Archive for the ‘Monster’ Category

Congo

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

tn_congo

RELEASE DATE: May 19
RELEASE DATE: June 9

Here’s a funny thing that was different back in 1995: Bruce Campbell was so worshipped as a cult star that the idea of him being in a blockbuster movie was thrilling to people. He had done the EVIL DEAD trilogy and the MANIAC COP pictures and did a couple seasons of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. but that didn’t really catch on in the mainstream. And he seemed like their secret but somehow they wanted everybody to know. He made it to the semi-big-ish time with little cameos in DARKMAN and THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, but people still wanted him to star in some big movie and be the next, I don’t know, Kurt Russell or somebody.

And then he was in the trailer for this new Michael Crichton movie CONGO. Had the misguided dreams of horror nerds come true at last? Would they be able to finally share their hero not just with the Johnny-come-latelies who saw ARMY OF DARKNESS before the other ones, but with the whole world?

Well, the fact that the camera zoomed in on his screaming face during the trailer seemed to indicate that he wasn’t gonna make it to the end. Still, word of disappointment spread fast when people saw the movie and discovered that he bites it in the opening scene. The whole movie is about a rescue mission to come find him, even though we got a pretty idea they’re gonna be rescuing a dead body. (They do manage to find John Hawkes still alive, but catatonic, and then he freaks out and dies.) Anyway, I mention this movie to people 20 years later, that’s still the first thing that comes up. The wound has not healed. (read the rest of this shit…)

Godzilla (2014)

Monday, May 19th, 2014

tn_godzilla14Godzilla is one of those great icons who’s been around for fuckin ever because he re-invented himself many times over the years. Like the Madonna of Japan. He started all depressing and black and white in the ’50s, then he got crazy in the ’60s, kinda psychedelic in the ’70s, a little bit preachy about the environment in the ’80s, kinda garish again in the ’90s. There was that one movie in 1998, Godzilla’s iguana period, a laughable mistake like when MC Hammer tried to go gangsta rap. In my opinion that movie doesn’t even exist anymore since they used the exact same title for this one. Technically there can only be one American movie called GODZILLA, so they had to delete the other one to get this one.

Director Gareth Edwards, who did that found footage movie called MONSTERS that I still haven’t watched but heard was pretty good, is responsible for the one and only American GODZILLA. I think he has the right idea: treat it serious, no wackiness, but let the situations be humorous sometimes. The gloomy, often ashen-gray cinematography and Spielbergian sense of awe (lots of dollying in on kids that notice something dangerous approaching before the adults do) makes me suspect he was going for a little less silly than what he came up with, but I dig what he ended up with anyway. It’s a straight-faced movie where survivors of massive devastation aren’t scared that the giant radioactive dinosaur they’re standing next to is still alive and about to stand back up, because they know he’s the good guy. And I respect that they weren’t ashamed to use Godzilla’s trademark energy breath (though I’m not sure why they didn’t want to build up to it, like he gets some source of radiation that powers him up to be able to use it at a crucial moment). (read the rest of this shit…)

Pacific Rim

Monday, July 15th, 2013

tn_pacificrimDISCLAIMER (skip if you don’t give a shit): I haven’t reviewed Guillermo Del Toro’s movies since 2004, when Drew McWeeny got him to write a blurb for a book I self-published (later used by Titan on my other books). I never met or e-mailed the guy but it was a harsh, self-imposed rule to avoid any perception of being easier on his movies because of that connection, or worse, actually doing that. But I decided I want to write about PACIFIC RIM anyway. Maybe it was just a 9 year rule.

Since I haven’t reviewed them all here’s where I stand on Del Toro: been a fan since MIMIC. BLADE 2 is my favorite, followed by the three Spanish language movies in reverse chronological order. I enjoy the HELLBOYs but don’t love ’em. The second one frustrated me because it has many flashes of brilliance but doesn’t all come together for me. I like the movies he produces, also.

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Splice

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

tn_spliceSPLICE is a monster movie by Vincenzo Natali, the guy who did CUBE all those years ago. Remember that one? Really good concept, pretty good execution, but you really want to like it so it gets by. Same thing here.

Academy Award winner Adrien Brody and Academy Award nominee Sarah Polley play a married (?) team of scientists working to harvest useful proteins from a new species they’ve genetically engineered. They got two of them named Fred and Ginger (get it? They’re named after Fred Flinstone and Ginger Baker), two dog-sized lumps of CGI flesh shaped kind of like maggots but mostly like dicks. (read the rest of this shit…)

Nightbreed

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

tn_nightbreedI knew it. I fuckin knew Dave Cronenberg was up to something. All due respect to him as a consistently great and unique filmatist across three decades, but you gotta admit the guy is suspicious. I mean, CRASH had me wondering. And eXistenZ raised my eyebrows. Possessing in-depth knowledge of tooth-firing gristle guns isn’t a crime in and of itself, but you gotta wonder why he knows so much about the topic, right?

