Saturday, November 29, 2008

Computers still dead

Hoping to be replaced soon. Meaning I'm still running on axillary power (Linux live boot CD in a hard drive free laptop). Naturally this has put the kibosh on a lot of things. I still haven't recovered my list of movies for every year since birth list. But I'm hopeful that I can recover that and a few other things.

So since I'm flying without a PC right now I've been slow on the actual DVD watching, I have however been abusing the new XBox NXE's ability to view Netflix streaming now movies. There has been both good and bad.

But before that just a brief note on one of the few DVDs I have actually made the time to watch. "Return to Sleepaway Camp" it was in a word, disappointing. Not that you expect too much from a direct to DVD sequel anyway but still you kind of get your hopes up sometimes. From the uninspired story to the laughably boring dialog to the ending which became so easily obvious that you couldn't call it a "twist" (even though that was clearly the intent) the movie just fell flat.

Seriously all you need to know to see my point is these two small things. During a fight one of the kids says to Vincent Pastore "What are you, a Big Pussy?" And Issac Hayes has a small cameo where he plays "The Chef." This is the kind of writing you'll deal with if you choose to watch. I say do yourself a favor, rent or buy the original, pop some corn and have a fun night pretending this thing doesn't exist... I just wish I didn't have to make that recommendation.


That unpleasantness aside I have been keeping busy with some good stuff on Netflix streaming lately, here is but a few recommendations I can make.

Mad Max and Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior: I resisted the Mad Max flicks for years but as it turns out they (at least the two I've seen so far) are really fun. But man does Mel Gibson look like a fetus here or what?

Heroes Season 3: I've read some people saying they aren't digging this season, I'm not one of those. What kills me is the cliffhangers, which is good they are supposed to. I can see the show building up to something big at the end of this season and I plan to be there to witness it.

Beverly Hills: 90210 Hear me out on this one. I was a little under the age curve when the show started so even though I was inundated with the later seasons of the show (it was EVERYWHERE) I never had the chance to see the beginning. Which is sad because this first season is pretty awesome I must say. Just not in the way that most people explain it. Every episode is like a different after school special, only with the same cast. Drugs, alcohol, cheating (on a person), cheating (on a test), divorce, rape...they covered everything... Also it has Joe E. Tata, which adds awesome points.

Star Trek: TOS If I have to explain why I am recommending this one then obviously my point of view has never come across clearly in my writing.

The Abyss I wasn't sure what to think when I went into this one, I've heard lots of good things but it never intrigued me much when I read about it. The movie was way more intense than I could have expected. Worth your time no question. I wish I hadn't waited as long as I did to watch.

Unbreakable Ok I'll admit it here, I prefer Unbreakable to The Sixth Sense. I like them both, just as I like 90% of Signs but Unbreakable stands ahead for me. It could be that the world of comics etc.. is my wheelhouse but I think it is more than that. The movie is flatout underrated and I feel that time will look favorably on it.

Gattaca This is a very solid film. Performance, atmosphere, even the music made for a great total package. I found the premise to be scarily plausible.



There you go a quick roundup, a small sampling of the craziness that I've been putting in my head.

Also in other tragic news I have a Man Cold...

In case you forget what a man cold is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Its been too long, but I have an excuse! (yeah thats the ticket) AKA my epic FGFC Fail

So right now you should be reading my thoughts on this months FGFC pick "L'Anticristo" aka "The Antichrist" aka "The Tempter." Well you should be reading that except Netflix had other ideas and didn't seem to have enough supply to meet demand so I couldn't get it from them, then I lucked out and was able to rent it locally, or I would have lucked out if the DVD had been playable. So a full review was just out of reach.

That meant plan B, make glib remarks and/or smartass comments about the trailer. Well you aren't seeing that right now because last week my trusty laptop decided it was time to part ways with its hard drive. That was bad, but not quite as bad as yesterday morning when I woke up to find my desktop giving me the stinkeye and refusing to do a thing. Can you believe it, cataclysmic failure on both of my computers in short order. I'm only able to type this up thank to a Linux Live CD on my hard drive free laptop... I can only blame a failure this complete on one thing....This must be the work of the fucking "Phantom Menace"...Curses!

Also lost (and I'm praying I can recover this) is the first leg of my project, a list. One favorite movie for every year I have been alive. It is a huge pain to go through IMDB by year choosing a list of movies to narrow down trust me. Damn you "Phantom Menace" damn you to hell!

So even though I can't watch youtube videos myself at the moment that doesn't mean I can't link them, so here you watch and you comment. Me, I'll be out searching for a new laptop....



Oh also XBox 360 users, I had a chance to get the NXE a day early. So I can tell you that it is a new experience, it is pretty. The UI isn't my cup of tea honestly, and the avatar thing is a little too Wii-like for my taste. But the menu on the XBox button lets you skip the new UI if you want so that is good, but where the update really shines for me is the Netflix streaming. It was completely simple to set up, the interface there works like a dream, and I actually ended up getting higher quality video on my XBox than I did on my computer. Fun could be had with the feature to sync up a Netflix streaming movie and watch with friends.

Now get off my lawn!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

FGFC: Strait-Jacket

Well kids its time to once again open up the vaults and dive headfirst into another Final Girl Film Club flick. I'm not even going to beat around the bush this time, I freaking Loved Stacie's pick this month, which was "Strait-Jacket." An awesome movie from 1964 from director William Castle, or as I call him "Oh he of 'House on haunted Hill' fame" because I fell in love with that movie when I saw it too. So the man has chops. Not only that but the movie stars Joan Crawford, who I had just seen in "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" So clearly going in I was psyched.

Preamble crap:

This month a return to the shorthand form that I started with. Partly to try and reclaim the fun, partly because I'm ass deep in boxes full of my belongings trying to get ready for a move. You'll roll with me on this one right?


The Cast:

Lucy Harbin – Joan Crawford
Carol Harbin – Diane Baker
Bill Cutler – Leif Erickson
Emily Cutler – Rochelle Hudson
Michael Fields – John Anthony Hayes
Doctor Anderson – Mitchell Cox
Leo Krause - George Kennedy
Raymond Fields – Howard St. John
Mrs. Fields – Edith Atwater
Frank Harbin – Lee Majors


Whats the basics?

Lucy Harbin (Joan Crawford) comes home early from a trip to find her younger husband, Frank (Lee Majors) aslseep in bed with his lover. Distraught, Lucy lashes out at the lovers with the first thing she finds, an axe! Unfortunately he 3 year old daughter bears witness to the horrific acts (both the murders and the extramarital shenanigans)

20 years later and a lot has changed, Lucy has spent her time in an asylum after being judged insane and is now being released to live with the now adult Carol, and Carols uncle, Lucy's brother Bill and his wife Emily.

Adjusting to life on the outside is difficult for Lucy, she is nervous around strangers, including Carol's "almost fiancée" Michael, she is uncomfortable with the way she has aged, she is hearing things and even having nightmares (severed heads on a pillow, not so good for the sleepy time),

Lucy seems to have ups and downs, Carol treats her to a makeover, which leaves lucy looking (and occasionally acting as if she were) 20 years younger. Of course all of the progress hits a bit of a snag when Dr. Anderson from the asylum stops by for a visit. Lucy once again becomes very nervous and agitated, and people start getting killed.

But is Lucy the culprit?


What works for me?

As we know I'm a sucker for well shot black and white, and there were times here when director William Castle (Oh he of "House on Haunted Hill" fame) just blew me away. There were literally a few stills that I would love to have blown up as art on my wall. But I don't know, maybe that just makes me a geek?

Aside from that the acting was pretty damned good as well, I mean Joan Crawford! You know you love her don't deny it. Then there is Diane Baker, I found her performance to be very good on the first viewing but on the second viewing once I knew that she was in fact the killer I found the subtlety that she put in there to be pretty near to brilliant. Her face during that first uncomfortable hug, he body language during her conversation with Dr. Anderson, the little digs she put in when "pushing" Joan Crawford's Lucy into doing things she wasn't comfortable with. Really I just loved it, beautifully disturbed!

Say what you will but I say that rhyme was awesome, so aweome I'm sharing it right now, just you try and stop me! "Lucy Harbin took an axe, gave her husband 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave his girlfriend 41." That just plain rocks, if I have kids I may teach that to them. Hey, don't judge me, you probably taught/will teach your kids that horrible rhyme about the black plague.

