Saturday, June 30, 2018

Quick Reviews: The Death of Superman (2018)

Wow, SPOILER Alert, Title!  Seriously though, I'm not sure why DC is redoing this Story in Animated form *twice* in a Decade.  Regardless, here we are...
In this vaguely-New 52 Animated Timeline, Superman is still protecting Metropolis and Lex Luthor sounds like Rainn Wilson.

Wait a second...
The Justice League is trying to keep the world safe, but will a threat from outside of Earth find them?
Doomsday shows up on Earth and the killing begins!  Can a full-power Justice League stop him?
Oh and Superman is wondering whether or not he can tell Lois his secret identity.

Hey, you're not Action!
Superman finally shows up to battle Doomsday.  Can he do it?
Will Superman win?  Will Doomsday succeed?

I mean, you kind of know how this works from the Title, but there's still more to see.  The End.
 A bit of a retread, but still good.  Seriously, I already have Superman vs. Doomsday on DVD.  It came out about 2007.  So did we need another one of these?  That said, they still do a good job with the Story.  Unlike the other Version, they don't make this a single, solitary Story, which requires a bit of rushing.  This one is 'allowed to breathe' and develop.  The Animation is good and the Voice Acting is also reliable.  DC continues to be interesting with the Casting- following Tony Hale as The Joker- and it honestly works.  It took me a while to recognize Wilson as Luthor and after figuring it, I didn't find it distracting.  The Casting of actual Couple as Superman and Lois Lane was neat too.  This still has the usual DC problems- the need to be bloody and edgy all the time-, but also all of good DC stuff- like an actually-funny Flash.  It's a mixed bag that I still can't explain.  I mean, it's a New 52 version of a '90s Story that wasn't done in the New 52 AND we've already rebooted past the New 52 Timeline anyhow.  I mean, what's next- Luthor with the wig and beard he had in the original Comic Version of this Story?
A good, action-packed re-telling a familiar Story.  I'm still not clear why we needed another one of these, but oh well.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Lost in Translation?: A Boy and His Dog

The World lost a great, eccentric man yesterday.  In honor of Harlan Ellison, here's an alternate Poster for one of the Films based on his work.

If you don't know the Film, you should.  If you don't recognize the Title, however, that's a different story...
I don't know why you'd change the Title, if I'm being honest.  They did though.

In spite of that, they do keep the general theme, even if it appears to be taking place in Outer Space (which it isn't).

Here's the original version I found...
To be honest, this was the best quality one I could find.  Thankfully, it just needed a little touching up to be beautiful.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

'80s Trash: Mama Dracula (1980)

It sucked.  Yes, it is the obvious joke to make when Reviewing a bad Vampire Film, but, well, this movie earned it.  Besides, if THEY won't try to make good jokes, why should I?  This is Mama Dracula, a 1980 'Comedy' based very loosely on the Elisabeth Bathory legend.  They can't ever quite get it right, especially considering that History all but exonerates her.  It is most notable for its Star- Academy Award Winner Louise Fletcher.  'Nurse Ratchet' is here as the Title Character and is really the only classy thing here.  The Film was made by a Belgian Director known for a bunch of Sex Comedies before this and, well, nothing after that.  There's nothing too interesting to share about the Cast...but I do have one kind of confusing thing.  So the other Lead- he plays the Doctor- is also Belgian and has a long Career of doing English Dubbing on French Cartoons...despite speaking English here quite well...and doing many Films in French.  As a bonus, he was a Dubbing Actor on Subway, a Luc Besson Film I did a while back.  Sadly, he's not the Dubbed Voice for Lambert, which would just make this full circle.  Enough stalling- let's take a bite...
A Doctor- who's name is just 'blood' spelled differently- studying Blood and gets invited to a Blood Conference.

Note to self- Copyright Band Name 'Blood Conference.'  Don't read this.
He ends up in Transylvania (a bit made confusing by a shot of a Boat coming TO America and then a plane leaving it in the next Scene) and meets the twins.  They are the best and worst part of the Film.
Fletcher is Bathory and she wants him to make synthetic blood to feed her and her Sons.  Oh and her Sons are actual Vampires, while she is not.

Why?  Why not, I guess?
Things are a bit freaky in the Castle as work progresses.
On the plus side, the Twins do a pantomime bit.  It serves no purpose, but is at least the most interesting thing in the Film.
He does what he can to get the formula to work, but needs one thing: human blood.

