Thursday, May 31, 2018

Quick Reviews: The Devil's Rock (2011)

Another Film involving WWII, Nazis and the supernatural?   Alright then...
The Movie tries really hard to sell you as being historically-accurate.

It kind of blows that by the Lead being a New Zealander in England...leading to them having to explain why he's even there.
It is all about 2 Soldiers leading a Commando Raid on a small Base on the eve of D-Day.

If nothing else, it makes for a good Tourism Video.
After hearing a woman's cries, the Lead goes in, while the other man is hesitant to stick around.
The latter's wariness is validated when he finds a Book on the occult and a bunch of bodies!
It all goes sour as a surviving Nazi captures them and reveals a strange prisoner.
She's, well, a Demon.

Can she be destroyed?  Can he work with the Nazi?  Should he?  To find out, watch the Film.
A Film with a little Budget, but big potential.  Here's what you need to know- the Film was originally going to be solely-funded by the Director mortgaging his House!  They thankfully got some money from the New Zealand Film Board, but this isn't exactly a big-Budget blockbuster.  That means that they only use about 5 people, stay inside for 90% of the Film and use limited make-up work.  You have to know that to judge the Film properly.  With that out of the way, the Film is nice and atmospheric, giving you long bits where the Actors play off each other well.  It is far less about the big moments than building and building dread.  There isn't *that* much Story and the Characters could really be fleshed out sooner.  The Lead, in particular, is pretty unremarkable until they finally give him some backstory to flesh him out.  The pay-off is eventually worth it, although you do have to slog through some drawn out bits in the First Act especially.  It still doesn't *quite* reach 90 minutes either, so bear that in mind.  All in all, Rock is an interesting Film that could have been truly great.  I know that it is sacrilege to say this online, but it could do with a Remake that treats it with the same care...but also has a few more Million behind it.  No matter what, it does feature a man with a name so great that it must be fake...
A decent-enough Thriller.  It has a pretty damn-small Budget though, which allows it to only go so far.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

My Crazy Youth: The Time That Swamp Thing Fought Two WCW Wrestlers

Another Swamp Thing Episode, you ask?  Well, DC is planning to make a brand new Series, so why not?  The Show ran for four years, so it gave us plenty of material to cover here on the Internet.

Shall I just get right to it?  Alright...
An unscrupulous Researcher kills a man for his notes and then kidnaps our non-green Hero to take him into the Swamp.
Why?

Well, a Mayan Temple is hidden somewhere in the Louisiana (by way of Orlando)Swamp.  It is guarded by...Kevin Nash and El Gigante/Giant Gonzales.  Yeah, they're totally both Mayans (and Ghosts).
The Ghosts exit the Temple to start punishing the people coming to steal the treasure.  Why they don't just stay is...a good question.

As for Swamp Thing, he confronts the pair...and is instantly-knocked out.  I may have lied with the Title.
Out in the Swamp, the trio must do battle with the blatant Stock Footage, perils of nature (created by the Ghost Warriors) and the treachery between the two Villains.
They eventually find the Temple and the blood of the Ghost Warriors, which will somehow unlock the secret to immortality...
… only for the Warriors to appear once again.  Swamp Thing/Alec tells Will to give back the blood, which makes the pair leave him alone as the Temple Door reseals and the other men's souls are taken!  The End.
Endearingly-silly stuff.  If you don't know, Swamp Thing was shot all around the Universal Studios Lot.  For example, the other Researcher is killed on what is clearly the same Main Street Backlot used for such Films as Carnosaur.   In fact, they shot Legends of the Hidden Temple at Universal too, so it makes me wonder.  In spite of this, they somehow try to have multiple Outdoor Sets, a Main Street and a Mayan Temple.  They try to cover the small Budget on the Show.  They do a decent-enough job, even if they repeat footage and locations a few times.  They did what they could with pretty little, so minor kudos.  The big draw is, of course, the Casting of Kevin Nash (at the time Vinnie Vegas) and Jorge Gonzales (currently El Gigante) as the Warriors.  They just wanted big guys to fake roar and pose dramatically.  You have to ignore the fact only one of them is actually Hispanic, of course.  It's all just plain silly fun.  On the plus side, it is better than the second time that Kevin Nash played an evil Ghost.  I do wish that Swamp Thing had actually gotten a chance to battle them, especially since they cast Wrestlers as the 'Villains.'  Kind of a missed opportunity- even though Gigante always sucked in the ring.  Maybe I will just see if they do better with Terry Funk.  In the meantime, enjoy this double whammy of a censored Magazine Ad and a person looking at Softcore Porn in a Show marketed to kids...
Another fun and silly Episode.  It has it all- a silly Plot, magic and Pro-Wrestlers!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Truly-Inspired Cover Art: American Psycho

Thanks to the random person of Facebook who found this originally.  It's worth the invasion of my privacy.

