Saturday, February 28, 2015

Twin Piqued: Traces to Nowhere

As it is Saturday, let's continue to unravel the Mystery of...
Now passed the intro Film (which was stand alone in some Countries!), we can explore further in...
Now staying in Town for the Investigation, Agent Cooper continues to narrate to Diane (who must have about 8,000,001 hours of him musing on tape by now) and hang around.
He also continues to be obsessed with the little things in life like great Coffee and Pie.
He does do some work, of course.  He talks to more people in Town and seems to clear some of the teens.  Others continue to act pretty suspicious.  They did something, even if it wasn't killing Laura.
There are some serious personal goings on in Twin Peaks as well, including affairs, unhappy families and abusive boyfriends.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Palmer continues to freak the hell out.  First, she sees Laura's face on a girl (an effect he'd use in Inland Empire) talking to her and then...
...she sees the face of a mysterious man.  Who is he?  Dunno.  Don't SPOIL it.
The big reveal is that this guy is in possession of a series of tapes that Laura recorded and the other half of her Heart necklace.  Intrigue!
It is hard to follow up the longer Intro/Pilot/Movie, but this is still good.  You get more quirky Cooper.  You get more scheming Citizens.  You get more random stuff.  This time, it is 'A Fish in the Percolator.'  Weird.  Everyone here does a good job with the material.  One highlight is the co-Owner of the Mill who just calls the other (Joan Chen) to tell her how much money shutting down the Mill the other day cost.  What a bitch.  Another is the continued use of Cooper to promote the fictitious Town and its Restaurants.  He loves the Coffee at the Diner (one of the best!) and even takes time to tell the Medical Investigators coming into Town where to get some great Pie!  Other than the murder and freaky people, Twin Peaks sounds great!  The tone continues to stay strange and the pacing does keep you properly off-guard.  You get some scheming in one scene, some investigating in another and the threat of spousal/girlfriend abuse in another!  Even looking at this thing over 20 years later, I can see the appeal- at least for now.  I know the Show only gets weirder and quirkier as it goes on, but I'll be along for the ride.  Kind of like how America was in 1990.  Right, Rolling Stone?
Next Saturday, more intrigue and insanity.  In town, things never really calm down.  See you then...

Strange Killers: Black Sheep (2007)

Thank you, Chinese Calender Makers.  There are some Movies that you don't see often enough.  You may own them or know someone that owns them.  Even so, you stop and go 'I haven't seen this in a while.'  Black Sheep is one of those Films.  If you haven't seen it, you should.  I won't SPOIL it all here, so don't worry.  Here's the gist if you haven't seen it: killer sheep.  Need I say more?  I shouldn't, but I will anyways.  The Film is very much in the vein of a much more famous New Zealand Director- Peter Jackson.  This is good, fun Peter Jackson, mind you, not 'My Films must be 12 Hours long, since I have to inject my own Characters into a Story that I think is perfect all on its own' Peter Jackson.  I'm talking about his fun, crazy stuff like Brain Dead, Meet the Feebles and Bad Taste.  Good shit.  In this Film, a Brother with a fear of Sheep must return home to settle the estate run by his Brother.  Things go awry, however, as Science meets Nature in a big, bloody mess.  To find out more, read on...
As a young man, our hero is scared of Sheep- thanks to a prank by his brother.  That's why he hates New Zealand- since Sheep statistically out-number people at least 3-to-1.
In the present, he must return to help settle the dad's Estate after his death.  He's not happy about it.

Meanwhile, some people trying to put a stop to Farming run across some freaky creatures.
The groups eventually unite and learn that the Sheep are bigger, meaner and uglier thanks to Genetic Engineering by the Brother.  He wants to breed the biggest, most productive ones around.
He leaves them to die, but discovers a bite on his hand from earlier.  That can't end well, right?
They escape and try to warn people before the Sheep get loose and go on a rampage.
You see, the Brother invited a whole bunch of business people to sell them on the Sheep and...crap.

