Watchin’ Stuff

It is a difficult quest, to try to find good horror movies that I’ve never seen before, when I’ve already seen so very many of them. You have to dig through a lot of shit to find the ever-shrinking number of rare gems within. Tonight is no different. The Boogens is another one of those boring-ass horror movies where 90% of the movie is spent doing absolutely everything to avoid actually being a horror movie because that shit costs money. It takes an hour for them to even show just the tentacle of one of the creatures on screen. It’s unfortunate, because the actors and the script were relatively decent for a low budget early 80’s horror movie, but they just sit around talking for almost the whole thing because the budget for the creature effects was about $50.

Profundo Rosso, a.k.a. Deep Red, is another crazy giallo film from Dario Argento. This time a musician witnesses a murder and gets caught up in trying to solve the case pretty much all on his own because the police are oddly absent throughout most of the story. This is basically the same plot of his previous movies again, but whatever. This one was particularly weird though. The movie randomly switches between Italian and English on a regular basis. The whole romance/team-up subplot with the main guy and the reporter lady is incredibly strange and laced with out-of-place slapstick comedy moments. The transitions between some scenes lead me to believe that there was some kind of problem with the editing. It feels almost like this movie changed direction multiple times during creation, then was never actually completed, but then they just decided to splice all the parts together anyway and say “eh, close enough”, yet…somehow it kind of works. It’s insane and absolutely ridiculous, but I couldn’t stop watching it.

Pro tip though: there’s a part very early on where the hero sees something important at the crime scene and if you’re paying attention you might notice this thing briefly, but it happens too fast for you to see it clearly…UNLESS you get the bright idea to rewind and pause at the exact right fraction of a second, in which case you’ll end up seeing the identity of the murderer and spoiling it for yourself right away, just like I did! So…don’t do that.

This is presented as a babysitter and a kid being stalked by a killer on Christmas, but this is completely misleading. Spoiler: the home invasion is very quickly revealed to have been staged to make her scared which was supposed to end up making the babysitter fall in love with the kid somehow, but when the stupid scheme doesn’t work, it turns into this awkward kidnap/rape/murder fantasy, which is what the movie is really all about. There’s nothing scary about some horny 12 year old kid. It’s also supposedly a comedy, but there’s nothing funny about it. It was all just very unpleasant to me. Turned it off halfway through.

Another cheap snoozefest. I like how the lady on the cover isn’t even the actress who actually plays the baddie in the movie. That should tell you what kind of shit movie this is. Nothing else even worth mentioning here. Couldn’t finish this one either. Next!

Ah, dammit. I’ve already seen this one and I couldn’t finish it that time either! This is why I need to keep track of these things, because how else can I possibly keep track of all these crap movies. This isn’t even the only movie called Death Ship (they’re both awful)! NEXT!

Why am I doing this to myself? This is absolute garbage. It was a little funny from time to time, but everything about it was just so awful. Horrible acting, absolutely godawful effects…what’s to like? Oh, the shit I watch…

Back to Dario Argento so I could go out on a high note (I hoped). This was Argento‘s second step away from his usual giallo stuff, into the world of weird supernatural horror (Suspiria being the first, but I already watched that again for the dozenth time not that long ago). It’s also the second in the “Three Mothers” trilogy of bizarre witch stories. Much like Suspiria, it’s very cryptic, slow-moving, and strange. The scenery isn’t bad, but it’s not as impressive as Suspiria. It didn’t have the catchy, haunting music of Suspiria going for it either. Very weird and requires a lot of patience, but mostly likable in that crazy Argento way.

Watchin’ Stuff

Haven’t watched the original in, oh I don’t know, 15 years at least. Still a fun movie. It’s a pretty slow-paced and reserved movie, so it’s awfully strange that so many “hardcore fans” are complaining about those aspects of the new one, but let’s not even get into that. I always get a kick out of these 80’s visions of the future where future tech is just like an old CRT tv with clocks and fax machines glued to it.

