Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lock Me Up!: SuperCroc

While technical issues have delayed the Raptor review, I can still dig into some Asylum crap!  I bought this movie a while ago in the 'Please Buy This and Take It Off of Our Hands' Section in MovieStop.  This makes it the only Asylum film that I own.  Will that change in the future?  Possibly, but we'll see what happens.  So that makes today's film SuperCroc (as they spell it).  First off, you're probably wondering why I bought it.  Well, this 2007 film is oddly hard to find.  Even when nearly every Asylum film ever made (with the exception of The Hitchhiker) was on Streaming, this film was not.  Even now it isn't.  Is someone trying to hide this film?  Well, the film is know what, screw it.  It's called SuperCroc- you know exactly what it is about.  You want to know if it's bad, cheesy-bad or laugh-out-loud bad?  To find out which, you'll have to read on...
Rather than jumping right into the action or choosing to set everything up, they chose some sort of awkward middle-ground.

They skip the 'monster arrives' bit, but don't show us action either.  Instead, we hear about these soldiers wedding plans.  No, really.
You know what else helps a movie not be interesting?  Spending half of it in a random room full of talking heads.  This is SuperCroc right?
Oh and I love that they think that THIS could be a swarm of bees or something.  All I can think of is the joke from Sealab 2021.

Captain: Where is it?
Sparks: It's that Squid-shaped object on the Radar.
So that's the SuperCroc.  According to the DVD box, it's 25-feet tall.  Nowhere does it say that it's a terrible CG effect though.

So much for truth in advertising!
Another thing the movie does well is NOT show you the action.  In this scene, jets fire a missile at the Croc. What do we see?  This.
Instead of showing us stuff like the Croc fighting a tank or smashing up houses, they show fake newsfeed that says that it smashed up a town.  Oh and more of this.
A whole sub-plot involves the lead scientist trying to study one of the eggs to make body armor.  It ends like this- abruptly.
Ready for the disappointing finale?  After shooting the thing all day, one person goes 'attack the bottom of the thing not armored on the bottom.'  It's time for... off-camera explosion.  Jaws: The Revenge even showed us the monster exploding (as implausible at is was), but you know, have fun not showing anything interesting.

Throw in some sequel bait and we're done.  The End.
This is just sad.  Look- The Aylum doesn't really make good movies.  That said, they make films that generally cater to a certain market.  On a related note, I hate all of you who buy their Haunted House films- you're why they keep making them!  This movie is just amazingly-bad for all of the reasons that you think.  On top of that, it's not all that good for the ironic reasons that Asylum films can be.  Sure, the effects are bad, but you don't get to see enough of them.  None of the really ridiculous stuff from future Asylum films- i.e. the Shark attacking the plane or the 'Fend off Piranha with the Bicycle Kick'- really show up.  The film is chock full of set-ups for them...but has no pay-off.  They really just seem to be messing with us.  'Ha ha- we won't show you shit!'  It would be like if a Godzilla film spent 75% of its run-time in a Board Room and told us about what the creature did.  If you can't film your script, write a new one.  I can't imagine that they had a giant budget, wrote a script and suddenly got the money taken away.  If you can track it down, it's kind of funny.  If nothing else, you can see the Woods re-used from Alien vs. Hunter, Journey to the Center of the Earth and I Am Omega, along with this piece of familiar B-Roll...
Next up, the film I meant to do before.  Trust me- this shit is worth the wait.  Stay tuned...

A Brief Rant on the Use of Blu-Ray 3-D (And Commercialism in general)

* sets down Soap Box and stands on it*

What is going on with Blu-Ray 3-D these days?  With the rise of 3-D in everything, I get a certain extent.  Even the cheap, cash-in conversions like Titanic (did that not make enough money before?) and Jurassic Park made a little sense.  Now, however, some crap has been happening.  It started with this...
Where do I begin?

This is the 2008 Day of the Dead Remake.
This movie was not made in 3-D (as far as I can tell).
This release suddenly popped up last year with absolutely no set-up.  It just...happened.

Now I find that this has come out...
...and this (which at least got a minor theatrical re-release)...
...and even this.  No, really.
Just wow.  This is really just an attempt to make more money or, in Gamer's case, for the studio to get a proper return.

Do you like being treated like sheep who will buy anything that is put out by a Studio?  I sure don't.  Think about that as Disney re-releases every movie they've ever made in 3-D and tries to get you to buy a fifth copy to please your kids.

