Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Watcher

Hey gang. I have been busy with recording, editing and trying to give Rotten Reelz Reviews video reviews the love it deserves so yes I have been very laxed in my blog. I beg for your forgiveness and shall provide you with some much needed reading material. PLEEEEEASEEEE DON'T LEAVE MEEEEEE!!!!

Okay, with that slap at dignity, today's film is actually a thriller hailing from the far forgotten time of 2000. Yes 17 years and 4 months ago... Simpler times then. A sadistic game of cat and mouse for our hero and villain as both learn too much each other and leading to a final confrontation.

This is The Watcher.

Keanu a bad guy? NO WAY! Yes Keanu Reeves as a psychotic killer, David Allen Griffin who knows Kung Fu and exorcism, or maybe I am confusing a few movies. Any rate, our villain enjoys throttling the life from his victims. Typically sweet, innocent naive girls that are swept up in the moment of this handsome guy paying attention to them, caught unaware of the danger they are in until it is too late.

Careful, I know Kung Fu.

His nemesis, Joel Campbell (James Spader of Mannequin, Less than Zero, Jack's Back) is a guilt ridden, cluster migraine sufferer living on disability, regret and a fair amount of Vietnamese take out. Prior to that, he was an FBI serial profiler. Able to get in the heads of serial killers and catch them. Three years prior in L.A. He was hot on the trail of Griffin and a tragic death happened on his watch. He burned out and moved away from it all.

Living on a steady diet of bad food, pills,Coke and self-condemnation, Campbell left his job, handles his bills and stays out of police work...until he finds his old enemy followed him to Chicago to start "the game" again. Worthy of his attention, Griffin and Campbell have a relationship of give and take. Yeah this is how Griffin's sick ass mind operates. With a knowledge of police procedure, forensics and murder, Griffin is a predator stalking young women for days even weeks before his kill. His murder bag of tricks at the ready, his rituals to be adhered to and his victim completely terrified, he gets off on this every time.

FBI and Chicago PD are not thrilled with the idea of working with Campbell given what has happened in his past, but our Keanu has invited him to play and hopefully he can outwit, outguess or outclass him and take him down.

To take away from this film, well Keanu is actually quite creepy in it. Love the warm behavior to the potential victims. He comes on strong but not in an unappealing way. His grin and smile would easily put women off their guard and allow them to believe there are decent guys out there. He comes off charming and eccentric rather than a stalker plotting his next murder.

Spader as a brilliant burn out, showing all his former training and analytical thinking through waves of depression, pharmaceutical abuse and rattled nerves is compelling. One hand you want this poor wreck of a man to go home and just forget about this psycho. Then you realize, with Spader on the case; it stands a better chance of catching this nut.

Veteran character actors Chris Ellis and Ernie Hudson bring a lot to the table with their range of emotions and humor or darkness. The only one I felt wasted was Marisa Tomei. This capable, intelligent woman stuck in a shrink role on a couch gives decent drama but I swear they just didn't give her enough to do in this role. The hell, man? This is a talented woman and ya pissed her away.

Bottom line, I was a bit surprised the killer's reveal so soon in the film but given the story makes for an interesting history between Campbell and Griffin it works. The adrenaline for the chase, can he be stopped or will there be more bodies in the water?

This is a solid enough film, good pace so no drag factor but my other gripe is I wonder what even made Griffin who he is or was he simply born evil? Cue the Halloween Carpenter music!

The killer POV camera work was starting to hurt my eyes and head a bit though, so keep this in mind, photophobics. It isn't Uwe Boll territory but still hurt my eyes. Tomei wasted aside, I would have to say a fair 7 out of 10, decent story, excellent performances and awesome soundtrack.

Mood lighting always makes a Spader look cuckoo.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Guardians of the Galaxy

Welcome back readers. I realize that most of my writings have been either Horror or Sci-fi titles so I thought we could hunker down to a more popular franchise brought to us by Marvel Studios.

What do a hybrid, a genetically/cybernetically altered raccoon, a talking tree, the galaxy's deadliest assassin and a raged filled literal minded man have in common? Well not a whole lot.

This is Guardians of the Galaxy.

This Googles Map app sucks, Groot.

