Sunday, September 29, 2019

Lost in Translation: The Thing (1982)

Ghana is a glorious wellspring for one thing: hilarious Movie Posters.

A quick reminder- they didn't get ones from the Studio often/at all and just made up their own.

That's how we get such weirdly-inspired ones like this...
I many questions...

1) Who's the Dog man?
2) Why does it look like he swapped different heads from the dog
3) Why is a later version of the creature pasted on the head of the this one?
4) Is Kurt Russell blind in this?
5) Who holds a gun like that?
6) Why isn't this in the Film?

So yeah, they created this glorious mess and I will be eternally grateful for it...

Saturday, September 28, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Titans- 'Ghosts'

To make sure that I don't break my Schedule too much, I might as well cover the next Episode *around* the right time.

This one promises me sexy pottery, so let's see if it delivers...
A series of attacks from Dr. Light have drawn the original Titans together.

It doesn't make them wear their uniforms, because we have to wait weeks for that.  We know what we did.
Starfire is pulled aside for her own Sub-Plot involving a guy who looks alot like 'James Olsen' from Supergirl.  Someone in DC Casting has a type.

This does raise another question- does everyone on Tamaran look like them?  This kind of takes away from Tyroc's origin and planet, no?
Shock of non-shocks, Dr. Light is working with Slade as part of his revenge plan.  

We won't know what caused his need for revenge yet, because, again, we did something wrong and the Show deserves to punish us.
With an actual Super-Villain to fight, will the old Titans come together?  Will the Sub-Plots continue to pile up?
It keeps getting closer to a good Show.  That has to count for something, right?  Right now, all of the Characters are *almost* reuniting.  It sure would be a shame if they got along for more than 10 seconds, wouldn't it?  They make it hard to be invested in the Show when the Characters don't even want to be together.  There is a fine line between Drama and just plain bickering.  The Acting is good here and everyone mostly feel natural.  They mostly have their one notes to work off of, so I give them a bit of a break.  I won't give a break to some other parts, like the half-assed Dr. Light outfit.  I mean, he's wearing black pants and a t-shirt under a bulky chest plate and roman helmet.  He looks more like Demonicus than he should!  Yeah, it's bad when THAT is my first thought when I see this outfit.  On the plus side, Deathstroke looks bad-ass in silhouette so far.  This one has lots of issues- juggling Sub Plots like mad!- and lots of good points.  One day, the latter will outweigh the former.  One good point- they deftly dodge the BS explanation of Slade using 'more than 10% of his brain' that was being used even into the 2000s (in Identity Crisis)...
Next time, more mysteries will be revealed?  If they can actually pay them off, I can probably ignore all of the BS for a while.  See you then..

King Me!: Castle Rock- 'Henry Deaver'

As the finale approaches, can they turn this Show around?  How about another option- turning the Show on its head...
We open with narration from the long-dead Mr. Deaver and a flashback to how his Mom tried to kill him as a baby.  Fun stuff!

He survives and, I guess, that's enough to stop her from ever trying again.  What a weird opening.
We then meet the title Character.  Are you confused by why it is clearly Pennywise...I mean...The Prisoner.

Weirdly, the Episode instead focuses on making his name being spoken as a big moment- complete with score rising-, which is silly when this is called 'Henry Deaver.'
He goes home after his Dad killed himself and finds a young, black boy locked up in the basement.

The kid is confused and calls himself 'Henry Deaver.'  What in the what now?!?
When Molly gets involved, things become both more and less clear.  I really can't explain much without confusing SPOILERS.

If you want to know, read the Wiki.  Oh and watch the Show or whatever.
At least this complete aside has a point!  Let's be clear- the last Episode ended with the Prisoner and Molly together.  This Episode is all him showing stuff to her by way of her empathic/psychic abilities.  In other words, nothing actually happens in the present narrative of this Show.  Granted- alot of stuff we didn't know about happens, but the point remains the same.  The big problem with this Episode for me is the placement.  It's thrown in right before the finale with the idea of explaining away the mystery running through the Show.  To that end, it feels like a very late case of telling us what we needed to know earlier.  Quick pitch- open the Series with a version of this Episode.  Next Episode, use the Pilot you actually did.  Now we've met two different Leads and know that something is up.  If you can work around explaining what their connection is properly, you could have something good.  To be fair, that would be another one of the cases of 'Make the first 2 Episodes be the same events from 2 different Characters' perspectives' Trope, but I'd take it in this case.  It makes sense.  To me, this feels more like the end of a bad Mystery Film where they just straight up explain the Plot to you than a neat 'gotcha' turn.  I also don't really care for what the explanation is.  It's too silly to be serious and doesn't feel right with this Show's Tone and Style.  On the plus side, they snuck in a more subtle King reference this time...
Next time, we finally reach the end of the Story.  Will it go out big or, yeah, let's not pretend that it's going to happen at this point, right?  See you then...

