Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Worst of the Worst: Carl J. Sukenick's Alien Beasts

Oh boy- this is a bad one.  No need for the question mark in the Title here...
So here's what happened.  Bob reviewed this back in 2014- seen here- as part of Project Terrible.  The memory of this has lingered ever since.  So when I came up with this idea- mostly as a pretense to make it through one Film- he really wanted to see ME watch it.

Well, I did.
After a solid 60-90 seconds of THAT static shot, we suddenly see a bunch of people we don't know 'fighting' on the front lawn of a House.

It is awful, amateurish and nonsensical.
This is the best summation I can give you of the 'Plot' here to help you make sense of this...

Carl leads a team that fights bad guys.
He also knows that his team are all traitors.
He needs to repeat all of his instructions repeatedly.  Repeatedly.

This make sense?
This Film is totally topical in 2017!

Just kidding- it is stupid, random nonsense and the 'Iranian Agents' are just people in face-paint.
Abe is watching the monitors.
Abe is watching the monitors.

Get used to hearing that phrase.  A lot.
And yes, that Title Card did say 'Carl J. J. Sukenick's' on it.

Between all of the random repeats, creepy bits of someone seemingly-being-molested, repeats of the Fight Scenes (sometimes with Filters) and the abrupt Ending inspired by a Peter Gabriel part of your soul dies.

Oh well, I wasn't using it that much.
There is both so much and so little going on here.  The 'Plot' involves Foreign Agents, Mutants, Lasers and good Agents who seem to be on some sort of drugs.  Aside from some half-decent make-up (like above), there seems to be no Budget here.  The opening bit takes place on what must be Carl's front lawn.  The bulk of the Film seems to take place in and around the same location.  Nothing looks good.  Barely anything sounds good.  In the infamous bit I mentioned near the beginning, he rambles the Plot to an 'Agent' who stands there confused in close-up.  He tells her right after that to not freak out...and then says the same 'Plot' again, only more slurred and stupid.  This was all done in Post-Production- assuming there was much of one- and he still picked the worst takes- assuming that there were more.  That is the really messed up part: this Film had a bunch of Editing and work done on it after shooting was done.  He added stuff like Filters, Insert Shots and more.  This wasn't something he did over a weekend and just used the first take of everything.  This one required actual work done after the fact- even if it was probably done on a bender.  He had plenty of chances to either 'fix' this or just scrap it entirely.  When all is said and done, this is *technically* a Movie, but just barely.  It has a semi-Plot and it does sort-of wrap up.  It feels more like the coke-fueled ramblings of a mad man (which it likely was) and it is time that I can never get back.  Even free on the Internet, the price is too high for this one.  What is Carl up to these days?
Seriously, this is just as bad as The Time Machine- just in a crazy, random and ridiculous way.  It is one of the worst things that I have ever seen in my life.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Twin Piqued: Part 12 (Let's Rock)

Another week in Twin Peaks and...it sure was a Week there.
Important Moments
- The FBI induct the new Agent into their Inner Order- which previously included Dale, David Bowie and Chris Isaak- and this is totally different from that bit with Cooper in the Second Season.
- We learn that the lady from last Episode survived and fingered Richard for the crime.  Second Truman is also given the key from like 6 Episodes ago.
- Mrs. Palmer freaks the hell out (more on that later).
- Lynch makes 'Uncle Jokes' and wastes LOTS of time with long, silent takes.  Oh and Diane is up to something.
- Dougie Cooper gets a ball thrown at him.
- 1/4 of the Hateful Eight kill that Warden (finally!)
- Yes, Internet, Audrey shows up for the first time!  She's Married to some weird guy, looking for Richard...and that's it.
Theme(s)
The big Theme here is Father Issues...
- Ben Horne discusses his.
- The whole focus on looking for Richard, even if his Dad (maybe) doesn't seem to care that much.
- That guy acting like a 'Dad' to the other guy in the Trailer Park.  He just cares about you!
Weird Moment(s)
The Runner Up- the crazy Horne Brother running out of the Woods.  Insert Monty Python Joke Here.

