31 October 2010

Week of Horror 2010: Day 07

Here concludith the 2010 edition of The Rambling of a Minnesota Geek's Week of Horror. Hope you enjoyed! And if you missed 'em, previous reviews of this feature include Monster Island, Killer Condom, Paranormal Activity 2, Troll 2, Night of the Demons (2010), and Suspiria. Happy Halloween, folks!

Salem's Lot

Starring David Soul, James Mason, Julie Cobb, Fred Ward, Bonnie Bedelia, Lance Kerwin. Written for the screen by Paul Monash. Directed by Tobe Hooper. Airdate: 17/24 November 1979. CBS, 189 mins., Not Rated

Plot: There's a writer, a 'haunted' house, vampires, and they somehow all interconnect.

It's unfortunate to be ending on a sour note. After nearly all the movies viewed this year being good, I guess it was inevitably the final one would be a bummer. Long, drawn out, unnecessarily long, cliched, unoriginal, not matching the hype – pretty much my feelings towards this adaptation of Stephen King’s famous vampire novel SALEM’S LOT. I’m trying not to be biased here, as I’m not particularly a fan of King’s work, but this movie is sure as hell crappy, and I am not too pleased with my three hours of watching being rewarded with an wrap-up I’ve seen in countless other vampire movies. I understand that this movie was made in the 1970s, when vampire cliches weren’t done to a deathly redundant extent, but even then, audiences must have got the part that there’s nothing new or interesting to be had.

The best part of the movie is the photo right there. Barlow, the enigmatic new owner of the Marsten house, the so-called building where evil is supposedly inherent there. Beautiful make-up, and beautifully frightning, nicely conjuring up images of the 1920s Nosferatu. Unfortunately, Barlow is only on screen for a limited amount of time, but when it is, it’s bloody freaky, let me tell you. It’s yellow eyes that seem to captivate not only the characters, but the viewer watching. If given more screentime and thrown in a superior movie, this Barlow character could very well have been one of the most frightning and successful vampires on celluloid.

As it stands, we have a rubbish movie. There’s Ben, the main character who just needs to be a novelist researching the Marsten house, and spouts off dramatic dialogue akin to Donald Pleasance talking about Michael Myers in the HALLOWEEN films. The cheating wife, the angry husband, the romantic interest, the nosey Sheriff, the religious men, and the vampire handeler. I do give kudos to the production for spending the first two hours establishing characters and making an valiant attempt at making them dimensional human beings and not simply screen fodder, but seeing as how hardly any of these townsfolk are integral to the ending, it does come off as a nice time waster.

I frankly don’t have much more to say. What I have left to discuss is nothing but negative feelings about the movie, but I don’t feel like getting into that. The point is, I don’t recommend SALEM’S LOT at the least, and I felt terribly robbed of three hours where this movie could have worked perfectly fine, if not better, shortened into 90 minutes. If you’re itching for a vampire movie, even DRACULA 2000 is a better choice.

30 October 2010

Week of Horror 2010: Day 06

The week of horror is closing up fast - I know, sadness - and tonight I present to thee a old horror classic. Well, classic to most horror fans. This was my first time watching it, in a double feature with David Fincher's SEVEN (also first time seeing that, and I was glad it didn't end as I expected it to). Previous entries in the Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek Week of Horror 2010 include Monster Island, Killer Condom, Paranormal Activity 2, Troll 2, and Night of the Demons (2010).


Starring Jessica Harper, Udo Kier, Joan Bennett, Alida Valii. Written by Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi. Directed by Dario Argento. Release: 1 February 1977. Nouveaux Pictures, 98 mins., Rated R

Plot: American gal Suzy transfers to a German ballet school, and weird happenings get goin' relatively quickly, what with disappearances and odd sounds, the normal stuff.

Well that was...interesting. This is going to be a short review because I don't have much to say. One thing is absolutely certain, and a aspect that is already widely acknowledged with this movie, is that director Dario Argento has one hell of a eye for gorgeous cinematography. I understand horror movies in general don't get too much credit when it comes to that particular technical shindig, but flicks like HALLOWEEN and SUSPIRIA most definitely deserve kudos. Since Carpenter's original, I haven't seen such striking shots in a horror film, let alone the various colors Argento uses: the green, the red, the blue. All utterly amazing.

(Taking a quick detour from SUSPIRIA discussion, with each and every new horror remake, I've become increasingly disappointed with the lack of creativity in the cinematography. There are only two examples I can think of, and I doubt many others will agree with me: Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN [2007] made great use of hand held and emphasis on close-ups, but I can honestly say the cinematography was impressive, nonetheless, nicely reflecting the chaos of the story onto screen. The other one, Bayer's NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET [2010], is a mostly bad movie, but one can tell the music video director is at least trying to instill some mood/atmosphere with his wide and creepy shots. Not entirely successful, but kudos nonetheless. As far as Jason Vorhees is concerned, Ronny Yu's FREDDY VS. JASON just might be the most visually pleasing film we get with him. Alright, detour over.)

OK, now that the rich and creepy cinematography and vibrant colors have been established, I regret to be one of those folks who just aren't impressed by the story. Frankly, it's confusing from time to time, and it does seem Argento values the visual aesthetic over a solid story. As far as the final revelation of who and what is behind all these murders - well, it's cool, and the moment where Suzy gets to go all Final Girl on the old-as-dirt grandma is bloody awesome (as is the house ripping itself apart: COOL!). But I don't know if I fully buy it. Sure, it brings some logic to the first death, as well as the sudden attacks made by the blind guy's dog, but it all just sorta comes out of nowhere, and even though there is some backstory established, it all just feels kind of random and hokey.

This is the part where horror bloggers shun me forever...

However, in addition to the awesomeness of the cinematography and colors, SUSPIRIA also boasts two other marvelous aspects. Jessica Harper is amazing and grabs your attention instantly, her eyes and expressions just as captivating as the all-hell-breaks-loose finale. The other complimentary part of the movie that adds to the creep factor is the score, provided by a band called 'Goblin', with extra music added by Argento. Frakkin' creepy, and a little bit addicting. It's not like I haven't found the score on YouTube and listened to it the past hour or anything, not at all...

Beautiful, eerie, expertly acted, SUSPIRIA is a interesting movie. It reminds me of German expressionism of the early, um, 20s or 30s, what with specific lighting to create a deliberate atmosphere and crazy mind-frak sets [oh, yes, art direction is expert, mind you, expert. Mesmerizing to look at]. No matter my semi-reservations about the movie, enough that I did like it, it is a horror movie that hits many a 'best of' list, and its creep factor should not be missed, so I recommend.

29 October 2010

Week of Horror 2010: Day 05

Five days in The Rambling of a Minnesota Geek's Week of Horror, we got yet another new-ish release. Thanks to the positive review from Freddy in Space, I felt inclined to see this flick, and it did not disappoint. In review, the Week of Horror has consisted of Monster Island, Killer Condom, Paranormal Activity 2, and Troll 2. Only two more days!

Night of the Demons

Starring Shannon Elizabeth, Edward Furlong, Monica Keena, Diora Baird, Michael Copon, Bobbi Sue Luther. Written by Jace Anderson & Adam Gierasch, based off the 1988 screenplay "Night of the Demons" by Joe Augustyn. Directed by Adam Gierasch. Release: 19 October 2010 (DVD). Seven Arts International, 93 mins., Rated R

Plot: It's Halloween night, and a parties ragging at a house full of demons who want to be set free.

Now isn't that photo just sexy?

So glad I found it.

In the special features, director Adam Gierasch made a comment about just making it a fun rock 'n roll sexy horror movie, and that's exactly what NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is. The entire soundtrack is made up of rock 'n roll songs, though to the movies credit, they all pertain to Halloween or the theme someway, somehow. You got girls dancing to the songs, either dressed in their slutty outfit (nearly every female is a slut in the picture) or in the process of taking it off. And the funness - well, there is that, but it mostly originates from the script and actress Monica Keena, which is funny that I liked her in this one but wasn't particularly a fan of her in FREDDY VS. JASON. Take the finale for example, a very nicely done sequence that appeared to provide a full-circle sort of ending, but then it defied my expectations and delivered a great 'bazinga'. NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is a truly modern horror movie, embracing and joking around with the genre. It mostly works, and it sometimes doesn't.

