Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter- review with spoilers

​So I saw this a while ago and I am only now revisiting it.  I loved this title.  The title sold me instantly.  But the movie was such a titanic piece of dog shit that it still makes me wonder what the hell people were thinking.  Vampires are killing lesbians in Ottawa.  So Jesus teams up with Mary Magnum and El Santo, a Mexican wrestler, to stop this evil.

​So after the audience is yelled at by a bearded asshole who looks like Frank Zappa we find out the missing lesbians of Ottawa and Maxine Schreck (Max Schreck is the actor who played Count Orlock in “Nosferatu” by the way) and Johnny Golgotha (of course being named after where Christ was crucified…subtle), went missing from Father Eustace’s Parish.  So naturally he summons Jesus, the greatest vampire of all time.  Jesus gets a shave and haircut and some new threads.  Some Atheist gang up on him to beat his ass and he takes them on in a funny but absolutely arbitrary fight scene.  He meets up with Mary Magnum.  A girl who’s super power is she can wear a super tight red motorcycle outfit.   Maxine and Johnny are now Vampires who decided they can feed on lesbians because “Nobody will miss them.”

​Dr. Pretorius (a throwback to “Bride of Frankenstein”) is grafting the lesbian skin to the bodies of the vampires to allow them to walk in the daylight.  Mary gets taken by the vampires so Jesus teams up with El Santo.  They beat the shit out of dozens of vampires and stake many of them before getting beaten and staked themselves.  Finally, Father Eustace, who is now a vampire stakes Jesus but his heartlight shines on them turning the remaining vampires to dust.  The exception is Mary, whom the heartlight seems to heal. She then requests that Jesus heal Maxine so they can be together as a couple.

​This movie sucks even for camp value.   The acting is wretched, the music is abominable and the costumes are from a time not of our own.  I also think it sets the gay community back a decade or two. Hell, I think it sets the Canadian community back a decade or two.  Still, that is one awesome title.  

Some Thoughts on Harry Potter


Is this the face of a hero?  The Sherminator had more dignity.
Well I finally took some time to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1”.  It’s pretty good but I wanted to share a few thoughts this movie made me think of more and more as I walked out of the multiplex.  For the first part it’s been ages since I have read the books so I forgotten how much the horcruxes act like Sauron’s ring of power making  the character’s turning them against one another and whatnot. It’s amusing how similar it is really since they could not destroy unless by special magical means.  I almost expected them to have to hike up a volcano to toss it in the fires from whence it was forged.

 Secondly I want to note, and I know how much I am going to get crap for this.  I do not see Ron and Hermione as an item.  I never have.  I never will.  I still to this day do not get why Harry and Her didn’t get together.  She is super smart and he is this awesome boy hero.  She has never once gotten so mad that she would leave him when he needed her.  Ron can’t even say that. 
Look how happy she is to be paired with this winner.

There are some scenes in Deathly Hollows where you would swear they show chemistry, between Harry and Hermione and as someone that wanted the two of them to get together I would have welcomed the departure from the text.  Honestly the Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny coupling was some of the most forced bit of relationships tossed on paper.  There is no reason for Hermione to like Ron. 

When I see Hermione I see a capable, smart, girl that really helped Harry all along. Ron was just sort of there for the ride.  As a character he is jealous of Harry’s fame he is constantly getting mad and running away.  But basically he’s the sidekick.  I know there are some super fans out there who will say, “But he is good at sports like Quidditch.”  Well did you know how in the long run Quidditch affected the story?  Just about as much as your high school football team affected your real life now.
It's called chemistry.
I just don’t see it at all.  She can do better and frankly so can Harry.  Both are settling for the Weasley clan.  That really is a shame.  I honestly don’t see what all these other fans see when they said they right for one another. Then again I don’t get why these stupid kids do stupefy spells to people who would kill them in an instant if they could.  Time to pony up to the big kids table and start throwing kills spells of your own back at them I say.

I will not miss most of this cast of kids for the most part.  I have seen them pupate from kids to gangly horrifying teen actors.  The only exceptions to these in terms of the good actors are the ones that played Harry, Hermione and Luna Lovegood.  The adults of course are in top form.  And it’s still a tragedy that the owl dies.  More so than Jar Jar, excuse me, Dobby the House elf.  It’s a good enough movie but let’s wrap this series up.   

Monday, November 29, 2010

The House of the Devil- a review with spoilers

Well to the movies credit the stylistic choice of taking a movie made in 2009 and making it in the same format and style of a 1980s horror flick is a neat concept.  The acting for it was not bad and as far as ideas go it’s not all that bad.  Where it fails epically is that it’s got about 30 minutes of footage of the main actor being bored.  If you want your audience to become bored, have them watch someone else being bored for a while.  Nothing says griping cinema like watching someone fritter away their time.

​The main character is a younger Karen Allen lookalike named Samantha who is a college student who has begun renting a house to get away from her roommate who is a slob who stays up all night banging guys.  The landlady is realistic enough to waive the security deposit since she likes the cut of Samantha’s jib.  Samantha still has to get some fast cash to make the first month.  So she spies a flier that just says Babysitter wanted.  She calls the number on a payphone and is immediately called back.

​The man on the end says he wants to meet her outside the Student Affairs office.  This is the first instance we watch Sam being bored.  She waits and waits and waits some more before she realized she was stood up.  Then she goes to get pizza with her friend Megan.   They bitch about what happened and Megan says she out to tear down all the fliers on campus as petty vengeance.  Sam thinks that idea is stupid.  She goes back to her dorm where she lays on her bed and is BORED.  Her roommate wakes up and tells her the guy called her.

​She calls him back and he apologizes profusely for being last minute.  He also says he will pay $100 if she agrees to babysit tonight. She agrees since she really needs the cash.  Having no car she bums a ride from Megan who on the way shows her in the back seat she has taken down all the fliers herself in the name of petty vengeance.  Now Sam knows how she got the job.  They arrive at the nice house. Mr. Ullman is there to greet the two women.

​He is evasive but explains that the babysitting thing was just a ruse to get her to come over.  She'll actually be looking after his mother-in-law she is really not game at first but he raises the fee to $400 for the night.  So the Ullman and his wife leave saying that they are going into town to watch the lunar eclipse tonight.  They old lady upstairs can take care of herself for the most part and Sam will be fine.  Megan takes off saying she’ll come back at 12:30am.

​Megan parks next to a graveyard to light up a smoke.  A bearded guy teleports out of nowhere to light her cigarette scarring her half to death.  He asks “You’re not the babysitter?” she says no and he shoots her in the face which shocked the hell out of me.   Then he deftly picks up the cigarette out of her dead hands and finishes it.  Damn!  Hope you enjoyed that bit of thrill because it’s going to be dull for a long while now.

​Sam is bored for a while so we watch her watch a little TV.  She plays pool.  She dances around listening to music and looks at a fishbowl.  She dorks around the old man’s desk.  She digs around the place a bit and you get the hint the place is evil.  One of the rooms that Sam decides not to enter has three dead bodies in it but she doesn’t ever see that.  Finally she gets a delivery of pizza.  But it’s delivered by the bearded killer.  She takes a bite and spits it out.  It doesn’t take her long to go upstairs and fall down drugged. Must be strong stuff to still cause a person to pass out after a single bite and having it be spit out.

​Sam wakes up on an alter with a pentagram on it. A freaky looking creature that looks like Rocky Dennis in “Mask” is there along with the Ullmans and the bearded guy all in black cloaks.  The freaky creature cuts itself and draws a pentagram on her stomach and then makes her drink blood.  Sam breaks free and manages to stab Mr. Ullman.  She gouges out the bearded dude’s eye and escapes to their kitchen where she trips over Megan’s body.

​She proceeds to arm herself with a knife and runs upstairs. Now a Cyclops and pissed bearded guy goes upstairs after her with a gun.  He shoots her in the arm and but Sam manages to slice at his throat.  Holy shit! At least she isn’t totally helpless.  Mrs. Ullman goes after her and tells her how useless it is to fight it.  Sam shanks her in the back. Sam tries to dial 911 but is assaulted by psychic visions of the creature looking more and more demonic.

​Now Sam gets the gun and is running outside through the graveyard.  Mr. Ullman is still bleeding profusely and chasing after her.  He tells her to go ahead and shoot since he is the messenger for someone else.  He asks Sam to follow the voices in her head.  She puts the gun to her head and pulls the trigger.  Next we see a hospital room where a nurse is tending to her.  “You’ll be okay.” then she pats her stomach, “both of you.”

