Sunday, April 29, 2018

Immediate Response: Avengers- Infinity War

You had to know that I wouldn't wait too long for this!  Let me tell you what I thought (in general, non-SPOILER terms)...
The Good
* The Film is epic in scale, balancing all of The Avengers, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Black Panther and the other ancillary Characters!
* Thanos is a legit bad-ass, who is also deeper than you might think.  He's still crazy, but you at least know his rational other than 'Rawr!  Evil!!!'
* No matter how dark things get, they always find time for humor.
* The large Cast allows for new, interesting interactions.  Thor and Rocket- why not? Dr. Strange and Star-Lord- okay!
* The Movie is full of both strong Drama and great Action.  The Russos make it work again!

The Bad
* The Film goes to some dark places.  This really is the 'Empire Strikes Back' of the MCU.
* No Korg, Meek or Valkyrie.  Aw.
* I have to wait so damn long for the conclusion.

TV on the Internet: Ash vs. Evil Dead- 'Twist and Shout'

Is it better to burn out than to fade away?  We will see..
After escaping from the law, Ash and his Daughter have to...go to the High School Dance.
Nearby, that demon baby is all grown up and put on a mission.
Elsewhere still, Pablo learns that Kelly's spirit is in trouble and rushes to the scene.
It's not a pretty sight as Other Ash starts cutting up Teenagers and this naturally implicates Ash.
Can Ruby's convoluted scheme of murder and mayhem turn Daughter against Father do the trick?

To find out, keep watching the Show (while you can).
Fun and bloody mayhem.  On the surface, this a bit confusing.  Ash is running around.  Other Ash is running around.  Kelly controlled by a spirit is working with Ruby.  Ruby is doing her own plan.  Pablo shows up.  They manage to make it pretty easy to follow and you never lose track of which Ash is which.  A cynic could say that the Plot relies too heavily upon Ash being dumb and predictable.  A regular viewer would point out that it is just Ash being Ash.  For better or worse, he's kind of a dumbass.  Besides, if you're immortal, you've had more than enough time to figure out how dumb us normal people can be.  For the most part, this still checks off everything on the list.  The Kelly thing is a bit out considering what is happening with her, but her body at least does something badass without her mind.  Close enough?  The Show continues to deliver for me, so I'm game to see this to the end.  Speaking of the end, could you stop by and pick up Barb's body while you're down there?
Next time, adventures in the spirit world and chaos in the real world.  What will possibly happen next?  See you then...

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Rare VHS Cover Art: Tombs of the Blind Dead

This one is really hard to find even a picture of!

Back in the VHS days, companies were marketing Films in any way possible.  This led to some odd stuff like this...

Mark of the Devil did well on VHS.  You can probably guess what it is about.

This led to a number of 'Sequels' appearing on the market.  Among them...
I guess you get some points for using the literal Title of the Film- as opposed to the one I used above-, but you just lose so many more points for lying!

Was Tombs ever banned?  I can't see much record of it.  Censored and recut- yes.  Banned though?

I should also note that the Film is listed on IMDB as being released as Mark of the Devil 4 in some Regions too.  If I find a picture of that, I'll post it.

Friday, April 27, 2018

What's the Best Film?: MCU's Trinity of First Films

It is that time.  No, not the time for me to Review the new Avengers Film (sadly- for me).  No, it is time for the return of 'What's the Best Film?'

In honor of, well, duh, let's look at how the MCU got started.  It is their Trinity in an epic showdown!

Iron Man vs. Thor vs. Captain America: The First Avenger
They are all great, so this should be a tough one.  People still debate this today, so why not me too?
The Lead
In the left corner, we have Robert Downey Jr reviving his Career and becoming the MCU's cornerstone.  In the center, we have Chris Hemsworth breaking away from Australian Dancing Shows to be a Lead.  In the right corner, we have Chris Evans becoming famous for all the right reasons.

While my gut says Evans, I have to be realistic and go with...
Winner: Iron Man
The Villain
It is the battle of greedy human vs. God vs. super Nazi.  What a battle!

I feel like it *should* be Red Skull, but, again, I have to be realistic...
Winner: Thor
The Supporting Cast
Iron Man has Pepper Potts and also the Director.  Thor has a Skarsgard that isn't hot (unless you're into DILFs), Natalie Portman and a Broke Girl.  Captain America has his BFF Bucky and Agent Carter, a Character Marvel is wishy-washy with using consistently.

