Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tubi Thursday: Doppelganger (1993)

 It's part one of a double-bill by the Director, so keep an eye out.

First up, we have Avi Nesher's '90s opus that said 'What if Single White Female was just ridiculous?'  This is...

A young woman- Drew Barrymore- shows up and kills a woman who was talking loudly about 'getting rid of her' behind the door.

She kills her.
Now this same young woman is...not a killer?

Confused?

You won't be...and then you will be again.
She moves in with a young man- future Superman Voice Actor George Newbern- who's a slightly-failing Screenwriter.  He's 'Patrick Highsmith,' which is Nesher's play on Patricia Highsmith, a successful Author.

For his next few Films, he'd Credit himself as this same name.

Not Avi Nesher here learns more and more about Barrymore's family life, like the fact that her brother may have killed her Dad or that the Police think that she killed her Mom (like we saw).
Since I couldn't find the shot on Google, I figured I'd have to include it.

Barrymore is harrassed by some Construction Workers and she kicks one in the balls for it.

That man- Danny Trejo.
Strange things start to happen around Barrymore...

A dark and mysterious double keeps appearing.
People are getting killed (strangely not Trejo).
She tells him that she has a Doppelganger, but nobody believes her.

When he tells his friend/Writing Partner, she doesn't either.
It seems like her- or her Doppelganger- tried to kill her Brother (who's between her and inheriting the whole Estate).  Her Doctor- that guy from It and Fade to Black- says that she needs help.

What's the truth?

It is honestly too bonkers for me to SPOIL, so just see for yourself.
Oh boy, this is...weird.  This is straight out of the '90s for all of the best and worst reasons.  If you like '90s Films that tried to be Erotic Dramas, this will delight.

To note, the Film has two bits of actual Nudity (involving Barrymore, of course) and suggestive framing.  It's really an R-Rating for blood and insanity.

The Plot tries to be alot of things and barely succeeds at any of them.  It tries to be Psychological, but just relies on that false understanding of Multiple Personality Disorder.  It tries to be Horror, but its most shocking moments are fake-outs (until the end).  It tries to be erotic (sometimes), but our Leads have no chemistry.

It all slow builds to a bonkers reveal involving (without context) a series of disguises, a monster (of sorts), the set collapsing and, of course, one last fake-out.

I'll close with a bit set up from a YouTube video where Peter Sagal (who's supposedly an Extra somewhere in here) talks about this Party Scene having 'freaky metal sculptures everywhere.'  Well, I found one for sure.

A

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

New Streaming: Creepshow- 'Night of the Living Late Show'

 As we close out Season 2 of Creepshow, we go out with a- gasp- full Episode Story.

Can my 2022 attention span follow a whole 44-minute Episode?

It's...

A man has invented a large, but impressive device.

It's a full-on VR device (like a tanning bed) that lets you feel like you're in a Film.
You can also somehow interact with it, since, shut up.
Rather than going into, for instance, an Episode of Baywatch, he chooses to go into his favorite Horror Film- Horror Express.

That's...um, okay.

It's not a bad Film, but...oh, it's Public Domain, isn't it?
He's WAY too into it, however, as he has an attraction to its Star- Sylvia Tortosa- and, well, acts on it.
Don't ask how it works!

One- the mix of her Footage and a stand-in (see below) is pretty seamless.
Two- a quick Google Search shows that she was in a Film where she played a Cabaret Dancer AND there's no Monster in it.

Bad pick, Justin!
His put-upon Fiance thinks that he's too into the whole thing and tries to end things...in the Film.

This ends poorly.

To see how it truly ends, stream the Episode now.
A nice, longer-length Episode.  The runtime really gives this one room to breath, which is nice.  The short and succinct ones are good too, but, well, succinct.

In this case, you get more time with the Leads, more time setting things up and more time in the actual Scenario.  The Plot is quite good, so thanks Dana Gould.  It feels believable that someone could be obsessed with one Film.  I mean, I'd used it to hang out with Dr. Phibes and just hear that Clockwork Band play personally.

While most- if not all- Creepshow tales are one-and-dones, I'd kind of like to see a follow-up to this one.  What happens with the survivors and the device?  What other classic Films could you blend people into like Kung Pow: Enter the Fist did?  It has to be better than this fake- as far as I know- Night of the Living Dead VR game...

Next time, we jump to Season 3 and see what is on board.  I'm guessing gruesome deaths and monsters.  See you then...

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Quick Review: Face/Off (1997)

 I want to take you back to a time long ago.  In 1997, someone said 'Let's make a Movie about people swapping faces...and also one of them is clearly insane.'

They got John Woo to direct the ballet of insanity and we got...

A madman- Nic Cage- plants a bomb in Los Angeles, but he's very discreet about it.

Okay, that's a lie.

He dresses up like a Priest, fondles a (hopefully 18) girl and acts like a madman in public.
An FBI Agent- John Travolta- has not been the same since his son was killed (off-screen, due to '90s censors) by Cage.

He's spent the last few years trying to catch him...at the expense of everyone else.