What a fucking great movie. Villeneuve continues to show why he’s the greatest modern director out there. Yes, it’s a very long movie and like its predecessor it takes its own sweet time getting where it wants to go, but man, it’s so worth the investment of your time and patience. It’s definitely a strange and unconventional film, which unfortunately seems to already be driving the mainstream audience away pretty quickly, but that’s their loss. It’s hard to say much more about it without getting into spoilers. Let’s just say that Ryan Gosling’s character, K, and the evolution he undergoes in the process of the film are both exceptionally acted and directed. There’s so much more depth here than people are giving it credit for, simply because it doesn’t hold your hand and spell everything out for you. See for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

Checked this out after reading about it at Jordan and EddieThey were right, it is pretty good for one of those found footage films, which is quite rare. I had kind of hoped that the ultimate secret of what happened in the basement would have been a little creepier somehow, but then again, it was pretty unlikely that anything they did could have lived up to the sense of dread they built up surrounding that incident. Enjoyable overall.

The new non-X-Men X-Men show has begun. It was ok. Not amazing, not bad. We’ll have to see where it goes. I will never understand Bryan Singer’s tendency to take famous character names and then slap them on completely unrelated characters. Like the Strucker family here, who are the sympathetic good guy family that are for some inexplicable reason named after a famous family of evil Nazi terrorists in the comics. Oh well. We’ll see, but it’s sure no Legion.

Wooooo, Curb Your Enthusiasm has returned! Everyone involved looks noticeably older, but it doesn’t seem to have affected anyone’s performance one bit. Still the same old  hilariously awkwardly offensive show.

Man, I really need to try to fit in some more horror movies this week. My horror intake has been pathetic for October so far! I’ll try to make it up to…you, me, Samhain, or whoever the fuck.

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.

Watchin’ stuff

Is it not even October yet? Well too bad. I can’t wait any more! Need more horror movie intake, STAT!

Death Spa, apparently also known in some places as Witch Bitch, is an awful movie, but it’s that special kind of awful that’s hilarious to watch. This “futuristic” semi-automated health spa seems to be undergoing acts of sabotage that may or may not be the act of an angry ghost. The future tech of the spa is ridiculous and nonsensical and the story is so all over the place and bizarrely paced, and by all rights, it should not be fun to watch at all, but holy shit it’s just so dumb and insane that I can’t look away.

This was the previous (and only) movie by the director of the recent IT remake. You can see little moments of potential here and there, but it’s not surprising at all that no one seems to have heard of this one. There’s a surprisingly good cast and it’s filmed well enough, but the script and the CGI are pretty lacking. This is one of those movies where they show the audience almost immediately that there is unquestionably something supernatural going on, but it takes the idiot main characters most of the movie to figure it out, no matter how many blatant signs there are. The only real thing of interest here is that the Mama creature is very clearly the same model that they refined and reused as the crooked woman creature in IT, but this isn’t something worth watching this whole movie for.

I probably never would have seen this if Mrs. Fotchenstein hadn’t suddenly insisted on seeing the movie that this popular YouTube meme was taken from:

Wow. This is another special one like Death Spa. It’s so very ridiculous and crazy that it’s thoroughly entertaining, despite being so very bad. There are a lot of memorable scenes and it actually has some pretty good over the top synth music. This is definitely a hidden gem of the 80’s horror craze that I’d recommend to anyone that likes this kind of junk. Luckily you don’t need to see the first one to understand this one either, because that one was just embarrassingly bad.

Saw this a while back on Netflix and had mixed feelings about it, but thought I’d try it again since a new sequel just came out, which I was told (falsely!) was good. It’s one of those found footage/fake documentary movies, which I don’t usually like, but this one was somewhat interesting as it involved touring the country in search of the most extreme haunted house. Seeing all the different haunted houses was interesting and the characters being increasingly followed and harassed by mysterious masked people was compelling when it seemed to *SPOILERS* be something supernatural, but then it turns out that it’s all just something very ordinary going on, which isn’t explained at all, and the motivations of the baddies and plausibility of their actions all kind of fall apart once you realize they were just normal people all along. The ending kind of soured it for me, but since it was decent up until that point I figured I’d give the sequel a chance, hoping that it would make sense of it all.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t. This one actually makes even less sense than the first one and features a lot of confusing and completely unrealistic acts by the mysterious baddies, as well as dropping a lot of the haunted house content of the first one in favor of strange things like zombie runs and zombie eating contests. Most of the time you just feel like you’re watching someone’s travel videos, with little to no story behind any of it, until near the end when of course they do the exact same stupid things they did in the last one and seem to find themselves in trouble again. This one doesn’t even bother to try to pretend that there’s anything supernatural going on. We’re clearly shown that these guys in masks are following them around in a car, and then later, strangely following them in a helicopter, and then even more strangely, physically dangling from the bottom of their vehicle. Why would they be doing that when they’ve got the vehicle bugged and are tracking them with cars and helicopters already? Why is a secret underground haunted house club that is so extreme that they have to change to a different secret location every year spending what would have to be huge amounts of money to be employing dozens of people to travel across the country following small groups of people in helicopters and such all so they can get more mainstream recognition so they can provide this same unfeasible experience for everyone all the time at what must be a huge monetary loss to them? None of it really makes sense. Oh well.

