Sunday, March 31, 2019

Impossibly-Cool Cover Art?: The Burning

Are you not Friday the 13th?  Oh well.

This was one of the first Films to capitalize on that Film's success, even pulling Tom Savini in (and away from the Sequel).

Even so, it's far-less-discussed and remembered.

Will this Cover help?
That's...dark nd confusing.

To be clear, The Burning is about a burned-man seeking revenge by killing people at a Summer Camp.

This Poster appears to be about a masked serial killer with pruning shears.

That may happen in the Film (I think), but does that represent it well?

Here's the original...
Not a major change, but some other color and contrast to help.  And yes, her head is cut off in the original version- I didn't do that.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Doom Patrol- 'Cult Patrol'

Another week and a sort-of acid trip Show returns.  Will they keep up the crazy (and/or good) work?
A strange family raises their strange kid (who's covered in markings) in Utah.  On his 18th Birthday, the Dad tries to save the kid from...something, but that doesn't end well.
At the Mansion, Cyborg is trying to unite the group in the search for the Chief.  They're interrupted by Not-Constantine to help save the World.

I don't use the moniker to insult the guy- he was literally used when Vertigo blocked the Character's use in DC proper and an analog was made.
They save the boy- for now- but he's the Cult of the Unwritten Book's key to destroying the World.

If they won't kill (and burn) him, they have to protect him.
Can they do a good job?  Okay, they obviously-can't.  Will they do a passable job (at times)?

To find out, watch the Show.  It's still Streaming on the DC Service.
A fun Episode, even if it does feel like a strange aside.  This is the 2nd Episode without Mr. Nobody (even in Narration) and without The Chief (outside of a flashback).  I guess if finding the latter and stopping the former is the Series Plot, I'll just have to get used to their absence.  Odd all the same.  Getting past that, this is a pretty good Episode.  It's a bit disjointed- like the last one- which is kind of a shame.  The group dynamic is the best part, so why do they keep splitting them off into smaller groups?  I'm sure that it is easier to write, but I wish they would scale it back.  That said, I like the crazy nature of this whole thing.  A weird Cult.  A weird group of assassins.  Weird Villains out of a Tim Burton Film.  They definitely embrace the crazy, even while trying to ground other parts of the Story.  It's a delicate balance, to be sure.  They're keeping those plates spinning though, so kudos.  Even without a 4th Wall-breaking villain, they still manage to find a crazy visual to keep me interested...
Next time, can they save the World on their second attempt?  Probably, but it still won't go smoothly.  See you then...

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Bob's Birthday Review: Dimension High School- Episodes 1-5

Another year and another Review for Bob's Birthday.  On the plus side, there's no Mabel.

On the negative side, it's a stupid 'Anime.'
The Plot: a magic rock appears to some Students.

Right off the bat, there are two issues:
1) This is 70% Live Action and 30% CG Motion Capture.  It's not Anime.
2) This Rock...all of it.
'It' appears before 4 Students and their Teacher with a grand prophecy- they must save it's world!  How?
By 'battling' a Sphinx (which lazily merges into the wall texture) and making them answer riddles.

Yep, that's the Show!
The 'riddles' are all strange and confusing puzzles...that only work if you speak Japanese and know how the wording works.

Even if this was good, it doesn't translate.
Can the group survive to save this vague 2-D world?  Will they realize that using 3-D Models to represent a 2-D world is weird?

I only watched the first 5 (of 11 so far) Episodes.  It's on Crunchyroll, so go for it (you crazy bastards).
What a strange and dumb Show.  As I mentioned, it's not really Anime.  The 'animated' parts are motion-capture, so there's no 'drawing' involved.  Said 'animation' is not that good.  It's all sorts of stutter and unimpressive.  The majority of it is Live-Action.  This part is...alright, but nothing special.  The Acting ranges from understated to over-the-top.  Nobody is especially-impressive.  This is a Comedy Show (kind of), so I gave it some leeway.  You have to be pretty forgiving and really generous to get into this Plot.  One of them is overly-friendly to another one, while a different guy is stuck up and snooty.  Will they get along?  Will I care?  The Story is just a loose excuse to get them from Sphinx section to another.  Speaking of the Sphinx, they introduce and 'kill' one in the first few Episodes.  How does the Show continue?  Another one just appears.  Lame.  I was going to do Episode 6- to make it to feature-length.  I read up on the Episode and learned that it was complete filler and- SPOILER ALERT- a dream sequence.  I skipped it.  This 'Anime' is not good enough to be fun, nor is it bad enough to be funny.  It's me out, Screenshot.
Another year of bad Anime.  How come he almost always gets the good ones?!?

