Sunday, October 30, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
|Zoinks Scoob! Here we go with another mystery.|
If you are like me, and really like the mythos of “Paranormal Activity” you will tend to go out of your way to find whatever you can to fill in the gaps of the story. That was how I heard about the Japanese spin off movie from 2010. I think the producers really expected the Japanese audience to just watch the first movie and then immediately go to this one. In some ways it works, in others in doesn’t.
International student, Haruka Yamano returns to her family in Tokyo. She is wheelchair bound as she has broken both of her legs in San Diego after a car accident. Her father is constantly away on business and her brother, Koichi, is constantly playing with the video camera. They discover strange activity begins to occur around Haruka and set up cameras to investigate the matter. That is when things start to get worse for the brother and sister.
|I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.|
In many ways this spin off is a lot like the first “Paranormal Activity” movie. A lot of the same types of creepy goings on occur and really it doesn’t scare so much this time around. However, this one also has a few things going for it the other did not. Since Haruka has both her legs broken it’s fairly disturbing when the demon causes her to get out of bed and awkwardly walk putting the full weight of her body on her legs casts and broken bones.
|You dare mess with Go Go Yubari!|
There are certainly holes in this story that can’t be ignored. The reason that Haruka got in a car accident is because when she was in San Diego she hit the possessed Katie with her car killing her. This is why the demon follows her to Japan. If that is the case, I don’t think Katie’s whereabouts would be so “unknown,” since she is a greasy spot on the highway.
|Before you die, you see the ring.|
Still, the movie takes some unique chances. There is a Shinto exorcism of the house. I have never seen one of those on film so that was sort of neat. If you are a big fan of POV horror it’s well worth seeing. It’s much better than The Asylum’s “Paranormal Entity”. Considering, the work they put into it, you can tell they at least tried to make it worthy of the series, even though it’s clearly a puzzle piece that doesn’t fit.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
|Don't get used to this scene. It's not in the film.|
“Paranormal Activity 3” starts off with Katie visiting her pregnant sister in 2005 to drop off some old video cassette tapes. We find out later that when Kristi’s house was burglarized in “Paranormal Activity 2” the tapes were stolen. Somehow we are watching them. It’s never really explained.
The movie takes place in 1988 when Kate and Kristi were little girls with their parents and the beginning of the activity was starting to occur. They set up tape recorders all over the house and catch much of it on tape. However, looking into the demonic nature of things and the past of the family could there be something more sinister at work?
|Sisters, Sisters, Never were there such devoted sisters...|
“Paranormal Activity 3” is pretty good. There are some really creepy scenes. However, there are also a lot more cheap jump scares that this movie that the other movies didn’t need to use. It seems strange that they felt the need to resort to that. The characters are all interesting and for the most part likeable. The Mom character is written very oddly since I can’t see how someone can not believe something is amiss with all that going on and not even be curious enough to look at the footage which has proof of the phenomenon.
|I ain't 'fraid of no ghosts!|
The acting is really well done. I found it all worked really well. The kids especially sold it that there was an invisible threat. All in all that aspect makes it worth seeing. On the other hand there are a few flaws. For one, if you expect to see any scenes from the previews you are out of luck. They pretty much just showed you scenes from the cutting room floor.
The other huge flaw is that unless they make another movie that ties this one into the next it does not make a lot of sense. It ends in a very direct way. So much so that maybe it should have been its own movie not related to the other one. Now there are too many holes that come up and really unless a forth movie comes around and fills out that gap that movie just shot the series in the foot.
|Hurry, "Punky Brewster" is on.|
The movie also adds some explanation missing to certain areas. However, it wasn’t enough when you take away so much story that you leave out elements that you need to tie the movies together. Still, it’s worth seeing if you are a fan. I’d recommend a matinee for sure since or a rental if you are not the biggest fan but are at least curious.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
|Ramona Flowers is pissed.|
John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is one of my favorite movies. When I heard they were going to do a prequel I was at least hopeful. I went into it with some lingering hope despite the shitty reviews others had given this new version. Sadly, it is pretty weak and doesn’t stand up well on its own.
“The Thing” takes place in Antarctica in 1982 when a Norwegian science post discovers an alien spacecraft stuck in the ice. They also discover a life form nearby that is frozen in the ice as well and decide to take it back and thaw it with the aid of Kate Lloyd played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The monster breaks out and goes on a murder spree, assimilating people and causing a ruckus.
|Anyone for crab?|
There are several huge flaws with this movie. For one, it bills itself as a prequel when it is more a remake then anything else. Scenes are taken almost shot for shot from the John Carpenter version and the parts that are original break continuity with the movie it is supposed to tie into or have colossal plot holes in them.
|Kurt Cobain is scared.|
Another problem I have is the Thing itself. The alien in the other film was a smart, malevolent, and over all patient killer. It knew when to strike and it did it with perfect timing so you never knew who the Thing was at any given time. It also was able to think methodically. So it planned things out, pitted the men against one another and even framed MacReady at one point. This version is not like that at all. It is bombastic and in your face with explosive bad CGI everywhere. It makes me miss the days of practical effects more and more.
