Watchin’ Stuff

An interesting movie about a man who wakes up an amnesiac after a car crash and comes to find that everything that comes within 50 feet of him instantly dies. It does a pretty good job of keeping this seemingly limited premise interesting throughout the whole movie, with some interesting twists along the way. It’s no Blade Runner, but it’s still worth checking out for fans of sci-fi thrillers.

I’m pretty sure that this didn’t actually play in theaters. Not in this country anyway. What a shitfest. Another cheap cash-in attempt on the brief comic-movie craze of the 90’s where everyone was trying to ride the coattails of Tim Burton’s Batman. Red Skull is Italian for some reason. Captain America’s damn mask doesn’t even fit right. Just awful stuff.

Well, it wasn’t as terrible as the 90’s Captain America, I’ll give it that much. Still not a very good movie though. It didn’t feel much like a Punisher movie, really. It’s just a generic Dolph Lungdren movie with the Punisher name slapped on it, and not a very good one. Not horrible, but completely forgettable. Oh well.

Strange movie. It’s listed as an action/horror, but despite all the violence, I wouldn’t really call it either of those. It’s really more of a comedy. It’s about a law office building being infected by some semi-rage virus, but it’s really not about the virus. It’s about a disgruntled, recently fired employee who’s trying to fight his way to his former boss at the top of the tower so he can give him a piece of his mind before the quarantine’s lifted in eight hours. The time is important because of a legal precedent that was established regarding the liability of people for their crimes while under the influence of the virus, so he has to hurry and kill his boss while it’s still technically legal. Like I said, strange movie. Enjoyable enough though, if you’re into that kind of violent office struggle business.

(This movie is All The Colors of the Dark, as I just realized this poster doesn’t even have the name of the movie on it for some reason) Mix a giallo with Rosemary’s Baby and any given generic 70’s movie about satanic cults and you’d get this movie, which is not even slightly like the poster suggests. It’s mainly just about this woman who’s being stalked by some weird guy that she has dreams about where he kills her. She agonizes about this for a long time and gets freaked out by him randomly popping up all over the place, until she meets a new friend who suggests that she should stop seeking help from psychiatrists and such and…attend a black mass. What a great idea! Naturally, she agrees to do it, with very little need for convincing, and quickly finds herself being forced to drink dog blood and getting gang raped. Great. That’s more than enough of that. I’ll have to live without knowing how it turns out, though I’m sure I can make a pretty good guess.

This series seems to be regarded as a cult classic, but I sure can’t tell why from this original film. This is a fucking awful movie. Terrible characters, terrible actors, terrible effects. It’s not scary, it’s not funny, I don’t know how anyone could like this movie. It’s a miserable, ugly mess. Maybe they like the sequels? I hear those got bigger budgets and are allegedly better. Ugh. Guess I might as well try one.

Surprisingly, the sequel actually was better. It’s still pretty awful, but it managed to climb a few steps from completely irredeemably awful to kinda funny awful. The budget clearly got a bit bigger and they spent it all on the effects of a whole house full of bizarre new freaks. It’s almost like a comedic, poor man’s version of Nightbreed.

The 3rd one picks up directly where the 2nd one left off, and continues the story with the same tone and most of the same cast. Again, this is another objectively terrible movie, but there was something strangely compelling about how utterly ridiculous it all was. I’m not sure what I would even compare these to. I guess Dead Alive is the closest in tone. Just completely terrible and insane, but somehow a charming aberration.

Beowulf answers the question “what if the story of Beowulf happened in some weird half-assed medieval steampunk future where Christopher Lambert was a Beowulf who carries around a bunch of weird Bloodborne-type trick weapons, Grendel is some weird ghost/monster who has to be covered with a weird cgi purple fog almost constantly so you can’t see how shitty his costume is, the music is all weird 90’s industrial bands, and the director was clearly lazily trying to replicate the style of Mortal Kombat the movie for some reason?”.

It’s…not a good movie. The production value is amazingly bad considering the 1999 release date. Terrible sets, terrible effects, terrible costumes, terrible quick cut action with a guy who is clearly not Lambert doing a bunch of fancy air flips. If you have some kind of morbid fascination with crappy old Christopher Lambert movies (and maybe I do just a little…) you might find it slightly entertaining, in a fascinating train wreck kind of way, but otherwise you should really avoid it.

This is another Italian Rosemary’s Baby, but also an Italian Exorcist. Much like the previous Italian Rosemary’s Baby, it’s also terribly slow-paced and boring. It was almost interesting for a few minutes when the protagonist family is introduced and you meet the complete asshole father and the strange, foul-mouthed children, all of which are so unusual that it’s briefly entertaining, but that quickly fades and it just slides right into snoozefest territory. Bleh.

