Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Quick Reviews: The Tomb (2009)

This one is super-forgettable, so I probably shouldn't put this one off any longer.  Sorry, Poe...
In this 'Poe-inspired' Film, we meet a Professor with a Fiancee who teaches stuff like Edgar Alle Poe's works.
He's kind of a quirky guy.  After all, why else is he mixing Shakespeare with Poe?
A mysterious Student comes into his life and make a move on him, giving him Absinthe and doing some kind of vague magic.
With very little build-up, the affair is revealed and the pair get married via the Exposition Newspaper.
His new- and sudden- wife is doing weird experiments with dead people and trapping souls!
Can he escape this madness?  Can you give a Poe Story a happy ending?

To find out, watch the Film.
A pretty nothing Film.  The Story has promise.  It features murder, weird science and some sort of magic.  The end result, however, is both too long and rushed.  It rushes through the first part and then drags a bit in the 2nd half.  I won't SPOIL the Film directly, but it is based on 'The Tomb of Ligeia,' so it doesn't have *that* much in the way of secrets.  The Story is over 100 years old (and quite famous) after all.  The changes they make kind of work.  Apparently Poe was actually critiqued for his Ending at the time by a famous Writer, so I guess the change is less annoying.  This Version sets up some neat ideas, has some good locations, but just didn't do much for me.  The fact that Michael Madsen sort of tries to act here almost counter-balances Eric Roberts doing a highly-dubious accent.  'The Tomb of Ligeia' is a Classic Tale.  The Tomb is a so-so Film that has already mostly-been-forgotten in the last 7 odd years.  Any final thoughts, Mr. Madsen?
By-the-number stuff that doesn't really suck or impress.  The take on Poe's Story has promise, but doesn't really deliver for me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bob's Birthday Review: King of the Ring 1995

Last year, I watched a Short Film about a literal piece of shit.  Today, I watch a Show that is generally considered to be a piece of shit.  Irony?  I have covered many Wrestling Films- be them Horror Films with Kurt Angle, Horror Films with DDP or Action Films with The Ultimate Warrior-, but never a Wrestling PPV.  This is King of the Ring 1995, a very infamous WWF (at the time) Show.  Here's the basic set-up for you: Wrestlers battle in a Tournament and the Winner is crowned King.  They get a Crown, a Scepter and all that.  King of the Ring worked well for some in the past- like Steve Austin and Brock Lesnar-, but not so well for others- HHH and Billy Gunn.  Even someone who doesn't follow Wrestling in the 1990s knows Austin 3:16, an expression coined at 1996's King of the Ring.  Instead of that, we get...King Mabel, the 2 biggest Stars getting shafted, another 2 forced to hang around ringside and a House Show Main Event.  It is pretty bad.  To find out if this Show is as bad as many say, read on...
The man on the left is Razor Ramon (aka Scott Hall).  A legitimate injury forced him out of wrestling that night.  Don't worry- he gets to hang around at ringside all night though!

The man on the right is Savio Vega.  Due to Razor's injury, he gets to wrestle 4 TIMES on the Show.  No, he wasn't a big Star at this point.
Why does Savio Vega make it so far on this Show?  Well, he has the ability to make a guy do a Flying Nothing (aka jumping to get hit when you aren't doing a real move in the first place).

Seriously, what would this have been without his foot being raised?
In Tournament Matches (featuring Bob 'Spark Plug' Holly, The Roadie and Kama Mustafa), the Flying Nothing returns to cost Holly the win.
Don't worry- a big pair of Stars do appear on the Show.

The Hardy Boys open the door for the Entrances.  No, really.
The Show is just a big, slow grind with few good spots.  Here is a representation of how the Show feels when you watch it.
Pro-Tip: Take a Shot every time they mention Mabel's weight.  You'll either be too drunk by the end to care OR too amped up on Red Bull to notice how much of an anti-climax this is.
After winning the King of the Ring Crown, Mabel attacks Razor Ramon.  Since his rib injury is actually real (and not just kayfabe), he takes an...elbow to the face.
Don't worry- the second one will definitely hit his....never mind.
As if to highlight this whole thing, a man or woman with great aim manages to clock King Mabel with some trash during his Coronation Ceremony.  Good on ya, mate or matie!
This is not good.  Right off the bat, let me cover the good.  Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels all wrestle here in their relative primes.  On top of that, Mabel has a few good moves.  Alright, now let us get to the bad stuff.  Hart is wrestling Jerry Lawler in a Kiss My Foot Match, so the quality is way down.  On top of that, it features two 'I'll Hold Him and You'll Hit- OOPS- Me' spots in five minutes.  Does Lawler ever learn?  Next, The Undertaker does his best with Mabel, but can't win his match due to a dumb, long-running Story with the Million Dollar Corporation.  This crap took up the first THREE MAIN SHOWS OF THE YEAR (The Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania and Summerslam).  Lastly, Michaels was booked to wrestle to a 15-minute Time Limit Draw against Kama Mustafa.  The best reason I could think for you to possibly do this would be to avoid having HBK lost to Mabel.  Would you do it?  Would he have said yes (as his reputation during this time is damn bad!)?  As a bonus, Ramon hangs out at ringside and Intercontinental Champion Jeff (ha ha) Jarrett is managing The Roadie (as he was eliminated by The Undertaker in the Tournament).  So with all this talent, you have Savio Vega wrestle 3x on the main Show and once before it (with the first Flying Nothing), The Roadie/Road Dogg go on twice and Mabel wrestle twice.  Damn.  King Mabel is not the worst thing they could have done, as he does get some legitimate heat and was at least a more mobile giant than Yokozuna (who loses via Count Out after previously winning in the same Tournament via Count Out) at the time.  In case you don't know, this leads to Mabel injuring WWF Champ Diesel, losing in a 7 minute Summerslam Main Event, losing in 1 minute to Diesel later and then legit injuring The Undertaker.