The Winner is obviously Mrs. Palmer's sudden, random freak-out.  I mean, what else could win?
...um, alright.  There was a whole lot of things happening...but also nothing happening.  Very little Plot really happened here.  So much random nonsense happened.  What did most of this bring us?  Truman got a key, Random Character #54 was killed, the FBI talked mostly nonsense and Audrey showed up.  That's mostly it.  Sure, other *things* happened, but how important were they?  Lynch sometimes makes it hard to want to stick with him.  The fact that we had no BOB Cooper and that random cut to Dougie Coopers says something about how he seems to be trolling us now.  He's got 6 Episodes to wrap this up.  He had 7, but...well, now he has six.  Why is there filler at this stage?  I'm with them.
Next time, will things pick up in a good way?  Will we have Plot momentum that feels impactful?  See you then...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Marvel and Netflix- The Episode Seven Problem

I like Daredevil.  I like Jessica Jones.  I like Luke Cage (even though I keep forgetting to Review Part 2 of Season 1).  I like Iron Fist.

Yes, an Internet Critic likes Iron Fist.  I do exist!
So here's what I want to talk about...
The Episode 7 Problem
The Shows are all good, even if they are pretty different and also similar.  The issue is this- 13 Episodes.

For whatever reason, they run into an issue at almost every halfway point in the Series.  For example (minor SPOILERS)...
Luke Cage changes Villains right at this point.
Jessica Jones ends up 'living with' Kilgrave at this point.
The Trial of The Punisher begins at this point (and the Plot becomes more about Ninjas)

So the issue is that they had to fill out 13 Episodes and couldn't quite get full traction.
It just feels like they have really good ideas to fill out 6 Episodes with very little padding.  Gotta be 13 Episodes though!

Are they going to succeed with only 8 Episodes this time?  Will a more lean Story be faultless?
I guess we'll all see soon enough.  Happy Streaming...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SPOILER Reviews: The Black Water Vampire

After deciding not to SPOIL the Film in the original Review, I totally ruin that with this SECOND Review.

This is all SPOILERS, since this Ending bit needs to be examined in-depth!  You were triple-warned!
So this is another Film about Documentarians lost in the Woods.  Yadda yadda yadda.
Stay awesome, Bill.  You're the best part of this Film.
So now they get lost in the Woods, but keep going to...um, Film at the site the last Body was found.  Right...
As if the Title wasn't a SPOILER, the killer is a Vampire, which apparently has an arbitrary 10-year timeline built into its killings.  Why?  Who knows?

Oh and they end up in the Woods RIGHT ON THE SAME DAY that the killing 'must' take place.  This is an accident (it seems).
So here's the thing: my Disc would not play on the Computer after the first Hour (for Caps).  In lieu of that, let me just co-opt other Caps that work just as well.

After one of them dies (off-camera/existence), they find the people from earlier in the Woods.  They apparently work to feed the Vampire...for some reason.
Found Footage Film Cliché Unlocked.  Every freaking time!!!
The Cult takes the lone survivor and she gives birth to a Vampire Baby.  This apparently takes place a year later and they somehow let us see this Footage, because...um...The End. 
Alright, let me get the obvious stuff out of the way- the Film is alright.  It is really cliché, but at least picks up at the end.  It won't convince you to love the Sub-Genre or make you hate if you do.  With that out of the way, I will now ask the following questions...
- Why does anyone think that this guy killed people in 1972?  How old could he have been then?
- When did this group of people start to worship/support a Vampire?
- Did it make a pact with them?  Did it talk to them?
- Do the Vampires only live 10 years or what?
- Was the convicted guy just a Stalker that they pushed the whole thing on?
- Why is this Black Water Killings if they happened in a 25 MILE RADIUS of them?
- Did the other victims go near the Woods?  It is a good 2 day hike, so...how?
- Did they really go out on the exact same date as the killings BY ACCIDENT?
- How can this Vampire go out in the daytime?
- How long has it been there?
- Why does they keep stopping to stare at the creature as it stalks them?
- Why does it only ever do one move (hang upside down and attack)?
- How did it kill the guy in silence in broad daylight?
- Why did this Cult apparently release this footage revealing all of their actions?
- Why did they Film the Party a year later with NOTHING in-between?  Was it just off until then?
- Did nobody look for these people?
- How come all of the Editing (like inserts) was done by dead people?  Did they somehow Edit in real-time or something?!?
- Who Edited actual Police Footage into the 'Film?'  Did they sign off on this?
- Why is Bill Oberst Jr. only given ONE SCENE to work with?
Thanks- I feel better. The Black Water Vampire is alright, but just too 'stock' to impress.  So-so.

