Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Even more half-assed reviews!

Clearing them out! Everything must go! More reviews that I'm never going to get around to finishing, this time focusing on music, masks, and science. SCIENCE!

It's Bootsy, baby! It's the Shat! Dig it.

Tales Of Masked Men

Masks have been used to transform for thousands of years. Featuring both El Santo and the Blue Demon, the history of Lucha Libre is examined in this PBS documentary. Obviously, this documentary hit me close to home, as I enjoying wearing the occasional mask, and by "occasional" I mean "all the time".

Edge Codes: The Art Of Motion Picture Editing

Edge Codes is a documentary examining the language of film and the techniques used by film editors to construct a story using images. Through association and juxtaposition, meaning and drama is conveyed through cutting and reassembling lengths of film. From the earliest moments of cinema, various schools of film editing is shown, and the film-makers demonstrate many of the techniques being discussed through well-known film clips to emphasize the points being made. Intriguing and enlightening, Film Codes is an excellent film-length course in film making.

Particle Fever

The building of the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs-Boson particle is examined in this dry, but well-shot, scientific documentary. It's hard to believe that just a few short years ago, people were genuinely concerned the Large Hadron Collider would generate a massive black hole, engulfing us all. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, which is a shame because that would have been pretty sweet. Did you know physicists dig the music of Uriah Heep? Neither did I, as there is one physicist briefly seen wearing a Uriah Heep concert t-shirt. 


The extraordinary life and career of the influential physicist is outlined in this warts-and-all biographical documentary. Born 300 years after the death of Galileo, Stephen Hawking partied his way through college until ALS forced his to get serious and completely change the way we see the cosmos. Narrated by Hawking himself, we see him in some unflattering situations as he struggles with his many health issues, as well as all the accolades that have piled up as one of the smartest people who ever lived. He is still an active participant in his life even though nearly completely paralyzed, and it's truly inspiring to see someone at 72 years of age be as energetic as he is, even while confined to a wheelchair and only able to move tiny portions of his entire body, and having lived with an almost certain death sentence for half a century.

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

The Broadway legend sings, dances, curses, and strikes terror in everyone's hearts in this entertaining documentary. I'm not much of a musical fan, but I'm now a fan of this fiery force of nature, merely because I loved watching all her famous co-stars try very, very hard not to call her a raging bitch on wheels, and I admire the heck out of that, because you know very good and well everyone interviewed was quaking in their boots that Stritch would would've stalked them and applied a serious beat down, even at almost 90 years of age. Unfortunately, she died earlier this year, after struggling with alcoholism and other health issues. Another engrossing, warts-and-all biographical documentary.

Twenty Feet From Stardom

The lives and careers of legendary backup singers is shown in this music filled documentary. Merry Clayton, Darlene Love, Gloria Jones, and many, many more are featured, and their tales of triumph and tragedy earned this documentary an Academy Award. Thrilling and inspiring, many of their performances are highlighted, including a hair-raising account of when Merry Clayton sang on the Rolling Stones' tune Gimme Shelter where her vocal track is isolated. There really are no words for this performance, but I'll try. Amazing. Breathtaking. Astonishing. Brutal. Soaring.

Hey Bartender/Red Obsession

I'm not much of a drinker. My beverages of choice are iced coffee, tepid tap water, and the occasional Ovaltine. 

However, I did enjoy these two documentaries about booze, and I've half-assed them below for your enjoyment. Cheers!

Hey Bartender

Elitist bartenders create alcoholic art in this well-shot, intriguing documentary. As ironically dressed hipsters, stylish trendsetters, wealthy businessmen, and tattooed strippers make your night out seem bland in comparison, Hey Bartender also shows the struggle of one bar owner trying to keep his business afloat as he learns the art of cocktails and a former marine who was savagely beaten trying to become one of the best bartenders in the best bar in the world. I enjoyed Hey Bartender, but would have liked to see more moments of bartenders demonstrating their craft.

Red Obsession

The speculative ultra-upscale wine market is explored in this dry, overlong, but well-shot documentary. Touching briefly on the history of the wines of the French Bordeaux region, the documentary discusses the burgeoning Asian obsession with wine for the majority of the film, as Americans have become priced out of the market for the exceptional vintages of legendary producers like Chateau Lafite and Chateau Latour. The film also briefly discusses the counterfeit wine market, which was very interesting. Unfortunately very little time is spent on this area, which is a shame, and an opportunity lost.