Happy Birthday and know that vengeance shall come in July!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Quick Reviews: The Meg (2018)

Family Guy Joke!  With that out of the way, let's talk about the other Ocean-based Film designed to make million in China from 2018...
A man (Jason Statham), a Shark, China.  That doesn't read the same forwards and backwards, but it is a quick summary of this Film.

Basically, we discover a hidden world where giant monsters live...and immediately go wandering in.  That's the right expression.
Their venture brings the titular creature to the Surface and now it wants to eat us.

Please ignore all the Scientists who will tell you this this couldn't survive, would be much tinier, would glow (which it did in the Book) and would no doubt be blinded by the Sun.
With a giant Shark on the loose, is anyone safe?

Surprisingly, yes as the Film has very little carnage to keep that PG-13 Rating.  Also no Gay Characters, since China.
Oh and this little girl is here to shoe-in a love-triangle Sub-Plot.  That alongside one with the Billionaire and ALSO one where a guy gets over hating Jonas.

Giant Shark 1, Sub-Plots 3.
Can they stop the titular Shark?  Can they do it without calling in the Chinese Navy (since that would be too far for the American Producers?)?
Who cares- it made over $300 Million in China and other territories.  That's good...until you realize that a Chinese Yuan is worth 15 cents on the Dollar.

Didn't think you'd learn Exchange Rates today, did you?  The End.
A Movie that should be good fun.  The problem- someone thought that this was a Drama!  As such, everyone acts super-sad and serious all the time!  On one hand, I have to congratulate many of the Actors for doing a good job at that.  On the other hand, THIS IS ABOUT A 75-FOOT SHARK EATING PEOPLE!!!  They take this this way too seriously!  You want to be sad when people die?  Fine.  Don't be so dour that I can't enjoy anything that should be interesting and fun though!  At best, it is someone trying in vain to elevate such silly material.  At worst, it is someone ruining a perfectly-fun premise.  Just a reminder- the Book begins with a Megalodon eating a T-Rex (see below)!  It ends with a man piloting a Submarine inside of a Shark and blowing it up!  This is not Citizen Kane.  The Film is not good enough to be a good Drama.  The Film is not fun enough to be fun Adventure.  It's an awkward mix of Drama and Action-Adventure that just doesn't work like it should.  This should be fun.  This should be interesting.  China is going to no doubt fund another one- learn how to do it better next time!  Seriously, look at this Cover!!!
A Movie that is sometimes fun, but has some obvious issues.  The biggest- it's too self-serious!!!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Quick Reviews: Aquaman (2018)

Am I reviewing this on the day it comes out on Video?  What a coincidence.  Oh well...
In 1985, the Queen of Atlantis flees a marriage and ends up with a Lighthouse Operator.  They have Arthur aka Aquaman.

She has to leave when she realizes that they'll be pursued.  Well, that or just move to Utah, so...leave it is then.
In 'Present Day,' Aquaman is a semi-famous Hero.  He battles some Pirates and leaves one of them to die, setting up a villain for later.

As for his Justice League Armor, he never wears it- ever!
Abruptly, Ocean Master appears on a giant Sea Horse, signaling that the Movie is now full-on crazy.

He's trying to start a War with the surface and recruits one King- Dolph Lundgren- by way of obvious subterfuge.  The King never sees through this either!
Mera- knowing of his plans- goes to the surface to recruit Aquaman, but he'd rather hang out with his Dad.  To be fair, his Dad is Jango Fett.

I also checked the Justice League Scene (all 2 minutes of it!) and, no, she doesn't tell him her name there.  I'm sure that the glorious Snyder Cut fixes that though...
He goes to Atlantis- which is vast and secure- and challenges Ocean Master.  He seems to lose the fight- since he's not trained for underwater combat...I guess- and has to flee.
Can he rise to the task?  Can he unite the Kingdoms?  Will a nearly-comics accurate Black Manta make up for any issues I might have?

