Friday, November 30, 2012

Lake Placid's magic..


Well folks I am back with the end of sequels that really didn’t need to be and what better way to round that out than with another creature feature series than a series of killer crocodiles not indigenous to the area.   So strap on your meat suits, grab your stupid signs and don’t bother wondering what’s in the lake with you.   This is Lake Placid Collective.

Spoilers stay around where the prey is…

In 1999, TV writer David E. Kelly (L.A. Law, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Boston Legal) took a whack at a treatment that got enough love to be made into a feature film that has been a cult classic. Lake Placid is helmed by Director Steve Miner (Friday the 13th Part 2, Friday the 13th Part III, House, Warlock, Forever Young and Halloween H20: 20 Years Later) is probably more used to biped creatures that don’t seem to die rather than a creature out of its usual element.  In Black Lake Maine lurks a 30 foot saltwater crocodile munching its way through the ecosystem.  Fish and Game are doing a survey on perch in the area and notice unusual drag marks in the mud.  A paleontologist from The American Museum of Natural History (Bridget Fonda of Godfather Part III, Point of No Return, Singles, Army of Darkness and Kiss of the Dragon) is to examine a tooth that may be part of the cause depopulation in wild life.  The local sheriff (Brendan Gleeson of The General, Mission: Impossible II, Wild About Harry, Troy and Beowulf) is dragging his feet on the possibility that there is a huge predator around this massive lake until he find decapitated moose head and head of a Fish and Game deputy. 
What makes this film so enjoyable is Mrs. Delores Bickerman (Betty White of Mama’s Family, Golden Girls, Pound Puppies, Boston Legal, Hot in Cleveland) as a crotchety mature woman with the most vulgar mouth raising and feeding said croc and Professor of ancient mythology and crocodile fanatic Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt of Flatliners, Diggstown, The Three Musketeers and Three to Tango).  These two have some of the best lines and as mix mashed as the group feels it all coalesced together.  With a massive amount of tranquilizers the croc is taken in alive.  All is well until a second croc appears and the sheriff gets to vaporize it with a 40 mm grenade launcher.  God bless rednecks, huh?  As our film comes to an end we see Mrs. Bickerman feeding infant crocs thus bringing us to…yeah a sequel. What, do you want a cookie for getting that right?  Moocher.

Lake Placid 2 is helmed by Syfy Channel director David Flores (Boa vs Python, S.S. Doomtrooper and Sands of Oblivion) appears on the scene 8 years later after the original was made.  Bit of a delay but hey Syfy channel needs their creature features somehow. We do the cliché that Mrs. Bickerman passed on and her sister Sadie (Cloris Leachman of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Young Frankenstein, Mary Tyler Moore and It Happened One Christmas) now has the house by the lake as well as there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Bo Duke…er…um I mean James Riley (John Schneider of Dukes of Hazzard, Loving, Touched by an Angel, Nip/ Tuck and Smallville)and well this Duke boy finds shenanigans in this made-for-tv movie with unrated scenes via DVD only.  This means if you find the lack of original plot annoying, don’t fret because boobies are on the scene.  The CGI of the crocs looks unfinished, they move like at the speed of pregnant yak and the Fish and Game apparently have access to military hardware.  Sadie apparently had been feeding the crocs meat with growth hormones and this is the reason they were enormous but not why they were badly digitized.  Pa Kent takes out the crocs and yet no one does a sweep of the area for a nest thus leading to…yeah you know it.

Lake Placid 3 is tackled by Mockbuster director Griff Furst (Universal Soldiers, I Am Omega, 100 Million BC and Swamp Shark)
A year later from the second incident and a couple of teens munched for screwing on a mud bank later; Sadie Bickerman passed away…off camera (Cloris either didn’t want to do a sequel or asked for more money) and her nephew EPA Agent Nathan (Colin Ferguson of Rowing Through, The Opposite of Sex, Because I Said So and Eureka), busybody real estate wife Susan (Kristy Mitchell of The Royal Today, The Bill, Triassic Attack and Silent Witness) and delightful scamp son Connor (Jordan Grehs of Oliver Twist, Scoop and Just William).  Young Connor discovers baby crocodiles and more or less adopts them by feeding them meat.  Yes genius does run high in the Bickerman gene pool.  The current sheriff Tony Willinger (Michael Ironside of Scanners, Highlander 2: The Quickening, Total Recall and Bloodsuckers) assures Nathan that the sweep he did over a year and a half ago points to no more crocs in the area and everything is just tickety boo.    Nathan notices a drastic decrease in Elk and goes to investigate believing it to be a poacher Reba (Yancy Butler of Savage Weekend, Drop Zone, Witchblade, Wolvesbayne and Kick-Ass). Oh don’t worry about the crocs, they look almost believable now and there are also boobies for the guys yet again.  Thanks Unrated DVD!   Yeah so basically same plot with same jump scares and humans triumph over crocs…or did they?   

Lake Placid: The Final Chapter is brought to us by not the number 4 but director Don Michael Paul (Renegade, Pacific Blue, Half Past Dead and The Garden) Reba (Yancy Butler of Savage Weekend, Drop Zone, Witchblade, Wolvesbayne and Kick-Ass) ,former poacher of Lake Placid 3 somehow survived getting shot and chewed on by crocs; decides to be on the side of the angels as an EPA Agent and Black Lake has become a secluded crocodile sanctuary.  Think about 300 acres worth. The area is fenced off and the waters are gated until the friggin gate is left unlocked??!!  Man I don’t leave my house door unlocked.  Mind you I just have a couple of cats but you get my point.  Pesky teens get on the land in question and another fricking Bickerman strikes in these here waters.  Poacher Jim Bickerman (Robert Englund of Eaten Alive, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Mangler and Hatchet) gives a great performance whilst there is running about, teenies screaming and getting naked prior and oh yes big fricking guns.  Oh yes, yet another sheriff Theresa Giove (Elisabeth Rohm of Angel, Law and Order, Miss Congeniality 2 and Abduction) hard hitting, tough as nails gal with her deputy Nermal.  Yes the world’s cutest kitty cat has a gun?  Well you can guess the plot overall and it was mildly entertaining but only the original made me laugh as much and frankly SyFy went apeshit over a film that unfortunately got a lukewarm response at the box office.  Much love in rental and purchase though.   That is my take on this series and hopefully you may find something beloved in it that I missed.  Always glad to hear some input.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leatherface and Family


I’m back again kiddies for another franchise that could have been easily skipped.  Say, did you know the early 70’s really ushered the serial killer movement?  Thrillers like the 1973 Black Christmas, the quadrilogy of The Blind Dead series from Italy but none had quite the impact as the 1974 Tobe Hooper classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.   So gather your friends, have some car trouble and by God investigate like the Scoobies.   This is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Collection.

Spoilers are people!!!

