Thursday, March 15, 2018

Jessica Jones (S2), The Mummy (2017), and more Wonder Woman

Okay, so here's the thing, I know I'm not perfect, I am kind of unique, and I am a guy.  My reviews are going to be different, probably from most people, and definitely written from my own perspective.  Most of the time I write straight from my heart, and tell you guys how I feel about a movie, and sometimes I play Devil's Advocate to point out less-than-obvious flaws in an otherwise decent film, because those flaws bug me.  I'm an aspiring writer, you see, so when the writing behind a film bugs me, I point that shit out.  But, more on that later.  On to Jessica Jones season 2!

Jessica Jones is one of the lesser-utilized and under-appreciated superheroes from the Marvel Universe, whose story can be watched on Netflix.  Last season, Jessica had to deal with Kilgrave, some guy who really liked wearing purple suits, and could control people's minds.  Last season of Jessica Jones was pretty decent.  Jessica Jones's powers weren't outstanding (she couldn't go toe to toe with the Hulk, for example), but she might have been able to go a few rounds with Captain America.  This season, well...  let's just say Jessica doesn't spend a lot of time being her usual self.

Last season, Jessica was a bad ass, who didn't waste a lot of time over-thinking things, and tended to punch things that got in her way.  This season, Jessica is a loosely-threaded bag of emotions, and spends most of her time pretending to drink (she drinks a lot, but doesn't ever seem to suffer the effects of the alcohol, which might have been at least slightly amusing).  When she's not drinking and being all emo about shit, she's facing a rather disappointing series of challenges that really aren't much different from the ones any of us face in our daily lives.  Honestly, who wants to see normal people dealing with normal problems and being all whiny about it?  Blech.

Look, don't get me wrong, I think the lead actress (Krysten Ritter) is kinda cute, and I never get tired of watching that ass, but come on.  When I watch a superhero movie or series, I want to see superheroes doing superhero shit, and beating the crap out of supervillains.  My needs are small, that's all I want.  I don't want to see them spending the night in jail because they're not bullet-proof, and I don't want to see them hashing out legal problems with lawyers, and I cerainly don't want to see lawyers who are dying spend a few measly drunken hours with a bunch of prostitutes and then throw the poor working girls out when she turns back into the asshole lawyer she's been all along.  I don't care about lawyers.  There's never been a lawyer I care about, because lawyers don't care about anything but money.  Why splash a greedy, money-grubbing lawyer across the screen so much, when nobody goddamn cares?  Sorry to the actress who plays the lawyer (I want to say Carrie-Anne Moss?  Yep, that's her), but she plays her part so well that I just want the lawyer-y bitch to die already, so we can get back to the bad-guy punching.  Maybe they're setting the lawyer up to be the villain in season 3, but why do the villains always have to be dying to try and make us feel something for them?  Didn't they just pull that shit in Daredevil, or Iron Fist, or one of the other shows last year?  What's with the repetitious BS?  Also, why tf try to delve into Jessica's Origin story?  It was a crappy origin story!  Shoulda just left it alone, and moved the fuck on.

So, if you want my opinion, skip season 2 of Jessica Jones, and maybe wait for Season 3.  Nothing of any note really happens in Season 2, nothing whatsoever.  There's no cool villains, no cool superhero team-ups, shit, Rosario Dawson doesn't even show up to patch up Jessica's cuts and bruises.  So why watch it?  I dunno.  I was bored.  I think I finally figured out how they are going to fix the weak link in the Defenders, though.  They are systematically going to make all the other Defenders into weak little wussies, so that the whiny D-bag Iron Fist actually looks impressive by comparison.  Bad move, Netflix!  Bad move.  Then again, if it's not Netflix's fault, then bad move, Disney!  Hell, I don't know who's responsible for this crap.  Someone needs to pay.  Call in the Hulk.  HULK SMASH BAD SCRIPT!  Yes, Hulk, do it, big guy.  Smash bad script.

The Mummy (2017) is mostly about some D-bag named Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) futzing around the middle east until he runs across the Tomb of Ahmanet, some evil old princess-mummy who sliced and diced her dad and baby-half-brother, and wants to raise Set from the dead and turn the whole world into Undead servants.