In typical Italian horror fashion, there were actually 3 of these movies, and each one was by a different director and had no relation at all to any of the other films. The 2nd one was by Mario Bava, who I’ve learned I’m not a fan of, so I skipped it and went straight to the 3rd, which sounded like it might be more my style. Well, it gets a little closer at least. This is more of a typical 80’s Italian horror, with a lot of strange characters, synth music, and imaginatively gruesome deaths. Even by those standards though, it doesn’t really stand out that much from other similar movies. The plot is goofy and near-incomprehensible, as are some of the characters’ actions. It’s also all about a mysterious Satanic cult and most of the movie takes place aboard some kind of possessed, evil train, I guess? I’m not even sure what exactly the deal with that train was. Even with the whole train thing, it doesn’t do anything particularly memorable. It’s pretty average overall, at least by the standards of bad Italian 80’s horror. I wouldn’t really recommend it, but I think I’ll hang on to it just the same.

A decent, but pretty predictable fireman drama/thriller that still holds up relatively well. Not much else to say about this one way or the other!

A very fun action-adventure movie. Much like the first movie, it plays out like some kind of crazy R-rated extended episode of James Bond Jr. (anyone else even remember that show?), full of cartoonish characters and violence that feel like they shouldn’t work, but it’s all done so well that it’s all quite entertaining. Matthew Vaughn has truly become a better Mark Millar than Mark Millar is these days, if you know what I mean.

What a waste of time and talent this was. Pacino just kind of sleepwalks his way through this, Karl Urban does a decent job, but can’t really carry this mess all on his own, and everyone else around them is pretty disappointing. I can’t blame any of them either, because this is a pretty badly written movie. Hangman is trying hard to be the new Seven, but it’s just a constant string of missed opportunities. The killer’s shtick is that he hangs his victims and carves letters into their chests in order to slowly spell out a word. His methods aren’t interesting in any way. His motives, when they’re finally revealed, are so simple and boring that they don’t feel at all genuine. The way the cops go about trying to track him down is just baffling. No one in the entire fucking movie ever even suggests the idea that maybe they should try to figure out what the fucking word is that the killer’s spelling. I suppose that was for the best though, as the revealed word turns out to be something that has no meaning or significance to anyone except the killer, and serves only to make his motives even more confusing. Not worth watching at all.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back, and is now suddenly in space and in the future, because sure, why the hell not. Things seem to be off to a good start so far though, and I’m confident that this will be another enjoyable season full of surprises and comic book craziness.

Vikings has also returned. I have to admit, it feels like it’s missing something with Travis Fimmel no longer around. Ragnar’s various sons were able to maintain the show’s momentum even without him for the rest of the previous season, but will they be able to keep carrying this show on their own when more and more of the original cast seems to keep disappearing? Guess we’ll see…

Watchin’ Stuff

What a great cover! So naturally it’s a disappointing snoozefest. Fulci actually plays himself in this, in a weird story where he’s starting to lose his mind after directing all those nasty horror movies and his psychiatrist uses it as an opportunity to go on a killing spree and try to pin it on his patient. Wait, wasn’t that the plot of Night Breed (and many others)? While the movie Nightbreed actually came out the same year as this, the book came out a few years earlier. Tsk tsk. It doesn’t actually share any similarities beyond that though. It’s just a kind of boring slasher movie that’s apparently supposed to be a satire, but there isn’t a laugh in sight. Certainly not Fulci’s finest moment.

This Fulci film was much better. It’s kind of a cross between Carrie, Suspiria, and Patrick. An unpopular girl gets tricked Carrie-style, but then ends up getting knocked into a coma in the course of the prank, and then starts possessing another girl and causing strange things to happen to her tormentors with her mysterious coma-witch powers. It’s everything Cat in the Brain wasn’t, with cool over-the-top synth music and a lot of bizarrely memorable death scenes. Great stuff.

Another strange giallo movie. Pretty standard giallo stuff, with bizarre, compelling characters wrapped up in a murder mystery full of crazy twists and turns. Not amazing, but strange and interesting enough to be decently enjoyable.

This is a classic that I’ve seen quite a few times already. Sexy energy vampire from space invades London and causes an epidemic of weird life-sucking zombies. A must-see 80’s sci-fi/horror that was written by the late, great Dan O’Bannon and directed by the also late and great Tobe Hooper.