Serial Killer Culture

Handheld camerawork and abrupt editing mar this macabre, grisly documentary about the 'safe danger' of collecting artwork from serial killers. Overlong, surprisingly boring for the subject matter, and lurid, like an accident on the highway Serial Killer Culture's tabloid-like subtlety grips the viewer and demands they continue to watch, even when they shouldn't. I felt conflicted watching this documentary, as several graphic crime scene photos were shown in gory close-up, and I'm not entirely convinced the collectors' denials of exploiting victims were 100% genuine. With no victim's family members interviewed for their feelings on the subject, the film is biased towards the so-called collectors of 'murderabilia'. However, the collectors make a valid point, that these monstrous crimes are part of history. The media fixated on them, and we have only ourselves to blame for the continued proliferation and oversaturation of 'true crime' stories, because we refuse to stop watching. However, if we allowed them to justifiably be forgotten and no longer examined the crimes of these murderers, we wouldn't have Psycho or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The crimes may have lapsed into our shared history, but the fascination with serial killers lives on.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fat Slags

Former factory workers from Northern England travel to London where an American billionaire features them in a fashion show which catapults them to fame and fortune, which then causes their lives to ultimately crumble around them in this tragic Shakespearean drama reminiscent of works by David Lean, Mike Leigh, Emeric Pressburger, and Noel Coward. The subtle intricacies of interpersonal relationships are finely portrayed in this Merchant/Ivory-esque drama, as jealousies rage in the inevitable love triangle which develops and eventually slides into tragedy; as a chihuahua is crushed, sped-up stock animal footage is featured, neon track suits are worn, and Whitney Houston is covered on Top Of The Pops. Somehow inexplicably ignored by the BAFTAs and sitting on the Bottom 100 at IMDB, Fat Slags features an award-worthy performance by Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, where she eats a slice of cake as big as her head.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to embed that video, so here's a droll clip featuring thespian Dolph Lundgren.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Galaxy Of Terror

Sid Haig, Robert Englund, and Joanie from Happy Days star in this mystical Alien ripoff. Featuring blinking lights, toggle switches, leather recliners, and the microphone in the upper left hand corner of the frame about 5 minutes in, Laura Palmer's mother from Twin Peaks pilots a spaceship to a planet for some reason, and honestly, I like the cut of her jib. She's no nonsense and nonsensical, and I like that in my spaceship pilots.

Anyway, there's also exposed brains, incinerated corpses, rubber tentacles, outer space costumes that seem to be fashioned from long johns, poor lighting so no one can see how cheap the sets are, a severed arm crawling with maggots, very little plot, and Ray Walston.

Speaking of being raped by an enormous, orifice-y space caterpillar, someone is raped by an enormous, orifice-y space caterpillar. Suddenly, the main monster shows up, which has glowing eyes and a slightly dewy complexion, however, it's not very interesting, but it is somewhat brief. After an unconvincing fight scene involving some lol-worthy space kung fu and a lol-worthy somersault, there's a lol-worthy Happy Days-related head explosion. Galaxy Of Terror is really awful, kind of boring, and recommended if you like stuff that sucks.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sadako 3D

The long-haired girl down the well slightly haunts the internet in this unimpressive 3D installment of the Ringu series. A cursed video clip of a man committing suicide unconvincingly kills people, and by "kill people" I really mean "showcase lackluster 3D effects of hair coming out of computer monitors, Sadako's hands reaching out to grab the viewer, and poorly animated CGI glass shards in slo-mo cascading around bystanders". Featuring more unenthusiastic jump scares than you can whip your hair at, Sadako 3D is a tepid failure as a 3D film and sequel to the original Ringu.

Oops, it looks as though someone replaced my trailer of the original Ringu film with a clip of giraffes fighting to the tune "Whip My Hair" because apparently that's relevant in 2014 and a really good song, and by "a really good song" I really mean "a nagging, irritating, cacophonous din that makes me want to rip off my own head and kick it down the street, and not in a good way".

Anyway, Sadako 3D blatantly illustrates the fact that in spite of technological advances in 3D, the basic concept is the same; guys in top hats hitting a paddle ball toward the screen in a ham-fisted attempt to marvel. You'll need your red/blue 3D glasses for this clip. You have those, right?

