Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Crime 101 (1999)

aka Scarfies

College students arrive on campus looking for a cheap place to stay for the semester and see an ad for a free room.  The address is a large abandoned home with multiple bedrooms. It's filled with trash, but the electricity and water still work.

The roommates clean up the building to make it livable and discover a locked steel door in the basement.  When one finds the key, they unlock the mystery door to discover a room filled with tons of pot plants.

The kids are split as to whether to keep it, sell it, call the police, or leave it alone.  Eventually the thought of lots of cash leads our poor college students to sell most of it, while keeping a bit for themselves.

Now you'd think someone might have considered what might happen when the person who has been cultivating it comes back for it.  Ah, but you'd be much more forward thinking than this lot.  Really, I mean there's water, artificial sunlight, and a timer to regulate both, plus it's obvious that care has been given to cultivate it.  It's not like it's a dingy old basement with long forgotten plants.  Argh!  Too bad no one had any critical thinking ability because when the owner shows up he's none too happy to find his crop gone and a bunch of kids who've spent all his drug money.

At this point, there is dissension in the ranks as the kids try to figure out how to handle this unexpected wrinkle in their adventure. The movie has some tension at this point as it's hard to imagine how they're going to get out of the situation, but they also make some really stupid decisions (which I guess is to be expected since they decided to sell someone elses pot) and a not very believable ending.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Phantoms (1998)

A doctor returns to town after picking up her younger sister.  The small town is usually bustling, but there is no sign of life on the streets.  Once home, they find the housekeeper dead as well as the phone.  They head in town to the Sheriffs office and find him dead also.

There are strange noises coming from outside and there seems to be no other living person in town.  Then Sheriff Ben Affleck and two deputies show up from the neighboring town to investigate why the towns gone quiet.

There's nothing really special about this one, but it's an okay way to pass some time.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Bay (2012)

College student Donna was an intern for a local news program and  was assigned to report on the 4th of July celebration in the seaside village of Claridge.  But what started as a day of fun turns into a day of horror when people develop blistering rashes which quickly progress to something worse which causes such intense pain that  they want to die, which is good since death follows soon afterwards.

What no one realizes, including the doctor treating the outbreak and the CDC who he's consulting, is that the illness is caused by a parasite in the water, and the problem is that the parasites are essentially on steroids. This is due to the Mayor's chicken farm dumping tons of chicken waste into the bay. The same bay which  had a little nuclear accident a few years earlier.

The story is presented as an interview with Donna a few years after the event. Donna is trying to get the word out about what really happened that day.  The government confiscated all the  footage shot that day.  But a website has managed to get hold of  footage from security cameras, police dash cams, cell phones, news crews, and individuals.

Donna is not a selling point for this film.  Her narration is annoying, and sometimes she uses the wrong words.  While she wants everyone to know the real story, she's also fixated on how she looks and her entry level reporting, actually noting at one point that an interview was the worst thing that happened . Yes, your tight pants and lack of reporting skills was the real tragedy, not the numerous painful deaths.

Another issue is when the family that has the misfortune of sailing into town discover people dead in the streets, they don't go back to the freaking boat!  Don't risk your baby's life by bringing it into a  town filled with dead bodies. What if the cause of death is a plague or a killer on the loose? Get the hell out of there!

This would have been a much better movie if they'd decided not to go with a found footage movie which jumps around in time and focus.  If it had been a story based movie which followed the natural time line of how things occurred, it would have been far move effective.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010)

Well you've got to give the movie credit when it starts off with a scientist screaming an alarm and people in white lab coats streaming out of the building in a panic before being chomped or crushed by giant creatures.

Evil business tycoon Drake has been working on a bio-catalyst to increase plant growth. Now that sounds like it would be very useful. But as evil guys tend to do, Drake decides to expand the genetic potential of the growth matrix by working with living creatures. Oh yes, I'm sure this will work out fine.  I've always thought the crocodile, alligator, and dinosaur were far too small. Why not have something bigger that can kill us much easier? Thank you, Mr. Drake!