For having two Characters that actually appear in non-Sequels too, the winner is...
Winner: Captain America
The Story
The first Film tells the tale of Tony building his armor and becoming a hero.  The second has Thor learning some humility and becoming a real hero.  The third has Cap getting his powers and becoming a hero.

All of have lead to 2 Sequels (three if you count Spider-Man: Homecoming), so it's up in the air.  I'll pick...
Winner: Captain America
The Big Action Scene
It all comes down to what some people think of Comic Book Films only featuring- naturally.

We have the first MCU Supervillain Battle, which is good.  We have Thor fighting the Destroyer, which is good.  We have Cap assailing the Hydra Base and fighting Red Skull on the Plane, which is good.

This is a tough one.  I reluctantly yield to...
Winner: Iron Man 

So it is a tie! Captain America and Iron Man both lock it up! Sorry, Thor.
If it makes you feel better, your Threequel was better than Iron Man's (but not Cap's).

With such a tight race, there is no real loser...except for the poor Captain America Film that has to be compared to Marvel's now...
Did my inherent Cap bias tilt things in the Film's favor?  Maybe, but I can live with that.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Quick Reviews: mother! (2017)

After everyone crapped all over this one and its Star was happy to see the negative Reviews, you must be wondering if it is truly that bad.  If you are like most of America and didn't see this in Theaters, let me elaborate for you...
J. Law here is mother, a young woman married to a Poet (Javier Bardem).  He has writer's block, while she fixes up the House.
Strangers start showing up and Javier continues to do what he wants without consulting her.
It all comes to a head when a violent assault takes place, leading to a wake- also not ran by her first.
The Film does a time jump and now we see that he has written something new.  That's great...until dozens of people start showing up...again.
The House fills up with chaos, mayhem and violence absurdly-fast.  In the midst of all this mother gives birth.
How does she end up like this?  Do you really want to wait 2 hours to find out?

If so, watch the Film (if you must).
It's all an allegory.  Do you get it?  Did you untangle the extremely-subtle hints?  The fact that Bardem is called 'Him' and everyone else's name is in lower case?  The fact that the couple- Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer- have two kids and one attacks the other ring a bell?  The fact that everyone seems to be practically-worshipping Bardem?  So yeah, it's about as subtle as Steam Whistle!  Not to get too much into Religion, but I think that maybe it was a bad idea to let Darren Aronofsky learn about the Bible.  Wait- hear me out!  Because of that happening, we get his bloated Noah Film that was both too literal- using the Watchers- for some religious people, but also too preachy for non-religious people.  In this case, he makes a long, drawn-out allegory that only serves to annoy.  Poor J. Law is just there to be annoyed, scared, confused or sad.  They say that Acting is just reacting- it's certainly true in this case.  Bardem's Him is just callous and oblivious.  The people that fill up the House are just jerks and some even turn into religious zealots.  The Third Act basically plays out like some of the jokes from that Futurama Episode where time starts skipping.  In summary, I totally 'get' the Film- I just don't like it.  It's both too obtuse as a narrative and too obvious as an allegory.  It's just mind-numbing and it's easy to see why people reacted the way they did.  Love it if you want.  Hate it if you want.  As a Film, at least, it provoked a response.  Pure apathy is a response, right?
It's a Film that you either love or hate.  To be honest, I'm more annoyed than hateful, but we'll see how I feel over time.

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art?: Maximum Overdrive

When in doubt, do Cocaine and make a Film.

Seriously, Stephen King did so much coke while Directing this that he claims to have no memories of making it.  That explains the all AC/DC Soundtrack and the insanity of it all.

It also might explain how much bad-ass is pressed into one Poster...
Holy balls!

This Movie is not that great- lots of flash, but not much substance- but it sure is fun.  Cocaine is a hell of a drug, kids.

Here's the original...
The only Coke I did was Coke Zero, but I like to think that it helped me in some way too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Forgotten Flix: The Handmaid's Tale (1990)

At last, I finally get this monkey off of my back.  I put off Reviewing this one until the time was right.  Well, today feels right.  Today's Film is The Handmaid's Tale, the 1990 Film Adaptation to be exact.  Having reviewed every Episode of the Show, it only seemed right to do this.  I'd do the Book too- which I do own-, but I'm already like 15 Books behind as it is!  Of note, the Film was Directed by an acclaimed German Director who's name I won't annoy Auto-Correct with and Adapted to the Screen by Harold Pinter!  He apparently somewhat-disowned the Script, since so many changes were done.  If you somehow don't know, the basic Story is this- a dystopian America with birth rates dropping is usurped by some crazy Cultists.  They make it 'in the image of the Bible' by way of forcing women into servitude and killing those that they don't like.  Since both the Show and Film are based on the same Book, this may be redundant to some.  To make up for that, let me do some fun side-by-side comparisons as I lay out the commonalities and the differences.  Gird your loins and read on...
It still begins with June trying to escape to Canada, but being caught.

