Tuesday, April 30, 2019

'80s Trash: Cameron's Closet

Is it still topical to make an R. Kelly joke?  Probably not, but I'm doing it anyways.  This is Cameron's Closet, a 1988 Horror Film that is fairly-obscure.  Was anyone really demanding this?  Was anyone banging down my door asking me to 'finally cover this gem?'  I didn't think so.  I'm getting at least 4 Segments out of this, so it's still a winner in my book.  This comes to us from the Director of The Ring- the Danielle Steel Book Adaptation, that is- and He Knows You're Alone.  Did you want a Film marketed as a Horror Version of E.T.?  Did you want a Film that is The Exorcist meets Carrie meets Mac & Me?  The Plot involves Cameron training his Telekinetic Powers, only to draw a demon into his life.  Can he stop the creature before everyone he loves dies?  To find out, read on...
This is Cameron.  He's raised by his Dad (Tab Hunter!).  His Dad is training him to use his powers.
However, he's warned of a dark force trying to control Cameron.  He takes action, but it doesn't end well.
He ends up with his Mother, but the problems only continue.

Speaking of problems, what kind of vision ones does she have to think that THIS is a good outfit?!?
While that's going on, a Cop bothered by strange dreams goes to see a Shrink.
Both are assigned to a case together when Cameron's Stepdad is launched out a window and has his eyes burned out by a Demon from, well, guess where!
Cameron tries to deal with the Demon, but he's not strong enough.  This is apparently supposed to be deadly...I guess.
To make a long story short, the Demon was drawn in by Cameron's power and the only way to stop it is to deal with it directly!  It's too bad that like 5 other people already died!
The Cop tries to fend it off, but he's no match.  It's only a Cameron Ex Machina that can save the day!
In the aftermath, everyone is happy.  They'll mourn the recent deaths of nearly-everyone close to them happily too, I guess.  The End.
A thinly-disguised version of something you've seen many times before.  A Demon killing people?  A child in danger?  Oh wait- they aren't usually in the same Film, so this is different!  It basically cherry-picked the best parts of other Films/Stories and made Film Gumbo.  Say- is it too late to re-brand this Site as Film Gumbo?  That can't *possibly* be taken, can it?!?  Where was I?  Oh yeah, this Movie.  There's nothing that original here- it is just mixed in with other stuff (that is also not original).  I mean, the kid is some form of Carrie/Girl from Firestarter.  The Demon is just, well, Pazuzu.  The Demon confronting you in the form of dead people is obviously from lots of other stuff.  Cameron's Closet is far from a truly-terrible Film.  At best, it's an alright mish-mash of ideas that you liked better in better Films.  At worst, it is silly.  It introduces lots of elements at random and hopes that it all makes sense.  I'll just put up this picture of a Dream Werewolf leaping through the air in a Dream Cave at a Cop inside Cameron's Mind to dispel that notion.
Next time, another '80s Film that represents the final Films of Tab Hunter.  I didn't plan this theme, but why not go for it?!?  Stay tuned...

Monday, April 29, 2019

Streaming Standard: The Umbrella Academy (Season 1)

After slowly watching all of the Episodes, I figured that it was about time I talked about this non-Marvel or DC Show...
A strange event occurs where 40+ young women suddenly become pregnant and give birth...in minutes...at the same time...across the World.

A rich man- Mr. Hargreeves- adopts a handful of them to raise as his not-X-Men.
In the Present Day, the group is brought back together with his death and, well, they are not well-adjusted.
Shockingly, putting 7 strange kids in one House, training them to be Superheroes and running their lives like a taskmaster did *not* make them strong Adults.  Who would have guessed?
More things bring them together, the least of which is a pair of assassins trying to kill one of their own.  He also speaks of an Apocalypse that is imminent...
There's also some other stuff including Time Travel, a mysterious Agency, interpersonal issues and a revelation about one of their own to deal with.

We're boned, aren't we?  To find out, watch the Show on Netflix.
This is actually the toned down version!  In the Comics, things are actually somehow even more strange.  On the Show, one of them has been transformed into a mutant-like creature.  In the Comics, the same guy has his head grafted on top of a Gorilla's body!  In the Comics, a mysterious character is represented by a talking Goldfish!  There are many, MANY other things that are even weirder in print, so check that out too.  It still has a Robot, a talking Chimpanzee Butler and other insanity though.  In the meantime, the actual Show is good, but not great.  It gets a bit repetitive early on as they bicker, we get some Plot and then end with an Action Scene set to an ironic song.  They *eventually* break that formula in later Episodes, but not as much as they should.  Its hard to get too invested in Characters that just can't get along.  If I wanted to see people arguing, I'd just watch any Roundtable on any News Show on any Network!  The actual Comic Book stuff here is neat and inspired.  Many people wanted the Show to be as weird as the Comics, while others may actually like the Show being *a little* bit more grounded.  I will say that it ends in a strange manner, so my long-term view of the Show may hinge upon what happens in Season 2.  Ultimately, it's a pretty neat Show when watched like you do *normal* TV Shows and not binged.  I don't binge.  If you're a fan of Comic Books, give the first few Episodes a try and see for yourself.  Let nobody or nothing get in your way...
A solid Show that builds and builds nicely.  It is not without its faults, however, and may not be for everyone.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Lost in Translation?: Leatherface (2017)

Japan is good for a lot of things.
One of the biggest things- making great Movie Posters!