Since I brought up the ending where Carol turned out to be impersonating/framing her mother for the killings in an attempt to get Michael's parents out of the way. If you look at the story as a whole, give the movie an extra viewing or two you will see that actually it is laid out very well so you are lead to believe that it is probably Lucy, but Castle was very careful to shoot it in a way so Carol's ultimate reveal could make sense. Had the movie been made today, odds are there would have been unexplainable stuff thrown in there to put you off the trail. Laid out quite well indeed.

In addition to the main killer story there is also the intertwined secondary story with Lucy's sanity. Clearly she was better when released (or as much "better" as she could be) as is evidence by the ending where she is quite clear about what has happened and what needs to be done, she was just being driven back into madness as part of Carol's plan.

A young Lee Majors losing his head. I don't need to say anything other than that, Fun!


The other side of the coin:

With all the good there was a bit I found to be, well not great, but still not really bad. Mainly there wasn't a whole lot of feelings of danger for most people. Michael, Lucy, Carol, Bill and Emily never seemed as if they were possible victims of the killing, so that is just a bit over half of the main cast feeling safe and sound right there (ok so one of them was being driven crazy, but that wasn't revealed really until the end). Also Leo Krause the creepy jerk farm hand really seemed like the only reason he was there was so someone could be killed between Dr. Anderson and Mr. Fields, nobody even noticed poor Krause had eaten it.

Dr. Anderson, why did he feel the need to lie to Bill but felt it was ok to suddenly speak the truth to Carol? And for that matter, assuming that Lucy was actually released on probation clearly they would have had to let Bill and Emily in on that since it was their property she was staying at yes?

Also disappointing to me was that Lee Majors did not pop back up in the last half of the movie with a new bionic head....Ok so this one wasn't ever even a consideration, but come on that would have been badass!


Rhetorical questions:

Who was watching 3 year old Carol while Frank was out getting his groove on?

Why was Lucy the only person to get off of the train at that stop?

Did you notice the Columbia statue at the end is headless?

Did you laugh in delight when you noticed it like I did?

Are you judging me right now?


Obligitory ass kissing moment:

Once again I have to mention how much I enjoyed this flick, and dammit I just have to say Thank you Stacie, I doubt I would have found this one on my own.






Boomer Sooner

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FGFC: The Food of the Gods

Wow is it really that time again? It seems like it was just a month ago that the last Final Girl Film Club pick was due... You know the drill, Stacie over at Final Girl picks a flick, for us to watch and then we talk. You know, no big whoop.

As is tradition I scoff at the traditional Monday due date. You can't tie me down with your rules man! Rules never stopped me from eating a full meal and then hopping right in the swimming pool did they? The never stopped me from watching too much TV and sitting too close either. And they certainly didn't prevent me from feeding my Mogwai after midnight whenever I damn well pleased... OK I admit that last one may have been a mistake, but the rest of them all lead to a good time!

This month the movie choice is “Food of the Gods.” A movie from 1976 which not only has animals running amok, but giant animals running amok. Going in that is about all I knew, and frankly that is all I really needed to know. Seriously if giant animals on a rampage doesn't put your ass in a seat you really should be asking yourself who took your soul and is it possible to get it back*.


The Basics

Football player, Morgan (Marjoe Gortner), his teammate and friend Davis (Chuck Courtney), and Brian (Jon Cypher) their PR Man decide to spend their upcoming days off getting a little RnR hunting on “The Island.”

So while hunting a stag, well apparently Morgan was just chasing a stag, but Davis wants some venison. While the others yield to the wild animal and let it run off Davis takes even more chase deeper into the woods. For all the effort that he put into the chase he is rewarded with the opportunity to give a giant angry wasp a piggyback ride! The wasp, clearly offended by Davis' reaction, decides that its stingin' time! Bye bye Davis.

Morgan leaves Brian with their only mostly dead friend and goes off to find a phone for some help. He winds up at a farm, when nobody answers to his knock goes looking in the barn, what he finds there is not a farmer. Instead he finds a giant rooster and some super sized chickens. As “Family Guy” teaches us when confronted with a giant rooster ya gotta throw down! A well placed shot with a pitchfork and Morgan is saved from a beaky death.

After his barely surviving the rooster incident Morgan gives the house another whack and this time he finds Mrs. Skinner (Ida Lupino) at the door. After yelling at him and threatening him with a shotgun and informing him that there are no phones on the island save for at the ferry she asks him for a favor. She wants to see if something is what she thinks it is and since Mr. Skinner isn't home yet she can't ask him.

Sure enough Morgan agrees that the holes in the wall are from rats. This vexes the poor lady, she is afraid that they have gotten into the special food, the food that the lord sent them. Frankly if it were me and I had some kind of strange food that made baby animals grow gigantic and go all meat eater on me I'd probably have that food sealed up pretty tight and secure. Not ol' Mrs. S. she rolls with the jar out on the table and the lid off. She's a rebel that one!

On the ferry back home Mr. Skinner (John McLiam) wonders if anything strange was up while he was gone. Upon hearing of Davis' death he asks if the friends said anything about seeing any kind of “big anything.” Clearly he knows of Mrs. Skinner's sloppy handling of the foodstuffs.

While investigating a crash in the kitchen Mrs. Skinner's arm is attacked by some giant maggots. Had he been around Bear Grylls would have been in heaven, those suckers would have kept him in energy for a month.

While driving home Mr. Skinner gets a flat. Before he can get it fixed he is attacked by a pack giant rats. What ensues is the first of what will be many completely awesome rats attacking a miniature structure shots. By attacking I pretty much mean crawling all over... but still!

The next day we see douchy businessman Jack (Ralph Meeker) and his assistant Lorna (Pamela Franklin) driving towards the farm. Along the way they pass a Winnebago containing the pregnant Rita (Belinda Balaski) and her man, who is definitely not her husband Thomas (Tom Stovall). Rita seeing Douchy Jack driving by runs up to flag him down since the Winnebago is broken down but Douchy Jack, being a douche, opts not to stop.

Since Mr. Skinner isn't back yet Mrs. Skinner is reluctant to show DJ and Lorna the secret ingredient that makes the animals big. But Jack douchily finds a way to convince her. As it turns out the secret ingredient that the lord sent is some kind of goo spouting out of the ground. Yep thats right, if you want your animals to grow up big and strong you gotta feed them God Goo!

The revelation is broken up swiftly by the return of our friends the wasps. Boy if they thought that Davis had a bad reaction to the whole piggy back thing wait until they meet the douche.

Jack actually surprised me a little bit here, in a very uncharacteristic move he grabs a shovel and heads out to get rid of the wasps. He doesn't do too well on his own. Luckily Brian and Morgan, having decided to return to the island and rid it of the wasp menace, pull up just in time to lock and load and help Douchy Jack save the day. Well not day, but minute or so. I think Jack would have had better luck had the wasps not been utilizing some kind of cloaking technology making them semi transparent.

After dark, once the wasps would have returned home, Morgan and Brian head nest to take care of things. They do so with fire and explosives. Solid, transparent or opaque not a single wasp could have survived that beautiful explosion!

While Lorna gets trapped in the rat tunnels requiring rescue our Winnebago bound friends are running into some rat trouble of their own. Morgan and Brian save Lorna of course, and Tom and Rita escape their now rat covered vehicle on foot. I can't stress enough how much I love the rats swarming miniature vehicles shots, pure awesome!

Douchy Jack wants get the hell out of there, he does offer to take anyone that wants to go with him. Of course as Morgan points out there is a chance that the rats could still get them, even in the car. Arguments and threats ensue and it is decided that Morgan and Brian will take a trip in the jeep to see how bad the rat problem is. Brian isn't thrilled at this.

While the boys are out checking on the rat problem Douchy Jack is busy filling up every container possible with the God Goo. Lorna on the other hand is concerned about Rita who is sick and possibly having a miscarriage.

Morgan discovers a fence stretches all the way around the property, even through the water. He believes that the rats are too heavy to swim and will just sink to the bottom of the water. Brian, being the thinker, points out that the fence is kind of puny and won't hold the rats back long. Morgan thinks differently, the fence will work wonders! ...if it is electrified.

One little generator and a ground later and Morgan's shocking fence dreams become a reality. Luckily the plan worked and the rats retreat from the electric fence. Down at the water the theory turns out to be correct. Them rats is sinkers! Well at least the half of the pack that showed up to the water is, the other half are back at the generator site apparently knocking a tree down to break the thing.

