Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tubi Saturday: Nemesis 3- Time Lapse/Prey Harder (1996)

 I can't review a Film that defines a Generation of Pop Culture AND a direct-to-video Action Film from Albert Pyun in one day.

As such, I bumped this one back to now.

The Film begins with Alex laying out in the Desert, covered in blood and confused.

This allows them to recap the last Film for around TEN MINUTES.
The confused lady finally wanders over to find...Tim Thomerson?!?

Yes, he's back as another version of his Cyborg/Android Character, this time sent back in time to scan our Heroine and get her full DNA code.

This apparently takes 10 hours, which they remind us of about 43 times.
Depending on the shot, he's either this terrible CGI Model or Thomerson with random CGI accents.

None of them look good.
The danger of playing with your new toys in 1996.
She lets him scan her a bit and inject her with a drug that slowly restores her memories.

Something about her 'Sister' showing up.
Something about going back to a Time Portal.

She finally shoots Thomerson and leaves, wandering through the desert warzone.
Thomerson, meanwhile, is trying to fix the robot from the last Film and is using two Humans to do it.

What's funny is how they try to cover up the lady on the left, even though she's 'secretly' one of the Superhumans (aka Bodybuilders).

This pays off later, but boy is it a bad tease.
The Androids are causing all sorts of low-budget trouble.  Some are normal guys like Thomerson, while others are YET MORE lady bodybuilders.

If it had less explosions, it would be a weird Fetish Film...and it still kind of is.

Our Heroine tries to escape in a car, is blown up and...that was all just her remembering what happened already.

Oh good- one of THOSE Endings!
Oy vey!  This is a great example of putting good stuff in a bad package.

The whole way the Film plays out is just unnecessary.  Why not just tell it normally?
It was a silly flourish for Tarantino to do it, but for Pyun to do it 2 years

The positives- the fun action moments, real explosions, silly F/X and a unique Lead.
I'm not going to accuse Sue Price of being a great Actress here, but she does have a certain presence.

Sadly, she and many others here are wasted here when the Film is just so annoying to get through.
It will likely lose many people with the Intro, which is a shame.

The Film could have been an enjoyable romp with explosions and Action.  As it is, I lost interest far too early and it was hard to win me back.

As I approach the Series' end, I just think of who could possibly Star in a modern update.  I think that the choice is obvious...

A Film that has some fun moments, but boy is it a slog to get through it.  The Framing of the whole thing was just a big mistake.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

5,000th Post Celebration!!!: Pulp Fiction (1994)

***A big number deserves a big Film to Review***

A Film that is very iconic.  A Film that won many Awards.  A Film that got a standing ovation at Cannes.

So why don't I like it?

This is Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino's 2nd Film and arguably his most successful one.  The Writer-Director went over to Europe, partook in the local delights (it rhymes with hugs) and filled a notebook (or seven) with story ideas.

After Reservoir Dogs did so well, he got more clout, more money and a big opportunity.  This one was going to be a make or break for him.

He's been making Film whenever he felt like for the last 30 years, so I guess it worked out.

To see why I'm not a fan, however, read on...

The Film is about Hitmen/Go-fors Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield going to retrieve an item for their Boss- Marsellus Wallace.

They take the time to discuss what hamburgers are called in France, the politics of foot massages and the Bible.

They shoot two of the men and...
We now follow a different Story.

How about a brief aside about this Boxer named Butch (Bruce Willis) who takes a bribe from Wallace.

We'll cut back to him later for an entire Story about him.

Just keep waiting for the rest of that first Story.
The most famous part of the Film involves Travolta and Wallace's Wife- Uma Thurman- hanging out at a '50s Diner and dancing.

The dance is iconic, but 24 pages of rambling Tarantino dialog are what you have to live through before it.
As part of the Willis Story, we get this completely random Flashback.

Christopher Walken appears as a guy who gives a watch to young Butch.  It was stored in a dark place that rhymes with 'his bass.'

This explains why the watch is important...but, it is still random AF.
Butch's Story involves him actually winning his fight (not shown) and running off with the money.