​See at 1 hour 35 minutes I really was wondering when something was going to happen.  She hung around that evil house for way too long.  Either, give her something to do to make me care that she is on screen or don’t show her.  But don’t show you’re main character bored.  At one point she turns on the TV and “Night of the Living Dead” is on.  I’m sure because it’s public domain but it really rose my spirits cause I wanted the dumbass to watch it rather that fritter her night away some more. How sad is that?  Still it’s not an awful movie.  “Rosemary’s Baby” did it all better though.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wicked Little Things-review with spoilers


            Well it’s been a few days since I’ve seen anything to write about.  I caught the beginning of this on television once before and remembered it seeming like a bad joke. Sure enough thanks to Netfix I could now finish the punch line on my PS3.  It’s a bad movie.  But it’s not the worst movie out there.  Mostly because it rips off some good movies and prays the audience won’t notice.
            So the movie starts in 1913 Addytown, Pennsylvania.  I’ll admit I know very little about Pennsylvania aside from what Billy Joel taught me that it had a big coal mining thing going on in Allentown and they sell Paper in Scranton.  So we see the Carlton mine.  Inside the miners are dozens of white kids.  WHAT?  Look I am sure child labor was popular but to have an entire mine operated by kids that is really odd.  I’m sure not EVERY adult man of every nationality was at World War I so that is a lame excuse.
            The one adult there says he needs a small one.  He spies a girl named Mary.  So he gives her some dynamite to take down a tunnel.  Then the boss man calls down the hole to blast it?  What?  So they blow up the tunnel killing all the kids.  Wow. Way to go Boss Carlton. You not only destroyed your entire mine but you killed your workforce pointlessly.  I am not kidding. There is no reason whatsoever for them to blow up the tunnel.
            Cut to present day.  We have a three girls moving to their new house.  Mother Karen, her teen daughter Sarah, and Emma her little girl. Sarah is played by Scout Taylor-Compton, the new Laurie Strode for Rob Zombie’s “Halloween”.  Emma is played by Chloe Moretz, the brat that was Abby in “Let Me In” and was Hit Girl in “Kick Ass” except playing her EXACT same character from that shitty remake of “The Amityville Horror”.
            Sarah mentions that the woods looks like “Sleepy Hollow” I hate when bad movies reminds you of good movies you could be watching.  As they drive they almost hit a guy.  They come up to the dilapidated house.  This makes little sense to me.  The house as you soon discover has no water due to failing pipes.  There is blood on the door and it is found unlocked.  There is a massive failing in the electricity for this house. It’s clearly invested with rats.  The old kid’s mattresses are still there and they look like someone was rolled in coal dust and murdered there.
            At this point I am with Sarah.  What the hell Mom?  She tells everyone that because her husband died off an unknown disease and their money was all used up all they had was the inherited house.  This story is bullshit of course as you’ll find out later. Plus, why in the hell would you move your family into the middle of nowhere after a tragic experience so you could go on not working. Sell the dump for whatever it was worth and move to cheaper digs once you start working.  That house is clearly not fit to live in and would have never made inspection. 
            Karen, however, is an idiot who thinks after a day they can clean this hell hole.  So they sleep in this thing.  For real?  Does she even realize it’ll cost more money to upkeep and fix this place to make it remotely livable?  At least the Amityville Horror house looked nice.  Christ and that one had a few murders take place there. 
            So a plumber is fixing the pipes and Karen is bitching about the lack of phone service or cell service.  Of course they don’t.  Emma hears voices. Just like her character in “Amityville Horror” and she makes an invisible ghost friend.  Though this time it’s Mary instead of Jodie as a dead character.  Emma wanders into the woods.  Karen goes to look for her.  When she finds her she scolds her but not enough to matter apparently.  They are now so lost in the woods they will find the lost city of gold before they find their way home they way they wander like idiots.
            Sarah meets a couple of teenagers around her age, and mentions to them that she lives up in the hills, and one replies "Up where the zombies are?" Normally this would make any girl NOT want to hang out with you.  But Sarah can really use some friends.  The plumber meanwhile is driving home when he almost hits a kid he swerves to miss and hits a tree.  Considering this accident he gets out alright but the kids kill him with mining implements. 
            Karen and Emma find a house. Turns out it’s owned by a fellow by the name of Hanks.  He looks like Napoleon Dynamite’s Uncle Rico.  He tells them how to get back on the road and says he’s been putting blood on their door.  “No need to thank me.”  I’ll admit Karen is taking this really well but considering her day I’ll be she wants to get home and get a few pints in her as soon as possible.  They make it home and at the dinner table Sarah mentions the zombie comment.  Emma asks “Mom, what’s a zombie?” Oh Emma, the stories I could tell you.
Kill the humans! Step in time! Kill the humans! Step in Time!
            Sarah goes one night to hang out with her new friends.  They hot box the car.  Meanwhile the zombie kids surround Karen’s place.  They look like chimney sweeps with big black eyes. Hanks ties a pig to a tree which I guess draws the little zombies to the swine. They kill and eat the pig instead.  How very “Night of the Living Dead” Karen sees Emma now has a trashed and broken doll.  She says she traded her Teddy bear with Mary.  Ooh, not a clever trader.  Are you kid?  
Karen hears a commotion and goes to the Carlton home.  There his rich man car and camper and parked next to the dead pig.  She walks inside the home only to be shocked when he is behind her.  He is turning all the land into a ski resort.  She asks if he wants to buy but he says he already owns it.  Huh?  What she has is a miner’s lease not a not a real deed.  You’d think someone would have mentioned this stuff at the will reading.   So the zombie kids kill one of the guys in the Carlton camper. 
Then for whatever reason they attack the teens.  Sarah barely escapes and makes it back home.  They are about to leave the hell hole house but Emma has left here bed and likely gone into the woods.  Luckily it’s the most backlit and foggy woods since that remake I watched of “The Blob” so they should be able to see where they are going.   They find themselves surrounded by zombies so they haul ass to the road where they meet up with Carlton and another guy.  They happen to have guns which do nothing to the zombies.  They make it back to Hanks place. Sarah asks “We’re all going to die. Aren’t we?” Hanks says “Depends on how riled up you got them” interesting so if the zombies get a sugar high they get kill crazy I guess.
This is how "Oliver" should have ended really.
They start breaking into the house like “Night of the Living Dead”.  They hide in the barn.  Carlton goes to the loft saying he’ll kill anyone who follows him.  The kids break in.  Hanks disarms and says they are after Carlton and that if they let him have him they should be alright.  “As you sow so shall you reap.”  What did the plumber and the teens do to deserve getting killed then asshole?  After they kill and eat Carlton Emma is found outside with the kids standing next to Mary.  “I was playing with Mary.  She hasn’t had anyone to play with in a very long time.”  The zombies told her they won’t harm them anymore.
Next we find out they didn’t sell the house.  Karen is now looking for a job. She says Hanks is tying up some loose ends.  Which makes it sound like the ark is being looked at by top men….top men.  Hanks is walking away after doing I don’t know what. Mary now lives in the house, with the Teddy bear that Emma gave her. That’s it.  What a lame movie. It’s totally unoriginal and pointless.  I had to watch something good to get that taste out of my mouth after words.  In case you are wondering a silent classic called “Metropolis” That is worth seeing.  Not my favorite silent movie but still visually amazing.   

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

That "Thing" You Do

Yes, this is my attempt at a clever title.  This is actually about the fact that yes they are making a prequel to one of my favorite movies “The Thing”.   I know that the 1982 version that I love so much is actually a remake of the 1951 film “The Thing From Another World”  and even these are adapted from a short story by John W. Campbell Jr. called “Who Goes There?”

​The movie from 1982 followed the short story a lot more closely.  The 1951 monster was a big Frankenstein-looking lug that was resistant to bullets.  Hated being electrocuted and could have limbs cut of and regenerate like a vegetable.  The 1982 version had a creature that would take on the form of any living creature around it.  That was where the drama was. The alien could be any one of the characters or their animals.  And when it revealed itself it had some of the coolest and grossest stop motion I’ve ever seen.  It’s classic.

​All you really need for a back story is that thousands of years ago a space ship crashes, In the North Pole in the 1951 version and in Antarctica in the 1982 version.  A creature inside must have crawled out and froze solid.  For the 1982 version (Which I will focus on now) a Norwegian group of researchers found the ship and the body.  Blasted it out of the ice with thermite and dug out the alien.  Then the alien thawed out.  That is where I am suspecting the prequel will need to take place I figure.

​ Since the 1982 movie starts with the alien disguised as a dog and coming into the American research station the Norwegians giving chase until shot.  It gives the Americans the excuse to go to the Norwegians base to see all the damage the creature caused.  The thing that I think is going to suck is that you can guarantee this new movie will be a CGI craze.  I miss stop motion a lot as it is.  But one thing lately that has been irritating me for a while now is how often they are using CGI for blood too.  Really?  Blood is an effect that Hollywood has perfected for years.  Do we really need that done with computers now?