The change: there's no way that the Husband is showing up later!  Also he's not Black in this one.
She becomes Offred as the Gilead control the United States.  It's not great.

The change: the lack of a veil makes it easier for the Actress.  Sorry, Natasha (R.I.P.).  In addition, there's almost no Voice Over (thanks, Pinter) to tell June's story here.
She's still 'blessed' by 'the ceremony' with the Commander and his wife.

The change: it is Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway!  She came back for The Bye-Bye Man, but not a Show like Hulu's?  Alright...
June is still punished, but her misdeed is changed notably- no SPOILERS- and she is sent away.

The change: she apparently escapes, although without her Child.  The Show is starting Season 2, so, yeah, she's not leaving any time soon.

The End.
A dark, but still solid tale.  I was a bit brief here, but, as I said, I spent like 2 months reviewing the Show.  There's not much that's too different here to note.  What is obviously different is the amount of time given to the material.  The Show is (so far) made up of 10 Episodes that run about forty-minutes each.  The Film is just over two hours long.  As such, some things are obviously expanded upon notably and more stuff is dealt with.  You definitely related more to Elisabeth Moss' June here, since you hear her thoughts, see flashbacks and spend more time with her.  That's no insult to Richardson, as she does a good job here with what she has.  There's no weak link here, as Duvall and Dunaway are naturally good too.  There's definitely more nuance to the Characters on TV, which is, again, due to the expanded runtime.  You get enough to understand them, but stuff like the flashbacks to the Commander's Wife and her decline in status are sorely-missing.  Visually, the Film also looks great- even if I had to live with MGM's damn watermark throughout!  It's still good, but I prefer the more-detailed version.  You may disagree.  If nothing else, it has more neon...
Next time, I get back on track with some '70s Trash.  I want them to be good, but...they probably won't be.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 22, 2018

TV on the Internet: Ash vs Evil Dead- Tales From the Rift

Well, this one got more somber with the News on Friday.  I'll do my best to power through and keep going with this Season though, regardless of what happens next...
Kelly makes a bold move: go right after Ruby and try to take her out.  Is this a good idea?
At Ash's House, more Knights of Sumeria show up and offer to help.  I don't like their odds in a Show like this...
Elsewhere, Pablo is now connecting to his roots to become the Brujo.  This new power draws him to Ash, but will he be able to truly stop the evil?
In the Cellar, Pablo manages to use the writing on the wall to make a Portal open!  Nothing good happens with those, does it?

To find out what happens next, watch the Show.
Ash & company continue to deliver.  It's kind of sad to see a fairly-clear end in sight for this Show, but at least it hasn't lost its touch.  All of the stuff you expect and hope to see is here yet again.  Ash fights a freaky Monster- check.  To be fair, it is a bit like the fusion-creature from The Thing's Prequel Film.  It is still cool though, so no real docking of points here.  Kelly looks absolutely bad-ass in her big Scenes with Ruby.  Even if things don't always work out in her favor, she is willing to fight evil straight on!  Pablo getting to learn how his powers work is also nice to see.  He's always wanted to be a big help in that department and maybe now he can finally live up to his potential.  There's less outright slapstick in this one, but the more serious tone of it all makes that acceptable.  No matter what happens next for the Show- if anything- we will always have these good Episodes to enjoy.  Speaking of enjoying, they found a way to *almost* use Army of Darkness clips- yea.
Next time, Ruby's evil plan continues to unfold.  Can Ash and company stop it this time?  See you then...

*Holiday* Lost in Translation: Long Weekend (2008)

Ah, Mother Nature.  She loves us and we love her.

Well, she does give us Hurricanes and we do give her, well, just about everything we do.

Our relationship has long been 'on the rocks' and that is no more evident than in Long Weekend.

Until I actually bother to watch the Remake of that 1978 Film (or the Original even!), I figured I'd share with you this glorious Poster from China...

Oh you're serious?  This isn't Birdemic 3?