I ducked because I was convinced that paddle ball was going to hit me right in the eye, and by "I ducked because I was convinced the paddle ball was going to hit me right in the eye" I really mean "Meh, but nice chapeau, fella".

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kitten Party

Adorable kittens tumble on hardwood floors, bat around cat toys, and chase bits of string in this avant-garde horror film. Filled with voiceover narration, camera and boom shadows, and very little plot, the clumsy creatures leap, bound, and become startled from some unseen threat which never appears onscreen, increasing the unbearable tension in this 39 minute film. Featuring such extreme close-up camerawork that you can almost smell the litter box, very few of the fluffy kittens hit their marks, but they probably marked the furniture. Speaking of furniture, they climb willy-nilly all over it, as if no one is concerned at all with the upholstery. And speaking of art direction, which I didn't because there isn't any, it's mainly just items from Petsmart and bookshelves filled with copies of The Official Manual Of The State Of Missouri. Does the state of Missouri need an instruction manual, and why would kittens need such a tome? I don't know. While we ponder that, here's a trailer for Pet Sematary.

The stakes are high during a suspenseful, Hitchcockian sequence in Kitten Party once someone whips out the laser pointer, as cats faceplant into walls chasing after a beam of light. I don't know what diabolical monster is responsible for the terror of Kitten Party, and by 'the terror of Kitten Party' I really mean 'the terror of a tone deaf rendition of the tune "If You're Happy And You Know It" featuring nodding cats at the end of the film', but they probably shouldn't get behind a camera again. Speaking of the song "If You're Happy And You Know It", here's David Bowie singing the theme song for the remake of the classic noir horror film Cat People.

The remake wasn't so good, even though it has gooey panthers in it, but the original is excellent. I think I might start a freak folk band called David Bowie's Gooey Panthers, but I would hate to be sued. Gooey panthers can be a little touchy about that stuff, you know.

Unfortunately, I can't find a trailer for Kitten Party, but here's a home video of a cat watching Kitten Party.

I agree, Samson. I feel the same way about it, buddy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Wickeds

The dead rise from their graves, a vampire searches for his stolen amulet, ghosts haunt an abandoned house, and no horror cliche goes unexplored in this extremely low budget horror film starring Ron Jeremy. The Wickeds features zombies dressed in tie-dyed t-shirts who rise from their unconvincing graves which are loosely covered in hay, pixelated names on real-life headstones, Halloween store decorations as special effects, amateurish makeup, shaky camerawork, dodgy editing, inconsistent sound levels, continuity defying softcore love scene pants, and more camera and boom shadows than you can shake a plastic sword at. Nods to Nosferatu, Night Of The Living Dead, and Evil Dead only highlight that The Wickeds is lacking in character development, originality, and genuine thrills.

Why does the amulet bring the dead back to life? I don't know. What caused the kids to be trapped in an electrified room, forcing them to jump out of a second story window onto a mat covered by more hay? I'm not sure. And why don't the kids just drive away in their huge SUV? Maybe because the keys are in some dead kid's pants who is lying dead outside the house a few yards away, or maybe they just forgot it was there. Who's to say, really? And why doesn't anyone notice porn star Ron Jeremy is a grave robber? I'm almost certain someone would have at least mentioned it. Even the Scooby Doo gang would have acknowledged a legendary presence amongst them who is famous for not wearing any pants.

The Wickeds could use a few more scares, a few more laughs, and a better script, which is something that could be easily fixed with a complete re-write, re-cast, re-shoot, and several million dollars. Since it's so boring, shrill, and poorly lit, The Wickeds is only marginally recommended if you like stuff that sucks.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea

A star-studded submarine motors to the Marianas Trench to fire a nuclear missile at the Van Allen Belt which has inexplicably caught fire in this Cinemascope disaster flick directed by Irwin Allen, the master of disaster flicks.

While lights blink and extras turn important looking submarine-y knobs, Frankie Avalon plays a trumpet, Barbara Eden does the Charleston, and Peter Lorre does an impression of Debbie Downer while taking a shark for a walk in waist-deep water.

Men in scuba gear wrestle the phosphorescent rubber tentacles of a phony giant squid at the 56 minute mark, which is pretty exciting, then everyone sweats through their clothes. I don't know an awful lot about science, submarines, or the military, but I do know you shouldn't wear khaki when the temperature is 138 degrees and the sky is on fire. I bet that sub smells like all the armpits.

