Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Midnight (2014)

The streets of Bad City are not the safest place to be, especially at night. There are drugs, crime, and unbeknownst to the townsfolk, there is also a vampire.  The vampire, aka The Girl, walks the streets at night searching for bad people to satiate her appetite for blood.

One night she comes across Arash. He has just left a party and is high on ecstasy.  Arash is basically a good guy, but his life is not easy. His father is a heroin addict and the local drug dealer just took the classic car he worked hard to afford, as payment for his fathers drug debt.

Arash and The Girl strike up an odd relationship. Both he and the Girl are lonely, and are drawn to each other.  This is definitely not your typical vampire movie.

After seeing this title on many top 10 lists for last year, I was curious to see it. Based on the title, I thought something horrible would happen to some poor girl walking alone at night.

The movie is visually appealing. It's shot in black and white, and the cinematography is fantastic.  I truly enjoyed the visual aspect of the film.  But I wasn't all that fond of the movie itself.  It's fairly artsy, and doesn't have much of a plot. While there was violence in the film, and some disturbing images, I didn't find it scary.

Monday, June 29, 2015

REC 4: Apocalypse (2014)

Reporter Angela, who I last remember seeing in peril in the quarantined apartment building, wakes to find herself on a tanker in the middle of the ocean.  She, along with two surviving swat team members who rescued her and an old woman from a wedding party, have been brought here by doctors who want to make sure the virus doesn't spread further. Well, at least that what's they tell them. You know that nothing is as it seems in movies where a mystery virus is wiping out the populace.

Along with our quarantined people, there are doctors working on a cure, a crew to man the tanker, and the muscle to keep everyone from messing up the doctors orders.  The laboratory set up by the doctors causes an undue load on the ship's resources which cause intermittent power outages. During one blackout, an infected monkey escapes the lab and bites the cook. Now everyone on the ship is at risk, and secrets are revealed that change everything.

While the location of a tanker at sea provides similar isolation as the apartment building, there is never that sense of claustrophobia that the first movie had.  Also be aware that this movie is not found footage or shot from someones point of view, which may rub some viewers the wrong way.  I found this the least interesting of the four Rec movies, but the production values are good.  It's not that it's a bad movie, but that it pales in comparison to Rec and Rec 2.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Doom Asylum (1987)

Lawyer Mitch and his girlfriend Judy are celebrating a big win in court, which is unfortunate since they're driving a car and should be paying attention to the road.  One car crash later, Judy is dead and Mitch is in the coroners lab on an autopsy table. But as the coroner opens him up, Mitch starts to twitch and opens his eyes right as they're getting the bone saw for his cranium.  Angry at being cut open, Mitch kills both coroners and wanders off.

Ten years later Kiki, her boyfriend, and three friends stop at the spot where her Mom died ten years ago.  While Kiki and her boyfriend observe the site, the other three remain in the car and yell at them to get going.

The group heads over to the abandoned asylum for a picnic and some sunbathing. Seems like an odd spot, especially in light that there's also a rumor that the asylum is stalked by a crazy killer who used to be a coroner and murders trespassers with autopsy tools.

When they arrive, they hear a crappy all girl band made up of a keyboard player, drummer and singer. Yeah, it's horrible. So they cut off their power, which results in a running feud.  The band taunts our teens as they sunbathe.  Individually the teens keep wandering off never to be seen again.

This movie is pretty bad.  While it's a slasher, it's also a comedy and the comedy isn't funny. The special effects are okay, although not consistent.  It's not clear why the kids think the abandoned asylum would be a good place to sunbathe. No one shall ask why they would lay in the shade rather than the sun.  The blue swimsuit is incredibly unflattering, making a skinny girl look like she has huge hips.

The worst thing about the movie is the accent on the band member with the crimped hair. I think it's supposed to be a French accent but I'm not sure. It isn't consistent, and doesn't sound right, but I thought I heard her say ze in stead of the.

