Saturday, November 30, 2013

Man of Steel (2013)

My idea of Superman is 1970s Superman comics.  I'm not a fan of the old Superman movies, but I'm not interested in any new Superman movies either. I guess I'm just not interested in Superman anymore.  So when my friends insisted on watching this, I wasn't thrilled. And when I saw that the movie clocks in at 2:20, I was not happy.  But it turns out that other than the stupid parts and that if you cut 45 minutes of fighting, it wouldn't make a difference on the plot and would still be a full length movie, it was pretty entertaining.  Actually even the stupid parts were entertaining, other than Kevin Costner's Pa Kent being a total dick.

It's the standard story where Jor-El shoots his baby into space because Krypton is disintegrating. The ship crashes on Earth and is  found in a field by Ma and Pa Kent who raise the little Supertyke as their own, while attempting to discourage him from displaying his powers so no one will figure out he's not from Earth. So the standard plot isn't much different up to here.

Once Clark becomes an adult, he bounces from job to job, always disappearing after some big event in which he rescues people from some disaster.  He keeps to himself and tries to stay under the radar... except for that disappearing after doing some super human feat thing, such as keeping an oil rig from falling into the ocean. Yeah, nothing suspicious about that.

Journalist Lois Lane tries to be a hard boiled reporter but her pretty little head can't seem to wrap itself around such things as common sense or safety, and she ends up being saved by Clark, who promptly disappears.  This sends Lois on a mission to discover who he is and somehow she manages to find all the reports of a mystery man who saves people and they lead right back to the Kents. I'm skeptical. Also if it was that easy, then Clark's been wasting his time hiding from intimacy for all these years.

Around this time, General Zod and his fellow mutineers arrive on Earth to track down the superbaby that escaped Krypton. Battles ensue, newspapers are read, and tons of buildings are destroyed.  Once the outcome is reached the logical conclusion is, couldn't you have done that before you destroyed every high rise in town, you Super jerk?

My biggest problem with the movie is Pa Kent, who encourages Clark to avoid any situations where his superhuman powers would be detected. Sounds fine on the surface, but Pa takes it to the extreme. For instance, when Clark's school bus plunges off a bridge and into the water, Clark saves everyone by pushing the bus to safety and goes back in the water to save a bully who's drowning.  Pa tells Clark he should have done nothing.  In other words, he should have let everyone die.  Hey Pa, how about urging Clark to be a little more discrete? After pushing the bus out of the water, he could duck down or move off to the side so no one sees him?  He could pretend he was thrown out of the bus, like the bully was. It doesn't need to be all or nothing. Thankfully Clark has more humanity than Pa and is determined not to watch people die when he can save them.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Grabbers (2012)

Lisa Nolan, an officer sent in to cover for a vacationing officer, meets Ciaran, the only other officer on duty who wishes she weren't there and meets her exuberance with drunken disdain. Lisa is used to the big city so this sleepy little coastal town doesn't seem like it should be any problem.

But soon strange things start occurring, local fishermen disappear, and the town drunk finds a weird creature which he keeps in the bathtub until it gets crazy on him so he contacts the police.  When the officers and town drunk bring it to the local scientist, he proclaims it a new life form. Everyone is happy until they realize the egg they found couldn't have come from the creature on the table due to a discrepancy in the size. Uh oh.

A search reveals a much large creature and in order to keep the locals safe, the officers must convince everyone to go into the pub for the night.  They've discovered the reason the town drunk survived is because the creature hates alcohol. So the only way to fight it is to keep everyone smashed, which isn't the most conducive to proper thinking.

Over all it was amusing and there were some funny scenes. The tone is more like older movies, and is more akin to Tremors.  Enjoyable but not as funny as I'd hoped.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

100 Bloody Acres (2012)

Reg and Lindsay own an organic fertilizer operation which has found it's niche by using a special ingredient - the bodies of car  accident victims found alongside the road.

Reg is hauling a load of fertilizer when he runs across James, Wesley, and Sophie whose car has broken down on the way to a concert.  While he refuses their initial request to give them a ride, Reg is smitten with Sophie and ends up going back to pick them up.