Now before we dive into this unbridled insanity, let me be clear that this write-up will not be including the remakes.  The original Chainsaw film was loosely based on the exploits of real life serial killer Ed Gein formerly of Wisconsin.  So we change locations and build a bizarre family of cannibalistic, graverobbing nutter butters tormenting teens and making spare ribs.  Doesn’t that sound keen?  Director Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eaten Alive, Salem’s Lot, Poltergeist, Lifeforce. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Body Bags and Night Terrors) claims in articles and interviews the thought behind his horror Mecca was being swarmed by mass loads of shoppers in a department store during the holidays and the first thing he spied was a chainsaw and how ideal that tool would have been to cut a bloody swath to the exit.  I think we all have had days like that. 

 Five teenagers go on a road trip because their friend and her brother want to pay respect to their grandfather’s grave.   This time it was desecrated with a human skeleton perched on top of the headstone posed like some sick joke. The teens are systematically rubbed out of existence by our villain Leatherface and his demented family.  Only one survivor makes her way from the loony tunes and we assume went into hiding.  Enter a decade of abject silence other than did you see that warped film on the drive-in or Beta-Max.  
1986 we have a less primal and bleak sequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2.  This film is still incredibly graphic and gory but infused with dark comedy and we now know Leatherface’s family surname is Sawyer and you better whitewash their fences right.   A radio host ‘Stretch’ (Caroline Williams of Stepfather II, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Love and Lies, Leprechaun 3 and Halloween II remake) gets a prank call over the airwaves. As the little pond scum makes vulgar remarks they begin to scream in pain and agony (probably had to see Oingo Boingo in concert) as a chainsaw revs in the background.  Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright, a former Texas Marshall (Dennis Hopper of Hang ‘Em High, Easy Rider, True Grit, The Last Movie, Apocalypse Now, Speed and Land of the Dead) is uncle to Sally Hardesty of the first film and knows all about the Sawyer family and he is determined to catch the lot of psychos.   Now because this film does not follow the same formula as the Friday the 13ths and Nightmares sequels, most of the horror fans overlooked this cult film.  Admittedly the acting is a bit over the top in some characters* coughs Bill Mosely’s Chop Top* but overall it is a dark and demented flick of absurd proportions.  Leatherface is apparently dispatched by Lefty and Stretch deals with Chop Top.  The End…or is it???   

Due to the infamous standing Chainsaw 2 had New Line Cinema wanted to beat this dead horse yet again.  1990, Hooper presents a treatment and New Line was not interested so we bring in Director Jeff Burr (Stepfather II, Puppet Master 4, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, Puppet Master 5: The Final Chapter and Night of the Scarecrow) This film was almost a prequel to TCM 2 and left folks a might confused in that regard but heck any flick with Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, Knightriders, From Beyond, Terror Squad, Dawn of the Dead remake and Halloween remake) in it can’t be all that bad, right?  Right?  So the Sawyer family has bred some more and honestly the gene pool is not improving, with the exception of Viggo Mortensen.   Yeah that is not a joke.  First real paycheck as he put it.  The MPAA had a field day with this movie and tried to get it an X-rating due to the level of gore, of which there was quite a bit but settled on NC-17.  So inbred hillbilly cannibals match wits with plucky goodie two shoes, horror ensues and Leatherface is allegedly killed…or was he? Dun dun dun!  

Well if you thought that could destroy a wild and warped legacy of terror then I guess you better get under the magic covers because Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation will leave you scratching your head, force you to Kirk shoulder roll from the plot holes and make you ask” Hey isn’t that Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger?”  1995 co-writer of the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Kim Henkel decided to take a whack at the series with her interpretation that would explain why the Sawyer family does what they do oh so well.  Four teenie boppers zip away from the high school prom and end up taking the wrong short cut, maim a poor driver and have to find a tow truck.  Fortunately the forest they are in is so backlit they could skip wandering armed only with a flash light.  That’s right folks it’s all the Illuminati’s fault.  The Sawyers dispatch and eat people because…there was a giant plot hole the size of Kansas and no one could plug it.  Two other comments about this little stinkburger is the actress Lisa Newmeyer (The House on Todville Road, Rolling Kansas, Sin City and A Scanner Darkly).   Her death scene felt like an eternity.  They drag this one scene out making Zellweger’s character watch the torturous scene and frankly I was going bonkers hearing this girl shriek on and on.  Oh, and for some completely unexplained reason, Leatherface because a transvestite in a mask made of human flesh.    Yeah guess Henkel saw Silence of the Lambs and went, “That’s the direction for Leatherface.”

What can we all take away from this?  Well good intentions and a few story ideas does not a film make would be one.   I do not feel in this modern age we can recapture that same terror the original mastered.  Eerie sounds and sets, rotten meat, human and animal bone strewn about offers a sick vision.   But don’t get down folks.  There’s another fricking Chainsaw being made.  Huzzah.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Critters...yes well...


Okay kids I am back with a series that frankly is a doozy.  So strap yourselves down, put in your mouth guard and going out swinging.  This is Critters Collection. 
Spoilers can save your sanity…

New Line Cinema attempting to branch out Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Ator films with Miles O’ Keefe and Son Chiba’s Street Fighter series. Wes Craven’s pet project, A Nightmare on Elm Street truly breathed life into the company and offered with a series of creature features.    Of these modern day monster films, the Critters franchise is born.   In 1986, Critters was released just after the success rate of Joe Dante’s Gremlins and has been a long standing of dispute on cashing in on its popularity but this reviewer says nay nay.   The focus of the movie is around the creatures themselves, the Crites or Critters if you will.   These carnivorous aliens from outer space resembling hedgehogs with more teeth than the entire Osmond family spread like a plague from planet to planet eating whatever they can.    They live to simply eat, breed and the cycle repeats.  LAND SHARKS!!!!


The standard storyline is the aliens attack a small town in Grover’s Bend Kansas thrashing a farm and of all things they attack Billy Zane (Back To The Future 1, 2 and 3, Demon Knight, The Phantom, Titanic) A duo of these faceless bounty hunters Ug and Lee and yes I did not make those names up have a chameleonic head allowing them to blend into whatever society they are hunting in.  Not to mention enough firepower to take on the Bolivian Army.  A family of four fends off the Crites with fire axes, ball bats and of course the old fashioned double barrel boomstick.  We even have a bumbling sheriff and town rummy.  Town rummy Charlie (Don Keith Opper of Android, City Limits, Critters, Critters 2, Critters 3, Critters 4 and Infection) takes off with the two hunters.  All is said and done from the first film but apparently these space mammals lay eggs. (Suck it Darwin!)  