​This movie could be really awesome if it’s done right.  I haven’t seen previews and the cast so far has one recognizable actor in it.  That can be a good thing though.   Sometimes unknown actors can be surprisingly good.  At least saying it’s a prequel to the one that took place in the winter of 1982 would make more sense for the isolation feeling you’re going to feel in Antarctica. I’m sure if it took place in a modern setting with communications technology what it is, there is really no excuse for them not being able to summon aid if they needed it.

​That being said, I am so sick of that bit of exposition in movies.  You know that person is fucked since they HAVE to look at their phone and say.  “Damn! No signal.”  Even at places that for all intents and purposes should have landlines why the hell is that an issue?  For the love of crap in this day and age no one is really isolated anymore if they don’t want to be.  There are 3,000 satellites orbiting Earth now according to NASA and cell towers in every part of the world.  Are you telling me somehow we can’t get any signals when a killer is on the loose?  I mean don’t get me wrong.  I’ve had a call dropped.  But the second time usually does the trick.

​Jeez I went off on a tangent there.  Sorry about that.  If you haven’t seen “The Thing” you should.  It’s pretty wild and creepy. It also has an awesome sense of paranoia seldom seen in modern alien movies outside of remakes of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” There is not a lot to say about the 1951 movie.  It’s the typical science gone awry sort of shenanigans.  They even make sure to add a damsel in distress because it’s the 50s and dames sell tickets I guess.  It’s entertaining at least.  Sort of like “The Blob” except the “The Blob” is much more fun.    As they say in the 1951 version, “Watch the skies, everywhere!  Keep looking.  Keep watching the skies!” but don’t forget to take a break now and again to enjoy a good movie now and again.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wizard of Oz movies

Now that I’ve talked about “Alice in Wonderland” and “Frankenstein” I figure I should write about the “Wizard of Oz” there are a several versions of this story. Two that I know of from the silent film era, the classic MGM version of 1939, “The Wiz” from 1978, “Return to Oz” and “Tin Man”.

Of the silent film variety both can be seen on YouTube now and both are interesting to say the least.  “The Wonderful World of OZ” from 1910 is one of the earliest I can find. It’s really well done with the costumes and sets.   There was another version from 1925 with Oliver Hardy of Laurel and Hardy fame that would come later.  That short is not that good though since the story centers on a farmer character and not Dorothy.

The MGM film of “The Wizard of Oz” is a classic.  In terms of epic film making its one of those movies that seems to be ahead of its time.  The use of color makes it seem like it’s more out of the 50s then out of the 30s and it really can still captivate the imagination with impressive sets, costumes and effects.  The characters are all memorable and the story has become iconic in American cinema.

“The Wiz” I’ve only seen parts of but it’s a unique vision.  An all African American cast playing the roles to the “Wizard of Oz” and making it more urban and modern.  Diana Ross is Dorothy, a young Michael Jackson is the Scarecrow.  It’s a pretty sweet concept really.  Considering, there is bullshit like “Blacula” out there this at least takes a classic and gives it a clever twist with some extraordinary talent behind it.  I really need to see it in its entirety though.

“Return to Oz” was made in 1985.  It’s a sequel to the “Wizard of Oz” but it’s a lot darker and not a musical.  Dorothy, played by a very young Fairuza Balk, is back on her farm.  No one believes that she was in this fantastic world she raves about.  So they go to give her electric shock therapy.  She escapes and is transported to Oz this time with her talking chicken sidekick.  No Toto here.

The yellow brick road is in ruins.  The Scarecrow has been kidnapped by the Gnome king and the rest of her old friends have been turned to stone.  On top of that she has to escape an evil witch named Mombi that wants to steal her head. Visually it’s awesome to watch but its total nightmare fuel for a wee kid I’m sure.  Dorothy meets new friends like a robot man named Tick Tock and Jack Pumpkinhead and her adventure is impressive and well worth seeing.  It’s a clever movie and a worthy sequel.

“Tin Man” was a 2007 miniseries made by Syfy.  It featured an all-star cast and a stupid and weak plot.  Not nearly as bad as their reimagining of “Alice in Wonderland” this one aimed on being surreal and blowing your mind with science fiction oddities when it lends nothing to the story. Give it a miss if you can. These miniseries are such tripe.  So really if you are even a casual fan you should at least see the 1939 version and “Return to Oz”. If you like those expand your horizons, go with “The Wiz” and maybe the silent shorts just to say you’ve seen them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

2001 Maniacs-a review with spoilers

I’ll admit it. I watched this because Robert Englund is damn funny. I mean the guy knows he is type cast by now but he seems to know what side his bread is buttered on so he at least toasts it with a shit-eating-grin the whole time. So our story is a 2005 movie partially produced by Eli Roth. That makes me laugh a bit too. Honestly, I think he’s gotten better over time. When you see stuff like “The Last Exorcism” it really put his gore garbage and torture porn in its place.

​Anyway we see a montage of civil war images. This leads to a college classroom taught by awesome character actor Peter Stormare (“Vee believe in nothing Lebowski”) three tools are in the class room acting up and making the students laugh. He takes them aside and tells them they need to re-write their papers on the American Civil war or they will be expelled. Who wrote this? No college professor talks like this. If your paper sucks their TA grades it and you move on or continue to suck and drop the class at the last minute to spare your GPA. The three tools decide to go on a road trip to Daytona.

​As they drive in their open top convertible they hit an armadillo which sprays way too much gore into the window. Eli Roth pops up with Dr. Mambo his Dog. Some of you might also be sad movie nuts enough to recall this was his same character from “Cabin Fever”. Don’t worry they ditch him on the road though. So they stop at a gas station where a gas station attendant says they’ll be pushing up daisies by midnight. You’d think that this would matter or they would add this guy in some part of the story. Nope, this is the last we see of this inbred weirdo.

​At the station we also meet another group of folks who seem to be headed in the same direction. Two sexy girls and a guy who might as well have “kill me” tattooed on their foreheads. So the three tools drive further until they realize they are lost. They see a detour sign that is clearly pained by one of the little rascals complete with a backwards e. As they pull up to the town of Pleasant Valley (population 2001) they are greeted by the whole town including Mayor George W. Buckman, played by Englund. He is dressed in his Colonel Sanders best complete with a confederate flag eye patch. Oh lord.

​The town is holding a “Guts and Glory Jubilee.” Suddenly another car arrives. It’s the other folks from the gas station. Then a biker couple approaches. An African American guy and his Asian American girlfriend step off the bike. Frankly, as that couple I’d have pulled a U-turn the second I saw all the confederate flags. “A Negro and a Chinaman!” The Mayor proclaims. Yep, this will go well for them.

​They all find they town full of colorful rednecks. However, the booze flows and the women are easy so everyone is more than willing to stay with these stereotypes. One of the girls hooks up with the ass that played Deputy Winston in “Cabin Fever” she thinks he is being kinky but he ends up drawing and quartering her. Another dummy decides to try some special moonshine from a girl but OH NO! It’s really acid. They begin to think something is up. Turns out they are also cooking the bodies. So it’s like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" only not good.

​One guy gets run through the ass with a spear. The Asian American Girl is crushed with a bell and the African American is crushed with millstone. Oh yeah and one tool gets his junk gnawed off by a girl with shark dentures. Two remain. They show that they are serving them as food by serving their heads on platters. Really, that is lazy cannibalism. They are serving uncooked heads on platters. So the tool boy rescues the girl and they make an escape on the biker’s motorcycle. They run to the police station to tell them what happened.

​As a group they all drive back. Only to discover Pleasant Valley was a graveyard the whole time. Apparently the town was all Confederates trying to get vengeance for the Yankees that killed them so they needed 2001 bodies as an eye for an eye or some crap. The two losers get back on their bike they fail to see the barbwire fence one of the ghosts ghouls set up. It decapitates them and their heads are taken by a wandering little idiot back to the spirit world.

​What the hell did I just watch? It felt like a joke. There is no reason to have this type of garbage thrown together. It’s just another movie that thrives on urban paranoia. But to literally have ghouls running around singing the south will rise again. WOW! This movie sucks. Even if you are just looking for a so bad it’s good movie just give it a miss.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Frost Bite-review


Get ready to be terrorized by this beast Alaska.
Starting with the fact that it’s a movie about a Sasquatch made in Alaska with Alaskan actors and with a tiny budget of low-end equipment $76 and a bag of stale Cheetos according to the “Tundra” website. Normally, you wouldn’t expect a lot. Hell, the syfy channel does movies about Sasquatch regularly and they suck royally.  But if you take a moment and actually watch this movie I think you will appreciate it for what it is.  It’s a damn, funny and well put together movie.