When the croca-gator-plata-mutant-saurs escape, Drake decides to call in The Cajun, whose slogan is "you've tried the rest, now try the best."  The Cajun quickly arrives and finds out that things are not what they seem. Since his nickname and job seem to implies he's dishonest, it's a surprise to find out he's a stand up guy who does what is right.  I think Drake's going to be surprised, too.

Let's face it, if you decide to watch this you know exactly what you're getting. You just hope it's not boring.  I guess the best thing to say about it is at least it's not Scorpius Gigantus. Watch for the worst nurse in the world who attend to Drake as he's clutching his heart. Instead of providing any sort of assistance, she just says "Oh no! Keep breathing."  Drake may want to be more careful of who he hires... if he lives.

Silly dialogue:

"We are here to grow food, not create genetic Frankensteins."

"Alligators and crocodiles are mortal enemies.  I say we bring them together. We make them fight." -The Cajun

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scorpius Gigantus (2006)

The Russian mob hits a US convoy looking for uranium, but all they end up with is a giant scorpion, which does not appreciate their interruption of it's trip.  Major Reynolds and his crack squad of elite soldiers are sent to recover the scorpion because the scientist overseeing the genetic experiments insists the giant killing machine must be saved for further research.

And when I say the elite military team looks for the scorpion, it  means they wander around in a warehouse, and later on a ship, for 70 minutes.  But you won't even notice when they start searching the ship as the interior looks exactly the same as the interior of the warehouse.  In fact, the only reason I knew they were supposed to be on the ship is the scenes were book ended with shots of a ship.

Now you would think a movie about a giant scorpion would be exciting. Yes, you'd think that, but you'd be dead wrong.  It's mostly people walking around and when they're conversing, you wish they'd go back to walking due to their stilted acting, much of which appears to be by non-English speakers. I'm not sure whether they are phonetically pronouncing words, or if they're not very good at emoting. So I guess that tells you something about the level of acting here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Beyond Evil (1980)

Larry and Barbara move to a random island so that architect Larry can resolve some issues with a condo construction.  Larry's friend Del manages to get them a super cheap, beautiful, hill top mansion/castle. Is that a problem?  Well, only if you mind living in a home where people have been murdered and is supposedly haunted. Good god! Warning number one.

Del and the uber tan Dr. Frank Albanos tell them the mansion isn't  really haunted.  It's just a legend based on murders that have occurred in the home - the home which has been vacant for one hundred years. Warning number two.

But Del's date - who is a local - listens to them talk about the house, freaks out, screams that the legend is true and runs out the door in a panic. Warning number three.

Barbara starts seeing things, getting confused, acting weird and fainting.  The local faith healer tells Larry she's got a problem. The shifty Dr. Albanos - who's up to something evil which is never revealed, damn you movie! - agrees that something is very wrong with Barbara.

Larry is more annoyed than concerned until he comes home and discovers Babs has a case of hotdog finger. Props to the make up people as her bloated finger is disturbing.  By that time all hell breaks loose and Babs possession by a long dead witch is well underway. And guess what? That damn witch doesn't want to give up her new lease on life or Babs body.

This is a bit slow moving complete with glowing green laser eyes, and a not at all threatening devil statue. Who keeps a devil in their house? Not cool, dude.  John Saxon and Linda Day George do their best with the material, but it's dated.

This came with the house.
The George Hamiltan of island Doctors.
Barbara has Elton John headlight eyes.
Oddly enough the necklace has nothing to do with the evil. 
Why are they keeping this?
That is a nasty case of hotdog finger.
Why does this remind me of a soap opera?
Laser eyes!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Backslash (2005)

The Hottest Girls on Campus web site is run by a guy who casts the same hot women in his slasher films.  But girls who star in these movies end up dying in real life.

Ledo, the student who runs the website, leaves the dead girls photos up on the site as it brings more traffic and attention to his movie projects.

You'd think women would be afraid of associating with Ledo, his movies and his hot girls web site since someone keeps murdering the girls who are featured. Ah, but there's always some idiot whose willing to risk their lives for potential fame.