These eggs of course make our way to Critters 2: The Main Course.   Our bounty hunters are off world popping a giant worm creature when they are given a contract that Crites are still on Earth. Hunter Lee has more face shifting issues and he hasn’t settled on one. Ug (Terrance Mann of Critters, Critters 3, Critters 4 and The Dresden Files) seems content to using a popular rock star’s visage. Lee is ambushed by Crites and killed. Ug and Charlie rally together and throw down with said Crites blowing the lot of them off with their ship.   But…did we get every egg again?  Wah wah waaaaaah.   Off to Topeka Kansas to create Critters 3: You Are What They Eat starring Don Opper and Terrance Mann of the previous films as well as Leonardo DiCaprio’s first movie.   A down trodden building owned by a heartless landlord is under siege by Crites so clearly that is a pest issue.  Charlie (Don Opper) tracks and takes out the Crites but Ug (Terrance Mann) is again nowhere to be found until a holographic message sputters out of a wrist unit and Ug explains Crites are now on the endangered species list. Charlie drops the last remaining Crite eggs into stasis but fell into the pod that was to carry it to this Shadow Consul.
 Now this sad bit of sputum was actually an extended film and not intended to be a continuous beyond this film but New Line Cinema said we will shoot 3 and 4 back to back.  Critters 4: They're Invading Your Space Charlie places the Crite eggs in a stasis unit only to goof up yet again and get trapped into the pod only to have slept for 200 years and rescued by a salvage ship. Yeah cue James Horner music, some pulse rifles and a kick ass Sgt Apone.   The crew decides to claim salvage rights on the pod and receive an update from the Shadow Consul and demand the pod, offer an obscene reward and set coordinates to arrange a meeting.  The space station was in shambles and the Crites are loose, eating and breeding.  Charlie is brought to consciousness and up to speed on the Crites so he springs into action, if action was constituted for bumbling and inept.  With a gun fight with the descendant of Ug and his white clad storm troopers, the Crites eat most of them and the surviving crew blow up the station and flee to safety. 

What is the point you may ask?   Well ambition versus common sense is what occurred.  As this is the way of many storytellings, lack of continuity, re-writes and schedule conflicts can create a jumbled mess and while this is not what I would consider viable entertainment but it is an aspect of my childhood.  Well okay the first one is.  The other three are ideal from extremely dumb movie night...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Franchises that never need be..

The remainder of this week will be poking fun of sequels that wish you passed on or just wished they had not been.   I will be tackling these films with a fine tooth comb and mocking them sadistically.  Hope to have fun with it and hope you all have fun reading about it.

This ain't yo daddy's Super Friends...


Hello all, I am back again with a new review and this time we are tackling cartoons. Yeah I know those are for kids.  Don’t care.   Today I am touching base on DC Comics biggest triumph on the little screen. So grab your tights, do some stretches to limber up and get ready to save the day.   This is Justice League.

Spoilers make Batman paranoid…

Growing up in the era of the Superfriends and Super Powers, DC superheroes came off as hokey, overbearing and frankly kind of a joke.  In 1992 with the first appearance of Batman the Animated Series, we saw a broken man remake himself to better himself and his city against forces of the absurd and insane.   In 1996 we see the shining city of Metropolis under siege by similar villains of Gotham but a champion from another world, Superman approached this bizarre men and women with super powers and tempered by compassion of honesty and courage.   Throughout both these series, a myriad of more obscure DC characters appeared but you never really got the full scope of whom they are and why they stood for justice.    2001 changed all of that in introducing characters that have been on the comic book pages for more than 60 years.   DC Comics writer Gardner Fox (Justice Society of America, Mystery in Space, Amazing Stories, Planet Stories and Justice League of America) gathered a cadre of different men and women all hailing from unique backgrounds with a common goal.  To dispense justice towards villainy and protect the innocent no matter the cost.

Animators Bruce W. Timm (Blackstar, G.I. Joe, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Batman the Animated Series, Batman Beyond and Superman the Animated Series) and Paul Dini (Creator of Harley Quinn, villainess sidekick to the Joker) set out on a venture to create a cohesive Justice League for kids and adults to enjoy.  Dipping into more than 60 years worth of comic history as well as stories of their own; the duo managed to bring about some of DC comics greatest heroes and villains all under a 25 minute cartoon and a cornucopia of voice actors under the wing of veteran voice casting director Andrea Romano (Batman the Animated Series, The Adventures of Batman and Robin, The New Batman Adventures, Pinky and the Brain and Static Shock) Reigning in actors from previous series, Romano had her pick of the litter if you will.   Batman (Kevin Conroy of Batman the Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyond, Justice League, Batman: Arkham City and Justice League: Doom) Joker (Mark Hamill of Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi,  Batman the Animated Series, Justice League, Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! and The Super Hero Squad Show) as well as newcomers to the voice acting gig like Phil LaMarr (MADtv, Clerks Animated Series, Invader ZIM, Static Shock, Samurai Jack, The Proud Family and Wolverine and the X-Men) Susan Eisenberg (Justice League, Golden Axe: Beast Rider, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, The Super Hero Squad Show and Mass Effect 3).  

The main issues Dini and Timm had was to make these superheroes more human in the eyes of their viewers by giving them the very strengths and flaws we all have, deliver a thought provoking story and plenty of action all under one name.     No easy task when the fans are this demanding for their hero or heroine not getting enough lines or always deemed in reserve.   While you cannot please everyone, I think Justice League fans of whatever incarnation they grew up reading will be proud of this product and want to share it with other like minded folk.  

Apologies...

I am sorry for not having a Monday blog up but I got a bit exhausted weatherproofing the apartment.   That being said I will get today's blog written and posted for your viewing pleasure.  Ta ta for now all.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Zombie Hunter: the name says it all.

Well folks it has been a while since I have done a video game review so I am starting one off with a plug 'n play game based on the Walking Dead TV series. JAKK'S TV series game titles strikes gold with Zombie Hunter is a plug 'n play FPS with a shotgun controller and a zombie head and hands peering over the wireless unit.

Spoilers ain't people, man. Not any more.

 This simplistic game is ideal for any Big Buck Hunter fanatics and gives the zombie haters something to do.  The story line is basic in that you are in the woods as a standard character on the move to get ahead of the walkers.  You find that your base camp has a level of infestation and of course you can only dispatch the walkers with a shot to the head.  As you progress through the game you encounter Glenn and go on a few missions with him.  Defending him when needed.

Now let us discuss game mechanics.  You need to be about 8 to 10 feet from the screen in order to properly take out the walking dead.  The plastic sight on the gun is pointless to look down so do NOT even bother.  A target reticle will digitally appear and for the most part works pretty spot on but you need to caliberate for your shooting stance.  Downside to this game is we (My Dad and I) could not figure if you could do this one from the couch or not so I would just recommend this a standing pose.   Unlike a real rifle or shotgun there of course is no recoil so the main worry is keeping the gun steady and level.   The game does have a set speed for destroying crates that contain different ammo and health so be quick about it or you miss out.   You also have unlimited ammo for the shotgun and even the option of an automatic or in this case a semi-automatic shotgun or the standard pump action shotgun.  You will pick up weapon options such as: rifle, assault rifle, crossbow bolts and even a 40 mm grenade launcher.  There are only 3 levels, each with 3 scenes attached to it with variant degrees of difficulty.   One thing to be aware of is the lag between each new screen of zombie fighting and your character walking along.  You discharge an accidental round too early or throw off your concentration.   There are survivors you can save from the shambling dead and gain massive points for, or you can waste them and get a negative 120 points.  Dad was a bit trigger happy so oops.