Long story short, there's three major problems with the Mummy.  One, Tom Cruise.  Two, Russell Crowe.  Three, trying to shoehorn the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Russell Crowe) into a movie starring Tom Cruise.  Sure, there's lots of little problems with the Mummy, but let's stick with those three, because those are an easy fix.  You should have made Dr. Jekyll futz around with some of Ahmanet's blood at the END of the Mummy, and then her evil infects him and turns him into Mr. Hyde, instead of trying to cram Mr. Hyde into the middle.  ONE origin story per movie, please, IF you are going to do origin stories, which I generally dislike anyways.  NEVER do super-villain team ups until the supervillains are firmly established, with their own personalities.

Another small problem, just one that's bugging me.  Ahmanet's rule in ancient egypt was threatened by her father's getting a woman pregnant, so Ahmanet's chance at being pharoah is taken away.  So, she teams up with Set to become pure evil, and then..  basically kills the pharoah and his son with a dagger...  Which.. she could have done herself, without teaming up with Set.  So... why did she team up with Set, again?  Why's that make sense?  Don't ask me.  Stupid movie.

Universal (I think it's Universal?), listen up.  You really want to resurrect the Dark Universe, and bring back all the evil villains of old?  This was a bad start, but roll with it.  Run with what you got.  Take Tom Cruise, and Dr. Jekyll / Russell Crowe (sorry, I mean, Mr. Hyde), and just go ahead with the next movie, whatever you can come up with.  Do like the Steve Winwood song says, and Roll With It, Baby, yeah yeah, just roll with it!  You think Dr. Frankenstein would have finally managed to bring his Monster to life if he had plugged a car batttery into old Bolt-Neck, it hadn't worked, and he'd said "Fuck it?"  Keep at it, dipshits!  Keep plugging away until you get a heartbeat!  Take some fucking inspiration from the monster movies you're trying to resurrect!

The Mummy is playing on More Max this month, one of the Cinemax channels, if you want to check it out for yourself.  It wasn't absolute shit, but it was close.  The actress who plays the Mummy is decent, probably the best part of the film, but otherwise, there's not a whole lot there.  Maybe in time they'll make something better, like a new Werewolf, or Dracula flick.  Hey, maybe Creature from the Black Lagoon?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Anyone?

A little more about Wonder Woman, while I have time.  Wonder Woman has been a heroine to scores of young women since the 70's, and I don't want to diminish anyone's heroes.  We could certainly use more heroic figures these days, instead of all the villainous ones, amirite?  Yeah.  But hey, I believe in informed decisions, so let's take a look at the symbolism behind Wonder Woman, and what she stands for, shall we?  Spoilers to follow, so if you haven't seen the movie, watch it on HBO or whatever, and then come back here.  I'll wait.  Back?  Good, moving on.

First, Wonder Woman's early comic book days were spent in chains.  Literally.  The writer who penned her comic books was into Bondage and Discipline, and had a mistress as well as a wife.  They all lived together as one big happy family, and that's great, I say.  The early stories of Wonder woman usually revolved around getting captured by the villains, often getting spanked (she was usually powerless without her belt, bracelets and magic lasso), and being chained up.  Yep, those "magic bracelets" were actually just manacles at one point, I'm pretty sure.  At least, that's the story floating around the innertoobz, and just like everything else online, if it's on the internet, it must be true.

So, let's recap the major flaws in Wonder Woman, just to put a little logic to the symbolism.  Let's start with Hippolyta's tale of wonder woman's orgins, on the island of Thermiscrya, or whatever it's called.  Paradise Island, let's call it.  So, Hippolyta tells Diana that she was made of clay, and Zeus breathed life into her.  The first lie, but let's not quibble, Hippolyta is lying to wonder woman all her life (which makes me laugh that the Amazon's greatest weapon is a magic lasso that makes people tell the truth... irony can be pretty ironic, sometimes).  Hipployta's excuse is that Ares, their greatest enemy, will find her faster if she knows where she really came from, but what happens?  Diana, not knowing the truth, sets out from Paradise island, and within hours of setting foot on dry land, meets Ares.  yep.  HOURS.  Smooth Hippolyta.  Real smooth.

But hey, let's recap the origin story of story of Paradise Island, itself.  Ares killed all the other gods but Zeus, and Zeus used the "last of his power" (direct quote from Hippolyta) to wound Ares.  Paradise Island was hidden from Ares' sight to hide the Godslayer, a sword that could supposedly kill a god, but the sword is as much of a lie as the backstory of paradise island.  IF Zeus used the last of his power to wound Ares, how did he use his power to cloak paradise island?  What's the point of hiding a sword on an island, when Wonder Woman is the real godkiller?  What's the point of training an army of amazons, when the "greatest" of their warriors, who trained Diana, gets killed by a single bullet to the belly?  I mean, let's face it, how many germans went to the island?  40?  And they kill off half of this supposed "invincible" amazon army, that was supposed to help stop Ares?  Really?  No offense, ladies, but you died like bitches!  But let's move on.