Take, for instance, their Poster for the 2017's Leatherface

This is apparently something from the Film, but...still...um, this is Leatherface?

Is this *really* the most logical way to sell a Film like this?

Here's the original...
I mostly just gave it some color and sharpening.

As a bonus, here's the U.S. Poster for comparison...
A bit less silly, no?

Saturday, April 27, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Doom Patrol- 'Danny Patrol'

While everyone is focusing on Marvel, let's pay a little attention to DC.  They keep pumping out Shows, so they keep me busy...
One of the oddest Patrol Members/Characters made the cut!  He's a living Street and, well, need I say more?
After being rejected by Robotman, Jane retreats to a weird (and blond) personality.  She's turning more and more into Roger from American Dad!
Cyborg and Negative Man investigate Danny to find some clues about the Chief.  The residents are, well, colorful.  Are they helpful though?
In the other Story, Jane has been replaced by 'Karen,' who plans to get married.  Can they put a stop to this for her own good?

To find out, watch the Show.  Stay tuned for a cool new Show in...um, Months from now.
A more fun Episode than last week.  I hope that this is a general turn away from the dour.  While this one isn't *super* upbeat, it has many things goings for it.  It has a message of tolerance and being yourself.  It has a message about standing up for yourself and not changing just to please others.  It has some fun moments with 'Karen' acting like a cliché Rom-Com Character.  It has a lovely Musical Number.  It has Robotman dancing with a child.  There are some people that are not going to like this due to it handling many LGBTQ Themes and basically saying 'People are people.'  If that upsets you, I don't particularly care.  This Episode manages to take one of the weirder characters and actually make it work pretty well.  By giving Danny a Spokesperson, they can work around the overall issue- Danny doesn't talk.  It manages to 'talk' by way of Street Signs and Billboards, but that only gets you so far.  This was a smart move.  That said, this is another 'Let's Find the Chief...but Actually Do Something Else' Episode.  Don't stretch things out *too much* guys.  It is still better than Titans though.  If nothing else can be taken away from this Episode, it is this- listen to people who are just trying to check up on you...
Next time, they try to fix Jane.  Yeah, good luck with that!  See you then...

Friday, April 26, 2019

What's the Best Film?: The Avengers Trilogy

Yes, this is shameless.  Even so, I like the challenge of picking between three things that I like.

It's been almost a Year to the day since the last one (for the last Avengers Film), so let's see how they match up...

The Avengers vs. The Avengers: Age of Ultron vs. The Avengers: Infinity War
Three Films that I really, really like.  This will be tough.
The Lead(s)
Here's a tricky one.  Most of the same people are overlapping here.  Can I judge on them how they did in each Film then?

The group dynamic is built up strongly in the first Film, expanded and challenged in the second Film and drawn back together in the third Film.

It's tough, but I'm going with...
Winner: Age of Ultron
The Villain
Arguably the most competitive category.

Do I go with the evil Wizard, the robot who wants to remake the World or the Titan that wants to destroy half of the Universe?

For being built up so well and delivering, I pick...
Winner: Infinity War
Supporting Cast
The original Film has Coulson and Fury, plus a dash of Skarsgard and Pepper.  The Sequel has very few to speak of, unless you count Vision.  The final choice has, wait for it, The Guardians of the Galaxy AND Black Panther.

Winner: Infinity War
The Story
In the first Film, the Team is formed to stop Loki and the imminent invasion of Earth.  In the second Film, they must unite again to stop an evil that two of them created.  In the latest one, they must stop a mad Titan for collecting the Infinity Stones and killing half of all life!

As I said, I love all 3 Film, but I have to go with...
Winner: The Avengers
The Big Action Scene
In one corner, the most iconic MCU Scene to date.  In the 2nd corner, a massive battle against countless Ultron Drones that has real stakes.  In the last corner, the double-header of one Team fighting Thanos on Titan *and* another Team defending Wakanda from the Black Order.

Why is life so challenging?!?  I guess I'm going with...
Winner: Infinity War

The final Winner- Infinity War takes 3 Categories, narrowly-avoiding a tie.