I never saw the original NIGHT OF THE DEMONS, so those hoping for a compare/contrast review might be disappointed. But I can say that I was expecting a more eerie, moody atmosphere, an art house-type of flick that would freak me out. Eh, I did not get that. However, the demon make-up was freaky and cool. Again, I reference the above picture. I don't know why, but I am so bloody impressed by that demon job. I love the eyes, I love the demon skeleton face - it just rocks. Shannon Elizabeth's demon face was pretty stellar, too, but I can't seem to find a decent picture of it. Now, as far as the male demon faces - they're just freakin' ugly, as in, they're grotesque demon-wise, but they're also not very impressive looking from a design standpoint. Guess I'm just a little nitpicky.

Speaking of Ms. Elizabeth, it was great to see her after what seems like a long absence from the screen, and she gets a slutty role to boot. Although, male readers, you'll be sorely disappointed she doesn't actually do any flesh flashing, she nonetheless has a nice make-out scene with another gal. Being as how she's quite the promiscuous character and first to be demonfied, it's her duty to seduce and turn her fellow friendos.

And about the demons, story-wise, I dug it. Demons so cruel and evil that Hell itself cast them out. Now there's a whole movie right there. Frak, taking time to think about it, NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is a wasted opportunity. The demons possess human bodies, thus have the ability of speech, so it would have been astronomically fantastic to delve a little bit into the psychology of these beasts, get their point-of-view on the world or Lucifer, even. It also would have been nice to have a scene where a demon tortures one of the survivors, to get a sense of how cruel and evil incarnate they really are. As it is, they just gruesomely kill or maim people.

Wow, this review is making me sound like I need therapy. Very much not the case, folks. Just wishing DEMONS (2010) explored a few more avenues than it did. But what we, the audience, do get is a pretty good usage of 93 minutes, full of demons, gore, pretty ladies, slutty outfits, F-bombs (nearly all said by Mr. Furlong), and rock 'n roll.

28 October 2010

Week of Horror 2010: Day 04

The Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek's Week of Horror is celebrating its fourth day, and to truly make it a momentous day, the movie selected is most definitely considered one of the worst films ever and thus a tad more special than the others. In review, the Week of Horror has consisted of Monster Island, Killer Condom, and Paranormal Activity 2.

Troll 2

Starring Michael Stephenson, Connie McFarland, Jason Wright, George Hardy, Margo Prey, Robert Ormsby. Written by Claudio Fragasso (aka 'Drake Floyd') & Rossella Drudi, Directed by Claudio Fragasso. Release: 12 October 1990. Epic Pictures, PG-13

TROLL 2, universally regarded as the "best worst movie" ever made - seriously, there's even a documentary by that title that came out last year glorifying the flicks awfulness. I know, I know, you’re probably wondering, ‘but isn’t PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE widely considered the worst movie ever made?’ Yes, it is. There are also documentaries about that film, too, and the life and hard times of its director, Ed Wood, Jr. But PLAN 9 and TROLL 2 are entirely separate type of bad movies. With TROLL 2, there’s an infectious fun about the whole shabang, where every absurdity heightens the enjoyment of the movie, and there’s a possible inkling that everyone involved in the production sorta knew what they were doing when they were making it. PLAN 9, well, to be frank, and this might piss off many a reader, is a very long, fairly boring film that fails to ignite any interest without a MST3K commentary track. Sorry, PLAN 9 lovers.

Anyway, how does one review a movie so universally known and loved? Ahem, loved in the being mocked sense. Here’s my short answer: don’t review it. Because, and I mean this in the best possible way, TROLL 2 isn’t a movie that should be spoken about, it’s the type of movie that needs to be seen, and then that viewer passing on their remarks to their friends, and their friends do that to their friends, and so on and so forth. TROLL 2 should become an annual Halloween even, or hell, just an annual event all in itself. Seriously, pick up a copy of the movie, DVD or Blu-Ray, your choice, grab your friends, make some popcorn, comfortably sit back, and enjoy the show.

TROLL 2 is a fun bad movie. In fact, if it wasn’t for the stinking feeling that the filmmakers made the flick deliberately bad, it could have been a rather decent production. A family lured to Nilbog only to be the desert for a bunch of goblins! I mean, c’mon, how astronomically wickedly cool is that? The answer is ‘very’, ladies and gentlemen. There’s two specific sequences that probably elicited the ‘worst movie’ title: the first was a super strange ‘love’ scene that involves corn, and lots and lots of popcorn. The other is a scene involving a scary woman decked in full Helena Bonham Carter make-up (think SWEENEY TODD) as she turns a young hormonal boy into food for her precious goblins. Two giganto WTF? moments that no doubt contributed greatly to the films, um, success.

Ha, I said I wasn’t going to review the movie, and here I am. Alrighty, here’s the skinny: TROLL 2’s badness comes from the dialogue and the people delivering the dialogue. Everything is said with such, er, gusto, like a really bad American Idol contestant trying their hand with acting and just landed their first gig exactly because of how bad they are. No matter ones dislike for the crop of direct-to-DVD releases these last few years, the actors in those productions are far and beyond superior to what is on display here. But paradoxically, and I can’t believe I’m gonna say this, but I’d rather re-experience these folks over and over again. Guess I’m just a sucker for bad acting, on occasion.

Oh! Last but not least, the actual design of the goblins. In a word, marvelous! Possibly the best evidence for the deliberate badness of the production, these goblins look like the by-product of a going-out-of-business Good Will store. Hire some short people, use whatever outfits, paper, and markers that were around, and voilia! A goblin was born. And before I forget – let’s take a second to talk about the title. If or when you roam around your local video store and decide to buy the movie, you may notice it double featured with a flick called TROLL, and the customer assumption is that TROLL 2 is, in fact, a sequel to TROLL. Not so the case here. TROLL 2 was originally called GOBLINS, all throughout its production, but the company, for some strange reason, decided to rename it TROLL 2 to capitalize on the, uh…successful (?) market name. So, this movie is by no means whatsoever connected to any movies before it. This is an entirely new creature of awesomeness. Got that? Coolio.

TROLL 2 is a bad movie, but it is 100% second-by-second fun. I highly, highly recommend any and all to experience it. On Demand? Watch it now! Got Netflix? Stream this second.

Final note: anyone surprised there’s not a TROLL 2 AND PHILOSOPHY book out there? Think about the chapters: ‘The Homoerotic Subtext of the Boyfriend and his friends’, ‘Religious Symbolism in Green’, ‘History Repeats Itself: Ritual Sacrifices, Adopted by Goblins’, ‘The Power of Innocence: The Young See What Adults Cannot’, and so forth. I think it’d be brilliant. And, a final, final note: the above screencap came from the recently released Blu-Ray, as taken by the brilliant review Adam at DVDTalk.com. The review can be read here.

The Watcher: 10/22 - 10/28

Tests and papers coming up! Ugh! As we enter November, I am becoming less and less thrilled by the major amounts of homework being thrown at me. Not thrilled at all, mates. Bollocks. And in order to post these things a tad earlier, I'm just gonna skip tonight's NIKITA until the following week, seeing as how I hardly have time to watch it. Anyway, back to the show. This week, there were some goods, and plenty of "meh"'s.

S01E13 - "False Labor" (27 October 2010)
- Gosh darn those scenes with Daniel and Amanda in the HoloBand were great. As was the scene with Sam cleaning up his 'mess' with a frakkin' Cylon! That was some great stuff. However, the rest of the episode fell flat. But "False Labor" was meant for two things: to further the relationships of the characters, and to continue moving plot forward (at a minuscule pace, sadly) and set-up stuff for the finale. Speaking of which, it was announced yesterday that CAPRICA would not be seeing a second season, as the SyFy Channel deemed it unworthy and canceled the show. In a word, I am pissed. The show may not be great, but it's intelligent and boasts some of the biggest and boldest creativity on the TV right now. It's goneness is a huge blow to science fiction television. Frakkin' A, folks. We'll get an episode next week, but the final five (hehe) episodes will be held back until early next year. Frak, frak, frak, frak, FRARK!