It's a shame that he couldn't find, for instance, a Religion to help him find balance in his life and Thetan Level.
They get into a big Action Scene that begins as a Chase, turns into a shoot-out and ultimately ends one-on-one.

Wait- did we skip right to the end?!?
Well, no.

Cage has that bomb set to go off in, wait for it, 265 hours and they need to find it.

Since only his Brother will talk, they do the title thing and switch faces.

If you put enough science words in there, this all makes sense!
Things take a turn when Cage wakes up without his face.

He does the swap the other way and takes over Travolta's life.

Somehow, nobody sees through this since they, I guess, appreciate the more relaxed and erratic guy who's clearly someone else.

Time to escape from Prison.
The Film builds to the 2nd face-off (see what I did there?!?!?) between the pair as Cage('s body) is a wanted Criminal and Travolta('s body) is a respected FBI Agent.

To do this, he defused his own bomb, thus rendering that Plot Point...mostly useless.
You know who will win, of course.

That said, seeing how it all plays out is worth the price of purchase (digital or physical).
The End.
A fun, delightfully-insane Film.  It attempts to have some sort of reality, but mostly fails.  Other than Joan Allen- who's always great and serious- the rest of the Cast finds themselves adrift in the insanity.

Cage as Cage (as opposed to Cage as Travolta) is a brilliant, twisted delight.  This Film went through many theoretical Castings over the years, but I'm glad they landed on him.  Can you imagine, for instance, Harrison Ford as this guy?  How about Sylvester Stallone?  Those both almost happened!

Having John Woo on-board gives the Film all of the flourishes that you'd expect.  Yes, the doves get released.  Yes, people jump around with two guns, as if that is really a viable strategy.  Yes, people get thrown around on wires.  My favorite of those is an FBI Agent who is shot by a shotgun and goes back a good 4 feet!

If you've heard of Face/Off, you know what to expect.  However, EXPECTING it and EXPERIENCING it are two different things.  

See our Hero save the day...even if his Daughter is going to need a lifetime of Therapy to forget some things...

Face/Off is a must see for fans of '90s Action or people that never got to live it.  Seriously, it's a bizarre delight!

Monday, January 24, 2022

Remake This Movie: Dark Water (2005)

 When you need a Japanese Film remade for America, hire a Brazilian.  That's the case with 2005's Dark Water, a Film that suffered from bad Marketing.  In many places, it was billed as 'Jennifer Connelly's First Horror Film.'

Ignoring the fact that Labyrinth is clearly Horror for Kids, there was Dario Argento's Phenomena.

With that petty complaint out of the way, let's see what they added/changed/broke/improved 3 years later with this one...

We still get flashbacks to the original girl- still shared with the Mom- but this time they are in a less ugly shade.  Hurray!

The Plot changes very, very little here, so let's just go over any notable things or, barring those, any random changes...

The Dad plays a much bigger part and we have Scenes involving Mediators.
We get these instead of 16 slow walking and looking shots.

We only get like 5 of them in this one.
The Building Owner- who's John C. Reilly- is still nice and helpful, but they give him a little bit of a 'dark side.'

In one Scene, he says that he's meeting with a Client...but he's actually betting on horses.
So, to further note some differences, I watched the Unrated Version.

It cuts one 2 minute Scene and adds back in a 1 minute Scene.

This one more clearly sets up Mom's past mental issues...as dealing with her terrible, junkie Mom.

I guess that's better than Sleepwalking for like a week as a kid.
We get a similar version of the Lawyer- who comes in at the Hour mark-, Building Owner and Superintendent confrontation, but there's more to it here.

They discover the body with the Police and heavily imply that he knew about the missing girl.

Throughout the Film, you can see that he's drinking bottled water and not the Building's.

In the original, he acts suspicious, leaves and is never seen again.
Mom still makes the sacrifice, but it's more direct and somewhat more logical here.

This time, the girl is going to drown in the bathtub- thanks to Chekhov's nigh-unbreakable Shower Glass- as the whole thing fills with water.

In the original, she just kind of lays there and dies.
The Epilogue is much stronger here, to be honest.

It's only weeks later and she's getting the last of the thing with her Dad.
Ghost Mom closes the Elevator door, does the kid's hair right and then lets her go.

It's still somber, but it's also far less muddled.  The End.
A better Film in alot of ways, but also quite different.  As far as Remake's go, it's a pretty good balance of telling the same Story...but a bit different.

The American Version is much more of a Drama first and a Horror Film second.  We get slow moments of dread and eerie visuals...but it is much more about a Single Mother and her kid.  Connelly, as you'd expect, nails the emotion of every Scene.  It's a given right- she can act.

Quality wise, the Films are pretty even.  By having a Brazilian Director- most known here for The Motorcycle Diaries- who's known for Drama instead of, for instance, an American Horror Director, you get a different Film.

If you like the slow spooks and dread, stick with the Original.  If you like a Drama that has Horror (see the similar Under the Shadow from Iran, for example) in it, go with the newer one.  

