"I take orders from the Octoboss."


tn_valentineReleased in February of 2001, VALENTINE was one of the last of (the last of?) the post-SCREAM studio slasher movies. Its low box office totals, combined with the success of THE RING the next year, might’ve sealed the deal on that particular horror cycle. It’s directed by Jamie Blanks, who debuted with the similarly crappy URBAN LEGEND and later returned to his native Australia, where the spirit of the Tasmanian tiger or something blows in the wind, into his lungs, inspiring him to make much better movies (STORM WARNING, NATURE’S GRAVE).

The story begins with a flashback to a CARRIE type humiliation at a middle school Valentine’s Day dance. A nerdy kid named Jeremy Melton keeps asking girls to dance with him, and they all basically tell him to fuck off. Even the girl sitting sadly by herself seems like she’s gonna say no, but next thing you know they’re making out under the bleachers. This seems like a major coup for the nerd, but when the popular kids spot what’s going on they get the girl to cry rape and then they strip the kid to his underwear and start beating him up. I’m pretty sure they’re on their way to sticking a broom handle up his ass when it skips forward to the future. I will not tell you whether or not these past events have any bearing on what happens in the present.

Okay I can’t keep it a secret any longer, this is about how 13 years later the grown up girls who turned him down start getting killed by a dude wearing a cupid mask who leaves them threatening valentines and (in one case) maggoty chocolates. I wish there were also clues left on conversation hearts, but I can’t win ’em all. Seems like it’s that nerd kid killing everybody, but “Jeremy Melton couldn’t manage a water fountain without screwing up. I don’t think he’s capable of an intricate revenge plot,” says Denise Richards.

mp_valentineThe unfortunately-now-formulaic Janet Leigh/Drew Barrymore role goes to Katherine Heigl, post-UNDER SIEGE 2: DARK TERRITORY and BRIDE OF CHUCKY but pre-everybody-else-knowing-who-she-was. She’s a medical student who gets stalked in a big lonely building surrounded by cadavers. The killer has a creepy look with that blank-expression angel-face mask, a sort of old-timey black coat and blood dripping out of the nose (he’s allergic to peanuts or something). This is the scariest part of the movie because after he determines that she must be hiding in a body bag he walks down two rows of carts systematically stabbing all the dead bodies while you wait to see which one is gonna be her.

So the girls from the middle school dance were all and still are friends who live in the same area. I’m not totally clear on who lives where, but at least one of them lives in a big mansion. They all have love problems though: Marley Shelton (Earl MacGraw’s daughter in both GRINDHOUSE movies) is hesitant to get back together with her alcoholic boyfriend (David Boreanaz) so she goes “turbo dating” with her openly-slutty best friend Paige (Richards) while Dorothy, the false-accuser-from-beneath-the-bleachers (Jessica Capshaw) has a mysterious new boyfriend who she’s paranoid about losing because she’s still hung up on how she was “fat” as a kid (I saw the flashback, and she was not very fat).

There’s really not much to the plot here, and it’s not told very clearly. I was confused and had to rewind to try to understand a major plot point about some suspect that the police questioned and had to let go. And there’s not much of an arc, other than the Dorothy girl is gonna have a Valentine’s Day party. It’s weird that this girl who thinks she’s been an outcast for her whole life is able to throw a huge mansion party with like 200 good looking people there having fun. But then she pouts and says mean things to everybody because her boyfriend “stood her up.” (He seems like a scumbag and suffers from embarrassing erectile dysfunction but in his defense I don’t think he would’ve let her down at the party if not for being ax-murdered.)

The “kills” are not memorable at all. In fact, there’s one that has a long stalking set up involving water and power being shut off, you’re waiting to see what gimmick they go for and then it’s just one strike of the ax to the back. It almost works as a play on your expectations except the other murders aren’t anything fancy either. And I know horror movies don’t have to be gorey but in a silly one like this that isn’t genuinely scary and doesn’t have much of anything to offer they oughta have blood and limbs and eyeballs bouncing off the walls and dipped in chocolate.

The best one is definitely (SPOILER) Denise Richards, who makes the mistake of suddenly for no reason leaving the crowded party to sit in a hot tub completely alone in a building with the lights off and her eyes closed. (She didn’t know not to do that because it wasn’t a rule in SCREAM.) He closes the lid of the tub on her, it’s glass so you can see her squirming around in there. Then suddenly he has a huge power drill and starts putting holes in the lid. Either they didn’t plan it out very well or she’s just supposed to be really stupid because she desperately puts her mouth over one of the holes to breathe even though there’s clearly plenty of air at the top and her head is not submerged in the water.

I don’t know why but no matter how shitty they are I seem to get at least a little enjoyment out of these formulaic slashers as long as they seem professionally made and are kind of old. I probly wouldn’t have gotten much out of this at the time but now that it’s from a bygone era (pre-9-11 even) it’s mildly diverting time capsule garbage.

Like alot of the movies I review here the enjoyment in this one comes from the occasional head-scratching moments where I honestly don’t know what they were going for. Just little odd moments that don’t really connect to each other or add up into anything specific. For example, when a cop is showing them age enhanced renditions of a childhood photo of the Melton kid they picked on she asks “Do you have any more recent pictures of him?” and the cop reacts with appropriate sarcasm. This is the heroine of the movie asking what the script is acknowledging is an idiotic question.

After that meeting, I guess just to set him up as a red herring, the detective hits on Paige. She turns him down and then he checks out her ass as she leaves his office. Then he behaves himself for the rest of the movie and is a good guy.