An interesting werewolf movie from the 90’s. A bit goofy, but the effects were pretty good for the time (except for that one awful CG transformation scene). The interesting hook is that the family dog is really kind of the main character here, with everything kind of revolving around him, as he’s the only one who realizes what’s really going on and trying to do something about it. The writing of the human characters is actually a little frustrating. Spoiler alert: the tough lawyer mom who is supposed to be the actual main character ends up becoming unbelievably stupid. She sees news reports about a bunch of people being found savagely killed in the place her brother just moved to her place from, goes in his trailer and finds pictures of girlfriend having been horribly mutilated, and even finds a journal where he flat out says I’M A WEREWOLF AND I’VE BEEN KILLING A SHITLOAD OF PEOPLE, but when the police find a mutilated dead body near her house after all that she says “OH. I GUESS MY DOG MUST HAVE DONE IT. BETTER SEND HIM TO THE POUND TO BE PUT DOWN!”. Pretty bad even by conveniently dumb horror movie character standards. Still, the rest was good enough to be enjoyable despite that.

This is one of those ones where I really should have known better. The horrible quality was actually kind of funny at first. It seemed like some college kids just made this on their personal camcorder and they seemed to be having a good time and not taking it too seriously, but the novelty wears off as the story just stops going anywhere at all after the first 20 minutes or so. You can’t be awful AND boring. That just doesn’t work.

This is like a cheap, Italian version of The Exorcist. Oddly enough, it’s by the same director as the infamous Troll 2, but it’s nowhere near that level of awfulness. It’s not great, but it’s not completely terrible. I enjoyed it a bit, but I don’t think I’d go out of my way to recommend it to anyone else.

Hm. Another winner, surprisingly. This is a very strange horror comedy about two brothers who run a popular vegetarian diner, but secretly make all the food out of people, but that’s also a cover for their real goal of creating a patchwork body for a ritual to summon their weird fake Egyptian goddess, Sheetar. One of the brothers is also a wrestling fan and ends up doing an exhibition match against a guy called Jimmy Hitler. Very strange stuff. I got a good laugh out of it though.

And finally, we binge-watched the new Punisher series. It’s sure a very different version of the classic Punisher origin, leaving all the familiar Vietnam War ties behind and pretty much cutting the mob out of the story altogether. It was an excellent show though, one that I’d think would be enjoyable for both fans and newcomers to The Punisher. Extremely violent at times, not that I’m complaining.

Watchin’ Stuff

Am I watching a lot more movies lately or is it just that I’m now writing little entries even for terrible-ass movies that I turn off after 20 minutes, which I didn’t use to bother with? Perhaps a bit of both…

Oh no. I don’t know how this got into the pile. A Troma movie, and it’s not even really a horror movie. The script actually seems kind of interesting, dealing with a Vietnam vet whose post-war life is falling apart in a really ugly way, but every other single aspect of the production is just so painfully bad. Absolutely terrible acting, make-up, music, effects, etc. This is why I generally avoid Troma stuff. They’re a little too far under the bar of awful old movies for me.

An…interesting first entry from the director of the decent The Devil’s Candy. Crazy teenage girl and her father kidnap a guy she likes and they act really crazy and torture him a lot, and…that’s about it. This movie has apparently gotten a lot of praise for the characters, but I didn’t really see what the big deal was about them. The main character and his girlfriend barely even have any lines after the first 15 minutes or so. The subplot of the goofy friend and his prom date just kind of feels like filler. I almost turned it off, but it starts getting even more messed up in the last third of the movie, enough that it kind of salvaged the whole experience.

Speaking of torture…this was a nutty little film about some very dumb college kids getting captured in the jungle by some very angry cannibals. Eli Roth movies sure aren’t for everyone. Sometimes the comic relief bits can feel a bit out of place among such seriously graphic violence, but I don’t know, somehow it kind of works for me. Again, not an amazing movie, but it kept me interested and entertained most of the time.

British horror anthology from the early 70’s. It tries so hard and does a lot of things right, but ultimately it’s just way too tame. This would be tame horror even by network TV standards. That’s about what it felt like actually, like some rejected episodes an old show like Tales From The Darkside or something. Just didn’t do it for me.

Flatliners was clearly trying to be a horror movie, but it was never all that scary. I guess the dead kid that harassed Kiefer Sutherland was slightly creepy, but it was overall more of a sci-fi fantasy kind of thing really. It’s no Lost Boys, but it’s a decent enough old-timey Schumacher movie. Good enough to warrant a modern, luke-warm looking remake, I guess!

Here’s another Schumacher movie that I’ve never even heard of before. Some say it’s one of the worst movies he’s ever done, but I actually liked it. Michael Fassbender is an undead Nazi necromancer who needs blood and isn’t afraid to send zombie horses after you to get it. I can’t help but like that.