            In most cheaply made movies, the things that stand out the most are the acting, the pacing, and the editing.  The acting at least seems to match the scripts needs and calls for nothing less than what you get.  Good humor with decent timing.  No more, no less.   The pacing is actually great.  Most movies would bog you down in exposition and pointless scene after scene of filler.  This one doesn’t waste your time.  It gives you the story and it gives it well.  Thanks.

All images for the movie "Frost Bite" stolen off the Tundra website.
            The editing is where it stands out. There are tons of scenes in lovely bits of wilderness and we get beautiful shots of some flora and fauna.  But what really makes this work are the smooth transitions and the fact that it really comes off as professional.  The humor is dark.  But the subject matter is too.  If that is what you find funny as well you will enjoy it.  There are a few off the wall moments that I appreciated greatly as well such as Darin Carpenter appearing as a great white hunter character for a few minutes of comedic gold. 

            It’s the sort of project I enjoy watching and showing to others.  I hope so much they get a chance to make another movie soon.  Film making, is an expensive and time consuming endeavor but when the results produce such cool results I think that it is so worth it and hope that they get support in the future.  If you want to see a copy of it visit: http://www.tundracomics.com/content.asp?CAT_ID=98 to watch it chapter by chapter. It is very worth it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frankenstein movies

Much like “Alice in Wonderland” and the “Wizard of Oz” there were several screen adaptations of the story of Frankenstein.  Notable versions of this tale exist and several versions have spawned sequels and other spin offs. I will focus on four versions of this tale.

​The first is “Frankenstein” from 1910.  It was thought to be a lost film at one time until a copy was found in Wisconsin in the 70s; now we can now witness it online for free.  It’s was made by the Thomas Edison Production Company and they really had a unique interpretation of the monster.  When it comes to the creation he is cooked in a large caldron and then comes out looking like a strange Kabuki actor.  For 1910 that must’ve been weird as hell for people to see.  It’s a very short movie and in the end Dr. Frankenstein and his monster are joined through looking at a mirror.  It’s a very surreal interpretation.

​Next up we have the classic “Frankenstein” of 1931 played by Boris Karloff.  This version is truly ingrained in the public mind now as to what the monster looks like.  Not only that but because of the popularity of the film people started becoming confused with whether to call the monster Frankenstein or Frankenstein’s monster.  I tend to be a purist on that one so I go with the monster since the doctor was Frankenstein. But its fiction so who gives a shit. Karloff gives it a sterling performance and even came back for another 2 movies as the character.  “Bride of Frankenstein” is a better movie in my opinion but you really need to see to two of them together to get the feeling of a complete tale.

​As for just the first movie on its own merits however there is a lot to say about the fact that they once again decided not to kill off the Doctor.  At least the second movie takes over right where it left off. It’s a classic and totally worth seeing. Like all of the original Universal Horror movies of the 1930s they represent an era that was a golden age for cinema.

​In 1957 Hammer studio gave us “The Curse of Frankenstein”.  It stared Peter Cushing as Dr. Frankenstein and Christopher Lee and the Monster.  Hammer was already known for bringing audiences more gore and more cleavage to our classic movie monsters.  This one turned Dr. Frankenstein into a murderous, psychopathic, rapist.  It was a very unique vision of the doctor. He was a man who inevitably didn’t care about anyone when it came to his work.  This was a different vision than any we’ve seen before and it was a very good movie.  They made several sequels to this series too much as they did the Hammer Dracula series.

​Then in 1994 we have the newer version “Frankenstein” starring Kenneth Branagh as the Doctor and Robert DeNiro as the monster.  This movie followed the novel pretty well with only a handful of turns away. Still the idea of using electric eels for electricity to power the monster was an original notion.  The thing that made me like “Bride of Frankenstein” so much is I actually feel sorry for the monster.  If you have read the book you know that the monster is a VERY pitiable man.

​Karloff pulls this off well in “Bride of Frankenstein” but it’s not easy to do with the script of “Frankenstein”.  However, DeNiro has a more flexible script to work with then Karloff so he can show his range and make us feel the absolute isolation and abandonment the creature feels.  It’s a really wonderful portrayal and considering the fact there are several remakes of “Frankenstein” out there its well worth seeing.

​These “Frankenstein” movies are all pretty good.  But if you are a fast reader you can likely zip through the book in a few days tops.  It’s a short read and totally worth it as well.  Take a bit of time to get to know the source.  You won’t regret it.  Plus, you’ll be able to brag to people that you read a classic before you saw the movies.  

Heroes-retrospective

So I found out that the TV show “Heroes” was cancelled.  That really is disappointing.  I wanted to see the loose ends tied up.  I even heard they were going to make a TV movie or something to tie up those ends.  But alas, that was cancelled too.  Crap on a crap cracker!  No closure for me I guess.

​“Heroes” began in 2006. It was about people worldwide discovering they had superhuman abilities and what they were going to do with it.  Slowly they start to come together to save the world as they become aware of each other.  It was a sweet concept.  A solar eclipse seems to be the trigger that makes these powers start happening too.  That always confused me.  Since solar eclipses aren’t so irregular.  This would have likely happened a lot earlier in their lives.

​So one dude can fly, a cheerleader has wolverine style healing, an awesome nerd in Japan finds out he is the master of time and space, so he can teleport, speed and stop time, and even travel to the past or future.  Honestly, if the show was all about Hiro Nakamura I’d have been fine with it.  A cop who finds out he is psychic, and a woman who has a multiple personality, but the other personality has super strength.  That actually was a weak one.  I thought that didn’t sound like a power as much as it did something you’d want to find treatment for.

​There were others, LOTS of others actually. Then there was the agency after them to kill or capture the freaks.  And of course there was Syler.  Syler was the villain of the series, played by Zachary Quinto, who would later go to play Spock in the new Star Trek movie.   He has ability where when he cut into your brain he could find out how your power works and then gain that ability for himself.  He was so hell-bent on getting all the powers that he could that he hunts down super humans to kill for their abilities.

​So there was some interesting drama.  But there were some problems too.  The cast was gigantic.  It got to a point that there were too many people as some points.  They also led themselves into writing character arcs that went nowhere and so they would often either abandon the arc or the character altogether.  That is just shitty writing.   Usually though people came back for the characters they liked so much.

​By season 4 the show was on an even keel.  The story was good and kept linear and there was a new threat.  The Heroes of the show had faced villains before besides Syler but this one was a real scumbag.  The only problem of course, was that in the course of the story they redeemed Syler.  They let him become a hero inevitably.  I don’t know if they should.  This man is a monster of epic proportions.  It ended with Hayden Panettiere revealing her healing abilities in front of reporters.

​So that is what we got.  Fans of the show got messed up writing that you’d expect from a soap opera or comic book. But we loved the characters.  We loved the fact that it was taking average people and giving them extraordinary powers.  It’s a dream that many people have.  It’s a shame that the show had so many ups and downs.  It’s too bad.  I’d have really liked to see a spinoff about Hiro.  He was one of the few guys I’ve seen on the show that fully accepts his role as a hero and loves having powers.  He doesn’t lament getting them.  He never thinks he is strange because of it.  He accepts it.  I admired his character so much for that.

​If you like the superhero genre give it a watch.  It’s a fun show that really shouldn’t be forgotten so quickly.  Granted it’s not epic TV like a “Dexter” but I think you’ll at least appreciate the fun they are having and enjoy the ride too.  There is a character for everyone here.  It’s a show that I’ll miss now that it’s over.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Imagination Trilogy

Let’s chat a bit about the imagination trilogy of Terry Gilliam.  Terry Gilliam is known for making very surreal movies.  But three have been considered part of his “Imagination Trilogy”. They take characters that live in worlds of imagination at different ages of their lives.  They consist of “Time Bandits”, “Brazil” and “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”.  I am not going to give too much in the way of spoilers or synopsis because if I did we would be here all day.  These movies are VERY layered.

They are all clever movies and totally worth seeing.  If you are into British humor they can be incredibly funny at times and insightful the rest of the time.  So let’s start with Gilliam’s vision of imagination through the eyes of a child.

“Mom, Dad, don’t touch it. It’s evil.”-Kevin

“Time Bandits” is about a smart 11 year old boy who is very interested in history.  His parents think he is foolish and care only for new technology of the modern era.  As he is sleeping one night he is visited by six dwarves who have stolen a map from the Supreme Being and use it to hopscotch through time and space to steal shit.

