Sunday, July 31, 2011


C.H.U.D.II - BUD THE C.H.U.D. (1989)
Directed by David Irving

Gerrit Graham - Bud the C.H.U.D./ Bud Oliver
Brian Williams - Steve Williams
Bill Calvert - Kevin

     A military experiment to create a race of super-warriors go awry, and legions of murderous zombies are unleashed upon a suburban neighborhood.

     So while I was finishing up the review for Book Of Blood, I wanted to watch something but yet didn't want to put in a DVD. Yeah, I was feeling lazy. So I decided to turn on on on-demand and see what all was there this month. Well, that's when I found this movie.

      Well usually I start out the reviews by going in on the actors, but with this one it's almost impossible to find out where to start. The leads of the movie are supposed to be teenagers but they out more like 10 year olds that are on crack for most of the movie. If you want to know the level of the acting here, one of the main stars is Brian Robbins of the TV show Head of the Class. One of the indicator that I use if a movie is going to be bad and it's from the 80's is if Robert Vaughn is in it. He is so bad in this movie, I really can not describe it. Seriously, I do not have the words. Okay, well how about: abhorrent, ungodly, horrendous, horrid, reprehensible. I think you get the point. The other actors aren't much better either. I mean what does it say about a movie where a zombie dog acts rings around everyone else.

     As for the story, it basically involves the military cancelling the Contamination Hazard Urban Disposal program. That's right. It doesn't even stand for Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers. That's how far off the story is from the original movie. It doesn't get much better after finding that out. It has no mutants what so ever. In its place we get really bad zombies that like to play with their food and talk and spout really bad one liners throughout. Even though they are zombies their main goal is to find the female lead so where Bud can try to start a relationship with her. Though I will admit Bud giving Katie his dead heart was kinda interesting. Yet this was ruined by the usual banter of the actors right afterwards.

     The whole set up of the movie was just bad to begin with and pretty much got worse from there. The one shining point in the movie was the zombie dog I mentioned earlier. The direction to the filmography was just lousy as was the script of what there was of it. Instead of being a horror movie, though it does try to be one, it turns into a comedy once Robert Vaughn starts talking. The characters are so oblivious to whats is happening around them you wish they would die. Yet the one saving grace for this movie, though it doesn't save it very much, is that the movie is so bad, you start to laugh at all the idiotic happenings and insipid dialogue choices. If you're looking for something to lighten the mood this is a good choice, not if you're expecting a full on horror movie.  

     Sorry, not one death is shown on screen in this movie. So here's a picture of a C.H.U.D. with a Bunsen Burner through his head.

     Trust me, not one line is good in this movie.

     A poster for the film, Malcolm, can be seen hanging on the wall of Steve's room.

     Ricky and Stephanie, this is a perfect movie for Bad Movie Night, hands down.

     Look for an uncredited appearance by Robert Englund.

     Director David Irving is the older brother of actresses Amy Irving and Katie Irving.

Friday, July 29, 2011


Directed by John Harrison

Jonas Armstrong - Simon McNeal
Sophie Ward - Mary Florescu
Clive Russell - Wyburd

     A paranormal expert discovers a house that is at the intersection of so-called "highways" transporting souls in the afterlife.

     To me, one of the problems with horror movies isn't so much the movie as it is the studio releasing the movie. Yes, about 50 percent (I'm being really nice here) are pure crap and barely watchable unless you're in a large group of friends and making fun of it. When you do that, the movie doesn't seem as bad, even though it still is, and the pain of watching it is diminished by a significant amount. Yet the real problem is that the really good films that are original and presents fresh ideas causes the studios to balk at it cause they don't know what to do with it or understand it. A friend told me that if the makers of the film can not explain it in less 10 words the bigger studios usually say no. Take for example Del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness. Sure it would have cost  a fair amount at the start up, but it would have more than made up it's cost after release, yet the studios didn't understand really what it is. Another problem now is the studios do not know what to do or how to promote a hard "R" movie anymore that's not a remake. Thankfully a good portion of  the more original genre movies are being made independently or with minimum big studio help which allows the director to have more control of the movie they're making.

     Just to let you know, there will be spoilers in this review!