After complaining about how they are evil for killing virgins for their blood, he now asks for it...
Cue 'Kidnapping women to kill for their blood' montage.
In the midst of this, they kidnap a different woman, but both Bathory and the Doctor fall for her.
It all *yawn* comes to a head as the Village finally storms the Castle, but is stopped by *sigh* Musical Theater.  Oh and the Lady marries both of the twins.  The End.
Ugh.  That could be the world's shortest Review for this Film- ugh.  It's not funny.  It's not scary.  It's not interesting.  It's the worst of all worlds.  Mama Dracula sucks.  Yeah, I'm using that joke again.  This Film didn't earn anything other than my general disgust and disdain.  Even this confusing bit where a Shark presents a birthday card to Bathory can't get a rise out of me...
Next time, I try to cover something better.  The bar is pretty low, so that should be easy, right?  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

My Crazy Youth: The Time That Robocop Battled 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper

At last, Robocop meets Wrestling!

Oh right- that already happened in 1990.  Crap.

Well, it happened again in 1994 and it is mocked far less, so let me be the one to take this one...
We're about halfway into the run of the 1st (and only) Season of this Show, so I won't recap the whole thing.  The gist of it...

Robocop is around.  People in OCP are often corrupt and he has to stop their schemes.  That's all you really need for this one (which doesn't feature the dead Scientist who is now an A.I. hologram now).

So with that in mind...

OCP's latest thing is marketing Commander Cash, a blatant attempt to sell toys and products.  Is that it though?
They try to get Robocop involved, who becomes aware of the issue when a bunch of kids are caught stealing the toys from Stores.

While this is an interesting Episode, why don't we get one showing the 8-year old kids planning out and doing Heists on Toy Stores?!?
At a Mall Opening Event, a man takes the place of the person meant to play Cash.  He tells the kids that the toys are all free, creating a riot.

Yes, that is Roddy Piper with a yellow dildo-looking thing on his head and powder-blue spandex.
While Robocop tries to decipher what the fake Cash is up to, we see that the products sold are...creepy.

Hurray for toys that let you reenact Luigi Cozzi's Contamination!
After two face-offs with 'Cash,' the pair finally talk to each other and the man reveals his back story...view Animation.

The short version- he made the Character, but it was stolen (along with some tech) as part of a plan to mind-control the future leaders of America (the kids) with the Show.
So that leads to the pair teaming up and stopping the evil OCP guy, who is very quick to go overtly-evil when confronted.

All is right with the World...well, I mean, kind know what I mean.  The End.
More serious than it sounds, but only a little.  The Episode sounds like it is going to be terrible.  Robocop must battle a guy dressed up in a terribly-realized version of a comic-book superhero outfit.  At least it isn't Steel.  In spite of how it sounds, it is actually pretty good.  The OCP Villain- like most in the Show- is pretty uninspired and just kind of evil.  The hook of the 'villain' dressing up like Commander Cash is alright, but nothing special.  What makes it work is all of the little things that they do to make the whole thing feel real.  We get conflict with Robocop when the kids are used against him.  We get his helpers trying to figure out the source of the seeming mind-control of the kids.  We get a more complex back-story for the 'Commander' than I would have guessed.  The Action is even pretty good, albeit stilted due to the nature of a Made-for-TV Robocop.   There's nothing mind-blowing here- plain and simple.  That said, the silliness of the Commander Cash outfit was enough of a hook for me to see it and the actual Episode delivered.  Just to wipe a little good will, however, here is the toy that they sold of...Commander Cash.
Basic stuff at first, but done well enough.  That's a good summary of the Show really- it's alright.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

*Gained* in Translation: Yoga Hosers

This is a tough one for me.

I grew up loving Kevin Smith and his Films as a teenager.  This one...just hurt.

I love ya, Kev, but you made a stinker.  I'm glad your kid was in it,'s a 'no' from me.

Now just imagine what it was like for the folks in Japan when they got this Poster...
Damn!  That obvious riff on The Force Awakens' Poster is honestly funnier than, well, Yoga Hosers.

Thanks to Kevin Smith for sharing this a while back.  He's a good sport.

Here's the original...
Pretty great without me, but I like to think that I helped.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

'10s Trash?: The Ghostmaker (2012)

Before the new Flatliners and after the original Flatliners, there is this Film.  To be fair, The Ghostmaker is not a complete rip-off, but it is very, very similar.  The Plot involves a machine that allows the user to enter a dead-like state and go around as a ghost.  Doing this too many times has consequences, leading to all sort of crimes.  This one is obviously less grounded in reality and Science than those Films.  I mean, look at the title.  Incidentally, it is only ever referred to as a Ghost Machine, so why this Title?  Was Ghost Machine too close to Ghost in the Machine?  I don't get it.  The Machine doesn't create ghosts, so why is it called this?  There's enough silly to pick apart in this one, so I'll just move on...
The Film begins with random clips which they claim to have appeared on YouTube.  They didn't.