Often the submarine is everywhere but at the bottom of the sea, but the effects are pretty good for the time period, and there's no better excuse to watch a magnetic pre-Jeanie Barbara Eden.

No, you can't see her belly button in this movie, either.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Unapologetic collegiate douche-bros build an industry-destroying, job-killing website so they can steal music, oops I mean file-share in a Smirnoff Ice-filled socialist digital music utopia, while oblivious music industry CEOs scratch their heads in oblivious confusion and denial in this unapologetic and fawning documentary directed by Bill from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, but hey, it's cool bro, enjoy all the sweet 'free' MP3s by Nickleback while we keg-stand in the Glorious Music Revolution.

All Cheerleaders Die

Vapid, shallow 30-year old teens party, squabble, and meddle in witchcraft until tragedy strikes, and that sounds an awful lot like an ordinary weekend to me. They say that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, but I wanted to throw heavy stones at all the characters in this movie from the first five minutes. Thankfully, they all meet an untimely end. Unfortunately, they all get resurrected through some vaguely magical stones and continue to be the vapid, shallow partying teens they were in life, only now they suck their classmates' blood, which is one of the hundreds of reasons why I dislike teenagers. They're self-absorbed, obsessed with social media, and exclusively wear Abercrombie and Fitch for some reason. If somehow teenagers manage to avoid being smothered by their self-absorbed, social-media-obsessed parents in the night with a pillow for being vapid, shallow, and self-absorbed, they grow up to be self-absorbed, social-media-obsessed adults who wear Nike fitness apparel in an effort to regain their self-absorbed, social-media-obsessed, Abercrombie and Fitch wearing youth, and I think I've lost my train of thought. That reminds me, I should probably check my Facebook and Twitter feeds and see what I still have to purchase in my Amazon shopping cart.

Anyway, I enjoyed All Cheerleaders Die because it was well-shot, funny, and a little gory, in spite of the fact that it has cheerleaders and other awful teenagers in it, and the fact that they don't stay dead for very long, but no one would green-light a film called All Middle Aged, Vapid, Shallow, Grizzled, And Disgruntled Men Must Shuffle Off This Mortal Coil Very Slowly Due To Sloth, Eating Too Many Oreos, And Sitting In The Dark Watching Movies Over Many, Many Years anyway because no one would go see that and the title is too long to fit on a marquee.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Doc Of The Dead

The history of zombies, from their earliest incarnations as somnambulists and voodoo slaves through today's fleet-footed brain munchers, Doc Of The Dead features interviews with Bruce Campbell, George Romero, and Simon Pegg. It was well-shot and funny, and I enjoyed the zombie vignettes. Did you know there was a Haitian law that says, 'the use of any substance capable of producing a prolonged state of lethargy is strictly prohibited'? I didn't either, as I'm not a Haitian lawyer. My family often argues about who would survive a zombie apocalypse, and I'm always considered the first to go. It's not because I am unfamiliar with hardship. It's not because I'm not cool in a crisis. It's not because I'm trained in several martial arts and hand-to-hand combat. It's because I have a bad back and I'm easily distracted. When running from zombies, I would most certainly duck into the first looted record store or bakery I find, and that's where they believe I would meet my doom. I can't really argue that, as I can envision myself hunched over, back thrown out, gorging myself on stale cupcakes as the undead horde descends upon me, eager to feast on my brain. They might have a point.

The Devil's Bible

The Codex Gigas, the world's largest Medieval manuscript, is examined in this National Geographic documentary, and I'm pissed about it. Written either by a Benedictine monk named Herman The Recluse or a fallen monk who sold his soul, this enormous book weighs about 165 lbs., may have taken 10 years of continuous work to create, and contains a poorly illustrated, disparaging, and copyright infringing likeness of me. Surrounded by legend, it was once hurled out a window to escape being destroyed by fire and then injuring a bystander, was captured as plunder during the Thirty Years War, and allegedly saved an errant monk from being walled alive in exchange for his soul, and I'm probably going to sue everybody for unauthorized usage of my likeness without compensation and the fact it exaggerates all my worst features. I mean seriously, there are my knobby knees, my pot belly, and my terrible complexion. I bust my ass doing P90X, and there is no way I'm going to allow someone to make me look like I sit on the couch all day eating cookies even though I do. And don't get me started on those drawers. I would never in a million years be caught dead in those things. I almost exclusively wear boxer shorts with Halloween decorations on them, not some sort of poorly fitting polka dot diaper. Everyday Is Halloween (in my pants).