Quick Reviews: The Black Water Vampire

Alright, so I feel the need to diagram this Film properly, but that would involve SPOILERS.  If you want to see the Film though, stick with THIS Review.  SPOILER Version to come later.

This is a Found Footage Film.  Enjoy this cliché.  Ugh.
 This guy was convicted of a series of killings that took place over 40 years.  This lady thinks that he is innocent.  Time to do a Documentary!
This is Bill Oberst Jr.  He's great.

His one Scene is almost worth all of the Cliché stuff.  Love you, Bill!
They eventually get done Interviewing people in Town (see The Blair Witch Project), they go out into the Woods.  Please don't complain about losing the Map!
Oh good- they don't lose it.  They still get lost and bitch at each other though.
Will they find the true killer?  Will they survive?

Well, you have to know the answer to them, but no direct SPOILERS (here).
I will have SOOOO much more to say in the SPOILER Review.  This time, I'll just say that the Film is...very predictable.  No matter what the Subject- be it looking for a Witch, looking for Frankenstein's Monster or looking for...um...whatever they want in this Film- these things almost always feel the same.  This is almost the exact same formula as Blair Witch!  They go out to make a Documentary, wander around the Woods, get lost, bitch at each other, make confessionals into the camera and (let's be real) die.  That's not a SPOILER in a Found Footage Film, right?  Good.  I legitimately could not remember why I added this nothing-looking Film to my Queue some Months ago until Bill showed up.  'Oh right- I added everything with him in it.'  It was almost worth it.  He was great.  Sadly, his one Scene- just like in that Krampus Film- was not enough.  In defense of the Film, there is some pay-off to the whole thing.  I do have to point out one thing (also non-SPOILER): they go out just in time for the killings perpetuated by Bill to take place (every year on December 21st).  As far as I recall, they don't pick this date on purpose.  It just HAPPENS to be the exact date (compounded by their delays that make them arrive exactly on time and not a day early)!  If you hate Found Footage, this won't assuage you.  If you like Found Footage, this checks all the boxes.  Yes, even this one...
A really standard Found Footage Film with a decent Opening, a great Bill Oberst Jr. Scene and actual (silly) pay-off.  Other than that, nothing new.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Randomly-Different Cover Art: The Pumaman

So you remember that Poster with The Pumaman standing in front the Film going on?

You know, the one from like 2 days ago?

Anyways, here is the same one, only with German on it and...one change.
...so why does he have the Mask on?

It is from the Film...but it is used by the Villain to control people.

Who thought that this was a good idea?
It used to be less bright and colorful.  That's what happens to Posters for obscure Films after 37 years.  More points for me.
B

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Twin Piqued: Part 11 (aka There is Fire Where You Are Going.)