With only room for one more in the cab of the truck, Sophie sits in the front with Reg while James and Wesley sit on the fertilizer bags in the truck, unaware that there is a corpse hidden under them.

When Reg figures out what they've discovered the body, he has no choice except to drive to the farm with the intent of making them part of the next batch of fertilizer, which of course is not part of the kids plans.

The rest of the movie involves the kids trying to escape, along with Reg trying to get out from under brother Lindsay's bullying and figure out which path to take with Sophie - kill her or let her go.

This one isn't in a class with Tucker and Dale, but it's a decent movie with some laughs.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thrashin' (1986)

Oh Thrashin'... what else could I want from a 1980's teen skateboarding movie?  You've got a cliched storyline, a strange club scene, lots of skateboarding, a young Josh Brolin, and stunt doubles wearing terrible wigs.

Cory (played by Brolin) moves to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of getting sponsored and getting his own signature board.  He hangs out with friends, builds a ramp, and (since he's new in town) doesn't understand the politics of the local skatepark where he ignores his friends pleas, and skates into the off limits area which has been claimed by tough guy skate gang, The Daggers.

Hook, the leader of The Daggers,  has a sister named Chrissy who is visiting from out of town. Chrissy is a clean cut girl, not like those nasty skanks that the Daggers hang out with.  After being impressed with Cory earlier at the park, Chrissy runs into him that night at the punk club, and the two leave to hang out together.

What kind of a club is this anyway?  There's a bouncer, but no cover charge. They don't check IDs, yet they appear to sell alcohol.  There's a band playing, yet the crowd brought skateboards. Sometimes there is skating on the dance floor. This is one odd club.

But damn it, the over protective Hook doesn't want Chrissy dating some loser from the Valley, especially the guy who invaded their space.  So during a local skating competition, Hook and the Daggers sabotage Cory's run.  Surprisingly no one notices that the jacks they threw in the pool causing Cory to crash.  Come on!  They must have had to clean them out before the next skater.

You just know this isn't going to sit well with Cory and his friends.  So plan for some future revenge, a skateboard jousting fight, and another competition. How much excitement can one person stand?

This movie is pretty silly, but fun.  It's a totally cliched plot you can find in loads of 1980s teen movies, but with skateboarding, a performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (when they still had Hillel on guitar), and famous skateboarders doing stunts and playing some of the Daggers.  I'm not sure of everyone who was in it, but it includes Chrisian Hosoi, Lance Mountain, Tony Hawk, Tony Alva, Per Welinder, Rodney Mullin, Mike McGill, and Steve Caballero. None of these guys are featured but they do stunts or play gang members.

Watch for the lack of continuity before the downhill. At the Dagger house, Hook puts on studded leather arm bands, but needs help lacing them up. When they arrive at the downhill, he's not wearing them anymore.  But then he lines up to skate and they're back.

The weird thing about deciding to watch this movie is that at the exact same time and night that we were watching this, a couple of friends in New York were in the theater watching the same movie. What the hell? How can that even happen? And how did this get into a theater?

Josh Brolin as dreamy Cory, the new skater in town  
The horror of the horrible wigs 
The Ramp Locals aka the good guys 
Our star crossed teens 
If you misread this as La Massacre instead of L.A. Massacre,
it takes on a much more sinister tone
The Daggers aka the Villians 
Promo photo of the Ramp Locals
Promo photo with Chuck McCann as the skateboard
company owner showing Josh Brolin around the factory
Sherilyn Fenn, Robert Russler, and the rest
of the gang
Yugoslavian poster
US poster 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Rage (1997)

A crazy Vietnam vet goes on a killing spree, prompting the best ten minutes of the film where the FBI pursue a van driven by said killer who drives through anything the writers could throw at the screen: a dressage competition; a playground; a park; a race track; a crowd filled bleacher, etc.  And all the while guns are blazing, cars are launching, and the FBI thoughtfully yell, "Watch out for children!"

Lorenzo Lamas is Nick Travis, a detective whose boss (played by Roy Scheider) has it out for him after receiving an official reprimand for a Waco type incident which he believes is Travis's fault. Consequently, his boss pairs him with green agent Kelly McCord who appears to have cornered the market on collagen and is supposed to be pretty damn awesome.

