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An average movie

Posted : 3 years, 2 months ago on 5 March 2016 10:24

To be honest, I have lost all hope with Kevin Smith a long time ago but this movie was his only one that I hadn't watched so far so I thought I might as well give it a try. Following  the decent but flawed 'Red State', he decided to make another horror feature (in fact, it would to be the first  installment of a Canadian horror trilogy, seriously). Well, even though 'Red State' was pretty realistic and straightforward, this movie was a complete different kind of ball game, that’s for sure. Indeed,  it is actually rather difficult to describe it, it was basically some kind of horror-comedy with a totally grotesque and preposterous concept resulting in something really weird. Unfortunately, even though it might have sound awesome on paper  (in fact, Kevin Smith's fans actually voted to get this movie made), it didn’t completely worked out fine as a movie. The main issue, in my opinion, is that, ok, the guy is transformed into some man-walrus but then where are you supposed to go from there? Indeed, so far, Justin Long was pretty good playing some arrogant podcaster and Michael Parks was basically born to play such articulate psychos but, from the moment the transformation is done, the only thing they could do was to provide some supposedly funny but in fact rather cringe-inducing scenes. On top of that, nothing much in fact really happens and some scenes were stretched out for too long only to reach a decent running time. For example, as a result, the performance by Johnny Depp which was at first pretty awesome and entertaining became rather boring and obnoxious after a while. To conclude, even though I think I'm being rather generous with my rating here, I still think it is worth a look but don’t expect too much before watching the damned thing. 

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Not As Sharp As Hoped

Posted : 3 years, 11 months ago on 20 June 2015 04:21

What can I say? I love Kevin Smith. I'll admit the guy hasn't made a good movie in years, but a true fan always hopes. And the premise of this film is brilliant. It's wacky, unconventional and just the kind of thing you could see a director like Smith pulling off.

Sadly, this is still not a triumphant return for him. The film's biggest problem is it's un-even atmosphere. Sometimes it feels like a Tarantino film. While that may be dandy for others, it isn't for me. I don't enjoy watching films that constantly feel like they're in the middle of an identity crisis. This film goes from being fairly disturbing, to laugh out loud funny, then snaps back to a totally surreal crapstorm and ends in a tonally confused sputter. It's sad, because there are glimpses of brilliance here and there, and this film could have been so much better.

The best aspect is easily the acting. Justin Long delivers quite possibly his best performance yet, Michael Parks is great as the unhinged maniac and Johnny Depp totally steals the spotlight in every scene he's in.

This film is worthwhile watching just to see what a "Human Walrus" movie turns out like, but Smith still isn't back on top of his game yet.

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A big swing & miss

Posted : 4 years, 1 month ago on 6 April 2015 12:51

"It's good to cry. It separates us from the animals. Shows you have a soul."

There was once a time when a new Kevin Smith project was cause for genuine excitement and curiosity, with the indie filmmaker churning out a steady stream of clever comedies in the '90s, beginning with his breakout effort Clerks. But starting with the 2010 turkey Cop Out, Smith's flicks have become less and less impressive, and his downward spiral continues with 2014's Tusk, a movie based on a random conversation from one of Smith's many podcasts. Smith evidently wanted to craft an earnest, Cronenbergian body horror movie in the vein of The Human Centipede about a guy transforming into a walrus, but he does not quite have the skill to get there. Rather than an earnest, honest-to-goodness, bad yet incredible find of a gem, Tusk is a slickly-produced, highly calculated attempt at factory-building an artificial version of what amounts to found art. Amusing schlocky horrors need to happen by accident - fake versions like this simply do not work. At the beginning of his career, Smith compensated for lack of budget and style by writing sparkling dialogue and engaging comedic vignettes, but now he creates polished, crisp visuals supplemented by shoddy writing.

A podcaster, Wallace (Justin Long) and partner Teddy (Haley Joel Osment) run the Not-See Podcast, which celebrates and mocks viral videos and eccentric people. Seeking to interview a peculiar young man who recently became internet famous, Wallace travels to Canada, but finds that he's too late. Scrambling to make something of the expensive trip, Wallace spies an ad in a men's room which piques his interest, and travels to the middle of nowhere to meet enigmatic raconteur Howard (Michael Parks). Before long, Howard drugs Wallace, handicapping him to prevent him from escaping the estate. As it turns out, Howard has plans to turn his victim into a kind walrus from his past. But Wallace's disappearance soon attracts the attention of Teddy and Wallace's girlfriend, Allison (Genesis Rodriguez), who travel to Canada and enlist the help of a private detective (Johnny Depp) to find their friend.

Like Red State, Tusk is more effective in its early stages. The story's set-up works to some extent, and there are notable scenes bolstered by the stylish photography which makes terrific use of shadows. It would seem that Smith was endeavouring to prove that he can be a legitimate filmmaker, taking the patently ludicrous concept with a straight face...for a little while. Smith eventually shift gears to settle into a more comedic, screwball tone, and this is a big problem - the comedy falls completely flat (which is hugely alarming in a Kevin Smith movie), and it does not successfully coalesce with the dour, gritty horror tone. It's all over the shop. And even though the photography is incredibly slick throughout the first two acts, the entire enterprise is still rather bland overall. Smith's attempt at generating chilling horror amounts to a lot of indulgent chatter and plenty of grimness - but it's not especially scary, nail-biting or even chilling. Rather, it's just pretty fucking dour.

