Saturday, July 23, 2016

Almost Heroes: MVA Agent Harry Roedecker (The One)

While this is arguably Sci-Fi/Action, it is still different from me just doing another Action Film.

In The One, we learn that we live in a Multiverse and a criminal (Jet Li) is killing his other selves to get their power.  Just go with it.

Two Multiverse Authority (MVA) Agents- Jason Statham and Delroy Lindo- have to stop him.
Since Li is so powerful, Lindo approaches him with a strategy that is essentially a suicide mission.
Evil Li crashes the truck, however, and regains control of the situation.
With his super-strength and speed, Agent Roedecker doesn't stand a chance.  Ouch.
Even his suicide plan doesn't work, since only Li can defeat Li.  He dead.
Basically, he's there as a fun combination of the Black Friend and the Mentor Who Has to Die here.

Of course, Statham doesn't step up and actually beat Li either, so...

Friday, July 22, 2016

What's the Best Film?: Star Trek Sequels

I haven't done this in a while.  Might as well start it again, since I love lazy pandering for hits!

Since  I don't feel like cheating, there aren't enough 1sts that count for me.  Plus, I'd rather talk about these other Films anyways...
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan vs. Star Trek: First Contact vs. Star Trek Into Darkness
It is a battle of a Classic, a well-respected Film and...this one that some people like.
The Lead
In one corner, we have William Shatner as Kirk- nuff said.  In another corner, we have Patrick Stewart as Picard- nuff said.  Rounding out the bout, we have Chris Pine as James Dean as Kirk.

This is really a 2-way fight for me, so I'm going with...
Winner: Star Trek II
The Villain
So here we have Khan, the Villain who got his name in the Title.  Next we have the Borg Queen, a neat, one-off Villain that builds on Stories from the Series.  Lastly, we have Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan('s hipster Cousin).

No offense to either loser, but is there really any doubt?
The Winner: Star Trek II
 The Supporting Cast
A tougher one than the previous two.

We have the classic Star Trek Cast here, albeit older.  Next there's the almost-as-classic Trek Cast in top form.  Finally, we have the new Trek Cast, many of whom I actually like.  Just for one Character Arc, I'm going with...
The Winner: Star Trek: First Contact
 The Story
Star Trek II has Khan return for revenge, while Kirk faces aging- that's basically it.  First Contact has a Time Travel tale where the Borg must be stopped.  Into Darkness has a complicated narrative that is basically just one guy trying to start Space WWIII for no good reason.

Nothing against the Classic, but in this department...
The Winner: Star Trek- First Contact
The Big Action Scene
It all comes down to this- the thing that most people don't see Trek Films for!  Naturally...

One has the most famous Starship battle outside of the beginning of Episode III.  One has a battle of overcoming the odds against a silly-looking ship.  One has the Enterprise fighting...a much, much bigger ship that it can't win- plus space-diving.

You have to know what wins this one, right?
The Winner: Star Trek II

So with a final score of 3-2-0, the clear winner is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  To be fair, it is arguably THE Film that all Trek Films are measured against.  That's probably why they copied it so blatantly for Into Darkness.

So do I hate Star Trek Into Darkness?  No.  It just can't measure up for me against these ones.

One more cheer for the winner...
Flashy!

Lost in Translation: Star Trek (2009)

In honor of the new Star Trek Film, let's see how well the original (Remake) was marketed outside of the U.S....
So this is a Film that Stars Mike Tyson?

I kid, I kid...it's the bad guy from Galaxy Quest, right?

Thanks for that, Russia (and not your horribly-offensive Laws).