*steps down from Soap Box*

On second thought though, I suppose that there is one that I'll let slip by...
That is all.

'I Wish This Was Real' Cover Art: Star Wars- Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Yes, yes- The Phantom Menace sucks.  We all know that.

What if someone made it least on the cover...
Holy crap- I wish this was not a fake.  If Ahnuld was here to kill Jar Jar Binks, he would be my new hero.

I won't claim credit for finding this (as it is already online),, I'm still awesome.  Get em, Dutch!

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Crap?: Black Cobra (2012)

The best Black Cobra film ever made...not that that's saying a lot.  This South African film shares the same title as a trio of bad Action films starring Fred "The Hammer" Williamson back in the late-80s.  If you missed the films- and my reviews- here's the short version: it's an Italian rip-off of Cobra, but Starring a Black Actor.  In spite of Cobra not being a hit, they made three of these films (possibly four, depending on your source).  Why?  Who knows?  This film came out sometime around 2012 and actually has an alternate title...but that's less interesting to talk about.  The story involves a man who leaves his home to go to Los Angeles on a mission of love.  I'll get to more details in the review, but sufficed to say he has a good reason for trying to raise a bunch of money.  Being an Action Film, something goes horribly awry and violence ensues.  I won't SPOIL the movie too much, since it is a recent release and has a few decent twists to it.  To find out what all of the kicking is about, read on...
In a fairly-vague opening (just to cut to some action early on), a man digs up some diamonds and has to fight off some thugs.  They all have some back-story...but also die in this scene.  Pointless exposition for the win!
Our hero, you see, has to take the diamonds to America (Los Angeles, specifically- naturally) to be able to pay a Judge to release his dad from Prison before he dies there.  This guy helps him, but never appears after this scene (save for a flashback later).
Before he goes, our hero meets up with his Master.  He is taught a lesson on controlling his rage, but only after we rip off Kill Bill a little bit.
Now in L.A., our hero meets up with some locals- led by a friend from long ago- and makes a deal to sell his diamonds for half a million.  Sounds like a plan!  What could possibly go...
 ...spoke too soon.  Who would have guessed that he'd be attacked by ninjas and have the jewels stolen?

Oh right- this is an Action film.  That makes perfect sense.
After some training from a lady ninja pal (don't ask), our hero and his posse go after the source, one person at a time.  Can you guess what that leads to?  Yes, action scenes (and pretty good ones, honestly).
At one point, our hero takes on a pair of lady ninjas.  I figured that might help you make up your mind about whether to check out this film or not.
 Oh and he fights Shang Tsung- aka Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa- too.  Does that help you make up your mind?  If not, I can't do anything for you.  The End.
Honestly, I had low expectations, but it exceeded them.  The film is not exactly a masterpiece.  The plot is pretty basic and it contains a few sub-plots that really amount to very little.  The whole 'tension with the fiancee' sub-plot is pretty pointless, as is the 'rebellious son' story.  That one does get a good conclusion, but feels a bit out of place.  I guess the point is to show the other side of greed and what it gets you.  Overall though, it could easily be excised and not affect things too much in the long run.  The good parts are the unique story for the character and the action.  His motivation- help his dad- is not that unique, but they layer it with some connections to Apartheid and the dark, political past of South Africa.  It's a subtle touch, but it helps.  One side-note, however, is that the film is a bit confused as to how time works and how you portray it in the story.  They say that the dad has been in prison for fifteen years.  That would place his incarceration in 1997, if the release year is accurate, but they say that he was put there in 1992.  They also mention the Truth Commission starting their work in 1994, which appears to be the source of his arrest.  So yeah, I'm confused.  Ignoring all of that, there's good production values for a Direct-to-Video Action film, some good humor and I have no real complaints about the fight scenes.  The worst thing I can really say is that the fact that our lead looks like the third member of Milli Vannili at times with those dreads.  Regardless, this film is actually pretty good.  Girl, you know it's true!
Next up, a film I found entirely by accident.  Since nobody demanded, here's a sequel to Raptor Island!  Stay tuned...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rare Flix: The Birds 2- Lands End