Upon discovery of the busted generator Morgan does what any sane man wouldn't do. He hops out of the jeep and attempts to move a tree to possibly fix? The generator. Sadly this is just the opening our friends the R.O.U.S.s (Rodents of Unusual Size) were looking for and they go on the strike. Morgan escapes the ordeal with just a bit up arm, Brian isn't quite so lucky. He'll be spending the rest of the flick standing next to Davis.

When Morgan pulls up Douchy Jack is trying to convince Thomas to get Rita into the car so that they can all leave. Jack makes a douchlike comment to Morgan about the missing Brian which results in a confrontation and then leads Morgan to go on a God Goo dumping spree. This is just the distraction the rats needed and they charge the house. Everyone who hasn't been a giant douche throughout the whole ordeal makes it back into the safety of the house. Jack on the other hand gets et.

During the attacks they discover the white rat that is apparently the leader. The shotgun shells aren't going to last forever, something has to be done. Morgan's plan is to make pipe bombs out of the black powder from the shells, and fire bombs out of pretty much every other flammable item in the house.

Once finished creating his weapons Morgan tricks convinces Thomas to help him take the fight to the rats. They shoot their way to the jeep, head to the dam, which Mrs. Skinner conveniently mentioned to Morgan at some point, and set the pipe bombs to blow the dam out and flood the island.

While the guys are out setting the bombs the rats are still at the house swarming (more fantastic mini work!). One rat finds it's way into the kitchen only to be attacked by a butcher knife wielding Mrs. Skinner. Her knife fighting skills are met with mixed results... By mixed results I mean that she dies from the bite wounds at the same time that the rat she was attacking died from her knife wounds.

Proving how inconvenient it really is to have a pregnant woman with you in the middle of a giant animal attack Rita actually gives birth to a healthy baby boy in the middle of all of the action. Man is that kid going to have an awesome story that none of his friends will believe.

As the water from the dam reaches the house Morgan rushes in the door and orders everybody upstairs to avoid the water (and probably the angry drowning rats as well).

After a scuffle with a couple of roof clinging rats everything appears to be over. Then the white rat leader leaps out from behind the roof and Morgan realizes that he just busted the last of his caps. No problem, being the man's man that he is Morgan is able to wield the gun as a club and bludgeons the rat until there is no more problem.

What is the recipe for a good cleanup? Take one large pile of soaking wet giant rat bodies, add in the apparent last jar of God Goo, throw in some leftover gasoline, toss in a match and watch your trouble just go up in flames.

As the movie ends we see two jars marked FoTG being washed away all the way down to a place where cows are grazing, cows who are then milked, milk that is then sent to schools, schools where children drink the milk!

Uh oh...

*Animal rampages involving giant spiders are the exception to the rule. Sometimes you can avoid those and still have a soul... Spiders is scary.


Thoughts

First off I have to admit that out of the impressive number of movies that I have seen in my day my experience with the “animals run amok” genre is disappointingly low. I've seen a few, but nothing of not that comes directly to mind. But I do love the idea of them, and I shall be watching more. The question begs, was “Food of the Gods” a good place to start? Well lets see.

So yeah the acting for the most part was what you would expect from this kind of fair, lots of over the top, a little stiff, and one dead on portrayal of a douche, well maybe not dead on but I certainly enjoyed Ralph Meeker's run as Jack (could you tell?). So you won't find me complaining too much on that aspect.

The plot delivered everything it really needed to. It was simply a device to allow some sweet giant animal attacking action wasn't it? Did it work? You bet. Now I know that this is based on a story by H.G. Wells, and I haven't read that so I don't know how close a translation it is, but I would suspect that some stuff was dropped, and some was changed. Obviously the story had a deeper message, the movie tried to keep it at least a bit in the pre and post narratives with Morgan, and of course the action. But it did seem a little tacked on or forced with the narrations to me.

Ah now we get to the real good stuff, the attacks. They started out a little silly with Davis being attacked by nothing and then giving a piggy back ride, though the swollen effect made up for that and later on with the rats they entered the realm of campy and excellent. The giant stuffed rats themselves weren't that realistic looking, but what they lacked in quality they made up for in quantity. I sound like I'm kidding but it actually worked for me, with all the movement and business of the scenes combined with the surprisingly decent looking injuries it just worked. Now the stuff that I took entirely too much joy from are the rats climbing on miniature set pieces scenes. Those were just so deliciously camp that I just couldn't get enough of them.

I also enjoyed that The rats make feline noises.

If I had any criticism I guess it would have to be the pace. It seemed a bit clunky, there were times when I was really lost in the moment and having a great time, then it was like a brick wall of boring stuff trying to drive the story on, the extra cut in of Rita and Tom arguing over marriage comes to mind. That could have easily been a part of a scene that ended in them running from the vehicle instead of a tension breaking cutaway. Little nit picks like that is all I've got.

Oh yeah and the stupid freeze framing during the opening credits, yeah that annoyed the hell out of me. I thought the Netflix stream I was watching it on was wigging out. Don't do that!

Overall I would say I had a good enough time with the movie. It was worth the netflix stream, I wouldn't purchase it and there are aspects of it that make me hesitant to recommend it to others (See disclosure below). But the parts of it that were good were good enough to keep me interested in the genre so I'm glad that I stuck with it.


Full disclosure

When I was writing my thoughts and the recap I had made the decision to try to gloss over or ignore the obvious trauma to the real rats that took place. As I post this I realize that it is kind of irresponsible. The obvious animal abuse was extremely troubling to me, it certainly wasn't entertaining to watch. It was sad and a really poor choice to make when filming. Though over all I did enjoy the movie it was a tough hurdle to climb and it did wreck the rewatchability.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It has been too long

Don't think I have forgotten about this here blog, because I haven't. Not for a minute! I have just been for more busy than I would have though.

During my wild and exotic travels (from one room to another mostly) I did manage to get a few minutes to see "Tropic Thunder."

My opinion? Go see it plain and simple. Those who have protested, complained, or whined, have most likely either not seen it or missed the point. The flick is a satire.

Actually if they complained that the movie had a slow start, or the humor wasn't their cup of tea that is ok. Opinions that differ from mine are fine, but uninformed complaining has got to go.

Here, for the complainers I did some leg work for you. A little education if you will.

Satire:
sat-ire
–noun
1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
3. a literary genre comprising such compositions.


So other than being uber busy, seeing great movies (and some not so good, I'm looking at you "Dead Man's Bounty") I've working on ideas for this place. I hope to come out of my slowness rut running very soon. But until then I give to you The Scissor Sisters!

Friday, August 15, 2008

TTFATF on Mario Paint??

This totally made my Friend Feed account worth it. This popped up as something a friend of a friend posted and it totally blew me away. Dragonforce's "Through the Fire and the Flames" on Mario Paint!



A few other things the FF has pointed me towards:

The ridiculousness of SF MOMA

A discussion on Bad Words

and The Monkees!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

FGFC: Beardless Brolin edition (AKA "The Car")

So once again the time is here, we hang our hats, put up our feet, grab our favorite snacks and drinks, shut out the lights, remove our pants, and tune into the Final Girl Film Club pick. Which of course can be found over at Final Girl.

...What, you don't do the pants thing? Whatevs.

This month's pick is a big one for me. Not only had I heard of the movie prior to it being picked but for the first time ever I had actually seen the damn thing. Of course in the name of science I did give it a second watch just for the club. Also if you were thinking that having prior knowledge of the movie made it possible for me to write this up in an “on-time” manner you must be new. Actually the plan was to view and write during the day on Sunday when I was clear but once again fate thwarted my attempt. This time it was the form of 20 power free hours. But by Brolin's Beard* I sear to thee that I shall have this out before midnight PST.

So “The Car,” which was this month's pick really interested me when I first heard about it. First point of order though I wish it were so I am unfortunately by no means a gearhead. But I am a wannabe! So any movie about a car in some fashion that doesn't require lots of knowledge about said car excites me. It really is a matter that hurts me, “Two Lane Blacktop,” “Vanishing Point,” and even “Bullitt” are movies that I do really like but I always always feel as if I'm missing something in the translation. That may be a sad commentary on me as a person. Also I should apologize in advance, this thing kinda got away from me. It's long, crazy, and I think I was jerk enough to leave a few bad puns laying around.

So anyway back to “The Car.” James Brolin, an evil murderous car, 1977, which way will this go? Well lets see.



The Story
The story is fairly simple. Which is the beauty of it!

A car made of evil is on the loose and wreaking havoc on a small Utah town. Said evil ends up gaining the attention of the police Capt. Wade Parent (James Brolin) which could be problematic for the car's future in evildoing.