Way to kill the Drama of your, well, Drama, wit this nonsense.  Seriously, they are about to be tripped by an Octopus!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

'70s Import Trash: Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1970)

Is this a Prequel?  Nope.  It's much sillier than that.  Today's Film is Dracula vs. Frankenstein aka Assignment Terror, a 1970 Horror Film with so much going on.  As mentioned in the previous Review, Adamson's Film was delayed, having Filmed the whole thing without Dracula- being about the evil Doctor only- in 1969.  As usual, he reworked the Film to make it 1971.  Before that, this Film actually came out, although it didn't come out under this name until the 1980s.  VHS Boom- gotta love it.  Basically, there is just way too much back story for two sleazy Horror Films- and I didn't even mention how a Jesus Franco Film also got this same Title!  So what is this one about?  Well, to make a Meme Generator happy, it is...Aliens.  Seriously- no joke.  They want to conquer us, so they decide to bring back a bunch of Monsters to do so.  Roll Call- Dracula (sort of).  Frankenstein's Monster.  The Mummy.  The Werewolf.  The Golem.  Oops, Budget problems, so lose the Golem.  Make sure you don't cut the build-up for him though- that would be silly.  This one is basically what Universal was trying to set up with The Mummy...only done in an even more rushed fashion.  Yes, they did start the Cinematic Universe thing, but they also kind of suck at it now.  Will this Film succeed where they failed?  It's a one-and-done, so 'no.'  That said, it has a bunch of monsters, Paul Naschy and Aliens- what's not to love?  To find out how this often-retitled Movie is, read on...
Aliens want to conquer the Earth, since their Planet is dying.  Oh good- Sci-Fi Plot #52!
Instead of using their advanced technology to make weapons or devices, their plan is to resurrect and take control of all of our Monsters.

Insert 'Dead Politician You Don't Like Here' Joke.
First up is Dracula, or at least some Vampire according to the Subtitles.  Maybe it is supposed to be him, but there's no point where we see his tomb or anything, so....great job so far.
Next up is Paul Naschy's Werewolf, who is revived by the silver bullet being removed from his body.

According to this Film, he can only really die if he's shot by a silver bullet fired by a loved one.  Okay...
I should mention that while this is going on there is also a Police Investigation into the random bodies found along the way.

At a Library, they find this lovely book that I totally want to own.  Someone make this real already!
Next up is The Mummy, someone Universal never got in on the act (supposedly due to Budget issues).
Finally (since The Golem was cut), there's Frankenstein's Monster, who looks less cheap than in Egypt's Film, but far cheaper than Universal's.  He's also not green, since copyright.

Cool shot, bro.
Now that all of that build-up is out of the way, we can...oh right, the Movie only has like 20 minutes left.  That's...a problem.

Oh well, have our Hero- now with Naschy's reformed Werewolf- fight all of them one-by-one!
Naschy finishes off the last Monster, but is shot by his love.  Don't worry- he comes back like 6 more times (since this is non-canonical).

As for the Aliens, their overlord leaves them to die as the Police surround the place.  They blow up the lab too- shocking.  The End.
A fun, but messy Film.  If this was a better paced Film, it would be an easy recommendation to fans of Grindhouse and/or cheesy Monster Films.  It has a Mummy fighting a Wolfman.  It has Frankenstein's Monster fighting a Wolfman.  It has Aliens bringing a Vampire, a Wolfman, a human monster and a Mummy to life!  It should be glorious!  It is only so-so.  The Film just doesn't quite work because too much time is spent on set-up and not enough time on pay-off.  It just takes WAY too long to get all of the Characters together.  On top of that, they added weird little bits like some of the Aliens succumbing to emotions and conflict within the group.  Get to the good stuff!  That said, the good stuff is pretty damn good.  Dracula(sort of) gets in a stand-off with our Hero as he wields a spear.  The Wolfman and the Monster smash up a Lab in typical, but fun fashion.  The Wolfman lights the Mummy on fire and then sets in him a giant wheel, his flaming body spinning around gloriously!  If the Film was more of that and less of them discussing how to conquer emotions and the World, this would be a true classic.  As it is, it is a bit tainted and disappointing in some ways.  On the plus side, the German/French Credits give Paul Naschy a Writing Credit under his real name and an Acting one under his Stage one!
 ***Who else gets Credits under two different names?***
Next time, I dig deep into the 1970s to find something weird to cover.  What will it be?  Stay tuned...