If you still need help deciding, only one has Red Herrings in the form of- ooh- rude teenagers.

A Drama or a J-Horror.  As for me, I'll probably go with the latter- it's just got a unique feel.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Tubi Thursday: Dark Water (2002)

 After Dark Waters, I wanted something a little less intense.  How about just a singular bit of dark water then?

No Pirates though.

In Japan, we see a young girl looking sad inside.

This is one of many Flashbacks (which will be important later) as shown by the yellow tint.

Of course, some low-budget Films accidentally look this way too.
In the Story proper, a Divorcee and her Daughter move away to a new place to start anew.

This never ends well.
The place has water leaking from the ceiling and, well, nobody is going to fix it.

Also there's a ghost who keeps leaving their backpack around.
Litter!
They eventually figure out that there's a connection between the strange sights, the backpack and the missing girl they keep talking about.

Sadly, she died and, well, nobody is responsible.  So, naturally...
The Ghost Girl tries to kill the Daughter.

The Mom makes a sacrifice to save her Daughter, dying in a vague way that helps them reference The Shining.

Cue confusing 10 Years Later Epilogue and we're out.
A slow, atmospheric trip to pretty familiar territory.  Far be it from me to accuse a famous and successful Writer of being redundant, but hear me out.

In Ringu, they solve the mystery of a dead girl in a well, free her body and then she kills a Parent.
In Dark Water, they solve the mystery of a dead girl in a water collection tank, free her body and then she kills a parent.

Dark Water has some really good atmosphere, but also has that old 'I'm going to look very slowly and walk veeery slowly towards whatever is there' bit in high quantity.  At one point, she's worried about her Daughter, so she creeps along silently for what feels like 10 minutes.  Time is a factor!

Ultimately, the Film delivers what you expect from a J-Horror Film, doesn't really make any obvious mistakes and definitely exists.  Only a fool would do something like not watch their kid or, you know, watch this Film a second time...

If you're a fan of J-Horror, it checks all of the boxes.  If you don't like J-Horror, it still checks all of the boxes.

Streaming Standard: Masters of the Universe- Retaliation (Part 1)

 After giving it plenty of time to settle with me, I'm going to talk about one of the more controversial Shows from last year.

This was split into two parts- each 5 Episodes- with a long gap separating them.
I won't make you wait months to find out how I feel about Part 2.

So what is...

In a follow-up to the original Series (which I guess involves He-Man returning home after the events of The New Adventures of He-Man), Skeletor attacks Castle Grayskull quite successfully.

Seriously, he hasn't failed so far!
An Epic Battle ensues and many big things happen...

Moss Man is killed!
The Sword of Power is split.
Skeletor...dies?
He-Man...dies?!?
Yep, from Episode 2 on out, we get *Flashbacks* with He-Man, but he's otherwise dead.

Our remaining Heroes regroup after some time to re-forge the Sword to save Eternia. 
Can they journey through dangerous Realms- like what is basically Hell down below- and save the land?

Will something shocking happen to set up Part 2?

Watch it to find out.
I both get and don't get the hate for this.  It messes with everything (just about) that you hold dear from the original Show- granted.  Reboots have done that before to far less of a degree.  The fact that this is billed as a Sequel Series is clearly the key here.

Like the Star Trek 'Reboot' (that still affected the main Continuity), it gives an 'unhappy ending' to many Characters you like and remember.

Of course, the Show is only half-over, so maybe wait for EVERYTHING to happen to find out if things are 'ruined' for good, maybe?  Just saying.

Outside of that, the 'bait and switch' claim is silly when you remember that 'He-Man' is not in the Title.  Also he's in every Episode!

Honestly, if you're a fan of the original Show, give it a look past the first 2 Episodes and give it a chance.  Just know that if you still disagree, I'm not the guy to blame here...

A good Show that surely shocks the 'I'm here for Nostalgia' Crowd for all of the right and wrong reasons.  Once that happens, it actually has some good Stories to tell, so give it a chance.

Monday, January 17, 2022

New Streaming: Creepshow- 'Within the Walls of Madness'

 After a short delay, let's wrap up the Episode with the second story.  Let's see what lies...

A man is in Prison for some murders that happened at a Government Research Facility.

How did this happen?

Let him tell you...
It involves some strange experiments, some even stranger results and Denise Crosby up to no good.
What secret did she uncover to put this all into motion?
Can it be stopped?
Does he want to stop it?

To find out, stream the Show now.
Another fun Segment on the Show.  The Lovecraftian influence is always nice to see.  Stuart Gordon isn't around to do them right, so keep it up!

The Story is pretty simple, so the structure is made more complex to make things more interesting.  It all flows together, so no complaints there.

It all comes to a nice, chaotic conclusion.  The continued use of the 'Creepshow Palettes' here is a fun thing as well.  It's not necessary, but I like it.  All in all, this thing is fun, freaky and full of what you expect in a Creepshow Segment.

As a bonus, they named Crosby's Character 'Trollenberg' after this Film...

B