Impossibly, the biggest problem here is Depp, who sneaks his way into the project to place forth his most insufferably grating performance to date. Quirky characters is Depp's modus operandi, but he's way out of his depth here, with a faux French(?) accent and exaggerated mannerisms growing incredibly annoying, as if he were the retarded brother of Inspector Clouseau. (A scene of Depp interacting with Parks, who disguises his voice, goes on too long and made me want to hit the mute button.) Oddly, Smith's entire filmmaking style suddenly changes with Depp's introduction, giving over to campy, oddball theatrics (scored to Fleetwood Mac, of all things) rather than the patient, quietly sinister atmosphere that Smith was apparently aiming for in the first half. Worse, the final scene tries to add some profundity to the proceedings, but it's enormously ineffective.

When Smith finds a thespian that he likes, he hangs onto them for dear life, with Parks leaning on exactly the same style of acting which characterised his Red State appearance. But just like Red State, Smith is so enamoured with Parks' monologues that he simply must let the man talk and talk to no end. Tusk runs 100 minutes, but it could have easily been trimmed to 80 minutes if only Smith was more disciplined towards Parks (and Depp, for that matter, whose introductory scene also drags on past its natural closure point).

Credit is due, though, to the astounding make-up effects, with Long convincingly turned into a sea creature as a result of some gruesome surgery. Long sells the hell out of the material, with his incredible ego showing through in the early stages as a podcaster with legions of fans before becoming outright terrified as he falls into Howard's hands. And as a walrus? Long does well. The rest of the cast hit their marks effectively enough, with a now grown-up Osment borderline unrecognisable as Wallace's partner in crime. Ultimately, however, Tusk is a big swing and miss. Smith had announced that he was going to produce Clerks 3 before retiring from the filmmaking business because he does not feel he has any talent, but Tusk reignited something, and now he seems determined to further tarnish his reputation. Tusk is the beginning of a "Canada Trilogy" for Smith, with other entries set to land over the next few years. Whatever Smith is trying to get out of his system, I just hope he does it quickly.


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Tusk review

Posted : 4 years, 1 month ago on 28 March 2015 04:26

I heard the plot for this movie and thought it was going to be extremely ridiculous. I watched it with a few friends and found that aside from the central plot of "someone gets turned into a walrus", the movie wasn't that bad. The cinematography was excellent, the actors in the film did well, and most things looked realistic. To expand more on the acting, Justin Long had an amazing portrayal of Wallace and I didn't even recognize Johnny Depp at first! Considering the whole idea for this movie came from a podcast, it's really good. The initial shock value can hinder someone from watching it with an open mind however. It's the same as Human Centipede, at least the first one. It's art through shock value. There should be a respect for that.

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Tusk review

Posted : 4 years, 4 months ago on 30 December 2014 10:04

You know i honestly didn't expect this film to amongst the worst films of 2014 with the likes of Transformers: Age of Extinction and I, Frankenstein. Seriously though WHAT THE F**K!!!! was was Kevin Smith thinking when he was making this film its neither scary or funny and all it does is leave you with your hand over your face the whole time. Everything about this film pissed me off from how its bullshit story begins (in the bathroom of a Canadian bar) to its horrible f**king ending. I seriously cant say much more about this film i don't even care to explain its story because it doesn't matter no one should ever watch this movie simple as that. The fact that this is even getting a sequel is a f**king disgrace i just hope Clerks 3 isn't this bad.

Overall i give it a 3.0

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Tusk review

Posted : 4 years, 5 months ago on 4 December 2014 05:09

I have been waiting for this one since I heard it was coming out. I love Kevin Smith movies and I enjoy that he is expanding his genres. There are a few actors here I didn't know would be in this which is pretty cool. Johnny Depp's daughter and Kevin Smith's family also have small little cameos if you are familiar with how they look. It kind of starts out cheesy with a scene I wasn't particularly amused with. Then it progresses and gets much better. I swear Justin Long looks like a Walrus already with his giant mustache. It has some humorous elements to it some of which are dark in nature. It definitely has a feel like Human Centipede meets Misery. You know you are dealing with a psychopath when they scream for help with you. It's hard to feel sorry for Wallace with the way he is. Michael Parks shows that he has quite some range in his acting arsenal. This is quite disturbing and can be pretty disgusting, but it wasn't as bad I was thinking it would be. Ah good ole Degrassi reference as usual! I actually enjoyed this even though it's definitely one of the strangest and most effed up movies I have seen. Two things here I found silly in a good way. First was that the movie says it's based on actual events which hopefully nobody takes seriously. Also the fact that Guy Lapointe is credited as himself is pretty silly. It's interesting that this started off as just a part of a podcast. The fact that someone can come up with an idea like this is just crazy and that's what makes it so intriguing. If you enjoy something different, Kevin Smith movies, and have a strong stomach check this out.

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