Oh and you'll see more of these people soon in a different Induction.
With all hell breaking loose, our heroes try to make it out alive.  If it works in Looney Tunes...
Without SPOILing too much, I will tell you that some weird mutant people show up.  It is fun and gross.  Go see the Film to find out more.  The End.
This is weird.  This is crazy.  This is ridiculous.  I love it.  It is admittedly a niche Film.  So what?  This is a Film about killer sheep, mutant Sheep People and the humans that get in the way.  It is not a serious Film.  At the same time, it is not a tongue-in-cheek that constantly feels the need to nudge you in the ribs and go 'Funny, right?  It is just silly and doesn't feel the need to make a point of it.  The mix of playing it serious while the situation is silly is what always tends to do it for me.  That make sense?  Good.  Everything about the Film feels as authentic as a movie about mutant Sheep can too.  I love the gross-out effects, even though I know that it will be too much for some of you.  It never goes too far into the 'try to make you vomit' territory that alot of the more recent stuff (like Saw) does.  It just shows off what they can do with Practical Effects.  I will get off this Topic before it seems like I'm going on another diatribe about Practical Effects vs CG.  I will just say this: this Movie rocks.  You should see it.  Go ahead.  I will leave you with this reminder that all films shot in New Zealand now have to have big, scenic shots...
Next up, I attempt to redeem the original Version of a Film.  After Uwe Boll's Remake, this inherently has to be better.  Stay tuned...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Poor Bastards of Cinema: Alien Outlaw (Part 2)

Another Poor Bastard from Alien Outlaw?  Why not?

In this later bit, two Deputies are investigating the Crime Scene from the Intro kill (about an hour in).  One of them follows some tracks towards the river.
He finds a man (Walter Cronkite?) in a small boat and asks for a ride across it.
The old man is confused by his odd, yet reasonable request.  That or he can't hear him.  Either way- Comedy!
The 'jokes' end when one of the Aliens (There are three, you know) pops out of the water!  It attacks!  Why was it down there?
To complete the Scene, another Alien attacks the Deputy (but not the Sheriff!) on the other side.
So, that's it- they both die.

Would they have killed the old man if not for the Deputy's arrival?  Maybe.  It could be that the Alien was just panning for gold and would have let it slide.  Dunno.

The lesson: if you see a Cop while you're in a boat, keep paddling!  Trust me!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rare Flix: The Black Gestapo

I am going to end up all sorts of weird Search Results now.  Today's Film is The Black Gestapo, a Film know.  Actually, you don't.  This one is not exactly how it is advertised.  It is about Black Militants, but it is set in the Present (of the 1970s) and not in Germany.  It is a great Title though.  In the Story, a group of Black Militants try to keep things equal for their people.  However, there is all sorts of crime and corruption that is hurting the community.  One of them takes things further than ever, leading to all sorts of chaos.  Who's wrong?  Who's right?  Ha ha- just kidding.  This movie isn't nearly that subtle- one of them is obviously evil.  The best and worst part of this Film is the fact that it plays out in such a cliche manner.  You have white criminals, topless scenes, a white hooker, fake kung-fu and people doing drugs.  If you enjoy the cliches, you will laugh.  If you don't, it will just show you how cliche these things got.  Regardless, I watched it and will tell you just how silly this thing is
Our 2 Heroes are part of a small, but efficient organization designed to keep peace in Los Angeles.
The problem: some criminals who know fake kung-fu/stage fighting are making life hell for many.
Naturally, the Crime Boss is an evil White Guy.  As a bonus, he looks like 'The Micro Machine Guy.'
The more militant half of the duo gets permission to act more assertively when the other's girlfriend is raped.  If the militant guy looks familiar, it is because he's 'Mac' from Night Court!
He specially-trains a small group to get order/revenge.  This guy loses 'his boys' to them for the rape.
On top of that, they generally get more aggressive.  This brings reprisal and more action.
With power swaying their way, the group gets more...well...Hitler-y with their look and style.
Finally fed up and aware of their corruption, the Leader breaks into the Camp and kills most of them.
It all leads to a knife fight/fake kung-fu fight between the two Leads, which the good one wins.  Pool fight?  The End.
It is pretty run of the mill, to be honest.  Once you get past the scintillating Title, there's not much here that you haven't seen before.  Like I said earlier, all of the Cliches and Tropes you expect to find are here.  You do get a bunch of topless scenes- with both black and white ladies.  You get some silly fight choreography, lots of shooting and a few explosions.  The one twist here is that it doesn't come down to the Black Hero fighting the White Villain.  That is fairly-unique for this Sub-Genre.  There are a few Scenes of Graphic Violence, but it is generally far more implied than shown.  There is some rough stuff involving the Girlfriend of our Hero though.  She does NOT have a good time here.  For all of the good and bad that comes with it, this Film is very typical of what you get in Blaxploitation Films.  There's not much new- love it or leave it.  It is funny to see 'Mac' play such an evil bad-ass though.  While this Film marks the end of The Black Gestapo, they will be happy to know that someone took up the mantle in WCW circa 1995...
Next up, I celebrate The Year of the Sheep with a Horror Film.  While there's no Farley, this Sheep is actually quite funny!  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Help Some Guys Out: Rifftrax's 2015 Kickstarter