The other two staples of the game are called free play game (meaning no story arc just shooting the dead and advancing) and horde game (this portion just means wave of death ranging from 2 to 6 zombies per screen)

Bottom line is this would be a fun game from anything of blowing off steam or just a party game of passing the gun around to the next person to play.  I am going to have to say I had a blast playing this.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Raven...No not the Highlander one..

Howdy boys and girls! Back with a bit of a more current spin on an old thing. The retelling of an old tale of misery, murder, gruesome and grandeur. So polish the mononocle, grab that absinthe and partake in the local play. This is The Raven.

Spoilers nevermore...


A sot,a uproarious drunk with a keen and gifted mind. Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack of Better Off Dead, Grosse Point Blank, Serendipity and 1408) feels underappreciated and less than nothing by this rabble that is the common man; is penniless from his world tour due to his level of indulgence and feels his is at his wit's end. A series of brutal murders have occured in Baltimore where Poe resides and a young detective named Fields (Luke Evans of The Immortals,Robin Hood, The Three Musketeers and Clash of the Titans) notices the disturbing pattern of each of the murders is identical to a short story of Poe's. Desperate for help, Fields enlists Poe's assistance in stopping this madman before he strikes again.  While men of completely different caliber and strengths, Fields and Poe try to make a common ground to reach in order to decipher this lunatic's warping of Poe's macbre tales.

Kidnapped is Poe's fiancee` Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve of Big Nothing, Crossing Over, She's Out of My League and Men in Black 3) to taunt and torment Poe's already tortured soul but to inspire words of brillance and morbid fancy all for the killer to read and revel in as this deadly game of cat and mouse continues on the killer's terms. The clock is ticking down as we discover that Emily does not have long for this world unless Fields and Poe can crack the case with the disturbing clues into the madman's psyche.

Director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, The Invasion and Ninja Assassin) tells us the tale of what would be the happenings of Poe, his written works and the downsides to that of which they could very well create. Now while this is in no way, shape or imagination new ground; the story is well told and shot to a degree of professionalism that V for Vendetta was. The angled shots, crane and hand held was pretty spot on. John Cusack did a fine job as Poe. He attempts to show facets of all the man; his hopes, dreams and nightmares if you will and while this is not the best version of this tale but worth the view.

I would like to point out this gothic story has a fair degree of blood and gore attached to it so that is something to take into account. Certainly not the bloodiest film of the thriller genre, I believe From Hell still holds that mark in my humble opinion.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Night Man: Man of...well night mostly.


Hey kiddies, thought I would drop by with another TV series review. Yeah, I was feeling up for it.   So grab a seat, a refreshing soda and kick back.  This is Night Man.

Spoilers have secret identities too…

Ill-fated comic book company Malibu Comics creates a realm known as the Ultraverse; a land with heroes and heroines of science and magic alike.  Mutants and super powered beings roam this world until Marvel Comics bought them out in 1994.  The idea was to capitalize on this new bastion of characters and incorporate them into the existing Marvel Comics universe.   But hey who gives a crap about that?! 


Today we are talking about Glen Larson’s (creator of Magnum P.I., Knight Rider, Quincy, M.E., The Fall Guy and Manimal) adaptation of Night Man made for two seasons.  Loosely based on the comic book character, Johnny Domino, an accomplished saxophone player and former martial arts instructor is struck by a lightning bolt in a freak accident involving a cable-car and attempted political assassination.  Johnny (Matt McColm of Night of the Warrior, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., The Protector, Space Cowboys, Baywatch and The Matrix Reloaded) discovers after this bizarre trauma that he is telepathically able to recognize evil.  After being released from the hospital and an attempt on his life he encounters Rollie Jordan (Derek Webster of Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla, Mental and Damages)a brilliant engineer who is of four men that created high tech body armor and weapons for the Department of Defense only to have their project gutted due to budget cuts.  Wanting to hold onto their jobs and reputations, they decide to move the armor into law enforcement only to find out the prototypes are being auctioned off to foreign powers and possibly terrorist cells.   With the aid of his father Frank (Earl Holliman of Forbidden Planet, Police Woman, Hotel de Paree and The Wide Country) former Bay City officer the trio tries to intercept the bad guys and rein in the cops for assistance.  

  Johnny feels the cops won’t arrive into time and uses the prototype armor which consists of: a poly-weave Kevlar and Nomex hybrid, an anti-gravity flying belt, a holographic woven cloak that allows him to be rendered invisible, an optical lens that sees every spectrum of light and doubles as an offensive laser beam.

Okay the storyline is a bit hokey, the cops are a trifle inept and frankly the fact that Johnny manages to keep his identity secret at all is something of a miracle.  The concept of a vigilante striking out on crime by his or her lonesome is not an original story but that jazzy saxophone intro you will NOT get out of your head.  This show is a bit of a guilty pleasure and yes for the haters I shall hang my head down for this.   Similar to the Flash’s production, this show had potential to continue fairly well but alas the dreaded Nielsen ratings felt this show was not up to snuff and after only two seasons it went away like a puff of smoke.  This rating board also thinks such shows as Road Rules and Jersey Shore are worth your time so keep that in mind and hey at least check out the pilot if you are interested.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Moonlight...gone too soon.


What do you say about a shamus over 85 years of age that is young and vibrant, mysterious and intrigue surrounding his every other action?  So grab a fresh willing victim, open an artery and feed.  This is Moonlight.
 
Spoilers exist in a realm of darkness and mystery…

Writers Ron Koslow (Lifeguard, Beauty and the Beast, My Life and Times and Beauty and the Beast remake) and Trevor Munson (Lone Star State of Mind and Moonlight) try to unfold a show of humans and vampires without it being clouded with too many flashbacks, horrible atrocities and the need for more Victorian garb than an Anne Rice novel.  They give a spin to scoff at coffins and holy icon warding them off.  Garlic can leave a bitter aftertaste in one’s mouth.  They do adhere to the mythos that stakes merely paralyze vampires and fire and decapitation are always the call of the day.

