Saturday, March 25, 2017

Poor Bastards of Cinema: The Thompsons

As I already have another Poor Bastards of Cinema induction lined up, I might as well do this one now...

In The Thompsons, the titular Family is hiding out in Europe.  The older Brother and Sister hide out in France where they hire a Hooker.

When she annoys them (and they get hungry), they kill and feed on her.
As if THAT wasn't enough, her Pimp/Security is outside the door.
When he hears the ruckus, he pokes his head in to see what is going on...
...which leads them killing him too!
In their *slight* defense, he was now a witness.  Mind you, he was a witness to THEM KILLING A HOOKER FOR NO GOOD REASON.

The moral: pimping ain't easy- especially when dealing with Vampires.

Friday, March 24, 2017

3,300th Post Special: The Corpse Grinders 3

It isn't insulting to the dead if they only signed off on it.  Today's Film is The Corpse Grinders 3, a 2012 Film 'inspired' by Ted V. Mikels.  Unfortunately, 2016 was a bad Film for old Exploitation Directors with famous initials in their name- e.c. Ted V. Mikels and H.G. Lewis.  As such, I'm in even less of a rush to cover Mikels' last couple of Films.  Given the works before it, they are probably going to suck no matter when.  Here's the good news: he only signed off on this one.  He has no Writing or Producing Credit- just one for the Story.  If you don't know Corpse Grinders, here's a refresher- people make cat food out of people.  The first Film features a Doctor and Nurse investigating strange cat attacks tied to a Cat Food Company.  In the second Film, there are Cat Aliens and all sorts of other crap.  In this one, it...is a Remake.  Basically, some guy apparently bought the rights to make a new Film, called it the '3rd' Film and now I suffer for it 5 years later.  This is basically the 'everyone agrees that it is shit' Version of the new Evil Dead.  Manolito Motosierra (really) is on-board to just sort of coast through with a Remake called a Sequel- joy.  To find out how much I suffer for you, read on...
Lotus Cat Food is apparently made and sold in a tiny Village in Spain now.  Maybe they explain this...but do you really care?
They get some bad press after someone related to the food dies.  Thankfully, someone was nice enough to add the headstone engraving via terrible CG.
This new guy- who is one part Gustavo Fring and one part Keith Ellison- is an Investor to help them grow.  They get a new (mostly-fake) machine to make food faster.

Yes, before he came, two guys were grinding and canning all the food by hand!
This apparently makes all the Newspapers.  Does this qualify as The World's Slowest News Day?
They get into a ruckus with a lady and she ends up getting sucked into the machine.  Shocking.
This Cat loves it, so why not just keep making more of it?

In the last Film, the murderous people got RICH off of this with zero consequences, so go for it!
The cats go crazy, which escalates from random scratching to apparently a herd of them killing this guy under his bed.
"Hey, we only have 25 minutes left- let's introduce this Detective!  He will be important...now."
Speaking of suddenly important, this lady shows up to help the dorky guy who has kept popping up.  The whole climax of the Film involves killer cats, Bikers and this mysterious (always in shadow) creature that emerges from the machine.

If any of that sounded interesting, it wasn't.  The End.
Recycled disappointment.  Why Remake this Film?  Why call it a Sequel if you are going to re-make it?  The whole thing is just a dumb, silly mess.  The original Corpse Grinders is a schlocky-Classic, but it still wasn't good.  The Sequel is utter rubbish, somehow looking cheaper and more ridiculous when it was made in the 2000s!  Why did we need a 3rd one at all (regardless of how it turned out)?  It is not a deep, complex Film that somehow needed this much attention.  The Story is simple enough, so, of course, they muck it all up.  Basically, it is a bunch of awkward Comedy and terrible Acting.  The Film is only 80 minutes long (with Credits), but it feels 2x as long.  I saw it.  You don't have to.  This one is just plain bad.  Unlike the Director below, I have many Comments...
Next time, Poe gets another disappointing Film with his name slapped on it.  Can we just bury this one alive?  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Vampire Bites: The Thompsons (2012)

Oh joy, they made a Sequel.  Today's Film is The Thompsons, the delayed Sequel to The Hamiltons.  Remember that one?  I barely did.  This one has sat in my Netflix Queue for about 6 months to a year.  I would keep moving it down and then I just stopped.  One day, I was told that I was getting this and went 'Oh, alright.  Here's what you need to know: Vampire Family.  The first Film spends the whole Runtime teasing this and being vague.  This time around, it jumps head-first into Vampire lore and attempts to legitimize itself.  The result: it is better, but still not that good.  I will get into the big issues in the Review itself.  I've got plenty- trust me.  Basically, the Family is on the run and now in England...for some reason.  To see how this tries to ruin Agents of SHIELD for me, read on...
Normally, I'd make something this recent into a Quick Review and not SPOIL it, but...