The newest stars of his movie decide to try to figure out who the killer is so that they don't get murdered.  Yeah, this just isn't very good and you'll hate the characters.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fire From Below (2009)

A mining company discovers a vein of Lithium, which an industrialist plans to use to make a fortune.  This Lithium seeks out water, but combining the two causes a violent reaction, such as a fire ball which makes people explode into dust. No one shall question why it often ignores the water to hit people who are near the water.

Luckily for the town (but not  the company), seismologist Jake and fiance Karen, who is a doctor specializing in seismology, are vacationing in town. They notice that something is wrong, and realize  it's the lithium gas that is released into the atmosphere. It's not only toxic, but seeks a water source which then blows up and there's a lake in town.  The company shrugs their shoulders while everyone in town dies, prompting Jake and Karen to call in the army.

This is a syfy channel movie. So right there, you know it's not going to be that great.  It's cliched and ridiculous.  I love how the only two people who can figure out exactly what is going on just happen to be on vacation in town.  If only this had happened a different week, the company would have been home free.

Kevin Sorbo is a likeable guy, but there's not much he can do with this. He seems relegated to this type of film, but hey, at least he's working regularly.

The funniest scene in the movie is when the military come into the toxic, dead town.  They are wearing hazmat suits, but whether due to the budget or an error in judgement, not everyone is protected.  Some are wearing the suits, but no gloves. While others aren't even wearing the suits.  Really?  What kind of fight club did they have to go through to be the guys who got to wear the full suits in the danger zone?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer School (2006)

Charlie, an old looking teenager wearing roller blades and baggy jeans goes to summer school, falls asleep and has various nightmares involving his classmates.  He's spent the last few days watching tons of horror movies and trying to catch up on his movie reviews.  Several of his classmates look even older than he does.

I had hope for this, but I think that was more because it reminded me of the old Mark Harmon movie with the same name.  This is essentially an anthology of different horror themed experiences - monsters, vampires, Nazi's, serial killers, etc.  I had a hard time sitting through it since nothing was fleshed out. Plus since Charlie wakes up at the end of each sequence, you stop wondering what's going on and just assume he's dreaming again.

Also I kept waiting for Lance Henriksen to show up since I saw his name in the credits. It was only when the closing credits began that I realized I'd misread the last name. It was Hendrikson, damn it!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Frightmare (2000)

aka Paranoid

When teens put on a haunted house to raise money for their senior class trip, the Conscience Killer comes to town.  This prompts  reporter Sara to write an article for her high school paper with tips about how to stay safe if confronted by a serial killer.  I guess high school papers have changed since I was in school.

Resident dork Razor decides to celebrate with a serial killer party aka a killer party.  Yeah, this gives you an idea of how clever the film is.  Haha oh Razor, you slay me. See what I did there?

While driving to the party, the teens car breaks down near an abandoned house.  They decide to go there to see if they can get some water for the radiator, (yeah I know).  The house has a tv, lit candles, and wanted posters for the Conscience Killer all over the walls. Oh and there's bloody clothing hanging in the closet.

When the killer shows up, the gang pulls a Scooby Doo and runs away. When they get out of the house, they stop, look up at the killer on the roof waving a power tool, then scream and start running again.  The car magically starts and the group reports their scare to the policy who laugh and laugh and laugh. Oh those kids and their pranks.

Now the police may not believe them but hell, there's been a young girl murdered in town, so wouldn't you want to check it out?  At least go to the location and see if there are bloody clothes or anything to find.... which according to the footage would be the killer sitting watching a tv news report about the Conscience Killer which states the "... killer feels he's been wronged in life so he lacks a conscience..." Wait, so shouldn't his name be the opposite?

Sara is convinced the killer is in town, but everyone else thinks she's nuts. Even her boyfriend disses her.  When she insists the man they reported to the police was the killer (and the rising body count seems to bear her out), her boyfriend exasperatedly replies, "For all we know that man we saw in the woods was some freaked out deer hunter tripping on acid looking for a deer he killed earlier that day."  Yes, I'm sure he's right. Because hunters always wear silver masks, bad wigs and carry power tools.