But when trying to drive to safety and protect Kelly from villain Art Dacy's crazy disgruntled Vet army, Travis doesn't notice a board filled with nails in the middle of the road. The flat tires cause them to stop and fall into a trap where McCord is kidnapped, assaulted, and barely escapes with her life. Hmmm, if he's thrown by something in plain sight perhaps his boss has a point.

The movie spends the rest of it's time in cliche mode while the FBI tries to catch Dacy, all the while proving that they are the worst agents ever. Not only is there the incident where essentially Travis drives over a nail mat, but the agents unload tons of fire power and can't even hit the tires on the killers jeep.  Plus McCord shoots up some poor families car, sending multiple shots through the windshield which results in the occupants screaming in terror while the car plows right through a camper.  Then at the gangs hideout, there is a VHS tape left for the FBI to watch, which they do, never thinking it could be a trap.  And most importantly, the killers keep getting away. What the hell, FBI?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Outing (1987)

aka The Lamp

When thieves break into an old ladies house, they discover a genie lamp in the wall which contains a Djinn, and you know that won't end well.  After police arrive at the crime scene, they  confiscate the lamp and for some reason that I missed or was never explained, send the lamp to the local science museum.

Museum Curator Dr. Wallace is examining the lamp and other items from the old ladies house, when daughter Alex (who I thought was his wife at first) decides to visit.  They get into an argument and Alex intones the classic teen line that she wishes her dad was dead. Not cool, especially when there's a genie lamp with a Djinn inside on the other side of the room.

When her dad leaves the room, Alex tries on a bracelet, which in true horror fashion, refuses to come off. If only she'd known she shouldn't try on jewelry from a murder scene.

When Alex and her class go on a field trip to the science museum (her dad is dating her teacher), Alex's friends tell her it would be cool to stay over night and party in the museum. At first Alex is upset that they're asking her to do such a thing, but shortly afterwards, she surprises them all by enthusiastically agreeing. What no one realize is that Alex is possessed (damn that bracelet!) so things aren't going to end well.

Another unknown factor is that Alex's psycho ex-boyfriend Mike - who is angry she doesn't want to date him and has already manhandled her that morning at school - has overheard their plans. He and his minion decide to hide in the museum and plan a special little surprise of their own for Alex and her friends in the closed museum.

While not a classic by any means, I'd been wanting to see this movie for awhile and was happy to see it released on DVD. There are some unique methods of dispatching the teens, due to the Djinn and his powers.

Of note - psycho ex Mike is played by Red Mitchell, who was the lead in Forever Evil. Also it's the only movie I can think of where you can see a man jump on a flaming piece of toast, and a victim with an ax in their head use the ax (still in their head) to kill their attacker.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Dark (1993)

Grave diggers Jake and Ed discover a tombstone tipping into the ground. When they try to set it straight, they find a huge tunnel running under the graveyard and decide to investigate.  What they don't realize is that a carnivorous rodent monster is living in the tunnels under the cemetery and eating corpses.

Meanwhile, in a cafe, Professor Gary is minding his own business when waitress Tracy is harassed by a customer. Chivalrous Gary comes to the rescue and gets in a fight with a motorcycle gang, who take out their anger by shooting the chef and wounding Gary.  Somehow this causes Tracy and Gary to fall in love and while Tracy watches the injured Gary sleep, she leafs through his notebooks which are filled with drawings of, and an obsession with, giant rats.  Nope, no red flags there.

You see, Gary has run into this creature before, and he wants the rodent alive. So he's heading for the graveyard where Jake and Ed are currently hiding in their home to avoid being dragged underground by the creature.  Also on the way to this location is ex-agent Bucker, who unlike Gary, wants the monster dead because it killed his partner. Oh no, whatever will they do?

I wasn't expecting much from this since it's on a 20 pack of horror, but it was actually pretty enjoyable.  It's kind of slow in places, but it has Stephen McHattie and Brion James as good points.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Candyman (1992)

Grad student Helen is working on a thesis about Urban Legends.  She and a friend decide to investigate the legend of Candyman, a killer with a hook for a hand who comes after you if you say his name five times while looking in a mirror.