S04E06 - "Chuck VS. the Aisle of Terror" (25 October 2010)
- The time has come for Linda Hamilton, Chuck's mom, to see her little lad, and boy did it not disappoint. Similar to the season two episodes dealing with a ex-flame of Chucks, the hour was filled with twists, reversals, and juicy surprises. Surprise #1: Freddy Kruger himself, Robert Englund, showing up in a role very similar to Doctor Crane from BATMAN BEGINS, using some neurotoxin to mess with the brain and make people look far more menacing than they really are. Englund was great, as to be expected by one of the many horror masters. Surprise #2: aside from lookin' a little demonic, Linda Hamilton was awesome as Mary Bartowski, not flinching with the shooting of her son, being a bad guy, making up some sort of double agent semi-cover. Great stuff. And now that Chuck knows it's Sarah and her teammates who took his mom in the end - let's hope the writers delve into some meaty dramatic moments.

S05E05 - "First Blood " (24 October 2010) - Well, that was...I don't know really. Frankly, nothing happened worth spending time writing about it, yet as a testament to how good the show is, the fifty minutes still flew by. Lumen 'left' to go back home (Minneapolis, represent!), Dexter almost violated the code, Deb does stuff, Angel is a dumby, other stuff happens. Whatever. Sunday yet?

S10E05 " Isis" (22 October 2010)
- Let's just take a moment to reflect: OMG! OMG! OMG! Best ending of the season. Holy Frak do I wish I was Tom Welling just then. OMG! OMG! OMG! Can Erica Durance be any more awesome? Any more beautiful? Any more cute and brilliant? She has one lucky husband. Now, gorgeous ending aside, I do want to talk about a specific character that just amazed me tonight, and nah, it was not Lois Lane. This character is none other than Tess Mercer, the same character who spent all of season nine rather aimless and floating between allegiances and lacking any real coherence in writing or plot. But now, we see a woman with direction, a woman who seems to play a very big part in the Superman mythology, and I am completely and utterly over the moon about it. Alright, those two bits aside, I do have a small little complaint: I am a bit annoyed that in its final season, the writers decided to pull yet another 'deity/witch/supernatural being possesses [blank]' story. I'm just not satisfied with that, considering the level of intelligence the show has been streaming these past couple episodes. Speaking of which, anyone else think their writing has become a bit funnier? Oliver delivered some great lines, some most definitely quote-worthy, and that didn't happen very often these last few seasons, let alone a bunch of 'em in one episode. Whatever the reason, keep it up, SMALLVILLE.

S02E05 - "Cloverdale" (26 October 2010)
- Yet another good episode from SG-U? What is going on? Whatever the spark of creativity, confidence, and intelligence, keep it coming. I may not particularly like Lt. Scott, nor am I much a fan of Chloe after the three part series premiere, "Air", but this episode made me love them. I gave a damn about Lieutenant Scott. I gave a damn about his emotions, where he was mentally, what he felt about Chloe and family. I gave a damn about Chloe in his dream world, and in the real world as she makes a radical choice. The strength was in the writing and in the performances, and I was blown away. The final five minutes, especially, everything came together beautifully: the music, cinematography, the actors - it was just fantastic. Where the plot thread of Chloe's alien blood in Scott's will go is a very intriguing concept, and I really hope the writers go that route. Great, great episode. Oh, and did anyone think PLEASANTVILLE during the dream scenes? Minus the black & white, 'course.

S06E05 - "Live Free or Twihard" (22 October 2010)
- A dark episode that continues to move the plots of the season ahead, but overall feels disjointed and a little bit disappointing. Why with the disappointment? Well, the SUPERNATURAL writers are creative folks, and always come up with some fantastic zingers and culture disses, and I anticipated a major TWILIGHT riff-fest. Instead, we got a few 'eh' remarks from Dean, some semi-uninspired mock posters for the SUPERNATURAL universes' version of TWILIGHT, and a great opening scene that nicely reflects the vampire scene right now, movies-wise. I'm thankful, but a bit sad that's all we got. The best part of the episode, by far, is when Dean is about to get turned, and Sam stops mid-rescue, stands back, and watches. He watches, man! And smirks! Frakking wicked. Now, I'm 99.99% sure it ain't Lucifer, because that would make no sense whatsoever, but I am intrigued to see if there actually is something wrong with Sam, or if his personality just substantially changed after being stuck in the cage for - um, however long he was in there. [If Dean was in Hell for 40 years in the span of four Earth months, how long would Sam be in the cage for, say, a week?] The vampire effects are also worth noting, as they were marvelous. As for SUPERNATURAL mythology this season, there seems to be emphasis on monster Alphas, so something might come out of that. It would appear a army is forming, question-mark? Whatever is on the way, count me impressed. I liked Samuel catching Sam on his big bad choice, I liked Dean going all vampire slayer in the end, and I'm interested to see what his late night visit to Lisa means for their relationship. Probably ain't good.

27 October 2010

Week of Horror 2010: Day 03

It's the third day of The Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek's Week of Horror 2010, and I present to you a review of a newly released to cinemas flickaroo! By now I wager all those who wanted to see this movie has done so, but if you're still making your mind, read ahead kind folks. Or if you just wanna read another review. Anywhoo, without further ado, I present PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2.

Paranormal Activity 2

Starring Sprague Grayden, Molly Ephraim, Tim Clemens, Katie Featherson, Micah Sloat. Written by Michael. R. Perry, Christopher Landon, Tom Pabst. Directed by Todd Williams. Release: 22 October 2010. Paramount Pictures, 91 mins., Rated R

Plot: A prequel/sequel to PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, with that pesky demon causin' some mayhem once again, but lo and behold, it ain't random.

Those things you heard about PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 actually being good, and even better than the first one? Turns out, those rumblings are 100% true. Somehow, someway, the folks behind this rushed production created a movie that matches the first one in scares - ah hell, exceeds the first one - and even have likable characters to boot. Plus, the script ain't that bad. Although, I wager it's plenty of improv and a bit of script thrown in, but no matter...point is, everything works. Sure, there are some downsides, and that'll be mentioned, but this Halloween, I can't stress enough how super fantastic PA2 would be for your viewing pleasure.

Where does it excel? For one, the scares are much scarier, the script is quite wider, and the cast is a bit more likable. In the realm of technical reviewing, I can’t really judge either of these movies on camerawork, since the whole point of these productions is that they’re ‘found amateur footage’. And there’s no music to speak of, relying entirely on the creepiness of silence and loud bangs. But, that aside, PA2 rocks in nearly every way.

Before this becomes a ginormous love fest for all things PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2, I will quickly make an address to a particular fault. The first half of the movie, which I fully understand is necessary in the effect to get the audience to relate to these characters and get to know ‘em, does drag a bit. Although, I’m not entirely sure what to cut, is the problem. Moreso than the character moments, I would probably cut or condense considerably the night cam house shots, as we switch between about four or five different cameras that don’t really offer much, especially the first night. Anyone else feel this way or am I barking up a dumb path?

Anyway, by the halfway point, things are heating up considerably. The freaky happenings aren't just occurring at night - nay, there's some freaky shit going down during the daylight. There's a sequence with the mom in the kitchen that successfully made ninety percent of my audience jump, yell, or scream. Me? I was just impressed with how they pulled it off. Damn that was nice. And finally night falls, and the demon is too pissed off to continue the spooking thing. It attacks, it rears its ugly head (not literally; similar to the first, we actually see the beast, we just hear that familiar deep escalating sound when its onscreen) and causes turmoil for everyone in that house for a few more days until the climax, which, mind you, was frakkin' terrifying. And then the ingeniousness of the movie is revealed: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 is not only a sequel to a mega successful indie production, but it's a frakkin' prequel, too! Everything that happened through ninety-five percent of the flick was prequel, and then we get closure to the original. Say it with me, folks:


Yes, I resorted to a OMG to get emphasize how freakin' awesome that idea was. It makes both of these movies one big epic storyline with a beginning, middle, and semi-ending. If and when there's a PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3, I sincerely hope the creators don't go down the path that's intimated in these closing moments, but instead concentrates on an entirely new family and fresh happenings. They created their two masterpieces, now it's time to move on, I think.