Oddly enough, the kids are upset when the Principal decides that it would be in their best interest to not be killed and decides to shut down the haunted house.  Student Norman is then surprised at his suspension after telling the Principal to kiss his ass.  Oh Norman....

This is not a satisfying movie nor is there a satisfying ending.

Ridiculous dialogue that I still don't understand:

Sara:  Razor, you're going to be out of brain cells by the time you're 20.
Razor:  That's why they invented ebay.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Predator Island (2005)

Kevin and his friends take his fathers boat out for the day. While they're having fun in the sun, a meteor falls into the ocean nearby.  Shortly afterwards a storm picks up, the skies become black, rain pours down, the boat loses power, and the radio conks out.

Nearby is Hells Beacon, an island with a lighthouse run by Roy and Rene.  Roy picks up their distress call and arrives at the beach about the time the teens wash up with the tide, but Kevin is missing.  And the beset remedy for getting over Kevin? For Kevin's girlfriend it's apparently making out with another girl on the trip. Yeah....

The kids stay at the lighthouse and in the middle of the night they  hear something strange.  Turns out it's Kevin getting all monster-y and eating the family dog. Oh that can't be good.

The monsters look more like something from the black lagoon, but they're actually aliens. The only way you'd know that is because Roy says they are. So.... aliens ride on meteorites?  I would expect a meteorite to turn something in the ocean into a monster, not bring an alien with it, but there you go.

The one saving grace for this movie is it's under 70 minutes. Other than that there's not much to recommend it... in other words, there's nothing to recommend it. Although I supposed you could watch for the character whose hair changes from flat to curly and back again. Also at one point the kids refer to Roy and Rene as an old couple. What are they, in their 40s or 50s?  When I hear the phrase old couple I think of white haired grandparents.

Apparently being immersed in the ocean during a
storm does wonders for your hair
Meteor... in space
Are those lasagna noodles to the left of his chin?
It's never a good thing when your eyes are glowing
Um, you have some jello on your forehead
That cut is ridiculous
Alien.. .monster... furry suit
Lighthouse go boom

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Sacred (2009)

A group of archaeology students working on their thesis ( travel to a remote area and stop at a bar where they've heard they can hire a guide.  When they mention where they're headed, the bartender warns them off and no one is willing to help them.  Eventually a large wad of cash persuades a hulking beast of a man to offer his services. But he adds several more warnings against going and will only take them down river to within a few miles of their destination due to the curse.

What's that?  A curse, you say?  Just once I'd like to see a group of kids that didn't ignore a warning from a stranger.  When you mention your destination and an entire bar room full of people stops what they're doing and turns to look at you, you may want to rethink your plans.  Sure the curse or legend may be bunk, but maybe there's some valid reason that it's not safe to go there. No one ever considers that possibility when they're ignoring the creepy stranger's warning.

Our ill prepared students (shouldn't you make sure you can actually get to your destination before planning an overnight trip?) are taken down river to some old canoes that they can use to finish their journey.  Their guide insists that they leave the area before sunset. You see they are entering a land of judgement.  Those who enter the grounds must be pure of heart. Otherwise they are punished for their sins, no matter how small. In other words, absolutely NO ONE should ever go there.

Oh stupid kids, as if the warning isn't enough, they use Shaman's magic tools on sacred land - the same sacred land that legends say were used to punish sinners. Argh!  Don't, kids, just don't.  But as you can guess, they don't listen to reason and soon there is vengeance a-flippin' and a-flyin' all over the place. Because not only are these students sinners of the worst kind - seriously, what are the odds they're all horrible people? -  but after seeing their pasts transgressions, you'll want them dead (even though you won't care that much about them before).