I'm a little late on this, but it is still worth covering.  We'll do it live!
Rifftrax announced a foursome of Live Shows for 2015!  They are some of the worst of the worst.
* The Room
* Miami Connection
* Sharknado 2
* Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny

The official page is here:

Here's the good news: they've surpassed their minimum goal.

That doesn't mean that it still not worth backing, as they have some great Stretch Goals and always start with a lower number than necessary to do it right.

There are plenty of great Rewards for as low as the $10 Level (some new Shorts), plenty at the medium levels that are under $100 (as few as 1 and as many as 3 of the Live Shows as a later VOD) and some nice stuff at the high levels around $1,000 (like everything plus Signed Scripts!).

I've backed their last 2 Kickstarters and I certainly am behind this one too.

Oh and If I don't get some of the awesome Bonus stuff, I'm going to hold you accountable!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Crap: See No Evil 2

I kind of saw this coming.  A couple years ago, I finally saw Kane's debut Film- See No Evil.  It wasn't great, but I've always had a soft spot for the guy.  He's always been one of those guys who is talented, but always tended to get the shaft as far as good Stories went.  He has presence.  I said in the Review that I hoped that the follow-up Film would give him the right vehicle.  Well, I saw it.  It didn't.  It is notable for being made by the Soska Sisters, a pair of polarizing Lady Directors.  This is my first Film of their's, just so you know.  The Star is Danielle Harris...who must never sleep.  She's in, what, 16 of these a year?  Damn!  Need more?  How about the older Sister from Ginger Snaps?  She was in a good Film over a Decade ago- good for her.  So what is See No Evil 2 about?  We cut right to the same night from the First Film, which means that we get to time-travel!  Jacob Goodnight- I still find that name funny- comes back to life...somehow and starts killing again.  This is one of those 'Don't ask questions' Films, but not in a fun way.  It is just stupid.  Even so, I owe it to you to cover it.  Thank me later...
In a Morgue, it happens to be one of the workers'- Harris- Birthday, so why not have her party there?

They get the call that bodies from the previous Film are being brought in.  This includes Jacob, since you would just put that anywhere.  It's not like he just killed a dozen people.
The party disperses- to all have sex in different rooms- and one couple (with Isabelle) decide to have sex...on the slab next to Jacob.

