Archive for 2008

2008 Political Conventions

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Wow, I’m looking back at my column archives, it’s like a logbook of political burnout. For a while there in the early 2000s I couldn’t stop raging about the latest headlines. By last year I only wrote 2 columns including the one on January 1st. I guess that’s the power of Bush and friends, you start looking at what they’re doing you either turn crazy or turn away.

But now it’s election time, the Ewok celebration song is cued up so the needle can drop the second Bush shuts the door behind him, and I’m getting excited enough to follow politics a little more than I was last year. As usual I’m not an expert, I’m just some dude, and I could be wrong. These are just some impressions from the parts I watched and read about the two political conventions.

By the way, I never been to one of these conventions, or to a comic book convention. But I read about them so much I started to wonder if they’re the same. Do people dress up as their favorite politicians? I’m not sure. Did either of the conventions show exclusive footage from Tron 2? Probaly the republican one. Shine up a rehash of the crappy ’80s and call it CHANGE. (read the rest of this shit…)

Stuck

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

I like where Stuart Gordon is coming from. Always thought of as a horror director because of REANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND, now he’s just this low profile indie director, doing his own thing, making little movies with playwrights and obscure writers, usually with gore and dark undertones but not really horror anymore. Not that he has disowned the genre – he’s still trying to do another REANIMATOR sequel.

And this new one, STUCK, is an interesting idea. It’s inspired by that horrible case you may remember reading about a few years ago where a nurse’s aide was driving under the influence, ran over a homeless guy, and parked the car in her garage with him still stuck in the windshield. She left him there to die (it was originally reported as taking two days, which is how it’s portrayed in the movie, but from what I’ve read it was actually 2 hours). (read the rest of this shit…)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Part 5 is one of the less popular Freddy pictures, maybe because it made an admirable attempt to get beyond high school. It continues the story of Dream Master Alice and her boyfriend Dan (still played by the same actors, Lisa Wilcox and Danny Hassel) and their new circle of friends who replaced the dead ones. They are just graduating from high school, Alice and Dan are planning a trip to Paris over the summer, and early on Alice finds out that she’s pregnant. So they’re still teens but they’re dealing with some growing up type shit here.

The gimmick this time is that because she has a baby inside her, and because babies (according to the movie) dream all the time, she suddenly starts having Freddy dreams while awake. In the dream world the baby is a kid named Jacob and he does not have a positive male role model in his dream life so unfortunately Freddy comes in and takes advantage of that. You know how a bad uncle lets his little nieces and nephews drink beer, or helps them score pot? Freddy’s like that, he feeds Jacob the souls of Alice’s dead friends. I’m actually not sure what he’s trying to do – will this make the baby grow up into Freddy? Is he just trying to make the baby a killer like him? Or is he just pushing Alice’s buttons by messing with her kid? I don’t really know. (read the rest of this shit…)

Saw IV

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

People are always talking about “jumping the shark,” making fun of tv shows or movie sequels for trying to come up with new gimmicks to mix it up so they don’t just keep repeating themselves. In a horror series you’re gonna start shaking things up pretty quick. In HALLOWEEN they tried getting rid of Michael Meyers by part 3, though they brought him back for part 4. In ELM STREET 3 they added this idea of a group of kids who can dream together and all have different super powers in their dreams, and people liked that so they stuck with it. For FRIDAY THE 13th 4 they added a little kid (Corey Feldman), not to mention they changed who the killer was in part 2. The Chucky series turned into absurdist comedy by part 4.

All of these series have time passing, they might have a back-to-back story like HALLOWEEN and HALLOWEEN 2 but for the most part when you get to a sequel it’s been a year or more and a new group of people is here to have a run in with Freddy or whoever. The SAW series is very unusual in that this is part 4 and they are still dealing with the same killing spree, same characters introduced in previous sequels and still connecting everything to those events, and the timeline even overlaps with the last one. (read the rest of this shit…)

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

“Montani semper liberi (Latin, “Mountaineers are Always Free”)”

–West Virginia state motto

I’m always searching for DTV gems and this one has gotten some talk so it’s about time I got to it. But the truth is I didn’t like the first WRONG TURN. I know a few people who like it, but to me it was a big bag of mediocrity, forgettable enough that I apparently forgot to ever review it. So now I can’t read my review to refresh my memory about it. But I do remember that it took one of my favorite horror setups (tourists intrude on crazy backwoods inbred/mutant/cannibals, savagery ensues) and then hardly bothered to riff on it. Too slick, not enough mayhem, not enough imagination. THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake has problems and nobody besides me seems to like it, and I hated the sequel to it. But even in that one you at least get a couple OH SHIT adrenaline moments, some uncomfortable laughs. You don’t know what that ugly crazy fucker is gonna do next. WRONG TURN was the clean studio version of that. TV stars in some Ontario woods running from guys in monster makeup. Just no rush, no grit, no nothin. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Scorpion King 2: The Rise of a Warrior

Monday, August 18th, 2008

THE SCORPION KING 2 RISE OF A WARRIOR is the story of a warrior who rises. In movies we’ve seen many people and things rise, including The Machines, Carlito’s Way, The Silver Surfer, Leslie Vernon, Taj, Cobra, the Lycans, Gator, Jack Johnson, and Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. But never before have we seen the RISE OF A WARRIOR.