So yeah, this Show is bad.  At least it features some subtle plugs for their Sponsor though...
Happy Birthday, Bob!

I hope that this was worth sitting through another version of Hard to Be A God in July.  :-)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Poor Bastards of Cinema: The Thompsons

As I already have another Poor Bastards of Cinema induction lined up, I might as well do this one now...

In The Thompsons, the titular Family is hiding out in Europe.  The older Brother and Sister hide out in France where they hire a Hooker.

When she annoys them (and they get hungry), they kill and feed on her.
As if THAT wasn't enough, her Pimp/Security is outside the door.
When he hears the ruckus, he pokes his head in to see what is going on...
...which leads them killing him too!
In their *slight* defense, he was now a witness.  Mind you, he was a witness to THEM KILLING A HOOKER FOR NO GOOD REASON.

The moral: pimping ain't easy- especially when dealing with Vampires.

Friday, March 24, 2017

3,300th Post Special: The Corpse Grinders 3

It isn't insulting to the dead if they only signed off on it.  Today's Film is The Corpse Grinders 3, a 2012 Film 'inspired' by Ted V. Mikels.  Unfortunately, 2016 was a bad Film for old Exploitation Directors with famous initials in their name- e.c. Ted V. Mikels and H.G. Lewis.  As such, I'm in even less of a rush to cover Mikels' last couple of Films.  Given the works before it, they are probably going to suck no matter when.  Here's the good news: he only signed off on this one.  He has no Writing or Producing Credit- just one for the Story.  If you don't know Corpse Grinders, here's a refresher- people make cat food out of people.  The first Film features a Doctor and Nurse investigating strange cat attacks tied to a Cat Food Company.  In the second Film, there are Cat Aliens and all sorts of other crap.  In this one, it...is a Remake.  Basically, some guy apparently bought the rights to make a new Film, called it the '3rd' Film and now I suffer for it 5 years later.  This is basically the 'everyone agrees that it is shit' Version of the new Evil Dead.  Manolito Motosierra (really) is on-board to just sort of coast through with a Remake called a Sequel- joy.  To find out how much I suffer for you, read on...
Lotus Cat Food is apparently made and sold in a tiny Village in Spain now.  Maybe they explain this...but do you really care?
They get some bad press after someone related to the food dies.  Thankfully, someone was nice enough to add the headstone engraving via terrible CG.
This new guy- who is one part Gustavo Fring and one part Keith Ellison- is an Investor to help them grow.  They get a new (mostly-fake) machine to make food faster.

Yes, before he came, two guys were grinding and canning all the food by hand!
This apparently makes all the Newspapers.  Does this qualify as The World's Slowest News Day?
They get into a ruckus with a lady and she ends up getting sucked into the machine.  Shocking.
This Cat loves it, so why not just keep making more of it?

In the last Film, the murderous people got RICH off of this with zero consequences, so go for it!
The cats go crazy, which escalates from random scratching to apparently a herd of them killing this guy under his bed.
"Hey, we only have 25 minutes left- let's introduce this Detective!  He will be important...now."
Speaking of suddenly important, this lady shows up to help the dorky guy who has kept popping up.  The whole climax of the Film involves killer cats, Bikers and this mysterious (always in shadow) creature that emerges from the machine.

If any of that sounded interesting, it wasn't.  The End.
Recycled disappointment.  Why Remake this Film?  Why call it a Sequel if you are going to re-make it?  The whole thing is just a dumb, silly mess.  The original Corpse Grinders is a schlocky-Classic, but it still wasn't good.  The Sequel is utter rubbish, somehow looking cheaper and more ridiculous when it was made in the 2000s!  Why did we need a 3rd one at all (regardless of how it turned out)?  It is not a deep, complex Film that somehow needed this much attention.  The Story is simple enough, so, of course, they muck it all up.  Basically, it is a bunch of awkward Comedy and terrible Acting.  The Film is only 80 minutes long (with Credits), but it feels 2x as long.  I saw it.  You don't have to.  This one is just plain bad.  Unlike the Director below, I have many Comments...
Next time, Poe gets another disappointing Film with his name slapped on it.  Can we just bury this one alive?  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vampire Bites: The Thompsons (2012)