To find out (well, the first two), watch the Film- now on DVD, etc.
A big, flashy adventure that is somewhat shallow.  To be fair, the Film has glimpses and nibbles of deeper stuff.  We get Mera being friendly to a little girl.  Aw, how cute.  We get 'talking heads' debating whether Atlantis exists.  Thankfully, this is less insistent than BvS and doesn't feature Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  We get a fairly-nuanced motivation for Black Manta to want Aquaman dead.  Seriously, he was truly just being a dick for no reason there.  For every bit like this, there are problems and/or silly things.  Like I joked about, they jump RIGHT INTO giant Sea Horses and guys riding Sharks.  Is there a segue for that you could have used?  There's also the digitally-de-aged face of Willem Dafoe, which looks less like his face than his Green Goblin mask.  There's all of the random 'look at this' tech that just suddenly appears, including Manta's energy blaster.  The Film raises many questions about Justice League too.  What happened to his suit between then and now?  Why didn't he know Mera if he knew Vulko for Decades?  Why didn't they hide the Mother Box in Atlantis when it has ALL OF THAT SECURITY.  Side-note: Atlantis is clearly trying to be both Asgard and Wakanda.  Plus, if we're being honest, this is just inverted Black Panther.  Arthur is Killmonger (but he's good) and Ocean Master is Black Panther (but he's bad).  I could spend a while critiquing lots of the little points, but the Internet has enough of that and I'm already 'a Marvel fanboy,' so what merit do my comments have anyhow?  Aquaman is a fun, generally-well-made Film.  It just has LOADS of exposition, some tonal inconsistencies and goes 'to 11' by the end.  If you like DC Films, this will make you happy.  If you think Comic Book Films are too silly and too dense, this will only prove 'your point.'  I should also mention that they kind of borrowed heavily from, all of Films, Dario Argento's Phenomena...
A Movie that can be fun and has a strong visual style.  Unfortunately, the Plot is all kinds of dense and the visuals often overtake, well, everything else.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

'80s Trash: Doom Asylum (1987)

This is a dumb Film.  Did the Title give it away?  This is Doom Asylum, a 1987 Horror Film.  The basic Plot involves a car accident, a giant leap of logic and a killer with a messed up face.  He doesn't invade your dreams or wield a chainsaw, but he definitely wants to remind you of those people.  The Cast is notable for a couple of reasons, depending on how much you follow Films.  This is one of only TWO Films that Patty Mullen did- the other being Frankenhooker.  She also did something else, but I'll get to that in the Stinger.  It also features a future TV Star that will definitely NOT want you think of her as the person from THIS Film.  This has blood.  This has guts.  Does it have any brains?  To find out, read on...
 A car accident takes place while a couple is celebrating their winnings in a lawsuit.  The woman dies, but the man survives...but not for the better.

I know it's a Slasher Film set-up, but I'm pretty sure he'd die from the infections within about 5 minutes!
10 years later, the Daughter he left behind decides to hang out with her boyfriend and friends RIGHT BY THE SITE OF THE ACCIDENT.

To be fair, it also holds an abandoned Asylum, so...HUH?!?
The group has company in the form of an all-girl Punk Rock Band.

Such a classic set-up, no?
Dad is apparently still alive, never sought help, went crazy and just kind of hung around for a Decade.  What luck that his Daughter (played by the same Actress as 'the Wife') finally showed up!
He starts killing off the group one-by-one and yes, the black guy dies first.

On the plus side, it puts an end to the 'funny' fantasy bits of him and (the only black) girl in the band running in the field like an old Movie.
Speaking of old Movies, the narrative stops cold a few times to play long clips from some.

Classic rule of Cinema- don't show a better Film during your own.
That big TV Star I teased- it's Kristin Davis from Sex & The City.  She did this while still in Film School (and it shows).
With the Cast mostly gone now, Dad takes the girl hostage,, he loves her?

I'll get back to you on that...
Ultimately, she is the Final Girl (big shock) and kills him.  She walks off, apparently planning to just leave now?  Alright.
A dumb, dumb Movie.  There are many, many problems with this Film.  The Plot makes no sense.  The Acting is not great.  The Pacing is off.  The Humor is...odd.  Positives?  Lots of practical effects and gore that has mostly-aged well.  The Setting is the best part as this is a *real* closed down Asylum that once existed in New Jersey.  It has all of the stuff that they would need and they try to use every area.  There's just a silly little Film shot in said great Location and using the inspired gore.  If you're into '80s splatter, there's some fun to be had.  If you're more discerning, this is a slow-paced, ridiculous Film that cuts to another Film for long stretches about 5 times.  Sadly, it's too early to be cutting to Night of the Living Dead to make Bingo.  None of it makes sense.  None of it is that clever.  See it for the Setting and Gore if you're a weirdo like me.  Everyone else can skip it safely.  Now let me *subtly* plug the Podcast by reminding you that this Film's Star is a part of a WCW Wrestling History (and a silly part at that)...
Next time, more trashy stuff and more fun stuff.  Should I stay in the '80s?  Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Lost in Translation?: Return of the Evil Dead (1973)

A quick reminder- this has nothing to do with Ash.

