Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Deadpool


   My feelings about this movie are well documented, much to the lament of my Facebook friends. I was so fed up with the half-informed 'fanbase' that I would run into on a daily basis that- no, I'm serious. The kind of asshats who think it's cool to try and talk to you like Deadpool, with all the sass, sarcasm, and snark. FYI, you just sound like assholes. Anyways, I was so fed up with these asshats that my positive outlook towards the movie was starting to circle the drain, to put it mildly. Vitriolic hate rants and cherry picking negative reviews to repost were just the tip of the iceberg. Not to mention, I was really sick of hearing about how revolutionary this R rating was, and how the only thing catching on from the marketing was dick jokes. Nevertheless, I told everyone... I'll be open to the movie, and if I'm wrong, I'll eat my words with a slice of humble pie...

Deadpool, Superman, and the letter 'R'


  These are some strange and wonderful times to be a comic book nerd, or just a nerd in general. The powers that be have realized for quite some time now that hokey comic book movies just aren't going to cut it. Spawn has been in talks for a reboot for ages, and the 1995 Judge Dredd flick (starring Rob Schneider as much as Sylvester Stallone. Ugh.) got it's upgrade in 2012, with a Verhoeven-esque throwback in the critically acclaimed Dredd. Yet it's only now that the R rating married to a comic book movie is getting massive attention, thanks to Deadpool. I have a review of that movie on the way, but whether or not it's good, or you liked it, or I liked it- is entirely irrelevant. It was successful. Bottom line. That means people, and more importantly... important people- are paying attention to it. They're going to be taking notes. This... could get messy.

Men Behind the Sun


   Men Behind the Sun is a movie that you'll see making it's rounds on 'most disturbing' lists, and for once I'm not let down. After years of hype and ridiculous exaggeration, genre juggernaut A Serbian Film, touted to be one of the most disturbing movies ever made, just about put me to sleep. The gulf between my expectations for it, and what I got instead, are kind of the standards by which I gauge all hardcore 'most disturbing' movies. So, on a scale of "This isn't that bad, I kinda wanna go get snacks..." to "Oh god, I probably shouldn't have eaten..." This is somewhere in-between. I can handle that. I'm not scarred for life, but honestly... I don't think there's any movie out there that could do that to me at this point.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The X Files revival


  Is this season ten? Is it just some sort of special revival? Is it a mini-series? It could easily be all of those things or none. I don't think the showrunners were eager to label it, but maybe they should've been. As a long time fan of the show, I feel like I wasn't even remotely part of the target demographic. Which is odd, because... y'know... this show is over 20 years old at this point, long time fans should've been the first people being catered to. Everyone wins when that happens because all the fan favorite stuff has always made for great TV in general. So what the hell was going on with this revival?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Gozu


   I wouldn't say I'm a fan... per se, of Takashi Miike, but I've always found his movies interesting.  Of course, I know him best from his surreal horror-ish movies- I'll certainly never forget Ichi: The Killer, or Visitor Q, but I don't know if I'd ever rewatch those movies. At least not until my memory of them is diluted enough to warrant a second viewing. Thematically, Gozu fits right in with them. It's basically about a Yakuza foot soldier, Minami, who's tasked with 'disposing' of his crazy brother-in-arms, when the guy mysteriously goes missing. What follows is a crazy and somber road trip into madness with outrageously weird and lurid nonsense along the way. If you want to try and search for meaning in the visuals and themes of Gozu, you go right ahead. The face value weirdness is more than enough for me.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Warriors


  Describing The Warriors to someone does very little justice to the movie, and a big disservice to whoever you're trying to convince to watch it. Merely, telling someone that the movie is about a group of gang members having to make it back to their home turf on Coney Island while being hunted by every other gang in New York does little to sell the colorful and energetic vibe of the movie. Because The Warriors is less of a gritty inner-city gang movie and more of a survival-thriller set in a heightened reality where wild street gangs sport themed motifs, like baseball uniforms (complete with face paint), or roller skates- the list goes on.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Black Mass