This Film SPOILS itself right off the bat with a Flash Forward and a shed-load of pretentious Narration from our Lead.
His Car breaks down in a very specific location (more on that later) and he ends up at a Bar.  The young lady working there- Elizabeth Henstridge.  Sigh.
Meanwhile, two cliches kill a pair indulging in a Cliche.  They'd be Poor Bastards of Cinema...if I cared about this one bit.
The Bartenders turn out to be the Vampire Family that he's looking for.  You see, the 'Hamiltons' are on the run...
They end up in the middle of a random Diner being robbed and the youngest is shot.

To answer your questions, they are Vampires, but aren't affected by sunlight, crosses or holy water.  They don't transform, they do have fangs and they can be killed...but also drinking blood heals them.
In a strange bit, our Hero dreams of romancing Henstridge before she bites him.  When he wakes up, she explains that she was born not a Vampire...which I guess happens.

Here's the strange part: if this is Henstridge (save for her Boob Double), I can barely tell.  It confused me because it didn't look like anyone in the Film...but then he said that it was her.  Just me?
Before he learns that the new Vampires want to kill him, he calls his family to come there.

As a bonus, here's this random lady who appears in this Scene, has no lines and doesn't get killed.  Why was she here?
The bad guys plan to kill all of the 'good' Vampires and use the Sister to create the next generation.  Why?

Well, apparently breeding solely among Vampires gives them super-strength and speed.  Of course!
They try to use her as an unwilling surrogate, but all of our 'heroes' manage to violently kill the bad guys.  Hurray?  The End.
It sucks.  Vampire Puns!  Unfortunately, these are more interesting than the Film itself.  It begins with pretentious Narration and a flash forward.  That is followed by a very lazy exposition dump, since this Film came 6 years after the last Film and, well, who exactly remembers said Film anyhow?  The Film is in love with lazy exposition and the like.  The climax involves an especially-lazy bit where they explain the backstory on the Mother (who was dead in the last Film), the Vampire Clan and why any of this is happening.  It resolves with lots of one-sided fights with a Vampire Mary Sue and then anti-climactic, sudden deaths.  What a great combo!  The Thompsons wants to be a deep and serious Vampire Film.  It involves a French Pimp, so you be the judge if that worked or not.  It gets few points for being shot nicely enough, but loses most of them for the so-so Story and pretentious nature of it all.  One bonus point for being very, oddly-specific about its location though...
Next time, the next Anniversary post.  If nothing else, it promises to be cheap.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pilot Wings: Iron Fist (2017)

Is this a cheat to cover this one for this Segment?  After all, the whole Season 'dropped' at once due to Netflix's process.

Oh well, the Internet is all over this thing, so why not strike while the iron is...fist?
A strange, drifter-looking guy comes to New York City with a dream...but no shoes.
When he shows up at Rand Corporation, they assume that he's just a crazy, homeless man.  Why does he say that he is Danny Rand, the seemingly-dead son and heir to the company then?
He also knows Martial Arts and seems to be super-agile.  He claims to be back for answers.
Can he straighten things out and make a new (or old) life for himself in NYC?  To find out, watch the rest of the Series.
Why is this so bad?  One possible reason is the high-quality of the previous Marvel Netflix Shows.  Daredevil was a revelation with its dark, realistic tone.  Jessica Jones was a sharp, character-driven experience.  The second season of Daredevil gave us the Internet's favorite Punisher (mine is still from Punisher: War Zone), Elektra and Zombie Ninjas.  Luke Cage was another strong, character-driven Show.  To sum up, the bar is really damn high!  With that out of the way, Iron Fist's Pilot is...good.  It doesn't answer every question, but neither did Daredevil.  It wisely-spaced out the Origin Story over a few Episodes in order to not drag down the first Episode.  It is a good Story, but an all-flashback Pilot would have not been good.  The basic premise- seemingly-crazy guy is actually a Hero-to-be-and-possible-Billionaire- is a good one.  This one manages to reuse the same basic City Locations without being redundant here.  The whole thing show promise.  Will the rest of the Season deliver?  I'll find out soon enough.  As for all of the controversy, well, let's just wait and see if we get a Shang-Chi Show...
If you haven't seen this and only read Reviews, decide for yourself.  It isn't mind-blowingly-bad, folks.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Poor Bastards of Cinema: Czechoslovakia's Beauty and the Beast

Before this weekend is over, I might as well take one last look at this Czech Film...

In Beauty and the Beast, 'Belle's' Father is transporting some goods to sell in order to pay off his debts.  In this Version, the random Wolf attack is now the arrival of the Beast!
Father flees on his horse, while a woman from the Caravan runs from a POV Monster (The Beast).

It chases her to an abandoned Cabin and then kills her!
Clearly that is what the other Versions were missing: the random death of Peasants at the hands of our Hero!  I sure hope he stops killing people and animals to drink their blood when he's a Human!