Now I would be remiss in forgetting to mention the scene with the old movie projector, (the type used in schools in the 60's/70's.) The whole scene bugs me.
  1. The isolated, abandoned camp that you reach by boat still has electricity.
  2. The guy knows how to thread the movie projector. 
  3. He shows the film outside during the day.
  4. The film has footage of them arriving on the island.
  5. He tells no one??!  How could he not mention it?!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Age of Dinosaurs (2013)

Biotech company Geneti-Sharp has developed ways to regenerate skin for burn victims, give functioning legs to the paralyzed, and bring dinosaurs back to life. Say what?  No one shall ask why they decide to gloss over the first two and concentrate on the dinosaurs. I'm pretty sure the new skin and legs would be a bigger moneymaker and far less dangerous to the general populace.

If I remember correctly, Geneti-Sharp's slogan is "The people are sharp. The future is sharp."  Nope, still doesn't explain the dinosaurs or why they think they are a viable option for childrens birthday parties.

The movie opens with scientists in a secret lab reviving a dinosaur in an operating room.  Once it awakes, their brilliant plan is to remain motionless so as not to startle it.  Seems like it would have been a better idea to invest $20 for ties big enough to keep it on the table. Also then they could have avoided gassing everyone in the room. Since no one wants to fail on the dinosaur project, they don't mention this disaster to the CEO. Big laughs are to be had when the poisonous gas appears to leak into the control booth through the apparently poorly installed observation window.

Geneti-Sharp's big announcement is revealed at a fancy venue complete with champagne and rich people.  So that doesn't really explain how firefighter Gabe and his daughter Jade get in. The story is their Uncle gave them tickets because Jade used to like dinosaurs as a kid.  Yeah, I'm not buying that security had tickets to this event.  I'm going to chalk it up to plot convenience.

Now what do you think is going to happen. Do you think a woman, who was a victim of a fire, is going to explain how her beautiful face and body are due to regenerative skin by Geneti-Sharp?  Do you think the wheelchair bound CEO will stand up and walk with his newly mobile legs? (I'm very disappointed that he didn't have dinosaur legs).  Do you think dozens of dinosaurs are in glass enclosures surrounding the audience?  (The audience is perfectly safe -  it's the same glass they use on the space shuttle.)  Do you think that there will be a problem mirroring the original experiment when they couldn't control the dinosaurs  And would you guess that the dinos will break free from their supposedly unbreakable space glass cages and start eating their rich benefactors?  Yup.

Gabe and his daughter are the only ones we care about so we watch as they try to escape from the dinosaur menace which soon spills into the streets of Los Angeles. "Hey I'll distract it as long as I can", says Uncle as he promptly rides into the things mouth two seconds later. Maybe he should have had a better plan.

Yup, dinosaurs roaming LA and a news team whose reporter doesn't realize that cameras can zoom make a bad combination.  You just know somethings going to go horribly wrong as she urges the pilot closer and closer for that aware winding shot.

Also what the hell is up with Gabe's daughter. Its fine if the film wants to portray her as the kids whose dad was never there for her. But when she says it's about time he was there for here because he was too busy fighting fires when she was a kid, you just want her to die, the selfish little idiot.

This is a ridiculous movie, and I don't understand why Treat Williams is in it.  But he doesn't just phone it in, so you've got to give him credit.  If you watch it with a bunch of friends, it's hysterically funny and enjoyable.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Covenant (2006)

The Sons of Ipswich are the descendants of five families who founded the town.  But one of the families is believed to have been killed off during the witch trials.  No one shall try to calculate the odds that 300 years later the four surviving families all have sons the same age who are seniors in high school.

Although they are the towns founding families, each family has a secret. All are descended from witches and the four boys are warlocks.  They receive their initial power at age thirteen.  When they turn eighteen, they will inherit all powers at their disposal.  But the power is addictive,  and if you use it frivolously and repeatedly, it will prematurely age you.

Caleb and Reid are currently in a power struggle. Reid is jealous because Caleb will be the first to turn 18. Plus he is interested in  the new girl in town  but she wants to date Caleb.

When a darkling appears, Caleb can tell someone is using the groups powers.  He suspects it's Reid since Reid is using his powers for stupid things like winning at pool and in fights.  But what if the fifth family really didn't die off and the descendant has come back to town?