His exit is delayed and he ends up with Wallace in the Basement of a Pawn Shop.

It's famous...but, again, it is random AF.
We finally get to see the end of the story of Jules and Vincent after about 90 minutes or so.

We see a sudden death (another one), a small role for Harvey Keitel, Tarantino himself saying the 'N-word' 4x and they end up at the Diner from the beginning proper.
The Robbers we saw first are now back.  Yep, that part was happening later...or earlier.

Look- time is a relative thing, especially here.

The Film ends with a redemption arc for Jules, but we also already know that Vincent dies later, so...hurray?
Is this Film worthy of its reputation?
Most people say 'Yes.'

I get why.  If you view the Film segments on their own, they are mostly quite good.  Some of them are paced terribly- like the Travolta/Thurman Diner Scene- and others go in strange directions- the Butch/Wallace Story.

Like many 'greatest of all time Films,' most people don't actually watch the whole Film in one sitting.  That or if they did, it was 20+ years ago.
The reputation is reinforced over and over again until the actual Film doesn't matter.

I liked many parts of this.  
Jackson, for one, earned his Oscar nomination.  Travolta was good too.
The Finales of most of the Stories are memorable, whether it is for a good reason or a bad one.

In summary, I get why people love it.
For me, however, it is too long, it didn't need to be shown out of order and it has all of Tarantino's vices.

I'm not going to 'do the dance' here and tell you that I love it if I don't.

Next up, let's look at a classic John Carpenter Film.  Let me make up for lost time by watching it now.

Remake This: The Fog (2005)

 We think about these Remakes as being a really recent thing, but yet this one came out nearly 20 years ago.  

Sorry for making you feel old just now.

In 2005, the 1980 Film by John Carpenter was remade.  Why?
Best guess- Pirates of the Caribbean made lots of money and this Film is *sort of* about them.

Interestingly, the Film really leans into the fact that it is 'From the Makers of Halloween.'  To be clear, that's a lie for a couple of reasons.
1) John Carpenter said he only visited the Set once and 'wished them luck.'
2) Debra Hill died from Cancer before the Film actually began production.

It is the return of Tom Welling to Mondo Bizarro too.  Is this the Film that made him a big, breakout Movie Star?

To find out, read on...

The Film begins in the Past with someone rowing away from a burning boat.

I'm sure they're fine.  I mean, the water will put out the fire...right?
In the Present, the nearby Town is celebrating the Anniversary of its founding.

I hope that they have a bonfire.
To be fair, their Mayor is Windom Earle, so that's on brand.
Local Boat Captain- Welling- is out with some customers and his anchor disrupts one of the items dropped in the boat fire incident.

That apparently sets the Plot in motion.

Damn you, Anchor!!!!
His former girlfriend is back after 6 months (they shot this in Canada, so his absent girlfriend can't be there).

He wants to be serious with her in their relationship.
She continues to have weird dreams.
I'm watching the 'Unrated Version.'  That means that it is a whopping THREE MINUTES LONGER.

I'm sure they spent this on all of the Scenes of her having visions, acting confused and using Google.

Yes, they use actual Google and not 'WordSearch' or 'Spoogle.'
In the B-Plot, the local DJ- Selma Blair- is trying to raise her kid as a Single Mom.
This seems necessary.

She's also got the guy at the Lighthouse always making moves on her via Skype.
I'm sure his 2005 Internet Connection in a small, Oregon Town is great.
After far too much build-up, the titular Fog finally encompasses the Town.

After killing a few folks the day before, it gets to work.

It kills the Lighthouse Guy with Ghosts do.
They cause mild, mostly PG-13 mayhem in Town during the Third Act.

It's all about killing the descendants of the Founders who burned down a ship in the Intro Scene.

Ghosts always do this and it never seems fair.
If my Great Grandfather punched a baby, does that mean that a Ghost should kill me?
There's no stopping the Ghosts...until there is.

The Lead one thinks that our Female Lead is the spitting image of his love.
She somehow agrees to kiss him and... turns into a Ghost to go back to the Ocean with him.