   It's easy to get engrossed in Black Mass because every scene is simply bursting with the promise of more. Unfortunately, it's a promise that never gets fulfilled. I don't know much about the real people this movie deals with, or the book it's based on, so I can't speak to it's accuracy or faithfulness, but as a movie- an entertainment vehicle and nothing else, it's merely adequate. Which is kind of painful to say because Johnny Depp's performance as crime lord James 'Whitey' Bulger is absolutely fantastic. It's just also unfortunate that the movie is neither actually about him, nor does it ever give him much to do. The movie is actually about the FBI agent who seeks to make an alliance with Bulger. Yet, he's much less the interesting character.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Deep Rising


   Only a hardened cynic could walk away from Deep Rising and say they weren't entertained. Sure, it's movie assembled from the spare parts of a dozen other better movies, but that doesn't mean it's not fun. If you're going to point a finger, and shout "Rip off!", you're kind of missing the point. I've no doubt Deep Rising was a movie that was spawned from a very specific conversation. "What if... we made a movie about mercenaries who try to hijack a cruise liner and steal everything they can get their hands on... but! There's monstrous deep sea creatures on board who eat everyone!" and the other guy says "Duuude! That sounds awesome!" Well? It does. It truly is Aliens + Die Hard + Titanic... and, that is perfectly fine.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Return of Swamp Thing


  The Swamp Thing is back! And, he seems like a pretty nice guy. Posing for pictures with kids, giving thumbs up, and mouthing off witty one-liners. He seems less like a complex and deeply tortured character, and more like a guy who you'd expect to break out into an anti-drug PSA at literally any moment. Where do I know this kind of behavior from? Ah, yes... it's only a small leap from the tone of this movie... to the 1960's Batman TV show. Granted, I said the fight scenes in the previous movie had the same kind of 'daring-do' energy of that show, but this movie embraces the wholesale cheesiness of it and Dick Durock (Swamp Thing) seems to be channeling Adam West himself. All he needs now is a sidekick to shout things like "Holy toxic waste, Swamp Thing!"

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Swamp Thing


   Without being able to see Deadpool this weekend, I decided to just dig up whatever ol' comic book movie I had laying around that I'd never seen before and give it a go. Swamp Thing just happened to be the pick of the night. I had no idea it was going to be so much fun! Swamp Thing is based on the DC Comics characters which I was well aware of, but never really 'into'. Now that I've seen the movie, I definitely want to read the comics, and I can confirm that this is exactly the kind of movie 8 year old me thought he was about to see when he decided to watch The Toxic Avenger on cable that one time. Suffice it to say... I would've had a lot more fun with Swamp Thing, and suffered a whole lot less mental scarring. But, hell, I'm 22 now, and Swamp Thing is still the movie I wish The Toxic Avenger was!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Outland


My buddy over at Movie Curiosities and I decided to dig into Outland and crank out a tag team review! Check out his blog for more excellent reviews!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea


   Adventure movies of such a straightforward nature hardly exist anymore, and if they do they're of a different breed altogether. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is one of those classic adventure movies. It's premise is simple: a meteor shower has ignited the Van Allen radiation belt around the planet, and it's up to the crew of an experimental submarine to extinguish it with a wild plan. I'm very certain that most of the science behind this movie isn't even remotely plausible but I'm not about to burst my own bubble here and google it. Granted, the movie isn't a genre titan like The Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Fantastic Voyage, but it's no slouch either. It still holds it's fair share of thrills and excitement.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Life and Death of a Porno Gang


   If you're into 'extreme' movies, someone who's likely to google 'most disturbing movies ever' and make a to-watch list comprised of the results, then you've probably heard of, or even seen A Serbian Film. It's one of two movies (that I know of) that deals with porn and snuff in Serbia. The Life and Death of a Porno Gang is the second. It's kind of hard to talk about it without addressing A Serbian Film as well. See, despite it's notorious reputation for being nothing but a gratuitous smorgasbord of sex and violence and violent sex- it's been said that it's actually a movie with a message about Serbia and the way things are. Or something like that. I saw A Serbian Film... and I didn't see any message.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