Eli Roth’s latest movie, apparently. Eh. Didn’t do much for me. I appreciate the idea of turning the tables and having attractive young women be the menacers instead of the menaced, but something about it just didn’t work for me. I didn’t feel much sympathy for Keanu, since he let these strange people into his house while his family was away and then had sex with him. The whole thing is actually like a long, violent PSA about the dangers of cheating. I didn’t really need a “scary” movie to tell me that. *shrug*

Honestly, this is not a very good movie, but it’s a horror anthology about killer cats (and their victims who deserved it) so it has a certain charm to it. Kind of like an earlier version of Cat’s Eye, but with even more cats. It’s a nice so-bad-it’s-good movie for cat fans at least.

From the previews, this seemed to be the ladies’ answer to John Wick, but I don’t know if that’s quite accurate. It has a good retro score and is extremely impressive visually, but it had some pacing issues and was pretty predictable. The first hour really starts dragging, but then the second hour suddenly picks up into almost non-stop action and intrigue that goes by incredibly quickly. I suppose in the end, I liked more of it than I disliked, but if they decide to do more of these, the sneaky spy conspiracy part of the plot could use a little more work.

When a man’s family is killed and his girlfriend raped, the only thing left for him to do is…build a big monster truck with a giant drill on it and get oddly specific car-related revenge? I don’t know why I bother with things like this. It was bad. OF COURSE it was bad. It was actually a little less terrible than I expected it to be, but still not good. Naturally, the rolling vengeance itself appears very rarely, and doesn’t look all that good when it does. I should have known better, but it just sounded so silly. Oh well.

And finally, just got back from seeing this. Damn good stuff. There are some…surprising developments. That’s all I’ll say about that. Just a thoroughly enjoyable movie without a single boring moment in sight. Little heavier on the comedy than you’d maybe expect from a Thor movie, but somehow it works and doesn’t take away anything from the main serious plot. Good times. Infinity War cannot come fast enough…

Watchin’ Stuff

This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The trailer was pretty boring and the reviews are pretty terrible, but I thought it was decent. It does kind of have that feeling like if the first and last few minutes were removed or altered, it could have been an entirely different movie with no connection to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but it was alright for what it was. Dark, disturbing, and a pretty generous amount of good quality gore effects. Did this series really need yet another origin/reboot chapter, and is this latest entry going to finally revitalize the brand? Probably not to both, but oh well.

I remember this being on tv a lot when I was a kid, so I thought I’d revisit it. Eh, it’s pretty bad. Not nearly as bad as the ultra-abysmal original Ghoulies, because that’s an extremely low bar to reach, but it’s still a pretty poor 80’s horror movie. The creature design is passable for its time, but the story, characters, and death scenes are all pretty underwhelming. Watching it now, that ending doesn’t really make sense either. I remembered them getting the giant creature at the end to swallow a dummy with a bomb in it to defeat it, but now that I see it again, it was actually a molotov cocktail that just had a cloth fuse sticking clearly out of the eye of the dummy. That was their plan? To just hope that that thing stayed lit, even when a giant demon thing swallows it? And then it makes him explode like it was made of dynamite. It just seems so silly now.

Now the big ape moment that we’ve all been waiting for. What people have been calling the most amazing ape movie ever and one of the best movies of the year. Eh. It was decent, but I actually thought it was the least interesting of the 3 recent apes movies (not including Burton Apes at all in that of course, because that never happened!). Just like the previous two, the characters and effects were great, but this one felt a lot less consistently paced than the first two. The majority of the movie focused on a small handful of characters, who spent most of the time just talking, and don’t get me wrong, the script was still well-written enough for even the slowest parts to be entertaining, but I was a little surprised at just how little war there was in a movie with this name.

You know, it sure strikes me as strange too, that this movie was so highly praised and financially successful, even though it’s so long, dialogue heavy (it even has subtitles half the time!), and action light. Why is it that this met with such mainstream success when everyone seemed to hate Blade Runner 2049 for the same reasons? Beats me.

70’s horror just doesn’t do it for me most of the time, but you never know. There are some occasional gems to be found there. This isn’t one of them. Not the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but just too dated and slow to be entertaining.

Another one that I used to watch a ton when I was a kid. I didn’t expect this to hold up at all either, but it’s actually still pretty funny. It’s absolutely ridiculous and implausible, the kind of goofy-ass nonsense that could only succeed in the 80’s, but somehow it still works more often than it doesn’t. Of course half the fun is also laughing at how terrible it is. It’s terrible in the best way though. Fun times.