In this movie there are actually a bunch of different warriors but in my opinion the specific warrior who is rising is the one who will later be called the Scorpion King, not in this movie but in the very end of a different, better movie called THE SCORPION KING. What I’m trying to say is that this is the prequel to the prequel to the sequel to THE MUMMY, a movie I thought sucked. So the fact that this one is above average for DTV is pretty impressive. If you met a guy whose great, great uncle by marriage was a Nazi or a serial killer, but the guy you met wasn’t that big of a dick or anything, you would think “Good for him.” Same goes for THE SCORPION KING 2 RISE OF A WARRIOR. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Scorpion King

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Well, I gave up on Stephen Sommers after the rhythmless THE MUMMY so I never watched THE MUMMY RETURNS. But I have since learned to enjoy The Rock so today I finally got around to watching the prequel/spin-off THE SCORPION KING. It’s directed by Charles NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 Russell, so I didn’t have to break my Sommers boycott. And I’m glad I finally watched it. This is probaly the best riff on the CONAN THE BARBARIAN type of movie I’ve seen. Not as stylish or violent as 300 but a little more fun. And a hell of alot better than KULL THE CONQUEROR.

The movie got me from the opening scene where Tyler Mane and a horde of barbarians have some hapless dude who they call “an Akkadian” tied up. They are very proud of all the races and nationalities they’ve murdered but they never bagged them an Akkadian before, so this is a big day. But the Akadian says, “May the gods have mercy on you, because my brother won’t.” (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN Reviews KILL SWITCH!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Well, shit. I’ve had this review done, but I was letting it sit and simmer or something. Or being too lazy to send it in. But now poor Isaac Hayes has died, so I better address that. Black Moses isn’t shown on the cover or in the trailer for this upcoming Steven Seagal DTV event, and that’s fair because he’s barely in it. But Hayes does in fact appear in a few scenes as “Coroner.” Seagal’s homicide detective character is buddies with Isaac, so Isaac is pretty liberal with letting him check the dead bodies for clues. I call him Isaac because that appears to be his name – Seagal’s character refers to him as “Is” (or “Eyes”). My theory was that Hayes was playing himself and that this is what he’s been doing in Memphis since quitting that snot-nosed cartoon you guys are so fanatic about. But maybe not.

At the time I thought it was cool to see Isaac Hayes in a Seagal movie. He did so many types of B-movies, from TRUCK TURNER to UNCLE SAM, it was about time he showed up in a Seagal picture. But now it’s kind of sad because really he doesn’t do anything in the movie, it’s too bad they didn’t give him a better role. I hope Seagal at least got out the guitar on set and got Isaac to sing “Walk On By” or something. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Dead Pool

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

THE DEAD POOL is the fifth, last, and worst of the DIRTY HARRY series. It’s still watchable because it’s Dirty Fuckin Harry, but it completes the pattern of each entry being not as good as the last.

It’s important to consider the time of the release though. In the US it came out 20 years from last month. July 13th, 1988. It was a Wednesday. Harrison Ford was out celebrating his 46th birthday. One of the girls from the “High School Musical”s was being born. Long haired kids in Minneapolis were trying to find someone to buy them beer at a convenience store near the Metrodome where the Monsters of Rock Tour would be playing that night. Red Sox fans were trying to figure out what to make of John McNamara being replaced by Joe Morgan. Ronald Reagan was signing Executive Order 12646, establishing an emergency board to investigate a dispute between the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation and certain of its employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. And there was a new fuckin Dirty Harry movie coming out! (read the rest of this shit…)

Sudden Impact

Friday, August 8th, 2008

I’m not sure what the title means on this one, but if it were up to me it would be called A DIRTY HARRY SALUTE TO DEATH WISH II. The three before this all felt like “DIRTY HARRY” but in this one he goes to San Paolo and all the sudden he’s in Charles Bronson’s jurisdiction.

Let me point out a few connections: The score is by Lalo Schifrin, but the opening credits are still DEATH WISH sequel style cheeseball drum machine and keyboard rockafire explosion over establishing shot of the city (Lalo’s revenge for not getting to score part 3, I bet). Kevyn Major Howard, the gang rapist Stomper in DEATH WISH II, plays a criminal who gets off due to improper police work by Callahan. And like most DEATH WISH movies the lead villains are maniacally overacting gang rapists. In DEATH WISH and DEATH WISH II Bronson is getting revenge after (among other things) his daughter was gang-raped into a state of catatonia. In this one Sondra Locke is getting revenge because she and her sister were gang raped and her sister is in a state of catatonia. Speaking of which, Bronson’s wife Jill Ireland was in DEATH WISH II, and here we have Clint’s live-in lady friend at the time starring in this one. It ends a little more like the first DEATH WISH with the police (in this case Harry) knowing about the vigilante actions and letting it go because they sympathize. (read the rest of this shit…)