In another scene the killer seems to be walking in on a woman sexily putting on stockings, then it turns out to be a guy.

At the big Valentine’s Day party, before her date with drill destiny, a sleazy guy Paige met from the “turbo dating” gets her to go upstairs to “show her something,” which of course turns out to be his dick. She’s insulted so she plays the ol’ movie trick of pretending to be interested until she gets him naked strapped to a bed and then dumps hot candle wax on his dick. In fact, that should be a rule in SCREAM: never let a girl tie you up for sex.

But here’s the thing: she then goes downstairs and doesn’t tell anybody about it. This is her friend’s house, presumably her friend’s bed. Seems like it would be polite to mention the tied-up naked dude. Worse, it’s a major waste of storytelling potential. Later in the movie it’s been completely forgotten, why not have the killer chase somebody into a room where they are confronted by a tied-up naked dude’s boner? That would be a shocker. Better than a shrieking cat jumping out all the sudden.

VALENTINE was written by Donna & Wayne Powers (DEEP BLUE SEA) and Gretchen J. Berg & Aaron Harberts (Beverly Hills 90210). Back then people criticized slasher movies like this for having young stars from shows on the WB Network, but they didn’t know this one was actual 90210 writers.

It was based on a book, by the way. Loosely it sounds like. But that’s my goal in life now. I want to write a book that gets loosely adapted into a crappy movie like this so I can always complain about it. Or a good movie I could be proud of would also be acceptable.

Although I love the concept of the miner in MY BLOODY VALENTINE, this cupid mask deal is definitely the coolest looking of the Valentine’s Day slashers. And there’s another thing that stands out about this one. All four Valentine’s Day slasher movies that I watched this week start out with a flashback to a horrible incident on Valentine’s Day years ago and then skip to the present when the anniversary causes a series of murders. But this is the only one where the original incident was not a murder, it was only a beating. So VALENTINE is the most original Valentine’s Day slasher ever made! Congratulations to everyone involved. I’ll buy you a balloon bouquet and a shitty teddy bear.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 at 2:30 am and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

60 Responses to “Valentine”

  1. It’s always a weird conceit in a movies like this that the mystery kid grows up looking like a completely different person, and nobody recognizes him. You don’t need computer enhancement magics to recognize yourself or your friends from a school photo. And nobody else does either, we don’t really change that dramatically from when we were at 10-15 years old.

    It’s such a bizarre hook to hang an entire mystery on to.

  2. I remember this movie (kind of), isn’t there a scene where the killer kills someone with an arrow in some art installation thing with projections of nude people on the wall or something?

    there’s something about movies from the late 90’s/pre-9/11 2000’s that I find very appealing, even when they’re bad (think movies like Teaching Ms Tingle or The Faculty), I guess because they remind me of simpler times

  3. Sheesh, I totally forgot about this movie, but now I too remember the ridiculousness of the hot tub air hole scene. Maybe they wrote the thing before getting on set and realizing they couldn’t fill the tub up to the glass? Hard to say.

  4. I saw this at the cinema. Magnificently shitty but decently shot I thought. The hot tub scene really stuck out in my mind as a crappy death, and a terribly wasted opportunity for Denise Richards boobage.

  5. Griff: On the one hand, you like that time period because that’s when you came of age and started forming aesthetical-type opinions. Me, being an older dude, I look at the movies of the early-to-mid-eighties and think, “See, that’s what a movie is supposed to look and sound like.” On the other hand, from an objective point of view, there’s something very watchable about the horror movies of the period you’re discussing. They’re generally well-made, well-acted, fast-moving, not too intense but not PG-13ified either. They’re the perfect horror movies to watch on a Sunday afternoon with a ladyfriend who’s not sure she likes horror movies so much. There’ll be some familiar faces, some nicely timed jump scares, decent production values, and you won’t feel like you’ve had your nose rubbed in shit for 90 minutes like with a lot of the post-9/11 horror flicks. I think that’s why horror became more mainstream than ever before after this period. It’s not my favorite era of horror by any means but it has its place.

  6. If I remember correctly (a potential spoiler alert is coming up) David Boreanaz was on some late night talk show to promote this movie where he pretty much admitted that he was the killer. I’ve never actually seen the movie, so I don’t know if this was really the case, or if he was putting red herrings out before the film even came out (which would have been kind of cool actually).

  7. This is a terrible movie, but the doll face is pretty cool. The carver in Nip/Tuck used a similar one to much better effect, until the awful episode where they revealed the killer.

  8. I remember when this was supposed to be Boreanaz’s big screen debut. I hated it. Totally boring I creative kills. A bow and arrow? In a slasher movie? May have even called it worst of 2000.

    Glad there are some enjoyable hindsight elements and very glad to see it show up here, with largely the same criticisms I had 12 years ago. THAT’S nostalgia!

  9. RBatty- I remember that and I was like “wow they really didn’t go light on the ripping off SCREAM this time” at least those Jennifer Love Hewitt movies had some random hobo with a hook. SCREAM was mocking the “boyfriend is the killer” schtick not saying it was an awesome idea.

    Still baffles me how so many movies misinterpreted Craven’s masterpiece including the sequels made by Craven himself. Or maybe I just give SCREAM too much credit I don’t know. Anyway Valentine fucking sucks. In a few minutes have to go spend money I could use on better shit (like beer, pot or comics or something) just to placate my woman’s emotions so she won’t feel bad around her friends and shit. Fuck you Hallmark. Fuck You.