Arghhhh. I tried and tried to like this. I’m a huge fan of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but this is just awful. The quality of the writing took a huge nosedive in the third episode and I couldn’t make it through the fourth. It’s just so terrible and cliche-packed. It’s like a bad cartoon. I give up. Just bring back Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

Wait, let me sneak a few more bonus things on here…

Another Netflix Stephen King adaptation. I guess they’re really reaching for un-adapted Stephen King works these days, huh? Thomas Jane and friends put in a good performance and there are some nice effects, but it’s a pretty slow and dreary tale. Man kills wife, man regrets it and goes kind of nutty. Eh. It was ok, but I doubt I’d ever watch it again.

Wow. This is so very bad. Painfully bad script and dialogue. What’s with the pop up text? Was that supposed to be emulating internet memes? Who is this movie for? I feel like this is aimed kids in high school or under, yet it’s rated for ages 17 and up. I guess I just don’t get it. This is just an incredibly unfunny movie with no redeeming qualities to it, except I guess the cinematography was decent enough. Big slow clap for that.

Watchin’ Stuff

TURTLES ON THE BRAIN! Man, I haven’t seen this in many, many years. It’s actually not a bad movie, surprisingly. Holds up a lot better than many other cartoon/video game live action movies of the 80’s. The turtle costumes were surprisingly good looking for the time too. It’s still completely ridiculous, but still much less cheesy than the awful cartoon. Fun fact: a big portion of the story in this movie was actually taken directly from the original comics for some reason. If you haven’t read the original comics, they were muuuuuuch more dark and violent than the popular cartoon versions. They were actually quite good, but that’s a tale for another time…

Secret of the Ooze was…not quite as good. It starts trying to be more similar to the cartoons and is full of horribly cheesy nonsense and weird, goofy action sound effects. It was actually still pretty amusing though, despite it being so campy and nonsensical. Really, this is one fucked up production. There are some massive continuity issues going on here that I guess our dumb child minds never noticed somehow. For instance, the turtles go attack the Foot Clan‘s base near the end, the base looks to be some kind of abandoned warehouse. A fight ensues and the turtles are thrown through the door of the warehouse. They are now suddenly in the middle of a loud Vanilla Ice concert in-progress, which you couldn’t hear at all before, naturally. The whole infamous Ninja Rap scene takes place and ends with Shredder being thrown out of a window. The turtles follow him out the window and now we’re suddenly on some docks. What the fuck. I suppose it’s a credit to the editors’ skills that most people didn’t seem to notice how strange this all was.

I’d never seen this one before, it having come out when the turtle craze back in the day was already in the late stages of dying down. This movie is about April O’Neil buying an ancient Japanese time travel artifact at a flea market. I am dead serious. She brings it as a gift to Splinter and it suddenly makes her switch places with a Japanese prince in the 1500’s, and also they switch clothes, but she keeps her jewelry and walkman because why not. So the turtles have to go back in time and rescue her and then she pretty much spends the rest of the movie whining about how they aren’t rescuing her properly and are taking too long to get them all back home, even though it’s entirely her fault that they’re all there in the first place. Again, it’s incredibly cheesy and dumb, but it still made me laugh. Easily the worst of the 3 movies, but I enjoyed it in that guilty pleasure kind of way (the vodka probably helped too).

Another Child’s Play movie you say? This one is the 7th in the series. Usually once a horror series like this gets up into numbers this high things start getting really, really bad until the series crashes and burns into obscurity (at least until someone decides to reboot it again in the future), so I wasn’t expecting much from this at all. I was very surprised to find that it was actually pretty damn good. I don’t want to give it away, but there is a new spin put on the old formula of Chucky, the murderous doll, one that brings some really interesting twists to the story and opens the door for a lot of possibilities for the future of the franchise. It actually had a really cool story that made me more excited for this series than I’ve been since I was a little kid watching the first two movies. I guess the only downside is that not much is resolved in the end. It has that “this is almost all just setup for another sequel or sequels” feeling to it, and I was a little sad to see it end so soon, right when it was getting really good. This could be great if they pick right up where this left off though, as this one really shows a lot of potential and proves that Chucky still has some life left in him after all.

So this is the story of a woman whose husband takes her out to the country for some wacky bondage/rape fantasies to revive their dying marriage, who then keels over and dies almost immediately, leaving her trapped and trying to figure out how the hell she’s going to survive. This really doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time at all. This doesn’t seem like something that would be particularly pleasant to watch for 90+ minutes, but it’s based on a Stephen King story and directed by Mike Flanagan, so I thought I should give it a chance. I give Flanagan credit for a great effort, but in the end it just didn’t work for me. To be fair, everything I had problems with was apparently part of the original story, so I can’t fault Flanagan for that, but this was a story that really could have used a few changes. It’s hard enough to find enjoyment in watching the slow decline of this woman as she sits there having conversations with hallucinations and having miserable flashbacks about her horrible dead husband and her childhood sexual abuse, because this stuff bothers me a lot more than watching Chucky graphically put a power drill through someone’s eye for some reason, but there were so many bad contrivances required for this to all play out too.

