Friday, February 10, 2017

American Ultra


  American Ultra is a movie I thoroughly enjoy. It's really as simple as that. It's funny, violent, and is a perfect example of how awesome Kristen Stewart can be when she's not shackled by the turgid prose of Stephanie Meyer. Also, Topher Grace is in here as the villain, who chews epic amounts of scenery. Then Bill Pullman shows up, basically being Bill Pullman. I mean, is there anything not awesome about this movie? Sure, it's cinematic junk food- but that puts it right alongside such epics of cinema as Deadpool, Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kick-Ass. That's pretty good company to keep.

Chrononauts


   It seems comic book reviews are becoming a regular staple of my blog as of late. I haven't gotten any complaints (not like I get any feedback, period...) so I'm just gonna keep em' coming as I see fit. Next up on my plate here is a breezy little ten issue story by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Wanted) with art by Sean Gordon Murphy (Tokyo Ghost) and hot damn is it a lot of fun. It's 120 pages of no-holds-barred time travel craziness. It's clearly mined from the imagination of a guy who wanted to see an F16 fighter jet in the same panel as a T-Rex and figured "What the hell? Why not?" That is the kind of comic book that Chrononauts is.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Maximum Risk


   I am a person who has at one point in his life, referred to himself as a "Jean Claude Fan Damme". Just so we're clear on that, on where I stand. I love JCVD's movies. I've seen like 90% of them. Especially some of the later DTV stuff. I can quote Bloodsport like the back of my hand. So, when I saw Maximum Risk on Blu Ray, on sale for $3.50 at F.Y.E. I figured that it was divine intervention, because I had never seen this one before. I'd say it was $3.50 well spent, doubly so since I'm such a shameless Fan Damme. Yes, I said it again. Deal with it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus


   I'm not a huge fan of the Millennium series of Godzilla movies, I like the Heisei era films better, but Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is still a fun ride, and one made all the better by having copious amounts of popcorn and soda on hand. See, for me, Godzilla movies are still child-like escapism. Sure, I can appreciate the horror and allegory of the original, but this franchise will always boil down to me being five years old, laying on the living room floor- my chin propped up in my hands as I watch Godzilla and his buddies duke it out with giant robots, living gods, and whatever the hell Gigan was. It was silly, it was fun, it was a good damn time. This movie recalls that same kind of entertainment.

Saga


   I don't really review many comic series on here, for a number of reasons- one, this is very obviously and primarily a movie blog, and two, comic series are so frickin' long that it's hard to review any ongoing title as a complete story. I'm very much used to reviewing the beginning, middle and end of a story as a whole. But, with comics, I have to sorta make an ongoing recommendation without knowing how the story is going to end. However, I have no qualms about recommending Saga right out of the gate. Author Brian K. Vaughan is telling a great story here, and I'd be remiss if I didn't tell all of you right now that you should be reading it too.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Broforce


   Have you ever wanted a good ol' fashioned Contra-like sidescroller with TOTALLY destructible environments? Have you ever wanted to play a game where you can be Rambo, The Terminator, RoboCop, John Matrix, B.A. Baracus, Indiana Jones, James Braddock, Ellen Ripley, Judge Dredd, The Rocketeer, Blade, Max Rockatansky, Luc Deveraux, Walker Texas Ranger, Conan The Barbarian, The Boondock Saints, Max Walker, John McClane, Machete, Snake Plisskin, Ash Williams, and more? Well, Bro, I've got some good news for you...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Accountant


   The Accountant is a movie I did not see coming. In no way did it exactly fly under my radar, but I had leveled no expectations at it one way or the other. I was a blank slate as I put the movie on, and I feel that's a practice I should get into more often. Either way, The Accountant was a refreshing experience. It's a layered espionage thriller with a fascinating character at its core. It's so full of twists, turns, revelations and surprises that you'd need a spreadsheet to keep track of it all- which would be no problem at all for the eponymous character of this not-so-little thriller.