So Diana goes to the real world, slaughters her way through an entire army of Germans, and uses the Godkiller to slay some pissant little German Colonel, who, as it turns out, SPOILER ALERT, wasn't Ares to begin with.  Sure, it's WW1, but Wonder Woman isn't a soldier.  She's a hero in the DC Universe, a hero like Batman and Superman and the Flash, and what is the one thing that Superman, the Flash, and Batman don't do?  THEY DON'T KILL.  Yep, multiple entire stories about these guys, revolve around them finding alternate ways of dealing with bad guys, other than killing them.  There was a whole two-hour cartoon I saw about Superman pretending to kill folks, just to scare the bejeesus out of some bad guys, to let you know Superman COULD have killed them, but didn't.  It's the one line they do their best not to cross.  The baddest, most powerful superheros in the DCU just will not kill.

Wonder Woman?  She hacks people to death with her sword, beats them to death with her shield, and collapses buldings on top of them.  She kills a General who she thinks is Ares, and when presnted with the evidence that he wasn't actually Ares, doesn't give a shit.  Nope, that can't be!  Wonder Woman is perfect!  No way did she kill the wrong guy!  Then Ares actually shows up, and how does she stop him?  With her "magic bracelets" given her to by her father.  And yes, she fucking kills him.  She kills a god.  Isn't that, I don't know, like the ultimate wrong?  Like killing jesus, or something? Hey, bad guy or not, people worshipped Ares.  Killing a god is killing a god, whether he was causing wars or not.  And when wonder woman is presented with the real culprit behind the most killings, the evil woman scientist who actually invented the gas that killed Steve Trevor, and thousands of innocents?  She lets her go!  WTF!

So, Wonder Woman is a spoiled-brat princess who disobeys her lying mother, is exiled from her homeland, falls in love with the first man she sees, and eventually kills her own half-brother, a god.  The only thing that really protects her from other men are the manacles (promise rings? remember the symbolism is important) her father gave her.  Then, does she go home, and tell the amazons "Hey, Ares is dead!  We're safe!"  Nope.  Fuck them, she's got more folks to kill.  Wtf wonder woman, aren't you a GOD now?  Of ALL the heroes in the DCU, aren't you the one who needs to kill the LEAST?  And what do you do the most?  You kill.  And this is the hero of the DCU?  Really?  Look, maybe this was the best movie that DC has put out so far, but the rest of the DC movies set such a low bar, that this isn't saying much.  So, sure, if you need a heroine, maybe wonder woman is your best bet, and maybe, I don't know, pick someone else?

That's all for now.  Other things to do.  :-)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Wonder Woman (2017), Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)

I love superhero movies!  Pretty sure I have seen them all.  Yep.  All of them.  Ever.  So.  My opinion is not that of your average critic, no sir ree bob!  Uh, if your name is Bob.  And if it isn't, it's just a figure of speech.  Don't go on and on about it.  Hey, what do you call a guy with no arms and no legs, floating in the ocean?  Bob!  That's right, disabled humor!  Yeah.  Good times.

Wonder Woman (2017) is a touching coming-of-age drama about a young Amazon girl named Diana.  Diana is a princess of Thermiscrya, a small island in the Atlantic Ocean that nobody knows about, or can pronounce the name of.  Thermiscrya has no men, so Diana pretty much falls for the first man she sees, a man named Steve Trevor.  Steve Trevor is an American Spy, working for the British government, who stole some German chemical weapon plans.  Can Diana help Steve get back to World War 1 in time to stop the Germans from killing millions of innocents, and will their budding romance blossom into something more?

Yeah, sounds like the plot of a Lifetime movie of the week, doesn't it?  Worst origin story, ever.  The movie does get a smidgen better, though it's a very slow-starter.  Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman, and she's pretty, and the camera loves her.  Chris Pine plays Steve Trevor, the scrappy love interest who looks good in a dress...  uniform.  Yeah.  Acting was passably okay, special effects were decent.  Hmmm, what else did I like about the film?  The plot was, uh, vaguely understandable, I suppose?  Look, I am trying hard to like this thing, and totally failing.