For instance, she’s menaced by a hungry wild dog for most of the movie. How did this hungry wild dog get in the bedroom of the house? Why, because they left the front door wide fucking open when they went to start their kinky sex session, and I don’t mean one of those things where some random accident caused the door to be open without their knowledge. They go out and give the dog (who is blatantly wild and dangerous looking) some food out in front of their house then turn around, go inside, leave the door wide open, and she even looks back and has a concerned look on her face when she notices that the door’s wide open, but then just shrugs it off and gets right to the handcuff sex. Who the fuck does that? Even if the dog wasn’t there, who the fuck does that? The worst part was the last 10-15 minutes though. I won’t give it away, but there is a very strange twist introduced in the end that just feels like it was tacked on to the story after the fact and doesn’t really feel like it fit with the rest at all, to me at least. I don’t know. I guess this is the first Mike Flanagan film that I just don’t really like, because I can’t imagine ever sitting through this one again.

This was apparently the sequel to the previous CG animated Starship Troopers movie, Invasion. I honestly can’t remember a thing about Invasion other than liking the animation. I imagine this will go down in history in much the same way. The story is ridiculous and generic. The characters strangely feel like they’re straight out of a bad anime, which I suppose isn’t too surprising given that it was directed by a pair of Japanese dudes with long histories of working on animes. It’s an absolutely mindless action movie with some decent effects, and that’s about all there is to say about it, for better or worse.

I don’t think this was anywhere near as bad as everyone’s saying. It wasn’t amazing, there were even a few brief moments where it awkwardly stumbled a bit, but it’s far from being outright bad. The obligatory “introduce everyone” first episode was a little slow and dry, but once the premise and characters were established, it all started growing on me in the second episode (of a double episode premiere). People seem to forget that Agents of SHIELD started the same way, with an average-at-best beginning that took a few episodes to find its footing, but it became amazing once it took off. Hopefully this can survive long enough to do the same, or at least long enough for them to do a fancy crossover between the two.

The Exorcist is back! A surprisingly good horror drama for being on a mainstream public channel. Too soon to say, but hopefully this season will be as good as the last one, though it seems that Father Tomas is already back to having issues with too much pride, something we thought was shaken out of his dumb ass in the first season. Looks like he’s going to foolishly get himself and others in trouble over it again. We’ll see.

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite Collector’s Edition arrives

Woooooo! On the plus side, these statuettes are a nice bit bigger than I thought they’d be from the ads. On the minus side, these light up Infinity Gems (I know they’re called Infinity STONES now, but I am, as always, stuck in the past) look like fucking Easter eggs.

They’re noticeably cheaper looking than they were in the ads and for some reason I had assumed that they would be actual removable gems, but instead are just permanently attached lights in a cheap plastic box. Oh well. Luckily I mainly got this for those statuettes, and those turned out to be even better than expected, so I count it as a win so far.

Now to go play the game. Review to come some time next week, naturally.

Night of the Emus

A great lesser-known side-scrolling action game from Capcom. It has absolutely nothing to do with Street Fighter other than the main character being a guy named Ken who punches things. Ken is apparently a scientist and former street fighter champion, so I suppose it’s possible that he’s actually supposed to be Ken Masters, but the game never gets into that. No, you’re too busy trying to track down whoever killed your lab partner, stole your science experiment, and spread it around all over the galaxy to turn everyone into weird alien monsters. To do this you have to warp around to different alien worlds looking for infected creatures to beat up so you can warp to the next world, with the idea being that each warp is going to bring you closer to your final objective (somehow).

As was so often the case back then, this game was extremely tough. Not like Battletoads or Ghosts n’ Goblins tough, but still pretty difficult. You have a surprisingly large variety of attacks for having only two buttons to work with. Pressing attack while stationary and doing it while holding a direction or jumping all do different kinds of attacks and of course the game doesn’t explain any of this to you, so you need to figure out how to fight properly on your own and very quickly, as you’re immediately thrown into the action without a second to spare. This is also one of those games where you need to rush to find power-ups to increase your attack strength too, because you’re going to be too weak to beat the deadly creatures otherwise. Unfortunately, you also lose attack power every time you get hit, so you really need to git gud quick if you want to have a chance.

Anyway, there are a lot of interesting levels with a huge roster of crazy bosses to fight, and a great soundtrack. It’s one of my favorite NES classics even though I don’t remember 2010 being anything like this.