So, bottom line, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2: I enjoyed the second film more, and the scares were utterly terrifying and freakier than the first. To reiterate the beginning of this review: you wanna get scared this Halloween? Here's your film.

BATMAN - Nolan Announces Title!

In a interview with Hero Complex, Christopher Nolan has revealed the title of the third Batman film, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Additionally, Nolan has officially stated that the Riddler, long thought to be the bad guy, is not the villain of the story. Also discounted in March was Mr. Freeze as the Big Bad.

Nolan has said in the past that he was looking at this arc as a trilogy: the beginning, fall, and rise of the Batman, and the title certainly seems to suggest that. However, not too much of a fan of said title. BATMAN BEGINS was named correctly, seeing as how it was a magnificent origin story. THE DARK KNIGHT was beautifully titled, with that label juxtaposed against Dent's 'White Knight' persona. It worked. It was magnificent. One of the bestest titles of the last decade. And now we have THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Frankly, I feel like it just doesn't fit. It doesn't look right. At least, I would consider changing it to BATMAN RISES, then we got the theme going on of BATMAN, DARK KNIGHT, BATMAN again. Anyone diggin' what I'm saying, or am I simply making zero intelligent statements? [Don't say 'yes', preferably].

I have complete faith in Goyer and the Nolans, and I am super excited to see where they take the story. Just...title...ugh...

Anyway, what do you folks think of the title? No matter what, my ticket's sold 20 July 2012. Just sucks we gotta wait that long. Well, next year we have TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, and in 2012, we also got us the Legendary Pictures GODZILLA flick. So, 2012 is shaping up to be something spectacular.

26 October 2010

Week of Horror 2010: Day 02

It's nearly Halloween time - only the best holiday of the year - and I am dutifully fulfilling my Halloween-loving charge. I've got my AMC FearFest on in the background [whilst studying Oceanography], I'm watching me some new horror flicks I've never seen before [hence this feature], while of course watching the classics (HALLOWEEN, NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, FRIDAY THE 13TH). Be in the Halloween spirit, watch some scary movies this season! Without any further ado, I present the second day of The Ramblings of a Minnesota Geek's Week of Horror, 2010.

Killer Condom

Starring Udo Samel, Peter Lohmeyer, Marc Richter, Leonard Lansink, Iris Berben. Written by Martin Walz and Ralf Konig. Directed by Martin Walz. Release: 29 August 1996. Troma Entertainment, 107 mins., Rated R

Plot: Detective Mackeroni (Samel) is on the prowl to destroy a condom that bites off penises', but they're multiplying, and Mackeroni and the New York City police force may not be able to stop it in time!

Firstly and most importantly, I’d like to start with a sincere thank you to everyone involved in the production of KILLER CONDOM. This film’s very existence makes me a happy individual, and it will be a favorite ‘must see’ to all of my friends for years to come. Secondly, if by the end of this review, my words interest you enough, I would implore you to watch it right now, free, as provided by Hulu instant streaming. There doesn’t appear to be a expiration day, so you’re set for awhile. Now, onto the review.

"I bet the condom on the bedside table is about to show us its teeth!"

I’d like to take a moment to mention that despite the title, it’s rather misleading, in that the condom(s) don’t actually kill any of its victims, it simply maims them. I mean, it most definitely would hurt, and there’s plenty of blood to make a gore hound satisfied, but none of these folks die as a result of the sadistic genetic anomaly of a condom. Alright, now that is clarified…

"It was the condom, Sam, the condom!"

Now, I recognize the title may make it sound like a sleazy, no-good, not-worth-you-time, Z-grade production, but on the contrary, KILLER CONDOM is quite possibly the most fun I’ve had watching a flick since SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. The movie is loaded with some of the most magnificent dialogue and one-liners this side of the moon [stupid phrase], the effects work on the penis-chewing condoms is absolutely gorgeous [hell, I’d buy a action figure of it, though I wager mom and the girlfriend would disapprove], and even with its running time, the flick breezes through to the finish all too quickly. In fact, I recommend either a sequel or a big-budgeted Hollywood remake to happen imminently.

"What's with these whores biting dicks off? They live off those dicks."

Oh, and any males thinking that they’ll be flashed some flesh during the sex sequences will be sorely disappointed. Yes, there’s flesh, but it’s of the male ass variety, so unless that’s your appetite, it’s a tad unfortunate. But also a bit on the humorous side, seeing how director Martin Walz moves the camera and puts objects in front of the genitalia is unintentionally funny, yet impressive.

"Nobody bites off Macaroni's jewels and gets away with it!"

We follow Detective Luigi Macaroni (or Mackaroni, although the subtitled version online spells it as “Macaroni”), a chain smoker, trench-coat wearing homosexual man who walks the street of New York sunglasses on, and in a very film noir kind of way, provides a good batch of ‘insightful’ and humorous contemplations. As Luigi comes face to face with the condom in question, he becomes obsessed with locating it, and taking the object of evil down. His manhunt throughout the hotel, dubbed ‘Hotel Quickie’, is marvelous. Gun blazing, swears blastin’, hose ready – western stand offs are hardly as full of tension.

"My God, it was after your prick! And it was in my handbag!"

In addition to his quest to destroy the killer condom(s) once and for all, Luigi also needs to deal with his love life. There’s the transvestite ex-policeman Barbette (formally Bob) who is quite sure that he and Luigi are destined to be together, as well as the young man Billy, who immediately vexes our protagonist. Side characters with plenty of screentime, they deliver some great moments, as well.

"Do you think that the people will elect a man without reproductive organs as the President of the United States?"

By the finale, the creator of the killer condoms, Professor Smirnoff (Ralf Wolter in a hilarious role), is revealed, and the individual pulling the strings gets the cliché monologue moment as well as giving Luigi a Spider-Man moment, where he must choose between A or B. Basically, the last twenty minutes are gold. I’m nearly compelled to post Luigi’s declaration to the villain, which is outstanding, but I’ll simply post a snippet:

"There aren't any condoms in heaven, Dr. Riffleson."

Despite how I make it sound, KILLER CONDOM is not a satire in the vein of AIRPLANE! or SCARY MOVIE, it plays completely straight and serious, the outlandish concept of a penis-chewing condom gets the expected disbelief from everyone at the prescient (until a hilarious scene with a politician), but also takes the opportunity to cross taboos like engaging in full on homosexual lovin’ (probably not a scene all too common in the late nineties), delves into political reflections, and satires religious zealots. In the end, it’s loads of fun, and I almost feel bad for labeling this a horror movie. Although, there’s plenty of ‘serious’ horror flicks out there these last few years that end up being funnier than all the SCARY MOVIEs combined [I’m thinking the WHEN A STRANGER CALLS remake, specifically].

"Has anyone ever told you how sexy you look hanging over a condom-filled pool?"

For 107 minutes, KILLER CONDOM entertains, makes with the laughter, and impresses with its visual effects. Oh! Before I forget, the sound effect of the condoms – akin to a squeaky Looney Tunes character – is just so much fun to listen to, and is the perfect opposite to the deep growl of the condom when it glares its teeth, ready to pounce. And the finale includes loads of killer condoms, including a big whopper of a one, and it’s menacing. Actually, it reminded me of a miniature graboid from TREMORS. The movie’s free online with limited commercial interruption, so there’s no reason to not give it a try. Enjoy the script, enjoy the killer condoms, enjoy the butt cheeks, enjoy the insanity, enjoy the film noir feel, and really, just enjoy.

And one last note: it's waaaaaay better than TEETH.