Our film opens with the beginnings of a young Peter Quill who loses his mother to cancer, is abducted by aliens and his mother's family never sees or hears of him again. Good call on the taking care of the boy after mom dies. Top notch.

More than 20 years have passed and the boy is an accomplished thief, con artist, trickster and roguishly handsome Star Lord (Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation, Jurassic World, The Lego Movie, Lego Jurassic World, Lego Dimensions, The Magnificent Seven, Passengers and The Kid), a half human, half something else man who loves his 80s pop culture minutia that baffles the rest of the galaxy.

Contracted to steal a stone of unknown content or power from a remote,dead world. Quill decides to cut out his boss/father figure Yondu (Michael Rooker of Days of Thunder, JFK, Cliffhanger, Mallrats, The Replacement Killers, The Walking Dead and Call of the Dead) out of the deal, make enough scratch to flee from the Ravagers (Intergalactic crime syndicate) and be on his own.

Presenting my large, pulsating ball.

Decidedly pissed, Yondu puts a contract out on Quill and a talking tree and raccoon proceed to planet Xandar to capture Quill alive. Yeah a talking tree known as Groot (Vin Diesel of The Fast and the Furious, Pitch Black, Knockaround Guys, XXX, The Chronicles of Riddick, Fast & Furious and Avengers: Infinity War) and a raccoon with disconcertingly human like hands and unfeasibly large guns known as Rocket (Bradley Cooper of Failure to Launch, Alias, The Midnight Meat Train, The Hangover, The A-Team, Limitless and Avengers: Infinity War).

A group of religious zealots of the Kree empire want the stone too. Led by a fanatic lunatic known as Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Program and Driven) loathes his own people striking a treaty with Xandar and will see the whole planet wiped out. Xandar not the Kree home world, Hala. Yes I am that big of a Marvel Comics geek fanboy. What of it??!!
Ronan's underlings were supposed to retrieve this all mighty Maguffin for one of Marvel's nastier villains, Thanos (played by Josh Brolin but not a huge part at this time so move on) and he even aided Ronan by offering his "adopted" daughters, the deadly assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana of Avatar, Star Trek, The Losers, Star Trek Into Darkness, Out of the Furnance and Avengers: Infinity War) and cybernetically enhanced Nebula (Karen Gillan of Doctor Who, Occulus, In a Valley of Violence, The Circle and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), devious and crafty killer in her own right.

Gamora volunteers to acquire the stone and ends up running into Quill, Groot and Rocket.

Less than 12 hours in for their collective charges, the four offer to help one another to escape the Kiln, a Supermax prison full of the dregs of the universe. One such inmate last his wife and daughter to Ronan's crazed killing spree, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista of WWE Smackdown, WWE Raw, The Man with the Iron Fists, L.A. Slasher, Heist, Marauders and Enter the Warriors Gate)

a literal minded warrior with strength levels of the Hulk and about the moral code of Wolverine.

The five of them escape from prison, nick their gear and head out into the big black for fortune and glory. No time for love, Doctor Jones.

Ronan, the Ravagers and most of the Nova Corps of Xandar are breathing down their necks while the choice must be made. A bunch of loners unite against a common enemy or get blasted into bits across the cold vacuum of space.

Okay first off, I absolutely love this flick. Aside from real fans of the comic book franchise, these characters are positively unknown to the average movie goers. Plus it is delivered is such a fashion, that you can instinctively have emotions for or against the characters. Clever writing, action, Sci-fi and still that comic book formula that fleshes out comic books to the silver screen is so wonderfully done here.

The casting really works and honestly, MCU's Star Lord has a superior backstory than his original comic book counterpart. Tragic yet brought him to adulthood (more or less) far better than his long winded, duller story arc of the comics.

Snaring the likes of Glenn Close, Benico Del Toro and Dijmon Hounsou for bit roles still brings life into these personas. Well crafted for all ages to watch, similar how George Lucas pulled off Star Wars: A New Hope, this film lends itself to easily a follow up movie in 2017.

And yes you should watch its sequel.

Deadliest of eye candy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Howdy gang! I hope you enjoyed that ridiculous video review of Billy the Kid vs Dracula.

That took far, far too long to finish but it is done! Okay funny note, as many articles I added on here from, I somehow skipped a decently creepy film. Today's movie hails from MGM and United Artists making a chiller film with an amazing practical effects creature from Stan Winston's Studios plus he helped with the story and directed our movie. This is Pumpkinhead.