Why?  It's a simple question.  Why?  Why make a Birds II?  Didn't we learn our lesson from the Psycho sequels (even if II is decent)?  Didn't we learn our lesson from Bates Motel?  Mind you, we certainly haven't learned our less on that, as there is a NEW Bates Motel show coming out soon.  Regardless, we should really just leave Hitchcock alone.  Isn't that right, Gus Van Sant?  The film comes to us courtesy of Alan Smithee aka Rick Rosenthal.  On one hand, Rick is responsible for the underrated Halloween II.  On the other hand, he is also responsible for Halloween Resurrection.  So, much like Russell Mulcahy, you can really take your pick on how to judge him.  So what is the film about?  Well, a nice family with a somewhat-tragic past moves to Lands End to get away from it all for the summer.  Unfortunately, 'it all' comes to them in the form of bird attacks.  Thankfully, these ones don't explode when they crash into buildings.  To the film's credit, the birds you see are almost entirely real.  It doesn't make the film all that good though.  To find out more about this film you may have tried to forget about, read on...
In the opening, a guy out on a boat is killed by birds.  The Made-for-TV budget shows itself already in the form of sub-par gore effects.
Our protagonists move into the house with their dog, but the girls aren't happy.  If you took TV away from me for 3 months, I'd cut a bitch, so I feel for them.

Oh and the parents had a son who died in a car accident.  This sub-plot helps the film reach 80 minutes.
The family gets hints of what might be behind the escalation in bird activity.  It has something to do with this bird being washed up on shore.  One last Birdemic joke though...
While not much else of interest happens (another sub-plot involves the wife flirting with another guy at work), the birds finally get to it, attacking through the girls' bedroom window.
This is the kind of film that would kill a dog.  You know, the kind that has to make things seem dramatic, but won't kill off their leads.  Sorry, Scout.
After a scene of the birds attacking the house- see above-, the family manages to barricade themselves in.  Immediately following that, the birds randomly kill this nice guy from the Lighthouse.  Poor Bastard of Cinema?
Our protagonists try to leave, but a bird has crashed into their engine and wrecked it...apparently.  With the hood undamaged (see below), how the hell did that bird do that?!?
All of this is just a pretense to get them to the Dock in a different car, where all of the havoc occurs.  After sixty-plus minutes, shit finally happens as birds get shot, people get burned in a fire (don't ask) and this Ferry Captain is killed.  Apparently he was born with one of those rare 'spit up blood and die' buttons on the side of his neck!
After fleeing in a different boat (right before a random explosion), the group is cornered by more birds.  They flip the boat and hide for about a minute before the birds fly off towards the mainland.

Wait- so is this the prequel to Birdemic?!?  The End.
It's better than you might think, but it's still not really good.  If this film was called Lands End, it would not be so infamous.  However, this film is a sequel to The Birds.  It even features Tippi Hedren in a role so minimal and pointless that I actually didn't realize it was her.  Seriously, she plays a Shop Owner named Helen who appears twice.  In Tippi's defense, she was taking just about any high-paying job to help pay for her Big Cat Rescue Charity.  While this film may not be good, I suppose it did help save some Lions.  The other thing that makes it a sequel is a reference late in the film to a similar incident happening in California about 30 years ago.  For those of you who refer to this film as 'more of a Remake,' I cite that.  The film has a good enough premise, but clearly didn't have the budget to do much with it.  The use of mostly real birds limits the scale of what they could do (see Burning Bright) and the few digitally-inserted ones you see look bad.  They look like the 3-D Jaws from the titular film when it charges at the Tunnel.  Clearly there was something more going on behind the scenes, since its Director had his Credit removed from the final product.  Was it Edited badly a la Piranha 2?  Was it re-written numerous times like Yellowbeard?  I don't know, but I do know that the final product is ho-hum.  If you give it a chance, there's a decent story here, but not much else.  We all know what this is about though...
Next up, a modern action film with the same name as an '80s one that I own.  Will this succeed without Fred Williamson?  Stay tuned...

A quick shout-out to fellow Blogger/reader Craig Edwards.  He actually worked on this film.  See for yourself...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Brief Rant on 'Sinister' (and Modern Horror Films in General)

*sets down Soap Box and stands up on it, clearing his breath*


I liked Sinister to a point, but I had one key problem: explaining everything.

Before I go too far, let me make this clear.  I don't like when horror films don't explain anything at all.  See 1981's Scream for a good example of that.  There is a point, however, where explaining things becomes a chore.

As I was saying, Sinister has a neat, if flawed, plot to it.  However, the ending is laid out within the first forty-five minutes to an hour (depending on your knowledge of horror films).  In spite of that, the last ten minutes or so continues.

The more complex aspects of the supernatural (which I won't SPOIL here) are explained to us as having happened before.  Instead of leaving that be, they felt the need to show us every single solitary detail.