Helen doesn't believe any of this silly stuff since urban legends are all the same. It happened to the friend of a friend of a friend, but no one can ever provide an actual name of the victim or meets someone who knew them first hand.

So when Helen meets a cleaning woman at the University who claims a woman in the projects who was killed by Candyman, Helen is intrigued.  She finds newspaper articles about the death, and decides to visit Cabrini-Green, a real life housing project in Chicago (where they hired gang members to be in the film and help keep the crew and actors from getting shot).

As Helen becomes obsessed with her investigation into the Candyman legend, she decides to tempt fate by saying his name five times. Nothing happens. So she and her friend have a good laugh.  But later she starts seeing him -   at the garage, in the projects, at her apartment, when will it stop?  And why does Helen know all the people who are being murdered?  Is Helen hallucinating Candyman and killing people herself? Or is the Candyman real?

It doesn't look good for Helen since she's found with a weapon in her hand at two of the murder scenes. Note to victims: never never NEVER pick up a murder weapon at the scene of a crime you're not involve in.  Otherwise when the police burst in and you're standing above a body with a bloody weapon, they'll think you're the murderer.

Tony Todd is striking as the Candyman, and manages to menace even with his eloquent speaking voice and regal robes.  The meaty wrist where his hook attaches is disgusting in it's simplicity, and very effective.

This is a decent movie with a twist on the Bloody Mary theme. As an added bonus, the female lead doesn't spend her time screaming. In fact when I watched the bonus features, the director talks about how he hates screaming in movies because it's annoying. Hurrah, finally someone who gets how irritating constant screaming can be.  So this is why the lead female character doesn't scream in horror. Instead she sort of goes into a trance, which they state is because they actually hypnotized her.  Weird.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bait (2012)

A tsunami hits a supermarket in the middle of a robbery gone wrong, causing the store to flood and parking garage below to flood.  The survivors in the store gather on top of the shelving units and discover that not only is the water still rising and bare electrical wires dangling from the ceiling, but there are sharks swimming in the aisles too. Oh no!

Below in the garage, the few survivors stay in their cars as long as possible since there is nowhere else to go. But when something starts bumping the windows they realize they have a shark problem too.

Then there are various subplots regarding relationships. There's the robber whose accomplice killed a woman right before the tsunami hit and the injured cop who plans to arrest him when they get out.  The injured cop and his estranged juvenile delinquent daughter.  The former lifeguard (current grocery shelf stocker) Josh, and his ex-fiance who has just gotten back from a trip and has a new guy with her. There's is the biggest focus of all the stories as they split up after Josh's best friend/fiance's brother was killed by a shark while covering Josh's lifeguard duties.  Josh's efforts to pull him out of the water before the shark killed him were unsuccessful and a year later he's still not recovered mentally.  So sharks in the store are an extra kick in the slats.

While we get some of the back story for a few of the characters, it's not really emotionally engaging.  So there's no investment in whether they live or die.  We're left watching animatronic sharks cruise through the supermarket aisles and snap at survivors, some of whom are super annoying and others who don't think things through very well.  But overall, the threat of sharks in a building is an okay way to spend a few hours.

Monday, November 18, 2013

V/H/S 2 (2103)

I wasn't a fan of V/H/S, what with ninety per cent of everyone in it being an unsympathetic character, so I wasn't all that excited to see a second one.  Thankfully the characters aren't people that you wish would die, although it wouldn't be a horror movie without some of them doing something stupid.

The least likable characters in this one are in the wrap around which introduces each tape.  A detective and his girlfriend are hired to find a missing college student.  They break into the students house while filming using a camera with a spot light which makes me wonder how no one noticed them crawling in through the window.

Once inside the small house, they continue to use the spot light. They locate a living room with multiple TVs showing static, a laptop, a VHS tape player, and tons of VHS tapes.  Hey, lets see what's on them. There may be a clue.  Well, I guess that's possible, but does that mean you have to watch the whole tape, get a nose bleed, get left alone in the house while your boyfriend goes to the drug store, and not realize that being alone in someone elses house is a very, very bad idea? Of course it does since something awful has to occur to these characters and it's a stupid thing to do.