So American Psycho is a very divisive Film.  Some people love the Film, but don't compare it to the Book.  Some people dislike the Film since they love the Book.  Some people just hate it regardless.

We can all agree, I think, that this, however, is universally-great...
I don't care if this is official or not- I want it!

If you don't get the context, it relates to this scene.

To see the original, look below.
It's probably an issue with the resolution more than anything, but my version is definitely more clear.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Quick Reviews: The Evil Dead (1981)

Acceptance is a key part of the grieving process.  To help me with that, let me look back at how the whole Series got started...
Way back in 1981, Ashley and his friends go to a Cabin in the Woods.  What could go wrong?

Just imagine if this was set at any place but a Cabin.  How different would Films be now?
After lots of tension and establishing of Tropes that would be copied for Decades, his Sister has a, let's just call it bad, experience in the surrounding Woods.
The titular force then spreads slowly like a disease, mutating and corrupting all of those around him.
Things get freaky as the night goes on.  That's not even counting the transformations that came from all of the Reshoots!
While even the most casual fan must know what generally happens in the Film, here's a reminder of what isn't in *this* Film...

- No Chainsaw kills
- Ash's hands stay intact.
- No 'groovy.'
- No use of the word 'boom stick.'
Can Ash survive?  Will he be remotely the same person?  Can people stop thinking that Evil Dead II is a Remake?

To find out the answer to at least one of those questions, see the Film.  Do it already!
What else is there to say?  Raimi and company put themselves through hell to make a great, over-the-top Film for us all to enjoy?  In the 37 years since, there have been countless Sequels, rip-offs, spin-offs and marketing gimmicks.  As pure Horror, the original Evil Dead is hard to top.  Ash is a strong Hero that has to constantly deal with loss and find ways to overcome it.  He's a Hero.  Even after all of this time, the Film is still very effective at everything it tries to be.  The overdose of blood and guts is still shocking, but in a palatable way.  The sheer Horror of having friends and family turn into murderous monsters still works.  While some of the make-up work- mostly the stop-motion- can be dated, they clearly knew how to shoot what they could.  I know that it was hell to get right, but it was worth it.  For a Film that is literally older than me, it doesn't look that dated.  That is just part of what makes it a Classic.  If you haven't seen this yet, do it already.  If you're worried that it won't hold up, don't.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to see a man about trying some new facial products.  He says that they work wonders...
Classic Films never stop being Classics.  Need I say more?  Oh right- groovy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Quick Reviews: Lost River (2014)

Eh, I'd stick to Acting.  To see how Ryan Gosling manages to make a worse Terrence Malick Film than Malick himself, read on...
In idyllic Detroit, we get...

Okay, am I the only one that sees Tree of Life here?  I mean, come on!!!!
Oh yeah, the Plot.

Basically, this Mom is trying to save her House, while her Son is stripping houses for copper.
This angers Dr. Who here, the guy who apparently runs this three-block radius with four Houses, a Store and no Cops.
To try and afford the House, Mad Men Lady works at a strange Club where people sing and women get fake murdered.

Eva Mendes- who did she sleep with to be in this Film?  Oh...right.
Who needs Strippers when you can have this?

Seriously, it's like the maker of A Serbian Film made a Club.
Can they escape from this sad Town?  Can they survive?  Can Saoirse Ronan keep this off her Resume forever?

To find out, watch the Film (if you really insist).
Go back to saving Jazz!  Ryan Gosling is a really good Actor.  I really liked stuff like Blade Runner 2049.  Please stick to that, man.  I want to like you.  Don't make bad Films like this.  Del Toro did this better.  Terry Gilliam did this better.  To be fair, the Film has some neat visuals (when not ripping off Malick) and it uses color well.  If this was a Music Video, it would be good.  Unfortunately, it is a narrative Film with barely any narrative, barely any forward momentum and I couldn't care about any of the Characters.  It's just...a bad Movie.  It is clear that Ryan Gosling has a thing for random, inexplicable gore that don't drive the Plot.  Joy.  On the plus side, there's no issue involved in pointing the blame...
After Only God Forgives, it is easy to assume that the Director was to blame.  Seeing its Star make a worse Film kind of disproves that (a little).

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Impossibly-Cool and Lost in Translation VHS Cover Art: Girls Nite Out

Is this the last one?  Maybe.

This one checks off a few boxes...
Foreign- Check.
Over the Top- Check.
VHS Box Art- Check.

How good is it though?
Okay, it's pretty bad-ass.

Supposedly there is a completely-bonkers Trailer that ties to this one.  It features ladies not from the Film talking about 'what happened that night' as Scenes play.

I still can't find it.

In the meantime, fear the claw!!!

