Friday, August 31, 2012

Reflections: Mirror Mirror IV- Reflections

Did anybody request this?  Today's film is Mirror Mirror IV, a sequel that doesn't add anything.  This probably won't come as a shock to you, but this movie doesn't really relate to the other films.  There's one aspect that might lead you to think that it does, but it's a lie.  It's hard to explain here, so I'll just show you later.  The plot is slow, tedious and confusing.  Sorry, that belongs in the last paragraph.  The plot involves a woman who's boyfriend is killed by a monster, so she goes to a party at the same place he was killed just one year later.  That...makes no sense.  On the plus side, Billy Drago is here and he always makes films...sorry, I can't say this any more.  To see why this movie fails, read on...
Our hero leads his girlfriend into a factory building because...there's a tux and dress in there.  Meanwhile...
This Maid uncovers the mirror- which is covered in a shit ton of crosses- and makes a wish to it.  It apparently thought that her wish was to be melted, so it does just that.  Nice mirror.
It apparently unleashes a P.O.V. Monster- reveal to come later- that kills the boyfriend...but not her.  A year later, she is still not over it.

No time card, by the way.  Good job, movie.
In the middle of scenes, she just randomly flashes back to scenes that we were never shown before.  You can tell they're not happening in the present, since they're in black-and-white.  Subtle.
The costume party- since the murder took place on Halloween, apparently- goes awry when a storm comes and most people split.  Everyone but a small group leaves, since we can't afford a bunch of Extras.

This also serves to grind the plot to a screeching halt, splitting up the movie into a bunch of random scenes.  Ugh.
Here's the film 'connective thread': Billy Drago.  He's back, showing up as a Homeless Man.  Yeah, he's clearly not just the spirit of the mirror (replacing Mark Ruffalo...I guess).

So, is he the guy from Mirror Mirror 3?  No.  Ugh.
As it turns out, the creature from the opening scene was...a generic zombie.  Yeah, that's disappointing.

Even more disappointing is a later scene in which this creature kills someone...via them playing the scene around him falling all over the place.  Fail!
Forgetting the point of the first movie, our heroine makes a wish in the mirror.  How does that go?
 Apparently, the wish puts her back in the opening scene...and dies.  So was she dead the whole time?  Oh and the boyfriend isn't dying this time.

What.  The.  Hell?!?!?  The End.
That's a movie.  Honestly, that's about all I can say.  Hell, I could barely muster any interest in the thing.  I recall watching a scene at one point and going 'how much is left in this movie?'  When I saw that there was AN HOUR left, my spirit died a little.  Thankfully, I had a book to read.  So what else can I say here?  Trapping the people in a building with the evil Mirror is a good idea.  The movie still sucks though.  Even the idea of them being trapped is undermined by the Third Act when another character just drives over.  So much for the threat of the never-seen Hurricane, I guess!  What a waste.  Billy Drago is here NOT appearing in sex scenes, but his character doesn't do anything until the 'Here's Where We Explain Everything' Scene at the End.  What's with that ending exactly?  When the most cogent ending is in the Third film, something wrong is going on!  What else can I say?  Mirror Mirror on the wall, give me a decent movie maybe?  Is that too much to ask for?
Next up, the final film in the 'series.'  It's actually a Disney that should be different.  Stay tuned...

Reflections: Mirror Mirror 3- The Voyeur

Are you ready...for something gross?  Well, it's almost too late to turn back.  Don't say that I didn't warn you.  Today's film is Mirror Mirror III: The Voyeur.  That subtitle should warn you that something is amiss.  However, the film does star Billy Drago and he has a record for making movies more interesting just by his appearance.  He's almost reason enough to see Tremors IV- almost.  So how does this relate to the previous two films?  Well, except for one bit of repeat casting and a throwaway reference, there is none.  That mirror is back, but that's it.  The plot involves a malevolent spirit in the mirror, but it's actually a woman who does some sort of ritual.  It's kind of like the first film, but different.  There is, however, one big issue with this movie that I'll address in the body section- pun soon to be realized.  Since I love suspense, you're going to have to just read on...
In the film's long intro (it's 18 minutes before you see the title card), a woman talks to this mirror.  Spooky?
She's apparently dating this criminal guy- who's a dead ringer for Tommy Wiseau-, but wants to kill him.  It doesn't go well.