There's explaining things and then there's acting like your audience is a brain-dead mass of lumps that need you to show them everything.  They aren't...are they?

No, they aren't.  Good luck explaining that to Studio Executives though.

In summary, if Sinister's Third Act wasn't written with the assumption that people couldn't figure anything out on their own, I'd give it a semi-strong recommendation.  As it is, that Ending is just...ugh, that Ending.

I've seen worse, but I'm usually less disappointed.

*steps down from Soap Box*

P.S. That scene of people hanging from the tree (no SPOILER, since it's literally the opening scene) loses its impact by the 257th time you've shown it.  I'm just saying...

Because I Watched It: More Obscure '80s Cartoon Intros

I can't attest to remembering a single one of these shows.  I must have been born too early or just watched the wrong channels.  Regardless...

Drack Pack is like The Monster Squad if it were homogenized, the characters became good guys and were in a crappy-looking cartoon.
If you love video games, then you'll probably have a mixed opinion of the next three selections.  First up, Frogger was a show...apparently.  That's news to me.
The next show segues nicely, since it was part of a two-show block with the other one.  Before Mario got his own show- with a kicking Rap theme song-, he was the villain in Donkey Kong.  Who knew?
Lastly, a 'video game' most famous for its great animation- courtesy of Don Bluth- gets a generic, animated show with...less than stellar animation.  Oh the irony.  Here's Dragon's Lair...
It's ridiculous how big the market for these adaptations was.  For example- Pole Position had a show!

Imagine if the market for Animated Series' based on Video Games were the same now as they were today.  Would we get Witcher: A Children's Tale?  Gears of War: The Early Years?  Mass Effect: Droid?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Awesomeness!: FDR- American Badass

Who says that there are no new ideas out there?  Today's film is FDR: American Badass.  It's the film that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter should have been and what Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies was almost.  In other words, it's awesome!  Released last year, the film got some good attention for its completely awesome and ridiculous trailer.  Any film where FDR's first words are 'Does my cock still work?' is gold to me!  When I went on Streaming a while back, I meant to watch it right away...but I didn't.  Having finally seen it, I regret my lack of haste.  This movie is pure ridiculousness and I love it for it.  I won't SPOIL too much here, as so much of the film's humor is based on shock and surprise.  I will tell you enough to make you want to stop what you are doing and track this film down though.  Seriously, it's on Streaming RIGHT NOW.  In the meantime, read this...
While out hunting in 1931, FDR and company are attacked by a Werewolf.  While he stops the beast, FDR is bitten and contracts Polio, since that's what happens when you're bit by a Werewolf...apparently.
 He doesn't let that stop him though, as he gets a fancy new wheelchair to kick some ass.  Oh and he becomes President of the United States too.
Fortunately for us, FDR is around to stop the combined might of Werewolf Hitler, Werewolf Mussolini and Werewolf Hirohito.  Where would we have been with Herber Hoover: American Badass?
FDR is a man of the people.  If your constituents were like this, wouldn't you be?
FDR's enemies are fierce.  After all, they are Werewolves.  What kind of Werewolf would do something like be a love-struck puppy for some girl who never smiles and constantly get his heart broken?
I just wanted an excuse to show this picture.  That is all.
I wouldn't dare SPOIL the ending of this movie.  You'll just have to see it to believe it.  That may still not do it- so watch it twice!
I love this kind of stuff.  To be fair, the film is by NO MEANS for everyone.  The humor is broad and crass, often making crass jokes about broads.  See- that's what I'm talking about!  In all seriousness, the film is dumber and sillier than it has to be at times.  It also has the problem that Black Dynamite has- finding the balance between a working plot and its humor.  While I do like the movie, it plays fast and loose with time.  FDR's four terms shoot by really quickly at times, but slow down for others.  It's still MUCH better than putting all of Lincoln's life in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  I get what you were going for, but it was just too much story.  I say all that, but I still love this movie.  It's a great example of taking a low-budget, a silly story and putting the most willing Actors in it.  The result- pure hilarity.  Even an hour in, the movie continues to find new ways to surprise you, especially in the form of one cameo that I won't SPOIL here.  This film is goofy and crass, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  To see the only patriot with bigger boobs on display, you have to go back to the 1990s...
Next up, I cover a sequel that nobody demanded.  When you're less remembered than Psycho III, you've done something wrong!  Stay tuned...