Hard Target 2


   Once again, Scott Adkins is quite literally picking up JCVD's mantle in this quasi-sequel to Van Damme's early 90's action flick, Hard Target. Of course, Hard Target was more than just a Van Damme flick- it was a John Woo movie. Woo is the undisputed action of gun flicks, slow motion, and motherfreakin' doves. Hard Target might've been ridiculous and over the top, but that's exactly why it's well loved among action fans. So how does Hard Target 2 stack up? Well... it's no John Woo movie, but not for lack of trying. It's a serviceable action vehicle for Adkins, taking cues from just about every 80's and 90's action flick- from Rambo to Terminator 2.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Close Range


   In an age where most modern action stars can only be seen in safe, PG-13, blockbusters- Scott Adkins is out there, cranking out violent hit after violent hit. Even guys like Jason Statham, with both Crank movies to his credit- is most famous for the Transporter trilogy. All of which are PG-13. Even the last Expendables movie was PG-13. I'm getting sick of it. Yet, my man Scott Adkins is absolutely picking up the R rated slack. The quintessential 80's action movie formula is not dead, not while Adkins draws breath. And, if these movies are any indication, he's pretty hard to kill.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning


   As a fan of the original Universal Soldier, and the 2009 sequel, Universal Soldier: Regeneration, when I first saw this one, I hated it. Shut it off halfway through and stomped out of the room angrily. For some reason, I revisited the movie today and was completely blown away. Most action franchises ask us to believe that good guy Joe Policeman will just HAPPEN to run into a fresh batch of terrorists with each new sequel, and nobody will bat an eyelash. Hollywood logic. But, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning leans hard into the grotesque backstories of its characters, and places them at an uncomfortably logical place in this sordid world that director John Hyams has created.

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End


   Naughty Dog delivers a stunning conclusion to the Uncharted franchise with A Thief's End- a game that is a fully realized and truly epic swan song for the saga of Nathan Drake. I could end the review right there and I'll have said all I really need to say, because this amazing game really does speak for itself. Nevertheless, I don't pour a ton of hours into something and then not write about it. Anyways, the Uncharted series is special to me in a way that few are, and Uncharted 4 is, quite simply... the best one yet. Zero hyperbole there, seriously.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Duel to the Death


   If there's one thing I'm a sucker for, it's a good ninja movie. And while neither of the leads in this movie is a ninja himself, that doesn't mean there isn't plenty to go around in Duel to the Death. Easily harkening back to the early days of the Shaw Brothers, this HK actioner delivers wholesale, straight-faced, chop socky action by the pound- and it is glorious. The story is simple and straightforward (mostly) which is a relief. I enjoy these movies more when I can follow them- but let's be honest here, you didn't come for the story (which isn't bad). No, you came for the legions of motherfreakin' ninjas. Am I right or am I right?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Flatliners


   I'll see just about any movie with Kevin Bacon or Kiefer Sutherland in it. Together? Well, that's definitely going on my watchlist.  Why then, it took me so long to get around to Flatliners is well beyond me. Sutherland and Bacon are joined by Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt and William Baldwin all as med students who end up running an off-the-books experiment to see if there really is life after death. Now, I was personally hoping for a movie with a stronger science fiction inclination, but what I got instead was maybe even better. Director Joel Schumacher delivers a (then-)modern Gothic cautionary tale in vein of Frankenstein- only in reverse.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Carnage Park


   Carnage Park is probably one of the worst movies I've seen in a long while. It recklessly bounces back and forth between rip-off, homage, and pastiche so furiously that it's impossible to give a shit about anything that's going on. This is a 77 minute wankfest to the tune of Tarantino, Peckinpah, and Rob Zombie. And honestly? The only thing that carries it is the the strength of the actors. Everything else is god awful. The editing is mind-numbingly bad, the story is convoluted, the plot goes virtually nowhere, and the ending is horribly anti-climactic.