You know a film is classy when they work an ass shot into everything!
That mirror is bleeding, but don't expect a story about a bunch of people being killed via mirror powers.  Instead, you get...
Lots of softcore sex scenes.  Here's the thing though: the guy in almost all of these scenes is Billy Drago.

Yes, that Billy Drago.
Seriously, it's an actress who does mostly softcore porn- look her up- and Billy Drago.  Why?
 Short of your mother walking in, nothing kills the mood like seeing Billy Drago's mug.  I'd almost rather see Bill Oberst Jr. (No offense, Bill)!
Hey look- Mark Ruffalo is in this movie too.  What.  The.  Hell?!?!?
The 'plot' is kind of a mess.  It involves this Detective guy, the criminal from the beginning shot in black-and-white through some freaky filter.
The ending is kind of a mess.  Basically, the lady in the mirror does stuff, kills some people and sucks Drago into the mirror.  This is...interesting?  The End.
Who green lighted this?  Seriously, this is a softcore porn movie disguised as horror.  That is more common than you might think, actually.  The problem here is that its a softcore porn movie starring Billy a sex symbol.  What- was Steve Buscemi busy?  Seriously, I love Billy Drago- just not in this.  He makes a great villain, a great character and he catches your eyes and ears.  His role in this- appearing in a bunch of sex scenes.  The lead actress is there b/c of her experience doing sex scenes, be it in Sex and the Single Alien, Buford's Beach Bunnies or Bikini Med School.  The rest of the plot is really hard to decipher, whether it's from the confusing Writing, odd Editing or just strange flow of the story.  Seriously, most of the plot is explained in those weird, black-and-white bits I showed you earlier.  I wish I could recommend this Billy Drago film to you, but I can't.  This shot alone sums it up, I think...
Next up, the final film in the official series.  Made 5 years later, it has even less to do with anything- yea.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Because I Watched It: Animation + Religion = Crazy

America is great place.  One of the things that we guarantee here is that you can believe what you want to believe.  Well, unless you hate The Dark Knight Rises- if you do, bitches gotta die!

First up, a short cartoon about Scientology.  Whether you agree or not, this animation is silly!  Keep an eye out for a familiar F/X shot too.
Second, a longer-in-length cartoon about Mormonism.  This one goes into the really 'odd' stuff like space travel, the idea of Jesus and Satan being alien brothers and why we have black people.
They say that there's no such thing as bad publicity.  Let's find out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reflections: Mirror Mirror II- Raven Dance

Dance, Raven Dance!  Today's film is Mirror Mirror II: Raven Dance.  I actually mentioned this film long ago, but had not actually seen it until recently.  Basically, I highlighted the fact that Sarah Douglas is the female equivalent to Lance Henriksen- always starring in sequels to films in which she wasn't in the original.  She has Superman II (unless you count that one scene), Conan the Destroyer, Puppet Master 3 and others, while Lance has The Omen: Part II, Aliens, and Mimic III, among others.  Here's the thing though: she's barely in this.  She's in the movie like Neil Armstrong (R.I.P.) is in Mass Effect 3!  The plot is a bit confusing, so try to keep up...if I can.  All you need to know is that the Mirror is back and that shit goes down.  Everything else...I'm not sure.  To find out what I mean, read on...
In, I guess, the Present, a woman at an Institution (Douglas) is insisting that this mirror is evil.  The Nuns are not buying it.
Nice of the Nun from the cover of The Devil Inside to make a cameo.