Thoughts: Good or Bad?
See, told you it was simple. Well ok you got me I could go into synopses and make it more complex but really going in that is ALL that I needed to be excited. That may make me an easy mark I'm not sure. Still the fact remains.

But did it hold up to my expectations? After two viewings I'd have to say yes, yes it has. The movie simply had it all; action, adventure, mystery, mild spelunking...

What can I say “The Car” had me from the beginning. The first kill(s) set a good tone. Two random bikers going across a bridge are harassed first and then bumped off by The Car. Sadly I don't have the ability to paint a picture with my words that would do it justice but it did a nice job of setting things up. Loud, intense, unapologetic, but not gory. Got it!

The pace set forth by the first attack by the car was kept up nicely with the second attack. This time instead of random bikers we get to meet the victim. A man who goes by the name of Johnny Norton. A man by the way that on my first watch through I thought was going to be a pivotal character through the movie, he had just enough detail to fool me into believing that he would stick around. Sadly he made the mistake of uttering to the speeding past car one of my favorite taunts I've ever heard; “Up yours with a splintered fiddle!” Thats just awesome, isn't it? But seriously even though young Johnny tried to do the right thing and stop spousal abuse he also did something evil in its own right, he played the French horn early in the morning while people are probably still sleeping. He deserved the plowdowning that he got and at least one of the backups. Also...he was a hippie, farting music for a whole year indeed!

And what of our man Wade? We first get to meet him as he wakes up with Lauren (Kathleen Lloyd) his lover watching him sleep. What ensues is typical let's do it before the kids get in here fare which she takes care of in a quite unique and might I say discomfort inducing manner. Still a lot is packed into that little scene. We learn that Wade is a single father of two, they don't know that Lauren sleeps over (except that they do, he just doesn't know), he is a cop, Lauren is a teacher. But most importantly we learn that it is highly possible that Josh Brolin isn't actually the start of “No Country for Old Men” my theory is that James Brolin in 1977 stumbled upon a time machine directly after filming “The Car” flashed forward in time and stepped out directly onto the set. Picture evidence below.


See what I mean?


So anyway going forward The Car rampages more, reports come in, including one that the car has no driver. Now here is another thing I really liked about the movie. It didn't play out like a “monster” movie with a Satan car. It played out like a crazy automobile movie, that is how the cops handled it, that is how the cops Would handle it if it were real (what is real?). It just so happens that this crazy automobile might in fact be the devil, who knew!? There wasn't any magic, no spells or curses, just cars, speed, and explosives!

There were some cheesy cliches in there, I won't lie. Extremely flammable from inside the cab cars for starters. Thats a standard I know but it always strikes me as a little bit strange to me. Maybe its because of that episode of Mythbusters, or maybe I really am jaded? Also Lauren taunting the car at the cemetery was a little questionable. She had no idea why it wouldn't come in there to get her so when she started it seemed a bit unintelligent (and she is a teacher remember?). Of course it provided a good comic beat to break up some of the uncomfortableness, and then when it became necessary to keep The Car distracted it worked.

Cheesy in a good way was the Devils in the fireball at the end. And by the way, did you notice that the only way to kill an evil car of any kind is to actually blow it up. Well that isn't true, K.A.R.R. Survived an explosion!

I really can't think of too much to even say about the movie that would fall under the “didn't like” banner. About the only thing that I thought was kind of a bummer was the way that Lauren went out. Yeah it was important that she go so that Wade could take the revenge kick up a notch. But I just don't like the idea that she can have these dumb moments like she does.

Here is a hint for you Lauren if you are being stalked by a murderous vehicle always have a lookout and an escape. Don't send your only refuge off to check on his family, especially not if he is supposed to be on the job! Also if you are standing in front of a big window and you can see some headlights outside of it paired with a loud and unsettling honk feel free to assume that you are right and The Car is there and you should find higher ground. Don't wast time making a call to voice your suspicions. Seriously she was pretty much asking The Car to turn her house into a drive-through.



Final Thought
I'd recommend giving this a rent without hesitation. There are some scares in there that come in the form of discomfort. The old “Jaws” like adage of a loud noise repeated can affect you is really in effect here but in a non rip-off way.

There is some subtle but good stuff in there. The wind the precedes the car was probably my favorite. Also most of the non major characters had their own little sub stories going on that helped develop them a bit. I've never read the book but my instinct is that this is some of the good holdover coming from there.

Though I thought the ending of the movie was pretty good and didn't seem out of place apparently there is an alternate ending that is the ending from the book. I kind of wish I had seen that.



* I have in fact been using the term “Brolin's Beard” far far too often since Stacie coined it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Abridged Review(s): "Why so serious?"

Hey there, remember me? I'm the angry guy that used to frequent this place and bitch about a lot of things and geek out about other things. Ring any bells? No? Well it has been a while. I guess we start at the beginning then. Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and and taste. I've been around for a long, long year. Stole many a man's soul and faith.....No wait thats someone else. Screw it just read back you'll remember me!

As I said in my last post way way too long ago I've been keeping busy with projects of one sort or another. I've also been taking it easy on the movie front. I have a lot of them on my plate that I want to get to (including getting back on track with that pesky IMDB list of so long ago! (I've actually snuck a few in that I haven't spoken of yet(Three sets of parenthesis!!!))). But there are a few flicks I've taken the time out to check out recently, some good “The Dark Knight,” Some less so “The Incredible Hulk” but I'm getting ahead of myself. Settle back, buckle up, and keep all your hands and feet inside the car at all times this could be bumpy. Let's jump right into it shall we?

The Incredible Hulk
If you don't remember me then you probably don't remember that I consider Ang Lee's Hulk to be a bit of a masterpiece. Admittedly I do owe a large nod to the always incredible Kim Morgan for my enjoyment of “Hulk.” If not for he enthusiasm for the flick I never would have touched it. It may be a flaw in me but for some reason or the other I just am not a huge fan of The Incredible Hulk. The comic books have never held my interest, the TV show bored me, etc...

I was very much ready to skip this one and catch it on DVD. Unfortunately it happened to come out right about at the same time as Father's Day was rolling around. I decided to treat my dad to any flick, his choice. Though I urged him towards “Iron Man” he wanted to see “Hulk.” I decided hitting him in the face with a steel folding chair wouldn't be the appropriate response to his choice so I went with it.

To say my expectations going in were low would be a mild but accurate way to put it. And as such my expectations were met. There was some decent enough action, a little story. I was glad that it wasn't a complete origin story, so at least it didn't make Lee's film completely irrelevant. The casting was good enough, though I really really wish that we could have had more time with Tim Roth as a human, or a super human before they made him a CGI abomination (there is a pun there if you choose to fish it out).

I think the biggest crime the movie had for me was that it just left me feeling like all I had seen was another big actiony summer flick instead of a movie that was part of a world that is larger than that. Which is what Marvel is obviously going for. I mean there were some references to the “universe” in there, the main ones being the S.H.I.E.L.D. Computers, and of course the ending cameo by Robert Downy Jr. Who completely stole the movie by the way. But other than that there wasn't much.

Oh, and the final fight between The Hulk, and The Abomination looked almost as realistic as some of the cut scenes you get on your average Xbox 360 game nowadays. Seriously I laughed.

All in all I'd say rent this when it comes out on DVD or if you have the means Blu-Ray. With the exception of the end fights the CGI is relatively well done and the action is OK. The story is workable, though I still feel that it would have served the movie better to be connected more with both the Ang Lee “Hulk” and “Iron Man” but we can't have it all can we? Let's just pray that “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” takes more after “Iron Man.”


The Ring (second viewing)
Originally I hated this movie. I considered it a huge disappointment. See when I was going to ITT we talked a lot about movies (gotta do something to avoid classwork right?) and someone whose movie taste I really trusted told me I needed to watch this “It'll scare the shit out of you...literally” he said. Now at that point I'd seen some scary movies, but none of them had required a change of pants afterwards so I was intrigued.

Netflix was contacted, the movie was sent and then the movie was watched. The next day I went back to class and had to ask my friend which part of the movie was supposed to do the damage. He seemed both baffled and flabbergasted at my dislike of the movie.

Cut to a few years later and I see the Internet's Final Girl Stacie Ponder making goo-goo eyes all over “The Ring.” So again someone whose judgment I totally trust is loving on this flick. So with a little coaxing and realizing that I've been incorrect in the past I decided a round 2 was in order.