National Geographic, Herman The Recluse, Wikipedia, and everybody is most certainly going to hear from my lawyers. I still have the receipt from the purchase of that dude's soul as proof.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hide And Seek

A man's brother goes missing, and a sinister motorcycle-wearing figure lurks in an apartment complex that is destined to be razed in this angular, intense South Korean thriller. Featuring excellent cinematography, powerful acting, and a complex plot filled with twists, turns, and jumps, the fun of Hide And Seek lies in the subtle details: a pipe hidden in an umbrella, blood spatter on a computer screen, a roach scurrying across a piece of filthy furniture, cryptic pencil markings near the apartment dwellers' doorbells. I found Hide And Seek to be full of surprises, and I wouldn't be surprised if an American studio picked up this property.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jodorowsky's Dune

The failed adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel by the eccentric director of legendary cult film El Topo is examined in this well-made documentary. Featuring original storyboards, drawings, a couple of sandworms, and modern animations, we get a glimpse at what might have been if the doomed film was completed. Jodorowsky himself is magnetic and fascinating, as he recounts the time he yelled at Pink Floyd for eating Big Macs and offered a role to Salvador Dali that paid $100,000 a minute.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dark Secrets/Forgotten Planet/Paranormal Home Inspectors

Sorry if my output of reviews have nearly trickled to a stop lately, as I have been busy writing my next book with the provisional title of "Stabford Deathrage Goes To Hell (Don't Worry, He's Been There Before & He Bought A Souvenir T-Shirt)", traveling the country doing awesome things, and viewing movies as a member of the selection committee for a major international film festival, and by "sorry" I really mean "I'm not that sorry, but I am exhausted". 

Experiencing rock & roll history at Sun Studios in Memphis

Relaxing at a luxurious rooftop pool in Dallas

Enjoying artisan donuts from Glazed Donut Worx in Deep Ellum, Dallas

Visiting a grave in Saint Louis Cemetery #1, New Orleans

Fun Fact: Did you know you can get a hot 2-pack of Big Az brand chili cheese dogs from a vending machine outside the rest area toilets in Louisiana? Neither did I!

*Sorry, photo not available of the chili dogs

Currently, I have approximately a dozen reviews in the draft stage, and I'll post them when I'm good and ready, and by "I'll post them when I'm good and ready" I mean "I probably won't get around to them honestly, or I might just fling them as-is on Blogger in a half-assed fashion, and you'll have to be satisfied with that". 

Since I ever-so-slightly resemble an human being, sometimes I become a little overwhelmed from the sheer volume of films I watch, and I just can't bring myself to watch another movie. I no longer have access to regular television, and I cut the cable cord a long time ago. I don't have room in my life for the time that's dedicated to a television series, so I did the rational thing by contradicting myself and binge-watched three paranormal TV programs on Netflix. 

Whenever I travel, I try to visit haunted locations, but I try not to mess with the paranormal. It's dangerous! Once I was convinced my penthouse was haunted by a sinister figure with horns and a tail who raids my fridge and carries a pitchfork. I purchased some candles, lit some incense, and smudged my home with sage. Three days later I was wandering the streets not being able to find my way home. I still can't explain it, and I can't find my pitchfork. Spooky!

Dark Secrets

Dark Secrets is a program about a mysterious documentarian who discloses information about unusual phenomena. One episode is about a chain smoker who is discovered burned alive and embedded in his bathroom wall. I enjoyed this series because it wasn't very good, but I was initially confused as to whether this show was a documentary, or a scripted TV show in a documentary style. It had a definite X-Files vibe to it. Sorry, I can't seem to locate a trailer, and by that I mean one isn't immediately available on Youtube and I'm sick of looking.

Forgotten Planet

Forgotten Planet is a series exploring abandoned places around the world, which is something I really enjoy doing, and I'm looking forward to the time when someone will pay me to write about going to spooky places on a regular basis for large sums of cash. I'm entertaining any serious offers, and by "entertaining any serious offers" I mean "jumping at my own shadow and screaming like a 4-year old girl for a paycheck". 