First off, I hate origin stories.  Really hate them.  It's 5 minutes of story that someone decided to drag out into 2 hours, just to set the stage for a sequel that might not ever be made, because the origin story was 2 hours of drawn-out crap.  This is all Wonder Woman's origin story, and it's seriously all about WW1, when Wonder Woman actually fought the Nazis in WW2, according to the comics.  Yet this one is set in WW1, and has Wonder Woman using a shield and sword to stop the germans from developing chemical weapons that will kill millions of people.  I guess they were too worried about mimicking Captain America's story, where a guy named Steve Rogers uses a shield to stop the Germans from developing secret weapons that could kill millions of people...  in WW2.  Gee, that sounds REALLY similar!  Good thing they put Wonder Woman in WW1, otherwise, these two heroes would have run into each other, and had the craziest Marvel / DC crossover since the Tunguska blast of 1908!  Actually, I'm not sure what year that was, and I don't think it had anything to do with comic books.  Hopefully.

Also, I am a little confused about one thing.  Wonder Woman's bracelets play a HUGE part in the story, like so big I don't want to give anything away about them.  But...  there's absolutely no origin story for the bracelets whatsoever.  Magical metal, superglued plastic, alien artifacts, gifts from the gods, where did they come from?  Nobody knows!  Just BAM, they're cool, so we're putting them in the movie and making them do stuff.  Awesome.  Thanks for that wonderful recap.  I'm not even going to go into why the rest of the movie doesn't make much sense, or why Wonder Woman's a bit of a dope.  Go watch it on HBO and see for yourself, if you want to.  Definitely not rewatchable for me, unless you like staring at Gal Gadot.  She's easy on the eyes.  Moving on.

Spiderman: Homecoming (2017) is a touching coming of age drama about a geeky, awkward nerd trying to get a date for the Homecoming Dance.  I'm kidding, it's totally a romantic comedy about ...  a geeky nerd trying to get a date for the Homecoming dance.  Yeah.  Other stuff happens, but yeah, that's basically it.

Okay, about the only thing this movie got right was the origin story.  "So you got bit by a radioactive spider?"  "Yep."  DING DING DING!  ORIGIN STORY OVER!  WE HAVE A WINNER!  WELL DONE!  Then everything just went to hell in a handbasket.  Spider-man is a total joke in this movie, which is played for laughs, rather than dramatic effect.  Despite having no healing ability, despite the fact that his "spider-sense" should have warned him about 99% of the time to GTFO of the way, Spider man ends up being thrown around like a super-ball, put through walls, bounced off buldings, buried under rubble, and crash-landing in a plane, and just gets up like he bumped his elbow on a  doorknob.  "Ow, but hey, I'm fine, where's the bad guy?"  Seriously, this should have been a Spider-Pig cartoon, because there's no way even Wolverine could have survived all the shit Spider-man goes through, and not even a damned scratch!  Wtf?

I'm not really sure what the people who released this movie were thinking, other than "Hey, the first reboot made three movies, the second reboot managed two, let's see if we can ruin the franchise in one movie!"  "Challenge accepted!"  Guys, you totally nailed it.  Ruined it in one.  Nicely done.  Spiderman: Homecoming is on Starz if you want to watch it, and Robert Downey Jr. pops up in a few cameo appearances to try to save this movie, but I don't think even Thor could have lifted this Mjolnir-sized piece of shit off the ground.  About the only bright spot in this movie is Michael Keaton, who manages to somehow elevate a third-rate super-villain wanna-be like the Vulture into a major player.  If this was the Vulture's origin story, it managed a decent job, but for Spiderman, it's awful.  Not watching this again if you paid me.

Damn.  And I like Superhero movies!  Ugh.  Both DC and Marvel failed me this weekend.  Oh well.  Catch you guys next time I find something horrible to watch.  If I was waiting for something good to watch, I might never post again.  :-(

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Cloverfield Paradox (2018), Altered Carbon (2018)

W00t!  Reviewing two things that came out just this year, and it's only February!  I am on the cutting EDGE of movie critiqueing!  Sure, about 50 other reviewers already reviewed the Netflix series and the movie that came out right after the superbowl, but fuck them!  I'm old, and have chronic pain and depression, so shit takes me a few days, okay?  Fuckin nags.  I'm going to review Altered Carbon first, because it came out last week friday, before the Cloverfield movie.  Plus, it was just a wee bit better.