  10. Mr. Majestyk – hey I wont deny it, 1999 was one of the best years of my life

  11. Valentine meaning the holiday not this movie; I’ve never seen it. Just looked too stupid and I mean the wrong kind of stupid like a Tom Arnold movie directed by John Landis.

  12. 1999 was dope but it was nothing like Prince predicted it would be. I almost felt robbed.

  13. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    February 14th, 2012 at 5:56 pm


    “I remember this movie (kind of), isn’t there a scene where the killer kills someone with an arrow in some art installation thing with projections of nude people on the wall or something?”

    Oh yeah, and that was my favorite part. It wasn’t enough that she got TWO arrows in the chest. (Although come to think of it, that scene is so much less impressive since “Lord of the Rings” one-upped it with Sean Bean.) She had to fall down the stairs as well.

    Unlike other movies with the word “Valentine” in their title, prefaced by “My Bloody” and suffixed with “3D” that I won’t name here because I just ranted about them for two loooong paragraphs in the “My Bloody Valentine” thread (wait… crap…) which are so dumb they’re awful, this movie is so dumb it’s fantastic. The “art installation” has to be the best example. How does a struggling, unrecognised artist, who scrounges on his girlfriend for money, afford enough video screens to fill a room the size of an aircraft hanger? Never mind the electricity, people to install the thing, insurance, models, and everything else? We never find out, and I never want to. Awesome.

    “Later in the movie it’s been completely forgotten, why not have the killer chase somebody into a room where they are confronted by a tied-up naked dude’s boner?” I WOULD PAY TO SEE THIS MOVIE ALL OVER AGAIN IF IT INCLUDED THIS SCENE.

    Anyway I enjoyed the shit out of this terrible, terrible movie when it first came out, and I encourage all of you to do the same thing today.

    Minor point here: the opening flashback scene really doesn’t do this movie any favours, and that often seems to be the case. “Terror Train” would’ve been so much better if the opening hadn’t basically ruled out 90% of the suspects in one fell swoop… although I guess that when your main suspect is played by the guy this main suspect is played by (I won’t spoil if you haven’t seen the movie) you don’t exactly need any others.

  14. 1999?

    10 things i hate about u
    American Beauty
    American Pie
    Analyze This
    Attack The Gas Station (s. korea)
    Being John Malkovich
    The Blair Witch Project
    The Boondock Saints
    Bringing Out The Dead
    But I’m A Cheerleader
    Cruel Intentions
    Deep Blue Sea
    Detroit Rock City
    Eyes Wide Shut
    Fantasia 2k
    Fight Club
    Ghost Dog
    In Dreams
    The Insider
    The Iron Giant
    The Limey
    The Matrix
    fucking Office Space
    Sixth Sense
    South Park
    Star Wars 1
    Three Kings
    Toy Story 2
    The Virgin Suicides
    Now don’t get me wrong I don’t support all of these films; some of them are total shite in fact. But I think this list makes it clear that 1999 is correctly identified as “the year that changed movies”.

  15. 1998 was also weird because it was the year of doubles.

    WW2: Saving Private Ryan and Thin Red Line (and Life is Beautiful I suppose)
    Elizabethan era: Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love
    Volcanos: Volcano and Dante’s Peak
    Asteroids: Armageddon and Deep Impact
    CG Insects: A Bug’s Life and Antz
    And get this: guy’s life is a reality show: Truman Show and EdTV?!

    I think maybe edtv came out in 99 actually. But shit it was just too juicy to ignore.

  16. renfield – man 1999 was such an epic fucking year, it had a flavor all on it’s own, it deserves to go down in history as “one of those years” along with 1969, 1984 etc, maybe one day people will realize how awesome it was

    don’t get me wrong, I had a blast as a kid that year (that was the year I was really into Pokemon), but I wish I could relive that year as a teenager, I bet it was fun, a shit load more fun than being a teenager in these shitty days…

  17. I would also put 2007 on that list, Griff.

    There Will Be Blood, The Assassination of Jesse James, No Country for Old Men, Eastern Promises, Zodiac, This is England, Sunshine, Into the Wild, The Mist, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Kite Runner (fuck you, I liked it), Stardust (ditto), Superbad… I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t remember all of them. I get confused with the years.

  18. Knox – yeah 2007 was really cool, that was pretty much the last year where movies came out (No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood) that the entire internet could agree was good instead of being split down the middle like every single movie these days are

    it was also a pretty great year for gaming, Bioshock, Portal, Team Fortress 2 etc

    things, in my opinion, didn’t really start to get bad until 2008, what a shitty fucking year that was, both for me personally (it’s a long story) and in general, that was the year the economy went to shit remember?

    as far as movies go it was nothing special, The Dark Knight is the only really great movie I can think of off the top of my head (and should have won best picture, not whatever did win, which I can’t even remember what it was)

    and remember the horror-show that was the election? the one that introduced the world to Sarah Palin?

    to me that was the year of disappointing sequels, the fourth Indiana Jones set the tone, then in video games you had Grand Theft Auto 4, Metal Gear Solid 4 and (the worst of all) Silent Hill Homecoming

    now granted I’m not saying Grand Theft Auto 4 and Metal Gear Solid 4 were bad games, but they did fail to live up to their previous predecessors in their respective series (Snake Eater and San Andreas), Silent Hill Homecoming was just a giant piece of shit that pretty much ruined the Silent Hill series

    my highlights of that year were pretty much just The Dark Knight, Fallout 3, Persona 3 and Left 4 Dead

  19. I know it’s harder to not be cynical and bitter about it at this point, but we did elect our first black president in 2008.