This is basically Twilight with witches.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)

Legend has it that twenty years ago a possessed boy killed his family and was then thrown in the river by a group of vigilante town folk.  The family home is supposedly haunted and the ghost of the killer stalks it's land, which of course makes it the perfect place to party for teens with questionable cranial functioning.

In this pseudo-documentary, college grad student Taylor, who wants to be a journalist, and her two cameramen get a chance of a lifetime to do a film about Leslie Vernon as he meticulously prepares to become a famous serial killer.  With film crew in two,  he picks his victim, researches her friends, throws some scares into her to make her jumpy, and then devises an entire murder scenario down to the tiniest detail.

Leslie claims to be the spirit of of the boy killed by the vigilantes. However this turns out to be part of his plan to become a famous.  He name checks Jason, Michael and Freddy because in this film, these are real killers, not fictional movie characters.

Taylor, a woman whose mouth is usually slightly open and looks distractingly like a late 1960s Brian Jones, is fascinated by Leslie and enamored with his personality.  He's a happy go lucky guy, always joking and in an upbeat mood.  He invites her to accompany him to visit a friend who turns out to be a retired serial killer. He is also personable and very hospitable.  Amateur Taylor starts thinking Leslie is a nice guy, which is pretty weird since he's planning to kill multiple people.

Leslie tells them each part of his plan, even how the murders will play out. He talks of how serial killing is an art form if done correctly and how you really have to prepare if you don't want to be an amateur.  His one contention is that they can observe and film during his killing spree, as long as they don't interfere in the execution of his plans.  Idiot Taylor agrees.

Based on the cover, I thought this was going to be some stupid low budget crappy film.  And at one point I was a bit bored so I considered shutting it off.  The first half is mostly footage shot by the film crew but once everything is set up, it becomes a slasher where Leslie puts his plan into action. The movie references lots of horror icons, cliches, and plot points. The ending had a twist that I missed which was great since most twist endings I can see a mile away.

The guy playing Leslie does a great job. He's able to pull off being a goofy, friendly, kind of charming guy (other than the fact that he's a serial killer, seriously Taylor get a grip!)  But once the killings start, that persona is totally gone and he's become an unfeeling killer.

There are cameos by Kane Hodder,  the little woman from Poltergeist (as a librarian), and Robert Englund as Doc Halloran.

Leslie:  There are eleven exits from the first floor and another eight or nine that might be manageable from the second floor.  You want to eliminate as many as you can from being practical so I’ve discreetly nailed them all shut.
Taylor: Don’t they just smash them out?
Leslie: You’d think so, but you’d be surprised.  No.  And when they do smash them out, it’s on the second floor or higher. Then they’re out on the roof and they are screwed.

Leslie: You have no idea how much cardio I have to do.
Taylor: Why so much?
Leslie: Well I have to be able to run like a frickin' gazelle without getting winded. Then there's that whole thing about making it look like you're walking while everybody else is running their asses off.  And I gotta stay with them. It's tough, man.

Happy go lucky soon to be famous serial killer Leslie
and his mentor
Leslie is serious about his craft
Taylor kept reminding me of Brian Jones

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sinister (2012)

True crime writer Ellison and his family move to a small town so he can get inspiration for his new book.  What his family doesn't know is that the house he bought was the sight of a murder.   No idea why he can't be inspired unless he's in or near a murder house, but there you go.

The first night things get weird when Ellison finds his son doing the backward bending possession stance while popping out of a moving box.  Also his daughter gets lost going to the bathroom. I know it's a new house, but the damn thing is a ranch. It's only one story. I kept hoping she would get lost every night.

Ellison finds a box of old Super 8 movies and a projector in the attic.  When he starts watching them, he discovers they are home movies of families and the films end with their murders.

Thinking he's found a gold mine of evidence and uncovered a career making story about an undiscovered serial killer, he neglects to tell the police that he has footage of multiple murders. Uh oh, that's not going to turn out well.