Silver Surfer is a shooter that rotates between side-scrolling and vertical scrolling. It’s one of those games that you always seem to see on those “Top 10 hardest NES games” lists, but again, I don’t think it’s THAT bad. Yes it’s tough. You die in one hit and lose all your attack strength power-ups when you do, but if you can just survive long enough to get your attack strength up then you start blasting through all the waves of enemies pretty quickly. There’s also a password system and a bunch of helpful cheats available, so it’s all very do-able.

As a kid, I appreciated that they included a lot of familiar faces from the Silver Surfer series of the 80’s, which made it feel a little like maybe the creators actually read the things, unlike most other early comic-based games. Once you really start playing it though, it was clear that they were just making this all up. I have no idea why I had to fight through some hell-like plane filled with angry flying pumpkins to get to Firelord and etc. The weirdest thing was when you finished all the main areas, Galactus sends you off to fight the final battle in the “Magik realm”, which is apparently ruled by…Mr. Sinister? Weird.

Probably the most noteworthy thing about this game though, is the music. The soundtrack was absolutely insane for an NES game. I like a lot of old-timey 8-bit music, but this one always stood out as being impressively complex and surprisingly metal for its time. Even if you never actually play this game, you should still check out the soundtrack. I dare you to listen to this song and not turn it up and want more.

This was one of those strange arcade classics that everyone loved to play, but no one could actually understand it or beat it. You beam into these alien infested ships and are told to wipe out the infestation, but it just doesn’t seem possible. You can run around blasting aliens like crazy, but you never seem to be able to get anywhere close to clearing them all out before time runs out and the ship self destructs, which teleports you out of the level and tells you you failed. The best outcome seems to be if you can find the self-destruct system and set it to go off early, which you would think would also be a loss, but instead congratulates you and gives you bonus points. I suppose the ideal victory would be to completely wipe the aliens out somehow, but this doesn’t seem to be possible by yourself. My best efforts only ever got them down to about 40%.

I suppose it doesn’t much matter in the long run, as this seems to be one of those good old endless games, like Gauntlet or Rampage, that just goes on and on and on until you run out of quarters and die. It’s still fun in short bursts though. This is one you really need to experience the original arcade version of too, as the NES version had to be one of the absolute worst arcade-to-home ports ever made. I mean I know the NES was very limited compared to arcade tech back then, but just look at how damn ugly it was.

Now Reading: Deadpool (1999-present)

This will probably be considered blasphemy to most Deadpool fans, but I really don’t like Joe Kelly‘s famous Deadpool run. Ironically, I always found his Deadpool to be too juvenile. This may sound like a weird complaint to have about a character known for his juvenile humor, but there are different degrees of immaturity. I don’t know, I just find Kelly‘s humor too grade school playground level to enjoy, which is even weirder because I really like his serious works like his run on JLA and Amazing Spider-Man. Aaaaanyway…

Deadpool doesn’t really start as far as I’m concerned until after Kelly, and even then it’s a big of a mixed bag at first. Priest‘s run is decent, but it’s far from his best work. Palmiotti‘s run was readable, but not particularly memorable. Tieri has one pretty good arc, followed by one pretty bad arc. Simone’s run is easily the best of the bunch, but even that has a rough patch when it gets interrupted by multiple guest writers in the middle. This era of Deadpool isn’t the greatest, but the good parts are quite good and there’s some semi-important history to be found here, if you’re interested.

Deadpool & Cable was a much more solid series by the often underrated Fabian Nicieza. While there’s plenty of oddball comedy going on, there’s also a lot of serious and surprisingly complex stuff going on here too. Nicieza really did an amazing job maintaining the consistency of this series too, considering the many interruptions by events and writers of other X-books. He even had to deal with Marvel deciding to give Rob Liefeld an X-Force mini-series during the first year of this series, where good old Rob actually ended up killing Cable in the end, because I guess no one bothered to tell him that he was starring in an ongoing book at the time. Nicieza recovered like a true professional and worked around this, even working the mess he had been left into the story, in a way that felt so natural that it felt like it had been planned all along. Unfortunately, the book continued to be interrupted by events and Cable getting put in an X-Men team by another writer, and eventually Cable was suddenly removed from the book entirely for use in a big X-Men event where he ended up being taken out of play, so the long-running story that Nicieza had been building on for years was suddenly flushed down the toilet with no resolution. Oh well. It was still a good series anyway.

Next came Daniel Way‘s run. Way seems to be a pretty divisive writer (where has he disappeared to these days anyway?), but I’ve enjoyed most of his work, and while his Deadpool ends up being a little more uneven than some of his other works, I still find it mostly enjoyable. It was strange how this volume shifted from slapstick comedy to a long, ongoing series of suicide attempts, but it was certainly different.