A private investigator named Mick St. John (Alex O’ Loughlin of The Holiday, August Rush, The Back-up Plan and Hawaii Five-O) gives us the viewers a bit of narrative of life as a vampire from his perspective.  By all accounts he is a young pup in the realm of forever ranging in at the age 85.  Yes our protagonist is not old as dirt like for example: Nick Knight from Forever Knight or Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.   He is barely out of touch of the mainstream but lives by a code similar to theirs.  A bit of a foot dragging vampire in that eternity is a bit of a bummer.   A murder is captured on a digital network called Buzzwire.   The lead investigative reporter Beth Turner (Sophia Myles of Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, Outlander and MI-5) has a veracious appetite for success and a gnawing hunger for the truth that she could easily end up a chalk outline.  She and Mick meet at the crime scene, he charms her then swoops off into the night leaving her wondering if that just all happened.   

Oh don’t worry readers there more bloodsuckers out there.  Take Mick’s best bud and mentor to all things fangy, Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring of Deep Impact, Veronica Mars, Supernatural and Ringer) a 400 year old investment financial wizard and ruthless for corporate takeovers.  He gives a light hearted standing on vampires enjoying the humans for food, fun and fiscal gain.   Mick’s main hang-up is he did not request to be made a vampire by his bride-to-be and somehow she kept this all secret.  Not exactly a difficult task. “Say Honey, why do I never see you eat at all?”    Bit of a pointer there.  

 Alas this series has only 16 episodes and we are left with that same achy Firefly moment without even a band-aid of Serenity to patch it up.   Shot in L.A. and my belief vamps just want to feed on models and movie stars, these series of stories unfold of murder, conspiracy, vampirism and human brutality.   It all has that nice third person narrative that the detective delves into and frankly went before it really had a chance to shine.   Guess the popularity of the Jersey Shore tromped it so proof that taste in American viewing pleasure can be limited but feel free to snag a copy because all in all it was enjoyable.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pan's Labyrinth...wow


Hello all… we are at the climax, the cusp of Guillermo del Toro week and what better film to end on then a tailored fairy tale.  So get comfy in your seats, grab a beverage and imagine.  This is Pan’s Labyrinth.

Spoilers can be magical…

Guillermo del Toro’s creation describes a fascist Spain of the year 1944.  The story is once again told through the eyes of a young child.  Ofelia (Ivan Baquero ofRomasanta: The Werewolf Hunt, The Anarchist’s Wife, The New Daughter and The Red Virgin) and her pregnant mother Carmen (Arianda Gil of The Age of Beauty, Nuts for Love and Soldiers of Salmina) must journey to the North and Carmen is wed to Captain Vidal (Sergi Lopez of An Affair of Love, With a Friend Like Harry and Dirty Pretty Things), a ruthless dictator that delights himself with torturing rebels.   And you thought your step-dad was kooky.   Ofelia, her head in the cloud realms of dreams and myth does not want to take this monster of a man as her new father, her part-time nanny Mercedes (Maribel Verdu ofCanguros, Y Tu Mama Tambien, The Blind Sunflowers and The Red Virgin) tells Ofelia of a magical garden that she may explore to her heart’s content.   Ofelia roams the garden only to discover a massive maze, a labyrinth if you will and encounters Pan (del Toro regular Doug Jones of Hellboy, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Wager and Fallout: Nuka Break), a faun guarding the labyrinth.   He identifies Ofelia as the long last Princess Moanna and tells her of three sacred tasks she must perform before the next full moon to reign for all eternity in the Underworld.  With these tasks complete she will escape the holy hell that is her life.

Now while this sounds like your typical Disney movie tripe, let us be clear on our director.  With a man that combines macabre, humor, fantasy and harsh reality for his films, so we are in for a bumpy ride.   Ofelia is operating on her limited logic and emotional plight.  With her country struggling to rebuild and the post-war angst, to her mother suffering from a complicated pregnancy and her tyrant of a stepfather, it is not difficult to see why she would want to escape this madness in this realm, but what of the other?     I was asked recently if this is a family film and I have to be honest, I really do not know.  The film is terrifying in parts of the sheer brutality of humans tormenting one another; to the emotional rollercoaster of the world but any many ways for me I had the same response to the Devil’s Backbone too.   If anything it shows the audience that not all tales of history and fantasy are mad dash excitement and good triumphs over evil every time.  It gives perspective but at the same time it may fall under more enjoyment for the horror fans.  This film offers a dark gothic tale of cruelty in either realm of dream or consciousness so it is really up to the parents to show this one to the kiddies.   The visuals alone will blow you out of your seat.  Del Toro’s patented panoramic cinematography and melodious pacing of storytelling is what truly makes this mystifying and ominous tale the very life it needed.    Be warned Parental Units, this film has a whole lot of bleak.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mimic...isn't always flattering


classic; both sneered and cheered at.   So grab a can of Raid, maybe a fly swatter and a can of Coke to lure them out.    This is Mimic.

Spoilers can be people!!!

Based on the short story of the same name by American sci-fi author Donald A. Woldheim, Writer Matthew Robbins (The Sugarland Express, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dragonslayer, *batteries not included and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark) and our boy Guillermo del Toro (Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, Blade II, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy II: The Golden Army) combine their forces to bring this sci-fi thriller to live deep in the passages of New York City.  Entomologist Doctor Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino of Mighty Aphrodite, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Replacement Killers, and Too Tired to Die) and her husband Doctor Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam of The Net, Emma, Amistad, Gosford Park and The Invasion) are geneticists dealing with a plague dubbed Strickler’s disease that is spread by cockroaches that claiming hundreds of the city’s children left and right.   Desperate to quell this onslaught of infection, the two created a new breed of insect called the Judas breed that would feed on the roaches. The concept of stunting the ability to breed the Judas breed would die out in 3 years time.  Well that is the plan of course but we all know how Man plays and God laughs according Nietzsche.    
Unfortunately the good intentions aside, years later the Judas breed has managed to reproduce and to amass to over six feet tall and they got hungry for more tender meat that the roaches cannot offer but in a city of 8 million people I think they may have one hell of a buffet.

Transit Cop Leonard (Charles S. Dutton of Crocodile Dundee II, Alien 3, Rudy, A Low Down Dirty Shame, Nick of Time and Gothika) hears a noise and spots one of these giant bugs, drops a few rounds at it and calls for back up.  Tyler, Mann and their extended staff all make their way into the subway line to offer assistance.  As Leonard knows these tunnels like the back of his hand, the lot proceeds deep in.

I still love how we go from the hustle and bustle of New York City streets to these vast underground steam tunnels of Ontario er…um...I mean New York of course.  To the sum of $28 million, this is Guillermo del Toro’s first American movie and to be fair why the story itself was not overtly fascinating to me of Man twisting God’s work but again the initial storytelling and atmosphere of grim standing one moment but with a little dark humor when deemed necessary.   I still was impressed how del Toro made you guess who was next on the menu.   It is almost as he threw out that unwritten rule of animals, old folk and kids were most likely to survive to the very last minute.   Not a favorite but well done by performance and story.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Devil's Backbone...


Hey kiddies! How about a story hellbent on despair, childhood terrors, resistance and tenacity?  So grab your crucifix, say 30 Hail Marys and be humble.  This is The Devil’s Backbone.