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Import/Export: The Terrible People (1960)

Another German Murder Mystery- it's been a while.  This is The Terrible People, a 1960 Thriller based on an Edgar Wallace Story.  The guy is kind of an underrated/remembered Writer.  While modern Writers like Stephen King or their forebearers like Richard Matheson get all the glory, people like Wallace did alot.  He wrote many Crime Novels and Thrillers & is most notable to film geeks for helping write King Kong!  For whatever reason(s), his works are HUGE in Germany, so many adaptations like this come from there.  So that's the big wrinkle- the Film is set in England, but made in German.  Distracting, no?  The Plot involves a criminal's dying threat seeming to come true.  Is he really alive?  Will any of his targets survive?  The Lead is Joachim Fuchsberger, a man you will see in alot of these Films.  In fact, he's in over a dozen Edgar Wallace Adaptations!  He's even in what I think is one of the more underrated Giallos- What Have You Done to Solange?  In this one, he plays a cocky Detective who refuses to back down in the face of danger.  To see if he made the right call, read on...
A Bank Robber named Shelton is caught in the act, thanks to a Detective's trap.

Naturally, this dangerous trap is done in public, with many bystanders.  Cops are great!
As his time at the gallows- they still hang people in England?!?- arrives, the man threatens to come back for revenge on all involved.

I liked it better when a Warlock did it in Mexico.
The man's potential targets are a group of random people that include a Socialite, a Judge, an Attorney and others.

Speaking of targets, was this an acceptable thing to have this thing in your House?!?
As the targets get picked off, the Detective is also targeted.  Thankfully he wore this vest made out of the chainmail that Scott Steiner used to wear on his head.

Oh and this Film is chock full of TERRIBLE Rear Projection Effects for people in Cars and Boats.  Enjoy.
Despite Shelton's grave being empty, people swearing that they saw him and his named targets dying, it is somehow hard to get the Chief on board.

Thank you, pointless drama padding.
In the midst of stopping a murder spree from a seemingly-dead killer, Joachim finds time for romance.  Gotta prioritize, man!
As the final victims are targeted, I must highlight the biggest issue with the story for me- this poor woman.

Over the course of the last forty-minutes of Film, she is kidnapped THREE TIMES and only once gets to do anything but be in peril!!!

I'd blame Wallace, but he was already dead for 27 years at this point and I have no idea if this is from the Story or not.
It turns out that Shelton was dead and his three sons were the culprits.  Although if all 3 are dead, then who is this guy?
It's not!  This Film 'Scooby-Doo's itself (predating the Show, I know) by revealing that the Heiress thought dead (but who's body wasn't found) was the real ringleader.

She quickly exposits how she was married to our Lead's Dad and then Shelton, before offing herself to end the Film.
A quirky mystery that has alot of style, but is a bit lacking in substance.  The Plot is both simple and dense.  On the surface, we get a killer vowing revenge and people being killed.  Simple, right?  Once you get into the weeds of it though, we get a bunch of random people constantly fighting for attention.  The point is theoretically to make it hard to figure out who the culprit is.  There are too many of them and it is just hard to keep track though.  This should be easy viewing, but you practically need a flow chart.  We have a bunch of random victims, possible suspects, periphery characters and our Leads.  On top of that, they introduce and kill off a random Character before the 3rd Act.  We meet the ex-girlfriend of Shelton, who proves herself to be capable by one-upping the Detective.  In the next Scene, she is 100% ineffectual and killed off in mean fashion.  What was the point of that?!?  Putting aside all of the dated aspects, there are some fun moments and creative bits.  I don't believe that falling through the stairs and hitting the ground 4 feet away would actually kill you, but neat visual.  The Film is kind of silly and kind of a mess, but a fun one.  It's not the greatest Mystery Film.  You have to accept that everyone is German, even as the Film is set in England.  Is this an alternate Timeline where they won WWII?!?  All in all, People is a silly Mystery that old school fans will like, but is probably too dated for newer fans.
Next time, I move to the 1970s for a slightly-less dated Film.  It will still be my kind of fun though.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Poor Bastards of Cinema: Brightburn (2019)

I haven't talked about Slipknot Superman in a bit.