The best thing about the movie is that is was actually filmed in an abandoned asylum.  Not everyone is going to care, but am fascinated by abandoned buildings.  So it was interesting to see footage from inside the asylum.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Order of One: Kung Fu Killing Spree (2006)

Convicted murderer Tony, who claims he is innocent, is being transported to another prison when his police escorts decide to stop at a diner.  It doesn't seem like the best thing to do with a prisoner that is supposedly a killer, but they don't seem too concerned.  So they bring Tony into the diner and for safeties sake,  request his coffee be served in a plastic cup.

Meanwhile on the other side of the diner, reporter Ross is interviewing a man carrying a massive sword. He claims it is the Sword of Destiny, which was somehow forged using the spear that pierced the side of Jesus. Thus the sword gives untold powers to the user.  The sword is being returned to it's protectors, known as The Order.

As if the presence of a murderer and a giant sword don't make this the worst diner to visit, three women - who look like one of the Bangles, one of the Manson family girls, and your best friends Mom - and start shooting up the joint.  Tony uses this moment to run outside and steal a car, that turns out to be owned by reporter Ross who throws himself through the window.

On the other side of town, Asian crime boss Mr. Park is also looking for the sword and gets word that it has escaped from the clutches of his minions.  More minions are dispatched with orders to get the sword at all costs.  

Tony and Ross drive around while they argue about returning the sword to The Order, fight with Parks minions, and begrudgingly become buddies out of convenience.  So this ought to work out well.

Any time someone can complete a movie, I have an appreciation of the time and effort that was involved.  But overall, I wouldn't recommend this. It's not that interesting and while the fights are okay for a low budget film, they're more what you'd see at an amateur martial arts competition - okay if you're watching a competition, but not if you're watching a video.

There are a few good stunts though.  Most of the actors appear to have martial arts training.  The fight scenes tend to be overly long and although there are some good combinations of moves, they tend to be done too slowly to be effective.  There are a few good fights near the end of the film. I'm not sure if the scenes are sped up or if the actors just got more fluid with their movements as they went along.

Mentally challenged or kung fu face? You make the call.
Yup, so that's a thing.
The sword has power and causes flashbacks
Be afraid of the unexpected nudity of Tony's prison butt. 
Dee Dee Ramone?
There are some decent stunts in this film.
Tony is pissed.
Get used to this angle because you'll see it a lot.
Also note that this is obviously a set rather than real walls.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Leprechaun: Origins (2014)

Two couples vacationing in Ireland decide to visit a small Irish town. Their driver leaves them at a large rock covered with symbols and tells them they must traverse the rest of the way by foot because he doesn't want to go into town.  No suspicions are raised by this behavior.

When they arrive in town, they visit the local pub to get a drink.  As Sophie talks about her college plans next year and her interest in historical research, a local man named Hamish turns to them. He tells them if they're interested in history, there is a site they should see that is not in any of the guidebooks.

Only Sophie's boyfriend is hesitant, but since he's outvoted, the couples gladly accept a ride from Hamish and his son.   The site is a seven mile walk and since it's toward the end of the day, Hamish has kindly offered the use of a cabin where the kids can stay for the night.

No one is suspicious that the house has a padlock on the outside of the front door. They just troop into the home like lemmings, as the viewer awaits the inevitable discovery that they are locked in the cabin and a leprechaun wants them dead.  In another twist on our leprechaun tale, years ago the town stole all the leprechauns gold and in penance they provide him with people to consume.  

No one shall ask why the townsfolk don't move (since the creature is confined to a specific area by stone monuments and couldn't follow them).  Also please don't even consider how much a leprechaun can eat. It kills numerous people, but leaves them essentially whole. Is it a really picky eater? Stupid leprechaun.

Based on the title of the film, I thought this was going to be a prequel to all the other leprechaun movies. But this has nothing to do with them.  It's essentially a remake, which unfortunately eliminates any humor and becomes just another slasher with kids in a cabin in the woods - and not an original one at that. Also there's that pesky problem where they've eliminated anything that looks like a leprechaun.