Spoilers is the devil!!!

Set in the background of the Spanish Civil War, this film is told through the eyes of a twelve year old boy Carlos (Fernando Tielve of The Shanghai Spell, Goya’s Ghosts and Pan’s Labyrinth) has been left at this enormous orphanage a day’s walk from any village in Spain.  His father is quite dead but Carlos is blissfully unaware of this as his mentor drops him on in his strange environment leaving him to be the new kid in a terrifying new place.  No sooner the film has opened up, Carlos sees a translucent boy in the kitchen that is in fact, yes a ghost.  As the ghost turns to him Carlos does what any twelve year old does.  Ran scared, hopped into bed and hid under the covers. Carlos discovers later on a name of Santi (Junio Valverde of Hidden Hands, Vida y color, Shiver and Tierra de lobos) carved into the locker.  Carlos and several other kids are watched over by Dr. Casares (Reoccuring del Toro actor Federico Luppi of Cronos, Martin and Pan’s Labyrinth) and the Headmistress Carmen (Marisa Paredes of Life is Beautiful, All About My Mother and The Skin I Live In), who is also fighting for the cause using a series of gold ingots to pay for food and arms.  

Most of these characters are filled with good intentions but as we all know what that road paves.  The school’s handyman Jacinth (Eduardo Noriega of Tesis, Open Your Eyes and The Method) knows of the gold and plans to steal it and run off with his fiancée Conchita (Irene Visedo of Cuentame, Los pasos perdidos and Cascabel) to make a better life for their selves in this war torn time.  The beauty of del Toro’s writing is while Jacinth has some deep psychological issues, serious flaws and in general comes off as a thug at first glance, we are privy to see into his soul and love for his woman that separates himself for the atypical bad guy of film.  The ghost child’s chalky skin and white contacts will send a shiver down your spine.  You will feel remorse for the loss of his life but will be innerved by his presence.
The terror and beauty of this movie is amalgamated into one.  The cinematography is phenomenal and really tells a horrendous tale from different points of view with subtly.   There were times in this film you could feel an influence of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist had.  The story established a tale of malice and torment all the while showing hope and optimism in the background.  Easily, this is a time-period film worth viewing and having on your shelf.  So chuck that copy of Caligula you shamefully bought, sit back and taking in this movie for its awesome brilliance and disturbing beauty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cronos: An Original.


Hey all.  I’m back again with a vampire movie on the platter.   Now before you all groan and chant “Seen it”, this is not your typical vampire movie and in fact is a whole other realm of magic, relics and wild happenings.  So sit back in your seat, put your feet up and gaze in disbelief.  This is Cronos.

Spoilers are made of many things…

Director/writer/producer Guillermo del Toro (The Devil’s Backbone, Mimic, Blade II, Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army) weaves a story of 1535 Mexico, an alchemist creates a golden mechanical artifact that staves off the ravages of age, allowing the wearer almost infinite life and energy so long he or she is prepared to pay the price.  Now in 1997, Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi of Martin, The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth) an antiques dealer in Mexico, who comes across a beetle-shaped golden trinket found in an old statue.  While inspecting the item in question, it buzzes and whirls to life, sprouting claws and digs into his hand deep.  The next day Jesus feels stronger and more energetic than he had in years, a notion he attributes to the artifact now embedded in his flesh.  No sooner does this newly found vitality come about as does a thirst, a craving for human blood.  Methinks this gift needs a refund option.  Down this new found passage of self-discovery he learns of a malicious millionaire Dieter de la Guardia (Claudio Brook of The Exterminating Angel, Simon of the Desert, Miroslava and Valentina) stricken with disease and old age he is obsessed with the tales and writings of the Cronos invention along with his brute of a nephew Angel (Ron Perlman of Beauty and the Beast, Absolon, Blade II, Hellboy, Mutant Chronicles, The Job, I Sell the Dead, Acts of Violence and Conan the Barbarian)  who simply wishes dear Uncle would drop dead and give him the business.  Jesus fears that he will soon be a threat to his granddaughter who he dearly loves as he is warping away from the good man he was.

And now I would like to mention a quick, few tidbits on the cinematography itself.  Toro’s usage of winding visual and clockwork title card introduction is something of a patent for him.  As most of his films are based in sci-fi fantasy, horror and the conglomerate of both, it is a unique signature as well as the need for orchestra music building momentum and suspense.  Most of the camera work is hand held and with such precision down a winding staircase and such attention to detail that you get the feeling he truly is a storyteller around a campfire rather than a director.   

How his gothic take on most of his films gets compared to Tim Burton’s work can only be attributed that Cronos was released in 1993 after Burton successes of Beetlejuice, Batman and Edward Scissorhands and therefore people feel Toro lifted the same feel for his own.  I would have to disagree and find while similar that Toro’s work unfolds with a subtle grace and is more dialogue and action driven, while Burton’s work tends to come off as kooky or obtuse.  And considering how many bloody remakes Burton has been in hand with, I am not a huge fan.    Following in the facet of Hitchcock like many other current directors, Toro appears as small bit characters in his films but never a top bill one.  He is behind the scenes if you will and frequently has actors of previous film projects to come back as often as he can get them.   To this date, Ron Perlman has done 4 films with him thus far and I dare say it is only the beginning.  So if you care for an exquisite take on an old legend with little to mild gore then I would dare say put this in your Netflix.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hellboy...don't tell me you never heard of it?


What is it that makes a man a man? Is it his origins, the way things start…Or is it something else, something harder to describe?   Hey folks I thought this would be a good kick start to Guillermo del Toro week if we tackled a film a great deal of us know, like or dislike, love or loathe.  Now without further adieu…This is Hellboy.

Skip to the part where I can kill a spoiler

In 1993, San Diego Comic Con’s second titled comic was released by comic artist/writer Mike Mignola (Wolverine, Daredevil, Power Man and& Iron Fist) Hellboy was a monster, a demon that championed on the side of good and taught Christian morals. Hellboy was contracted by Dark Horse Comics in 1994 and is a title to this day.   Mignola stated in a interview for the movie he got tired of drawing men and women in tights, panel after panel and really like making monsters instead. So why not make a monster a hero?
Collaborating with writer Peter Briggs, del Toro and he start hammering through the pages of Mignola’s Red Right Hand of Doom story arc and place a father/son relationship that Hellboy and Professor Broom did not have in the comics.   That being said, let’s get to fun!   In 1944 on the shores of some remote ruins in Scotland a natural connection of ley lines, the Nazis are attempting to cross a dimensional gate to a realm uncharted by sane men.   From a substantial gunfight between US forces of the newly founded Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense and the Nazis, Russian scientist, paranormal expert Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden of Blade II, Bulletproof Monk, The Bourne Supremacy and The Abandoned) delves in a realm where angels dare not tread and is sucked through the portal, all seems well but Professor Broom points out that portal worked both ways and was open long enough for something else to have gotten through.    A search of the premises comes up with a small ape like child, red as a fire engine and a right hand composed of stone.   Cut to 2004 and young FBI agent John Myers (Rupert Evans of Sons & Lovers, Fingersmith, Emma and This is David Conrad) entering the world of the BPRD and informed there is much more going on this little blue green planet by Professor “Broom” Bruttenholm (John Hurt of Alien, History of the World: Part I, The Hit, 1984,Beyond the Gates and V for Vendetta).  A brief introduction with the aquatic Abe Sapien (Doug Jones of The Time Machine, Men in Black II, Adaptation, Doom and Pan’s Labyrinth) a vault about 8 inches thick is open to reveal the man or demon of the hour, Hellboy (Ron Perlman of Beauty and the Beast, The Magnificent Seven, Crime and Punishment, Cronos, Blade II and Star Trek: Nemesis)   