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rare Flix: Mil Mascaras vs. The Mummy (aka Mil Mascaras: Resurrection) {2007}

From Mexico with queso!  Today's Film is Mil Mascaras vs. The Mummy aka Mil mascaras: Resurrection, an Action-Horror-Sci-Fi Film from 2007.  Who is Mil Mascaras?  If you don't follow Pro-Wrestling, that's a fair question.  If you follow Pro-Wrestling, but don't know much about Lucha Libre, that's still a pretty fair question.  Mil Mascaras is a Legend in Mexico and a Legendary dick in America.  I can't speak for the incidents personally, but many Wrestlers like Mick Foley, Chris Jericho and others have talked about how he refuses to sell (act hurt) or take moves well.  His response is pretty much 'If you don't do it right, I won't pretend that you did.'  Fair enough...if it didn't happen so often.  Regardless, Mascaras is notable for being a Luchador and a Movie Star in Mexico.  His first Film came out in 1966, while this is the most recent one I can confirm.  This one comes to us from a regular Director of Sequels- Jeff Burr.  His works include Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3, Stepfather II, Pumpkinhead II and Puppet Master 4/5.  This is somehow *not* a Sequel, although it is based around the premise that everyone in the World knows Mil Mascaras.  This is some Steven Seagal-type stuff here!  Has he earned it though?  The Plot involves a whole mish-mash of previous Mexican and Luchador Film Tropes making this very much a 'love letter' to those Films.  A Mummy, evil Monks, Luchadors, a Temple and even a Robot show up.  Yes, a Robot!  Does this succeed at making me love these Films or just remind me of how silly they can be?  To find out, read on...
This is Mil Mascaras.  This is Mil Mascaras in a Scene where his Fiancee breaks up with him.

I should note that Mascaras was 65 when this was made and his lady was nowhere near that.
This is the Mummy.  He's evil and bilingual.  He wants to rule the World.
This is Mil's Dad...as shown by a vision in River.  He tells our Hero that he's special and Magic.  Why he's just now figuring this out at 65 is anyone's guess.

We later learn that his mask is magic and has 1,000 forms.  Yes, even his mask-changing has backstory!
Unrelated to the imminent threat of the Mummy, our Hero's Scientist friend has built a robot.
Mil investigates the theft of some blood (after wrestling a Tag Match, of course).  It is all part of the Mummy's plan.
Speaking of said Tag Match, it is being judged by Harley Race and PJ Soles.  So, of course, it ends in a pinfall (not counted by either).
Now fully aware of the threat, Mascaras is greeted by The President of the United States (as played by the late Richard Lynch).

Not only that, but he also briefs the Joint Chiefs of Staff!
While the Mummy builds up his power, he tries out numerous plots to kill Mascaras.  They include poisoning his food, siccing two Vampire Twins on him and replacing his next opponent with a demonic double.

None of this works, of course.
All of this builds up to a battle between the two forces.  Highlights include the Robot appearing (but not fighting the Mummy!), a bunch of Luchadors showing up to fight the Monks and the explosion of an ancient Mayan Temple.

Screw you, Paleontologists!  The End.
Silly fun, at least to a point.  Right off the bat, let me address the obvious- this is a bit of an ego piece.  Everyone loves and trust Mil Mascaras.  Everyone knows that he's the best!  He's the guy who trained The Most Interesting Man in the World!  To be fair, this is played with a little...but not much.  The President goes to him and tells the Joint Chiefs of Staff that 'Everyone here knows Mil Mascaras.'  Really?  On top of that, his Scientist friend (who I'm pretty sure is younger than Mil!) tell him that he's the best person for his Daughter.  I feel like I want to throw up in my mask a little right now.  Putting that said, Mil Mascaras vs. The Mummy is a silly Film with Action, bizarre moments and some cheesy laughs.  It is not meant to be taken seriously.  At its best, it is a series of Scenes that remind people like me of the silly stuff in these Films.  A Robot shows up!  At its worst, the Film is just kind dull, since Mascaras doesn't have much charisma here.  The whole thing is certainly odd and fun at times though...even if they couldn't afford to put a fake plate on this Van for the Film...
Next up, more killer animals- this time from the 80s.  Let's see how scary those Eyes can be.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Flix: Holidays (2016)

With so many major Horror Anthologies still not covered, I might as well...do this new one instead...
With 8 Segments, I can't waste too much time.  Here's the Cliff Notes, non-SPOILER Summaries...

