Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Zoned Out: The Twilight Zone- 'The Blue Scorpion'

A late entry, but time is kind of relative in this place.  Speaking of relative, how do we determine what is alive or not?
A man- Chris O'Dowd- comes home to find his father dead.  How and why would an old hippie kill himself with a gun?
Said gun- the titular one- is apparently rare, mysterious and worth some money.
As strange coincidences start to surround the man (how many 'Jeff's can there be?), will he give in to the insanity?
Or will he find a way to work himself out of this odd situation?  Is the gun alive?

To find out, stream the Episode.
The semi-final Episode is a strong one.  It's definitely a more subdued, character-driven Episode.  People tend to associate this Show- in its many iterations- as more of a broad Sci-Fi Show.  Granted- some of the most famous ones are like that.  That said, the Character-driven ones are nice too.  Without Aliens or anything cosmic, you can really delve into stuff like this.  This one is all about fate and Animism.  Why do we think of objects as alive?  Why do we pick certain ones to do that?  What do you if life itself seems to be trying to tell you something?  How many hints does it take?  O'Dowd manages the good balance between being skeptical and being open-minded.  He certainly doubts things, but fate eventually seems to wear him down.  Everyone does a nice job here, but this is a good showcase for him.  Given how hit-and-miss stuff with him in the States tends to be, I'm glad to see him shine.  If you're a fan of his, definitely check this out.  The actual Story is a bit odd (and not my favorite).  I still had a good time trying to figure stuff out, which Twilight Zone is known for.  If nothing else, check it out to see the guy from The I.T. Crowd really act...  
Next time, the final Episode of this Season gets META.  Also Seth Rogen is here, apparently.  See you then...

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Quick Reviews: Cold Pursuit

I feel like I already saw this Movie!  Oh right- I saw the Original.  Is this mostly a retread?  Let's see...
A man named Coxman (changed from Dickman, because...reasons) loses his son to some Drug Dealers.  Since he's Liam Neeson, he's driven to seek revenge.

And yes, I will ignore the Elephant in the Room.  We all know what he said.
To be honest, there are NO structural changes at all from the Original.  To get a more detailed Plot, see that Review.

Here are the few differences.  For one, they make the 2nd target a guy who runs a Bridal Shop.  That's...helpful?
Since the Film was moved from Norway to Michigan, the rival gang changed from Serbians to Native Americans.
Another weird ethnic change in the form of the Hitman.  In the original, he's a Danish-Japanese man.  In this one, he's Black.

Again- just ignoring that Elephant in the Room.
There are a bunch of little changes- like giving the Policemen more Scenes-, but I'll end by highlighting a positive one.

In the original, the bad guy punches his ex-wife before telling her about the Son being kidnapped.  In this one, she ducks his punch and grabs him, well, where it counts...and then he tells her.  Nice change.

To find out the rest, watch this version (or either).
If you were expecting more than just a minorly-tweaked Remake, think again.  To be fair, the original Film worked and didn't really *need* many changes.  I just still don't like when Remakes do so little.  Imagine, for instance, waiting forty years for a new Carrie and...it's just the same with CGI added.  In this case, the additions aren't as egregious to many as CGI is, but they have the opposite problem.  So little has changed that I just don't really see the point.  Did we need Liam Neeson and other Actors swapped out in the Roles?  Everyone in the original was good, so it's not like doing a nearly-shot-for-shot version of The Room with Shailene Woodley as Lisa and Theo James as Johnny.  Do they think that we can't relate to Films set somewhere else?  Cold Pursuit is still a good Film.  It already was a good Film, so that's no change.  For me, it's just not quite as good as In Order of Disappearance.  I like Neeson, but Skarsgard really fits the role better.  Here's another little change to cover as I wrap things up.  In the original, the Wife is barely in the Film.  In the new one, she's barely in it...but now she's Laura Dern.
A good Film that isn't ruined by the changes in locale or casting.  To be honest, I just don't think that Liam Neeson pulls off the tone right, making this halfway a usual Film of his and halfway what it should be.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Doom Patrol- 'Penultimate Patrol'

As we near the end, we wait to see if the Show will get renewed.  It's hard to say at this point.  Let's see how the end comes...
In a flashback, we see the pre-Mr. Nobody having trouble making it big.