So Kevin meets many interesting characters on his journey, Napoleon, Robin Hood, and King Agamemnon, played by Sean Connery.  The embodiment of evil is the villain and he wants the map so that he can go back through time and remake the world in his image rather than the Supreme Being’s.  The cast is studded with cameos and it’s very well done.  When I was a kid the ending used to weird me out but now I appreciate that the gloomy finality to it all.  Its fun, it’s dark and it’s worth watching if you are into that style of humor.

“Don’t fight it son.  Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating.”-Guard

Next up was “Brazil” this one is my favorite of the trilogy.  It’s about a man who lives in a world that is almost straight out of the book "1984". Sam Lowry is a man who is a low level government worker who often daydreams about rescuing a beautiful maiden.  He becomes involved in a misunderstanding due to a red tape foul up and meets the girl of his dreams.  The confusion makes him seem to be part of a terrorist conspiracy.

​Gilliam again gives us lots of amazing actors giving standup performances.  The dark humor is kicked up a notch and the end is considerably darker as well but in this case what makes this movie work is that the end is the most realistic of all of the “Imagination Trilogy”.  I think another thing that makes me personally like this movie so much is I see so much of my own personality in the Sam Lowry character.

​When his apartment is trashed by repairmen and you know his personal space is invaded you can see pain in his eyes as he returns to his imaginary world he’s created where he is the hero.  He is able to fly and he able to take on his troubles head on without hiding.  Jonathan Pryce is a hell of an actor.  Why he was shafted so hard in the second and third “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies is beyond me.

“Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I’m delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever”-Baron Munchausen

Baron Munchausen takes place during an unnamed war in an unnamed European city.  During the “Age of Reason” the Turkish army is outside a city getting ready to attack. Meanwhile a touring group of actors puts on a play of the adventures of Baron Munchausen.  They are shocked when an old man comes up to them telling them to stop because he is the real Baron.  Captivating the audience with a story of one of his exploits he wins the attention of Sally Salt, a VERY young Sarah Polley, who convinces him to keep living when she notices Death is following after the Baron.

He insists that he can save the city if he gets his super human crew together.  So he and Sally go off far and wide to retrieve these characters.  Along the way we see cameos by the ton again.  Robin Williams, Oliver Reed and Uma Thurman make this movie an impressive bit of fairy tale.  It’s one of the only movies that, while there is a twist to it, can be considered one of the happier endings of the trilogy.

As a whole they are all fantastic movies.  They give us the views of the imaginations of a boy, a man, and an old man and they do it well.  There is a lot to be said about them all individually but honestly I think if you get a chance give one or more of these a try you if you like British or dark humor you won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dark Ride- review with spoilers

​Hey kids! Every wonder what happened to that fat freckled kid from “The Sandlot”?  Or Jamie- Lynn Sigler after her fame of “The Sopranos”?  Well 2006 gave us a portal to their career choices in the horror movie “Dark Ride”.   Our frightening story takes place on the boardwalk at Asbury Park in 1989.  Identical twin teenagers walk up to the Dark Ride.  Outside there is a seedy looking carny and a boy playing chess.  The carny asks “Round trip or one way?” clever stuff.

​One of the girls is really into the whole horror scene and the kind of person I’d have a real laugh with. The other should not have come at all on the ride.  She is obviously scared and looks like she’s about to cry.  Her sister of course keeps mocking her.  I hate people like that. Either you like horror or you don’t. It took me a long time to grow into it and until then I was a total wimp for a lot of things. But what you shouldn’t do is mock someone for not liking something you don’t like.  Different strokes for different folks….said the critic.

​Anyway back to the movie.  The tough girl is literally grabbed right out of her chair.  Instead of running the hell out of the ride like a mad woman the scared girl remains in her ride.  She sees her sister has been gutted and put on display then the mad man goes for her.  Next we fade to the credits and a montage of newspapers.  Things say stuff like “14 bodies found in ride” and “Killer to be placed in Insane Asylum” and “Dark Ride To Open Again Soon.” maybe not in those exact words but enough that you get the gist.  Oh and my favorite was “Spring Break Finally Here” must’ve been a slow news day.

​Ten years later Cathy, played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler and her friend Liz are getting ready to go on Spring Break with their friends Bill, our friend from “The Sandlot” Patrick Renna, Steve and Jim. Guess they read the newspaper article.  Jim is a creepy looking guy.  Imagine if Biff from “Back to the Future” mated with a grouper fish. This guy had Innsmouth look written all over him.  So they hope into their 70s decorated rape van and go on a road trip.

​First stop is a gas station. Bill finds a pamphlet for the Dark House and this gets them into the idea.  So they decide to head off on a wee detour to Ashbury Park.  Meanwhile a few weeks ago according to a subtitle the killer from the murder is in the insane asylum cooling his heels watching static on TV in his cell.  I didn’t know they gave you televisions in your cells in insane asylums. Though I bet that must be maddening itself because the screwball was in a straight jacket and they left it on static so unless he turns the channel with his teeth he is sort stuck between a rock and hard place.

​A couple orderlies see on his chart “Vegetarian only” so they decide to mess with him.  One of them happens to have a steak and he keeps hitting the poor asshole with it until he gets up snapping all the buckles on the straight jacket while the static on TV gives off the effects of a strobe light.  He then massacres the guards and lumbers away. Back to his hide out in the Dark Ride.

  ​The young adventurers have meanwhile picked up a young nubile hitchhiker girl.  She seems a bit nutty and slutty but that is Jim’s type so she is welcomed aboard.   They make it to the Dark Ride.  Jim breaks inside and fiddles with the electricity getting it up and running.  Everyone except Cathy goes into the ride.  Cathy stays in the van.  So everyone is wandering around the ride having many a jump scare when the hitchhiker tells Steve to follow her. He does so and she shows him Cathy with her throat slashed. He freaks out but it was just a gag.  He is still pissed and gets mad at everyone for being in on since it was Bill’s idea.  Turns out Bill’s cousins were the two twins that died out here and coming out here was his way of making closure….ok. Honestly, I don’t know what Steve is so pissed about.  I’ve had jokes played on me and when they are good sometimes all you can do is appreciate how good your friends got you.

​He goes to pout though. Everyone else finds out they are locked inside the ride.  Jim goes to fix the power which keeps messing up and the others just wander around like morons.  Soon Cathy and Liz find Steve dead and foul looking decorated as a grim marionette in the Ride.    The Jim and the hitchhiker have decided to do their own thing. She is blowing him; of course he is such a half fish man to notice the killer decapitate her as she is doing this for a crude throwaway gag.

​Everyone is running in different directions like idiots now. Liz gets killed off screen.  We also get a security guard that comes in to find out what the commotion is.  Cathy runs to him and like a total jerk just lets him die as the killer is right behind him because she says nothing.  She takes the van and is about to book it to safety until she gets a text message from Jim that says HELP.  So she drives through the ride hitting the killer and knocking onto a bed of spikes.  Jim is glad to be alive. Bill comes out of hiding as well.  Jim asks where he was and Bill stabs him with a knife.

​It turns out Bill was that little kid playing chess outside the Dark Ride in the beginning.  He was the killer’s little brother. Cathy gets out of the van runs outside crying loudly and we fade to black. That wasn’t a bad twist at least.  Since every movie nowadays just HAS to have one to seem clever it’s nice when one works.  Considering the rest of the movie is bucket of “who cares” that is a good endearing quality to this movie. I still don’t think it’s all that scary or interesting but don’t you feel better now that you know what became of those actors…..I know I sure do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Avatar- review

Why am I talking about Avatar?  It’s been talked about to death.  But when you talk movies things always seem to swing around.  “What did you think of ‘Avatar’?”  In terms of a movie it’s ok at best but floored me how much hype it got when it ripped off so many sources.  I also have heard that there are people obsessed with the SCIENCE of Pandora.  I can tell you now there is no actual science in this movie.  You are more likely to find scientific fact in “Lord of the Rings” then you would in this movie.

First of let’s start off by the amount of sources it ripped off.  The direct plot is a rip off of “Dances with Wolves”. A soldier with wounded legs gets sent to a far off out post where he befriends the “savages.”  Know where else this plot was basically done? So let’s go through the list.  

• Dances with Wolves/ The Last Samurai- The basic plot
• Ferngully the Last Rainforest- The plot aspect of battling to spare a single tree vs. mechanical progress.
• The Matrix- Plugging in to become an “Avatar” version of you. As well as the armies mechs looking a lot like the mechs from the Battle of Zion.
• Aliens- Again the Mechs, as well as the scummy business man played by Giovanni Ribisi, who seemed to be playing the character Paul Riser was playing in Aliens almost verbatim.
• Return of the Jedi- The battle between the Ewoks and the high technologically advanced Empire resembled the fight between the Navi and the military.
• Pocahontas- The Princess of the natives saves her love before they can be executed for a misunderstood crime between cultures.
• Terminator- The ships looked like bigger versions of the Hunter/Killer flyer drones from Terminator.
It cracked me up that there were people that thought Pandora’s landscape could ever exist in any world.  Ok, according to an interview I heard on NPR those floating rocks are supposed to be made of the unobtainum.  And this planet has less gravity than earth.  Ok well let’s think about this a tad shall we. First thing I am wondering is if this is true why wouldn’t they miners simply get the stuff floating in the air instead of taking all the time mine it?