Now I have to turn to an old classic to cleanse my palate. SLUGS! A sadly overlooked classic from the 80’s. This is yet another so-bad-it’s-good one. It kind of feels like a made-for-tv movie, except it has some surprisingly grisly death scenes for being a low budget movie about killer slugs. Pretty good gore effects for a low budget movie of its time. A pleasure that I should probably feel guilty for, but don’t, because I love this shit. Again, check this one out if you’re into ridiculous 80’s horror and more impossibly deadly animals!

Watchin’ stuff

Just got back from seeing IT, and it was pretty damn good. It was very similar to the old mini-series (this being just the first half still) in a lot of ways, but of course with everything turned up to R-rated levels. There were one or two iffy CG parts, but the majority of the effects were very well done. Well paced, creepy, consistently entertaining, and some surprisingly funny moments, mostly coming out of the mouth of that kid from Stranger Things. Definitely a winner of a remake.

Back to yesterday though, it was time to watch some of these recent new Netflix movies. I hadn’t been planning on watching this. I never saw the show or read the comic. I’ve heard all the praise about it, but it always just sounded too teen drama for my liking, so I had zero interest in seeing this version of it either. Then I heard that Adam Wingard (GO WATCH THE GUEST RIGHT NOW!) directed it, so I had to check it out. I thought it was pretty good. I’m sure it’s very different than the originals, because of course an overseas movie adaptation of a much longer story is going to be, but I don’t know anything about that, I just know that this was an enjoyable movie and that it’s made me interested in checking out the original stories, so that seems like a job well done from my perspective. My wife saw the show and told me it’s been changed quite a bit, referring to this version as “not Death Note”, but also saying that it was still good for what it was (so it’s not just me and my Adam Wingard fan bias!).

This wasn’t bad. It’s a goofy concept, with Noomi Rapace playing the part of 7 identical sisters, which is the kind of premise you’d expect to come out in the 80’s or 90’s. The core plot is pretty predictable, but it’s still a solid enough light-sci-fi/action/thriller to be enjoyable.

Black Panther runs around L.A. beating the shit out of people with a bicycle chain while trying to find out who killed his sister. Who wouldn’t want to see that? Some nice performances from a pretty good cast and some pretty graphic violence.

An action/thriller that actually has very little action in it. It’s kind of a bait and switch, really. You go in expecting Steven Seagal to be beating everyone up, but in reality (INCOMING SPOILER FOR 20+ YEAR OLD MOVIE) the plan to save the hijacked plane goes wrong almost immediately and Seagal dies, leaving a leaderless, wounded crew that’s missing most of their gear to figure out how to complete the mission before the government just shoots the plane down. It’s from the 90’s, so of course it gets a little goofy at times, but it’s still a pretty good thriller.

And finally, David Mitchell and Robert Webb‘s new comedy series has begun. It’s not really a “laugh out loud a lot” kind of comedy. It’s more on the dry and awkward side, sort of like Peepshow, but not quite as goofy so far. It’s off to a good start though.

Watchin’ Stuff

Despite the title giving me a grammatical itch, this was actually a pretty good movie. It’s sold as a near-future murder mystery involving memory recording tech that’s slightly reminiscent of Strange Days, but the interesting thing was that the murder mystery isn’t the real mystery. No, the real enigma here are the cryptic motivations of Dinklage‘s character, who is a professional model maker who just kind of appears and starts investigating this crime for vague reasons that sound suspiciously like a pack of lies. What is he really getting involved in this case for? What is it he’s really after? His character is very compelling and the performances from the various characters he questions in the course of the investigation are pretty good too. All-in-all it’s a pretty solid light-sci-fi drama.