   I was absolutely one of those people who took one look at the trailer and said "Ew. No thanks." I avoided this movie for well over a year. It even cycled in and right back out of Netflix, and I wasn't even remotely tempted to see it. However, in the recent smattering of super bowl trailers, I noticed there was a new teaser for the sequel to this movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. I ended up reading the comments on it... and it was full of crotchety vitriol and rampant elitism. Did I ever sound like that when talking about these movies? Ugh. I immediately backpedaled and decided to form my own opinion on this movie so that if I was going to sound like an angry old guy, at least I'd know what I was talking about.

The First Power


   The First Power is a perfectly serviceable little thriller starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Tracy Griffith and genre mainstay Jeff Kober. Seeing as how you'll probably only ever stumble across this flick in a DVD bargain bin, you'll certainly get your money's worth if you buy it. Which isn't a bad thing. It's a by-the-numbers 90's thriller that you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a mystery of any sort- it's not. It's one of those cop thrillers with an occult twist. Obviously there's some psychic, or a priest, or a nun, or just some kook who knows that the killer has powers, and as the audience- we know the same thing, so the plot of the movie is an exercise in waiting for the tough-as-nails cop to accept this stuff so he can get on with killing the bad guy.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Godzilla


   Keeping camp and cheese firmly at arm's length, Godzilla's second American debut is actually quite the epic- in the truest sense of the word. I like the director, Gareth Edwards. I think his heart was in the right place and his sensibilities towards giant monster movies is spot on- for the most part. I'll say it right off the bat, having seen this movie three times now I believe, the absolute worst thing about it is how it directly teases two amazing monster vs. monster brawls, only to cut away and deny us those scenes. I know Edwards grasps the excitement and appeal of seeing giant monsters duke it out, because he delivered a hell of a climactic throwdown- one so epic, it gives the entirety of Pacific Rim a run for it's money. And, let me tell you... this movie has no gigantic mech suits.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Godzilla 2000


   After the 1998 American Godzilla-in-name-only, the king of all monsters smashed his way back into cinemas with Godzilla 2000. As far as triumphant comebacks go, this quasi-reboot is exactly the big budget throwdown the big guy needed to breath life back into the character and his franchise. Toho had actually killed off their version of Godzilla to make way for Roland Emerich's oversized iguana, and immediately regretted that decision. Thankfully the American powers that be let their rights expire and ultimately revert back to Toho so that they could once again grace the world with Godzilla the way we all know and love him- big, lumbering, rubber suit, atomic fire breath, and fighting another monster. Bring on the mayhem!

Event Horizon


   It's kind of shocking to realize Event Horizon was directed by the same man who also directed Alien vs. Predator and Mortal Kombat- two PG-13 movies that definitely should've been rated R. On the flip side of things, here's Event Horizon- an rated R movie that really should've been NC-17. Or at the very least had the benefit of having an unrated director's cut released on DVD or even Blu Ray by now. This cut would be amazing with all the copious amounts of excised footage spliced back into the movie. It's impossible to sate gorehounds like me, and some of that lost footage would've kicked Event Horizon up a notch into levels of horror and gruesomeness that would've made Clive Barker blush. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Resident Evil


   "No one else is going to die..." is probably the worst thing you could ever say in a horror movie. It's like a bad telltale mantra that only ever means someone is totally going to die, and probably very soon. You'd think people in this movie would stop saying "No one else is going to die..." after maybe the third time? "I'm going to try my damndest to keep you alive." sounds like a better, more genuine alternative. I'm not sure writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson cared enough about the dialog to seek out more genuine sounding alternatives though. But, honestly... who cares? This is a movie where the sexy heroine uses super kung-fu to kill zombies and even zombie dogs. It wears the fact it's based on a video game with pride, like a merit badge- showcasing it's set pieces like game levels, and pulling out all the stops on the kinetic action scenes.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Highlander