Some of the places examined in Forgotten Planet are Chernobyl, Bodie, Detroit, and Gary, Indiana. I enjoyed this program. Here's a link to the trailer:

Paranormal Home Inspectors

I loved, loved, loved Paranormal Home Inspectors. It's terrible, cheesy, formulaic, and incredibly addictive. Here's the premise: Three Canadian home inspectors investigate claims of hauntings. One is a no-nonsense, skeptical, professional home inspector who scratches off every claim on his list with a completely disappointing and reasonable explanation, another is a researcher who straddles the line between believer and skeptic, and the last is a teary-eyed medium who never went into a house without being overwhelmingly convinced it's haunted. Like a Canadian Ghosthunters who are able to determine if your doors are hung square, the Paranormal Home Inspectors hunt things that go bump in the night and can tell if your home is properly insulated. I burned through a season in one late sitting, and was hungry for more. Paranormal Home Inspectors is ridiculous, not-especially spooky fun if you like stuff that sucks.

Friday, August 8, 2014

I Am Divine

Glamorous anarchy abounds in this documentary about the iconic drag queen. Excessive, dangerous, electrifying, fascinating, tragic, and a magnetic onscreen personality; Divine was the Elizabeth Taylor of cult film if Elizabeth Taylor ate dog excrement. Oops, spoiler alert.

Even after 40 years, Divine still shocks. I doubt a time will ever come where she does not, and thank heavens for that. There is no telling what a stale, depressing state cinema would be in without her. I Am Divine is a loving tribute to John Waters' muse, and made me want to watch their entire filmography again.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bettie Page Reveals All

The life of the iconic pin-up model is examined in this documentary, which is narrated by Bettie Page herself. The Queen Of The Pinups had a tough early life, but found success as a one of the earliest Playmates and an icon for fetish and bondage photography before disappearing from the public eye.

A talented fashion designer, she made her own costumes. She also appeared in the burlesque film Teaserama.

Page had a religious conversion in 1957 and withdrew from modeling. She had a nervous breakdown in the 1970s, and spent 8 years in a mental hospital. Meanwhile, a cult grew around her, and she was unaware of her worldwide fame. In the 1990s, she regained control of her image, and finally began receiving royalties on sales of her likeness.

I enjoyed the documentary Bettie Page Reveals All, and it was enlightening to have Bettie Page narrate. Still an enigma, a voice could finally be put to the images.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Asteroid Vs. Earth

In an effort to divert the Earth from a collision course with a 200-mile diameter asteroid, Tia Carrera attempts to detonate nuclear weapons in the Ring Of Fire to produce planet-moving 18-on-the-Richter-Scale earthquakes because that seems fine. A brilliant college student pours a Red Bull in his lap when the NSA sneaks into his room because product placement, and Tia Carrera meets-cute in a dive bar booth covered in duct tape. Get used to the idea of duct tape, because it's going to continue to make cameo appearances in this film. Then there's some stock disaster footage and a poorly rendered CGI asteroid.

After having a military-style anti-asteroid meeting in the same wooden shutter-filled room The Asylum uses in every movie, the camera crew is visible in the reflection of a car, then everyone drives their Chevy to a CGI sub because product placement. After some obvious camera shadows, things go wrong in the sub, killing several disposable minor characters. Volcanic debris rains down on a tin-roofed warehouse, and cast members shout at one another and drive forklifts carrying duct tape-covered nuclear warheads into empty cardboard boxes.

After some crowd scene stock footage, a cobweb on a colonel's cap, and a CGI tidal wave, Hong Kong is destroyed and the sub skipper is unconvincingly electrocuted causing a rise in the ranks for nearly everyone still alive. I probably would decline the offer of promotion because that seemingly continues to get soldiers killed for the duration of the film, sometimes involving unconvincing land mines buried in a California beach unconvincingly standing in for Saipan which results in a disposable minor character getting his legs blown off. That part was actually kind of cool, but the movie goes on for awhile, and then it ends with Tia Carrera surviving the ordeal because spoiler alert.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Airplane Vs. Volcano

Superman and a Sweathog struggle to survive aboard a plane stuck on autopilot circling around a bunch of erupting volcanoes in this dreadful Asylum film. Featuring poorly rendered volcanic islands, poorly rendered magma, and inexplicable volcanic cinders that only seem to strike jet engines, Airplane Vs. Volcano plays a lot like a humorless Airplane, only with, you know, volcanoes.

There's also a Plan 9 from Outer Space-esque cockpit scene that results in a dead pilot and co-pilot, an ocean traveling pyroclastic flow that turns beach bathers into Pompeiian statues, and the prerequisite Asylum helicopter scene at the 24-minute mark.