They say that it is 'inspired' by their story.  It isn't.
While clearing out a House, this guy finds a coffin-looking thing.  He's told to destroy it, but he doesn't.
Him and his two friends look over the device, which is filled with strange clockwork mechanisms.
Their smart, nerdy friend discovers that it was made in the 15th Century by a strange inventor who was killed for heresy.  What does it do?
It makes you temporarily dead, allowing your ghost to walk around while the music playing.  It's like Pop Goes the Weasel, only with your soul.
While the nerdy guy warns them about using it too much, the others use it again and again.  They each have their own vices, but they are surely using it for good, right?
...maybe not.
The nerdy guy investigates the sound, explaining how it works further.  Why we need this is anyone's guess.  Am I supposed to believe that this is a real thing now?

In any event, he discovers that someone or something is coming after them now!
Will one of them go too far with their new power?

To find out, watch the Film.
A surprisingly-decent Film.  I got the Film solely due to the Title and crazy premise.  Was I expecting it to be good?  Hell no.  To my surprise, it's actually kind of alright.  The premise is a simple riff on previous Films like the ones I mentioned in the lead-in.  You know how it works- people get power and one of them inevitably goes crazy with it.  Likewise, we use many of the ghost clichés to simple effect.  What they add here is a voyeuristic element as the men use their invisibility to see people in their unguarded moments.  It adds some nice tension to things, while also allowing them to push the Plot forward nicely.  Be keeping the Cast nice and small- probably more for Budget reasons-, they make it easier to connect.  I still have issues with some of the growth of the Characters, but I accept it.  I won't get too deep into SPOILERS here, but I do question how using the device affects the human body to make it stronger.  They don't explain it, so how can I?  The Ghostmaker is a Film that looks terrible at first, but actually becomes a decent mix of Horror and Drama.  It can't ever truly escape the Tropes and clichés of the Genre though.  It did give me a new one for the Fake Googles made up for Films Collection though...
Next time, something new or something old.  With me, who's to say?  Stay tuned...

Friday, June 22, 2018

TV on the Internet: Ash vs. Evil Dead- Series Finale

So it finally comes to this, eh?  The idea of us getting more Evil Dead after Army of Darkness was a long shot.

Getting a second Season was a long shot.

Getting a third Season was still a long shot.

I've reached the final Stage- Acceptance.

Let's do this thing...
In the wake of 3 Episodes worth of sudden wrap-up happening last time, a brand new Evil is loose...
...and it is big!

Things don't look good.
In spite of that, Ash and company will take one last stand to prove the mettle of man.

Nice Evil Dead callback here too, guys.
Can Ash save mankind from Evil in his final adventure?
More importantly, will we ever get any follow-up on this Ending?  I'm looking at you, Comic Books.

Seriously, we need Ash vs. Evil Dead: Season 4 as a Comic.  Make it happen.  The End (forever?).
A good, if slightly-sad end to the Series.  Did it hit my three qualifications for a good Episode?  Ash gets knocked around and kicks ass- check.  The Plot is progressed nicely and things are wrapped up- check.  The freaky monster here is here, plus some classic Deadites- check.  All in all, they hit everything nicely.  The sad note here is that there will be no Season 4, so we can only read about the possible ideas they had for it.  It looked strange and promising in the closing.  Here's hoping that Comics keep this going somehow.  This feels like a good Season Finale and, to be honest, is still a good Series Finale.  It was most likely only meant to be the former, but at least things worked out.  It would be hard to top the giant creature in this Episode, but I would have loved to see them try.  We can have Roseanne without Roseanne, so let's see what happens to the rest of the Ghost Beaters.  Given Ash's situation, it is easy to make it without Bruce if he so chooses to stay retired as Ash.  Nothing against him, by the way- he's earned the right to do it.  Besides, I'd be a dick to say mean things about his choice on his Birthday (the time of this being posted originally).  The Show was fun, bloody and ridiculous.  In other words, great TV.  As a random bonus, they name-dropped Kane as part of a Plot Point.  Way to cater to one specific audience member- I appreciate it.
A big note for the Show to go out on.  Having said that, they end on yet another strange Cliffhanger!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

*Late* Response: Tag (2018)

I debated whether or not to Review this, given that I usually do older nonsense or recent insanity.  Well, I made a decision and, well, it should be obvious what it was by now...
The Good
* The Premise is fun and believable (since, you know, it is based on real events).
* The Cast works together as a group of opposites, be it Hannibal's dry wit, Hamm's natural charisma, etc.
* There's more going on here than just the silliness.  When it gets sappy, it manages to rein it in.
* Renner's CG Hands (covering up his casts) are more effective than Cavill's CG upper lip.

The Bad
* A Romantic Love Triangle Sub-Plot is pretty unnecessary.
* The attempts at being a deeper Film don't always ring true, no matter how hard they try.

It was never going to be the big Film of the Summer, but could it be a sleeper hit?  It certainly warrants it.