Here is a summary of the tapes they pop in to watch:

  1. A man gets an experimental eye implant which, in the interest of science, records everything he sees.  After he goes home - to a fancy schmancy house which makes me wonder why he needs to be involved in this experiment - he starts seeing dead people in the house. Then a girl he saw at the hospital shows up and says she can tell him what's going on.  The whole thing is presented as if video from his eye, and the ghosts are pretty creepy.
  2. A mountain bike rider finds an injured woman in the woods, is distracted by some people shambling towards him, and when he turns his attention back to the woman, she's become a zombie.  This is told via footage from the riders helmet cam.
  3. The most original of all the films, this one is the best of the lot.  A film crew is pursing permission from a local cult leader to visit the cults compound. When the leader surprisingly agrees ,they arrive at the isolated compound and find the place decorated with little Blair Witch type figures.  As could be imagined, it is a bad idea to voluntarily go into the compound of a cult leader where  everyone is under his control.  
  4. Kids having a sleep over harass their older sister and her friends. Then strange things start happening and the alien abductions start.  

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hands of Steel (1986)

"Vendetta dal futuro"

If I told you there was a movie starring an arm wrestling cyborg, would you want to see it?  Hell yeah, you would.  How could you not?  Well, here you go. And I'm not talking Stallone in Over the Top (although it could be argued that his acting is mechanical.)

Evil industrialist Francis Turner doesn't care for blind wheelchair bound Dr. Mosley, a leading environmentalist with a political agenda.  So he sends a cyborg named Paco (snicker) to assassinate Mosely.  But the scientists working on the cyborg project hadn't considered that Paco is only 70% bionic, and thus his human side resurfaces and he thoughtfully maims Mosely instead of terminating him.

Paco goes on the run and ends up with the FBI, Turner and eventually a group of arm wrestling truckers chasing him. What's that? You heard me. Because when Paco runs, he ends up in the middle of the desert at a small cafe/bar where he enters the strange world of trucker arm wrestling.  The bar is covered with photos of the champions, who in real life are pro wrestlers like Hillbilly Jim and Bruno Sammartino. (Side note - when I was a little kid I thought his name was Bruno Sam Martino).

Linda, the lovely bar maid, takes him in and you just know that's going to be trouble. As he looks at the photos on the wall, she says, "You ever arm wrestle?... it's a big deal around here. Those are the champs from the past ten years." (Pan to photo which has Champ of the Year written on it in Sharpie)

Yup, jealous truckers, arm wrestling competitions (including one match where whoever is pinned  releases a snake to chomp on the losers arm), evil Turner (John Saxon) and his henchmen, clear plastic skirts, more killer cyborgs (one with the annoying voice of a bird), and the unanswerable question - are they greasing up the cyborg or does he have the ability to sweat? And if he can sweat, good god why?! What more could you ask for?  Well, I guess you could ask for something slightly more interesting, but it's so ridiculous that it's got good entertainment value.  This has to be seen to be believed.

Questionable dialogue:

Paco: I need a place to stay for a couple days.
Linda: Sure. And in exchange you help me out around here until you cut my throat.  And take off with the few bucks I've got in the till.
Paco: I could have done that already.
Linda: Ok, I'll take a chance.

The hard to read title
What's an intimidating name for a cyborg? Let's call him Paco.
You just know they recycled those plastic walls
from some cheap Italian space movie.
George Jones demands an answer
This is the shape of the object that hit him.
It could be one of the following items.
Cyborg surgery.
Oh damn, the cyborg with the plastic skirt has gone crazy.
Really tough bikers roll up their pants legs
and wear plastic chest protectors.
Huh? The unexpected ending statement.
R.I.P.  Claudio Cassinelli who died in a
helicopter crash during filming
Not to be totally depressing, but if you want more info on the helicopter crash that killed Cassinelli, you can check out Arizona Aircraft Wrecks.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mummy Maniac (2007)

Okay, it starts and the picture isn't even in focus.... and it stays that way for quite a while.  Was this a creative attempt at atmosphere, a way to mute the horror of a flashback, or just plain incompetence?  Sadly enough, it didn't matter because this was so bad I don't think we even got ten minutes into it before we couldn't take anymore.