Tuesday Cap - Vol. 5

Title: Halloween 4 - The Return of Michael Myers

Notes: With horror franchises, especially ones with quite the longevity, it's difficult to make a good sequel, no? A second one is often bad, but there are times where it's just as good. HALLOWEEN II was pretty damn awesome, and one of my favorite. The third installment, an attempt to branch out the brand name in different directions, to take a anthology approach to the holiday, failed miserably. Critically, financially, it's just rubbish. So what's a company to do? Well, years later, bring back Michael Myers and continue the Strode storyline, 'course! Except Jamie Lee Curtis didn't want to do it again (although she would come back for the seventh and eighth), so the writers went with Laurie Strode's daughter, Jamie Lloyd, and have her haunted by visions of Michael who wants her deado. Why? Well, those reasons are sussed out in a odd manner in THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS, but let's not diddy-daddy with that just not. HALLOWEEN 4 is phenomenal, a true sequel to the original two, and maintain the same atmosphere of spookiness and freakiness, not just with Michael Myers, but also the whole movie. Y'know, how John Carpenter's film had a sense of tension with every shot, like things were escalating even though it was slow moving, in a way; RETURN is something similar. And when the movie is heading towards its climax, it's one hell of a exhilarating ride. RETURN is also noteworthy for being the last film of the franchise to have remotely likable characters, as the following film REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS boasts the unanimously hated in all of fandom "Tina", and the characters don't get any better from then on out.

Tonight, AMC will be airing HALLOWEEN III - SEASON OF THE WITCH and HALLOWEEN 4 - THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS. With no reservation, I'd recommend giving HALLOWEEN 4 a shot. It's not Halloween without...y'know, HALLOWEEN.

Discuss: Did HALLOWEEN 4 ruin the franchise, or save it? Was Donald Pleasence awesome or was he awesome? What did you think of the Jamie Lloyd character and how they wrote Laurie out? Did you like the score? Opinions? Share!

25 October 2010

Week of Horror 2010: Day 01

Monster Island

Starring Carmen Electra, Daniel Letterl, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Adam West, Nick Carter. Written and directed by Jack Perez. Transmission Date: 2004. MTV Studios, 92 mins. Unrated

"Bad day to be famous."

"Due to unforeseen ingenious animal attack, Carmen Electra won't be performing tonight."

MTV's MONSTER ISLAND is a multi-layered film, going far beyond the conventions of a 'homage' or teen comedy and becoming something that delves into great themes of our times: fighting the good fight, facing fear head on and conquering it, the hero origin story, plus subplots of destiny and (possibly) reincarnation. It's a truly amazing display of masterpiece writing and directing, with a ensemble cast that appears unlikely to head on a movie of this magnitude. But alas, here we are.


Anyone believe that? If you did, shame on you. Sure, MONSTER ISLAND is - well, endurable, but it isn't a good or enjoyable movie by any means. There are some chuckling parts, to be sure, but the majority of the time, MONSTER ISLAND is just bad. Sadly, despite the potential for a fun teen-oriented sci-fi movie, MONSTER ISLAND doesn't really fall under the category of 'homage' or 'good', but instead is simply a bad movie that utilizes old tools to accomplish visual effects (and that, apparently, passes as 'homage' enough). The script is poor, the acting unbelievably bad, although Emmy worthy when compared to productions chummed out by the Asylum.

When Carmen Electra and Adam West provide the best performances in your movie, as a filmmaker, you should sorta guess you're in trouble. I do get that the movie's target audience is teenagers who'll chuckle at some of the dumb dialogue (look above), cameos (Nick Carter arriving in the film's closing moments to save the day), and humorous sequences, such as praying mantis sex. Regrettably, those moments just didn't clink with me. Although, kudos to the writers for naming West's character Doctor Harryhausen. Anyone who respects the master of visual effects gets a nod from me - and please, let's not engage in a Harryhausen vs. O'Brien debate.

Here we got a movie that climaxes with cave people fighting giant ants, which, y'know, on paper sounds alright, and quite right what with the whole homage thing going on. But execution wise - super poor, and super embarrassing. There's a big difference between lovingly paying homage to your genre and making a shitty movie for the hell of it and calling it a homage. Take 2009's SyFy Original Picture LOCH NESS TERROR for a good example of a loving homage. By no means is it a great film, but it's true beauty lies in how it respects its genre, embraces it, and simultaneously not only enjoys it but attempts to even stretch its legs. Y'know, add some fresh elements. 2004's THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA is another good example of this type of homage. This is one of 'em badder flicks, purposefully making things 'eck' for the hell of it.

On a brighter side, a starring role worth noting is Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Why? Well, I love her and her work, from GRINDHOUSE to SCOTT PILGRIM. But not even Ms. Winstead can get away with this ridiculous dialogue, and her character comes off barley any more likable than a JERSEY SHORE mate.

I can't in good conscious recommend MONSTER ISLAND. A while ago, when a Hollywood Video was closing up, they were selling the DVD of it for a buck. It was in its last days, and everything was a buck. But I skipped on it, unsure if it was even worth a buck. Dunno how wise of a decision maker I am, granted, taking into account I deemed KVC: KOMODO VS. COBRA worthy of purchase, but whatev. Point is: I'm glad I waited for a free stream. Is it worth that? Nah, not to the casual viewer, nor to any hardcore B-movie fans, or any fan of Harryhausen, O'Brien, Cooper, or the rest of 'em. It's just bad. Teens - well, to clarify - high teens, will quite enjoy this flick, no doubt. Otherwise, just skip it.

MMAM - Vol. 13

The final installment of the horror themed feature month, and to tell the truth, I found this to be a toughie. I exhausted the themes that I found to be really frakking good, and it was a tad of a struggle to come up with another final one. Lo and behold, right before I'm about to post this, I flip on AMC and as part of their annual FearFest, 28 DAYS LATER is playing. Voila! Inspiration! Thus, seeing as how this is the final horror-themed MMAM, you get a double dose today! Aren't you excited?

So here we got THE EXORCIST theme, which, frankly, is far more scarier than the movie itself. Sure, there are some creepy elements to the movie, but in this day and age - well, I just saw it for the first time about a year and some change ago, and the part that freaked the shit out of me the most was near the beginning, when the priest stands up in a sandstorm and looks straight at a devil statue. Scaaaary. Otherwise, the rest of the movie? Didn't do much for me, regrettably. Still, legacy or not, it's a good film.

And as for 28 DAYS LATER, that's another flick I hadn't gotten around to seeing until recently, and ended up frakkin' loving it. Threw in the sequel a day later, which I thought was pretty damn grand as well. The great thing about 28 DAYS, too, is a specific song that is instantly recognizable these days. For example, a remixed version of it was used earlier this year in KICK-ASS, although composer John Murphy was listed as one of the 'music by' guys, so I guess it's A-OK. Anyway, it's an awesome theme. Listen, if thou dare (!):

21 October 2010

The Watcher: 10/15-10/21

Posting might be limited for the next couple of days for the following reasons: 1 test, 1 paper from Oceans of the World; 2 papers for Creative Writing; 2 papers and a reading of "Beloved" for Literary Studies; and...actually, that's about it, but it's plenty and I ain't no lookin' forward to it. Wish me luck-o. I have to compare and contrast a essay - not fun.

S01E12 - "
Things We Lock Away" (18 October 2010) - A Graystone-centric episode, I am overall pleased, although I quite wish there was more. In V-World, the Zoe avatar finally comes face to face with Tamara and engage in a battle with swords (!!! SWORDS!!! AWESOME!), until Zoe comes to the realization that she isn't original Zoe, that she's her own individual and should not be blamed for the actions of the real Zoe. How does some come about this epiphany? Through the use of another Zoe guiding her, a possible allusion to the One True God showing himself as a Angel, Gaius/Number Six-style? Or was the explanation about the other Zoe given and I just didn't realize. Another element worth noting, is that V-world Zoe is quite adamant that she has a purpose, as does Tamara, she just doesn't have a clue as to what it is right now. I am quite in that category of people curious as to what this 'purpose' is - I mean, what exactly can two digital copies of a person accomplish? In the real world, Daniel's deal with the figurative Devil follows through, and he is re-instated as head of Gryastone Industries. Well, that wasn't entirely dramatic, but the ending sure as hell was, with his confrontation with Thomas Vergis. Man, I did not see that ending coming, although I probably shoulda. Those last ten minutes of the episode were fantastic. Everything else, not too much of a fan - I'm a little intrigued about where Lacy will end up by seasons end, but all the other elements I just am very 'eh' about. I'd like for Clarice to either die or be given one hell of a awesome storyline. That is all.