In fairness the first shake I gave “The Ring” was at about 3 in the afternoon, it was bright out, I was just out of class and my brain was probably still wound up from math or some such. Not necessarily ideal for a scary movie. This time I was relaxed, it was night, there was actually a nice rain going on outside. So the scene was set.

So was I wrong originally? I'd say yes and no. I will now admit that yes it is a good movie, and it'll suck you in more than you realize. Was there an unfortunate accident during the viewing, no. It wasn't that kind of movie.

The interesting thing about “The Ring” is that instead of the sudden big scares it relies pretty heavily on the long running slow creepy eerie scare that like I said just grabs a hold and you may not even realize it is affecting you. Trust me, it affects you. I found that out about 30 minutes into the movie (half past Midnight for me mind you) when My phone rang. Well OK that almost got the job done, I'm man enough to admit I jumped. Then I answered and cussed out my friend for calling so late and having such terrible timing....jerk.

The twisty type thing near the end would have been a lot more impact for me had I not known it was coming, still I was able to appreciate that it both made sense and fit in with the movie and didn't “break” anything. Which is always good of a twist.

I'd still probably just call this a rent, if only because I just don't know if the chills and eerie feelings would hold up to multiple views. But it definitely is a fun scary watch.


The Dark Knight
So umm yeah, stop reading what I'm saying here and go watch the damn thing yourself. If you've already seen it stop and go see it again!

Actually I will say a few short words on it. Everyone loves Bale as Batman, you can't argue with that. Ledger has been getting huge praise for his turn as The Joker. I agree with all said on that of course. Maggie Gyllenhaal's Rachel Dawes is also getting a lot of good attention, again I agree though I wish she would have had a bit more screen time. Lets face it, the movie is an acting powerhouse. But here is what bothers me. All of these great performances and yet I'm not seeing nearly enough praise going towards Gary Oldman, whose performance was subtle and brilliant. Gordon isn't and shouldn't be the focus of a Batman movie obviously, he is kind of an ancillary character. Still Oldman was able to deliver the goods. C'mon people, you know you loved him so come out and say it already!

Yeah I'm going to go ahead and just say as soon as possible pre-order this one. I know it will be in my collection ASAP. Though before that go see it in the theaters again. I'm hoping I can catch it in IMAX since I was unable to on opening night.

Next on my list is possibly “The X-Files: I Want To Believe” though after reading some unflattering reviews that seem to confirm my fears I am really worried...


So there you have it, some movie talk, nuts as it may have been.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Once more into the breach!

So I've been elusive again. Where was I? Simple answer, I've been busier than I thought I would be. Slightly longer answer? Well..

As you may or may not know I do some light site maintenance* and post the podcast version of the shows for Talk It Over Radio. They recently have been picked up and will now be airing not only on the Internets, but also over California airwaves on KERI 1180 AM. Which obviously is quite awesome, but also means I've been trying to tweak the site a bit here and there and make it as pretty as I can. So there is part of it.

Also you may or (more probably) may not know that originally I signed on for some light site maintenance* of the predecessor to Talk It Over Weezy and The Swish. Well the big news is that Weezy and The Swish is back! Really freaking sweet! But then that meant that I had to rebuild the WaTS website which was taken over by TIO. That took a bit of time, but I think it came out functional. Utilizing my TARDIS to get the posts in the correct time frame and getting the images etc.. put back in was the bear of the work. But really worth it to get the show back. Incidentally Weezy and The Swish is actually back Tonight, 7PM eastern, so about what 25 minutes from now (I'd better hurry!).

What else have I been up to? Well I watched 3 different “Jaws” movies on the 4th, I still have some complaining things to say about “The Incredible Hulk”.

I've been spending quite a bit of time over on Friend Feed, Twitter, and Plurk. Microblogging insanity is easy for me to handle...Especially when I'm running on a day where I never went to bed the night before like today. Tonight I probably crash early....maybe.

Oh yes, and this...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FGFC: Lifeforce, better late than never?

So I'm late, well I'm always late but this time I'm later than usual. But what are you gonna do, sue me?

So it is time once again for the FGFC This month the coo coo nutsos ran the asylum and Stacie allowed a vote to choose the movie. That vote lead us to “Lifeforce.” A sci-fi/horror, (or is it horror/sci-fi?) flick directed Tobe Hooper out of 1985. The movie is based off of the book based on the book “The Space Vampires” by Colin Wilson, a book that based on it's title I find annoying that I had never heard of. Time to head to the used book store!

So I went into this movie as usual knowing extremely little. In fact really all I knew was the description Stacie gave during the voting process (a new and scary, but cool, addition to the film club. Now we can only blame ourselves?). Research, whats that? So basically I went in knowing only that it was a Tobe Hooper directed flick, and at some point some naked life sucking space vampires would show up....Ok that's not true, I did do a little research. I had to make sure the name Bea Arthur didn't appear anywhere on the cast list. But other than that I swear I went in knowing nothing.



On with the really big shoe

You know honestly I'm have no idea why but after multiple viewings this movie really just doesn't do much for me and

I really have no idea why. When I sit back and think about it I really should have loved the thing. First off it combined horror, and sci-fi two of my favorite genre's in any medium. That alone should have been enough to seal my love. So why didn't it? Seriously I'm asking because after 4 viewings (Yes 4 viewings!) It still isn't striking me strongly in any way.

It isn't poorly made. In fact in a way the effects really impressed me. I really liked the look of the dehydrated lifeforeceless victims. They had a fantastic creepiness about them, especially when animated, and those eyes. I really liked the practical effects. Even the light/energy stuff wasn't so bad, although the effect itself didn't make a whole lot of sense in a logical “what is that doing” sense. But then we are talking about space vampires no? The closest thing to an eh, maybe moment in the effects was the space “walk” moments where it was clearly a still image floating on a matt-painting. And yet even that wasn't terrible, they managed to get some depth out of it and the painting was top notch. Actually I take that back, there is one effect I didn't care for. The animated giant bat creature, I thought they looked cooler while inanimate.

The story, well maybe this is what does it. First I'll note that I've never read “The Space Vampires” so I don't know how true to the book it truly is. But to me it plays an awful lot like a movie that was directly adapted from the pages of a book. Most people think that is what they want. I always maintain that movies and cinema are two completely separate mediums and direct translations rarely work. People get hung up on changes, but they simply are needed. Need proof see the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in fact watch it with director/writer commentary they talk a lot about changes being needed and people love those movies (and by people I of course mean me). So from the beginning it plays a lot like a book on film, from the John Larroquette exposition at the beginning spelling out the happenings to the order in which things are happening. Even the twist at the end was dulled for me by the manner in which the foreshadowing, the verbal queues would work in a book but on film there are better more subtle ways.

There were things I did like storywise though. The misdirection sending them to Yorkshire, the stuff in the asylum that was good. The retconning of the entire vampire mythos was kind of cool. The idea of a vampire plague and the energy being sent to the shop was a really cool sci-fi meets classical horror type convergence.

See like I say, some complaints but nothing overwhelming. Yet somehow I just couldn't feel Lifeforce. And that is saying something I mean c'mon....Naked vampire aliens from space, Patrick Stewart getting lip locked by a another man, bodies that explode into dust, zombiefied plague victims going all hungry vampire zombie all over London, freaking naked vampire aliens from space (did I mention those?).

My final conclusion.....My brain effing hates me and wishes to drive me insane.



Also I'm not so sure that the female naked vampire alien from space wasn't actually a Sith. When she was escaping the research center it looked an awful lot like she was using, Force Lightning, Force Choke, and Force Push. Go ahead and rewatch, you'll see. She was full of the dark side!

Monday, June 23, 2008

R.I.P. George Carlin

As I sat down tonight to write up my thoughts on “Lifeforce,” this month's FGFC pick I heard the news of the passing of the great George Carlin. Which really tore me up. Actually it was a lot like a punch straight to my gut. Something I just wasn't ready to hear, something I don't think I would ever have been ready to hear.

Many people don't know this but between the ages of about 7 and 15 or so if anyone asked me what my dream job was, what I hoped or wished I could be I had a two word answer, “Writer, Comedian.” That is no lie, and it I did then, and still do attribute it mainly to the man whom in my head I always refer to as “The Icon” George Carlin. Carlin was the first comedian that I ever witnessed that truly captured the entirety of my interest.

I've always believed that the mark of a great comedian is not just someone who can make you laugh, but someone who can make you laugh and provoke thought. Carlin was great at that, his views on language were legendary. Which was appropriate, after all he wrote and spoke for a living so language was his playground was it not?

One of the most powerful beliefs I have always had is a direct result of Carlin, that being that the words we use only have the power that we allow them to have.