But that plot hole aside if the gravity is so light that rocks can float why the hell doesn’t everybody less dense then the rocks also float?  And for my biggest question how in the holy mother of fuck does water come down the rocks?  It’s not as if a river or snowy peaks is there to make a huge waterfall and even if it was if a rock floats why would the water fall?  That doesn’t make sense.  Just say its magic James Cameron and we’ll move on.

​Then we are expected to believe that all the creatures on this planet evolved with a sort of natural USB port to one another.  Its Cameron’s way of saying the Navi’s connection to nature is literal which is so blindingly transparent it’s like he is hitting us with a baseball bat.  The Navi can connect using their little tendrils to their mounts, pack animals, and beasts and yes even the trees.  SUBTLE JAMES!

Why is this movie considered such an amazing feat?  You people have seen it ALL before and it’s taken less of your time too.    Was it the special effects?  They were neat I’ll admit.  But it’s nothing we haven’t seen nor will not see better in another movie soon.  With the leaps we make in movie technology “Avatar” will be a footnote one day when we look back at the generation we all spent top dollar to see crap in 3-D. Meanwhile the next big special effects will wow us and take this one’s place.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Skyline- review


            Oh my god. This movie is so bad it HURTS.  It’s slow going in. Then there is dialogue that is painful to listen to. The acting is wooden enough to be mistaken for a marionette.  The only person who gives it a shot is David Zayas, better know as Detective Batista on “Dexter”.  He brings a decent performance considering his material.

            The CGI isn’t too bad on the Aliens which descend on the city like something out of a Wells story. But the buildup is slow and oh the ending is so wretched. I feel bad making this just a review. Some of the reactions these people have in a crisis are just criminal.  I know they aren’t trained in survival but most folks know that saving water in case it gets shut off is a good idea. 
           
            Oh and the time to bring up marital difficulties is NOT during the crisis at hand.  As a side note: I know that aliens have been stealing thousands of people for reasons unknown at this point but when you witness a nuke explode so close you feel the shock wave you’re reaction should not be one of jubilation. It should be fear that your ass is about to be irradiated. 

            Ok now I’m going to mention the ending a tad so if you hate spoilers stop reading.  The aliens are taking our brains to make new soldiers to fight with.  But Jerrod’s brain is somehow immune to the mind control and when they put the human brain in an alien body he fights them and that is how it ends. That is gripping stuff. 

            You know I’ve heard of some stupid shit done by alien invaders. Top being attacking a planet that is 70% water when it can kill you (“Signs”), not being immunized against earth disease (“War of the Worlds”), or not having good computer virus protection (“ID4”), but you know that you really are setting yourself up for failure when you are taking the brains of your enemies and implanting them into stronger bodies.  Yeah, I can’t see where that could POSSIBLY go wrong. 
           
            Bottom line, this movie sucks.  Don’t see it.  Don’t rent it. Don’t even look at it or you’ll likely be whisked away to an alien ship where you’re brain will be sucked out by advanced versions of the bugs from “Starship Troopers.”

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Unstoppable-review


Not much to say.  This is a damn good movie. Really, it’s exciting as hell and the cast is really decent to watch.  It’s supposed to be based on true events that happened in Pennsylvania.  But it doesn’t matter.  The whole thing is really scary and plausible given the fact that one idiot caused at situation that could have killed thousands.

Frankly, that is what terrifies me the most here. Looking back at this movie this all started because some lummox was too lazy to turn off the engine to change the track.  Instead he left the train running jumped out to change the track and the train speed up and he couldn’t catch up.  Damn!  But really folks this movie is good.  Check it out if you want to see some good action and thrills from a really unexpected source.

As a side note I know this is bizarre but it was very odd for me to start hating a train like a villain.  Ok, I know that sounds psycho. But when I would seen the red engine with 777 on it cruising at warp speed and the sinister music would play I felt that thing was evil.  But here’s the thing….it’s not evil…it’s a train engine why am I even thinking that?  I don’t know if they meant to give folks that sort of personifying dread when they see this thing but dammit I got it. 

Oh and the preview for “Sucker Punch” might be the most badass thing I’ve seen since the “Tron: Legacy” one came out.  I am looking forward to that one.

Due Date-review


Comedies are really immune to a lot of my rants and raves I think because unlike sci-fi and horror comedy is truly subjective.  That being said this will likely be a short review.  This is a good movie.  Robert Downey Jr. plays an asshole named Peter who, as far as I could see, deserved everything that happened to him.  Zach Galifianakis plays Ethan who is a lovable dork that keeps making things worse in their trip across country.

So I while I enjoyed this movie.  I have to say it. It is a huge rip off of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”  It has just about the same mood and if you were to draw a chart of what is going through the main character’s mind probably in both movies I imagine that  the character arc would line up pretty spot on between the Peter character and the Neil character too.  Is it worth seeing? Yeah.  But do keep in mind this story was done before and with a lot more heart.
 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Seance- a review with spoilers

So until something new comes out worth seeing and writing about I feel I need to keep sharp.  I picked another random fearnet.com wonder and got “Séance”.  So I’ll write about that for now.   Well it’s got better production value than most straight to video horror films so that is a plus. It has Adrian Paul of Highlander fame so the B-movie status confirmed.  Alright, what do we got to lose?

Well it starts in a dorm room.  An Ashley Simpson lookalike gets up and sees some shampoo bottles in a state of disarray. So she creeps up to the shower and we see a horrid little dead girl ghost inside.  It leaps at the Ashley clone’s throat strangling her. She wakes to reveal it was all a dream…or was it?  The bottles were neatly arranged and so she goes into the bathroom armed with an oscillating fan and is promptly scared from behind by her roommate coming in to pee.

So we discover this dump is a college dorm that used to be apartments. You know, I’m going to call bullshit on that right quick.  I’ve never heard of any college that converted an apartment to dorms by just slapping a sign outside and saying it’s a dorm.  Usually, and you can correct me if I am way off base here, they demolish the older building and will actually build new dorm rooms over that.  Oddly enough though, this dorm does seem to have been converted a slight bit since being an apartment complex.

There is a common shower which allows the security guard to spy on them through a peep hole at times and a common room with a piano and transported out all the kitchens but really let’s not get into that.  It’s weird enough when you have to see a kid with his dorm filled with Gorilla metal shelving?  Good god.  Do I need to go into how stupid that is for a dorm room to have something as hard core as heavy industrial shelving? But you know what I’m just talking about their stupid fake dorms.  I haven’t really talked about this movie.

The Ashley Simpson doppelganger is named Lauren, she Melina and Allison share a room.  They are all staying over Thanksgiving break.  Allison’s boy toy Diego is also there watching over his roommate’s parrot.  The parrot says nothing but looks awesome.  He immediately becomes my favorite character in this piece of shit.  So after everyone teases Lauren for seeing a ghost they go and a small bottle of bourbon from the security guards desk.  This tiny bottle manages to get four full grown college students tore up.

They dork around the lonely dorm thinking they are in fact all alone.  But there is a Crispin Glover lookalike that is staying behind over the Thanksgiving holiday too.  His name is Grant and he is an ass.  Lauren connects with him because not only does he believe her about the ghost he has footage of her on video.  He shows it to her.  But he tells he won’t show it to anyone because he doesn’t want Ghostbusters and what not coming into his room turning it into a freak show.  All I know is with footage like that of a full figure apparition the “Ghost Adventures” crews head’s would explode. All they get is shadow figures and orbs and crap they call spirits.

So Lauren pouts in her room to her friends. Diego says they should hold a séance and try to bring the girl and maybe the guy that also lived on this floor back to chat with them and see what they want.  They think the little girl died in the 60s falling down the elevator shaft. So why they are dead janitor into it not knowing who he is really I am not sure.  All you need to know is they summon Adrian Paul who is pretty much silent the whole movie; except he wanders around whistling “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and killing folks.   If that is creepy to you then the Count from “Sesame Street” must have scared you to death.

He can only be seen when the lights are out.  He slowly kills Laurens friends one at a time.  Then they figure out if they let him possess one of them and then die it will kill him.  Diego gets possessed in this process and as such takes a pair a scissors to his throat.  So he dies.  Shouldn’t that have ended the movie?  I guess not, because we had to see a few more deaths leading up to the big jumbo finally. Grant gets possessed and then sacrifices himself by diving down the empty elevator shaft.