A few issues being in the BPRD, if you do not really have an area of expertise and just a grunt with a gun you have the live span expectancy of a red shirt.   You are on Hellboy’s team and we never heard of you?  Bye bye cannon fodder.   This film with its crane shot, hand held and a fair amount of dolly track with anamorphic scope gives you that chestnut of being there in the action without a fraction of the collateral damage.  An enjoyable monster flick, you can show to the kids and they will thank you for it.

Guillermo del Toro Week!

Well that does seem self-explanatory but some of you may be asking, "Who is Guillermo del Toro and why does he get a week on this blog?"    Simply put Guillermo del Toro is a brilliant writer, director and storyteller.  One of those few individuals that sets his goals and meets them through hard work and diligence worked his way up from makeup assistance to a a TV series in Mexico called Hora Marcada.  It is the warped and wonderful imagination this man is engulfed by that I feel that he should be acknowledged for his stunning genius.

Thus begins....Guillermo del Toro week...

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Quick and the Undead..


OoOo Sam Raimi’s camera work, Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman squaring off with an amazing ensemble cast…er…wait that’s The Quick and the Dead.   Crap.   Oh well, slap leather and draw boys and girls this is The Quick and the Undead.

Spoilers have to shot in the head! 

As we break into our zombie subgenre movie let me be clear.  This is a post-apocalyptic zombie western.  Yeah wrap your brain around that for a few minutes.  85 years after 2006 I guess we had a viral plague swept the lands turning ¾ of the populous into zombies?  The remaining few are mostly contracted bounty hunters dealing with zombies from town to town.  Opening scene is a bit of narrative and limited hammy news reports describing the outbreak.  The government is barely held together with baling wire and spit.  Terrorist factions are claiming for the outbreak.  CDC warning establishes to kill your loved ones with head trauma and burn the body.    This gig looks pretty simple.  Chum the streets, the smell will bring the zombies out, wait in an open area with a lot of ammo, clear head and steady hands. Blam blam blam, job’s done.   Re-establishing Romero’s standing that zombies are flesh eaters, that this is not a difficult prey.  Slow moving and dull witted, they are not MENSA material.   The best of the best bounty hunters (Yeah we can cue that music later if you like) Ryn Baskin (Clint Glenn of Castle, The Flesh Keeper and Battle Force) channels Eastwood’s character from A Fistful of Dollars down to the look, squint and mannerisms.   Hell he even smokes cheroots.  Very much a homage, if you will.  Everything about this movie has a Sergio Leone feel to it.  The wide camera angles, the crane shots and the handheld are superb.  Now the zombie gore effects are no Savini or KNB but pretty effective as a whole.  Admittedly some of the head shots are clearly a combination of high speed cam and CGI touch up but not bad.  After a rather successful hunt of 29 zombies Ryn encounters his former posse led by Blythe Remington (Parrish Randall of the Flesh Keeper, Dark Spaces and Dead of the Knight).  The two have an Indy/Belloq moment for the idol right down to the dialogue.   Shh.  Just pretend you didn’t notice.  Blythe’s crew rips Ryn off and leaves him for dead.  Establishing that humanity is not looking out for one another YET again, the desolate feel of being human in this zombie world makes one feel alone.  

Okay that was a bit too thought provoking.  Let’s go to the hunters’ rules.  (1) Fresh ones die first.  Their muscle tissue is still intact and they can move quicker.  Take the rotting ones later. (2) Always be out in the open.  Distance and a steady aim will drop them but if they outnumber you, run away. (3) Do not run inside and hide.  Eventually your supplies will run out and you need food.  Zombie has no other means of food so it can wait.  Doesn’t need sleep, to pee or get distracted by a shiny object.  Being primarily on the editorial department, Director/Writer Gerald Nott takes his first stab behind the camera with The Quick and the Undead.  This is a bit dialogue driven and a fair amount of action sequences with just that dash of jump scares to be found in a zombie film.  Humanity’s greed overweighing common sense, proof we don’t need the zombies to do us in.  Little bit of Day of the Dead lines adapted for the screenplay but hey I can overlook it.  No Captain Rhodes in this lot lemme tell you.  So if you are looking for Plains Drifter meets Dawn of The Dead than look no further.  Decent camera work, actors actually attempting their own and the storyline is tangible.   I found myself going into this one with no hopes and all and was pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Shark Night 3D....yes really.


Ah a festive outing at the salt water lake with a gaggle of teens in search of beer, good times and the possibility of getting laid.  What could ever go wrong you ask?   Well journey with us to Shark Night in 3D.  The director of this opus is none other than David R Ellis.  The man that brought you Final Designation 2, Cellular and Snakes on a Plane.  Oh yes kiddies fasten your safety belts because the non-stop bumpy ride will drift you into unconsciousness.  We have our typical mock up of Jaws murder scene started right away, offering us the notion of a fast sped paced action but in the worlds of the Immortal John Belushi  “BUT NOoOoOOoOOO!!!”   We have to establish dialogue, characters and of course many a dark past.   45 minutes into the movie and you are praying for the sharks to eat you simply out of boredom.  Our illustrious teen gang came across the local yokels after acquiring the liquor and snacks and yes they are the stereotypical characters of hate, racism and spite with just a hint of sorrow to round them out.  Donal Logue of Blade, Ghost Rider and Grounded for Life and Joel David Moore of Bones and Hatchet are the only two actors I recognize so already I know I am in for it.

The dialogue was written up over a drunken weekend.  Our vile villains are so hokey they would be rejected from a comic book and our protagonist is more wooden than the desk I am writing this review on.  The CGI/3D effects are quite often but they are relying on the jump scare cuts to carry the weight of the movie.   Not every horror film can pull off the jump scare effect but of the last 7 years plenty of horror films such as: Saw, Hostel and remakes like the Hills Have Eyes rely on the jump scare cut.  Somehow in this substantial salt water lake a menagerie of sharks of different size and specie has materialized in the area and no one is the wiser to such. 
 With their boat destroyed and a member graphically injured the gang decides they should trust the yokels to get them to safety and a life flight for their maimed buddy.    What a surprise with the yokels they previously squabbled with turn out to be asses and psychos on top of which.  Losing the cast one by one it was my reaction that no one in the audience cared.  I think they were all in silent pray that none of their friends caught them viewing it and they could escape said film with a modicum of dignity intact.