     I think the one thing the studios are most worried about in horror movies is that if there really isn't a happy ending with the protagonist walking away triumphant they're lost. Or they just don't understand a set-up that lasts half the movie. Just like in the short stories the movie is based on, Simon has been staging fake hauntings through various tricks. Now this I can see pissing people off that didn't know what was really happening due to they invested all that time being fooled. Yet, if this turns them off of the movie, they shouldn't be watching it anyway as that is only half of the story. There is a reason why it's set up the way it is, and I thought John Harrison did a very good job bringing Barker's stories to life for the viewers. Though I do have to complain that the title story from the books wasn't the best choice for a movie due to originally it was framed as book ends for a large collection of short stories of which the stories are literally written on Jonas Armstrong's Simon McNeal. But what comes from it is a compelling film, though slow, for the first hour, picks up very quickly after.

     Armstrong is a decent actor in his own right, alas he seemed not quite there for half the film. He does wonderfully when weird things start happening, which is good, but it's during the actual human interaction between him and Sophie Ward's Mary Florescu, that he doesn't seem smug, just that something is missing, even though he's supposed to be infatuated with her. Sophie Ward though does the best, acting wise, in the movie as she seems to believe in the story that is trying to be told, as most of the movie rests on her. I do like that at the end of the film she is obsessed with writing the stories from McNeal's skin down and is selling them and that she got rich from the suffering McNeal endures. I should note that over half the movie nothing really happens, as during that time the relationship between McNeal and Florescu goes from a hired help to one of lust until she discovers McNeal's betrayal of her and later his painful ability. It's due to this that she becomes obsessed with McNeal's skin and not so much the person.

     I was happy to see that the movie has great atmosphere and doesn't skip on the gore and blood, being that stories are carved and cut into McNeal's skin. The effects were effective when they were used and one of the highlights of the movie to me was the dragonfly scene. The setting, as well as the choices of colors used through most of the run time of the movie helps give it a gothic feel that you rarely find in American made films, but yet British made horror seems to have in spades. The slow build up of the relationship does take away from some of the horror and dread that should be there more, but the pay off toward the end of the movie almost makes up for it. While the atmosphere is what gives the movie more of it's unease and suspense of what might happen, it's when the "Highway" is fully seen that you actually understand the scope of what is being watched. I will admit that while the script could have been tighter in parts of the movie and slows it down, as well as hampers the movie a little bit, it's not enough to destroy the movie thankfully.

     Even though she's not dead, it's the aftermath of the face off that is fun to see!

     You really don't understand, do you? They've been waiting... for someone to listen. For someone to hear their stories.

     Clive Russell nearly choked on the blood/water in his final scenes.

     Jonas Armstrong had to have his entire body waxed and cast so the makeup and prop department could craft his character's skin to fit and match his torso perfectly.

     Over 100 extras were used for the sequence with the spiritual highway.

     Clive Barker referred to this as essentially "a haunted house" story.

     In the UK, Clive Barker's Books Of Blood were released as Books of Blood Volumes 1 through 6. In the US though, Volumes 4 through 6 were released as The Inhuman Condition (Vol. 4), In The Flesh (Vol. 5), and Cabal (Vol. 6). The title for the US version of Cabal is original to that version of the book and replaced a story from the original book. Cabal was made into the 1990 film Nightbreed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Directed by Joe Johnston

Chris Evans - Steve Rogers/ Captain America
Hayley Atwell - Peggy Carter
Hugo Weaving - Johann Schmidt/ Red Skull

     After being deemed unfit for military service, Steve Rogers volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending America's ideals.

     Out of all the summer movies to come out this year, Captain America was the one that I was most unsure about. I'll admit that I've never been a fan of the character until they redid him in the Ultimate side of the Marvel universe. Now that the movie is out we have a much bigger picture of Marvel's plan for their movies. So what did I make of the movie?

     This movie worked due to Chris Evans plain and simple. A lot of people give Chris Evans flak for his acting ability. His choice of playing Johnny Storm didn't help with this, even though he basically played him correctly. I felt the same way about him until I saw him in Sunshine. And what do you know, he can actually act. And again he proves he can act in Captain America as the title character, as well as carry a movie. Evans downplays his character, which was exactly what was needed for the character to work as Steve Rogers wasn't never about ego. It was about doing what needed to get done even if it cost him his life. The one actor that didn't hit all the right marks for me was Hugo Weaving though. That's not to say that he didn't do great as the Red Skull, yet to me it seemed as if Weaving kept on losing his accent in the movie every third sentence. This thankfully didn't make his character seem any less threatening as Weaving is always a perfect choice for the antagonist as he always gets into his role and this one just seems like it was meant for him and I really can't see anyone else playing the Red Skull now.