    But Griff I do wholeheartedly agree with you about GTA4. Nearly everybody I’ve spoken to about this thinks that San Andreas was the weak point of the franchise: bloated and silly, with a cartoony/stereotypical protagonist. Meanwhile Niko in GTA4 is lauded as Rockstar becoming mature.

    I disagree on all counts. The silliness of San Andreas is a logical extension of playing an open-world sandbox game. You want to do ridiculous things that you couldn’t do in the real world, like steal a jet pack. The accusations regarding CJ are pure racism in my opinion. I really cared about this guy, and the Odyssean saga of trying to free his brother from jail got me more emotionally involved than most video games I’ve played. You’ve gotta have some sort of allergy to black street culture to disregard the pathos associated with CJ and the Grove Street Families, in my opinion. A great example comes when (SPOILER) you first reunite with Sweet upon his release. At this point you have been living it up in Las Vegas, with access to nice suits and shit. So I put on a really smart suit that was green (ie, the Grove Street gang color), thinking it would impress Sweet. Of course the ensuing cutscene is Sweet accusing you of having abandoned your hood and having been seduced by this high-roller lifestyle! And it could not have been more perfect given my choice of attire.

    GTA4 jettisons the playfulness of the physics: navigating around NYC in that game is genuinely arduous. To be sure it was exciting to see a next-gen motion engine applied to a Rockstar open world, but they fucked up the parameters in my opinion. I mean you have to press one of the triggers just to run, right? And Niko, man I dunno about that guy. This is a game that occasionally gives you moral choices: kill somebody or show mercy. In other situations Niko is tasked with some sort of senseless violence, and he’s all for it. So if you were trying to play a moral Niko, as the game pretended like it was going to give you the opportunity, you end up cheated out of it by tons of missions and cutscenes where you AREN’T offered a choice. Also it’s weird that Rockstar went so far out of its way to neutralize certain morality-police complaints, but insist on saturating their games with the most appalling homophobia this side of the millennium.

    Thank God they introduced checkpoints after this game…

  20. God I fucking hated GTA IV. It took me about 2-3 hours of playing before I realized that it was boring the shit out of me. The constant phone calls from your “friends” or from your annoying cousin and then having to hang out with them. I wanna blow some shit up not play darts with my digital cousin. The driving in the game was completely fucked. It felt like you were driving on ice the entire time. I’ve heard the argument that the driving was more realistic. Well I’ll take unrealistic driving in my GTA games in that case. Having to go to an internet cafe and check my e-mails was annoying. Can we get an internet connection at the house? As far as the different map areas, there was no variety at all. All city, all brown/grey, all drab. San Andreas had cities, the countryside, the ghetto, vegas, airfields, army bases, etc. The radio stations sucked too. The soundtracks to Vice City and San Andreas were incredible. IV had like 4 or 5 songs that I liked. Last but not least, Niko was just a boring slog with no personality whatsoever. Niko pales in comparison to CJ and Tommy Vercetti. The list goes on and on.

    I honestly believe that Saints Row has surpassed GTA as far as open world crime games. GTA might be more polished and “mature” but Saints Row is way more fun to play. And thats why I play these types of games, to have fun. Rockstar completely sapped the fun out of GTA IV. If they were going for more maturity and a serous story, mission accomplished. It made the game worse though. What really chapped my hide was how the entire gaming industry had one huge circle jerk over that game. “Best game of all time”, “A masterpiece”, blah blah blah. If you go on metacritic I think the game scores like a 98/100, which is unheard of.

    Anyway, shitty game, disappointing game, rant over.

  21. YES, the Saints Row games are exactly what you were hoping GTA would do post-San Andreas. Saints Row carried the torch while Rockstar blew it out.

    But what did you think of LA Noire?

  22. “Nearly everybody I’ve spoken to about this thinks that San Andreas was the weak point of the franchise: bloated and silly, with a cartoony/stereotypical protagonist. Meanwhile Niko in GTA4 is lauded as Rockstar becoming mature.”

    that’s strange, because in my experience most claim that San Andreas was the HIGH point of the franchise and that GTA4 sacrificed the fun and freedom of San Andreas for a more serious tone

    and that was my problem too, a more serious take on Grand Theft Auto sounds like a good idea in theory, but in practice it got rid of a lot of what made the series fun in the first place

    I don’t want to write a huge, drawn out review, but I think the simplest way to put it is GTA4 was a serious game with just a little bit of humor thrown in, whereas the previous games were humorous games with a little bit of drama thrown in, just enough to make you care about the characters and story but not going overblown with it

    the Grand Theft Auto series is meant to take place in a cartoonish, satirical version of America, it’s not meant to be “realistic”, GTA4 felt like it wanted Liberty City to resemble the real world, which is missing the point

    that and it just felt like such a step back from San Andreas, one city, no countryside, no airplanes etc etc, the only real improvement was
    “better graphics” but those graphics were still pretty ugly (granted I’ve only played the Xbox 360 version, I’ve yet to try out the PC version)

    and the city this time was just kind of boring, it was all just grey urban environments with not much variety or very many interesting places to visit

    so hopefully with Grand Theft Auto 5 they’ll find the right balance between fun, humor and seriousness (and hey Rockstar, enough with killing the main character at the end of every one of your recent games)