The only way we know this is monster is a leprechaun is because they tell us it is, and the film is called Leprechaun.  The Irish characters are dressed like they're right out of the potato famine, but our title creature looks more like a cross between a goblin and an insane chimpanzee.  If they made the exact same movie but there was no mention of Ireland and no accents, this could be a movie about an alien, a goblin, or a mutant.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Infestation (2009)

In the process of getting fired from a job that his Dad got for him, Cooper loses consciousness and wakes a few days later to find himself still in the office and within a cocoon of webbing.   After freeing himself, he notices the office is full of unconscious co-workers in cocoons.

Freeing those around him from their web prisons, Cooper tries  to figure out what happened. It appears that the city has been invaded by giant bugs. The streets are deserted and after a few run ins with the killer creatures, they discover the bugs are attracted by sound.

Cooper becomes infatuated with the bosses daughter Sara, while weather girl Cindy sets her sites on Cooper which becomes quite awkward since she's used to getting what she wants.

After spending the night in the office, the next day they head out to see if any of their loved ones are still alive.  On their trip, they run into more bugs, and deal with fighting within the group which threatens their existence.

This is a fun film that takes it's influence from monster movies.  The characters are mostly likable and you root for them to survive. I wasn't expecting much from this, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Next of Kin (1989)

Big city policeman and former hillbilly Truman is living in style with his music teacher wife, who announces her pregnancy by strapping a teddy bear to a dining room chair. Surprise! Happy hillbilly times for all.

Truman's younger brother has been working in the city, but city life isn't for him. So he's planning on moving back to Appalachia in a few weeks when he's saved enough money to buy his own truck.  In movie speak, this means he is marked for death.

When Truman accompanies his brothers body back home for the funeral, he asks his kin to let the law take it's course and catch the killer. But brother Briar wants hillbilly justice, which involves a mob of kinfolk and lots of killing.  Don't mess with hillbillies. They all come running and you end up all sorts of dead.

When Truman's method of justice isn't quick enough, Briar takes it on himself to seek revenge.  He navigates the streets surprisingly well for a backwoods hillbilly without a map who has never been to the city before.  He also happens to pick the one flop house where the proprietor can be trusted to follow through on his request to call his hillbilly brethren should he disappear, instead of ransacking his room.

Patrick Swayze plays Truman, a tough but honest man who follows the rules until pushed past the breaking point.  But the more interesting character is revenge seeking Briar played by Liam Neeson.  When he comes to the city, you'd much rather watch him calmly seek revenge than watch Truman play it by the book or his wife freak out when paint is thrown in her face by a mobster.

It's a fun movie to watch with friends, and part of the enjoyment is the cast which, along with Swayze and Neeson, includes Helen Hunt, Ben Stiller, Adam Baldwin, Michael J. Pollard, and Bill Paxton.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Flying Monkeys (2014)

It's the day of Kayleys high school graduation, but her Dad is nowhere to be seen.  So it's just one in a long history of disappointments for Kayley, who isn't impressed with Dad's excuse that he got stuck in traffic. To give some perspective, they live in farm country and Dad was too busy working to leave on time and got stuck behind a tractor.

To make up for this huge error in judgement, Dad heads to the local pet store to see if he can buy Kayley something special. He's in luck because the owner just happens to have a Capuchin monkey.  Dad is so excited about this exotic pet that he neglects to ask such questions as: what does it eat; what kind of care does it need; and how the hell did a Capuchin monkey end up  in a town so small it had a graduating class of twelve?

It turns out the store owner has a monkey smuggling business and this was in the latest shipment.  But this monkey is different since it killed a man and ate all the other animals on the flight from overseas to the middle of Kansas. Yes, that's right - Kansas, home of flying monkeys since the Wizard of Oz.

Kayley is delighted with her new monkey and Dad is positively giddy to be back in her good graces.  But the first night in his new home, our little monkey transforms into a strange winged monkey monster and flies off in search of blood, preferably human.

Half way through the movie, I was wondering why the title referred to multiple monkeys, when their was only one flying monkey in the movie.  Fear not, since shortly after this observation, a farmer shot the winged creature which resulted in the creation of another monkeys. That's right. These are ancient weirdo monkeys who duplicate themselves when shot. You can see where this is going and it's not good for any of us.