Finally there is another flaw in the characters. There are three characters that are memorable. Kate, the helicopter pilot guy and her scientist friend that dresses like Kurt Cobain are the folks in this movie that really stood out for me. In the original you got to know the entire cast of men and all the personalities as it was an exercise in paranoia and knowing them makes it a better mystery. They made a large cast in this movie merely to add to the body count.
|The only outfit you need for Antarctica is a light wrap.|
Really if you are a fan of the other movie you can rent it at least. You will likely feel disappointed too. I can’t see how any big fan of the original will like this. If you haven’t see ANY of the movies give the 1982 John Carpenter movie a try first because it really is the best one and one of the better movies out there. It still knocks my socks off every time I watch it.
Friday, October 14, 2011
There are tons of video games that are in the horror genre. During the Halloween season there are several games that are great for playing. Here are a few that always stick with me.
|Feed me Seymour|
5. Monster Party- It’s sort of silly as a concept. It’s about a boy that meets a monster from a planet of monsters that uses his help to fight off the evil monster threats. The kid uses his baseball bat to fight off all sorts of monsters and beasties that he comes across. When he needs a boost he takes a pill and turns into a flying monster for a brief period of time. The monsters are goofy looking and it’s a childish sort of game but it has a real Halloween feel to it.
|This is an "Aww shit!" moment.|
4. Resident Evil 4-The game that perfected the Resident Evil series. Leon Kennedy from Resident Evil 2 is now protecting the President’s daughter when she is kidnapped by a terrorist organization. This group uses a strange virus to control people like zombies with almost Alien looking creatures. It was a cool looking concept to move the series and the dark moody European setting made it all the more creepy.
|If you have to ask Dracula, you have issues.|
3. Castlevania Symphony of Night-This is arguably, the best of the Castlevania games. This is about Dracula’s son Alucard out to kill his father. The setting is incredibly expansive as you explore the massive labyrinth of Dracula’s castle and the creatures come from a unique mix of golden age film horror and mythological creatures. It makes for a fun and long game that is reminiscent of the Hammer Horror movies.
|No way you live bat...no way.|
2. Silent Hill-Everything about this title makes this game work. The music is eerie the characters draw you in and the story makes you want to know want to know what madness has taken this town. You play as Harry Mason, a man who is missing his daughter in the haunted town of Silent Hill. The town has a horrible and dark past that creeps into wherever you travel. Often you will walk around the snowy town only to have the hellish nightmare world swallow you in darkness so that the only comfort you have is your flashlight.
|When it comes to necromorph babies, Isaac is Pro-death.|
1. Dead Space 2- Isaac Clark is back but this time he doesn’t know if he is insane or not. This game actually perfected the controls of the last one. It also had better graphic and a lot scarier creatures. An alien artifact is causing people to become horrific creatures called necromorphs. They can only be killed by removing their limbs. Not only are you now fighting with the necromorphs as you were in the first game but your own sanity as well. It is very bloody and full of jump scares that make it work. It also helps when you have space walks that occur and you have terrifying moments in the silence of the vacuum of space.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
|You're gonna eat lightening and you're gonna crap thunder.|
I’ll give this movie some credit- at least the robots look cool. The mix of animatronics with motion capture really made the brawls look crisp and real; not just pixilated blobs fighting like a videogame cut scene. This movie falls into the same pitfall as the “Transformers” movie where the human element is unwanted. In this case, it’s because character is unlikable.
|They knocked his block off!|
Former boxer Charlie, played by Hugh Jackman, is a loser in the sport of robot fighting. He gains custody of his son, Max, who is played by Dakota Goyo, and is almost a clone of young Jake Llyod. The two come across a sparring robot and Max gets it working. Through this, they both develop a relationship on the road as their robot begins winning.
|Remember kid. Women weaken knees.|
The characters are despicable people. All but one are incredibly greedy and selfish individuals who really could care less about the others. How are you supposed to buy into the human drama element when you don’t care? It’s clear that the Charlie character shouldn’t have a kid. Let’s not pretend that Charlie all of a sudden develops love for the brat, when the only reason he even has him around is that Max’s success is winning him money.
|Why? Why was I programmed to feel pain?|
As if that wasn’t the largest disappointment to this movie, the robot Atom’s fight to the top is one of the most blatant rip-offs of “Rocky” I have ever seen. It’s almost painful to watch because it stole the entire ending fight and copied it like a Xerox machine. I kept expecting the robot to look to the crowd for his girlfriend who works in the pet shop.