E - "Chuck Vs the Couch Lock" (18 October 2010) - Poor Casey. Poor Morgan. Poor Alex. Casey had to fake his death to capture three mercenaries, and of course that didn't go exactly as planned. As for Morgan, his relationship with Alex hit a stump because he's so damn scared of Casey's wrath. But those two guys together, Morgan and Casey, make for cosmic comedy gold, and that's specifically why I dug this episode. Unfortunately, though, the jokes and 'twists' come off as a bit predictable, and that sorta veers my enjoyment a little bit. On the plus side, we do see some growth with Chuck in the spy arena, so cleverly coming up with the Casey Dead plan and being so bloody confidant about it. Why or why did the General have to mention it? Next week, looks like Linda Hamilton will make her much hyped appearance to Chuck. Now with CHUCK getting a full 24-episode order, I'm interested to see where the creators are taking this...

S05E04 - "Beauty and the Beast" (17 October 2010) - First off, Julia Stiles is from Minnesota! Yippie! We rule! Well, at least her character is. "Beauty and the Beast" was a pretty good episode, although I just wish there was so much more. The main purpose of it was for Dexter to try and understand Lumen, to gain some common ground, and to persuade her that he isn't the bad guy, that he was actually the one saving her. Of course, Lumen [awesome name] being as mangled and mentally frazzled as she is, isn't exactly taking his words with comfort or as honesty. The ultimate method Dexter used to persuade Lumen was a smart move, but I don't altogether buy it. It was cool, don't get me wrong, it just felt like the episode time was running out, so the writers had to quickly concoct a way for Lumen to be all, 'Oooh! I get it now! You protector!' As for the other plots, the nanny stuff - don't care for; Quinn getting suspended, should be semi-interesting; Angel getting investigated`- couldn't care less. But the real beauty? That scene between machete-man and Deb: now that was awesome and thrilling, and I can't wait to see how this killing spree comes to a end. I sense someone will get super hurt or quite possibly with the being dead. Anyhow, still liking DEXTER, and still damn well excited.

S01E06 - "Resistance" (21 October 2010) -
After a week of no NIKITA, it returns with a pretty good episode. Plus, and this always adds to the enjoyment of a episode, the whole way everything was going to play out didn't play out as I expected. And here I thought I was all smart with my guessing of the whole storyline. Shame on me, I guess. I absolutely loved that the whole scenario became a test not only for Alex, but Michael as well. That was unexpected, and pure gold. And it's nice, because I'm still unsure about Michael - I don't fully understand the guy, and his motives are quite in the air at all times. The flashbacks with Nikita and Alex once again have very little emotional resonance - in fact, none at all; they actually distract from the overall narrative. They should have kept all the flashback sequences in their pocket and unleashed them in one singular flashback-centric episode, that would have been nifty. Well, with Alex's threshold shown, and her ability to kickass evident to Division, and Nikita found out who exactly killed her hubby three years ago, everyone is in a crossroads and it should be exciting to see where the rest of this 13-episode season lands.

S10E04 - "Homecoming" (15 October 2010)
- Such a beautiful episode, and so rewarding for all the fans who have stayed with the show since the Pilot way back in 2000 [such as myself]. A battalion of Superman moments and allusions, "Homecoming" basically set the plate up for Clark conquering his self doubts and worries and becoming the red and blue zoomy person. But no matter how fantastic everything was - Clark seeing his future, Clark seeing everything fine with Lois knowing his secret, Clark knowing that he can be the hero he always sought to be, and all that other jazz - I can't help but feel a little cheated that the writers [once again] used time travel as a way to bring home a point. I just don't like that. Although, I can give them kudos for not using the visit to the future as the ultimate decision moment for Clark, because that would just be a paradox and equally disappointing, and just used the time travel as a way for Clark to kinda loosen up and begin to ease himself into his 'earth protector' role. And boy, was it great to see James Marsters back, this time as Brainiac 5 (from the future, as dabbled with by the Legion), and am glad that Clark's real first big nemesis became his helper. There's not much else to say about the episode but it was just one ginormous joygasm with a bazillion geeky moments that will make any fan and casual comic book reader completely head-over-heels happy. A damn good episode, SMALLVILLE writers.

S02E04 - "Pathogen" (19 October 2010) - That was a very well done episode, creators behind SG-U. First thing worth mentioning is the confidant and stylistic direction by Robert Carlyle, crafting one of the few satisfyingly directed episodes of the series. Who is second? SG-U co-creator Robert C. Cooper, his episodes are gorgeous as well. So, congrats Mr. Carlyle. Secondly, the story and script was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. Chloe's whole evolution in becoming whatever she will become, Eli seeing his mom, and that one girl with her girlfriend back home having trouble [see how much I dig her character? I don't even know her frakkin' name!]. And in addition with that, the performances delivered were phenomenal. It was great to see Chloe do something other than complain, get captured, or frak everyone in sight - to see her slowly grow fearful and act alien. And Rush was, thankfully, more subtle than he has ever been, not shouting all over the place. I quite like Rush this season, and one f the few characters I'm grabbin' onto. Eli gets to flex his acting muscles as he visits Earth to talk to his mom, and those scenes were fantastic. All around, a very well made episode by SG-U standards, and gives me faith that season two just might be good. Now, let's hope they handle this Lucian Alliance storyline intelligently...

S06E04 - "Weekend at Bobby's" (15 October 2010)
- SUPERNATURAL back to form, "Weekend at Bobby's" is a fantastic episode. Full of hilarious one-liners, Jim Beaver getting a great amount of work to do, and nicely directed by Mr. Ackles. Sadly not much to say about the episode other than that it was really bloody good, laughed a whole bunch, and I quite liked the resolution of the whole Bobby/Crowley/soul thing. Sorry, I'm just loosing steam on the writing front.

20 October 2010

Let Me In

Let Me In

Starring Chloe-Mortez, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas, Sasha Barrese.
Release: 01 October 2010. Written for the Screen & directed by Matt Reeves. Hammer Films, 115 mins., Rated R

Plot: Boy meets girl - girl is vampire - boy is like, cool!

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of director Matt Reeves' LET ME IN is how it stays tonally and stylistically true to the highly acclaimed Swedish original, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. And that he kept the swimming pool finale, which was primarily the object of my biggest excitement. However, that being said, there is a unfortunate flatness to the remake, even though it adheres to the original so greatly.

The central story remains the same. a young boy (McPhee) bullied at school meets a vampire (Mortez) in the form of a twelve-year old at his apartment, and they form a close bond. There are, of course, some differences. The location shifts from Sweden to New Mexico, but that's not remotely jarring or even distracting at the leastest. Abby, the vampire of the story and who is very much female as opposed to the sorta ambiguous nature of the original's Eli, gets a little bit more growl-y with her "father"/"caretaker"/whatever and even gets a demonic voice to boot! Owen's homicidal tendencies are toned down a bit, so instead of wishing to kill the bullies in nearly all his scenes and dialogue, his aggression gets distracted by Abby, more or less. Lighting is a bit darker here and there, especially in the swimming pool sequence. The bullies get one new scene that adds a bit of depth to 'em, prompting me to remember BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, where one action forces a boy to do that to another, and that harmed boy does that to another, etc. Er, that makes sense when you see it.

So, basically, the movie's faithful. It's LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, but with American actors and cinematography. Oh, and Michael Giacchino's magnificent score - yeah, it's not up to his usual standards of 'magnificent' [but then again, horror movies don't typically allow composers to go all out with their work], but still pretty damn haunting and frakkin' freaky.

A negative aspect I have about the movie, though, is that it is rather boring, which is odd to say for a film that boasts multiple elements and plots. Perhaps sticking to the original may not have been the best course, perhaps taking a few more liberties with the story and scenes might have helped improve the film and make it a little bit more...something. Anyone else feel like the flick dragged here and there? Oh, and before I forget, the film opens with one of those sequences that happens in the middle of the movie, and it then backtracks. I would appreciate it if the clinching sequence was something of a 'woah, what the frak is going on?', but it's rather lackluster and could entirely have been exercised from the opening.

