Idle Hands (1999) Review

One from the re watch pile…
Idle Hands (1999)


Film: Many years ago I had this film on DVD, but as can one when one has a big collection of anything, things go missing, and this was one of the films (along with David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ) that has disappeared. I probably leant them both to the same person and never received them back.

If you have my copy of eXistenZ, whoever you are, I want it back! You can keep the copy of Idle Hands as I now have this whiz-bang bluray copy released by Umbrella Entertainment.

This film was written by Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes and directed by Rodman Flender, who, considering how good this is, hasn’t really done anything like this again, though he is quite a prolific TV director.

Idle Hands tells of Anton Tobias (Devon Sawa) the ultimate slacker who spends his days smoking dope, watching MTV (and the hot girl down the street, Molly, played by Jessica Alba) and mooching off his parents, but Anton discovers what can happen when you spend too long idle.


Anton’s hand has become possessed and has turned him into a murderer, two of his victims being his best friends Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson) who return from the grave and decide to help him rid himself of his devil issue.

The first thing they do is suggest he visit local metalhead, Randy (Jack Noseworthy) who being a metalhead, you know, is obviously a devil worshipper to try and find a way to exorcise it. He suggests he keep his hands busy because as the saying goes, idle hands are the devil’s playground, but will it work or will Debbie (Vivica A. Fox), a woman from a sacred order sworn to destroy possessed hands, kill him?

The cast are a massive piece of how well this film plays, even though it is dated as hell. Alba is great as the rebel girl love interest, Henson and Green are just a wonderful comedy team and I wish they had done more together, Noseworthy reprises his ‘bully metalhead character’ he’s done several times and does so well and Sawa holds it all together brilliantly.

There is some absolutely prime bits of comedy from Sawa in this: not only is his ‘devil’ hand performed brilliantly, he also manages to squeeze out some sublime, almost unnoticeable bits of comedy that once you see, are just brilliant. A particular favourite of mine is the disgust on his face when he is woken by a particular song on his clock radio, but when he puts his Walkman on, the same song is playing and an expression of satisfaction washes over his face.

Speaking of music, 90s music fans take note: The Offspring appear at the school dance in this film so if you like them, you’ll get to hear a few tracks, and even better, if you DON’T like them… well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.


Idle Hands is a fun and funny film, with some great jokes!

Score: ****


Format: This Australian region B bluray of Idle Hands runs for approximately 92 minutes and is presented in a spectacularly sharp 1.85:1 image with a matching DTS-HD 5.1 audio track. The extras, however, are not as sharp.

Score: ****

Extras: A nice bunch of extras on this disc:

A director and cast commentary starring Rodman Flender, Seth Green and Elden Hensen. It’s a pretty entertaining commentary as the three of them are quite funny.

Deleted scene is just as the title suggests, a deleted scene, but it’s introduced and explained by the director and features the demise of the villain of the film. The ending in the film is far better.

Making of Featurette is a 6 minute mini about the making of the film… don’t expect and involved explanation on how to make a film’ it’s essentially a trailer with some behind the scenes stuff and a few interviews.

Theatrical Trailer, is just that, the trailer for the film.

Storyboard Comparisons feature split screen views of the film showing the storyboard sketches in one panel and the actually film in the other. I find these things interesting so I enjoyed this part of the special features.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: It’s VERY 90s, but really funny and I’m glad to own it again.

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Easter Review: Critters 2 (1988) 

Happy Easter from the To Watch Pile! Thanks for your continued support. Over the next three days we’ll have three special reviews JUST for Easter!
One from the re watch pile…
Critters 2 (1988)


Film: In the 80s, after Gremlins, every movie company wanted to try their hand at a little furry monster film. The difference is, whilst it took Gremlins several years to pop out a sequel, other series’ came and went, like Troll, Ghoulies and this series Critters.

For me, Critters didn’t grab me… well, not until this sequel which came out a few years later me and I totally dug it. The beautiful thing about this sequel was it realised that the premise, and the Critters, were a little stupid and decided to amp up the comedy aspects. This also may be due to the trend of horror films at the time was to make ‘horror comedies’ at every opportunity, thanks to Freddy K and the humour that had been injected into his series.

For me this was the best idea, and it really works. Sure a lot of the jokes refer to other movies (and with Mick Garris co-writing and directing, you can guarantee a Stephen King joke is gonna slip in there too) and if I’m totally honest, there is a load of Dad-jokes throughout the preceding.

Our story tells of Bradley Brown (Scott Grimes), who has returned after two years to his home town which several years ago had been the victim of an alien incursion by little furry eating machines called ‘Krites’.


Unfortunately for Bradley, his return also heralds a return of the Krites as a local antiques dealer purchases a bunch of Krite eggs that have been dormant (they’ve been in a cold barn) for this whole time. As soon as he puts them in his warmer antiques shop, they begin to hatch, but not before he sold some to a local childcare centre so they can paint them for their Easter parade.