Um...huh?  The End.
Look- I know it has been a while.  That said, I was working in Theaters when this come out in October 2005.
I have ZERO memory of this Film.

I remember Films like Hostel, King Kong and even Supercross (mostly the empty Theaters TBF)...but not this.

I watched this Film last week and I'm struggling to remember key details already.  I remember lots of build-up, lots of searching for information about old Ships and Ghosts occasionally doing vague, evil stuff.

To mix things up, I watched this first and not the Original. 
If this is different, I don't know yet. 
If this is better, well, I doubt it.
We'll find out after the next Anniversary post.

As for me, well, let me celebrate this rarity- a Film that features a pointless beefcake shot and not female nudity.

Next up, the original Film by Carpenter and company.  How I've gone this whole time without seeing it is anyone's guess.  See you then...

Monday, April 15, 2024

Mondo Trivia: Mute Witness (1995)

 Sir Alec Guiness was a legend.

He's the only person so far to get an Oscar Nomination for Acting in a Star Wars Film.

So how did he end up in a random Thriller like Mute Witness that was shot in Russia from 1995?

Well, the short answer is 'He didn't.'

I'll explain.

Guiness actually shot his role in Germany.

In 1985.
No, really.

As the Director tells the Story, he had a chance meeting with Guinness and asked him to shoot a Scene that he could use in a Film later.

The man agreed and shot the Scene sans Plot or context to the Film that wasn't even being considered at the time.

You can't make a Story like that up.

The closest equivalent I can think of would be when Ed Wood got a small amount of money and shot a Scene of Bela Lugosi looking sad and walking on a lawn.

That was later inserted into the infamous Plan 9 from Outer Space.

The difference, of course, is that this Film is good.

The story is still weird as hell though.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Shudder-day: Mute Witness (1995)

 A Film I watched for one weird reason (which I'll explain later).

Did it turn out to actually be a good Movie though?

Let's find out...

The Film begins with a woman being murdered by a masked man.

Her death is then comically drawn out and we learn that this is actually a Film.

As silly as that bit was, the key thing is that our Lead- Billy- is Mute and does the Make-up FX work for a Russian-based Slasher Film.
She ends up being locked in the Studio for the night and wanders onto two men from the Film Set earlier shooting what turns out to be a Snuff Film.

Oh nos!
She has a tense and prolonged bit where the duo are both not chasing her, but also right behind her the whole time.

It works quite well, as the Cuts are disguised nicely and it seems to flow as one long pursuit/not pursuit.
She's saved at the last moment and they call the Cops.

The men hide the evidence well, making the Cops think that it was all just them 'testing out effects' for the Film.

Nobody ever asks where the woman they killed is, which should be a red flag.
The men later report to their Boss.

He drives up in a Car (we later learn that he's called The Reaper).

It is...Sir Alec Guiness?!?
He tells them that they won't get paid as long as there is a living witness- mute or otherwise.

Living Witness- Mute or Otherwise was the rejected Title.
It was already taken.

As such, the men come for her!

Can she defend herself?
Can a Cop save her?
Who can she trust?

To find out, stream it now.
No joke- this is actually quite good.  Whoever wrote the Title blurb on Shudder describes it as an 'underseen Thriller.'

Yeah, that's apt.
If it took me this long to find it, that says plenty!

One thing that this Film does really well is build up suspense when it comes to the Lead.  She's really emotive, really relatable and you really root for her.

What's kind of funny about that is that the Actress- like most of the Cast- is Russian and also not Mute.  Playing 'Billy' meant that she emoted through ASL and body language.  It's a good way to get around not casting a native English Speaker to play American.

The curiosity factor here is obviously Guiness' appearance here.  It's officially his last Film appearance before his death in 2000.

I guess you can't always pick your last Film.