So now that we established its faithfulness to its source material, what else is there to say about LET ME IN? It's odd, really, because I've gone back and forth these past few days wondering if I would recommend it or not. On one hand, sure, it's a good movie, but on the other hand, if you want to experience the story to its full extent, I would of course recommend the original.

19 October 2010

Tuesday Cap - Vol. 4

Title: Jason Goes to Hell

Notes: Eight FRIDAY THE 13TH movies in, New Line Cinema acquired the rights to the embodiment of evil pissed off at hormonal teens frolicking around his camp grounds, and decided to do something new to the formula. The previous two movies featured Jason fighting a psychic and then going to New York - how can one possibly top the sheer awesomeness of that stuff, one asks? Well, frakkin' KILL OFF Jason Vorhees within the first ten minutes of the new movies! Frakkin' awesome! And, in staying with the theme that evil never dies, Jason's soul of evilness passes through one victim to another. Awesome, brilliant. Not all that brilliantly executed though, resulting in a sorta "eh" film. Still good, don't get me wrong, especially considering what comes next in the franchise, but there was a lot of potential that was sorta lost as the movie went on. Grand opening, meager middle act, rousing finale that just needed more. No matter, JASON GOES TO HELL is still a pleasure to watch.

Discuss: Did yah dig the surprise appearance of another iconic horror figure in the movies closing seconds? Did the lack of a physical embodiment of Jason Vorhees distract you from enjoying the movie? Good first non-Paramount attempt?

18 October 2010

MMAM - Vol. 12

Can't believe I didn't think of this before. Most horror franchises have a recognizable theme - as evidenced in Vol. 10, the HALLOWEEN series has one hell of a established theme, a theme that no matter its rendition, will always hold a creepy unease on all who listen. When approaching today's Halloween-themed installment, I was admittedly thumped - I hadn't a clue. The FRIDAY THE 13TH theme isn't exactly one worth posting, as it's shrieking cues are akin to nails on a chalkboard when heard out of context, and the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET theme isn't substantial enough to warrant it. And then it dawned on me, the obvious: the SAW franchise.

The seventh and (supposedly) final SAW installment opens everywhere 29 October, and if there's one thing that can be agreed on concerning that franchise, is that Charlie Clouser's SAW theme, dubbed "Hello Zepp" in the original film, is frakkin' sweet. A beautiful orchestral composition that nicely plays when the big twist is revealed, when all the elements of what came before it - may it be earlier in that film or in the prior chapters - unite to bring this one moment of realization and utter awesomeness. Ladies and gents, I bring you "Hello Zepp" by Charlie Clouser, and don't forget to check out the final film, SAW VII.



Starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Karl Urban, Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss. Written by Jon Hoeber, Rich Hoeber, Directed by Robert Schwentke. Release: 15 October 2010. Summit Entertainment, 111 mins., Rated R

Plot: Retired CIA assassins are now targets, and hell if they're gonna just sit back and die.

Finding a good action movie has been a tad difficult as of late. THE EXPENDABLES, you say? Well, sure, it had a bunch of blood and guns, but it wasn't particularly a fun, let alone good, movie. The only flick I can think of that fits the 'fun action' quota would be SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, and any casual reader of this blog will already recognize my supreme love of all things SCOTT PILGRIM. Will RED, a adaptation of a graphic novel series, earn any serious kudos down the road or receive well deserved recognition? Probably not. But I sat in that movie theater, a large popcorn nearly gone, a Dr. Pepper already devoured before the trailers concluded, a chocolate bar ready to be consumed, and I enjoyed a near two-hour movie that had cinematic legends kicking ass and taking names, and the cleverly written script, sharp cinematography, and stellar actors just added on the awesomeness.

First, please take notice of the photo I used for this review. Now, it would make complete sense to use a pic that featured the entire cast, so the presumed reader would get a sense of what they're getting into. Well, that shot of John Malkovich fits that bill quite well. Malkovich, in one of his best roles in years, is absolutely batshit crazy as Marvin Boggs, a dude absolutely convinced everyone in the entire galaxy is out to kill him and that everything is part of a vast conspiracy. Marvin's craziness nicely reflects the tone of the movie - fast with the violence and editing, loose with the overall logical thinking of the script, and crazy with the awesomeness. I mean, hell, folks, this is a flick about fifty-something assassins breaking into the CIA and foiling their termination plan. Screw sense and logic, Helen Mirren's using a frakkin' machine gun!

Watch Karl Urban fight Bruce Willis in close-contact quarters!

Watch Morgan Freeman 'touch' Richard Dreyfuss! [not as dirty as it sounds]

Watch Brian Cox go Russian and blow up a car and woo Helen Mirren!

Watch Helen Mirren gleefully firing at a battalion of Secret Service agents!

Watch Bruce Willis exit a circling car!

And best of all, not character ever says, "I'm too old for this shit"!

Bruce, Helen, Morgan, John, Karl, and Mary-Louise are all at their A-games. Bruce can do this role in his sleep, as evidenced by his unenthusiastic stint in A COUPLE OF DICKS earlier this year; Morgan's obviously enjoying the freedom to kick some ass, although he isn't given the most to work with [in fact, if there's any sort of fail on RED's part, it's how poorly written Morgan's exit from the story is - lacks major emotional impact where it should be ginormous! He's Bruces' friend, after all!]. Mary-Louise, whom I've never seen in WEEDS, is great fun as the kidnapped gal who ends up getting a kick out of this whole assassin thing. John Malkovich - man, I love yah. Helen - please make more of these movies. And Karl - if the James Bond franchise ever picks up steam again, and Craig retires from the role, you sure as hell better throw your name into the bid.

Instead of watching THE SOCIAL NETWORK for the third time, give RED a try. It's not like there's too much else to pick from, and RED is one hell of a blast from beginning to end. Oh, and as far as the EXPENDABLES comparison, here's alone: frak THE LOSERS, this is good stuff. Hell, not even A-TEAM was as fun...or cool. At the very least, if you decide to wait for DVD or choose to skip it all together, surf through YouTube and find all the Malkovich and Mirren scenes, as well as the Bruce vs. Karl fight. Those should not be missed. Also, if this is persuasive or anything since I seem to have a different movie taste from fellow bloggers, RED is soo hitting my top ten of 2010.

14 October 2010

The Watcher: 10/8-10/14

Obnoxious school got in the way, so I spent all of today catching up with all of my shows. Also, no new NIKITA this week. Sadness.

S01E11 - "Retribution" (12 October 2010) - Everybody hates Lacy. Everybody is hatin' Clarice Willow. And every viewer in the universe should be sick of Amanda Graystone. Something appealing: Amanda just might help bring about the end of Clarice, and the Caprican police are not starting to put two and two together, so I wager we'll be seeing some explosive developments before the end of the season. Additionally, we see the (apparent) end of Barnabus. Sure, it was fun seeing Clarice hand out some pissed off vengeance, but I sure don't want Barnabus dead, if not just for my biased love for all things James Marsters [speaking of which, he returns to SMALLVILLE next week as Brainiac!]. As for Daniel Graystone - well, I do appreciate his dark descent, and I did find the ultimatum given to his 'friend' resulted in a suicide. But, really, I'm just not into all that right now. And what happened to Joseph Adama, man? A few episodes ago he was still shaken up after looking for his daughter in New Cap City, and not too sure about pursuing the family business. And it's not like his character is going anywhere fast. Hopefully his arc will shape up soon. Next week, the V-world stuff gets heavy with a Tamara vs. Zoe battle. Consider me excited.