  23. also I love the Saints Row games, especially the Third

    buuuuut I wouldn’t want Grand Theft Auto to go THAT ridiculous (I mean seriously, Saints Row The Third has space marines from evidently the future fighting gangbangers, it’s hilarious), Saints Row The Third was like a parody of the whole genre and “gangsta” culture in general, I loved it, but I wouldn’t want GTA to go that far

  24. I wanted to like LA Noire a lot more than I actually did

    I mean it’s SO CLOSE to being a great game, I loved the 1940’s setting and atmosphere, I loved the grown up tone and style of the game, I love the premise of being a police detective in the 40’s going around busting crimes (in fact I have to say it’s one of the best premises for a video game in the last several years)

    but they gimped the actual gameplay, there’s way too much hand holding, I want to actually be like a real detective and figure shit out on my own, not basically have the game play itself

    it’s like they so wanted to have the game be a big hit that they simplified it so much that even your dad could play, what the game should have resembled more is the Phoenix Wright games on the DS, where you actually have to figure shit out using your own brain

    and plus they chopped the game up so much for “DLC”

    still, it’s worth playing, it has it’s moments, it just could have been so much more

  25. GTAIV was boring as hell the few times I bothered with it. I had way more fun making CJ go from fat to built back to fat then skinny etc. that game was really immersive and very creative. It had color (no pun) and a lot of personality. It was the MORROWIND of the GTA franchise.

  26. Griff – “Fallout 3, Persona 3 and Left 4 Dead” funnily enough those were the 3 of the 4 games I was looking forward to that year (BIOSHOCK was the other) and suffice it to say they were all better than even I as someone who was really hyped for them deserved them to be.

  27. Bioshock was 2007

    also you played Persona 3? wasn’t Mitsuru just amazing?

  28. It is a long lane that has no turning.

  29. Griff – As trite as this sounds, it could always be worse.

    What do I mean?

    Just for a moment, clear your head. Take a deep breath or two. Ready? Now picture President Santorum.

  30. Yeah that’s basically my thoughts on LA Noire, it was a very interesting failure. But I think it was germaine to the discussion in that it is a plodder like GTA IV, but it’s a puzzle/point-and-click-adventure game (obliquely) so it’s much more appropriate for it to plod along. You don’t feel annoyed that the game doesn’t let you run amock like San Andreas.

    When it worked, it worked quite well. I mean you are looking at these computer graphics and judging people’s sincerity based on their acting performance; certainly no other game tried to do this?

    Also it’s funny that you mention about the protagonists dying. I haven’t bothered finishing GTA4, Red Dead, or LA Noire, do they die in all three of them?!

  31. the main characters die in Red Dead and LA Noire, but not GTA4, I apologize if I spoiled anybody, I wasn’t thinking (I kind of thought everyone already knew about the ending of Red Dead Redemption)

    RRA – that’s a truly terrifying thought, I mean people do realize that if we get another conservative like Santorum in office at this point, our country is well and truly fucked?

  32. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    February 16th, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Griff – well, on the plus side, from everything I’ve read about the guy he’ll still be a step up from Bush.

  33. “The constant phone calls from your “friends” or from your annoying cousin and then having to hang out with them. I wanna blow some shit up not play darts with my digital cousin.”
    Then don’t. You are not obligated to hang out with your friends. You just don’t get the perks of having a good relationship with them. You also don’t even have to to answer the phone if you don’t want to. Why does nobody who makes this complaint realise either of those things? The DLC stories totally removed them calling you, btw, and THE BALLAD OF GAY TONY was a lot more colourfull and cheerfull/OTT. The protagonists of the series have always been the straight man too. Claude never spoke, Tommy had a sense of humour, but was pretty ruthless and driven, CJ was racked by guilt and worry over his family. It’s the other characters and the world around them that bring the funny and craziness, and I thought GTA IV had enough of that to not be a total departure. GTA V’s setting though should bring more craziness and a funny tone though.

    Griff- I didn’t know that about LA Noire, but I did hear it gets a little weird towards the end. One spoiler I did hate was when in a live chat for a game news site, one of the contributers mentioned who the killer was in HEAVY RAIN. It had nothing to do with what was being talked about, and was apparently a running joke. I complained though and the defence I got was that the game had been out for 5 months, as if everyone who was ever going to have bought it did so immediately, and like the story didn’t hinge on the mystery.

  34. With regards to political figures, can I take a moment to shit on David Cameron? There’s a thing right now about whether Scotland should be independant, and our First Minister Alex Salmond is pushing for it, but Cameron is insisting we’re better of unified. I happen to agree with him, but he’s such a punchable tory upper class fucking smarmbag I fear HIM delivering that message is going to put people in the pro-independance side come by default come the referendum on it.

  35. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    February 16th, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Stu – if you want to take a shot at punchable upper-class smarmbags, go for just about every single politician in the British political system. You don’t get elected because you’ve done well in a profession or business or whatever any more. You get elected because you “go into politics” from University onwards. You don’t have to prove yourself in any field of economics or business or management or anything, you get funding because your parents pay for your University education. Even the “lower class” ones like Prescott are the grimy rich instead of the silver spoon brigade.

    People who actually have to work twelve hour shifts to pay their way through college, like I did, are not the ones who “get into” politics.

    Sheesh, with this and the “My Bloody Valentine” review, all my latent class “issues” seem to be coming out.