I can’t recommend this movie, even to rent. Just watch “Rocky” and you’ll get something a lot better and you’ll like the protagonist a lot more than “Real Steel.” They used to televise robot fights on Comedy Central. It was called “Battlebots” and they were basically boxes whacking one another. “BattleBots” was more entertaining than this, and it was cancelled.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
|The deadliest weapon against the eagles...coat hangers.|
I should hate this movie for all it is. The acting is awful. The music choices are like something out of an infomercial. The editing is some of the worst I have ever seen. The script is preachy pulp. However, unlike other awful movies like “Kazaam” this movie was made with the limited budget of $10,000. As much as I hate it I admire that it got made at all. Like Orson Welles says in the movie “Ed Wood” “visions are worth fighting for.” There is a lot of wisdom in that.
|Quit laughing and say your line dummy.|
That being said I still think this is an awful movie. A young man named Rod meets a young lady named Natalie and for the first 47 minutes of the movie we see the development of their romance. After more than half the movie is over the birds attack with all the suddenness of a car wreck. Eagles start attacking people. Apparently, because they have bird flu, which apparently allows the birds to hover, explode like kamikaze planes, and spit acid. Complete with effects that look like they were made in Adobe Flash.
The script is all about how global warming caused these birds to go all crazy. It’s like “The Happening” only far less believable. Take that however you want considering that one had people outrunning the wind. There is a lot of padding and there are some really stupid back and forth dialogue. The music they choose is insane. They pick elevator type music and Casio beats on repeat. Also the very great hit song “Hanging out with my Family.”
The acting is like watching wooden dolls being moved on camera. Plus, there are children whose acting is so weak they make me think they are probably the reason people W.C Fields said never work with animals or children. The editing doesn’t help this. The sound effects are completely botched and scene cuts are such a mishmash of bizarre choices from dissolve cuts to sudden jarring jump cuts. The sound sometimes cuts out for no reason and when you can hear it’s hard to comprehend what is being said by the actor. I think that this is the sort of movie that they should show in film class to show people how to avoid crappy edits.
|Where is Tippi Hedrin when you need her?|
Should you see it? If you are a glutton for punishment who is curious then it probably won’t be the worst thing you ever see. Like I said earlier I think it’s bold that it got made at all given its budget. I have seen a lot better schlock. It wants to have heart and it wants to have a moral but the message gets lost in how incredibly bad it is. I doubt it’s worth much of a rental to the general public but there will always be a select number of my friends that will find this movie to be one of those “so bad it’s good” type of movies.
|Ah man. There are no answers in this book anywhere.|
This is an odd find. While researching it, I found that it is a Spanish movie though the language is in English so it threw me off completely. It has only one recognizable actor and that is the main character, Emma played by Sophie Vavasseur who most folks would be more familiar with when she was younger as Angela Ashford in the “Resident Evil Apocalypse” movie.
|These eyes have seen a lot of love...|
A home schooled teenager has behavioral issues. When she displays signs of demonic possession they bring her priest uncle to her. He determines that an exorcism is in order and they get to the whole procedure. Honestly, if you have seen an exorcism movie you have seen this situation right? For some reason it always a young girl who is possessed and acting like this and never a young boy. Demons are weird that way.
|Please call the Orkin man.|
For half the movie it is a by the book exorcism movie that audiences have seen countless times. There is a twist that makes it different though. I won’t give it away but I will say that I appreciated the shred of originality it was willing to spare. It made the rest of the movie actually likable. I just sort of wish it made getting to that point more of a good experience.
|You betrayed Shiva!|
The acting is so-so. Still, at least the plot moves and there is always something happening. I can honestly say that I have seen a lot worse in an exorcism movie. It takes chances now and again but it could have upped the ante a bit more. I think it might be worth a rental if you are in the mood for something off the wall and new. It certainly is one of the better finds off Netflix these days.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
|Come and play with us Danny. Forever and ever.|
Where do I begin with this one? I though for sure this movie was going to be the big start of the October season of scary movies. The ball is dropped in a lot of big ways. For one thing one of the two big reveals is spoiled in the trailer. Whoever decided to make this decision should have been fired.
|The roof. The roof. The roof is on fire.|
|Ahh! Lea Michele is singing!|
Everything mentioned above was talked about in the trailer. That is really bad. The rest of the movie moves at a snail pace until the conclusion which is really not all it is cracked up to be. It tried to hard to be clever with a twist that is really a bit of a stretch and a tad obvious as well.
|Honey. Get that out of your mouth.|