I know he wanted to kill Duncan McLeod but by that rationale shouldn’t he still be alive?  And here’s another thing at one point ghost little girl shows Lauren a collection of her old baubles and whatnot that was hidden under the linoleum of the bathroom.  No wood underneath?  So I guess, either these women NEVER stepped in that one spot thus bending the linoleum and reveling the secret until this moment when Lauren could cut the linoleum to get the items OR they weight so little that they don’t effect the floor one bit.

Whatever, this movie is ridiculous.  There is no gore.  No real scares to be found.  The humor is stale and the characters are painfully one dimensional and it is highly unbelievable.  It’s not a good movie.  But I’ll give Adrian Paul this. It must feel nice to not be doing the same old thing as usual.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Blob- a comparison

There is something really funny about a bunch of goo as a threat.  It’s something you really don’t think about from a typical alien attack.  “The Blob” first came out in 1958.  In its most base sense it’s a boy cried wolf story.  The boy in this case is played by a young Steve McQueen and his performance and likeability really make this movie fun.  Funny thing is he’s playing a teenager when he was in his late twenties.

This movie has a huge following.  The town where it was filmed holds annual festivals in its honor.  The theater where people ran screaming from the blob as it attacked them is still there and they watch the movie and during that scene folks will run screaming from the theater.  It’s awesome that this blob brings people together after so many years.

​It really is a pinnacle point of the monster movie era of the fifties.  We have an intro song that you’d think the movie was going to be a comedy.  We have an alien terror that comes down in a meteor. It terrorizes a small town with teenagers in their jaunty jalopies by oozing around the movie theaters and make out spots.  Finally after figuring out its weakness to cold they realize the best thing they can do is contain it.  So they freeze it and ship it to where it will remain frozen permanently.  It ends with a question mark at the end of the “The End” title.  Mix with Steve McQueen’s raw talent at his young age and its cinematic gold.

Then there was a remake in 1988.  I was going into this thinking I was going to be sort of bummed. But actually this movie is REALLY good on its own merits.  It’s different for sure but it really impressed me that a movie made 30 years after the original could make a blob scary.  First off the screenplay I was shocked to discover was written by Frank Darabont,  “The Walking Dead” director as well as director of such movies as “The Shawshank Redemption”, “The Green Mile” and “The Mist”.  So that was looking up.  After the last piece of crap I watched (“Resurrection Mary” for anyone who cares) I was in the mood to watch something that actually was good for a change.

So it’s different.  Kevin Dillon is the main hero and Shawnee Smith is our leading lady. Shawnee Smith, by the way if you don’t know is the woman that plays Amanda in the early “SAW” movies.  Here she plays a teen dream.  So that takes some imagination for me since I am used to her being a psycho.   Anyway I was impressed because for the most part it followed the other movie.  Meteorite crashes, goo gets on a poor saps hand.  Kids take him to a doctor. The goo liquefies the entire bottom half of the poor sap and …..holy shit.

Yeah they cranked up the gore a ton making this movie a trip to watch.  The blob engulfs people and you actually watch as it dissolves them inside the goo.  It’s horrible and yet the effects are so cool it reminds me how I loved movie “The Thing” for basically the same reason.  The blob terrorizes a movie theater and is stopped by freezing much like the original.  But the major difference is this blob is not an alien.

It’s technically a bioweapon developed by our government and is going out of control.  It’s our next step to outwit the Soviets. Ok, that does give it a new twist.  Of course during all this insanity the revered of the town has gone batshit crazy and is spouting verses of hellfire and brimstone even collecting pieces of the frozen blob corpse and putting it in a jar.    Finally the blob is destroyed by liquid nitrogen and exploding.   So all is well and there is no question mark at the end of this one.  Oh no!  The revered is having a tent revival telling people about the coming apocalypse.  When we see someone ask him how soon it’s coming.  He pulls out a jar with his throbbing sample of the still living blob saying it’s on its way.  Ooh he’s evil.

That was good.  It’s a pretty decent remake and pretty worth seeing the two of them if you are in the mood for a cheesy movie about colorful ooze that pulsates around getting larger and killing people.  All in all they are fun movies. The remake is not probably pretty tame by today’s standards but is still more towards the gory side so use discretion if showing to kids  FYI a kid does get eaten by the blob I this version so if that might cause then to freak out then maybe this pick isn’t for them.  The original I think is one even kids should be able to see and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Walking Dead- review

A few folks have asked me what I have thought about this show.  First off I am a zombie genre nut.  So it’s got points on that end already since it’s like the only damn zombie show I can think of.  But the big trump card for it comes to the fact that it’s based off the comic series of the same name that I have been a follower for years.  Between “Fables” and “The Walking Dead” I don’t think I’ve found something that has gotten my attention so thoroughly and made me love characters more in a comic.

​So when I heard it was going to be made into a TV series I was pretty excited mostly because I think AMC has a good reputation for making decent shows.  “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” have kicked ass at the Emmy’s so I had faith in the production.  Then I heard that the director of “The Shawshank Redemption” was on to direct.  Hell YEAH that is a great choice!  The ads were clever not to split the audience and keep them curious.  It never mentioned it was based on a comic and never directly said anything about zombies.

​Halloween night I watched the premiere. I was not disappointed.  It followed the comic well.  Not exactly of course but damn close and with enough care that it showed that the writers obviously read the comic and gave a crap about it too. Episode too introduced more of the characters and I’m glad to say to the story is progressing nicely.  It really has a lot of potential especially if it follows the comic.  My main concern of course is that it will have to change too much for later seasons.

​The comic has things in it that are incredibly graphic as it deals with humans basically losing their humanity.  The entire title is a play on words because the living characters are doomed to roam from place to place with no real home. In that way they have become the walking dead. The graphic nature comes in horrific ways:  Kids are dismembered, there are suicides, cannibalism, violent rapes, limb dismemberment, and other fun stuff that I really wonder if basic cable will be able to handle.

​  I guess down the road we’ll see.  But so far I’ve been impressed.  I was happy enough that the horse getting eaten by zombies was actually much more minimal than it was in the comic.   I hate seeing animals hurt.  I know it’s fake and all but it really just makes me sad.  So anyway back to the show.  It’s a really good show.  Worth getting into if you might enjoy something a little darker on your TV palette.

Scourge-review with spoilers

I found this little gem on fearnet.com.  It’s from 2008 with only one big name behind it, Russell Ferrier.  What? You don’t know who that is.  I guess you didn’t see “MVP: Most Valuable Primate” or “Death Race” then.  But what sane person would see either of those?  This movie stars basically nobody and has some incredibly cheap CGI.

​In fact the start of this turd starts with a cut of a steeple on a church. A subtitle tells us this is 1871 Haborford.  The entire church is clearly CGI.   Some cloaked figures that appear to be the wraiths of “Lord of the Rings” drag a man out in chains and attach him to a metal stake during a rain storm.  One of their rings shows a cross.  Ok, clearly this is wraith about to do the lord’s work.  The stake is blasted by 1.21 giggawatts of electricity and the man in chains sprouts tentacles.  One of the wraiths uses a clamp to wrestle the demon loose and we jump cut.

​150 years later a still CGI steeple leads to a real church which has been in a fire.  One of the fire men is digging through the rubble.  When finds a hole into the church floor and falls face first onto it.  For a bit it looks like he is making love to the ground.  But he gets up and starts making sounds like he shit his pants.   Cut to Scott, the town bad boy fresh out of his 8 month stint in prison.  He rides his motor cycles around looking about as hard as Spongebob Squarepants.

​He is accosted by the Sheriff played by Russell Ferrier.  He tells him to keep his nose clean and all that clichéd crap. Also he tells Scott to stay away from his niece, Jesse, whom he has a past with.  But Scott is a maverick who doesn’t play by anybody’s rules but his own.  Jesse sees him and invites him over.  They reminisce about all the good times.  He mentions he is seeing some girl named, Lydia. This scene is a real taster’s choice moment.

​We cut to the fireman who is at the fire station still walking like he shit himself.   He walks to the fridge and eats a stick of butter, then drinks bad milk, then sits on the couch eating mayonnaise. What the hell?  The other firemen give him a beer and it causes him to run and puke.  He goes to shower but sees his skin is starting to come off so he covers up and runs out of the station.

​We find out that Scott has taken up hockey.  Jesse is watching him and so is Lydia.  Meanwhile, fireman freakazoid stubbles onto the ice, walking like alien Edgar from “Men in Black” toward Lydia because he smells booty.  Lydia is a tramp and has been cheating on Scott you see so she takes fire man into the dressing room even though he clearly looks like he was run through the ringer.