Pretty soon monkeys are duplicating all over the place and people in town are being murdered.  But no one is going to believe it's a shape shifting little Capuchin monkey, who is really an ancient being that can only be killed with ancient weapons blessed by ancient people.

This is typical Syfy channel level stuff. Actually now that I think about it, the movie was better than many of the Syfy movies. So if you're in the mood for mindless entertainment, and aren't that concerned about CGI or just want some noise in the background, then you may want to check it out.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Storm of the Dead (2006)

After a category five hurricane hits Florida, the government activates the Florida militia to keep the peace. Their main job seems to be tracking down looters with instructions to either arrest them, or kill them if they resist. But when three of the militia kill a young man whose grandmother is a voodoo queen, they come to an untimely end.

Meanwhile back at militia headquarters, Dani a middle aged female soldier and Red an ambiguously gay male have an arm wrestling match which ends in with a very awkward interaction involving threats and sexual harassment. The lily livered male trembles as he says, "You're scaring me."   So he ought to be a great resource on any mission.

The Captain of  militia assigns our hero Hutchinson on a top secret mission. He is to lead a search party into the swamps to find the three team members who went missing.  Since there have been no casualties in the militia since the enactment of martial law, Hutchinson is instructed that if he discovers the men are dead, he needs to keep it quiet.   Counter intuitive to these orders, he is also commanded to take local weather girl Lisa Hicks on the mission. Because nothing says keep this under wraps like bringing along a news person with a video camera.

The group goes tromping through the swamps and woods looking for the missing men.  In fact, be prepared for a lot of walking because you'll see more than enough of it padding out this movie.  There's also a lot of sitting around, making small talk, and painful banter by characters that aren't that interesting.

This movie is a typical low budget video. For the most part, the acting would be at home in a local amateur theater. There are some awkward scenes where it sounds like people are reading their lines because they're trying too hard.  There is also a scene where they open a shed door to reveal an unflattering shot of a naked woman.  It adds insult to injury when they hurriedly shut the door.

Sometimes the sound gets so low that you can't hear the dialogue. You can't understand anything said by the hurricane reporter at the beginning of the film because there's too much wind.  Later there are more dialogue problems when a character pronounces the word amulet as emlet. I'm not sure if it was due to his mumbling, or he truly didn't know how to pronounce it.

Based on the title and a description which stated all hell would break lose when the voodoo queen lost her grandson, it sounded like there would be more than one zombie in the film. And it's a voodoo zombie, which are the lesser of the types of zombies. I can't even remember if he kills someone or just munches on an arm that his voodoo grandma ripped off one of her victims.

Note that his microphone in a plastic bag.  So that and the
wind are probably why you can't hear a word he says. 
The credits are filled with photos from real disasters.
The female militia likes to arm wrestle while wearing a bikini
Floating head of self satisfaction
The militia's... lodge?
The face paint is surprisingly effective camouflage
Yikes! I wasn't expecting that.
Optical illusion - it's a little alien with no arms or legs 
I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!
Stock footage of a gator? We got it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Gaping Mouth of Death

Even though they all died by different methods, they all have the same facial expression...  mouth agape and a stupid expression.

Electrocuted with mouthful of suds - Shriek of the Mutilated
Choked on large strawberry - The Silencer
Eaten by chemically altered mutant - Death Factory
Heart attack after being manhandled by zombie -
Kiss Daddy Goodbye

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Kiss Daddy Goodnight (1981)

Two twins with telekinetic powers are home schooled by their father because he doesn't want anyone to know what they can do.  Dad tells the twins that if anyone figures out what they can do, men in white coats will take them away and stick needles in their brains. This is an unfortunate tact to take since when their father is attacked by bikers, they don't do anything to save his life. I'll bet Dad was rueing his paranoid teachings at that point.

Meanwhile Nora, who works for the Board of Education and has a meeting to check on the twins home schooling, is stuck by the side of the road when her Porsche breaks down.  Lucky for her, new Deputy Blanchard comes to her rescue and brings her back to the station so she can reschedule her appointment and get her car towed.