Welcome to the Punch


   James McAvoy and Mark Strong star in this UK crime thriller about personal vendettas, gun running, and a dangerous conspiracy. If you're like me, you just say "Say no more- I'm sold!" and you've already departed your sofa to go find a copy. However, if you're still reading you're probably not a fanboy of McAvoy and Strong- or at least, not as much as I am. Oddly enough though, it wasn't their names that spurred me to watch the movie when I first saw it. It was the reckless and ill-fitting comparison that some amateur keyboard critic made, likening this movie, to John Woo's Hard Boiled.

Screw that guy.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Ouija: Origin of Evil


   When I first heard they were doing an Ouija horror movie, I knew it'd be dumb. It was- or so I heard. It was mercilessly panned by critics and audiences alike, a true sign of a bad movie. But, then, something odd happened. Universal Studios green lit a prequel, that would be directed by Mike Flanagan... the director of Oculus and Hush. Like, damn. Then, the movie came out and started getting some great reviews. Is the movie as good as they say it is? Offhand, I'd say hell yeah. Flanagan knows what he's doing, and even with sloppy seconds he turns it into something chilling.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Arrival


   There was a point in Arrival where I caught myself holding my breath. Something that I rarely do while watching movies unless it's a horror movie. It's the anticipation, you see. In Arrival, it was as we were getting our first glimpse of the aliens. It's such a thunderous and powerful moment, but not in the same way that Hollywood has been doing lately- or really, ever, for that matter. I'm hard pressed to recall more than a few movies about extraterrestrials that don't end with a patriotic display of heroism involving a ton of explosions and one liners. Arrival is one that doesn't.

Deadpool


   It's almost a year since Deadpool came out, and I seem to be the last person on the planet to snag it on blu ray. But, better late then never- right? Don't attribute my procrastinating to a dislike of the movie. On the contrary, I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed Deadpool. Especially since I was all but cheerleading for the movie to absolutely flop before it came out. (In my defense, all the halfwit "fans" out there calling this "the first R rated comic book movie" got on my nerves in a big, BIG way.) Nevertheless, a year later- would my feeling about Deadpool maintain? Or would the movie end up losing it's charm like a 2 billion dollar box office shit commonly known as Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Hmmm...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Attack on Titan: Part 2


   It was probably wise of the marketing team to eventually drop the "End of the World" subtitle when bringing this sequel to home video, because frankly it really is just a part 2. It's a wrap-up to all the dangling plot threads that the first movie left hanging. It's a sequel by the strictest definition only considering that the first movie left on a big cliffhanger. Full disclosure, I loved the first one. It's imperfect, but a hell of a fun time. If you don't like fun, then go ahead and listen to all the rabid fan-hate and reviews that criticize everything from the actors' haircuts to the choice of the song that plays over the end credits. Me? I'll be over here with a fresh batch of popcorn and a big-ass grin on my face.

Attack on Titan

Note: This review is for the live action movie, not the anime show.
   I find it hilarious how anime fans complain about what the 'west', (read: where they're from, here in the United States) does to their favorite animes by adapting them into live action movies, but the same fans complain when Japan does it too. Can't win for losing with these people. But, seriously, pay no attention to them and keep an open mind. A good movie is a good movie (Rurouni Kenshin) and a bad movie is a bad movie (Devilman). But, some fans are incapable of being objective, and that's why Attack on Titan has so many 1/10 scores on IMDb. Because if something isn't the most amazing thing ever, obviously it's the worst thing ever.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Faust: Love of the Damned


   I found myself browsing my eternal watchlist of movies today, and decided on watching this early 00's comic book movie. But, of course, like any good little nerd, I did my research first. I got my hands on some of the comics and checked them out. Sex, violence, more sex, more violence, and more satanic imagery than you could shake an entire 80's heavy metal band at. Sounds like it's right up my alley! So how would the movie approach such graphic and vulgar material? You get Brian Yuzna to direct it, that's fucking how.