All in all, the Film is a hidden gem.  The Plot isn't amazing, but the tension and Direction elevate it quite well.  As opposed to this odd bit of promotional art for the Film.
A legit well-made Film with a unique pair of hooks- the Mute Lead and the Fish Out of Water Setting.  Outside of its place in Film History, I actually liked it!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Tubi Thursday: Nemesis 2- Nebula (1995)

 After the apparent success of the first Nemesis, we've got a series, baby!

This is the first Direct-to-Video Film in the Series, so let's jump right in...

So big old exposition time...

Cyborgs did take over.  Screw the last Movie, I guess.
In the Future, humans created Super DNA and impregnated a woman.
They sent her to the Past to raise the Child.

Any questions?
No questions?
The Mother and Child end up in 1980 West Africa (they don't narrow it down much).  The former is killed within a couple of minutes.

Villagers and Aid Workers raise the baby, who grows up to be this Lady Bodybuilder.
She passes the test to be a Hunter in her Tribe.
This jealous guy challenges her to a fight...and loses.

I'm in no hurry to fight anyone- especially after I just saw them cut out a warthog's heart!
The unseen Cyborg menace sends a creature- I guess it is the Nemesis here?- to the Past to find her.

A robot army sending back a killer robot to kill a lady- what a unique concept!
She sees the robot kill the remaining Villagers- it attacked while she was away learning of her origin- and escapes.

She runs across these two suspicious ladies and helps them in exchange for a plane ride to America.
Can she stop the killer Robot (who has a randomly posh accent)?
Can she avoid the many, many explosions?

Can a Film pass off Arizona as 'West Africa?'

To find out, stream it now.
Another collection of Action Scenes that is technically a Movie.  That's Albert Pyun for you though, right?

Why is this called Nemesis 2?
A bunch of Stock Footage from the first Film is used over random shots of a City with Text telling us the Plot that I recapped in the first section.

That Film was about then-modern-day Cyborgs trying to replace us Humans like The Skrulls in Marvel.  Now they just took over, but also none of that matter since it is set in the late '90s.

Supposedly Pyun wanted a Woman like Sue Price to be the Lead of that Film and he got her this time.  I hope she's good- since she's the Star of the next 3 Films!

If you're watching this for the Plot, what is wrong with you?!?
Big, buff lady fights people, fires guns and battles a killer Robot.

It was enjoyable, but forgettable.  Now if it was a different Suit, I'm in it to win it.

A big old collection of explosions, shooting and more explosions.  There's tangentially a connection to the last Film- at best.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Streaming Standard: Invincible- Season 2

 I was sure I'd talked about this Show more, but I guess not.

Regardless, we go from Marvel to DC to Independent.

Let's see what is up with our often-bloody Hero this year...

In the wake of what happened last Season, Mark/Invincible is recovering from his injuries and his mental wounds.

He tries to rise to the occasion again though and get his life in balance.

By Episode 4, however, he gets another bloody beating and is back in a bad place.
He's resilient and still tries to be the Hero that he thought his Father was going to be.

The balance is shifting though.
This involves going into Space- quite a few times.

Is it lazy writing if they have him complain about his constant trips?
Things don't get much better on Earth, however, as the Viltrumites are still keeping an eye on him.

They want him to take his Father's place as Earth's Conqueror.
They won't ask nicely.

Who will live?
Who will die?

To find out, stream the Show now.
A good Show, even if it can be too intense for many people.  I get it.

The Show doesn't hold back in terms of blood and gore.  In fact, it tends to revel in it.
Basically, if you can make it through one Episode, you'll be fine.
If you can't, I'd find another Show.

Blood aside, the Show has some really good Acting, strong animation, good humor, Character Arcs and a grand scale.

It can be a bit hard to follow all of the many, many Subplots though.  A quick recap at the beginning of each Episode- a la a Recap Page in Comics- is nice, but perhaps a bucket of water being tossed at a house fire.

The Show continues this interesting balance of Superhero Action/Space Opera/Character Drama each Episode.  I'm still on board, even if I won't binge the Episodes when they come out.

We all good?

A good Show that is still very much not for a younger audience due to all of the bloody deaths.  I think that the balance is still quite strong though.