Victor Gischler‘s run on the short-lived spinoff title Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth was pretty enjoyable. Good humor, a lot of action, and a visit to the Marvel Zombies universe made it a pretty memorable story. Too bad the same can’t be said for the follow-up, that godawful Deadpool Corps business with Liefeld. Best to not even speak of that.

Cullen Bunn‘s (and occasionally someone else’s) various Deadpool mini-series’ (starting with Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe) are pretty unusual. There’s a lot of shenanigans in alternate dimensions where various alternate Deadpools kill the Marvel universe, kill famous literary characters, team up with dozens of strange alternate Deadpools to fight more strange Deadpools in a multiversal civil war, fight zombies, become a zombie, inject himself into the original Secret Wars, and so on. Sometimes they’re oddly bleak and everyone dies horribly and sometimes they’re just wacky comedic adventures that take nothing seriously, but for the most part they’re some excellent little stories. The tradition is still continuing today with the latest mini, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again. 

And that brings us to the present day with the still-ongoing run of Gerry Duggan (and also formerly Brian Posehn). The first volume of the Duggan/Posehn era has a bit of a rocky start with a nicely drawn, but overly long arc about fighting zombie presidents, but it really takes off after that and has been continuing to run strongly ever since. Duggan‘s been on the book for close to 100 issues now, making his the longest run, and in my opinion, it’s also the best run Deadpool has ever had. While Deadpool is still a wacky jokester at heart, Duggan has brought a great new depth to the character and dropped him in many very interesting new situations of both the comedic and deadly serious kinds. His writing continues to surprise me after almost 5 years and I would even go so far as to say that his run is one of the best books Marvel has going today (and I know that the competition for that status isn’t what it used to be, but I still think it’s true).

In a few months from now Deadpool is scheduled to be relaunched yet again as The Despicable Deadpool, but luckily Duggan is still on board, so I can’t wait to see where he takes things next.

Watchin’ Stuff

This is hands-down one of the most ridiculous and unrealistic police action movies ever made, and that’s saying a lot by 80’s movie standards. This is both its greatest weakness and its greatest strength. It’s one of those movies where it’s just so stupid and unbelievable that you don’t know how anyone agreed to it, yet somehow the creators managed to get a relatively large budget and two major action stars involved and it ends up being enjoyable just for the sheer mindless spectacle of it all.

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This was a new one to me. An early Robert Zemeckis film starring a young Kurt Russell in a story that is, again, so absolutely ridiculous and unbelievable that it shouldn’t work, but it somehow does. It’s a pretty decent comedy and is noticeably more vulgar than Zemeckis‘ later, more well-known films, which was a nice surprise for me.

So everyone’s been talking about War of the Planet Apes lately and how great it is (and my wife is suddenly very interested in it for some reason, despite never having seen any of the previous new movies), so we thought we had better catch up on the last few. I never really cared much for the original movies (never actually bothered watching any after the first one) and didn’t like the Tim Burton reboot at all so I was quite surprised to see that this was amazingly good for a movie about talking monkeys.

The sequel (sequel of a prequel is what? pre-sequel? I dunno) was excellent too. I really never expected this from these movies. None of the trailers for any of these new ones ever really caught my attention, but they really are some well-written and well-directed films. Now I wish I’d tried them earlier so we could have gone and seen the newest one in theaters (I know, technically it’s still there but it’s too late for GTX and I’m so spoiled now that it’s GTX or nothing!).

This was fun. A nice, natural-feeling crossover with a ton of excellent action scenes, though I was slightly sad that very few of the piles of ninjas they fought actually dressed like ninjas. Are ninjas not cool anymore? Who doesn’t like classically dressed ninjas?? Anyway, most of the characters even got to do a little evolving here, which was nice. Not Iron Fist though, no, they seem really determined to have him continue to be the idiot of the group for some reason. I mean I like seeing him in action and all, and I seem to be in the minority that actually liked his show (though I liked it more for the Meachum family than for him), but man, this version of Daniel Rand is just so painfully unintelligent and easily manipulated. Anyway…good show overall though!

Thought we would give this a try, being such fans of the old series. Eh. It was ok, but not so good that I’d want to follow it regularly. I understand the need for certain aspects of it to be modernized, and that’s fine (though I don’t like the new digital-looking animation nearly as much as the old hand-drawn stuff), but I think the real problem was that this new version is primarily a comedy and the adventure aspect just felt like an afterthought. As goofy as the original series was, it was always more about the epic adventures than the laughs. #NOTMYDUCKTALES!