In my haste to move on from Brightburn, I made the mistake of ignoring its contribution to Poor Bastards of Cinema.

In the Film, we have a Sheriff and Deputy investigating the actions of the murders teen.
As things come to a head (no SPOILER if you've seen any promotion), the Police are called to the House.
Our 'hero' violently murders the Sheriff in a blur (also not a SPOILER as this shot was in EVERY TRAILER), leaving the Deputy behind.
She decides to wander around looking for, um, I don't know what.

You know he's outside, so...the point is...
Mom hides while the Deputy is attacked in a way that is both over-the-top, way-too-violent and a little bit silly.

He basically bounces her up and down like one of those Super Balls.  He just does it off-screen, since they can't afford the effects for it.
So yeah, she's dead.  Very.
Just a reminder- she's done NOTHING in this Film, other than appear once or twice with the Sheriff.  He's killed instantly.  She's beaten and tortured.

The moral: sometimes it pays to take a Sick Day.  She could have been watching This Is Us instead of, you know, violent death.

Next time, a random death from a recent Quick Review.  It serves little purpose, so it fits.  See you then... 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

DCE-Hulu: Titans- 'Rose'

You can see how much of a big fan I am of this Show by the fact that I straight up forgot to watch Episode 2 and Review it last week.

Oops.  Was I right to wait?  Let's see...
After the last Episode, we casually-time-jump 3 months ahead.  Why not?!?

In Chicago, Starfire and Donna are working as Detectives looking for a Meta-Criminal.  Will someone find them first?
At the Tower, Dick is training the Team.  There's some underlying friction to work through.

We also see Hawk and Dove reenacting The Last Song in Wyoming.  It does eventually lead to some Action and Story- so be patient.
In the main Plot, a woman named Rose attacks the Police and draws Dick's attention.  He takes her in...
…but she doesn't seem to want to be there.  Can a heart-to-heart with Batman help things out?

It all leads to two reveals- one super obvious and one a little bit odd.  To find out both, watch the Show.
An improvement, albeit not a huge one.  This Episode is basically a mix of Sub Plots that fight for attention.  To be fair, they do have to start setting everything in motion here.  It would be nice if it was less clunky though.  It is just a series of Scenes in different locales with very little to connect them.  All it was missing was a 'Meanwhile...' on screen every few minutes to complete it!  This Episode is alot of parts, but how is the sum of it?  Alright.  The Acting is fine for what it is.  There's a nice Action Scene or two.  The Effects are nice enough.  I just wish that it all mixed together.  On top of that, we get more bleak moments to remind us that this Show is not nice to ancillary characters.  Alas poor Hat Guy on Horse- we didn't know ye well...
Next time, the revenge plot becomes more clear.  Will the lingering Sub Plots battle for supremacy though?  See you then...

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Quick Reviews: Dark Phoenix (2019)

After bad press and bad box office, how is the actual Film?  Let me cut through all the noise...
In Flashbacks, we see the origins of Jean Grey and her meeting with Xavier.  He recruits with a silly analogy about how a pen can be dangerous or helpful- thanks, Simon.

This is nice and all, but why didn't we get this in X-Men: Apocalypse?
Now in 1992 (for some reason), the X-Men are called in to help NASA save some Astronauts.

Enjoy this brief bit of them working together as a Team- it's your last real chance!
The Phoenix Force flies into Jean, but she survives.

This is sure to end well, since...oh right, the Title.
Xavier is suspicious as Jean's powers grow and she starts to act different.

This Film leans into the 'Professor Xavier is a dick' thing that Marvel has been obsessed with for the last Decade or so.  It's even less earned here!
As Jean goes off on her own and learns more truths about her past, is she more of a Villain than a Hero?
Will this mystery woman (who's not a Skrull) be the one to turn her fully-evil?  Can Grey be redeemed?