Plus there aren't even any mummies in it. It's just some loser psycho with mommy issues who wraps up the heads of the girls he kills. Terrible.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Hanged Man (2007)

A group of whiny, unhappy people bond in a chat room where they decide to meet up in real life and commit suicide together.  The leader, Dwarfstar, is supposed to bring poison so that it will be over quickly and not hurt.

Eventually they all show up and wait around for Dwarfstar to show up.  One of the guys gets tired of waiting and decides he's going to hang himself.  One of the girls tries to stop him, and after he walks off, she insists that someone go look for him and stop him.  Um, isn't that what they came there to do anyway?

For a group that came together to end their lives, they're spending an awful lot of time avoiding death.  There are other examples, such as a gun is pulled and the intended victim is afraid she'll be shot, or someone being upset when the gun goes off during Russian roulette.  Who cares? You're there to end your miserable lives.

There's lots of talk from characters you don't care about, and  - I'm going to spoil it right here for you - after much emotional baggage is dumped on each other, people have flashbacks about their past, and hurt feelings are shared, no one dies. That's right, the whole gang of suicidal idiots who were so into ending their lives that they made a special trip to a farm in the middle of nowhere end up running away scared because they might die.  Yeah, so that was a waste of time.  Oh and apparently ghosts use Internet chat rooms. It's not as clever as it may sound.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Snow White: A Deadly Summer (2012)

After being arrested for joy riding in a stolen car, Snow White's father and evil stepmother (played by Eric Roberts and Maureen McCormick) send her off to a camp for out of control teens run by a former Navy Seal.  Eve, the stepmother, talks to herself in the mirror and wants Snow out of the way so she can monopolize her husbands time.

They may have wanted to check out this camp a little more in depth. The only building appears to be the camp office which has a huge deck.  The little delinquents are provided with daily medication and spend the nights in sleeping bags outdoors.  Their days consist of doing calisthenics (watch for the one girl who doesn't know how to do jumping jacks), moving rocks, and collecting firewood.  There is only one other employee besides the former Navy Seal, and when campers start turning up dead, not only do they decide to cover it up, but they continue having the kids sleep outside.

While the kids eat their meager lunches, one mentions there's a legend that twenty five year ago this used to be a summer camp.  But it was closed down after a camper killed another camper.  In true spooky story tradition, no one ever caught the murderer and some say she still lives in the woods.

Snow is having nightmares where she sees her fellow campers death and she's seeing someone in a hoodie hiding behind trees. Is she hallucinating or is this person real? Is it the murderer who was never found, come back to murder some more kids?

Well the first thing you need to know is that other than the lead character being named Snow White and having an evil stepmother, this has nothing to do with the fairy tale.  Second, it's a David DeCoteau film.  Enough said.

Snow's house is the same all white home used in DeCoteau's other recent movies.  The night scenes are filmed during the day.  The deaths all occur off screen and there is no blood or any marks on the bodies. The outfit provided to all the kids at the camp is a black tshirt, and they all wear jeans.  It's a typical DeCoteau film with lots of filler and not much of a story.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Clear Lake, WI (2009)

Fifteen years after the small town of Clear Lake, WI was rocked by an unexplained deadly illness, a self appointed Reverend who brainwashed teens into participating in the kidnapping and murders of sinners, and a government evacuation based on toxic contaminants in the town, reporter Kyra has the bright idea to round up the surviving teens (now adults) and bring them back to the long abandoned town so she can do a documentary on what really happened. Yes, because it's always good to bring people back to the scene of their trauma, even after they repeatedly tell you they don't want to go.

Kyra, who is determined to get to the truth but lacks any people skills or critical thinking ability, tells everyone to trust her because she wants what is best for them and thinks the trip will help them. This prompts the justifiably suspicious question, "what do you think we need help with?"  Oh Kyra, you amateur.... how could anything possibly go wrong?