     I just want to take this time to thank Joe Johnston. He knew what had to be done to make the film work and he pulled it off. Instead of having the film take place in present day, he set it during WWII. This might not seem like a big deal but yet in doing so, it showed how Steve Rogers truly became the man that he is and how that helped create Captain America. Half the movie is how Steve Rogers fights and claws to be accepted before he is even selected for the procedure to make him Captain America. We see that he's someone that even though he isn't strong and is frail, he is always thinking of different ways to accomplish tasks. We're shown that even when he's outclassed and beaten down he won't give up. It's thanks to this that the audience comes to care about Rogers and what he goes through. This is also thanks to Evan's acting that we can relate and enjoy the character, more than anything else though, Evans makes Steve Rogers human.

     I know that in this review it seemed that most of the attention was focused on Evans performance and that nothing else really seemed to stick out. The truth is the whole film was something amazing to watch. It felt as if I was watching a good Indiana Jones movie again. The action sequences are fun to watch and the retro sci-fi feel of the weapons just adds to this. I must say I was surprised with the film overall as it was better than I could have hoped for or even imagined it could be done. From strong performances from all actors and actresses to a great musical score from Alan Silvestri, Joe Johnston has done what I thought couldn't be done and that's make a amazing film based on Captain America and have you care about the characters.  Now all that is left to be seen is if all the pieces from the different Marvel movies can be put together and work in The Avengers next year. Please Whedon, don't screw it up!

      The Hydra soldier that gets minced by propeller blade in mid-flight.

     I'm invisible. I'm....I'm turning into you!

     Despite being "The First Avenger", it is the last solo Avenger film to be released before the team-up film, The Avengers, which comes out last year.

     Originally cameo appearances were planned in the film for James Logan Howlett (Wolverine) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto), who were present during World War II (Logan was a soldier and Lensherr was a prisoner of war). Also planned was a cameo by Namor, The Sub-Mariner. These cameos were scrapped due to various issues.

     Wolverine is connected to Captain America through the Weapon Plus Program. Steve Rogers was classified as Weapon I, while Wolverine, or James  Logan Howlett, was classified as Weapon X.

      This is Chris Evans seventh comic book movie, and his third Marvel comic book movie. The films are: Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, TMNT, Push, The Losers, and Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Directed by David Yates

Daniel Radcliffe - Harry Potter
Emma Watson - Hermione Granger
Rupert Grint - Ron Weasley

     The final chapter begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying the Dark Lord's four remaining Horcruxes.

     When the first movie was about to come out in theaters in 2001 I had no idea what it was about so I went and picked up the first book to see what the big deal was. Well needless to say, I went and picked up the other books that were available at the time and digested them as quickly as I could. One of the things that struck me about them that other books series didn't is the passage of time and how it plays into the whole storyline. Here was a series where the main characters and everyone around them grow up and mature. The books matured as well. What is even better, is that the movies followed the books design by following the characters through childhood to adulthood. As the movies did this, the movies also become darker and the world they lived in more dangerous as well. So now that the last movie is out did it do the rest of the series justice?

      I said in the last movie that the younger actors finally came in to their own in the acting area. This movie is different. In this one the older actors give a acting class to everyone and schools them. I'm going to start with Alan Rickman as Severus Snape. Throughout the entire series to he  played Snape as someone that hated where he was at and despised Potter for just being alive. The reason for this is fully explained and with great emotion. Never have I seen Rickman act like he does in this movie and to me he is the main reason to see this movie and the revel that is centered around him. If Rickman had failed in his role, to me, the whole movie would have fallen apart and would not have been able to get back what it lost. Yes, Rickman's role is that important to the film and the overall Potter story. A hint at his true allegiance is when he and Maggie Smith's McConagall are fighting and Snape deflects her shots into the two Deatheaters to the side of him. As for Ralph Fiennes' performance as Lord Voldemort I must admit when I watched the movie I really didn't like him, I thought he overacted and went to far out. Yet here it is almost a week after I watched the film and his role has grown on me. I think part of this is because toward the end of the film there is finally a vulnerability to the character that wasn't there for most of the time Fiennes has played the character. It is subtle, yet it adds so much to his character.