To find out, watch the Film.  I mean, you didn't in Theaters, so why not?
A big, silly mess of a Film.  So let's recap this- Simon Kinberg was a Producer on the previous X-Men Films and a Writer too.  When stuff happens with Bryan Singer (a polite summary), he ends up as the Director.  Yeah, this is his first Film.  It shows.  It's his second attempt at this Story and, yeah, it doesn't really show.  They brought Space into it- good.  They kept it out of the rest of the Film- bad.  The Villains being random Aliens who have the power of minor regeneration was a letdown.  Why can you not just do a version of this Story like it was written?!?  The Acting is a mixed bag, as some legitimately do good jobs with bad material.  Fassbender and McAvoy are good, as you'd expect.  On the flips side, Lawrence and Hoult are practically in 'don't give a shit' mode and others, like Chastain, are far too sedate.  She plays the human version at first and she's also sedate- what's the point of that?!?  Big Set Pieces have been done better in other X-Men Films.  Most of the big moments here are copy-pasted (like stealing from Justice League, The Dark Knight Rises and others) and rarely-interesting.  Character Arcs appear out of nowhere in reshoots, making this even buggier!  There are brief glimmers among the silly and bad here, so it's not 100% a loss.  For instance, a random cameo from Dazzler (that has no payoff)…
A Movie that should be good, but really isn't.  It's too unoriginal and uninspired- not to mention rushed as hell.

Impossibly-Cool/Lost in Translation Cover Art: Bait 3-D

Another Shark Film made greater-looking by Japan.

In this case, it's NOT an Asylum Film and is actually pretty good.

Even so, this Poster makes it look way more impressive than it is...
Hot damn!

This Movie promises me a giant explosion and a giant shark!

Granted- they do give you both...just on a smaller scale.  Even so, damn.

Here's the original...
More color, contrast and sharpness.  Do I even need to explain it at this point?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Old-School TV: Thriller- 'Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper'

I felt like I should cover more of this Show since it usually turns out to be nice and surprising.  I guess that's why they call it...
This one is based on a Story by Robert Bloch, the famous Writer of Psycho.

Fun Fact: this was later retro-fitted for a 1967 Episode of Star Trek!
When a murder happens in San Francisco, an old British Lawman comes to Town with a theory: Jack the Ripper is immortal and stays that way by killing ritualistically.

They...take it well.
The Cops try to protect an area on the night he's supposed to make a kill.  However, they can't watch everywhere- for instance, this window after they just leave.

I will say that this death does make a little bit of a Plot Hole for me, but I'll cover it later.
They take an odd direction with the case: hang around with Artists, since 'Jack' is apparently known to be one/associate with them.

Well, in hindsight, they're not wrong.
Tragically, they can't stop the killings.  The next victim has tons of pathos too- sick kid, rough life.

As an added bonus, they tease that this will be stopped/interrupted, but its not.  Cold move!
As the date of the last killing time arrives, the Investigator and the Psychologist brought in to help him step outside.  That's when the latter kills the former, revealing himself to be Jack the whole time!

Well, all the clues were there.  The End.
A quirky, but serious Episode.  The whole premise is odd.  Jack the Ripper commits ritualistic, Satanic sacrifices to stay alive.  He travels across the World like an immortal, Satanic Anthony Bourdain.  This kind of works in the context of this Story and this time since photography is not as prevalent in this period.  Imagine trying to do it in the age of Facebook/Instagram/etc- no way he's not spotted all the damn time.  The Acting is nicely done and that may also be due in part to the direction.  As you'll see below, an Actor Directed this, so that could be related.  There's maybe a couple minor Actors that don't quite nail their parts- mostly the Artists- but that's a minor issue.  The mood created by the Episode is quite nice.  It is all about murder, but never gets garish.  You never see blood or any of that kind of stuff.  At the same time, they don't sanitize the emotional consequences of the deaths either.  If you're squeamish, it's a win-win.  I will say that the twist is interesting, but has some issues for me.  When we last see 'Jack,' he's with the Brit.  It is only moments later that we see POV Jack in action, so did he just go 'I need to pee- brb' or what?  The other ones hold up fine- it's just this one.  All in all, Thriller continues to deliver and I have no reason not to go back at least a few more times now, especially if he's behind the Camera...
Another solid Episode- which should be no surprise given who is involved.  It's a bit dated, but that can also be part of its charm.