The best way I've found to fight the sadness of this great loss is to honor the man and view his work. Here is a fantastic clip which will show you what I am talking about far better than any words I could possibly say.



Notice the beauty of his performance. The words he uses, how he uses them. His body language. The pace he uses, coming on strong and hard really hitting hard with some jokes then smartly cooling it down slower and quieter with the more subtle just so he can bring you back. Like I said and I truly believe it is an art.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Abridged in a maximized way?

Oh my dear neglected space which I call my home(page) I have been away too long. I'm a beast, a monster, a ball of rage ripping your heart to shreds with my absence....Well some of that may be true!

Also I've been in a bit of a rut. I go through them sometimes. I just want to consume and consume and consume and the drive to create is there but blocked horribly. Thank Zod for OpenOffice.org, otherwise I'd of killed at least one or two large trees with the amount of paper I would have wasted with all of the writing and tossing I've been doing.

So the question then begs, what have I been consuming? TONS, Television, Games, Books, and of course Movies. Highlights include;


TV

Seasons 1-4 of "Babylon 5"
I went on a rampage through this, almost no movies except for small breaks in between seasons. So basically every night was B5 night for quite a while, and it Never got old. That is saying something. The closest thing I can kind of equate the show with is "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" but that isn't really doing a service to B5 which is a far superior product. B5 even tackles many of same themes that DS9 dealt with (racism, religion, interstellar war) and does it much much better. In a lot of ways Babylon 5 was Years ahead of it's time. The show started airing in '94 and was filmed in wide screen and was totally serialized not only episode to episode but also each season was it's own large arc that shaped the universe. Very cool. To put it in perspective Firefly which aired in 2002 fought (and lost) with Fox to be aired in wide screen and to be more serialized.

Of course I still have to watch season 5, which I'm dragging on doing because even though I'm told I need to check it out. As much as I loved the first four seasons some of the aftermath from the end of S4 I wasn't particularly thrilled with so I worry if I'll like S5, I'm keeping my fingers crossed though. By the way seasons 1-2 are available on Hulu right here! That is where I watched season 1. I was way impressed with the service, even with my crappy net connection.

Bottom line, B5 S1-4 get 5 snaps in a B formation up!


Games

"Mass Effect"
Ok the game was really fun and I definitely spent a ton of time playing it. But you know what, I'm not as in love with it as I thought I would be based off of others. The story was really fun, not quite so unique though. In fact a lot of the basic themes seemed to be pretty heavily borrowed from "Knights of the Old Republic," which I'll talk about in a second but back to "Mass Effect." The story may have been good but if one thing bugged the crap out of me about the game it is the controls. At first the combat mechanic was torturous to me. I did get used to it but still it was a curve and it wasn't particularly well done. More than a few of the fights seemed more luck based than skill because of the near twitchy scheme. That isn't even mentioning the driving parts where the controls of the MAKO seem to have been developed in a very special section of Hell. Probably the one the Shepherd Book talked about, the one reserved for lawyers and people who talk in the theater.

"Knights of the Old Republic"
The entire time I was playing "Mass Effect" really the main thing going through my mind was "Man do I wish I was playing KOTOR again." So when I was done with "ME" That is exactly what I did. KOTOR is THE game that I bought my original Xbox for, thus it was the first Xbox game I bought. The thing still holds up. I just with that the backward compatibility with the 360 had been a littler smoother, still it was playable. Although I was disappointed with myself when I just couldn't bring myself to go dark side this time, whats wrong with me??

GTA IV
Ok so I can't say much about this since I got it only 4 days ago now and then promptly fell to The Plague food poisoning. But man is it a good thing that years of abuse have completely removed any delicate senses I may have had because Damn!

Bottom line? If you haven't yet check out "Knights of the Old Republic" for a unique action RPG experience set in the Star Wars universe. If you like KOTOR check out "Mass Effect" once you get past the controls you'll enjoy the game play. And finally if you love doing a lot of killing you should pick up GTA IV. Hell I think I've actually gotten my $60 worth out of GTA just sitting watching the TV in the game, especially Bas Rutten's show "The Men's Room."


Books

Bram Stoker's Dracula
I'm constantly in the middle of at least one book, sometimes I'm in the middle of two or three. Yes I have attention problems at time, I would have thought that was clear by now? Anyway I don't often talk about what I read. Other than on the occasional discussion on the Sword and Laser sci-fi fantasy book club. But you know what "Dracula" was really amazing! I've never really tried horror books before other than the occasional Steven King book, and I've never been able to get into any of those. A fact which no doubt both shames and appalls my dad who is a huge fan. So I'd avoided the classics in the genre. No longer! Not after this experience. I'm not sure if it is considered a "classic" or not but one of the next on my hit list is "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson.

Bottom line, just read it! Hell if you want to make an awesome few days read the book then watch "Nosferatu" (Max Schrek version natch), then watch the film version of "Bram Stoker's Dracula." The excitement will leave you drained*!

*Yes that was a horrendous pun, no I'm not sorry, yes I laughed just a little too hard at it, no I'm still not sorry, and yes, yes you can still view my alternate ending to "Nosferatu" thank you for remembering!


Movies

This one is complicated. Believe it or not I sat down here only to write about a single movie, a movie that I'm not going to write about tonight because, well, I've written a lot, it's late, and my abuse of the comma is telling me that it wouldn't be a very well written piece. So instead of waxing on about how much I did or didn't like "The Incredible Hulk" (Guess which way I leaned) I'll give you a tidbit on something else.

"[REC]"
Credit where it's due this movie wouldn't have even been on my radar if it hadn't have been for Stacie. So yeah, she still rocks.

So back to "[REC]." If you don't know what it is I'll try to do a simple summarization. Remember the cool idea behind the shitfest that was "Cloverfield." First person scares? Well take that but replace giant monster with zombie like creatures, replace the entire city with a quarantined apartment building, replace the non cleverly named "Hud" with an actual cameraman, and replace the rest of the main characters with Manuela Velasco. Then you make the entire thing really awesome and really fucking scary and uncomfortable. After all that then you have "[REC]."

Bottom line, the American remake that will be named "Quarantine" doesn't have a prayer of holding a candle to the original. Since as far as I can tell it doesn't look like there will likely be a US DVD release for the movie I'll be importing it as soon as it is available with English subtitles. Even if by some miracle a US release was given this wouldn't even be a rent this would be a run out and buy immediately.


Well this post has certainly turned into a giant monster on it's own hasn't it? Remember the motto here as Askewed Views, what we (me) lack in quality we (me again) more than make up for in quantity...ya know, when we (yep still just me, what?) actually get off our (you know the drill) butt and post.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Adam Sessler is the man

Yep I said it and I mean it. Need proof? Check this out, Adam talks about a subject that has bothered me about online gaming for years.



If people actually start taking Adam's advice maybe I'll one day re-upgrade my Xbox live back to gold....maybe.



Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to take my dad to see "The Incredible Hulk" for some early Father's Day fun. I tried, I really tried to get him to choose Iron Man instead, but alas the choice was his. As for myself I subscribe to Kim's way of thinking on "Hulk" movies.


Excelsior!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Why am I not more productive ?

Because when I should be sleeping and resting my mind I instead find myself completely and utterly distracted by things like this



If you want to see all of the lyrics click here


This rocks pretty hard too



Star Trek in German is pretty awesome.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's Always Fair Weather

I have yet to actually see the movie, but this scene alone definitely puts it on my ASAP list.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Abridged Review Part Deux (The Quickening): Cloverfield

Ok so it has been a little while and I've thought about it and yes; while I still think the Spinal Tap inspired review of “Cloverfield” was both accurate and hilarious (at least to me) I also feel I should back the opinion up. At least a little.

So what killed “Cloverfield?” Very simply the first 20 minutes. Look I'm all for rocking the boat, breaking the rules, bucking authority and what have you. But only to a point. One of the main rules of movie making is, Don't be boring! Especially don't start out boring. Hell Trey Parker even mentioned something to that effect in the commentary on “Cannibal: The Musical”

The first 20 or so minutes of “Cloverfield” were just mind numbingly boring. Get this straight buster, those crappy home movies, nobody likes them, nobody watches them. Not even the people in them, or whom they were for. Nobody. So doing one seriously in a movie to help us get to acquaint us with the characters just doesn't work. It certainly doesn't work when it goes on and on for nearly a half an hour with NOTHING happening.