Altered Carbon (2018, fuck yeah, bitches!) is about a soldier called back from the dead after 250 years by a technology called Altered Carbon that allows people to live more than one life, sometimes in another body, by storing and transferring a person's consciousness, memories and life experiences in something called a "stack" (which is implanted into the spine like a substitute disc).  Takeshi Kovacs served 250 years dead (which also serves as a prison, apparently) for terrorism, but now he's being tasked with solving the "temporary" murder of his new boss, what they call a "Meth."  A "Meth" is short for "Methuselah," basically a rich person who uses their great wealth to buy themselves extra "sleeves" (bodies) so that they can live out many lifetimes, instead of the poor folks who still typically die after living just one or two lifetimes.  Trouble is, Takeshi died fighting for an end to the whole concept of living more than one life, and now has to come to terms with working for the very kind of man he died fighting against.  Along the way, Takeshi's past comes back to haunt him, in more ways than one.  Can Takeshi solve the riddle of the Meth's temporary murder before it's too late, or will he just say "Fuck it!" and go back to the prison of eternal death?

Altered Carbon stars Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs, which might be considered white-washing by some folks, but in a world where everyone switches bodies at the drop of a hat, it's hard to tell who's who anymore.  James Purefoy is Laurens Bancroft, the "Meth" who thaws Takeshi out of cold storage.   There's a good supporting cast, although the only one I actually recognized from other things is Hiro Kanegawa, who plays Captain Tanaka.  The acting is decent, and the special effects were good, but mostly, Altered Carbon leaves me with lots of questions.  Perhaps some minor spoilers to follow.

How is being dead defined as "prison time" if you're actually dead, and don't notice any time passing?  Doesn't that mean poor folks go to prison forever just by being too poor to afford a new "sleeve (new body)?"  If people can be reincarnated into new bodies, or even their old bodies after the bodies have been repaired, then why does anyone need to pay for being reincarnated into a new body, when their old bodies can just be fixed?  If the "Envoys" were the greatest fighting force in the galaxy, how did they get slaughtered by a bunch of Protectorate soldiers in their first and only battle?  If the big thing about being an Envoy was being able to overcome "sleeve-sickness" right away, then how does Ortega's grandmother get over her sickness and start playing with her grandkids in the time it takes Ortega to walk home from work?  How is it the Envoys live in a forest in a cave with a tree growing in it and eat on wooden tables, but somehow managed to build a sophisitcated "needle-casting" setup all the way out in the boondocks without alerting anyone else on the planet?  How did the Protectorate manage to focus the direct-download "Rawlins virus" without actually knowing where the Envoys were?  How did Reileen manage to get away and tip off CTAC, when Quell mounted a rescue mission just to rescue Takeshi so he wouldn't give away the plan?  How is it the thug that inhabits Takeshi's cloned body is able to move around like a ninja, when the thug was just a big dumb bruiser in his old body?

How is it that in all their exploring, human beings never found anything alien except the "songspire" trees, and some Virtual-reality torture-worms?  How is it the Neo-Catholics can object to using "alien technology" (paraphrasing Ortega's mom) to live multiple lives, when the technology was actually invented by humans?  How does inventing "Altered Carbon" help the "explorer" who invented it to explore, when you need a "stacked" body (no, not a body with big breasts, I mean a body that has an Altered-Carbon-stack in the spine that allows it to back up the body's memories) to needlecast into, just to get to another planet?  What's the point of having a satellite to backup your memories into, if needlecasting is actually faster than light?  If it's not faster than light, wouldn't it take years and years to needle-cast between planets?  Doesn't the technology have to be carried to a planet before people can start needlecasting onto it?  If the technology to exist for more than one lifetime is so expensive, doesn't that mean those living outside of a major city, or on undeveloped planets, don't have access to it?  Wouldn't that also mean that the only "exploring" the "explorer" could do, would be exploring major, already-well-established cities?

And that's just the questions off the top of my head.  I think I avoided any major spoilers with my questions up there, but who knows?  I am familiar with the term "suspension of disbelief," but when the series contradicts itself and its own introduced technology, am I supposed to cast aside what was set forth in the last episode just because the latest episode introduces new information?  (shrug)  On the plus side, Altered Carbon has lots of fighting and nudity in every episode, which is great.  I read an interview with Dichen Lachman about her nude sword-fighting scene in the series, and I think it's awesome she feels empowered by it.  Just that aspect of the series alone gives me reason to suggest you go watch it on Netflix, but was I bowled over by the series?  Did I find it the next "Blade Runner?"  No, but I wasn't that impressed with Blade Runner, either.  I don't automatically associate every sci-fi movie movie I watch with Blade Runner, but that's just me.  I watch a lot of horror and sci-fi, and I tend to think of each offering as it's own unique presentation, without trying to compare it to other things.  Still, if you like watching gun battles and sword fighting and naked peeps (without looking too closely at the plot or technical aspects), you could do worse than Altered Carbon.