Weirdly, he doesn't narrate this at all.  Did you guys forget to do this?
In the Present, Flex Mentallo tries to help them find Mr. Nobody to save The Chief.

Yes, this is helping.
The sneaky villain still has one big trick up his sleeves...err, disembodied arms.
Can they stop the all-powerful being?  Can they survive?

To find out, stream the Episode.  They could cancel the Show at any point, so enjoy it while you can.
A weird way to nearly end the Season.  On the plus side, they lean in to my complaints about their inaction.  It still doesn't excuse things, of course.  They finally do something!  Even when that happens, of course, they still stall for time.  Granted- that stalling is kind of funny and weird.  Once they get in action, they...stall again.  Again- this one is good, but it is still stalling.  Now we get some action right?  Right?  Yes?  Kind of.  This Episode has some genuinely-good moments and performances, so I don't want to take away from them.  I was just expecting, you know, more.  For instance, that last bit with Beard Hunter made you think that something really bad would happen.  Instead, he's just on Danny the Street.  What in the what now?!?  Does the good outweigh the bad?  Mostly yes.  Does the good outweigh the weird attempts to stall and make this Show get to 15 Episodes?  By this point, the answer should be obvious to you.  Here's hoping the Finale is better than the one in Titans.  In the meantime, let me see if I can get a Meme started...
Next time, the final Episode of the Season.  Given the turmoil at DC, it could be the last ever!  See you then...

Friday, June 14, 2019

5 Forgotten Moments of Crazy from 1960's TV Shows

I watch weird stuff.  If that's news to you by now, welcome to your very first visit!

Over a relatively-short period of time, I checked out some of offerings on retro Channels.  They show a wide variety of programs- some famous and some not.

For instance, did you know that the late-Larry Cohen created a Show about Alien Body Snatchers?  I do and so do you now!

There are many famous moments to pick from- Star Trek featuring Lincoln to any of the crazy death traps on Batman.

Here are some less famous- but still crazy as hell- moments...

5. History Takes An Arrow to the Knee: Time Tunnel mixing History and Historical Fantasy- why not?  The Show was an early prototype of stuff like Quantum Leap and this Episode is no exception.

Here's where it gets crazy- they have to help Robin Hood make King John sign the Magna Carta.  That's not how it happened!
4. The Mechanical Man: Dr. Loveless really wasted his gifts!  In this last Season Episode of Wild, Wild West, the Doctor- in his last appearance- goes on a revenge bender.  To help himself, he has a new creation...

A Steam-Powered Robot!  Yes, that happened!  Did this foreshadow the Giant Spider Bot?!?
3. The Big Brain: This stands out even in a Show like this.  Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was sort-of Sci-Fi, but made the 'go big or go home' transition that Seaquest DSV did much quicker.

In this Episode, they find a weird coral-looking thing.  It turns out to be an alien brain creature!  It takes over one of the men to achieve it's goals!

Even so, this pales in comparison to...
2. The Collector: The Episode begins with time freezing and the Captain going missing.  It gets odder from there!

The gist is this: a bored guy from the far-future kidnaps Military Men he finds interesting for his menagerie.  He also has Robots.

There's so much '...and then this happens' in one Episode that it's hard to top.  Unless...
1. Revenge of the Ghost of...Nero?!?: You bring in Ghosts?!?

In this Time Tunnel Episode, a trip to war-torn Italy (WWI) gets weirder when the basement of a Villa hides the Tomb of Nero!  Much like Zoltan, Hound of Dracula, the being is released by accident and vows revenge on the old man inside- since his Ancestor apparently betrayed Nero.

They also work in WWI German Soldiers, possession, a Medium in a Government Lab, 'mysterious interference' and a weird bit of redemption for...the Ghost of Nero.
Time Tunnel!

There are obviously TONS more to cover here.  Hell, I didn't even cover Lost in Space?

I *may* do more of these in the future, so let me know if that sounds interesting at all.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Swamp Thing- 'Worlds Apart'

Another week for this long, slow death march of a Series.  Can I get past this sense of futility?  Let's see...
In the wake of the big events at the end of the last Episode, Alec Holland's disappearance is investigated.

Somehow, this leads to a references to Blue Devil- who'd have guessed?!?
The titular character is having problem figuring out what the hell happened.

To be fair, I get like this any time I have to get up at 7am.
Abby Arcane is trying to solve his disappearance, as well as find out what is going on with the sick girl.