By the way, how creepy is the 'split up to have sex' Trope when your Film is set in a Morgue?
Since this is a stupid Film, their 'immoral sins' revive Jacob, since...reasons.
It is about here where the Film starts to fall apart- more than it already has.  The people run around and Jacob/Kane kills them.  That's pretty much it.
Nobody can apparently leave and nobody has a cell phone.  It is all
More hiding.  More killing.  More...of the same old shit.
With a giant killer wandering around, who will live and who will die?
I can guarantee you one thing: you'll scream.  It may be how it was intended or it may not.  The End.
It is not good.  It is really not good.  If you like Slasher Films and have no standards, this is for you!  If you actually care about what you watch, your reaction may be different.  For what it is worth, Kane does still make the most of this.  The problem is that he barely speaks, is muddled down with Stock Footage (since the original Film was made 8 years earlier) and has his face covered up in make-up.  Ironically enough, his look here does remind me of Jim Ross' famous call about masked Kane- 'He's a one-eyed monster.'  Ha ha- innuendo.  To be fair to the Film, it delivers as far as gore is concerned.  There is some CG blood, but there is some practical stuff too.  I won't say that it redeems the Film for me, but people that only want to see people get killed will be more lenient.  It is uninspired.  I thought the Soska Sisters were unique and all that shit.  We have seen generic Slashers like this for 30-odd years now.  The most interesting thing to me is how Kane is now billed as his real name with his wrestling one in the middle.  Given who pedestrian his real name is, it is kind of silly...
Next up, I've just got to squeeze some more Blaxploitation into February.  It will be with Monsters- human or otherwise.  Stay tuned...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mondo Bizarro Reviews Anime: Death Note

At long last, someone with talent reviews Anime on this site again.

Just kidding...although I am more talented in general.  Anyways, I decided to go back and cover the Anime that was also a Film that I actually saw first.  You may have heard of it.
If you don't know what this Show is about, here's a quick and easy recap...

Light Yagami is a promising High School Student (soon to enter College).  He has a secret though...
He has gotten his hands on a Death Note, the tool that Shinigami (Japanese Gods of Death) use to kill us on Earth.  The Owner lets him, since the chaos he'll create will ease its boredom.

As for Light, he wants to change the world!
The thorn in his side is L, a mysterious Investigator who is working the case of the mysterious deaths.

To simplify things, he discovers that the killer- called Kira- is in Japan (way too easily) right away.
The concept is simple at first, allowing for some interesting build-up as Light and L work against each other in various ways.  It does get a bit silly- like the bit where they dramatically play a Tennis Match- too though.
High points:
- The way it plays with how the Death Note works and how you can kill people.
- A whole Episode based around Light figuring out a person's identity in time to save himself.
- The build-up of the Light/L dynamic as they both 'work' the case.

Now here's the thing.  Without SPOILERS, I will say that the Show takes a big turn around the 25th Episode.  The Story seems to reach a big Climax...and then keeps going...only now with about a dozen new Characters like Near (who is way too much like L)...
...and Mikami, who becomes one of the many people who works with Light at one point or another.  Throw in a Story that mostly turns into 'I did this to trick you' followed by 'I know that you did this to trick me, so I did THIS to trick you into thinking you tricked me!' and the Show kind of goes on too long.

It is never bad, but it clearly peaks a good 10 Episodes before it really endsl
Damn shame that it kind of peters out like it does.  The Show starts out real strong.  The overall Concept feels strong and unique.  When it stays simple, it can be really engaging.  Unfortunately, the Show kind of wallows in its own Mystery at a certain point.  As most people know, you write Mysteries backwards- solve it and then explain how you got to that point.  By over-complicating the Plot and giving us too many Characters, the thing just gets bogged down.  There are a good dozen Characters to keep track of by the end- not counting those that have died over the years.  There's also ideas- like people giving up the notebook and getting amnesia- that are good they do them a bunch of times.  Some Stories shouldn't be too long and this is one of them.  I am sure that some people will disagree with me- the Show does have a huge fanbase- and they are free to.  My issues with the latter 3rd of the Show don't take away from the great Premise and overall good execution.  I suppose I should answer the Dubbed or Subbed Question (since someone else here does).  I watched it Dubbed for the most part and had no complaints.  Due to the Show's popularity, they got good people and money behind it.  It is a really good Show, but your mileage with it may change as it runs on.  Speaking of Death Note, I never reviewed the Live Action Films back in 2010 when I watched them.  I guess I should get on that sometime soon (or get Bob to)...
Next time, there's apparently a Comedy Anime about Satan.  That sounds like my kind of thing!  See you then...