As always...
Aside from the obvious 'patching' I did, it was purely touch-up and accenting here.  It's not always hard.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Old-School TV: One Step Beyond- 'The Dead Part of the House'

Another trip back in time.  This beat The Twilight Zone to the air, but did it equal it?  Let's take...
John Newland just kind of appears in this House to introduce the tale of ghosts.  Ooohhh...
A recently-widowed man visits his Sister with his Daughter.  Obviously, things aren't great.
She's curious about noises she hears upstairs and the mystery of a room that is locked.
Unfortunately for her, Dad is having a hard time reconnecting with her following the loss.  She has to make new friends...with girls in her room that only she can see and hear.
It is just a backdrop for some family drama as the Dad learns to deal with his daughter again and he can never prove whether or not the ghosts- the girls died from a gas leak when left alone in the room- are real or not. 

He thanks them anyways before they return home.  The End.
A simple, but effective Story.  In case it is not clear yet, One Step Beyond is more grounded in reality than the more famous Twilight Zone.  I'm not saying that it is 100% real, because, well, why would I?  It just doesn't feature Satan or Space Aliens or Monsters.  This is mostly straight Dramas with some sort of vague element of mystic stuff- be it ESP, ghosts or projection.  There are no monsters- only men and women.  Once you get past that, just enjoy the Show for what it is.  I sure did.  This one is a bit more dry than some others, but still quite good.  Kudos for never paying off the ghosts in a clear, dramatic way.  If you believe in this stuff, the Story will be believable.  If you don't, well, it won't.  They don't take sides (mostly) or outright cheat here.  It is what it is.  Speaking of that, I had fun looking up the Actors on IMDB.  The guy who played the Dad was a Character Actor who died in 1998 with one notable credit- Nick Fury!
Next time, I have one last Episode on the Disc.  Let's see if it ends this run in a big way.  See you then...

Friday, May 18, 2018

Immediate Response: Deadpool 2

Can they catch lightning in a bottle again?  X-Movies can sometimes be really good the 2nd time around, so let's see...
The Good
* The Film is just so damn funny.  Sick and twisted, but also with some genuine jokes too.
* Reynolds makes Deadpool shine yet again, playing him as the sardonic, self-deprecating, 4th Wall breaking idiot we all love.
* The Movie is shot well and the Action is easy enough to follow.  That's high praise for a 2010s Action Film- sadly.
* All of the new Characters shine.  Yes, even Peter.
* The Story is deeper and more sincere than you might expect.  It's a strange blend, but it works.

The Bad
* It's still a Deadpool Film, so it's going to be full of cursing and dirty jokes.
* It's still very META, so you still won't like that if you hated it in the first one.
* If you're in this solely for the jokes, the Melodrama may not be your favorite.  Vice versa.

Deadpool 2 was a fun, ridiculous Movie...with a lot of heart.  Like I said, weird blend...but it works.

Netflix and Thrill: Jessica Jones- Season 2 (Part 2)

As Deadpool shoots his way into Theaters, I look at the continued adventures of a Marvel heroine that Mr. Pool would love.  She'd break him...and he'd love it.

At this point, the question is obvious- did they avoid the Episode 7 Problem?  Let's see...
After tracking down the mysterious killer, Jessica learns her identity.  No SPOILER though.
Meanwhile, the other people in her life are not doing great.  Her Sister is doing some weird drug and Malcolm is trying to prove himself as an equal as a P.I.
Can Jessica form a new familial connection with her Landlord and his Son?  Can she be whole?
Will Jessica fall back into the 'hole' of her drinking and self-abuse?
Or will she be the Heroine she truly can be?  To find out, watch the (second half of) the Show.
A second half that doesn't disappoint.  Some people were never going to like this Season.  Why?  It didn't feature Kilgrave.  Aside from that, could they do anything right?  Yes.  As always, the Acting is quite good.  Ritter as Jones is always great, playing some bits subtle and others as big as they need to be.  She manages to be super-strong and also vulnerable in alternating moments.  She was able to rebound from being done 'not so well' in The Defenders, so good for her.  The Story goes in some neat directions and everyone gets a little bit of an arc here.  Some people are going to love or hate the Villain Reveal.  It really worked for me and they went as far with as they could.  Every arc had a solid payoff and nothing felt wasted.  Without SPOILing anything, one bit that I thought they had just dropped does get paid off in the Finale, so good for them.  In case it wasn't obvious, I did not binge this Series- as I never do.  I can only imagine how emotionally-rough it would be to just watch like 11 hours of this straight!  Everything is good and earned too.  I suppose I have to go back now and finally watch The Punisher, huh?  In the meantime, enjoy our Supporting Heroine dressed up like a Ringmaster...for no clear reason.
Is it the best Show (counting both Seasons) of the Marvel Netflix run?  Based on emotion and Story, yes.  It just might wreck you.