The moral here: don't deliver fine goods via Carriage.  I mean, why not just use FedEx at this point?!?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Rare Flix: French Beauty and the Beast (1946)

Une histoire vieille comme le temps!  Today's Film is also Beauty and the Beast, only this time it is actually French!  Sorry, Soviet Satellite States- you only get one!  This is one of those odd ones that is both famous and obscure.  Basically, if you are a Film Snob, you are quite familiar with this one.  If you only know Disney's Version, you don't know what the hell this is.  This one is pretty close to the original Story, but with one extra bit that is notable.  I won't SPOIL it yet, so don't reveal anything if you are all reading this together as a group.  "Quick, Steve- stop the Party.  A guy just reviewed an old French Film- let's read it!"  In any event, this one is famous enough among certain groups to actually get a Criterion Collection Release!  It has finally reached the high mark of such Films as Repo Man and The Darjeeling Limited.  Since you already know the Story, I won't bog this down with general recap.  Instead, what stands out as different will get highlighted here.  To find out if this is truly a Classic, read on...
In this Version, the Sisters are basically the ones from Snow White and can't accept their dwindling wealth.  Can you tell?
The big change/addition here: the objects in the Castle are alive.

To be clear, the Book implies that there is magic there, but it is never explicit.  In other words, Disney took the idea from THIS Film.
Instead of teasing the Beast for so long, they show him right away and he's...a hairball.
To be fair to this Film, they actually push the romance far more than the Czech Film...sometimes.
He's also a rather one-trick pony here.  It is amazing that this doesn't work the first time.
Most BatB Films don't let you stop and see him drinking from a Pond.

On the plus side, it is not Blood!
One bit that makes it here, but not in to many Versions- the Beast's magic, teleportation glove.
This one also has the romantic rival, but he's not quite full Gaston.  That said, the likeness between this guy and Luke Evans is eerie.
The way this is all resolved is a bit odd too.  Not Luke Evans and Belle's Brother show up, only for the former to be shot by an arrow via a Statue and turn into the Beast, thus freeing the Prince.

Enjoy this new nightmare fuel.  The End.
Still a Classic.  I'm not going to pretend that I'm a big fan of this Story, but I can't ignore the obvious.  This Version has certainly earned its place in Film History though.  It has great visuals.  It has strong (if overdramatic) Music.  It has good Acting.  It is just a good Film.  I'm no hopeless romantic, but this is undeniably-good.  To expand upon something earlier, the Book sets up the idea that there is magic in the Castle.  'Belle' doesn't see any Maids or Servants, but their work is done while she sleeps.  This Film expands upon the idea to make the Statues, Mirrors and Artwork be alive.  If Disney didn't copy this directly, how did they get to singing Candlesticks exactly?  If you're a fan of the Story and can live with Subtitles (or speak French), this is an easy recommendation.  Its changes are fairly-minor and not at all bad.  If you don't care for older Films or the Story itself, well, don't watch it.  Whatever you do, just tone down the overdramatic posing.

Next time, a Sequel to a Film that didn't exactly inspire me to begin with.  It can only go up, right?  Stay tuned...

Immediate (But Also Late) Response: Logan (2017)

So this is both my immediate thoughts on the Film...but also late since I got to it WAY later than most of the World.

To sum up: On time for me- late for everyone else.  Make sense?  Great.
The Good
* The Story is great.  You really feel more for Wolverine than in either Solo Film.
* The Acting is top notch, with a broad range of intense, fun, dour, subtle and rage-filled.
* The new additions shine quite well, from the little bit of Caliban to the awesome X-23.
* The Film is truly a showcase for Wolverine, without the over complications of Origins or the suddenness of The Wolverine.  If this is his swan song, it is a good one.
* The Story hints at some really interesting things without explaining them too much.  That said...

The Bad
* The Film hints at some stuff that you'd really like to see explained more in-depth.
* The dreary Tone throughout may lose some people.
* The Gore, while not excessive for me, will probably have a similar effect.
* While nitpicking a bit, it is hard to place the Continuity here.  He has something from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but that's not in Continuity, right?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Lost in Translation: Foreign 'Leprechaun' Posters

As I already plan to watch one Leprechaun Film today- as my tradition is to watch Leprechaun 4: In Space every year on this day-, I don't want to watch Leprechaun 3.

In lieu of that, here is a look at some odd Foreign Posters for Films in the Franchise.

Right off the bat, a Poster that doesn't even mention the Title!
Funny and all...but maybe you should list the Title.

Lastly, a Poster for Leprechaun 4 (my favorite!) with some random Photoshop hodge podge....
Even with mostly-forgotten High School French, I can tell they didn't change the Title or anything.  That said...what is with the random Cast Shot?

Were they trying to make this look like Farscape or something?
I'm sure that the Internet will love that comparison.

Oh and don't drink & drive.  Don't make me sic Warwick Davis on you!