Oh joy, they made a Sequel.  Today's Film is The Thompsons, the delayed Sequel to The Hamiltons.  Remember that one?  I barely did.  This one has sat in my Netflix Queue for about 6 months to a year.  I would keep moving it down and then I just stopped.  One day, I was told that I was getting this and went 'Oh, alright.  Here's what you need to know: Vampire Family.  The first Film spends the whole Runtime teasing this and being vague.  This time around, it jumps head-first into Vampire lore and attempts to legitimize itself.  The result: it is better, but still not that good.  I will get into the big issues in the Review itself.  I've got plenty- trust me.  Basically, the Family is on the run and now in England...for some reason.  To see how this tries to ruin Agents of SHIELD for me, read on...
Normally, I'd make something this recent into a Quick Review and not SPOIL it, but...

This Film SPOILS itself right off the bat with a Flash Forward and a shed-load of pretentious Narration from our Lead.
His Car breaks down in a very specific location (more on that later) and he ends up at a Bar.  The young lady working there- Elizabeth Henstridge.  Sigh.
Meanwhile, two cliches kill a pair indulging in a Cliche.  They'd be Poor Bastards of Cinema...if I cared about this one bit.
The Bartenders turn out to be the Vampire Family that he's looking for.  You see, the 'Hamiltons' are on the run...
They end up in the middle of a random Diner being robbed and the youngest is shot.

To answer your questions, they are Vampires, but aren't affected by sunlight, crosses or holy water.  They don't transform, they do have fangs and they can be killed...but also drinking blood heals them.
In a strange bit, our Hero dreams of romancing Henstridge before she bites him.  When he wakes up, she explains that she was born not a Vampire...which I guess happens.

Here's the strange part: if this is Henstridge (save for her Boob Double), I can barely tell.  It confused me because it didn't look like anyone in the Film...but then he said that it was her.  Just me?
Before he learns that the new Vampires want to kill him, he calls his family to come there.

As a bonus, here's this random lady who appears in this Scene, has no lines and doesn't get killed.  Why was she here?
The bad guys plan to kill all of the 'good' Vampires and use the Sister to create the next generation.  Why?

Well, apparently breeding solely among Vampires gives them super-strength and speed.  Of course!
They try to use her as an unwilling surrogate, but all of our 'heroes' manage to violently kill the bad guys.  Hurray?  The End.
It sucks.  Vampire Puns!  Unfortunately, these are more interesting than the Film itself.  It begins with pretentious Narration and a flash forward.  That is followed by a very lazy exposition dump, since this Film came 6 years after the last Film and, well, who exactly remembers said Film anyhow?  The Film is in love with lazy exposition and the like.  The climax involves an especially-lazy bit where they explain the backstory on the Mother (who was dead in the last Film), the Vampire Clan and why any of this is happening.  It resolves with lots of one-sided fights with a Vampire Mary Sue and then anti-climactic, sudden deaths.  What a great combo!  The Thompsons wants to be a deep and serious Vampire Film.  It involves a French Pimp, so you be the judge if that worked or not.  It gets few points for being shot nicely enough, but loses most of them for the so-so Story and pretentious nature of it all.  One bonus point for being very, oddly-specific about its location though...
Next time, the next Anniversary post.  If nothing else, it promises to be cheap.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pilot Wings: Iron Fist (2017)

Is this a cheat to cover this one for this Segment?  After all, the whole Season 'dropped' at once due to Netflix's process.

Oh well, the Internet is all over this thing, so why not strike while the iron is...fist?
A strange, drifter-looking guy comes to New York City with a dream...but no shoes.
When he shows up at Rand Corporation, they assume that he's just a crazy, homeless man.  Why does he say that he is Danny Rand, the seemingly-dead son and heir to the company then?
He also knows Martial Arts and seems to be super-agile.  He claims to be back for answers.
Can he straighten things out and make a new (or old) life for himself in NYC?  To find out, watch the rest of the Series.
Why is this so bad?  One possible reason is the high-quality of the previous Marvel Netflix Shows.  Daredevil was a revelation with its dark, realistic tone.  Jessica Jones was a sharp, character-driven experience.  The second season of Daredevil gave us the Internet's favorite Punisher (mine is still from Punisher: War Zone), Elektra and Zombie Ninjas.  Luke Cage was another strong, character-driven Show.  To sum up, the bar is really damn high!  With that out of the way, Iron Fist's Pilot is...good.  It doesn't answer every question, but neither did Daredevil.  It wisely-spaced out the Origin Story over a few Episodes in order to not drag down the first Episode.  It is a good Story, but an all-flashback Pilot would have not been good.  The basic premise- seemingly-crazy guy is actually a Hero-to-be-and-possible-Billionaire- is a good one.  This one manages to reuse the same basic City Locations without being redundant here.  The whole thing show promise.  Will the rest of the Season deliver?  I'll find out soon enough.  As for all of the controversy, well, let's just wait and see if we get a Shang-Chi Show...
If you haven't seen this and only read Reviews, decide for yourself.  It isn't mind-blowingly-bad, folks.