It took me until this Episode to realize that the same Actress from the last Season of Channel Zero is in this.  What a bad year for her and good Shows!
Can Swamp Thing come to terms with his new reality in time to save a life?  To find out, stream away.

Young Justice: Outsiders is back soon- hold strong!
Another slow and steady Episode.  The positives first, shall we?  We finally get some clear shots of Swamp Thing and he looks amazing!  It's a combination of great CGI, great Practical Effects and all around Production Values.  If they don't do more with this design after the Show ends, they are fools!  The Acting and Atmosphere are both top notch.  Everyone has a moment or two to shine.  There's a great bit with Virginia Madsen and a Psychic that I didn't tease before, for one.  The Climax of the Episode is quite good too, giving you suspense and brutal violence to end everything.  The negatives here are pretty minimal.  This one is still all about slow setup for the most part, so be prepared.  They still have more to set up (like Jason Woodrue) and tease.  The other big thing (to me) was the overuse of dramatic music.  It's clearly a James Wan thing and I'm not a big fan.  A Musical Score should accentuate the moments, not define them.  If something is scary, it should be so on its own merit, not because the Music suddenly got all loud and dramatic.  That may just be a problem for me though.  All in all, I like the Show and hope it continues to build on the little stuff- just do it faster.  You're on borrowed time, Series!  On the plus side, my personal stake in this one continues...
Next time, more intrigue and bloody death.  This sure ain't a kid's Show!  See you then...

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Zoned Out: The Twilight Zone- 'Point of Origin'

Another week and another trip to a strange land of allegory.  This week, are you really from where you think you are?
This WASP is nice and kind- just not as much as she thinks.  Her life is simple and perfect.
...but it's the Twilight Zone, so it is time for that all to change!
She's arrested for reasons they won't explain and processed with a bunch of other people that seem innocent enough.  What gives?
Will she find out the truth?  If she does, can she accept it?

To find out, stream the Show.
A solid, if more experimental Episode.  This one is a big change for the 'so obvious that it almost hurts' allegory of last week.  When you see what they are going for it, things appear more obvious.  That said, the trip to get there is pretty nice.  It starts out as a simple 'slice of life' and escalates into so much more.  They are clearly address a bigger issue, just in a Sci-Fi sort of way.  They don't beat you over the head with the message- nice.  You could definitely be less subtle with this one.  In this case, they get pretty creative with the whole thing.  That said, it is hard not to see some inspiration for stuff like The Handmaid's Tale, at least with the visuals.  You can't put WASP-y women in uniforms without me seeing that- to be fair.  Given how surreal they play this one, it isn't my favorite Episode so far, but I think it has staying power.  Plus, it has this neat little Easter Egg...
Next time, a tragic death leads to a strange mystery.  What is it all about?  See you then...

Friday, June 7, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Doom Patrol- 'Flex Patrol'

Another week of meandering, but solid stories.  Will the trend get bucked?  Let's see...
In a Flashback, we see Flex Mentallo, before he's captured by the bad guys who love normalcy.
In further Flashbacks, we see that him and Negative Man were once neighbors.  Can this end well?
The gang needs to do something dramatic to get Flex's memory back, since he's apparently key to finding The Chief.

Yeah, that guy.  He has no appearance in this Episode at all.  Not one.
Can they deal with all of their issues and get behind, you know, the Plot?  Will the guy from Up help?

To find out, stream away.  Just don't get too attached to any Show these days...I guess.
A pretty decent distraction.  I'll deal with the one bit at the end later.  Discussing the actual Episode first, it is good.  They don't actually do a whole lot.  Most of the Episode is made up of Flashbacks, specifically ones involving Negative Man and Flex Mentallo.  On that note, I do like their interpretation of Flex here.  The whole idea is quite weird- a Comic Book Character come to life with vague, reality-warping powers- and it fits this show.  I'm not sure what his importance is here, but we'll see.  The Acting is really good here and I have no complaints about that.  Now here's the big issue- using Mr. Nobody to break the 4th Wall.  That's his thing, but it was used very sparingly and for random nonsense.  Having him references the DC Streaming Service to The Chief- distracting, but harmless.  Having him actively make the same complaints that I did- not cute.  That is oddly too META.  Make sense?  I'm looking forward to the closure here, even if they made me wait so damn long.  Seriously though, stupidly-META Mr. Nobody is...no.
Next time, the Plot moves forward?  That can't be right...can it?  See you then...