For Valentine's Day, a picked-on girl falls for her Swim Coach and has some bad intentions.
For St. Patrick's Day, a mysterious girl does something to her Teacher.  Will it bring her joy?
For Easter, a young girl finds out that something is up with the Easter Bunny...
For Mother's Day, a woman with a pregnancy-related issue goes to a retreat that gets weird...
For Father's Day, a mysterious tape from the past leads a woman to her Dad...
For Halloween, Kevin Smith brings us a typically-twisted tale of revenge and costumes...
For Christmas, Robot Chicken guy gets some VR Glasses that show may more than they should...
Finally, for New Year's Day, a twisted man tries to find 'love' and it goes awry.

To find out what happens in all of these tales, watch the Film.  It's Streaming on Netflix, so easy.
All sorts of strange, freaky and interesting.  Holidays lives or dies by your opinion of the individual Shorts.  There's no Framing Device or anything here- just Stories set on Holidays.  Given how different every part was, I suppose this is to be expected.  For me, the real winners are Easter, Christmas and New Year's Day.  There are really no bad ones- just ones that are less good.  Mother's Day and Father's Day, for example, are good, but kind of vague overall.  I can appreciate mystery, but I know that the ultimate pay-off will never come.  If you're more into that kind of thing, ignore what I just said.  Likewise, Halloween is just all sorts of implied gross stuff.  It doesn't make it bad- just less liked by me than stuff like St. Patrick's Day.  All in all, Holidays is a fun and interesting Horror Anthology Film.  As a bonus, it has all sorts of fun interstitials that I'll have to find more reasons to use later...
A good mix of weird, graphic and bizarre Horror.  Like any Anthology Film, you'll probably like some more than others.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rare Flix: Welcome Home, Brother Charles

I picked this for one reason, but was it worth it?  Today's Film is Welcome Home, Brother Charles, a 1975 Blaxploitation Film also known as Soul Vengeance.  The latter Title sounds more like the Subtitle for a Tekken Film!  This rare Film tells the tale of a man sent to Jail for, well, something he actually did.  However, worse punishment that he deserves happens to him and he goes through some troubles in Prison.  When he gets out a few years later, he just wants to make peace.  Things change and he eventually seeks his (alternate) titular revenge.  The Film has an odd hook to it, but why SPOIL things now.  To note, our Star only has *this* Film on his IMDB page, which is kind of interesting.  The rest worked here and there in things, the White Actors even appearing in quite a few Westerns.  Why should you care about Brother Charles?  To find out, read on...
In a pre-Abrams Flash Forward, we see Charles threatening to jump off of a roof.  How did it come to this?
We flash back to Charles in his Pimp days.  He's arrested...for actually trying to commit a crime, but then the Racist Cop (there's always one...in Films) stabs him in his junk.
On top of that, he gets sentenced to 3 years in Prison by a crooked Lawyer (there's always one...you know the joke), the Racist Cop and a Judge who was actually at the Scene as 'a John.'

Even Clarence Thomas would call you out on your conflict of interest there!
When he gets out, things have changed.  His lady is working for his former-friend, the latter of whom never once helped him during his time away.
While Charles finds it hard to get work (that's better now...right?), he also sees a Doctor about some strange health issues since his exit from Prison.  Where is this going?
Eventually, Charles decides that he needs to get his (soul) vengeance.  He goes after the Racist Cop first and shows off a strange ability to control his wife.  Huh?
When he goes after the Lawyer that sent him away next, they finally reveal the secret.  Charles' weapon is...

His dick.
Seriously, he now has a giant, mutant dick that chokes this guy like a constrictor snake!
With only 10 minutes to go in the Film, Charles' attempt to kill the Judge is blocked and we tie back to the Flash Forward.  His Lady shows up and...tells him to jump.  Does he?