Kyra shows her bias and lack of cranial processing when she states her belief that the teens who helped the Reverend are victims who can't be held responsible since the Reverend asked them to commit the crimes.  Yes, sounds like Kyra's really looking for the truth, especially when her best friend is the wife of Sam, who was one of the Reverends teen followers.

When subject Michael, who at first refuses to go on the trip, tells her, "This isn't a game. People died.  People's lives were changed!" arrogant Kyra haughtily replies, "Don't patronize me.  I've read the court transcripts and even seen pictures of the bodies, which you probably haven't.  So... I get how serious a subject this is." Oh yes, of course you do. Because if there's one thing that everyone knows, it's that reading about ritualistic serial murders in the safety of your local library provides a person with so much more insight than being a participant in the actual horrific events.

To make sure she gets the whole story, Kyra hides a recorder under the back seat of the van so she can catch all the groups conversations. So you can see how she's totally trustworthy and just wants to help. Kyra may want to consider that it's not a great idea to repeatedly pressure people who were part of a religious cult to go to the location of the murders and recall the events.

When the group asks what they should do while she's interviewing each individual, she casually responds that they can do whatever they want, or whatever they need to do because she's trying to help them.  This doesn't go over well and I suspect her documentary isn't going to fare much better.

I'm not sure why everyone agreed to be interviewed. Other than her friendship with Sam,  she doesn't know any of them.  She's a stranger asking them to open up about a horrific tragedy they were involved in, and they were on the wrong side of it. Plus she tries to be hard hitting and edgy, but is just annoying and irritating.

Not surprisingly Kyra proves to be the worst documentary maker ever and misses out on deeply personal conversations and revelations. When Michael remarks that if everyone had listened to him fifteen years ago things would have been different, Reed asks what he means by that.  Instead of laying back and listening to the revelations unfold, Kyra cuts them off and tells them they need to get back on track because they have a schedule to keep. Argh!  This was some big time, long buried stuff coming to light and she's more concerned with her preplanned, pseudo hard hitting, lame ass questions.

Also of note, for a fifteen years abandoned town, it is spectacularly clean. The floors are shined and there is no dust on anything.  And this movie has the worst cat scare I've ever seen.  Two people stand outside talking when a cat suddenly falls from above and hits the front of their jacket. Huh? Are they even near a tree? Did someone just throw a cat at them?  It precedes nothing and is totally pointless.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dracula's Widow (1988)

Wow, a movie about Dracula's window?  Why would he have a window? They let in light so that's not such a great idea.  Yup, misread the title on this one and was slightly disappointed when I realized it was his widow.

A wax museum gets a delivery with an extra crate. Owner Raymond decides to keep it even though he know it's not his and has no idea what's in it. I guess he figured he'd get some free antiques.  Well he certainly did since the crate holds Count Dracula's widow, Vanessa. Oddly enough, she's well versed in modern fashion, wears a smart little business suit, and has a business woman's ugly haircut.

Vanessa takes control of Raymond since she needs someone to do her bidding.  His girlfriend isn't too happy with his odd behavior.

It all boils down to a not so interesting plot where Vanessa wants revenge on Van Helsings grandson, and a hard boiled detective is trying to figure out what the hell is going on with a new rash of murders in town. Also Raymond is a little late for the New Romantic movement with his poncey hair and accent.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Top Line (1988)

aka Alien Terminator

Ted Angelo, a hard drinking writer with a big mustache and a shirt that should be buttoned more often, is looking for a new story while on a bender in Columbia.  He hears stories about a treasure of gold, and in true Indiana Jones and Goonies fashion, he discovers an old ship inside an underground cavern. Oh and there's also a UFO in there. 

Ted's looking forward to writing a great story, but everyone on Earth including the CIA, KGB, mob and Nazi's beg to differ.  Soon Ted is being chased all over the island and drunkenly bedding down with women. Then the cyborg shows up. Yup, that's right, a cyborg.  He's got a gun and Ted is his target. Luckily for Ted he's not a very good cyborg assassin because he fries his own face with fireworks and then his melty face is destroyed by a bull. Ridiculous.