I really should have known better (or just paid more attention at least) than to see a blurb like that and think “OH GOOD, FROM THE GUY WHO MADE YOU’RE NEXT? OH, I LOVE ADAM WINGARD, I BETTER CHECK THIS OUT!”, because nope, he had nothing to do with this movie. No, this is referring to the guy who WROTE You’re Next, and actually upon looking into it even further, that guy didn’t direct this either. This was actually directed by the writer’s brother, who has nothing but cinematography credits to his name. Urgh. Well, I guess that explains why this was filmed so well, but that’s the only nice thing to say about it. This movie is 78 minutes long and over 60 of those minutes are made up entirely of empty build-up to a few minutes of jumbled, forgettable “scary” scenes in the end. Waste of time.

Another knockoff of The Strangers, apparently. I didn’t like that movie and I don’t like this one much better. Mysterious masked killers who like to alternate between posing menacingly in the dark and arbitrarily torturing and killing anyone in their way. Bad guys attack family in cabin in the woods, bad guys kill everyone for reasons, the end. It’s just not my thing, these anarchic “realistic” slashers who have no motivation at all. Also found it strange that this movie is set in the early 80’s, which you only know because it tells you so at the beginning, and you see a framed picture of Ronald Reagan on a fireplace mantle and an old-timey TV for a few seconds in the beginning, but other than these two things, you would have no idea that this was happening in the 80’s because those are literally the only references to the time period. Nothing about this feels like the 80’s in any way and I’m guessing that they only slapped that on there to create an excuse for no one to have phones, which they could have used to end this whole stupid story immediately.

Argh. It’s another critic-beloved non-horror horror movie! What is with all the praise for these kinds of movies these days, where they take a drama movie, paste it into a horror setting, but then go out of their way to avoid any actual horror content (despite the fact that they heavily market it as a straight out horror movie)? “Oh, but you see, Richenbaum, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MONSTERS, IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE, WHO ARE THE REAL MONSTERS!”. Give me a break. We’ve all seen that one a hundred times before. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case there was very little dialogue or characterization going on, mostly just a lot of random dream sequences and slow, ponderous moments where I guess we’re supposed to be in dread of the thing that we’re told comes at night, but never actually seems to come. I didn’t care about any of the characters or anything that was going on. My wife was sitting there yelling at the characters for how stupid they were. Eventually we just turned it off and moved on.

Boy, this is not our lucky night. This is another one that by all rights should have been at least somewhat entertaining, but just couldn’t keep my interest. This movie is an action comedy, but supposedly it started out as a serious drama and was changed later to become more of a comedy buddy-“cop” film, and it really shows. Neither the drama or the action or the comedy are particularly good. How the hell do you have Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson teamed up in a movie like this and have the comedy be so very weak? They obviously both have the personality for it, but the script just isn’t that good. There are a few mild chuckles in there, but more often it was just tame eye-rolling stuff, and some occasional cringey stuff like the running joke of “oh man, Salma Hayek‘s character sure yells and swears a lot!”. It all felt strangely like a mediocre 90’s action movie. What the fuck was with the music in this too? You’d be watching some big action chase scene where shit’s exploding left and right and a dozen people are being graphically murdered and in the background is some crap that sounds like it’s trying to be a mix of an old Guy Ritchie movie and Austin Powers or something, just really cheesy, generic, and upbeat music that didn’t match what was happening on screen at all. Finally just tuned out about 3/4 of the way in and just turned it off, not really caring what happened in the end. Oh well. Better luck next week, I hope.

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!

Watchin’ stuff

What an unusual mess of a movie. It has its moments, but it’s just so uneven and the characters are so weak that I can’t imagine ever watching it again. I just don’t know what happened here. The movie starts off seeming like some epic action fantasy, then shifts to a very Guy Ritchie feeling comedy, then awkwardly stumbles away from that into suddenly being a really serious revolution drama, then back to flashy action fantasy in the end. It just tries to be too many different things and ends up not really succeeding at any of them. I don’t know what happened to Guy Ritchie. The stuff he’s been working on lately has been pretty disappointing. Let’s see…what’s next for him? What the fuck, a live action version of Aladdin? Ugh.

The next Dario Argento giallo, one that strangely has zero cats in it. I liked this better than Four Flies on Grey Velvet, but it wasn’t quite as good as The Bird With The Crystal Plumage. At least it had an interesting plot and some likable protagonists again. This time it was about a reporter and a blind man teaming up to solve a strange series of murders related to a genetic research lab.