On to the next review!  The Cloverfield Paradox (2018, double-yeah, bitches!) was apparently something Paramount sold to Netflix at a discount, which Netflix decided to slap their name on and vomit up onto their service as quickly as they possibly could.  Short summary, the entire Earth is in despair over a lack of renewable energy (not sure what happened to solar and wind power?), but somehow, humankind still managed to build a gigantic particle accelerator in space to explore the atom-smashing options to create unlimited energy.  Unfortunately, when the team finally succeeds in their mission, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE!  Yes!  I haven't said that since October!  Wheeee!  :-D

There was a buttload of awesome actors and actresses in The Cloverfield Paradox (also called the God Particle, presumably before the Cloverfield folks got their hands on this movie and made it even worse), but the acting isn't what brings this movie down.  This thing starts out so slow I thought I was going to doze off before anything happened, and then when it did, the addition of the Cloverfield mythology only made this movie into a clunky mess.  The events going on at the space station could, by themselves, have been woven into a decent horror flick, much like the "Life" movie last year or the year before, with a similar concept.  The whole side-plot of the woman trying to get back to her husband could have been completely left out, and the movie would have been better for it.  In fact, all the scenes that involved what was happening on Earth, especially the Cloverfield-inspired scenes that seem tacked on willy-nilly, could have been left out.  It might have made the movie a decent horror flick, but in the end, it was just a mess.  I was left feeling like the one man's severed arm, somehow still alive and intact, sitting in a glass jar and tapping its fingers impatiently, probably waiting for the movie to finally end.  And, when they go out of their way to say that they can't fire the particle accelerator without the station engineer, how tf did they just go ahead and fire it up without the engineer anyways?  Makes no goddamn sense.  Someone needs to take that severed zombie arm and bitch-slap the producers with it.  Wtf is wrong with you guys?

You know, there was an old position that was listed in the credits in a lot of the older movies, called "Continuity."  Continuity is short for "making sure the fucking movie makes sense," and it's a position that seems to have been cut from any of the more recent stories I've seen in the last, oh, 20 to 25 years or so.  Does anyone even watch these things after they make them, to make sure they turned out okay?  Or does the director just finish filming, have a wrap party, and toss the rolls of film at the editing department, who then edits the thing while still hung over?  I can't say.  I'm not in the film industry.  But damn, seems like there's a distinct lack of common sense out there nowadays.

I can't recommend "The Cloverfield Paradox" (or "The God Particle") to anyone, mostly because the movie pretty much sucked.  If you haven't seen it, don't.  And honestly, the next time I see a title with anything "Cloverfield" in it, especially given that the movies involved don't seem to have a goddamned thing to do with the original "Cloverfield" movie (that I didn't really find all that awesome to start with), I think I'm just going to take a pass on it, and go watch something else.  To me, "Cloverfield" is short for "senseless piece of crap with a monster that only shows up at the end for no discernable reason."

That's all for tonight.  Join me again this weekend, when I finally get to see Wonder Woman on HBO for the first time (hey, I don't go to the theaters, ok?), and I'll try and get the review out before the end of the month.  Did I mention I am old and slow?  :-/

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Throwback Thursday - Razorback (1984)

First post of the new year!  Sure, it's a month into it, but Happy New Year, anyways!  2017 wasn't a very good year for me, but 1984 was a great year for movies.  I can't recall all the awesome movies they made that year, but I found one more!

Razorback (1984) is an Australian-made horror movie that opens with an outback grand-dad putting his toddler grandkid down for the night.  The grandad hears something outside, and picks up his gun, because everyone in Australia owns a gun, or at least they did in 1984.  Next comes some hairy, grunting thing that blows through the grand-dad like he was a made of tissue paper, slams through the wall of the house, and snatches the toddler right out of the crib.  Whatever it is, it slams through the far wall of the house, sparking a fire that reduces the house to ash, and leaves the grand-dad wandering the night screaming for his lost grandson...