Now massage my corns, Lance.

We start off with an odd prologue in 1957 seeing a farmer with his wife and son, Ed refusing shelter to a doomed soul. The man screams, begs, swears and howls in terror as something from the night kills him.

Flash forward to a present day era, Ed (Lance Henriksen of The Terminator, Aliens, Millenium,Alien 3, Dead Man, The Quick and the Dead, NCIS and The Blacklist) is all grown up with a son of his own is now a general goods store man. Amazingly enough no old guys out widdling wood for pipes or toy soldiers.

With a gaggle of promiscuous and rambunctious teenagers (Because don't almost all these movies start that way?) are out and about dirt biking riding, partying and getting ready for the big orgy, one of them accidentally ran over a small boy that happens to be Ed's son. Joel, (John D'Aquino of SeaQuest DSV, Matlock, Melrose Place, Murder, She Wrote, Seinfeld, Sliders and Crossing Jordan) drunken dirt biker ass decides to be worried...about his record and starts freaking out as the rest of the group came back to the cabin they were staying at for the weekend. Joel knocks one of his buddies out, rips the phone cord out of the wall (this is that old timey land line phones many of you younger readers may not know about) locking him and a girl in the closet so they can't alert the cops. Apparently he is on probation for a similar incident. So how many kids has Joel ran over?

Man, I hate those kid shaped road cones!!

Believing the cops are useless, the loss of his son with the fact his wife died giving birth to their boy has overwhelmed Ed with grief, that he knows what he must do. Yup not call the cops or grab a twelve gauge pump hunting the guy down revenge style. Nosiree, he must journey to visit a crazed witch deep in the woods who will bind Ed's soul to this revenge golem known only as Pumpkinhead. Could be a demon too. They were never really clear. The creature is loosen on the world in search of righteous cruelty.

This demonic entity starts roaming the woods as Joel starts to reflect on his asshat ways and proceeds to head out to turn himself into the cops when his girlfriend Maggie (Kerry Remsen of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, Appointment with Fear, Tribes and Round Numbers) hears her name being whispered and goes out to investigate because...well Horror movie obviously. Steve tries to save her but is immediately gacked by this spindly tall monstrosity and drags Maggie away with him.

The dreaded and feared demon, Snappy.  He bites.

Unfortunately given it was his and his late son's blood to resurrect Pumpkinhead, Ed must bear witness to the horrors the creature is inflicting on the kids. Regardless of his need for revenge he cannot stand the sight of these murders.

He begs the old witch to release the creature and put him back so he can do no more harm but the witch laughs saying it's too late and once it is done, Ed's final price will have to be met.

Can Ed lift the curse? Are our hapless and helpless teens done for? How often does this creature make the rounds in these here parts?

This film marks Stan Winston's directorial debut. Many critics were blown away by Winston Studios monster but felt the plot was lacking. Dave Kehr of the Chicago Tribune went on the record saying, "As a technician, Winston clearly knows how to make a monster, but as a director he was yet to learn how to bring one to life."

Personally the family vengeance angle, coupled with grieving father driven to near madness was a compelling idea but the story itself was a bit slow. I mean you have love, loss a need for revenge and even some redemption and okay so it moves a bit slow but that also allows for when the creature will strike next. My only complaint was the creature itself revealed too early. Do a pee wee or extension arm slash and gutting effect first, then crank up a wind machine, a bit of lightning to unveil the beastie at the beginning of the third act.

Lance is what truly keeps this film interesting. Watching him going through this barrage of emotions is impressive and brought his "A"game to it.

This is a surprisingly original atmospheric horror film that gets the most mixed reviews.

At the end of the day, I enjoyed it. I do own a copy of it so that should be proof right there. Impressive effects, performances are done well and overall not too shabby.

Pumpkinhead ensures better gun safety regs in the woods.

Rotten Reelz Reviews Video Review #3: Billy the Kid vs Dracula

The wait is over.  The completion has happened.   I'm finally done with the damn thing!

Billy the Kid vs Dracula video review is available right here

Enjoy!   Or you know, don't.  Hey it's a bizarre flick plus my own stuff added to it.

I have no pants and took two little blue pills. Muahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!