​He gets on his knees and a CGI monster comes out his mouth and goes into her belly button in a really, bad looking effect.  “Don’t ever call me again” Lydia says so woodenly I get splinters.    Scott finds her and sees the fire man’s badge on the ground.  There is the start of what could be a catfight between Lydia and Jesse. But Scott changes the subject to the fire man.  Lydia makes up a story and they make plans to go out.

​Lydia blows off Scott but Scott follows her to a club. She picks up a guy that looks like the Kurgan from “Highlander”. She is making out with him in the Ladies room and then her eyes go all bloody and she infects him the way the fire man infected her.  Scott waits patiently outside the ladies room until the guy bust out.  He goes in to confront her.  But she falls down dead and basically bursts like a damn pumpkin shell on pavement.

​He take off out of the club and runs to Jesse knowing he will get blamed for this by her Sherriff Uncle.   Even though staying would be so much easier since I think most people would have a hard time believing a small time car parts thief could turn a girl into soup mix.  Most standard weapons don’t do that and since witnesses saw him unarmed it would be a real hard think to believe that he disintegrated a girl with his mind.

​So he stays with Jesse.  Has a nightmare that she is infected that serves NO PURPOSE except to almost make them kiss.  The next day Jesse finds out what kind of trouble he is in and calls the cops.  Jesse books it out of there.  Meanwhile the Kurgan lookalike is roaming a mall looking for a victim.  Ok if a man dressed in bathrobe with bloody eyes is staggering after me.  The first thing out of my mouth is “ZOMBIE!”  These people are idiots to hang around him like he is normal. Finally he grabs a chick but her husband will have none of his and slugs him causing his jaw to fall halfway off.

​So the deputy Fife of the town finally put the bastard down.  They put him in a meat wagon and haul him away.  Of course the EMT dude gets infected next and he is a skater punk.  Jesse hears on the news the report of the mall attack and now believes Scott so she agrees to help him she goes to find out more about this thing from the library.  Scott goes to confront the latest victim which must be the EMT guy.  He has recently attacked a skater girl so when Scott tells her she has been infected and to come with him they tell him to fuck off.  When he grabs her a group of skaters knock him out.

​Jesse finds out a lot about the deaths that occurred on microfiche at first I call BS on this thinking how the hell can a person have microfiche of anything in 1871 BUT apparently with a wee research on my part I learned that while it was used for document preservations as early as 1851 it wasn’t until the turn of the century that it’s uses were seized by a wider audience.  So the chances of finding a small town paper might likely be rare in those early days. Viva Wikipedia.  But basically she finds out she can consult some old hag in town whose relative fought the creature they fought.

​Scott is caught by the Sherriff and asked “How’d you do it? Was it a chemical weapon of some sort?”   First off small town Sherriff, you know you framed this guy’s dad and he took the fall.  So he isn’t exactly criminal mind.  Second, where the hell would he get the know- how and connections to wield a chemical weapon that can turn a person into a rotting pumpkin?  Finally wouldn’t it make more sense to get actual professionals involved instead of your small town justice?

​Scott is placed in a cell.  Eventually he gets a cellmate, an older biker dude that tells him about how the Sherriff set up his old man to go to prison.  Then he talks about a skater girl who tried to get with him and started throwing up on him.  Scott knows this guy is infected.  He calls for the guard. The Sherriff arrives and the Sherriff gets in a tangle with the Biker causing the Sherriff to get infected.

​Jesse goes to the hags, garage and finds a copy of the necronomicon.  So she reads it and rolls against the sanity loss. Then she heads out now having a half a clue how to stop the terror of what’s to come.   Scott is finally caught a second time by the police and this time the Sherriff decides he’s just going to outright execute him.  Jesse has learned how to teleport and has figured out also how to open the back seat of a police car as well because she has snuck in the back seat and stolen a stun gun.  She aims at her Uncle and fires. Tentacles erupt from him.  Fearless Fife guns him down.  But it takes more than bullets to stop the Sherriff so they get in his car hit him twice and blow him up with CGI fire.

​Jesse and Scott relax in a diner thinking they have won only to read the chapter than says the entity cannot be killed that way.  So they return to the body.  Only to see a fat photographer disguised as a fireman has gotten possessed.  They come up with a plan.  They see the photographer in a bar eating bowl after bowl of nuts.

​Jesse seduces him by saying she wants to sleep with the fattest most disgusting person she can find.  Nice.  So he agrees, because he has dignity and they go to her hotel room where they electrocute him to get the fiend loose.  But it’s not there.  Oh somehow it’s magically in Scott.  They fight it out and eventually get it put in a decanter.  A crusty one eyed man shows up bearing a cross ring like a ring wraith.  He wants to see the creature.  Next we see it burning. He tells them it has to be a certain temperature to kill them.

​Scott and Jesse decide to run off to California together. As a twist we see that the fat photographer is indeed still possessed cause he is found eating flesh in the hospital.  Oh man, what a totally by the book horror movie.  It’s the not the worst out movie out there, but the lack of trying and the sheer lack of imagination what really makes this a weak flick.

Monday, November 8, 2010

[REC] vs Quarantine

​Last night I finally saw the Spanish movie “[Rec]”, the movie that “Quarantine” is based on.  I had attempted once to see “[Rec]” before but I was exhausted from lack of sleep so I kept dozing.  Needless to say now I got the full experience.  So let’s compare a bit.  “[Rec]” was a 2007 Spanish film about a late night program following some firemen into a building only to have it become invested with rage zombies and have it quarantined off by the government.  The American version “Quarantine” was made in 2008 (and I gave “Let me in” crap for being made too soon).  A sequel to “[Rec]” was just released in 2009.

​We can start by talking about the posters of these movies.  “[Rec]” featured the main actress looking sweaty and disheveled.  It’s a scary and gritty image.  Meanwhile in the “Quarantine” camp you have a huge spoiler poster.  It actually shows the main actress being dragged off into the darkness.  Why the hell would they make a poster like that?  It would like having Bruce Willis wearing a sheet with holes over the eyes on the poster for “Sixth Sense”.

​  Anyway the movie themselves are almost shot for shot the same.  There are some glaring differences though.  For example, you can see a hell of a lot better in in the “[Rec]” version because the lighting is better and even though the movie is filmed in that “shaky cam” technique it still manages to not seem like it was held on a paint mixer.   “Quarantine” is all over the place.

​“Quarantine” also just has a few scenes that are just arbitrary.  For example, a rat runs right up to the camera man who just steps on it and kills it.  It adds nothing to story.  Then when being attacked by a horrible zombie the cameraman attacks the assailant with the camera.  Oh, and I don’t mean just uses the camera like a bat like a smart person would.  He uses the LENS and bashes her brains in with it and the camera continues to work perfectly after the fact.  If the director intended to freak people out with this he FAILED because the audience was laughing their asses off watching this.  “[Rec]” actually had more class.

​I’m siding with “[Rec]” once again when it comes to the main actresses.  While Manuela Velasco can sometimes come off childlike in appearance her portrayal of fear is still pretty genuine sounding and she doesn’t come off like a scenery chewing spaz.  Unlike Jennifer Carpenter, Of “Dexter” fame who stutters, cries, and makes so much noise you’d think an ice truck killer was after her.

​But the BIG thing that makes “[Rec]” superior is that it actually explains what the hell is going a little better, or at least attempts to.  There is a scene where an old woman infected by the virus has somehow managed to subdue, bite and throw a full grow fireman over a railing.  In “Quarantine” no one says anything about how odd that is. In “[Rec]” the medical intern at least finds it very hard to imagine an old woman doing this to an adult man.  Way to ask the question that should be on our minds guys.

​Finally there is the ultimate evil that lies in the penthouse.  In “Quarantine” it’s a man who is part of a doomsday cult that had stolen a virus.  Not much to say there. You don’t even find out if he experimented on himself or if this weird thing is the test that went awry. But “[Rec]” told us a different story.  The penthouse was rented by a man that was an agent of the Vatican that found a virus believed to be the cause of demonic possession.  The agent kidnapped a possessed girl bringing her to the penthouse to be experiment on.  The virus mutated becoming contagious so he sealed her up in the room hoping she would die of dehydration and starvation while he left the city.   So the girl was this emaciated ghoulish thing now.  That is a COOL backstory and you find it all out by his notes and tape recordings.

​Bottom line is “[Rec]” is a good movie.  Seeing “Quarantine” first made me wonder what it could possibly bring to the table.  But it impressed me greatly.   I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen “Quarantine” and especially to anyone who thought “Quarantine” was watchable but lacking in some areas.   If you want to see it for free there is a site I’m becoming a huge fan of, fearnet.com.  Check it out.