Ready for things to get weird now?
The mirror makes some silly effects and suddenly it becomes, um, more present day.  Some rock band is there...for some reason and play in front of the mirror.  It makes some more silly effects & zaps our heroine and her brother to...somewhere.
Amidst this confusing plot, you can see one of the earliest roles by Mark Ruffalo.  He's the Joe Dalesandro of the film, but only because the other guy is Roddy McDowall.
The title comes from two-three scenes of the heroine dancing and a Raven showing up a couple of times.  No, really.
The whole movie involves a plan between McDowall and this lady to make our heroine lose all of her money by being crazy.  To that end, they hire...William Sanderson?  Why are you back here...and a different character?

That sure won't happen again in this series...right?
Remember what I said in the last review about one scene being in all of the films?  Yeah, this is it for Part II.

I should also mention that there's a scene where McDowall tries to molest our heroine.  Yeah, he'd totally try to molest a girl.  Ri-ight.
I can't even begin to explain what's happening here, but I can tell you that a monster comes out of the mirror and Ruffalo attacks it.  Is Ruffalo a spirit?  What is the monster?  These questions are never really answered.
All of a sudden, our heroine wakes up in the beginning of the movie, just with her in place of Douglas.  Time keeps on slipping?  The End.
Dear Lord, what is this movie?  Let's begin with the good stuff: it looks neat.  If I could actually decipher the plot, it might have some atmosphere.  The acting is not terrible, but it does fluctuate quite a bit.  Here's the problem: I have no idea what this movie is about.  When does the opening take place?  How does the mirror make our heroine teleport?  What is its plan?  Are McDowall and the blonde pawns of it?  Who is Mark Ruffalo here?  How can he always be angry?  How does that work?  Wait- I lost my focus there.  The point is that the movie is a confusing mess, making everything about it weaker.  A stupid story is at least able to be understood if you can place the reality in which it takes place.  This movie is a neat idea...I think.  If someone can explain what the actual idea is, by all means explain it to me.  While I await that explanation, I'm just going to keep making this face...
Next up, the third film takes a very strange turn.  On the plus, Billy Drago makes every film better...right?  Stay tuned...

Indy Promotion #2: Cockneys vs Zombies

Hi Everyone,

In celebration of London 2012 and the release of Cockneys Vs. Zombies on August 31st we are extremely excited to release and make available to you the 10 metre lurch! 

Check it out here:
A bunch of east-enders fight their way out of a zombie-infested London, led by an unlikely gang of amateur banks robbers and foul-mouthed plucky pensioners .

Starring Michelle Ryan, Honor Blackman and Harry Treadaway.

The undead are brown bread. In cinemas August 31st 2012.

Redband Trailer:
For all my UK readers (hello hello), check this out.  For my international market, keep an eye out for a wider release, be it in Theaters or on DVD/Blu-Ray.

Indy Promotion #1: Chuck Norris vs. Communism

I'm nowhere near the most popular website in the world, let alone that reviews films. Even so, I can do my part to help people that actually make movies. Case in point...

Chuck Norris vs Communism focuses on the power of pirated VHS tapes in communist Romania and the role they played in overthrowing the regime.

Please watch a short trailer of our feature doc here:
About the film:
Chuck Norris vs Communism is a UK/Romania coproduction.
In the 1980's, Romania's communist regime reached its most drastic stage. TV was reduced to two hours of broadcast, focused mostly on praising the dictator.
Hidden from the scrutinising eyes of the Secret Police, Irina Nistor dubbed over 5,000 foreign blockbusters that entered the country illegally and were distributed on the black market. 
Her husky and high-pitched voice became a symbol of freedom and Chuck Norris, Van Damme and Bruce Lee became national heroes.
Chuck Norris vs Communism is a film about a phenomenon that took hold of an entire country. It is a film about a Mafia-like operation. It is also a film about the love of film and ultimately, a film about oppressive regimes, censorship, freedom and creativity.