Dark Angel


   Why on Earth this movie is called Dark Angel is beyond me. Its more appropriate, yet still terrible original title is "I Come in Peace". A combo of crappy titles and lame box art probably kept this early 90's gem from finding a larger audience but make no mistake, this is a heck of a fun ride. If you like cop flicks, crime thrillers, aliens, and shootouts, you'll dig Dark Angel, It's an action/mystery/buddy cop movie about a loose cannon and a by-the-book (I'll let you guess which one star Dolph Lundgren is) who start to realize their simple drug war case, may not be so simple after all.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Train to Busan


   If you like your zombie movies with a massive helping of melodrama, Train to Busan is right for you. What is baffling is also how easily this could've been a surefire popcorn movie- if only it had taken itself a little less seriously. Punctuated with some stunning action set pieces, Train to Busan has all the ingredients to be a genre game changer, but it's too focused on its own human element. For once, it's actually the excessive character development that drags this movie down. It seems almost afraid to just go nuts with its own concept in a futile effort to stay grounded. Even though its a mixed bag for me, there's no denying that Train to Busan is thrilling and exceptionally well crafted.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Phantasm V: Ravager


   Maybe it's because I read all the negative reviews beforehand, which lowered my expectations, but I really enjoyed Phantasm: Ravager. It's quality is on par with literally all the others, don't let the fact it's a newer movie fool you, it's still a direly low budget shlockfest. And fans need to get real. Low budget today is not the same as low budget 20 years ago. A minuscule budget nowadays means lots of computer generated elements. In fact, I was surprised as how slick some of the effects looked, and how many practical effects there ended up being. In fact, this flick was a blast.

Phantasm IV: Oblivion


   I've realize that at this point, the Phantasm movies have moved beyond the horror genre. This is just sci-fi absurdism. Phantasm IV is the abstract apogee of a franchise known for being weird, nonsensical and confusingly dream-like. It's not a bad movie... It's a pretty bad movie all things considered, but it's familiar and marginally enjoyable all the same. I know a lot of fans appreciated this one more than the previous, and while I know why, I don't really understand it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead


   Woah! Why is this movie so divisive? It looks like the Phanbase is split down the middle on this one, and it's the movie's sense of humor that seems to be the deciding factor. I honestly didn't give a shit about the humor. It didn't make or break the movie for me, I just got to laugh a few extra times than normal. Moreover, lets be honest. This franchise was never all that scary to begin with. The first one was like an R rated Goosebumps book (I say that as absolute praise) and the series never really departed from that- but it does get crazier! Lord of the Dead is proof enough.

Phantasm II


   Okay, so, this is the extent of my re-watching of the Phantasm franchise. I had only ever seen I and II, but I figured I should brush up before pushing on ahead. I found myself enjoying Phantasm a lot more than I had when I first saw it a few years ago, and I remembered liking Phantasm II even more. So how does it hold up? I'd say half and half. There's a lot of treading water in Phantasm II, but when it gets down to brass tacks, it's a seriously enjoyable ride that has all the trademark fittings of a Don Coscarelli movie.

Phantasm


   Few movies are as casually weird as Phantasm are. I mean, sure, once you've plumbed the depths of cinematic weirdness, Phantasm might come off as kid's play... but still. It starts like every other 70's slasher movie- almost. A man is getting it on with a beautiful woman in a cemetery when right after the gratuitous tit-shot... she stabs him to death! Gasp! What follows is a beautiful story about a strange tall man-alien who steals corpses and shrinks them down to half size so he can transport them to another dimension in barrels to use as Jawa-like slaves. NOPE. NOTHING STRANGE HERE AT ALL.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mirai Ninja


   Holy crap! How have I never heard of this movie until last night? This is an amazing little movie. It's a video game come to life in all the best ways imaginable. (Which isn't coincidental since the movie was produced in part by Namco, who later actually made an arcade game about it.) The hero is a cyborg ninja who fights robot ninjas, and eventually teams up with human resistance fighters to rescue a princess from the evil robot overlords. Sure, it's a story we've seen a million times, but it's also the concept behind just about every other beat-em-up arcade sidescroller ever. For a 90's kid like me, Mirai Ninja was pure bliss.