There are no losers here though.  To show there's no ill will, here's this...
I want to play that game.  Oh and no Endgame SPOILERS or everyone dies.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

SPOILER Reviews: Monsters in the Woods

Normally, I don't do these for newer Films.  However, if the Film is so dumb that I can't explain why without SPOILERS, I will.  Be warned...about this Film you've probably never heard of...
A woman with fake boobs is chased and killed in the Woods by a turkey-faced creature that killed her boyfriend.  Is this another Syfy Channel Opening?
Nope, it's the 'It Was a Movie The Whole Time' one.  That means that this Film used multiple Camera Angles, fake blood, 2 Locations AND a fake neck wound...in real time.

The only thing worse- the Exposure on this Film!
After thirty minutes of people bickering (disguised as a fake BTS Shoot), the Director dies...from a rock lightly hiding his head?!?

Damn his lack of a skull and hemophilia!!!
They continue on until some Monsters show up.  They attack people away from the 'Set,' but eventually make it to the main group.  They avoid the Producer, setting up why I need SPOILERS...

This lady shows up and wants him dead.  Why?  He made a deal with the Devil and unleashed the 'Hell Hounds' that are showing up.
It gets weirder and dumber...

The Woman is an Angel and she can only be killed by the creatures, not 'mortal men.'  She needs the help of the survivors to close...
...this portal.  It looks like...well, you know what it looks like.

They kill some creatures and get to near the Portal when...the Angel is instantly-killed.  Naturally.
After being betrayed by his girl, our Lead wins because...the Hounds kill the bad guy...for some reason.

All is well...except the survivors are killed by more Hounds.  Yea for confusing downer Endings!
What was this Film trying to be?!?  The Reviews on IMDB are all over the place.  Some people claim that this is some clever send-up of B-Movies and/or an Homage to stupid Monster Movies.  Did you watch the same Film that I did?!?  This one is 1/3 Mockumentary, 2/3 dumb Horror Film.  It doesn't seem to be a Parody or knowing Homage.  The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra was one.  Ice Pirates was one.  This is not one!  The Film itself is just kind of slow for long parts at the beginning and then randomly speeds past other parts.  They introduce some guy with a past connected to the Angel and kill him off within 10 minutes- yea?  They joke about 'killing the black guy first in a Horror Film' and then seem to do it.  He's alive, but they really make you wait to find out.  They also leave him to die like 3 different times and it loses all drama.  It's kind of like how they really lean on Special Effects that just aren't that good.  They put 'wounds' on the one woman's face, for instance, and they look like you just smashed a Cherry Cobbler on her cheek.  She has it for over 20 minutes of screen time!  The Hounds are decent enough creatures, but they are never shot well enough for you to see them all that much.  The Film lives or dies by its silly Plot Twists and revelations.  I found them ridiculous- you might like them.  Monsters in the Woods is not a good Film.  If you want the best proof of this, enjoy this one shot showing that they did have a good Camera...that they just didn't use ever again.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Zoned Out: Nightmare at 30,000 Feet (2019)

Another Episode, this time paying homage to a Classic from the original Series (and Movie).  Will it pale in comparison?
A man- Adam Scott- is very nice and tolerant.  He gives up his seat in First Class to let a Family stay together.
At his new seat, he finds an MP3 Player with a Podcast on it.  It is about...the disappearance of this Flight!!!
He can't help but believe this and his Investigative Journalist instincts take over.  Can he solve the mystery and avert disaster?
Will his new friend help him sort things out or is talking to this guy the *worst* thing to do?
Will he solve a crisis or create one?  To find out, watch the Episode.

It's on CBS All Access and, to be fair, you did promise to watch the new Star Trek too.
A nice update.  To be fair, this is far from just another version of the Story.  There is no 'thing on the wing of the plane.'  In this case, the monster is hysteria.  That or this is the most elaborate Episode of Punk'd ever!  Does that reference still work in 2019?  In any event, this version of the tale stands on its own thanks to Adam Scott's performance.  Like Shatner and Lithgow before him, he is the center of this whole tale.  Unlike them, his performance is more sedate and layered.  I like that he starts out nice.  I like that this personal issues are only hinted at.  I like that his paranoia seems justified.  I like that his actions slowly get less and less logical as the fear grows.  He could be accused of underplaying this, but I don't think that it is the case here.  He's playing a more sedate version of this Character who is trying to save everyone from a more generalized threat.  His 'freak outs' are more nuanced and I like that.  I take nothing away from either previous version of this Story- I just like this one for what it is.  As the first Episode that's not free, they had a bar to get over.  Thankfully, they did it and I can't wait to see what he has for us next...
Next time, another inspired riff on a Classic.  Will a 2nd chance be better...or worse?  See you then...