard, Eric Roberts, Max Williams (who, by the commercials for the series, reminded me of a younger Christopher Titus, funny with a frenetic energy that could only be fantastic and great to watch). Yes, this is not a movie, nor is it horror, it's more of a kind of noir show with a whole lot of giggles and.... darn them apparently it's only Season 1 so if you watch it, prepare for a lot of unanswered questions when you're done. I would have thought they couldn't keep that kind of energy and writing up enough for a whole season, but if they do six at a time... maybe. Point is there is going to be a Season 2, which calmed down my outrage since I thought that IFC had cut the end of the episode off (They like to end shows late sometimes, doesn't anybody stick to a schedule anymore?) and I had gone through three hours for nothing. Oh, not nothing, just can't wait for the next round. It better be quick. Oh and if you do want to watch this be aware this maps out the episodes so there are spoilers ahead.

Gunter Vogler
The story is set in the city of Bruteville in the midst of a gang war between two rather eccentric characters, agoraphobic Tannhauser (Eddie Izzard) and no-command-of-the-English-language stuck in the 70's racketeer type Racken (Eric Roberts). A wild card is a totally amoral (and insane) sociopath named Gunter Vogler (Max Williams) who currently works for Tannhauser, simultaneously sleeping with his wife. During a jewlery heist he is commanded to kill the wife, Martine (Kate Kelton) during the robbery - but she had told Gunter she was pregnant with his child. As it turns out, the heist goes bad, though both Gunter and Martine are killing everything in site with zest, they are soon in a bit of hurt. A blonde cop comes in and tells Gunter to drop his gun or his face 'will be the last thing you ever see'. Gunter shoots... and things go black. Gunter has also been shot.

 Agoraphobic Tannhauser
He wakes in a hospital swathed in bandages. There he meets a sexually repressed (he tells her she's going through MANopause) Commisioner Eva and the partner of the cop he killed Lt. Hagerman. And discovers he now wears the face of the cop he killed. The plan is that he will become that cop and bring down the two crime bosses, given his knowledge and the wish to get his own face back.

Probably-didn't-pass-the-fifth-grade Racken
The characters are silly, sometimes irritatingly so. The Commissioner is always sexually aggressive, the Lt. is always crying in every episode (apparently he and his partner were, ahem, a little closer than anyone realized), Martine is playing all fields, posing as Gunter's girlfriend and the wife of BOTH crime bosses, and so on. So you've got some uneven flow but there is some truly funny stuff here, and Max Williams seems to get all the best lines:

Playing-every-side Martine
Commissioner: Don't you want a chance at redemption?
Gunter: No, I am not a coupon.

Commissioner: Don't you get tired of being evil all of the time?
Gunter: Yes, that is why I take naps.

You get the idea. Kind of sounds like MAD's Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions. Mix the silly lines with the idiosyncrasies of the crime bosses, the implausible situations they get into and the fact that Gunter must actually do real police work to solve several crimes and it becomes a good although puzzling and sometimes 'ah, come on' type of show that you just kind of have to let go and enjoy. With the kind of energy and writing they did for these six shows I thought they were just that -  a miniseries of silliness that would pay off. To have it end in a cliffhanger was... oof. I'm not going to repeat the language I used.

The six, half hour episodes are:

Apparently-real-men-do-cry Lt. Hagerman
1. Meet Gunter Vogler: In this he is shot, his face reconstructed and discovers that it was actually his girlfriend who shot him in the face (he gets shot in the face no less than three times in this series). He is recruited by the police to try to infiltrate and stop the upcoming mob war. Getting a badge and a gun only seems to make him more out of control and insane than before (but funny). Of course his partner keeps crying every time he sees him which gets irritating but...

2. Angel Of Death: Somebody is bumping off priests, first thought to be suicides. But Gunter recognizes a tattoo on one of the priests and realizes that the Commissioner has used the face-switch technique before - these were mob guys who bought their way into new identities as Catholic priests but someone has found out and it's up to Gunter to stop him. He's also beginning to have trouble with his 'transplant' as it doesn't quite match his skull (don't ask me to explain that I have no idea what the hell) and his jaw is really starting to hurt and he is told he will need further surgery, which he refuses.

3. Drug Of Choice: This was a duh episode to me - a shipment of drugs was smuggled in, of all things, cans of energy drink. Which gets shipped by accident to... public vending machines. One young boy drinking the stuff ends up killing two people, others are rioting in the streets and Gunter, being well versed in pharmaceuticals knows what it is and needs to stop it. He's shot in the face for a second time - grazing his temple. He just laughs it off, his frenetic energy only increases with the wounding.

4. Kiss Me Thrice: Gunter goes to the boss Racken and tells him there's a traitor in the room with them (he's referring to the picture of Racken and his 'wife'). Without batting an eye, Racken kills everyone (except for Gunter) in the room, then demands that 'team two' be brought in. He tells them to take Gunter out and shoot him, but he is saved by Lt. Tannhauser. Although it is now obvious that Martine is playing them all, he doesn't expose her.

5. The World Stage: This was kind of another duh episode (these were uneven after all) - members of both gangs are being decapitated by masseuses and their heads delivered to their bosses (even one detective gets 'shipped' to the Commissioner). Gunter is beginning to have faint visions about this time that are not his own - seems we're getting into the 'if you get a transplant from another person you get their memories' kind of territory. Ugh. But he does get an idea who's doing this from the visions and traces it to a theater of former performers of The Mikado (a Gilbert and Sullivan play) who because of having to pay for protection were unable to keep the theater open and so are having their vengeance. Again, kind of a duh. And he gets shot in the face again. He claims to like it better and better every time it happens.

Terminally-sexually-repressed Commissioner Eva
6. Cradle To Grave: This is the one I expected to tie everything up and solve everything. That was kind of dumb of me, to expect that in one half hour episode. Martine is ready to give birth, but the mob war is out of control and buildings all over the city are being bombed by both sides. When Martine escapes from super-jealous Tannhauser, he decides to bomb all the hospitals, using crooked cop bomb squads to set the explosives. So we have Racken deciding to go all out on Tannhauser, the Commissioner is finally told where Tannhauser is and goes there just as a bomb there is about to go off, the hospital where Martine is to give birth has a bomb that the Lt. is frantically trying to defuse, and as everybody gets to Martine's room - she has never been pregnant at all. She's been using the ruse to control all sides because she wants to be the new 'Queen' of the city. Ripping off her prothetic belly she reveals a submachine gun to blow everyone away and everything kind of fades to black.... and we wait. WHAT? I was ready to spit nails, thinking IFC had cut the ending off but nope, they expect us to wait until Season 2, whenever the hell that's supposed to be.

Oh well, The Walking Dead Season 3 starts up in October, so I'll just look for that.