This was unexpected. I, like probably everyone else, forget that Stallone used to do a lot of serious drama movies too back before he turned full-on mindless action hero in the 90’s. There are a couple fights in this, but mostly it’s just Stallone trying to survive in prison as the warden tries to destroy him over a personal grudge. It was a pretty solid drama movie and I’m surprised that I’ve never really heard about it before.

I must have missed this back in 2002. I don’t remember ever hearing of it. From the effects, I’m guessing that this was probably a straight to video movie, so that’s probably why. It’s kind of like a silly low budget knock-off of Total Recall, but it was still enjoyable enough. I liked it more than Splice at least (which kind of lost me once they started fucking the creature…).

I forgot all about this one. Don’t think I’ve seen it since it came out in theaters, which I remember being super excited about as a kid, but ultimately was disappointed that it wasn’t as cool as Tim Burton’s Batman, which it was so very blatantly trying to emulate the success of. I think I appreciate it more now though. It was certainly very visually impressive, with its nice presentation of a cartoonishly bright and colorful dystopian past, half-populated by a bunch of horribly disfigured mutant criminals for some reason. Holds up well if you like ridiculous 90’s comic movies.

You know, I actually only watched this because I thought it was that one with Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal for some reason (apparently that was Executive Decision). It’s still a decent movie though. A bit overdramatic and a little too long, but again, it’s not bad for a 90’s movie.

Decided to try another old Stallone film that I’d never seen. Well…they can’t all be winners. The Specialist tells an awkward story of a heroic…bomber? Yeah, Stallone plays a bombing assassin for hire, except he’s a NICE bomber with a personal code who only blows up people that he decides are bad, so that’s ok. It’s kind of like Blown Away in reverse and with much worse writing. The magical bombs he comes up with are ridiculous and unbelievable, and so is his really weird relationship with Sharon Stone‘s character. Basically she keeps trying to hire him to blow up some people in Miami, and he doesn’t want to go there because that’s where his arch enemy James Woods is, but then he does it anyway because she keeps trying to hit on him over the phone for some reason even though they’ve never met, and then he kind of stalks her a little and sees that she’s already in the process of having sex with her parents’ killer just so she can get closer to him so she can get some nice bomber man in there to bomb him so he says fuck it and does it anyway, and then they fall in love over their mutual interest in bombing dudes or something. I don’t know, it’s all very awkward and unpleasant. Do not recommend.

I don’t know what else needs to be said about this one. Hooray, Rick and Morty is finally back! If you’re not watching this yet, you’re really missing out. Unquestionably the best animated comedy series of modern times.

And finally, we’ve been very slowly trying to work our way through this series. Wife has seen it, but I never have. It doesn’t have the super high quality animation of the movies, but it does have some impressively well-written cyberpunk plots. We’re maybe halfway through the first long season out of two long seasons and a handful of movies. This may take a while, but it will certainly be an enjoyable while if it maintains this level of quality throughout.

Watchin’ Stuff

I’ve seen some really bad horror movies, and sometimes I even enjoy them, but this was a special kind of awful. Let me set a scene for you. A naked girl that’s very visibly completely covered in blood awkwardly stumbles up to people at a campfire.

Girl at campfire: “There’s something wrong with her.”
Guy at campfire: “She’s standing right in front of us. Completely nude. There’s nothing wrong about this.”

People were actually paid to say this out loud. It’s just a small example of how childishly unpleasant the characters and dialogue are in this movie. These characters go far beyond the usual stereotypes of dumb teenagers in horror movies, to the point where it’s not funny, it’s just uncomfortable because it legitimately feels like this was written by a 12 year old child shut-in who doesn’t know what real people act like. Some poor dumb kid who thought “Gee whiz, it sure would be cool to make a horror movie where the monster is a nekkid lady!”, but didn’t consider that movies need things like writers and effects artists and etc., and so just slapped together a movie that’s almost entirely dialogue, all of which is excruciatingly bad, and padded it out with a few horribly juvenile gross-out scenes that lack any humor, and a bunch of cheap jump scares. If you’re going to make a ridiculous gross-out movie, you have to at least bring some funny writing and good effects, because otherwise what do you have? Just another piece of bargain bin trash.