Another week in Twin Peaks has come to an end.  It is crazy as hell, which you should expect by now...
Important Moments
- Miriam apparently survived her Trailer Park attack.
- Seyfried is suddenly a Character again, taking her Mom's car to try and kill her boyfriend.  She later reunites with her Mom and Bobby Briggs.
- The Log Lady calls Hawk and warns them of the fire where they are going.
- They go to where Lillard told them the Portal was and they see all sorts of crazy stuff (see below).  The Woodsman show up and kill someone.
- Dougie is randomly called towards the Red Room, but doesn't go.
- The reunion of Bobby, Shelly and Becky is interrupted by a kid accidentally shooting a gun.  A rude lady behind the scene keeps honking until her kid appears to be possessed!
- Dougie Cooper is sent to give the Insurance Check to the Mitchums.  They want him dead.  Thankfully, Jim Belushi's random dream saves the day.  Of course!
Theme(s)
The key Theme here has to be Life and Death...
- Miriam survives (for now).
- Becky tries to kill her boyfriend.
- They find a dead body by the Portal.
- Someone is killed by the Portal.
- The Mitchums plan to kill Dougie.
Weird Moment(s)
The real winner here is the whole bit with the Portal.  You've got an inexplicable Portal, the Woodsmen, the Scanners moment and the fact that they show the outside view of it with no F/X.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the random Red Room bit...
Bizarre, random stuff.  This one manages to go a whole Episode without showing BOB Cooper- sorry, Bob.  They replace his appearance with all sorts of other craziness.  The Woodsmen strike!  Belushi is driven by his dreams!  Seyfried's mega-acting!  The freaking Portal!  This is all a quick, simple watch.  I won't pretend that most of it made sense, but it was an easy watch.  The first half was stronger for me than the first one, but that is mostly because of Dougie.  It was weird and funny- now it is just weird.  Lynch is really going to make us wait- dammit.  The mix of weird, serious and random as far as Tone kind of worked for me better than some of the earlier Episodes.  Like most Episodes of this weird-ass Season, it was just a strange trip...
Next time, another week in the crazy old town.  What will possibly happen next?  See you then...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

More Honest in Translation: The Pumaman

Puma Man is a silly Character.  His Movie is goofy.

I previously-highlighted a Cover that shows him in some sort of Star Wars-like scene.

In this case, a French Poster is far more accurate...
To be fair, these are shots from the Film.

They make the Film look far better than it is, but at least they are from the Film.

Here's the original Poster.
Still basically the same, but not as pretty.

Hulu Hoopz: The Handmaid's Tale- Season Finale

The end is nigh!  Will this wrap up in a more satisfying way than the Book?  I might as well enjoy this Episode that I didn't realize I even had at first...
When bad truths are revealed, Offred/June's life gets darker and more complicated.  What truth shocks her to her core?
Mrs. Waterford gets ever more desperate.  How far will she go?
During all that, we get a glimpse at what Canada is like.  Coincidental Political stuff is coincidental.

All of this leads to a big moment in the Square, an obvious callback to the 1st Episode.  How different will things go this time?
As the Season wraps up, do things end up with some hope or just in a dark place?

See you next year to find out.
A good, solid Episode.  The use of Flashbacks this time is minimal, but effective.  Seeing the part of the Training/Initiation that we didn't see before is nice.  It also ties nicely to the rest of the Episode's Theme of trying to create unity.  Push these people together and you get a uniting force.  I won't lie though- this one is a rough one.  There is a bit of physical abuse in this one, but the emotional kind is obviously more painful.  I won't SPOIL the Scene, but...damn!  Speaking as a man who will never be a Mother (obviously!), I can still totally relate to this bit thanks to the creative use of Sound, the Staging and, of course, the Acting.  That is an Emmy moment.  The rest of the Episode has its fair share of that, be it June's monologues, the nuanced evil of Mrs. Waterford, the more subtle evil of Mr. Waterford or Aunt Lydia's complex love-hate relationship with the Handmaids.  It is all nice and deep, even when it could just as easily be simple.  As far as wrapping things up, this one is more about setting up new Scenarios and seeing how they will play out in Season 2.  You obviously can't do TOO much until you know that you are going to end the Show.  As it is, the overall feeling I'm left with is hope, which is nice to have in times like this.  *hums 'American Girl' by Tom Petty*
Next time, we...oh, NOW I'm out of Episodes.  See you next time I can then...