  36. Stu – I’m sorry about Heavy Rain getting spoiled, I just played that myself for the first time last month and thankfully I had not been spoiled

    the twist as to who the Origami killer is actually surprised me a lot, usually I’m pretty good at guessing plot twists but that one caught me off guard

  37. also *SPOILER ALERT* the plot of LA Noire does have some weird moments

    the finale of the game involves a crazy WW2 vet who was in Cole’s unit who holes himself up in the sewers with his old flame thrower (that he accidentally killed a bunch of Japanese civilians with, hence why he’s crazy)

    and at one point in the game you meet (and kill) the “real” Black Dahlia killer who has his discovery and identity covered up for some mysterious reason (evidently he’s family with someone rich and powerful or something)

  38. Dude, President Santorum is at least as scary as Bush. Santorum puts a far more likeable, credible face on arch conservatism. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s got that aww-shucks quality to him, you know? I think this makes him very dangerous. I think he seriously would beat Obama in the open, I mean how much of the country is DYING to get back towards their comfort level and away from having a Muslim non-citizen in the office? For these people Santorum is like the new JFK.

    Another thing: when Bush (or Noot Gangrene for that matter) says that they are all about Christian values, they are basically blowing smoke up your ass, trying to appeal to their base. Santorum really is the religious nut he says he is. Every sperm is sacred right? Seven kids? I wholeheartedly believe that Santorum has had sex seven times in his life.

    So please, if there is an open primary in your state, vote for Romney. If you are a genuine conservative obviously Ron Paul has your vote and I won’t try to dissuade you.

  39. *in the general, not open, election.

  40. Paul- Oh, I’m aware of that. I was talking specifically about just how much unlikeability the guy exudes. Out of our recent PMs, nobody has given off that public school smarminess like him, and a part of me still doesn’t believe he’s REALLY Prime Minister. I’ve never seen him say or do anything that convinces me he’s a rightfull authority in any sense. He lacks that charisma and just comes off like he’s still campaigning to be elected, rather than actually running the country. I know the problems the previous two had with their public reactions, but I could at least conceivably imagine a reality where yeah, these two are the Prime Minister. Cameron isn’t even convincing enough to play a fictional PM getting killed by the Daleks in Doctor Who.

  41. And since we’re talking about Rockstar games, how about the new Max Payne 3 story trailer?
    Really looking forward to this one.

  42. something about Max Payne 3 rubs me the wrong way, right from the very second I first saw the first screens in that issue of Gameinformer a few years ago

    it just doesn’t seem “Max Payne” enough, I think a big problem is the Rio is setting, I’m sorry but it’s just too different from the New York setting of the other two games

    but not only that, judging from that trailer the style and tone seems off too, where are the graphic novel cutscenes? where’s the iconic Max Payne music? where’s the over the top noir dialog?

    the first two Max Paynes had a very particular, unique style and tone and the over the top melodramatic dialog was intentional, it was meant to be a pulp novel in video game form, Max Payne 3 seems like it’s trying to be more “realistic” and thus not as interesting, more generic

    generally I’ve found that video game sequels that get made by different developers almost never work, something always just feels off, like Deus Ex Human Revolution and ESPECIALLY Silent Hill Homecoming

    plus the story-line had a pretty satisfying conclusion at the end of Max Payne 2, the story in that game doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Max himself, so what’s the point?

  43. “it just doesn’t seem “Max Payne” enough, I think a big problem is the Rio is setting, I’m sorry but it’s just too different from the New York setting of the other two games”
    It makes sense to me as an extension of how Max is still suffering his demons, and being in another country is just him running away from them rather than deal with them. For what its worth though, there’s levels set in New Jersey in winter, and I applaud them for not just rehashing. Even Max Payne 2 was a departure from the first in how it wasn’t set during winter. And gameplay looks suitably faithfull to the original.
    “but not only that, judging from that trailer the style and tone seems off too, where are the graphic novel cutscenes? where’s the iconic Max Payne music? where’s the over the top noir dialog?”
    To quote a news story from october: “Rockstar also detailed how the music and cut-scenes will be reminiscent of the first two Max Payne titles, with the classic theme making a comeback, as fans could tell from the first trailer, while other tracks will also borrow from the soundtrack of the original games. Cut-scenes will keep their graphic novel feel, although Rockstar promised that a new spin will be put on them to make them even more impressive.”
    Yeah, the classic theme was in the first trailer. All the other stuff isn’t as obvious in the promotion, but I think that’s more because of how Rockstar has a very specific way they do trailers now. Max Payne 3’s is done the same was as Red Dead Redemption, LA Noire and the recent GTA’s were done. Using gameplay and cutscene footage(the previous games didn’t totally use the graphic novel style for their cutscenes btw. They did rendered ones too) to do a movie style thing. Also, there is a number of lines in the trailers so far that fit that Noir voiceover style (“It wasn’t pretty…but I guess none of what was about to happen was gonna be” “Here I was again, with all hell breaking loose around another girl I’d failed to protect…this was a hell of a hangover”,”One of the trophies he’d won was his wife. She was hot, and wanted to be dangerous”).

    “plus the story-line had a pretty satisfying conclusion at the end of Max Payne 2, the story in that game doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Max himself, so what’s the point?”
    It’s a redemption story. Max couldn’t save the two women in his life before, so he’s taking the quest to save this one more personally. Also, the first two games started with a relatively small scale story and expanded out into something bigger. In the first game, Max is undercover with the mob, but ends up stumbling into the middle of a conspiracy that ends up being the reason his wife was killed. In the second game, he’s investigating a murder, but Mona Sax’s involvement and it tying back to the first game make it something he can’t walk away from. This one might expand its scope too.

    I’m just glad you aren’t complaining about him being bald and having a beard, like some have been. Come to think of it, Max’s appearance has always been a sore point for the fans. They didn’t like when they changed his character model for the second game either.