This was an interesting old action movie. It really goes against most of the major action movie cliches of the old days. Jeff Speakman‘s character is a great fighter and ultimately comes out the final winner of the story, but unlike typical action heroes, he takes a lot of nasty hits in the process and even actually loses a few fights. His character is portrayed as surprisingly flawed too, with his hot-headedness and lust for vengeance actually having a pretty negative impact on him and the people around him, as he slowly comes to realize that he needs to learn some self control before he gets someone killed. It’s basically the complete opposite of your standard action hero story, which is perhaps why no knows who Jeff Speakman is anymore, despite there being no shortage of impressive martial arts on display here.

A compelling train wreck by Oliver Stone. U-Turn tells the story of a scumbag criminal who gets stranded in a small town full of other scumbag criminals and finds himself wrapped up in a bunch of their smalltown scumbag politics, as they all try to screw each other over in various ways. There is not one single likable character here, yet they were all interesting and well-acted enough characters to keep me interested in seeing what depravity they would each unleash upon each other next.

Another attempt to get into the giallo genre, since I’ve seen just about everything there is in world of supernatural horror, which I tend to prefer. This is an early Dario Argento movie, who I’ve only ever seen crazy supernatural horror from before. This one holds up pretty well for its age. It’s about an American visiting Italy, who was about to leave, but ends up witnessing a bizarre murder attempt and ends up getting caught up in the hunt for a mysterious serial killer. It’s not as bizarre as Body Puzzle, but it’s a pretty interesting mystery, with some great looking sets. There’s a surprising lack of any real graphic content too for a Dario Argento movie about stabbing people, though it managed to be a good enough story that I didn’t really mind.

Another 70’s giallo by Argento, but I didn’t really enjoy this one as much. It started off with a great premise, but things just don’t come together as well as in the previous one. This time the story is about a man who accidentally kills someone and is then apparently blackmailed by a mysterious stranger, but this stranger doesn’t seem to want money, they just start stalking the guy in increasingly strange ways. The main character just isn’t that likable this time though, and since his situation is all about saving his own ass instead of stopping a killer, his attempts to deal with the situation all end up coming off as pretty weasely. The final reveal of the killer and their explanation for their actions feels a little more convoluted and forced too, and things are resolved much too quickly immediately afterwards. Oh well.

Man, I haven’t seen this in a loooong time. Great animation and a fascinating story that makes you wonder even more exactly why the hell they changed the story of the modern remake so much. The only real downside of this movie is that it goes by so quickly, setting up this amazing cyberpunk world and then ending right when things get most interesting.

I had never seen the sequel. It’s pretty good and satisfyingly continues the adventures of some of the characters from the previous movie, despite being a bit heavy on the exposition and philosophy quotes. I had no idea just how many more sequels and prequels there have been since this came out. It’s going to take quite some time to get through all of them after this…

One final item of interest, the final season of The Strain has begun. I can only hope that Zack, the absolute worst child character to ever live, dies a horrible, horrible death before it all ends. Hopefully he becomes the new king of the vampires only to get locked in a box and dropped to the bottom of the ocean for eternity…

Watchin’ stuff

Saw this tonight finally. Man, it was great. They changed so much from the original stories, yet somehow it still felt like the most authentic Spider-Man I’ve ever seen in a movie. Spider-Man is one of my very favorite characters, but Raimi’s Spider-Man and The Amazing Sony-Man just didn’t do it for me and I’ve been waiting so, so long for a Spider-Man movie that I could actually enjoy, and this really delivered. Now that the non-origin origin movie is out of the way, I expect that things will get even better from here on out too. Oh man, it’s going to be so damn long until the next one comes out. Arghhhh.

A Dan O’Bannon classic. Maybe not as iconic or tightly produced as other movies he’s been attached to, but it’s still a pretty solid horror film. It’s a modern day (at least it was in the 80’s) re-telling of H.P. Lovecraft‘s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Just that whole part where they explore the catacombs makes it worth watching (and re-watching).

A supernatural horror movie starring Robert DeNiro, Sigourney Weaver, Cilian Murphy, Elizabeth Olsen, and more? How the hell have I never heard of this? Oh. Because it’s not that good, and not even actually a horror movie at all. Weaver and Murphy play a pair of supernatural debunkers who end up facing off against DeNiro‘s character, who is basically the Moby Dick of spiritual performers. It plays out just how you’d expect such a story to play out, except with a twist, but the twist is telegraphed too blatantly too early on, and fails to have any impact when it’s finally confirmed in the end. Not a terrible movie, but not one I’d ever watch again.