   I've always had a hard time convincing my friends who haven't seen Highlander that it's a movie they should watch. Granted, I don't have many friends who haven't seen Highlander to begin with, but still. Even the more cinematically open-minded among them tend to be hard to sell on it. And, I get it. I do. It looks awkward. Highlander looks rough and cheap. It looks like, at a glance, like a hard movie to sit through. People who love Highlander have a hard time agreeing with that because they love it so much, as do I. But, then again I saw it when I was 11. I was young, wide-eyed, impressionable, and able to look past the visible wires and the slapdash effects. I still am. Those who can't? Well, they're missing out.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse


   Believe it or friggin' not, but Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse actually takes it's time to get going. I mean, prologue scene aside. It's actually kinda slow for the first hour or so. I was beginning to feel like I dropped $20 on the wrong movie and that I probably shouldn't blind-buy anymore. I'm not saying it's a total bore for the first hour, don't get me wrong. I enjoyed watching Tye Sheridan's character- Ben, and eventually Sarah Dumont's badass cocktail waitress, Denise. Yet, things don't really get cooking until well past the hour mark. Which is kind of a long freakin' wait for a movie that was advertised as a non-stop, gross-out, splatterfest- with boobs.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Last Witch Hunter


   From the trailers for this Vin Diesel vehicle (no pun intended, I swear) it looked like a throwaway mish-mash of ill-fated efforts like Season of the Witch, The Seventh Son, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and a dash of Constantine for good measure. With the guilty pleasure exception of Constantine, all of those other movies I just mentioned range from outright bad, to pathetically forgettable. I figured Diesel's charisma might at least make The Last Witch Hunter fun enough to be harmless fun, albeit mindless as well. Well, at first I thought I had an exception to the rule here and I was really happy with the movie, but that feeling has quickly faded. It's certainly not as bad as Season of the Witch, but that doesn't mean it's any more worth watching.

Deathgasm


   Deathgasm is pretty great. Like... really great. I can't imagine it's for everyone, but if the idea of a teenage metalhead beating the piss out of a demon possessed person with a long black dildo sounds amazing to you, then you'll probably think Deathgasm is pretty great as well. The movie isn't balls-to-the-wall nonsense right away. As crazy as it does get, it does have characters, and a story, and a plot and all the things that movies kinda need to have to... you know, be movies. Interestingly enough, the story and plot structure feel like a throwback to 80's teen flicks. Back when teen movies were made about teens, not made to pander to teens. Either that, or teens in the 80's were just a lot cooler. I dunno. Anyways...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ash vs. Evil Dead - Season 1


   I previously reviewed the pilot episode, by itself here. And, a lot of my worries about the show were allayed fairly quickly. The 'rock star' tone of the pilot persisted throughout the season, but the showrunners blended it into each episode a little better. There were plenty of genuine scares throughout the season, but nothing on the level of the 2013 movie. What I had figured after seeing the pilot still remains true, the show is Evil Dead II with a modern day budget. It never tries to be serious like the first movie or the not-a-remake. It also never tries to be as goofy as Army of Darkness. I'm fine with this for the most part because Evil Dead II is my favorite Evil Dead movie. Unfortunately, right around the time this show premiered, I'd revisited Evil Dead (2013) and fell in love with it.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Natural City


   Natural City had the budget behind it to produce stunning visuals and massive sets. It's not a low budget outdated charmer like Webmaster, nor is it a low budget guilty pleasure like The Gene Generation. The people behind Natural City had a lot of money and talent on their hands. So why isn't it better? I think this movie gets tripped up in it's ambition of trying to be the next Blade Runner. They draw so much inspiration from Blade Runner that it gets kind of ridiculous. In Blade Runner, you have replicants. They live only four years. In Natural City, you have cyborgs. They live only three years. The whole plot of the movie is about an MP (I guess that still stands for Military Police) named R, who falls in love with a cyborg named Ria, and her lifespan is almost up.