If I had seen this movie in a dark theater, it really would have spooked me.  But I didn't. I watched it in early evening and it was still light out. There are plenty of things which can be overlooked to enjoy the film, but they also provide a good chance to make jokes at the films expense.
  • There are kid-like drawings of the dead families which also show a killer named Mr. Boogie.  Even though you know it's a reference to the boogieman, Mr. Boogie sounds like a disco dancer.
  • If Ellison knows enough to thread a film projector, how can he not know that pausing the film means the heat from the light bulb will cause the film to burn?  
  • Since Ellison is obsessed with finding a shot of the face he saw in the film (and burned), then why doesn't he notice that his daughter's drawn the exact damn face on her wall?  
  • I know he feels this is his In Cold Blood, but he's got multiple films of murders of entire families that span from the 1960s to the current day. Someone's gonna die again and since the box is in your house, what makes you think the killer won't be back for it?
  • Deputy So and So believes in paranormal and knows the history of the house. Yet when Ellison is freaked out and relating his experience, the Deputy suggests its from all the rum he's drinking.
Honestly, it was an okay film, even though we made fun of it.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dredd (2012)

In the future, civilization is a mess and the population lives within a walled city that runs from Boston to Washington, DC. Chaos reigns and the police have the power to arrest, sentence, and execute those who break the law. They're known as Judges.

Deadpan Judge Dredd is assigned to take rookie Anderson into the field to make a final decision regarding whether she can be a Judge or not.  Dredd is adamant that since she didn't pass her test by 3 points then she failed.  But he is told they are giving her a chance as she has amazing psychic powers which could be helpful on the job.

When they answer a call at a block (which is an apartment complex 200 stories high) run by gang leader Ma-Ma, they capture a thug responsible for the murders they're investigating.  When Ma-Ma discovers that they're going to interrogate him rather than kill him, she puts out the order to lock down the block.

Ma-Ma controls the new drug called Slo-Mo, in which everything slows down for the user. She doesn't want anyone to know that the block is manufacturing this and that she's the head of operations there.  We get some great slow motion scenes based on the users experiences but most are terrifying, such as a bullet through the cheek or dropping to death from the 65th floor.  With Ma-Ma's order for all gang members in the block to find and kill the Judges, the fight is on.

There is lots of action with some scenes being ridiculously over the top, and that's a good thing.  I didn't see it in 3D, but it doesn't have that obvious feel of things being pointed at the camera for no reason that a lot of movies have.  My friend had already seen this at an IMAX theater in 3D and pointed out a few things that he said looked amazing in the theater.  This is much better than 1995 version titled Judge Dredd which starring Stallone. I remember being really disappointed with that one.  It's one of the better action movies I've seen recently, just remember Judge Dredd is supposed to be the quintessential cop. Think Dirty Harry in the future.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Devil's Rock (2011)

Two soldiers are dispatched to an island occupied by Nazis. Their mission is to distract the Germans so that the Allies can attack at a different location. While setting explosives at a large bunker, the men hear a woman screaming, and one feels compelled to rescue her. Bad solider, bad!

As the doorway painted with an Iron Cross opens, a Nazi staggers out to vomit and they kill him.  Don't know about you, but if something is making a Nazi puke, then I don't want any part of it.

The first solider heads inside, and when he doesn't come out quickly, the other heads in after him.  Inside there are long hallways and some dead Nazi's who are essentially piles of sausages.  But our soldiers aren't very careful as each ends up meeting their fate, although one's fate is a blow to the back of the head.

Once he awakens, the solider finds himself tied up and facing a Nazi. Oh, and there's a shape shifting demon down the hall. The Nazi's summoned the demon to use as a weapon to fight the Allies.  But they aren't very good at controlling it, hence the large piles of Nazi meat all over the place.

Based on the DVD cover, I had no interest in watching it as I thought it would be total crap. What a horrible cover. It reminds me of when stupid Bombshell McGee dressed up as a Nazi. And no one wants to see that crap.

However I was pleasantly surprised as it's well acted and a decent film.  It's a dialogue based movie so if you need a lot of action, then you won't like it. It's mostly the surviving solider and the surviving Nazi interacting, and then we meet the demon who appears as a young woman.  There were times when I got annoyed at the lead as he did some ridiculous things. There were some twists and turns, which I didn't always see coming.