Somehow, while watching old Twin Peaks, I got the bright idea to give this movie another chance because I seemed to remember it having the people who played Ed and Nadine as the villains. I never really got into this movie back in the day, and I personally don’t think Wes Craven had done anything worthwhile since Shocker, and I should have stuck with that original impression. I just don’t see the appeal. It’s like a cross between an episode of Goosebumps and a Tom and Jerry cartoon. If it weren’t for an occasional splash of blood and all the swearing, I’d think that this was made for children. I suppose the same could really be said of things like Nightmare on Elm Street (the later movies anyway) or Shocker too, but those had much more interesting villains and death scenes to make them stand out.

Uzumaki, or Spiral, is based on the manga of the same name by Junji Ito, one of the rare few manga creators I know and enjoy the works of. The original story was a dark and twisted tale that felt like a lost relative of Silent Hill or something, but this movie adaptation decided to take a much goofier tone for some reason. It was just too slow and silly to make the rare disturbing parts worth waiting around for. Better to just read the comic instead. In fact, now I really want to read some Junji Ito stuff again, and maybe find some new similar stuff (anyone know of any?).

Ahhh, now this was a manga adaptation that was much more to my liking. I actually haven’t read Blame! yet (it’s on my to-read list), but this was a really good dark sci-fi story that felt kind of like all the old 80’s cyberpunk anime I liked so much. It’s set in a future where machines have become the dominant life-form and turned the world into this giant, ever-expanding machine city where only a small village of humans remain in hiding. It’s a world with a whole lot of potential, that this movie only has time to get into a little bit of, but it does it really well and I think that manga just jumped up quite a few places on that to-read list. Apparently Knights of Sedonia, an ongoing anime also on Netflix, was made by the same creator too. I’ll have to check that out soon.

Oh boy, finally it’s time to watch the new Twin Peaks and see the resolution to that massive cliffhanger that the old show left! Too bad it’s fucking awful! Holy shit is this a disappointing mess. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something in such dire need of heavy editing. I know David Lynch loves to take his time and dwell on really superfluous and/or awkward details, but this is ridiculous. I’ve never seen a movie or show with so many completely unnecessary scenes, and I’m not even talking about the weird, confusing parts, because I fully understand that those are a part of any given Lynch production and most actually probably do have some yet-to-be-explained significance. No, I’m talking about the absolutely worthless nonsense like a doddering old lady noticing that there’s a weird smell coming from next door, then calls the police, then they show the police arriving and walking in, then have an overly long conversation with her about who might have the keys to the door, then she finally tells them who might have a key, they go to talk to him, end up running into someone else that they have another overly long and awkward conversation with, only to have the woman come to the window and tell them she actually had the key all along because she waters her neighbors plants when she’s on vacation. This is an excruciating almost 10 minutes of empty nonsense, all just so they can get in this door and find a dead woman, which anyone with half a brain could have told you was where this was heading in the first few seconds when no one answered the door and a weird smell was noticed.

Lynch uses this tactic of a lot in his work, the unnecessary drawing out of so many scenes, in what I feel is an annoying approach to trying to build suspense and apprehension, but he’s taken it too far this time. It just goes on and on like this, meandering all over the place with little to no direction, and a bizarrely small amount of screen time given to any familiar old characters. My wife and I couldn’t take any more after just 2 episodes of this, and you want us to sit through 18 HOURS of this? We have this awful feeling that this is all going to end with even more unanswered questions than there were before too. Boy, I would really like to know how this all finally ends though. Can I really force myself to watch another 16 hours of this crap? Maybe if we only watch 1 or 2 at a time until we’re caught up? I just don’t know. What a disappointment.

Awww yeah. An R rated Castlevania show written by fucking Warren Ellis? This can’t go wrong this time…can it? Oh good, some good news! This show is amazing! Much more violent and vulgar than I was expecting. You can sure tell that Ellis wrote this. The story and dialogue are top notch and the action is reminiscent of a dark, serious, hyper-violent anime. Vampire Hunter D comes to mind. The only downside is that there are only 4 half hour episodes for some reason. I know first seasons tend to be hesitant to be long, but man that’s short. There’s just enough time to set the characters up to embark on a grand journey to defeat Dracula and his minions, and then things are over just when they’re getting really good. On the plus side, it seems to have already been renewed for a second season, so I imagine it’ll be longer next time.