Lets not forget this is a monster movie right? So over 20 minutes in and no monster? Well that has happened before, but usually you would be explaining where the thing came from. But that wasn't this movies point or MO which is fine, in fact it was one of the selling points that got me interested. Who cares where the thing came from it is causing carnage and that sounds like fun to watch.

Instead of getting to the action quick the explaining time was replaced with drivel. We found out that Marky got with Sharon and Sharon got Sharice. She was sharing Sharon's outlook on the topic of disease. Mikey had a facial scar and Bobby was a racist. They were all in.....Wait, that can't be right it's too entertaining...But it was something similar to that. We got a home movie a boring boring home movie.

You may notice I haven't focused on any other problems with the movie that happened later on. Good eye. That's because the first 20 got me so disinterested and angry that I never recovered. The rest of the movie was competent but not mind blowing. Some things were good, top notch effects, decent city decimation etc... But some things weren't so great, the in joke with the cameraman's name being “Hud” ceased being funny 42 seconds quicker than immediately, the little parasites scurrying around were kind of weak, and frankly a lot of the reactions this group were having just weren't believable.

Most of the errors could have been easily forgiven had it not been for the tortuously dull beginning.

In the end “Cloverfield” did something that even the worst of the worst movies are rarely able to do to me. It made me angry because I was so let down.

I still remain optimistic but now a bit skeptical of what Abrams is going to do with the “Star Trek” reboot.

Don't hurt me again J.J. Next time I'll send a friend of mine to have a few words with you...


Can I get a Hell yeah?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Abridged Review: Cloverfield

Shitterfield

Askewed Review: Wrestlemaniac

Have you ever heard about something that you were extremely excited for? Yeah that was me with "Wrestlemaniac." Seriously how could this movie lose? Here is the Netflix description that hooked me.

"Director Alphonse (Adam Huss) makes a big mistake when he decides to shoot his film in a remote Mexican ghost town. Turns out, the town is the lair of the legendary El Mascarado (Rey Misterio Sr.) -- a deranged wrestler who begins to kill off cast and crew in bloody death matches. One by one, El Mascarado stalks, captures and attacks his victims, as the remaining members of the group try to find a way to stop the killing spree."

How could I not be drawn to this? It brings together wrestling and horror. It seems a concept that was crafted specifically with me in mind. So I did my part I added the movie to my queue put it up top and waited. Once the movie came though I was reluctant to watch it. The wait had given me time to think, could the movie be pulled off? So on the shelf it sat... on the shelf it should have stayed...

Had the movie been the one that had been oh so eloquently described by Netflix been the one that I watched I would have been happy. Unfortunately it wasn't. Sure they had the title and the actors correct, but after that it kind of fell apart.


The Basics-ish
On their way to Cabo San Lucas a porn film crew gets lost. Low on gas they have no choice but to make their way back towards civilization by way of a road which will take them through La Sangre de Dios, a ghost town said to be haunted by a demonic masked wrestler known as El Mascarado (Rey Misterio Sr.). The intention of driving right past the town without stopping is thwarted by a giant rock (or is it a small boulder?) in the middle of the road which driver/porn director/porn actor? Alphonse (Adam Huss) manages to not see until it is too late.

So the crew pulls up to the town to have a look around. Alphonse decides that the town would make an excellent setting for their little film so he has cameraman Steve (Jeremy Radin) start filming as Dallas (Leyla Milani of WWE Diva Search and Deal or No Deal fame) and Debbie (Margaret Scarborough) start up what has to be one of the least sexy sex scenes ever. Things take a turn for the worse when Alphonse himself joins in the scene along with the up until this point drunkenly passed out Daisy (Catherine Wreford). Thankfully the "sex scene" doesn't last long as Daisy gets sick and runs out the door to find a private place to get killedsick, I too considered hurling at this point.

The resident stoner tagalong Jimbo (Zack Bennett) goes looking for Daisy, he thinks she has his weed. Jimbo then becomes the first victim we see being taken out by El Mascarado. The others discover Jimbo's body sans face and soon enough find themselves being chased by El Mascarado.

Alphonse being the fine upstanding man that he is locks himself in a church, locking everyone else outside with the masked one. He didn't anticipate the back way in and finds himself going one on one. During the "fight" Mascarado is barely seen, but Alphonse is seen flying into every breakable wooden object in sight, he then shoved neck first into a protruding nail. Not dead yet he manages to sneak away to hide in the graveyard outside, which is where El Mascarado finds him and rips his face off.

While looking for a hiding place Steve and Debbie run into some old audio reels that sheds some light on Mascarado's past. They are in Spanish so Steve only barely understands them, something about multiple lobotomies and cuatro latero (I apologize for my terrible Spanish spelling)... They scurry on and find what must be Mascarado's personal room. The ripped off faces are displayed on the walls much as wrestler's masks might be, and the room has four barrels in a square with a rope loosely draped around it. It snaps with steve "Cuatro latero" a ring, he is following Mexican wrestling rules! So when he defeats his opponent he de-masks/faces them. All they need to do to stop him is remove his mask.

The celebration of this epiphany is short lived when El Mascarado shows up. Steve man's up, puts on his own mask and attempts to "wrestle" Mascarado in the makeshift ring. It doesn't go so well and we hear him getting knocked around fairly violently. While is being a distraction Debbie makes an attempt to crawl out of the room only to be dragged back in and given a brutal looking back breaker(holy shit an actual wrestling move!?!).

Meanwhile Dallas, who has been up to this point oblivious to the happenings has been busy fixing the van. While looking for the group she finds the body of Daisy who we now learn was the first victim of Mascarado. She then runs into Debbie and Steve's bodies. Ok well Steve is only mostly dead. Faceless he still manages to inform Dallas of his de-masking idea before kicking it.

Next up some more chasing and hiding which includes one of the most gratuitous hiding poses ever committed to film. Through the course of the hiding and chasing Dallas even finds herself having to hide in a barrel full of water, and then the poor thing has her pants ripped off by a car door. Fed up with running she decides to fight back. Once again finding herself in Mascarado's room she waits for him, as he enters she smacks him down with a board full of nails and impales him on a large metal pipe. Just as she is about to remove his mask he takes another swing at her. She counters by removing the car key that was jammed into his hand. The distracting pain gives her a chance to escape, not to the van though she instead runs into the church where she breaks down.

Next thing we see she is running out of the church screaming, which is actually the scene the movie started with, only this time we see the full scene. The scream goes on way too long and her running slows, then she looks down to see herself impaled on the metal pipe. Dallas falls to her knees dead, while El Mascarado makes off in the Van headed towards Sequelville population eh...probably nobody.


Thoughts
So in a movie lousy with potential what happened? Everything went just lousy.

As a horror movie it failed to be even remotely scary. There was some decent lore that could have been explored but instead it was just tossed out there. Told to us and not shown in any way. We don't even really find out if removing Mascarado's mask would in fact stop him. On top of that there is sort of two versions of the back story given in the movie. One early on when Alphonse and Steve are talking about La Sangra de Dios, and one later when Steve is listening to the tapes. I guess the point was that one was supposed to be fact and the other supposed to be a "legend" which would be fine except that the original and more fantastical version appears to be the case.

As a slasher movie it failed in that it really wasn't all that gory. There was blood thrown about quite a bit true enough, and a couple of de-facings. Though I wasn't as thrilled with that effect as apparently others were. For instance, wouldn't someone who had no face also have no lips? Then how did Steve still have them when he was telling Dallas about the mask? The nail through the neck was fairly gruesome though, so that is something. It didn't fail as miserably as a slasher as it did in other areas, but still.

As a horror movie surrounding a wrestler it completely failed. There was MAYBE 3 wrestling moves in the entire thing. The one actual "match" that took place in the movie took place behind a closed door so we only got to hear it and not see it. Really why did they bother to get Rey Misterio Sr. for the part at all? His abilities were wasted. In case you didn't know Rey Misterio Sr. is an actual Mexican professional wrestler and the uncle of Rey Mysterio/Rey Misterio Jr. the former ECW and WCW and current WWE wrestler.

Hell lets go the whole nine. This wouldn't have saved the movie for me anyway but the movie even failed at being a flesh fest. Which being that it was about a porn film crew seemed obvious.

This movie could have been great, it really could have but instead it turned into a "horror by numbers" that just seemed lacking in almost every conceivable way to me.

Even the name "Wrestlemaniac" isn't ideal. Not when you consider the other two names that the movie has gone under; "El Mascarado Massacre," and my favorite "The Mexican Porn Massacre."