The original Evil Dead Film is a Sequel that holds up pretty darn well.  It has some amazing moments in it.

Naturally, it also had many Poster, including this one from the States.  It's...interesting.
It's weird to see so much crammed into a small space!

It's a prototype version of those Japanese Posters with the random shots from the Film represented, only awkwardly-pressed into a small Poster.

Here's the original...
This seems like it *must* have been red originally.  It's a scan of a 40+ year old Poster, so that's bound to happen.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

'70s Trash(?): Rock 'N' Roll High School

A Cult Classic finally gets its due.  This is Rock 'N' Roll High School, a 1979 Film famous for its Soundtrack and Stars.  Is it actually good though?  As noted, the hook of this Film is who's in it- The Ramones.  This, for once, was actually Corman succeeded at relating to 'the kids today' with a Film.  Aside from the famous group, it features just about ever other Corman Alumni you'd come to expect with something like this.  The Blands (Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov)?  Check.  Dick Miller?  Check.  The Announcer from Death Race 2000?  Yep, even him!  The Plot involves the titular High School struggling against a new Authority Figure who wants to maintain order.  Can she succeed?  Will The Ramones make a big difference?  To find out, read on...
A new Principal (Woronov)is brought in to Vince Lombardi High School.  She's strict!
In the B-Plot, the High School Quarterback is a dork and needs help from...Clint Howard to pick up women.  What a strange reality this is!

Would this be less weird with Eddie Deezen (who was originally-cast)?
Our Leads- Dey Young on the left, P.J. Soles on the right- are a mismatched pair who are friends.  The Quarterback wants Soles, while Young wants him.

Fun Fact: Soles was 28 when she shot this (same as Steve McQueen in The Blob) and was only 7 years younger than Woronov.
The Principal espouses the danger of Rock n Roll, showing it with a drawing of what happens to mice when they listen to it at full volume.

I mostly just used this shot to highlight how great this painting is and how much I want it!
The Ramones are coming to town, so Soles takes 3 days off from School to get Tickets.  They are only $10 each!
For her part in some rebellion, Soles (and Young by default) have their tickets taken by the Hall Monitors.

It's funny how...they get molested?  Weird gag!
They end up winning tickets, which makes the Movie stop to just show The Ramones play.  Could be worse.

Amongst the crowd is an Indian, Bartel's 'cool Teacher' and...the Mouse from the Painting, who's now human-sized!
In response to the rebellion, The Principal burns a bunch of albums on the lawn.  More rebellion now!
The students lock themselves in for a stand-off/Ramones Concert in the hallway.

They eventually make a rational decision...and blow up the School to zero consequences.  The End.
A fun and silly Movie, even if the Plot is lacking a bit.  Let's be honest- you don't watch a Film like this for the Plot, right?  You watch it for the silliness.  You watch it for certain Actors.  You watch it for The Ramones.  It's a weird piece of Film History.  It's especially weird when you think about who was almost the focus.  Before The Ramones, it was Todd Rundgren, then Cheap Trick, Van Halen and Devo!  All of them would have definitely brought a different feel for the most part.  The best and worst part of the Film is its ability to be distracted by the music.  On one hand, the Plot stops many times or just drags.  On the other hand, it does so while playing *The Ramones* at full blast, so how mad can you be?  From a technical standpoint, it is flawed.  From a viewing standpoint, it's quite fun.  I'm not going to pretend that I didn't notice the Pacing Issues- nor will I pretend that I didn't love the Soundtrack.  Rock 'n' Roll High School is a part of a Film History and deserving of its Cult Film Status- just enjoy it for what it is, as opposed to what it isn't.  To close, let's play 'Spot what doesn't belong' in the Shot.  It should be easy...
Next time, something more obscure and (most-likely) trashy.  It has to be '80s, right?  Stay tuned...