Twitter: @ChuckvCommunism, @MaraVernonFilms


We are currently preparing for production and we are looking to develop our audiences, reach out to communities who might be interested in our project and generally spread our love for 80s cinema.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Reflections: Mirror, Mirror (1990)

It's a weird, bastard child of shitty horror movies.  Today's film is Mirror, Mirror- the 1990 film, that is.  For the 2012 film, you'll have to wait a while.  The film is interesting, if only because it's reminiscent of a film series that people don't want to remember.  The film series- The Amityville Horror.  No, it's not really like the original film- it's like the sequels.  To be fair, the bulk of the really shitty sequels came out after this one.  It did, however, follow the 1983 3-D movie as well as Amityville 4 and 5 (the one that has eluded me thus far).  The plot involves an evil spirit in a mirror exerting its evil power to kill people.  This does pre-date the evil mirror film in the Amityville series, but is not exactly higher quality.  To add to the familiarity, they basically take Winona Ryder's character from Beetlejuice and make her the film's hero/villain.  It's kind of complicated, so stick with me here.  Unfortunately, I'm at the mercy of the Internet for this review, as my computer decided that the movie was not fit to play on it.  Regardless, stop checking yourself out in the mirror and read on...
There's a new girl in town.  Her name is Rainbow Harvest.

Actually, that's the name of the Actress.  I just felt like I had to mention that.
Our main heroine is a popular girl who decides to be nice to the Goth girl.  Dig that '90s fashion, folks!
This mirror is evil due to a murder that happened in the '30s.  The victim and killer are played by the same Actresses who play the Goth girl and the nice girl.  Gee, that's not going to be important, is it?
Since the mirror is the host for an evil spirit, it tries to find a host for its evil and what not.
With all of the people being dicks to her, Rainbow Harvest- it's fun to write that silly name- decides to make a wish and uses the power to punish others.

This includes giving her teacher- Stephen Tobolowsky- a heart attack (I think) and burning the popular girl with some pipes in the school.  Yes, this spirit can affect pipes...somewhere else.
I hope you like this shot of someone licking the mirror while blood drips down- its in all FOUR of them.
Since I'm lacking my better shots, I'll summarize by telling you that Rainbow tries to turn good- after about a dozen deaths- but her and her friend can't stop the mirror.  Our heroine- the only one left- does the one thing that she shouldn't- she makes a wish.

The mirror transports back to the opening kill, but only after the murder takes place.  Vicious cycle?  The End.
How can a movie this weird feel so generic?  With a plot involving an evil spirit in a mirror wreaking havoc in a High School, it's amazing how dull this is.  The pacing is a bit weird, choosing to really build up how out of place Rainbow is.  I get that you're doing build-up, but you could pick up the pace a little.  The story is pretty haphazard too, seeing as how the mirror will kill some people right out, while it will taunt/scare others first.  I should also mention that there's a plot thread involving a woman trying to find the mirror.  Her job- to deliver exposition about the plot and then die before she actually accomplishes anything.  Karen Black is here too, proving that the 'cat-lady' face is never good.  I guess she does okay here, but it's hard to get past that face.  Speaking of faces, William Sanderson- aka 'Larry' from Newhart- is here playing a crazy guy dating Black.  It's weird enough that he was a Dog Abuser in Man's Best Friend or the evil Hacker in Hologram Man, but this is just ridiculous.  Next you're going to tell me that he was in Sometimes, They Come Back, Lone Wolf McQuade and Blade Runner.  Oh.  To be honest, I didn't hate this movie.  It just didn't do all that much to hold my attention.  For its goofy moments, it's worth a look though.
Next up, the first sequel w/ that damned mirror back.  The most interesting part- an Avengers Actor in an early role!  Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Alien Week: Alien Invasion Arizona