I was so disappointed that I even found myself getting angry at the small things that normally wouldn't have bothered me. For instance, if the Doctors in the past had given Masarado several lobotomies to curb his violent ways wouldn't that have meant that they removed his mask thus ending his reign of terror? Also Steve translates "La Sangre de Dios" as "The Blood of Jesus." But I'm fairly sure that it actually would be "The Blood of God." Now if the town had been called "La Sangre de Jesús"....


Or maybe I'm just getting too cranky?



that's what I thought....

Monday, May 05, 2008

My most entertaining post ever.

I've been spending a lot of time checking out Hulu.com and I have to say I'm impressed. I've watched some episodes of 30 Rock, the entire first season of Babylon 5 and a TON of clips. One of the most fun things about Hulu though is the ability to embed video.

In that spirit I give to you "Some Like It Hot"


Believe me the stuff I've been watching on Hulu has been infinitely more entertaining than the movies I've seen lately. But there will be more on that coming soon....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bust a Bucket who'd a dunk it Blazer duty Super sunk it Slamn' Geez it Killer Three's it go up get it got it good

FGFC: "Near Dark"

I think we are all hip to what time it is now right? You remember, the FGFC brought to us by the always awesome Stacie Ponder from Final Girl fame. So the chosen one this month was "Near Dark." A bold choice for Stacie to be sure, what with nearly half the cast being fresh off the set of "Aliens" and thus could potentially still have smelled of Reiser. Well gambled Stacie, well gambled indeed.


The basics
Nathan Petrelli Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) is a rowdy country youth who one night happens across Mae (Jenny Wright) at a gas station. Being a red blooded young male Caleb decides to chat Mae up a bit, ya know ask for a taste of her ice cream cone (literally). One thing leads to another and the two go for a nighttime drive. Just when things start to heat up a bit Mae realizes that it is getting early, she demands that Caleb take her home. Well he doesn't know she's a vampire so he kind of tries to dissuade her from leaving. This earns him a bite, after which Mae hops out of the car and scurries off leaving Caleb to start turning (and burning!) on his own.

As Caleb is slowly making his way home, his little sister Sarah and their dad Loy notice him and his smokiness just in time for a mysterious motor home to speed up on him and swoop him away. Turns out the motor home belongs to the group of vampires that Mae belongs to. Caleb meets his new "family" under imperfect circumstances, the crazy one of the group Severen (Bill Paxton) would very much like to remove his Caleb's head from his body, and nobody else seems to think that such a bad idea. Save for Mae who claims him and promises to teach him their ways.

Caleb is having issues with his new life, he doesn't want to kill, maybe he can't. Even with Mae's help he isn't able. The group has two choices at this point. Kill him, or help him. Fun loving lot that they are they decide to stage a little fun in Caleb's honor. They take him to a little country bar for a few drinks and a little slaughter, not necessarily in that order. Caleb learns that he has some pretty amazing strength, that bullets don't kill him, and that yep he can't kill. Still before he learned that he didn't stop everyone else from having their mayhem.

Unfortunately the one that Caleb let get away went straight to the cops (a little murder and he goes tattling) so their daytime slumber is interrupted by a gunfight. The sun being problematic they aren't doing so hot so Caleb grabs the van keys a blanket and hurls himself out the window and makes a break for it. Once in the safety of a new motel later that night it seems as if Caleb is being somewhat forgiven if not accepted for his bravery. That is until the resident child sized vampire Homer is out for a smoke when he comes across Sarah, Caleb's little sister, who is traveling with her dad tracking Caleb down as they don't know why he disappeared.

Homer takes a liking to Sarah. Once Caleb finds out about it things take a turn. Loy, their dad is brought to the room with the idea that these people tracking them must be eliminated. Not if Caleb has his way! Some gunshots and fighting ensue, Caleb gets Loy and Sarah and they bolt. Caleb really can't explain what has happened easily, but he demands that Loy not take him to a hospital. Instead he has the idea to try a little blood transfusion to see about curing his newly acquired thirst. Which it does.

The next night Mae comes to Caleb. Clearly the clever hiding place of their house didn't work! Mae seemingly just wants to see Caleb, but while they are busy making out Sarah is busy being kidnapped. Once he realizes what is up Caleb makes his pursuit, on horseback no less (which ended up making a really cool image).

On the way to Sarah Caleb runs into and has a tussle with Severen, who is angry over the betrayal. The fight eventually leads Caleb into a semi-truck which he uses to try and run over Severen. The plan doesn't work out as he only gets hurt and is left clinging to the hood of the truck taunting Caleb and punching his way into the hood to rip things apart. Caleb jackknifes the truck, jumping out just before it and the still attached Severen explodes. One down!

Before Jesse and Diamondback get a chance to finish Caleb off in retaliation day starts breaking. They have to retreat to the car along with Mae, Homer, and the still captured Sarah to stay out of the sun. Homer still has plans to turn Sarah but Mae has other intentions. She grabs Sarah and jumps out of the back window into the sun running Sarah towards Caleb who meets them and saves Mae with his coat. Homer, distraught over the loss of his new infatuation jumps out to make chase. Unfortunately for him He had nothing to shade him from the sun and before he can make much of a chase he succumbs to the burning and explodes. Two down!

Knowing that they have nothing left Jesse and Diamondback turn around yet again and make a last ditch effort to run down the three annoyances. Their plan never takes hold as the sun gets them as well and they lose control of the car just before, yep, they both explode. Three and four down!

Caleb takes Mae back home, works the transfusion magics on her and the two, so it seems live happily ever after.


Thoughts, both good and bad
So for me this was a strange watch. I know this will come out strange but throughout both viewings of the movie I kept having the same thought. And I very well could be completely off base and/or off my rocker here but. What really classifies this as a horror movie? I mean other than the vampires, which yeah I admit that is a big hurdle but still. The vampire lore was more of a backdrop I felt for a movie that to me played almost more like a drama/action/comedy and of course modern western. It just happened to have vampires in it. I've noticed this in the past with other vampire movies and TV shows as well, most of which admittedly were made after "Near Dark" so take that for what you will..

Mind you I'm not complaining about the movie. In fact I believe that "Near Dark" blended those genre's quite well and did so without the hokeyness that it could have fallen into. What I'm getting at here is that to me it almost seems as if vampire flicks, at least this kind of them, have almost moved out of the horror genre and created a new one of their own, or at least some sort of strange multi-sub genre.

So on this new standard that I may or may not have just created where does "Near Dark" fall for me? It's gotta be near the top. What the movie lacked in scary (again as I see it) it certainly didn't lack in intensity. Hell Bill Paxton's Severen had the intensity quota filled all by his excellently obnoxious self.

The writing and storytelling for the most part were actually a lot tighter than I expected. It's the small things that I liked such. Severen's line "Cut the shit. I know you're awake. I can smell it." for instance, a small thing that said a few things. It let us know an ability that this flavor of vampire has, also it spoke to the nature of his character. As did the moment with the spur. Jesse and Diamondback's mannerisms alone let you know where they stood. While I'm on that subject, Lance Henriksen was fantastic as Jesse.



But it wasn't all great. A few small things kind of got to me. The first one was Homer (Joshua Miller), pun not intended but not rejected either! Seriously what was up with him? One of his first lines was about being a "big man in a little body" and then Jesse throughout referred to him as "old man" he even smoked and played cards as if he were indeed an adult in a kids body. But then inexplicably other times (in private, not in public for show) he acted as the child. That is really why the child turned into a vampire doesn't really work for me almost ever, they are a recipe for plot holes or confusion. Also Homer's dialog was, well, lame. "The name's Homer. H-O-M-E-R. Mispronounce it... and I wouldn't... wanna... be you." Really? Thats all ya got little guy? Well ok then.

Then again at least H-O-M-E-R (Hey apparently thats how he wants it said) got some lines. Diamondback (Janette Goldstein) barely said a thing. Mostly she just clung to Jesse. Though she did have the most awesome hair in the entire movie, and she was wielded that knife pretty in the bar scene. Still it seemed like a waste of some good talent.

By the way. If you want to see a slightly less entertaining version of pretty much that exact same bar scene, go watch "The Thirst." But then, why would you want to see the less entertaining?...


Final Though
Bottom line. "Near Dark" was a lot of fun, if you haven't seen it I think you really should. Odds are you have seen something influenced by this and odds are they weren't as good.

Also ya know, just two more small facts. #1 as previously mentioned, No Reiser! And #2 as you may have noticed almost everyone blows up!

P.S.
We like the boom!



(no, I'm...I'm not sure why)