A flight attendant pushes the button that causes all the jet fuel to squirt out the back of the plane nearly turning it into a gradually descending Molotov cocktail, and I don't know an awful lot about buttons, jets, jet fuel, or flight attendants, but that button seems a little bit useless to me. Thank goodness they placed that jet-fuel-squirting button deep underneath the cockpit where it's nearly impossible for flight attendants to reach so it isn't pushed accidentally during a volcanic crisis, and that Superman, who has never flown a passenger jet before, knew it existed and where its approximate location was, because that scenario makes a lot of sense and doesn't seem pointless at all. An altruistic passenger wing walks using a whole bunch of seat belts to keep him from plummeting to Earth in order to dislodge one of those miraculous embers from the engine, and that doesn't turn out nearly as well as one might think.

That last decade or so of the movie is maudlin as all get out, as disposable passengers start begging to get off the plane and live, and I felt exactly the same way. I wanted to get off that plane and live.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I am thrilled to have been asked to take part in Cinematic Catharsis' Goldblumathon because I never get asked to take part in anything. Someone recently told me, and by 'someone' I mean 'friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers', that I am what is known as a 'ruiner'. I'm not certain what this means exactly, but I have a feeling that it's disparaging, hurtful, and true. From what I gather, apparently a ruiner is someone who does their own thing with little regard for anyone else's feelings, posts video clips that don't have an awful lot to do with the movie he is supposed to be reviewing, always gets picked last for kickball, and doesn't get invited on dates, parties, family reunions, or anything ending in the suffix -athon. Being incredibly self-centered, unathletic, and anti-social, even if I was invited to do those things, I probably wouldn't because I would be too busy watching bad films in the dark and I don't like doing things in a group setting. Because I'm a contrary individual, since contributing to something in a group setting is the last thing I normally would want to do but I hate being told I can't do something even if that person telling me I can't do something is myself, I am unable to stop myself from doing it. So, thanks for inviting me to contribute. Hopeful I won't ruin it, but I can't guarantee anything.

Please be sure to check out all the great blogs contributing to this event.

For the Goldblumathon, I've chosen the incredibly unlikely film The Sentinel starring Jeff Goldblum, and by 'starring' I mean 'he's 5th from the bottom in the credits and he has 3 lines'. 

Here's the lowdown: A model cuts her wrists after walking in on her elderly father's wrinkly, cake-filled, freaky birthday 3-way orgy, and after his funeral the crew is visible in the hearse's windows. Then the model who can't commit to her sleazy boyfriend rents an apartment in a brownstone from Ava Gardner where a blind priest sits staring in an unblinking manner from an upstairs window, and Ava Gardner tries to look sinister, but she just ends up looking a little bitchy. Then, WAIT FOR IT, Jeff Goldblum takes photos of afghans and peacocks by a swimming pool.

Burgess Meredith drops by the model's apartment with a canary on his shoulder because of course he does, and the model has a business meeting with two lesbian ballet dancers wearing leotards, and by 'business meeting' I mean 'voyeuristic, awkward petting, and they certainly aren't petting the canary, if you catch my drift'. Then the model has a little trouble with a wine bottle while Jeff Goldblum watches.

The model attends a surprise party for a cat, and she has a nightmare involving nudity, cymbals, and wicker furniture as her chandelier moves on its own, but you have to expect those sorts of things when you rent an apartment in Brooklyn Heights for $400 a month. It's what realtors call 'character'. Suddenly, Ava Gardner drops a bombshell on the model and informs her that the model and the blind priest are the only people living in the brownstone. This turn of events causes the model to pops some pills and a little red wine, and the paranormal stuff starts right back up again. 

SPOILER ALERT: This scene was #46 out of The 100 Scariest Movie Moments according to Bravo.

As it turns out, the birthday party was a get-together for 8 dead murderers, and the brownstone is the entrance to Hell. I'm not sure about that. I'm pretty sure the entrance to Hell can be found in any Wal-Mart. It's near the Duck Dynasty merchandise, and by that I mean they should just change their name from Wal-Mart to Duck-Mart. 

I'm not 100% convinced that The Sentinel holds up after nearly 40 years, but it has its moments. Jeff Goldblum clearly carries the film, and by 'clearly carries the film' I mean 'I honestly didn't know he was in it until I looked it up on IMDB.'