Bradley teams up with the daughter of the town newspaper editor, Megan (Liane Curtis) and intergalactic shapechanging bounty hunters Ug (Terrance Mann) and Lee (played by various actors including scream queen Roxanne Kernohan and professional nerd Eddie Deezen), and their human sidekick, former town drunk Charlie (Don Keith Opper) to fight the Krites, but will the small town of Grover’s Bend be able to survive another alien attack? 


Mick Garris is one of those directors who doesn’t do anything special with his direction, but really conveys a story brilliantly and he does so here. The sense of whimsy in this film is present all the way through and it seems clear the cast and crew had fun making it. As I previously stated, there are several dad jokes and some sound effects added to visual jokes that make a slightly amusing scene even funnier. 

The cats is extraordinarily likable and you can also spot support acting regulars like Lin Shaye (Insidious), Barry Corbin (No Country for Old Men) and Sam Anderson (Ouija:Origin of Evil): I kid you not, these last two faces will make you point at the screen and go ‘that’s the guy from the thing with the man in that TV show’. 

One warning though: Cynthia Garris has written a jingle for the towns fast food restaurant ‘Hungry Heifer’ that is so insidiously catchy that you’ll find yourself humming it for days later.

I thoroughly enjoy this film and of the 80s horror-comedies, which I don’t REALLY called horror, it’s one of my comfort-food styled favourites, liked a celluloid hot chocolate.

Score: ****


Format: The review of this film was performed with the New Zealand (which is really a ratings re-stickered Australian one) Region 4 DVD which runs for approximately 82 minutes and is presented in a good 1.85:1 image with an excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: Only a trailer I’m afraid.

Score: *

WISIA: Oh yeah I’ll watch this film again and again… and not just for Roxanne Kernohan! It’s a hoot!

Yoga Hosers (2016) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Yoga Hosers (2016)

Australian Yoga Hosers bluray cover


Film: I kind of feel sorry for Kevin Smith. When his first five View Askewniverse films (Clerks, Malleats, Chasing Amy, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) came out, he was a trail-blazer of modern comedy, and his slacker filled films became pop cultural norms that still influence films today. I loved those films, particularly Dogma, in which Ben Affleck and Matt Damon told such an amazing story about being abandoned, and thought that Smith would be one of the greatest directors of all time in my modest opinion.

But times change, and we get older, me some of us grow, and some of us don’t.

Times change, and comedy takes a popular style, like Smith’s, and evolves, and what happens is the initiator of that comedy sometimes gets left behind, and Smith seems to be in this boat. Those first five movies were so original that I don’t want to criticise Smith as being a one-trick pony, because each of those films were great in different ways, but Clerks 2, even though it retraced steps from the first five View Askewniverse films, lacked something (though Rosario Dawson’s dance sequence to the Jackson five was a bouncy thing of beauty!) Tusk was the next thing I saw of his, and it was just terrible, and I really dig those ‘lost and trapped by a madman’ films, but it just failed on so many counts.

The failure of Smith’s venture in horror comedy continues with this dreadful movie… although I do dig the soundtrack…

Yoga Hosers: Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp as the Colleens, and the back of Vanessa Paradis’ head.


Total losers Colleen (Harley Quinn Smith) and Colleen (Lily-Rose Depp) work in a convenience store, Eh-to-Zed owned by one of their fathers, and managed by his girlfriend. They are invited to a high school seniors party one night, but their plans are dashed when they are forced to work.

They invite the boy who invited them to the party to come to the convenience store to party there instead, but they girls find out that he and his friend are devil worshippers possessed by the bratwurst constructed, mini-Nazi clones made by insane Andronicus Arcane (Ralph Garman, who is an amazing impressonist). 

Can they, along with investigator Guy LaPointe (Johnny Depp) stop his nefarious plan?

Yoga Hosers: Johnny Depp as Guy LaPointe


Who cares, would be a better question. Basically this film is a rehash of Clerks, but for the horror-comedy set, except there’s no horror, and not much comedy. Sorry, there is one piece of horror, after the credits there is a threat that the Colleen’s will return in another film… EEK!

A lot of the so-called comedy is directed at poking fun at the Canadian accent and product which may emulate American ones, which might be funny to an American who hates Canadians, but maybe here is Australia we are too far away from the situation for it to be funny. I can’t help but wonder if the stereotyping done in this film was aimed at another country, that it wouldn’t just come across as culturally insensitive.

I do have to admit, Johnny Depp’s characters ever moving face moles made me snigger.

Smith and Depp are cute kids, but their acting skill aren’t of a high level, but everyone here, even the ones who are normally good actors, seem to have let their talents go on holidays, except for the afore mentioned Ralph Garman, because if he is actually doing those impressions, he’s the king!

The film is full of Smith’s usual suspects Justin Long, Haley Joel Osment, Stan Lee, Jason Mewes and his various friends and relatives. It’s almost like a home movie for the Smith and Depp families, actually, something which Smith even admits in the extras.

Somewhere along the line though, I think when Smith was writing the film he got the idea that he hates anyone criticising his work (who does?) and one of the characters has a dig at those who criticise art. It is a strange bit of the film that feels more like a personal message is thrown into the bratwurst carnage. He has done this before in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, so I think that he’s particularly susceptible to it.