And that doesn't even touch on the gooey, slime drooling alien and the assertion that aliens have lived among us for thousands of years. Or George Kennedy as a villian and how disconcerting it is to hear his voice dubbed by someone else.  While this film is sometimes amusing, it's not very exciting.

This does not make me want to watch
Wow, that is some outfit
Goonies are good enough
A mustache of Tom Selleck proportions
Good god, put on a shirt
This Alien is full of green goo
The four faces of incompetent cyborgs

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Expendables 2 (2012)

Stallones second Expendables movie is better than the first one, and features the same cast along with Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jean Claude Van Damme.  This time the team is sent to the site of a plane crash in order to recover a box from a hidden safe - the safe whose combination changes every 120 seconds, thus insuring that our team will almost blow themselves sky high.

After recovering the box, the evil Jean Claude swoops in, steals it, and takes the life of one of their team.  Well now you've gone and ticked Stallone off. So you just know there's going to be some mighty action and this doesn't disappoint.

There's some really funny lines, like "I now pronounce you  man and knife"  which needs to be seen because it won't be funny otherwise.  Chuck Norris shows up out of nowhere whenever the going gets trough. And if you like action that's entertaining and fun, this is a good one. Glad everyones ego can handle being in a film together. Let's hope the next one is even better.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Howling III: The Marsupials (1987)

Good job, Howling III, what were you thinking? Marsupial werewolves? Admit it - you just wanted to film in Australia so you slapped a pouch on a werewolf.

After Jerboa runs away from her werewolf family who live in the outback she ends up in the big city where she sits on a park bench until she's discovered by Donny, who works in the movie business.   When Donny sees her on that bench, he stops his car, and convinces her to be in the film he's working on.

After a few days working on the movie (and sleeping with Donny), the film wraps and there is a big after party complete with flashing lights. Apparently werewolf don't only turn at the full moon, they also change from flashing lights.  To avoid becoming a werewolf, Jerboa runs out of the party and is hit by a car.  At the hospital, doctors discover her anatomy isn't normal, and also note that she appears to be pregnant.  Somehow the wolf pack tracks her down, murders those who are in their way, and takes Jerboa back to her hometown.

When the police question Donny, he proves to be an atypical man. Most twenty something guys who slept with a girl they'd known for only a few days would be horrified to find out she was pregnant. But Donny doesn't even blink an eye when he's told he's going to be a father, and by the way, your child is a wolf. Even when he reunites with Jerboa and sees their little wolf baby in Jerboa's hairy pouch, he is abnormally happy. Blurgh!

This is one strange movie and not at all scary.  People turn into werewolves with big heads and there is an annoying Russian Ballerina who is from a different wolf clan.  Also the wolves claim they only kill to protect themselves.  So why did they kill the doctors? They could have just pushed the doctors out of the way rather than kill them. Plus the Ballerina becomes a wolf during a performance and kills her partner. What's up with that?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Urban Massacre (2002)

You know that awful feeling you get when the movie starts and you realize it was a bad idea to decide to watch it?  That's exactly  how I felt about this one, but it threw me a curve. Because it's an even worse feeling when you get at least a half hour into a movie and begin to wonder if it's supposed to be a comedy.

Hip hop group Tha Supanatchralz are an up and coming group who everyone wants to manage.  They hook up with the wrong guy who rips them off. Then a mafia guy comes along who wants a piece of the action.  And all the while, a stupid clown is starting to off their acquaintances.

There are lots of characters in this film. Every time you think you've seen everyone, they introduce a new character. It never stops and it's pointless other than needing more victims for the clown.

And what's up with that ending? We've caught the clown so let's take off his mask.... oh no, we're not going to show you who the killer is until part two. Yup, they actually tried to pull that trick. Hasn't everyone learned that all that does is piss off the viewers who've just dedicated an hour or two to a film that doesn't pay off?  And now you're saying I have to watch another crappy movie? Screw you!

They must have got a less than stellar reaction to the ending since there's a tacked on segment that says the killer was really the twin brother of the mafia guy. Yeah, another screw job because there was no twin brother in the movie.
Yup, it ends like this.