There's some gore (damn those piles of bloody sausages), a shape shifting demon, and Nazis are always the perfect villain.  Silly Nazis - when will they learn not to summon a demon that won't differentiate between them and everyone else? It just wants to eat everyone.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Zombie Bloodbath 2: Rage of the Undead (1994)

In 1945 some thugs attack an old farmer and his wife because they supposedly have some gold. The thugs start slicing into the old lady and then zip zoom, some Satanic cult members in hoods pop up and make them pay with their lives. Oddly enough, one gets turned into a scarecrow. Weird.

Back in the present, three prison escapees end up at the farm. One steals a coat off the scarecrow who comes back to life and raises the dead.  So removing a coat from a scarecrow is always a bad idea?

To make matters more complicated, there's a group of college students whose van has broken down and they're hoping to use a phone.  Well, I'm not really sure how old they're supposed to be since they look far too old for college. But since the driver keeps saying his dad is going to kill him,  I pray they aren't supposed to be teenagers.

Meanwhile in town, some losers try to rob a Deli and end up torturing the people inside.  It appears to be filler until all our characters end up together and fight off a town full of zombies.

This is similar to the previous movie in that there is lots of padding. There are fights and running around without any real action or dialogue.  The losers in the Deli are ridiculous and the mentally challenged guy with the fish hat seemed to be turning into a zombie based on his pale complexion and black circles around the eyes. But he doesn't so it's just confusing.

The movie goes from color to black and white, and back within a scene, but there doesn't seem to be a real purpose to it. The Extras has footage from a local premiere (can't remember if it was for the first movie or this one).  So you've got to give credit to someone who manages to finish a film and do a premiere at a theater.  Then again, it's a pretty bad movie, and the acting is about as bad as the first one.

Ridiculous dialogue:

"[He says] I'm living in a so-called pipe dream." 

"All we know is they're out there and we're in her and that's all that matters." - this sounds like something out of Plan 9

"If a fugitive like Slade can learn the meaning of human life, maybe there's still hope." 

1945, a time of baseball hats with plastic fasteners
Get a good glimpse as you'll only see me in 1945. 
He's a one man army.
The worst tied hostages ever
A scene that goes randomly black and white...
...then back to color. And why is there a sheet draped
over the wall?
The kid whose dad is going to kill him for the car troubles?
The guy on the left.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zombie Bloodbath 1 (1993)

A town built on top of a radioactive nuclear reactor gets infested with zombies.  Two high school kids fall into a fake hole in a tunnel. Nothing much comes from it except plot convenience. Once their parents rescue them, both families end up in the same house so they can combine forces to survive the onslaught.

Most of the movie consists of uninspired scenes that are the equivalent of your high school friend with a camcorder filming a chase scene with zombies.  It's fun for the participants, but tedious to watch if you weren't involved. 

The father of one teen has a horrible mullet.  The other father is a former military guy who decides they should walk for miles rather than take a car (because the sound would attract the zombies).   As expected, this proves to be a big mistake.

The acting and dialogue are bad, the makeup is amateur, and it's shot on video. This is a total home made production. The best thing I can say is I give credit to anyone who can actually finish a low budget movie. It takes lots of time, effort, and planning.  That being said, just because it's an admirable accomplishment, that doesn't mean it's not horrible. In the Extras, there is behind the scenes footage and Todd Sheets seems like a nice enough guy, even with his propensity to wear what appears to be Lycra bike shorts.

Next up, Zombie Bloodbath 2.  I honestly don't think I'm going to get the second disc which contains Zombie Bloodbath 3. Sequels are usually worse than the original, so I'm not sure I can get through them all.
This must be a dangerous conference room -
they need hard hats.
This gang of street toughs terrorizes the town....
....and this gang girl looks like she's in a bad 80s metal band.
Holy mullet! Hair and mustache combo for the win.
They should have told the zombies to wear long pants.