I see that the first thing that the Aliens attacked was the title's grammar!  Today's film is Alien Invasion (punctuation missing) Arizona.  If any State could have a city called Alien Invasion, it would probably be Arizona/New Mexico.  Things are looking up a bit, since this isn't the exact same plot as Alien Terminator or Alien Lockdown.  Unfortunately, it's still not a good/fully-formed plot per se.  Aliens are here and a mixed-bag of character cliches are the only ones who can stop them.  Special Forces guy- check.  Cop who works too hard- check.  Bunch of criminals and their sleazy girlfriends- big check.  This hodge-podge of ideas is not terrible in an of itself, but the end result is pretty messy.  The big 'star' of the film is Daniel Southworth, who played the 'Quantum Ranger' on Power Rangers: Time Force.  I'm stretching, I know.  Fun Fact: Daniel is so famous that his personal Wikipedia page is...the Power Rangers: Time Force page.  Weng Wang has his own page- just for the record.  So is the movie worth seeing or should you skip it?  To find out, read on...
A bad effect crashes into another bad effect.  Actually, what happens is that an alien space ship crashes into the Earth.  You can see how I got confused there.
The military sends in their crack squad to take them out (led by Southworth).  How they flew in those obviously-CG Helicopters is anyone's guess.
Daniel and his team get attacked & most of them die.  The movie actively wants you to think that the guy is dead too, but he does show up later.
In the film's other plot, a prison transport goes awry when they stop to help two blondes fix their car.  Gee, I wonder if this 'Dear Penthouse' moment is a set-up.
Well, duh.  The surviving guards, the Doctor, the prisoners and the floozies walk off through the desert, since a stray bullet hit the engine block in their car.  Damn imports!

There is some drama, as the prisoners are made up of some clashing cliches- i.e. the racist 'cracker,' the black guy and the evil Italian mobster.  Bickering- joy.
Oh right- The Quantum Ranger is in this.  He has to fight some of his re-animated men and keep going through this cave.  Unfortunately, some of the action scenes have a Max Havoc-style lighting issue with them.
Required Alien Shot.  It looks goofy as hell, but you know me- I don't complain about people using a suit instead of shitty CG. 

As a bonus, these Aliens can shape change, a trick they use a couple of times before Sourthworth shows up and action ensues once again.
'Quick- fall away from this fairly-mundane explosion!  As long as its in slow-motion, this will look cool!'
After the action wraps up, we get the 'It's Not Over' Ending.  Those Aliens are going to attack us any...
...second?  Nevermind- they just leave.  The *real* End.
Alien Invasion Arizona slides safely into...the middle of the pack.  The movie wasn't bad, but it wasn't exactly all that memorable either.  What separated it from other Direct-to-DVD fare?  Not much, really.  The things that make it interesting- it's bizarre, hodge podge cast- are all pulled from other movies, so they aren't that special.  Give me an Alien Invasion film in which Hippies fight them by making RPG Launchers out of their Bio-Diesel Cars and we'll talk!  Until my dream becomes a reality, we're left with generic stuff like this.  The other aspect that's unique here is the criminal's group dynamic- although we see some of that in Wrong Turn 3 too.  The problem is that the idea of different racial characters putting aside their differences to survive is moot...because they all die.  They all die later than they would have, but that's not exactly a Hallmark message right there!  The mix of alien designs was interesting, ranging for the atypical humanoid to silly, puppet heads.  How the aliens can change shape is never explained, but that idea is barely ever used, so it's just as well.  Aside from that, the movie is full of the usual Direct-to-DVD problems- silly dialog, bad F/X and scenes that are poorly-lit.  If you like Alien Invasion Films, but wish they more specific as to the State under attack, this film qualifies.  If you like good, memorable films, you can keep moving.
Next up, a movie series about an evil mirror (not to be confused with Boogeyman).  First up, a movie so goofy that my computer's DVD Drive refused to play it.  Stay tuned...