  44. well to be honest, I’m not crazy about the bald and bearded look either, why does every male video game character these days have to be bald? it’s like developers are tired of trying to render hair, I remember when 47 from the Hitman games being bald was actually unique, now it’s everywhere

    but, it’s the least of my problems though, it does at least effectively make him look older

    and maybe I’m just nitpicking, I hope the game surprises me and turns out to be better than I expected, all I’m saying is that from experience sequels where none of the original developers return usually wind up just making you wish you playing the original/originals

    take Deus Ex Human Revolution for example, it’s not a bad game per se, but at the same time the developers missed the point on a lot of things that made Deux Ex Deux Ex, you know what I mean?

  45. ok, hold the phone, Fallout 3 and New Vegas are examples of sequels by different developers done right, I forgot about that….

    so I guess it’s not impossible, however in the case of Fallout the first two games in the series were not only really old by the time of Fallout 3, but they were also 2D, that’s a pretty big difference between making a 3D sequel to a 2D game and making a sequel to an already 3D game

  46. The handheld God of War games were done by a different team than the console version and were very good companions to the main series, and when Crystal Dynamics took over the Tomb Raider franchise, their first two games had very positive reviews, and the upcoming reboot looks interesting.

    “well to be honest, I’m not crazy about the bald and bearded look either, why does every male video game character these days have to be bald? it’s like developers are tired of trying to render hair, I remember when 47 from the Hitman games being bald was actually unique, now it’s everywhere”
    Actually, it’s not being bald, but having a crewcut that’s a big trend in games today. And is IS most likely due to having less work to do programming the physics of hair. Cole in INFAMOUS was made that way because of how much work it would have took. When they actually redesigned him for the sequel with more hair, fan outcry actually made them go back to the crewcut.
    “but, it’s the least of my problems though, it does at least effectively make him look older”
    Exactly. I think most of the negative reaction to it was because it made him look older, and thus “not cool”, despite the fact Max Payne is NOT meant to be “cool”. He’s a broken, middle aged, alcoholic, pill popping wreck. Those guys don’t tend to look too good. More games should explore having characters be older and more beat up(something I appreciated about MGS 4). However It seems there’s a story reason for it here with him going bald to be less recognisable, and I like the attention to detail with how there’s all these different coutfits and states we see him in in the trailers. I like the evolution of things like that in games, such as all the different looks the characters in the UNCHARTED games take on.

  47. Correction though, Griff. New Vegas was actually done by the ORIGINAL Fallout developers. The just used Bethesda’s engine.

  48. Red Dead Redemption was also based on somebody elses IP, by the way. Red Dead Revolver was fucking awesome. I’m sure there are quite a few examples where a new developer attempted to emulate the same formula and did it correctly, tough. Civilization 5 comes to mind. I don’t do Sim City games but the latter-day ones are supposed to be good.

    That’s funny about 3D easing the transition to a new developer. The all time best example of this, in my opinion, is last generation’s Prince of Persia trilogy. All good games, though only the first one is best-of-genre material. But they were exceedingly faithful to the original Prince games (let’s forget about the broke-as-fuck Prince 3D, if you please). They brought to 3D gaming the greater depth of acrobatics and swordplay that made the original stand out among contemporary platformers. The thing that really gets me, though, is that all of these game play some gimmick on you having a shadow self, and some snafu related to time or chronology.

  49. oh man, I totally forgot Red Dead Redemption was actually a sequel to Red Dead Revolver even though I actually played Red Dead Revolver

  50. Vern, just for filing away for future digs, the original Beverly Hills, 90210 was a product of FOX, not The WB. The “reimagining” comes courtesy of The CW, now that The WB has joined the Dumont Network on that small scrap heap of failed over-the-air broadcast networks. It’s a damning association nonetheless, but hey, let’s place the blame where it belongs.

    As to the video game derailment, San Andreas is easily the best GTA title, and possibly the greatest game ever made. Not my favorite, sucking and being lazy means shorter and more visceral thrills like God of War get me more tingly, but as a game, an experience, San Andreas rocked. I often recall the classic if longish Chris Penn chase mission where he throws out one-liner after one-liner about fucking your woman. Doing missions your own way, taking a break to run over everyone on the strip in a tank, it would be too easy to go on. Of course it’s not perfect, but man is it huge, huge, huge and fun, fun, fun!

  51. Katherine Heigl’s boobs were huge in this. What the hell happened to them in recent years? Did she get an A-list reduction? What a shame.

  52. If you’re a slasher fan, this film deserves another look and is definitely more than “mildly diverting time capsule garbage.” C’mon, Vern, you’re killin me!