Steele Justice


   This is the second time I've seen Steele Justice, but it's only the first time I've seen it on Blu Ray. I never would've thought that this old catalog title would've made the jump to HD, but I couldn't be more glad that it did. Now I can appreciate Martin Cove's best stab at becoming his own 'Rambo' in full high definition. Because what's a catchier name than JOHN STEELE? There is none, that's what. You can only bask in the amazingness of a movie that ends with the bad guy saying "There is only Black Tiger law!" and Steele replies... "And the only justice... is me." Dead serious.

We Are the Flesh


   I think it's pretty funny how all of the negative reviews for We Are the Flesh on IMDb cite the movie as pretentious. It might be, or it might not be. I don't think it is, but who am I to say? This movie is nothing if not weird, but I think most people are just disappointed it's not more shocking. It's not a shocking movie, and those expecting to be shocked will probably just be bored. It's up there with Enter the Void and The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears as one of the flat-out weirdest movies I've ever sat through. Do I regret it? Unlike most, I really don't.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Ninja


   I don't appreciate Scott Adkins half as much as I should. He is the second coming of the quintessential 80's action star. He's part Michael Dudikoff, and part Sho Kosugi, but with Schwarzenegger muscles, and Van Damme skill. He puts all of this to good use, and then some, in Ninja, the most authentic 80's action movie not actually from the 80's. It's a non-stop ninja fest from the start, letting Adkins showcase his skill and his muscles. He might not have the charisma of a Dolph Van Dammezenegger, but he makes for a superb action figure.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dreamscape


   "I'm doing this because it's exciting." Rarely are movies so straightforward, providing honest and simple reasoning for characters' actions. Dennis Quaid plays Alex Gardner, a 20-something psychic who gets sucked into a top secret experiment run by scientist Paul Novotny, played by Max Von Sydow. Novotny pitches the fantastical project to Gardner, a way into people's dreams simply because "No one's ever done this before-" "-Because it's exciting." He's not wrong, and while Dreamscape eventually grows complex and full of danger, its honest motives are adventurous and exciting like a brand new Fantastic Voyage.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Lights Out


   Lights Out might just be my favorite current horror flick, right behind It Follows. I love horror movies that live up to their initial promise and precious few ever genuinely do. Lights Out is one of those precious few. The opening is creepy, and immediately offers up a really interesting concept married to some really cool visuals. The idea is simple, the monster in this movie lives in the darkness and will disappear when the lights are turned on. Such a simple idea, but a really fascinating one if used properly- and this movie uses it properly.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Shadow


   The middle part of a 90's cinematic trilogy of 40's pulp comic book heroes, preceded by The Rocketeer and succeeded by The Phantom, The Shadow is just as much fun as either- and easily as stylish. I don't think anyone in the 90's was particularly clamoring for this specific brand of heroism, because sadly, all three movies under-performed at the box office, dooming all the plans that were made for extravagant franchises. Maybe it's just as well- because despite how much fun they are, all three were slightly off the mark, and once again... The Shadow is no exception.

Hangman


   There was an excellent faux-documentary about a fictional serial killer that came out in 2007 called The Poughkeepsie Tapes. There was a brief segment in that movie where they showed the killer hiding out in a couple's house while they walked around and went about their business, only to kill them later when they least expected it. It was a terrifying scene, and one that seems to have been stretched into a full length movie with Hangman. However, this movie is a found footage movie, and one of the better examples of what the genre is capable of. Definitely one to keep an eye out for.

Cast a Deadly Spell


   A movie nerd like me couldn't think of a better way to usher in the new year, than by watching an little-known movie like this that turns out to be a total treat. Cast a Deadly Spell has too good of a pedigree to stay in obscurity forever. To date I know of no official DVD release, to say nothing of a Blu Ray, but apparently you can stream it on Amazon. It stars Fred Ward (Tremors), Julianne Moore, Clancy Brown, and David freakin' Warner. The icing on the cake? It's produced by Gale Anne Hurd and directed by Martin Campbell. Hot damn.