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Rare Flix: Seedpeople (1992)

A Review long in the making!  Well, I'm writing it all in one day, but you get the hyperbole.  Today's Film is Seedpeople, a 1992 Full Moon Film that is kind of rare.  Finding it wasn't like opening up a Bunker in Peru or anything- just random luck finding it in a multi-Film set.  I've seen it advertised on numerous Full Moon Releases, but never found it until recently.  Was it worth the wait?  Will it make me finally track down and watch Shrunken Heads or any of those Killer Eye Sequels?  The Film comes to us from a Director with only a handful of feature Credits.  The most notable Film for him is either Arena or The Dungeonmaster (in which he only Directed a Segment).  He apparently still does the occasional Full Moon cash grab- like a 'Film' that is just people watching Puppet Film Clips-, so good for him.  Unlike Evil Bong (which has 8 Films?!?), this is a one-and-done, a Full Moon rarity.  How they made multiple Killjoy Films, but only one of these is anyone's guess.  The Plot involves evil seeds from outer space, silly monsters and mind-control.  It's not exactly original.  If you ever wanted a dumber version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers mixed with Critters, you're in luck.  Also seek help, you weirdo!  Is this forgettable or a hidden (sort of) gem?  To find out, read on...
A man- our Lead- wakes up in some sort of room with a head injury.  He's strapped down when a Government Agent starts to question him.  He tells his story.

Not to jump ahead, but you see the Twist coming, right?  It's super-obvious!!!
He returned home to Comet Valley, where he left behind personal drama.  He's here to study more meteor rocks that just got discovered.
The Sheriff- aka his ex-lady's new beau- finds a weird Triffid-like Tree...which shoots him with ooze and makes a mutant double of him.
Said double is one of three creatures, which usually roll around like the aforementioned Critters.

They look silly, but just the right kind of silly for a Creature Feature.
Only one man figures out the truth without being corrupted.  Naturally, he looks insane while doing so.
It all relates to a Meteor that struck the now-ironically-named Valley.  Seeds are apparently the 'best way to travel in Space' according to him.  That Meteor, naturally, was a giant seed.

Anyone going to question this logic?  Nah.
The alien has controlled most of the Town by now and wants to spread its seed around to conquer the Earth.

That sounded more gross than I meant.
After a long, silly climax, they seemingly-free the people and burn the seeds in a fiery crash.
...only for it to be (obviously) revealed that they survived (HOW?!?), took over everyone again and they kill our Lead off-screen.

This is what happens when you write a Story and THEN add a Twist.  The End.
A sometimes fun, but mostly-silly mess.  The core premise- aliens and their seeds conquer a Town- is fine.  It's not *original,* but it's fine.  The problem is that they don't quite know how they want things to work.  At one point, they seemingly-kill and replace people.  At another point, they just expose you to the seeds and control you.  They thrown in the idea that UV Light hurts them (I don't know why) and this somehow breaks the control over you.  Why and how?  You seeing the light hurts the thing inside of you somehow and it dies...I guess.  They don't say, so how can I?  It's also not clear why they need to keep you around if they can replace you...unless there's an Addendum to Rule C, Part 2 of Alien Body Takeover Rules that I missed.  Ignoring that, the Acting is okay.  One weird bit of casting- a Woman plays the Mother of a Girl...who's Actress is only 9 years younger!  Eww and/or huh?  The Lead has one of those generic looks that made me sometimes think of him as Steve Railsback, but other times as Randy Orton or the guy from Time Chasers.  I should also note that Sonny Davis is here Full Moon Regular Sonny Davis is here as a random guy, making this one of his earliest Films with them.  Coincidentally, his most recent credit is a Short Film called Seed.  Fate works in mysterious ways, folks!  If this was more of a Creature Feature, it would work.  If it was more of a Body Snatcher Film, it would also work.  Stupid and illogical twist aside, the Film is torn between its two halves like that girl from The Hitcher.  Pick a Movie and go with it.  At the very least, don't make it super-obvious when it was made too (if you want to avoid it being dated)...
Next time, another random Film for no reason.  I can't tell you if I don't know, now can I?  Stay tuned...