    Here’s what I enjoyed:
    -It’s lean and generally well-paced. We get a pretty inspired kill within about 12 minutes in, and that’s including a solid 5-6 of pre-kill stalking through a creepy morgue.
    -Relatedly, the kills to running time ratio is pretty solid for a slasher flick
    -It’s kind of the original MEAN GIRLS before there was a MEAN GIRLS. Denise Richards in particular. She has this vapid mean-girl charisma in this and is just a lot of fun.
    -The cast is a lot of fun. Some good history, emotional dynamics, banter, snark, and even a bit of depth to some of the characters. We get a lot of good archetypal personalities. Sure, they’r enot drawn with much depth, but they’re all believable, distinct, and engaging in their own ways. A very attractive cast that is easy on the eyes.
    -The Valentine slasher continues the proud tradition of Jason and the Shape. Slow, deliberate, assured in his stalking. Authoritative and resourceful in his kills, with some occasional flights of panache.
    -The mask and the bloody nose gimmick are pure gold. The look is an inspired and memorable choice. A very compelling visage.
    -The kills don’t just come early and fairly frequently, but they are also pretty inspired. We’ve got archery, hot tub electrocution, sauna fake-out kill, forcefully impaled of a shard of shower pane glass, death by clothing iron, and then a stabbing and an axe.
    -A pretty solid final girl. Vulnerable, winning. She manages to fit in with the overall mean girl vibe but stands out as the more grounded and likable one. The one who hangs with the mean girls and looks like she could be one but is actually a good girl.
    -Some genuinely good tension and build-up around the kills, aided by a solid suspense-ratcheting score.
    -Good production values overall. Film looks really good, feels like it inhabits a decently-sized world.
    -A good bit of the kills and action (including the climax) unfolds in a classic mansiony-mansion a la CLUE! or APRIL FOOL’S DAY. The valentine killer is like the debutante slasher.
    -The opening flashback to the mid-80s is a lot of fun and serves to ground this with the vibe of the old school slasher films, both in conjuring up an 80s feel and in hearkening back to the various slasher films that begin with or prominently feature formative flasbhacks with that soft lighting and period production design. A nice little detail.
    -The scrappy detective working the case does a nice job of anchoring these debutantes in a broader world. He is kind of our Columbo everyman point of identification for the middle-class viewer. Like him, we’re clearly out of our league, on the outside looking into how the beautiful people and the 99%-ers live. There’s a kind of subtle class politics in this film and this notion of the revenge of the marginalized and the good over the spoiled, vapid, and the mean.
    -There’s an unabashedly campy quality.

    Having just also re-watched URBAN LEGEND 1 (same director as this) and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, I can say without hesitation that VALENTINE is hands-down the best of the three and is far more inspired, fun, and full of personality than the other two put together. The film creates a grounded, cohesive world in terms of the visuals, the production design, the characters, and the personalities; there is a meaningful backstory and premise; there is some legit good suspense and tension; the killer is as inpsired a stalker as I’ve seen in the last 20 years (way more than Ghostface from SCREAM or any of the other killers from this cycle); and even though it’s light on gore, the kills are pretty fun and inspired. I would have liked to have seen them do a bunch of sequels to this one, too bad. If things had gone better, the Valentine killer could have been in his undead zombie killer phase by now.

  53. This is more proof for my theory that every movie, no matter how bad it may be, will have at least one person who loves it.

    Speaking of Urban Legends, the first murder makes no sense and it all relies on the small chance that the victim will need gas and stop at a place that happens to have an attendant with a stutter. Its fucking stupid.

  54. Love is a pretty strong word, Sternshein. I’m not saying I love it, but it’s definitely a worthy homecoming dance date. When you put it up against a lot of the other slasher films, whether it be VALENTINE’S more widely remembered or sequelized contemporaries (I KNOW WHAT YOU DID, URBAN LEGEND 1) or it’s any number of classic holiday slashers I dug (APRIL FOOL’S DAY; SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY, NIGHT), I think this one more than pulls its weight. The Valentine killer is a cool concept fairly well-realized that is close enough to the Jason/Michael mold to deliver some of the same satisfactions but is different enough in look to be interesting in its own right. Compare that to fucking hook guy from I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER or the “faceless guy in goose down jack with faux fur around hood” from URBAN LEGEND, and it’s not even close. And it’s not just that the killer is more clever, weird, and inspired. The film as a whole has more fun and personality than its SCREAM cycle competitors. This film feels very much in the mold of the classic slasher.

    URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT is up next. We’ll see how it compares.

  55. Also, Denise Richards, though. This is her pretty much at her peak, and this is the role she was made to play. The casting is pretty pitch perfect across the board.

  56. Skani, I’m going to give Valentine another go this October.

  57. We have a challenger!! Be warned, though: You have to watch at least two lesser post-SCREAM late-90s/early-aughts slashers first to set the bar sufficiently low for this one to shine.

  58. No way man. I’m watching it based on its merits alone.

  59. Skani: You were right this was a good one. Not a classic but a solid effort that gets the job done. There is a good chance I’m so positive towards it because I’m watching x-number of years after the fact but screw it. I remember when this one came out I was pretty much burnt on the post-SCREAM slasher craze. I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and URBAN LEGENDS I think is what did me in. I did watch the SCREAM sequels and I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and that didn’t inspire me that the genre needed to be brought back after all. This one the marketing proudly adventising as from the director of URBAN LEGEND did it no favors (like when the very enjoyable DEAD SILENCE was being pushed as from the maker of SAW so I skipped and when I finally saw it I regretted that decision).

    Anyways I’m in total agreement with you on this one’s tone: it doesn’t take itself seriously but it also doesn’t tip it’s hand too much and we get scenes where characters practically turn to the camera and point and laugh at us for wanting to watch this (something I absolutely hate). So yeah I had a good time with this one. So much so I didn’t mind the completely predictable twist ending and reveal of the murderer’s identity who I figured out who it was about a second after they introduced that character.

    Thanks for the recommendation, I definitely would not have bothered with this one if you hadn’t started randomly cheerleading it.

    My favorite scene was where the guy brought Denise Richards up to the room and we get the line “You brought me upstairs to show me your penis. That’s so romantic!” Then she pours hot wax on his dick and leaves him.

  60. VALENTINE fever is taking hold!!! Resistance is futile!

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