And then DEAD RINGERS. I mean, for crying out loud, DEAD RINGERS. So sonofabitch, why am I not surprised when I watch Clive Barker’s NIGHTBREED and there’s Dave Cronenberg as a masked “baby slasher” murdering families around Toronto? (read the rest of this shit…)

Jaws 3-D

Friday, May 14th, 2010

tn_jaws3BrucethesharkiconOkay, good. If you’re gonna be an asshole and make a sequel to JAWS, I figure this is more how you should do it. You’re never gonna match the achievement of the first one, so you should zig where that one zags.

First you acknowledge that the directors you hired won’t have the skills to fill Spielberg’s filmatic shoes. You put director Joe Alves into the shoes and fill the extra toe-space with credit-flying, severed-limb-and-head-floating, dolphin-and-orca-jumping, water-splashing-in-the-camera, slow-motion-water-ski-jumping, harpoon-firing-just-like-FRIDAY-THE-13TH-3D-but-what’re-you-gonna-do-you’re-fighting-a-shark, fake-dragons-and-snakes-popping-out, shark-exploding-and-spraying-goo-all-over-the-audience 3-D. I mean, not on video, but that’s what it was originally, and I would’ve enjoyed that. (read the rest of this shit…)

Jaws 2

Friday, May 14th, 2010

tn_jaws2BrucethesharkiconWatching JAWS 2 for the first time I was thinking maybe man is actually worse than shark. Because would shark make a sequel to JAWS? I don’t think shark would. I think they’d know to leave it well enough alone. But then I thought well, the shark in this one, Jaws 2 we’ll call him, is pretty much sequelizing what Bruce “Jaws” Shark did in part 1. He sees that Bruce caused a splash (get it?) eating people at Amity Island and he thought you know what, I will do the same thing but not as good and with a higher body count.

So I guess man and shark are the same. Sharks swarm when there’s blood in the water, men when there’s money to be made. We’re creatures of pure instinct. (read the rest of this shit…)

Jaws

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

tn_jawsBrucethesharkiconWith IRON MAN 2 in theaters and on Slurpee cups I’d say Summer Movie Season 2010 is officially underway. And I thought a good way to welcome the season would be by watching some movies I haven’t seen before: the JAWS sequels. Only thing is, as much as I love it I never actually wrote a review of JAWS. And I’d feel like an asshole reviewing the (I’m gonna guess possibly crappy) sequels and ignoring the original masterpiece.

But wait! There may be an answer contained within the Outlaw Vault. I knew I had written something about it, I just hadn’t posted it before. Back when I was considering a book about summer movies I wrote a rough draft for part of the ’75 chapter. So even though I’m still alive I’m gonna clean it up a little and package it as new material, like a posthumous B.I.G. guest appearance. (read the rest of this shit…)

Orca

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

tn_orcaIn honor of the fresh new summer movie season I thought it might be a good idea to go all the way back to the beginning, the one that started it all, the granddaddy of summer movies, JAWS. And then skip forward two years to ORCA.

Now, I don’t want to rattle any cages or nothing, but in my opinion – and it’s a free country, so I’m allowed to believe whatever I want to believe – ORCA is not as good as JAWS. To be fair, the makers of ORCA most likely had no idea about JAWS, they hadn’t heard of it, it’s probaly a coincidence. Just two completely unrelated summer movies about men in boats going to battle against deadly aquatic mammals. So it’s probaly not cool to compare them. And that’s good because as its own thing I think ORCA is topnotch. (read the rest of this shit…)

Outlander

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

tn_outlanderMan, here’s a solid little movie with a clever genre-mixing premise, nicely acted and directed, a fun time, but owned by the Weinsteins. So of course it was barely released or advertised. These pricks got a quiet, sad drama based on a Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece, they’re gonna pretend it’s some sci-fi action movie. Meanwhile they got this one that actually is a sci-fi action movie, but they forgot they even had it. “Oh shit, did we release that viking thing? I can’t remember. Just send some DVDs to Blockbuster and tell them not to mention it to anybody.”

Oh well, at least it snuck out. The cover art is pretty cool too, and it uses one of those critic quotes that isn’t really a compliment but just a description: “PREDATOR meets BEOWULF.” And that’s accurate. A space ship crash lands in Norway, 709 A.D. A survivor climbs out wearing a space suit that looks alot like a suit of armor (surprisingly that doesn’t come up again later). He’s Jim Caviezel, and I wasn’t sure at first if I was gonna accept aliens that look just like humans, but when he looked up Earth on his computer it said we were an “abandoned seed colony,” so I guess we all come from the same place. Brothers from a different mother. (read the rest of this shit…)