Unfortunately, this film is so bad, it makes the Smith’s boring and stupid Tusk look like The Empire Strikes Back in comparison. What’s worse, is like every other sucker who used to love Smith’s work, I’ll still stupidly shell out money for his next venture as I know that the old Kevin is still somewhere inside him, waiting to produce another gem!

Score: *

Yoga Hosers Menu screen


Format: This review was performed with the Australian region B bluray, which (thankfully) runs for only 87 minutes of which 7 are the closing credits… 7!!!, which has an immaculate 2.40:1 picture with a spectacular DTD-HD 5.1 audio track.

Score: *****

Extras: Only one extra and it’s a Behind the Scenes which is just a 7 minutes or so look at how the film was made. It’s all ego stroking like the very worst of these types of things.

Score: *

WISIA: Nope, and I’m gonna invent a time machine so I can go back in time and tell myself to not see it once.

Yoga Hosers: Jason Mewes cameos as ‘Rogue Cop’

The Final Girls (2015) Review

One from the to watch pile…
The Final Girls (2015)


Film: For me, horror and comedy rarely mix well. Reanimator is an exception, Return of the Living Dead is another that works; generally though, the ‘horror comedy’ is actually a comedy movie with gore elements.

This film, The Final Girls, falls into the latter: it’s little more than a comedy film with slasher film aspirations in it, as one can tell by the cast inclusion of people like Thomas Middleditch from Silicon Valley and Adam DeVine from Workaholics, but for fans of 80s horror films, there is a lot here to like as it is a combination of the Friday the 13th series and Pleasantville.

Yeah. You read that right.

The Final Girls tells of Maxine Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga) a college student whose mother, an 80s horror movie star, Amanda (Malin Ackerman) died tragically three years ago. Today though, Max has been asked to represent her mother at a film festival where the slasher film her mother was in, Camp Bloodbath and its sequel, Camp Bloodbath II: Cruel Summer are being shown back to back. 


Max is joined by her best friend, Gertie (Alia Shawkat), Gertie’s step-brother (who also organised the film festival) Duncan (Middleditch), her potential love-interest Chris (Alexander Ludwig) and Chris ex (and Max’s ex-best friend), Vicki (Nina Dobrev) to see the film, but the cinema is accidentally set alight, and to escape, the group have to cut their way through the actual movie screen to escape…

…which transports them INTO the movie, and finds Max reunited with her mother, but it’s not her mother, it’s the character she played in the film, Nancy. 

The group realise that they are trapped not just with the badly written characters (played by Adam DeVine, Angela Trimbur, Chloe Bridges, Lauren Gros and Tory N. Thompson) but that the killer, Billy (Dan B. Norris) is well aware that he has more victims than usual… But how will they escape?

CAN they escape?!?

The tropes of horror films are treated with great humour in this film, and aren’t disrespected. There is some great physical comedy as well, and any scene with Middleditch or DeVine are lots of fun. The ‘real’ characters stand out brilliantly in the world of the 80s horror movie fantastically as the ‘bad actors’ as ‘real’ people still act like they do in the film.


That’s not to say the film is perfect though; there are a few cases of CGI that doesn’t quite work (although there is one CGI piece that is amazing!) and it does something that I detest in modern horror movies: it adds popular pop songs for familiarity to make the film easier to acclimatise to… Guardians of the Galaxy did it to sell itself and did a great job of it, but I don’t like that kind of psychological manipulation. I do admit to understanding both films had a grounding in the 80s so it’s not completely left-of-field, but I still find it manipulative.

The story of this film is heaps of fun for those who grew up with 80s slasher pics, or are fans of that genre. The director clearly loves this period of films, and, along with his cinematographer has created a film that is a joy to look at. The colours are vibrant and engaging, and if you watch… REALLY watch the film, you see heaps of great little clues and movie language that tells a far more clever story that a casual view might suggest.

Don’t be surprised though, this is 100% a comedy with a polite nod to horror films of the 80s. If you want a horror film, this ain’t it, but if you want to be entertained for a bit, this isn’t a bad way to do it.


Score: ***1/2

Format: This Australian release, multi-region bluray of The Final Girls runs for 91 minutes and is presented in a pristine 2.40:1 widescreen presentation with a matching DTS HD 5.1 audio track.

Score: *****

Extras: Nice bunch of extras on this disc including a cast and crew commentary performed by Strauss-Schulson, actors Middleditch, Farmiga and Trimbur, Production designer Katie Byron and Dirctor of Photography Elie Smilkin, a bunch of deleted, alternate and extended scenes with or without the director’s commentary (they are better with the commentary and have some unfinished special effects), Pre-Vis Animation (storyboards done with rough computer models), visual effects progression reel (shows layered footage of the special effects from the earliest pass to the final one) and a downloadable PDF of the Director’s shooting notes (unreviewed).


It’s a great and informative bunch of extras, though the commentary is a bit crowded with so many people involved… It is pretty funny though.

Score: *****

WISIA: It’s an easy to watch ‘comfort’ film that requires very little from the viewer to enjoy. I can see myself watching it again, but on a low priority rotation.