 The plot was weak to say the least.  Characters were so stereotypical and one dimensional no one could be bothered to wonder if they would grow as young adults.  The CGI/3D was slowly hurting this photophobic fellow’s head and I cannot believe there was that much need for Indie band music to combine with NO action at all.  Blaring tunes as we reasonably drive through town at a safe speed!   What the hell?    The other aspect that annoyed I personally was they quarter cranked the film speed and then reversed the effect to go speeding through the town and highway.  I was under the impression when editors and directors did this was similar to an action hero training montage.  Cover emotion and physicality in a short span of time and move on to the next standing.   Not this film, no sir.
  This particular move was done 3 times in the film and I guess it was to drive any epileptic out of the theater or drop them straight into a comatose state.    It makes the 20 minutes of Ben boarding up the windows in Night of the Living Dead feel positively Shakespearean.
Long story  short(Too late) if you need a very slow paced monster movie with less than believable sharks and villains then you have found your Utopia and if in fact you are just looking for complex storylines, meaningful dialogue as well as flushed out characters, tread not these waters me lads and lassies.   There be crap in it and Davy Jones locker is all out of Tidy bowl.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The 6th Day..ah Arnold and sci-fi.


The 6th Day

Director Roger Spottiswoode of Die Another Day brings us to a timeline that cattle, fish, chickens heck even household pets can be cloned.   The notion of human cloning trials or even experimentation is illegal and forbidden.  Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger of Commando, The Terminator, T2) runs a private helicopter piloting service finds out his family dog Oliver has been killed and his friend and partner Hank (Michael Rappaport of Beautiful Girls) tells him he will cover for him.   Adam takes the dog to a firm called Re-pet and hears the sales pitch only to have second thoughts.  He heads back home with a doll for his daughter when he sees through the window, the family dog bouncing around the living room and thinks it is his wife’s doing.  As he approaches the door he then sees a clone of himself celebrating with his family.    Trying to get in his own house to confront the clone he is attacked by Replacement Technologies security team headed by Robert Marshal (Michael Rooker of Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer and Mallrats) and Talia Eslworth (Sarah Wynter of Species 2 and Lost Souls).    Escaping them narrowly Adam heads to his friend Hank’s apartment.  The two catch up then Hank gets shot by an anti-cloning extremist called Tripp.  He says both Hank and their charter Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn of Ghost and American Gun) crashed the helicopter and it this is all secret.   Rather be captured by the Replacement Technologies Security team, Tripp blows his brains out so his memories cannot be retrieved and give away others of his movement. 

Green screen gets a lot of love in this movie.  Sneaking into Drucker’s company (which is no easy feat given how big Arnold is) Adam finds Dr Weir (Robert Duvall of True Grit 1969, The Godfather and Godfather II) the scientist behind the clones explains to Gibson that both Hank and Drucker were killed in a helicopter crash and they had to do a rush clone job to conceal this horrific accident for the sake of the company.   Without Drucker they cannot lobby for human clones for everything from replacing organs to bringing back loved ones.  So a decent story turns clichéd with fights with Schwarzenegger and moral issues with cloning and big business not caring about the little people.   Drucker is thwarted by Gibson and his clone.  Clone Gibson moves to the other end of the planet with a twin company of the charter piloting in Argentina (Don’t cry for him) and Adam returns to his family with a new appreciation of cloning and the knee jerk feeling he had lessened.   Decent writing and good premise went a bit crackers with production.   A potential sci-fi went full blown action with far too many explosions and gunfights.  Schwarzenegger’s character was not a trained paramilitary man.   It was over the top fights and making Arnold once again invincible.   It could be better but it is what it is.   View with caution.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Damn that is a nice car.


Hey all.  Just touching base on a cult following that could only be rivaled by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off show Angel.  I refer to those pesky kids, the Winchester boys.  Driving in their father’s ’67 Impala these two very different lads dispense justice for the victims of the monsters that go bump in the night.   So sharpen your stakes, pour your silver bullet molds and above all don’t be a douche nozzle.   This is Supernatural Season 1.

Spoilers are all around us man!

Our pilot opens with a happy prosperous young man Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki of Gilmore Girls, House of Wax and Friday the 13th) pre-law student, straight A’s and hotty for a girlfriend Jessica (Adrianne Palicki of Lone Star, Legion, Wonder Woman and Red Dawn) and over all life is feeling good.  The two lovebirds have a little celebration nookie and fall asleep (No fellas, this is CW so no skin on that level) when Sam hears a noise in the apartment, goes to investigate and handle the burglar.  After a fairly intense fight choreography we can see Sambo has had some training only to get tossed on his butt by…his little big brother Dean (Jensen Ackles of Dawson’s Creek, Still Life, Smallville, My Bloody Valentine and Batman: Under the Red Hood).   After nursing a few egos and bruises, Dean tells Sam their dad has gone hunting and hasn’t been back in awhile.   Feels all coded in front of girlfriend Jessica.  Reluctantly Sam joins Dean in pursuit of their wayward father because you see folks the family business is hunting…monsters of all shapes and sizes.

Ahh spoiler you say?  You had 8 years!  Catch up!
Now given that John and Jane Public thinks monsters are nothing more than the work of fiction, cinema and tween writers, our would be heroes have to go incognito.  So on top of less than legal firearms, credit card fraud and posing as Federal officers, our lads do battle with the nastiest freakiest creatures this side of Sunnydale.

The storyline unfolds on what could have made these two seemingly normal guys into hunters of the preternatural and extra-dimensional.    22 years prior the boys’ mother died in a mysterious fire and their father, a Marine recon Vietnam vet could not save her in time.   Finds out there are creatures of myth and legend and they are very real.  To keep his boys safe he will instruct them how to survive, fight and win.  From hand to hand combat, firearms and blades these two could probably be dropped on the F.B.I.’s most wanted list if they wanted to go on a killing spree but they remain knight errants and do what they must to spare families the hell that is their lives.
Admittedly I went into this show kicking and screaming foul to preceding shows. Kolchak: the night stalker Poltergeist : The Legacy, Friday the 13th The Series and X-Files all dealing with the ghosts and ghoulies so I felt yeah YET another less than original idea.  This bleak, dark background story unfolding simultaneously with the current events quickly changed my mind and established this is a dialogue driven story arc as much as it is character based.   A dysfunctional family that shows their breaking points, their flaws and strengths gives scope to the show and guest stars galore.  Only complaint from the man here, not enough reoccurring eye candy for hetro boys.