When Blanchard goes to close up the station - apparently he's the only police officer in town - Nora is still hanging out because her car won't be ready till the next day. So Blanchard and Nora go to dinner and spend the night together.

The next day, Nora borrows his car to check on the twins, who've managed to keep anyone from knowing that Dad is dead.  That whole needle in the brain thing really messed them up. The girl thinks they can tell Nora, but the boy doesn't trust anyone.

When their drunk landlord, who gulps little cans of soda and alcohol while behind the wheel, arrives demanding to see their Dad and won't be dissuaded from his task, our telekinetic boy child decides the best thing to do is reanimate Dad.  This doesn't work out so well, and now the kids have a zombie Dad to keep hidden. But they don't hide him very well since he drives them to the beach, waits in the car, goes after some surfers who stomped on their sand castles and looks for the bikers who killed him.

The movie has a great plot. Who wouldn't want to see twins with telekinesis reanimate their dead Dad  and try to keep anyone from finding out while seeking revenge on those who wronged them?  The problem is the film is not very exciting and the acting is bland.

The kids have an acting style that could best be described as a deer in the headlights. They have blank faces, wide eyes, and stilted speech.  To make things even more awkward, they are told to use think-speak while in the house, which means they are communicating with their minds.  This involves them staring blankly at each other while saying nothing.  It also means the audience is watching two kids standing stationary and staring at each other. Hooo boy.  Honestly though, I didn't hate it.

The Deputy is played by 50s heartthrob Fabian, and Nora is played by Marilyn Burns, who was in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  Twins Beth and Michael are played by the writer/directors children, which explains the acting issue.

The many expressions of Michael
Nora and the Deputy on the way to romance aka sex.
They've known each other for ten minutes.
The days when it was okay to drink and drive
while wearing a crazy sports coat
King Diamond?
Okay kids, we need you to react to some pretty horrific situations and your
expressions are really going to sell how you're feeling in these scenes....
.... bikers are killing your dad.
.... your Dad is dead and you're sitting with his corpse.
....your zombie dad just killed a man.
.... playing Pong with your mind is fun.
...bikers have a knife to Nora's throat.
...you're killing a biker with your minds.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

No More Dirty Deals (1993)

Blond haired, boat mechanic Travis is hired by Sean to fix his speedboat.  Sean sends over his secretary to get a quote on the repairs. Surprisingly she is wearing what appears to be some style of lingerie.

Even though Sean and Travis have just met, Sean invites Travis out for a night on the town, and picks him up in a limo.  It's extremely awkward and at times it seems as if they may be on a date.

The two end up at a bar called Knockouts, which houses the odd combination of pole dancing and boxing.  On one side of the club, women dance on stage.  But look to the left and past some tables, there's a boxing ring.  Patrons are urged to fight the champ and win a prize.  No waivers to sign, just jump in the ring and put on some gloves. Kapow!

Sean gets Travis drunk and brings him home, which is kind of creepy and makes you wonder if Travis has been roofied.  But the only thing that happens is one of the girls at the house steals his wallet, which comes into play later.

Thirty minutes into the film, and there is still no sign of a plot. But there's tons of confusion since it's still not clear who Sean is, why he's invited his boat mechanic out for drinks, why he dresses as a Zulu when he crashes rich people's parties and robs them, or just what the heck is going on in this film.  In fact, the end of the movie will not provide any relief, since you will still wonder what the hell was going on.

I saw this movie on streaming Netflix and there were occasional dropouts in the sound. I thought there was some kind of glitch in the feed until there was a scene where it became apparent that the dropouts were because the swearing was censored.  So be prepared for several scenes where most of the sound drops out to avoid hurting your innocent ears.

Enjoy the casio keyboard score, and the melodic hair metal of Stranger, who provide the theme song and other music on the soundtrack.  Honestly, this movie wasn't good, but there was an amusement factor due to the random path of the film, and the questionable acting.  

Also of note:  this is the only film I've ever seen where a character has flashbacks to dialogue and scenes that he wasn't even involved in?!?!  That Sean is so crazy.

Here's a trailer for your enjoyment.