Who knows- the Film ends right there!  The End.
Based on why I got it, this is kind of a disappointment.  I won't lie- I knew what the twist was.  That's why I picked it.  The Film takes FOREVER to give you the pay-off.  Is it just because the Budget was about enough to buy one Dinner at Outback Steakhouse?  They clearly went for the crazy gimmick, so why not highlight it more?  So with that said, the pay-off is pretty nice.  It doesn't make a lick of sense, but who cares?  This is pure gold.  It is just a shame that the rest of the Film is either bleak, awkward or just plain drawn-out.  I wanted to tell you 'Oh man- this is great!  I discovered a gem that will break the Internet!!!'  Alas, I didn't.  Welcome Home, Brother Charles is a Film with some goofy-ass nonsense at the end, but that's about it.  On the plus side, it Stars The Miz's Character from The Marine 3-4 and someone I'm just going to assume is Bam Bam Bigelow's Dad...
Next up, I celebrate the Season Finale of Lucha Underground.  To do so, a modern Film with a Mexican Wrestler and a Mummy!  Stay tuned...

Found in Translation?: Ghost Chase

For those of you who missed it (logistically, it would be ALOT of people), I covered Ghost Chase back in 2013.

Will all this talk of Ghosts now, why not check out some Foreign Cover Art for the flick...
Well, that's...pretty accurate.

Kudos for showing the creepy puppet and labeling it as a 'Monster.'  The silly Font is a bit much though.

What a stupid Film.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Rare TV Flix: Nightwing (1979)

Sorry, DC Fans.  Instead of being about Dick Grayson fighting crime in Bludhaven, this is about Indians fighting Bats in New Mexico.  There are still Bats involved at least!  Today's Film is Nightwing, a 1979 TV Movie about Animals on the loose (again).  There's no drugs or zoo escapes this time- just Nature being a dick.  The Story is a bit more complicated than that- it's also more obtuse.  This one is more about the Native Americans in New Mexico and their Heritage than, you know, the Plot of the Film.  To be fair, there was a bigger focus on Native Americans in the '70s- that's good.  The problem is that it takes away from what the Movies like this usually do.  I guess if you think that those Films are shallow, this may be a positive for you.  There are many Cast Members to note here.  For example, David Warner plays the Richard Dreyfuss role here as this is a post-Jaws Film.  It is also worth noting that Nick Mancuso plays the Native American bad guy (as it were) here...despite being Italian.  Close enough?  The Plot involve Vampire Bats, Indian Law and all sorts of vague mystical stuff.  Is it worth tracking down and tagging?  To find out, read on...
A Village area in New Mexico is having some troubles with strange illness, so they call in some help (Mancuso).
Unfortunately, he's more in this for himself.  Specifically, he wants to drill for oil!
Warner comes in as a hired Expert to deal with the suspected Bat Colony and there are some issues.
On top of all that (plus a Subplot with a Shaman), our Hero has a Love Interest.

So with all that, you have to wait about 45 minutes for any action (more like an Hour if you saw it on TV)!

Bat attack!  Hide Bernie Sanders there!
The Love Interest is the only to escape the attack, but now she is stuck in the middle of nowhere.

I bet you have more respect for your Cell Phone now!
They finally start dealing with Bats about an hour or so in.  They have to find a cure for the Disease that they are carrying.
Will our Hero going on a spirit journey help?  I sure hope so.
They eventually manage to set the Cave on fire (which has something to do with Shamans or something) and the day is saved.  Hurray.
It is...alright.  Nightwing is a Film that seemed to want to you to watch it for the Animals, but get drawn in by its weird Subplots instead.  Well, that didn't exactly work.  Tricking me into downloading and watching the Film over 35 years later wasn't exactly your plan.  Even so, I do like David Warner and the Story isn't bad.  Unlike most of these things, there's just not much in the way of the Animals.  The Beasts Are On The Streets came out a year earlier for TV and had lots more of that.  Who knows- maybe the giant mechanical Bat refused to work when they started shooting.  One thing I didn't mention earlier was that this Film was Directed by Arthur Hiller.  How you go from Silver Streak to this is anyone's guess.  If you get into the Story and all, this will work for you.  I should note that we get a Scene roughly an Hour in where the guy working with Mancuso just plain stops to recap the last 10 minutes.  Yes, I was there- thanks!  Nightwing is less weird and obtuse than bad, as opposed to this unfortunately-dated effect...
Next up, a Blaxploitation Film with a twist.  Will it be a big one or not?  Stay tuned...