The name of this flick gives it away, but it's a big boar, or what they call a Razorback.  Old grand-dad is actually tried for the crime of killing his own grand-son, but even what passed for law in small-town Australia back in 1984 couldn't convict a man with such an appalling lack of evidence.  Grand-dad devotes his life to getting vengeance on the big Razorback, but he doesn't get his chance until a newswoman from the States shows up to make a big stink about the killing of Kangaroos for pet food a few years later.  And that sets the stage for the real hero of the movie, Dicko Baker! Dicko Baker is a zany 'roo-hunter and opal miner and works at the Petpak meat-packing plant that turns roo-meat into dogfood for...  Wait, what?  Dicko's not the hero, he's the villain?  Shit!  I got this movie all wrong.  I guess the real hero is the news-lady's husband, but that's just crazy.  Who the hell comes all the way to Australia just to find his wife?  What a lunatic.

Razorback is an older movie, so don't expect any of the special effects to be all that CGI bullshit that fills all the monster movies nowadays.  All the wild kangaroos and piglets are absolutely real!  :-o  Though I am pretty sure the big Razorback is the Aussie equivalent of a mechanical Jaws.  The people are also real, and though the acting isn't particularly outstanding, it gets the job done.  Gregory Harrison is the news-lady's husband, supposedly the "real" hero of this movie, but he can't hold a candle to the likes of David Argue and Chris Heywood, who play Dicko and Benny Baker, the Roo-hunting, opal-mining Baker brothers.  The Baker brothers not only provide comedy relief for this movie, but provide that vital bit of scenery-chewing background that just moves the whole plot right along.

I caught this movie on Turner Classic Movies last week, but I have no idea where you guys might find it.  I've seen it before, but it's worth a second or third viewing.  The action isn't exactly crazy tense, but the pig scares the bejeesus out of you when it does show up.  The thing's farkin huge, and has tusks about yay-big (holds hands about a foot apart for emphasis, even though you can't see details over the internet).  Anywho, check out Razorback if you feel like it, and can find it.

In other news, not much else going on.  I started the year with the flu, and though I'm over it now, I'm just waiting for the next round of it to come after me.  Seems like everyone in the country is sick with flu right now, and the flu season doesn't really start to fade til March.  I hope I make it til Spring.  :-/

Catch you guys with a review the next time I see a good movie.  :-)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Bright (2017), and Happy Holidays!

Yep, I missed my annual Giving-Thanks post.  Daily life gets in the way sometimes, you know?  So, Thanks!  I've got new friends and more peace and quiet to be thankful for this year, and probably many other hidden blessings that I'm sure just have to be given time to unwrap themselves, like this unexpected holiday review that I jsut decided to write!  Yay!

I saw Bright (2017) on Netflix the other night.  Will Smith plays some cop in an alternate universe kinda thing where modern-day Los Angeles is actually home to Humans, Elves, Orcs and Fairies.  There're rumors that the Dark Lord (a very bad guy) is returning, and there's some creepy group of elves helping him called the Inferni.  So, to bring back the Dark Lord, the Inferni need 3 Wands, which are obviously the only way these heretofore-magical races can wield magic, apparently.  So, what happens when some typical beat-cop runs across a Wand in his normal day, and everyone's out to get it, and his new Orc partner?  Find out on Netflix!

Okay, this is another one of those cases where my review is actually better than the movie.  Will Smith seems uninspired in this, not up to his normal level of action-hero badassery (is it time for him to join the cast of the Expendables yet?), and his Orc partner seems hampered by the odd camo-face-paint makeup they are using to denote Orcs.  The rest of the cast was ok, the theme seemed like a good idea, but the execution wasn't very good.  Special effects were ok, but there was no explanation given as to most of the magic stuff going on behind the scenes.  Sometimes, there doesn't need to be, but i don't think this was one of those times.  Also, if they need 3 wands to bring him back (which was what i thought they said, though i might have misunderstood), then how are they trying to do it with one?  Generally disappointing movie.  Can't really recommend it, unless you like watching Will Smith smack a CGI fairie around with a broom.  Feels like a hate crime to me.

Happy Holidays!  Happy New Year!  I had a sucky 2017, so maybe 2018 will be better?  I can only hope, and maybe 2018 will be better for the rest of you, as well.  Good luck!  :-)  See you next year, hopefully with more reviews!  I suck at this regular-posting schedule stuff.  ;-/

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

#31 - Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies (2016)

With this final post for the month, October Horror Movie Review-A-Thon 2017 is complete, and I shall rule the world!!!  MUA HA HA HA HAAAAA!!!!  At least half that statement is probably correct.  Not sure which half, but I think I lost contact with reality about 15 years ago.  Could have been longer.  Reality never sends me emails anymore.

Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies (2016) begins with a professional snowboarder attempting to snowboard down a mountain.  It's the end of the season for snowboarding, and if Steve can manage to stylishly impress his special guest, he secures his sponsors for all of next season!  Steve is going to drop out of a chopper, right onto the side of the mountain, and snowboard his way down!  The only problem is, the mountain is covered in artificial snow, snow that has turned all the wildlife into undead versions of themselves.  Will Steve impress his sponsors enough to secure his funding for next season, manage to fight off an army of zombies, and at the same time, impress his manager/girlfriend Branka?  Or will the Lederhosen Horde of Zombies win the day?  :-o

Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies manages to successfully combine the binge-drinking fun of Oktoberfest, with the Zombies typical of Halloween movies, into a wintry carnival of horror-comedy.  I thought it was appropriate for the last day in October, since it was snowing when I woke up this morning, and only 3 days ago I was wearing shorts.  Man, the weather changes fast around here.  Also, though I searched high and low, I could not find another movie to review in time for this post.  I thought I read somewhere that Netflix would have Neon Demon for me to stream at some point this month, but alas, that seems not to be the case.  :-(

So, the cast.  Laurie Calvert plays Steve (the snowboarder), Gabriela Marcinkova plays Branka (Steve's manager/girlfriend), and Margarete Tiesel play Rita (proprietor of the local drinking establishment).  This is a solid B-zombie-horror-comedy movie, so don't expect oscar-winning performances, and I have never seen any of the cast anywhere else.  Effects are typical zombie make-up effects and foam-rubber body parts covered in gallons of blood, which is plenty good enough for me!  No nudity, which is something you'd expect from this caliber of movie, but Branka is easy on the eyes.  Branka, and Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies, is on Showtime Beyond if you want to check it out.  I've seen it twice now, so it certainly passes the rewatchability test, though mostly for being just a fun snowboard ride.  Like the sign in the movie says, "it's all downhill from here."

At one point in this movie, they're doing like a montage of body parts flying into the air as they kill zombies, and I think I saw a pair of shorts and a telephone book just randomly tossed into the air in between, just to give you an idea of how goofy-funny this movie is.  (spoilers) I love the part where the bar blows up!  It's shot from a distance, and looks awesome!  (end spoilers)  It's not all just comedy, though. There's a plot, and it's serious, and though it may not be entirely plausible, it gets the job done.  And honestly, when you're looking for a sex-toy, you don't want something pretty or stylish, you want something that gets the job done.  This movie may not be a sex-toy, but it gets the job done, and what more could you want in a horror movie, I ask you?  Well, lots more, but hey, it's a B-movie.  What do you expect?

That's all for this month, and for OHMRAT 2017!  Woohooo!  I've done it again!  Yeah, baby, yeah!  Time to celebrate with cheap horror movies, John Carpenter's horror classic Halloween (1978), and bucketloads of Halloween candy!  Yeeehawwww!!  Happy Halloween everybody!  :-D

Monday, October 30, 2017

#30 - Little Evil (2017)

Down to the wire, and racing for the home stretch!  I almost fumbled the ball tonight, and yes, I realize that does mix a horse-racing metaphor with a fotball metaphor, and those two do not go well together.  What I mean is, I almost couldn't find a movie to review this evening!  :-o  Luckily, someone had recommended another film to me earlier this month, that I hadn't actually reviewed yet.

Little Evil (2017) is a simple enough story.  A stepdad is trying to bond with his new stepson.  Unfortunately, the stepson has buried him out in the back yard, which, not only makes communicating difficult, but really puts a damper on the relationship.  Communication really is key in these sorts of situations, mostly because, if he doesn't get some help before he runs out of air, he's dead!

This is a horror-comedy, fair warning.  These is some horror to it, though, and it's not just a typical step-dad/step-son story.  So let's recap the cast.  Evangeline Lilly plays the mom.  Adam Scott plays Gary, the stepdad.  Sally Field and Clancy Brown are even in it.  I especially loved Bridget Everett as AL.  Most of the actors give pretty solid performances, but they got a bargain on the extras.  I noticed several of them looking over at the camera during filming, which just surprised me, because the extras are usually better than that.  This movie was pretty decent, a fair B-movie, and kind of funny.  I wouldn't mind watching it again, but seeing it once gives you the general idea.  Maybe they'll make a sequel!

In other news, I finished watching season 2 of Stranger Things.  It was pretty good, around the same quality as the first season.  Stranger Things is on netflix, so if you haven't watched it, yet, and you have access to netflix, go do that!  I highly recommend it.

That's all for tonight.  One more review to go!  Happy Halloween to you guys, if you are too busy to check my blog tomorrow.  :-)