S04E04 - "Chuck Vs. the Coup D'Etat" (11 October 2010) - It's extremely disheartening to say that four episodes in, I'm not too huge a fan of this season. Also, I just don't have a lot of things to say about this episode, and that's not a particularly good thing, either. The cute and lovable Chuck of past seasons, a man who was endearing and a fantastic character, has made way for a more-insecure-than-usual semi-'spy' who questions his relationship with Sarah at every instance, and the two of them are so, so, so incredibly horrible at communication, it bridges on infuriating. CHUCK should not be this. I liked season 3.5 [when CHUCK got picked up for six additional episodes after the first 13-order], when Chuck and Sarah's relationship first blossomed and they worked marvelously well together - they complimented each other. Now, they're two people in a relationship that are hinging on obnoxious. The real saving grace of this episode was Casey, a character severely underused this season. His reunion with his arch-nemesis Goya was absolutely hilarious, and every reaction shot and line of dialogue spoken by Casey made everything a little bit easier to swallow. On a semi-related note, I'm excited to see where this Morgan/Alex relationship goes, and would find it utterly fantastic is they engage in a serious relationship. I can only imagine the wedding, and how much Chuck and Sarah would be forced to stop Casey's strike team from killing Morgan. Or at least that would be my big epic season finale...Casey gone crazy!

S05E03 - "Practically Perfect" (10 October 2010) - The opening scene was funny enough, what with Dexter sorting through nanny interview time. That's one of the great things about DEXTER, its ability to weave dark comedy and just plain darkness flawlessly, making for one odd but entirely satisfying program. "Practically Perfect" continues the theme this season of Dexter trying to juggle all these miscellaneous elements of his life - his feelings of guilt in concern of his deceased wife, satisfying his impulse to kill, and trying to be somewhat of a father figure for Harrison. It's a lot for a man to deal with. So this episode is dedicated to Dexter fulfilling his killing hunger, taking the initiative to get Boyd out of the equation. In classic Dexter form, reminiscent of last season's second episode where Dexter couldn't figure out where he stashed a body, his kill gets a bit botched. What followed after that was pure gold: Boyd was onto Dexter, and it was killer against killer, culminating in some great moments between these two characters. And, of course, the reveal of Julia Stiles, and the beginning of her presence in Dexter's life. The writers have promised her character to be important to our anti-hero, and suffice to say, I'm quite excited to see where that goes.

S10E03 - "Supergirl" (08 October 2010) - Clark's cousin Kara makes a open visit to Metropolis, imbued with the power to fly, and acting as Clark's role as the world's savior, leaving our Superman-in-training second fiddle and insignificant. "Supergirl" is all about advancing the plot, and advancing Clark's future. Quicker than expected, we get our first real glimpse of this season's villain, Darkseid, who has manifested itself in the body of a human, campaigning to get rid of vigilantism, or at least force them to reveal themselves [which concludes with a shocker of a ending, and one I didn't see coming but am excited to see the repercussions]. In this episode, Clark got dissed a lot - by Jor-El, by Kara - constantly being told that he is no longer the person for the job, and that he just shouldn't bother anymore. But yet in true Clark fashion, he's as determined as ever. With that said, I'm loving it. I'm digging it all. This season is shaping out to be one of the more consistent and enjoyable ones by far. We got the stellar plotline of vigilantism running amok in Metropolis, and the groups of citizens who are fans of the Blur, Green Arrow, Kara, etc., and of course those opposed to them. It's absolutely fantastic for the writers to walk that path, and it's honestly something I never expected from SMALLVILLE of all places, but I'm loving it and it gives the show a LOT more weight than it ever did before. Additionally, Clark is facing larger, harder hurdles than he ever has - not even Zod, the Phantoms, or Braniac have anything against Clark fighting not only himself and the citizens of Metropolis, but also this Darkseid character. Niiice, is all I can say. "Supergirl" was a pretty good episode, and although Clark sadly wasn't in the spotlight for a lot of it, it was nonetheless vital for his character development. Season 10 is three for three right now. Kudos.

S02E03 - "Awakening" (12 October 2010) - A really, really good episode that showcases the strengths of the series and what it could be if they keep the same sort of creative momentum going. The Destiny crew docks at the object they were heading towards at the conclusion of the last episode, and find that it's a information, energy pathway thinger that could very well be the instrument to juice up Destiny enough to zoom back home. Of course, they don't, and the episode ends with another one of those damn music montages that can go away anytime soon, but the end product doesn't really matter. It was a thrilling hour of television with some good dialogue, genuinely original and interesting plots and and beats, and was extremely pretty. Prettiness?, you question. By that, I mean of the gray Yoda-like creature they encounter on this ship, which just happens to be one of many, many creatures. Worth mentioning is the stellar digital effects used to create the alien - very, very well done. I enjoyed the interaction between the crew and the alien, seeing as how there was basically no way to communicate with the poor sap. And the ending with Telford and all the aliens around him, stuck at the ship as Destiny jumps back into FTL - I cannot wait to see what happens when Telford makes his way back into the storyline. There's possibly romance/companionship happening between TJ and a Lucian Alliance member, and Chloe is feeling better far quicker than she should, making TJ think something is up. We got mystery, delved into more questions related to Destiny, had Rush be a prick once again, and everybody callin' to Eli for help - which, y'know, good for him, but give the poor guy a break. Here's hoping the same strengths that made this episode good isn't just a random hiccup, and maintains this same quality for some time, if not through the entire season.

S06E03 - "The Third Man" (08 October 2010) - Castiel returns! Even with his new powers and becoming, as was put in "Swan Sang", the 'new Sheriff in town' up in Heaven, the place is still in chaos, and God has yet to be seen by everyone. I applaud the writers for not just leaving the whole Heaven/Hell thread after two mega seasons worth of mythology, but I understand that its use will be sporadic and limited. Still, we got to see Castiel, so I'm digging it. First and foremost, did anyone get a odd vibe with him? It was like Misha was out of the Castiel game for a little bit too long, and acted in a different way than when we last left him. Or it could be the writing. Or, more sensibly, the fact that Cas has been forced to deal with a Heaven in chaos with a bunch of unsatisfied Angels that the Apocalypse has been thwarted. I do hope that the subplot of Angels pissed off at Sam and Dean for subverting destiny gets picked up again and becomes kind of a big deal. But then again, this season takes place a year later, so I wager Angels would have exacted some pissed off vengeance by now. Anywhozles, the whole storyline with Moses' staff was epic, and, in true SUPERNATURAL fashion, bloody fun. One of the strengths of this show is taking established mythology and tinkering it expertly to fit its own needs, and the show makes such a liberty here. Bloody terrific.

12 October 2010

Tuesday Cap - Vol. 3

Halloween themed month continues with the third installment of the Tuesday Cap, this time from a much loved cult classic from the brilliant mind of Sam Raimi!

Title: Army of Darkness

Notes: Don't get with the hateration, but I actually didn't see ARMY OF DARKNESS until last November. The always ultra-cool Plaza Maplewood nearby played all three EVIL DEAD films in consecutive order, and it was freakin' awesome. Being in the same theater with a bunch of fans, the fun was intoxicating. Hell, the theater even showed vintage trailers [which helped make me giddy for KRULL]. The concluding chapter in Sam Raimi's EVIL DEAD trilogy, ARMY OF DARKNESS is a full on camp with some fantastic imaginative sequences. Now with all three films on Blu-Ray and DVD, there's no excuse not to rewatch 'em this Halloween.

Discuss: C'mon! It's friggin' ARMY OF DARKNESS! Talk away! Bruce Campbell! Bruce Campbell's chin! Directors Cut vs. Theatrical cut(s)!

11 October 2010

MMAM - Vol. 11

Depending on how often you watch(ed) SCREAM 2, you may or may not realize that this edition of Much Music Awesomeness Mondays is a direct continuation of last week's Tuesday Cap. Vol. 2. The screencap is from the scene where this haunting music originates. Composed by Danny Elfman, this three-minute bit creeps up your spine and imprints itself into your brain, refusing to relinquish its hold on you. Utterly terrifying, amazingly beautiful by every sense of the word, and majestically composed, "Cassandra Aria" demands to be heard.

In this scene, Sydney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is on stage for rehearsal, but begins to get a little freaked out as the scene progresses because she thinks she saw her resident Ghostface in the crowd of her compatriots. It's a awesome scene that kept me on the edge of my seat, and it's also wonderful because it provides further insight into the chaos of Sydney's life, how everything is beginning to really affect her in a negative way. She's a teenage girl who is beginning to crumble. And this music reflects that in so many ways. Listen, love, download.