      The best way I can describe the film is that it's a war movie for the most part. Even though most of the main fighting takes place off screen we're given flashes of it and the aftermath. One of the shocking scenes is when we see Fenrir Greyback chowing down on the fallen body of Lavender Brown. It's a small scene but it's still shocking.  Another scene that shows that the series has become for adults more than kids is when Voldemort is walking through the dead bodies of the Gringott goblins, stepping in the pools of their blood. The only real complaint I have with the movie is that it glosses over the actual fight for Hogworts and we miss some of the more prominent deaths that happen, including Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin, and Nymphadora Tonks. Another sticking point I have is that in the books there was a scene with Harry and Lupin where Harry talks a freaked out Lupin out of running away from his wife and soon to be born son, as well as naming Harry his son's godfather. These are small gripes compared to the whole of the movie, yet it is these small things that would have made the film from amazing to something better with the extra human interaction. I know these are small gripes yet I felt I should mention them. Oh well, I can always hope for them to be put back in the movie once it comes out on Blue-Ray.

     For the past 10 years, the Potter films have become ingrained in the mind of movie goers. We actually got to see and grow up with  the actors and actresses of the series as well as see them grow in their profession. Now that time has finished and what is left is a legacy that will not be forgotten any time soon specially with such a strong last movie that wraps everything up like it does.If you get a chance go and see the film in theaters, do so, as this is one of those movies that was meant for the big screen. Just hope you don't get stuck beside a 40 year old lady who jumps up and down in her seat cause she's so excited by what she's seeing on the screen.

     The surprisingly painful and viscous death of Snape by snake.

     That doesn't mean we can't delay him. And his name is Voldemort, so you might as well use it, he's going to try and kill you either way.

     Most of the events in this film - from the raid of Gringotts to the Battle of Hogwarts - take place over the course of a single day.

     In the story, Voldemort has created several Horcruxes in an attempt to cheat death. Appropriately, his name is French for "Flight of Death" or it can also mean "Stealer/Cheater of death".

     The filmmakers persuaded Tom Felton to convince his girlfriend, Jade Olivia, to play Draco Malfoy's wife, Astoria Greengrass, in the film's epilogue.

     Alan Rickman, Bonnie Wright, Devon Murray, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Geraldine Somerville, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Matthew Lewis,  Robbie Coltrane, Tom Felton, and Warwick Davis are the only actors to appear in all eight Harry Potter movies.

     Alan Rickman was one of the few actors from the Harry Potter films to know secrets about his character before the last couple of books were done thanks to J. K. Rowling. She explained to him the reasoning for Snape's protection and bitterness toward Harry Potter stems from when Snape and Potter's parents were both in school at Hogworts.

Friday, July 15, 2011


FASE 7 (PHASE 7) (2010)
Directed by Nicolas Goldbart

Daniel Hendler - Coco
Jazmin Stuart - Pipi
Yayo Guridi - Horacio

     Inside a quarantined apartment building a man must protect his pregnant wife from his new neighbors.

      Well here I am starting to write the review for Fase 7, and I can't quite concentrate enough to really get anywhere serious on it due to AMC playing Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 back to back. I know I have to concentrate on the review but the brutal fight between Kiddo and Elle just started and I'm still amazed by it. In fact I'm quoting lines from the movie while typing this without even looking at what's going on on the screen. Just wish they would put out a director's cut of the movie including the missing fight scene with Michael Jai White. Anyway, you're here to read a review for Fase 7 so I shall get started on it!

     Daniel Hendler's Coco is just fun to watch throughout the movie as a guy that basically gets no respect from anyone and is afraid to take action himself. Half the movie is spent in Coco and his wife's apartment during a quarantine and the boredom that comes from and of basically being locked up with one person with no way out.  The movie really picks up once Coco decides to venture outside his apartment and start exploring his entire apartment complex and sees what is becoming of his neighbors as they start to devolve into insecurity and paranoia takes over their minds. Yayo Guridi's Horacio is just quirky as what at first seems like the usual conspiracy theorist giving Coco propaganda about  the world leaders final answer for economic downfall (gee, how timely) until it starts to sink in that maybe Horacio is actually the sane one all this time. Okay, he's basically a functioning crazy who has the best lines in the movie. It is easy to say that Federico Luppi's Zanutto is what brings the movie together. Zanutto is completely unhinged and can be compared to the virus that is destroying the outside world. Luppi's acting is what keeps the movie from becoming a parody as well as keeping it from being to over-serious.He does a great job with this balancing act.

     I have to give director Nicolas Goldbart a hand for making a timely social commentary. He also keeps the pacing at a mid level. Nothing really goes too fast or too slow, even though the beginning does seem to drag on for a while, it is deliberate though. Yes the film is low budget, but because of the way it is filmed it doesn't feel that way. Goldbart knew what to film to get his vision across while cutting scenes or action he knew isn't needed. Although cause of this, the movie never reaches the mayhem it could, instead the viewer is treated to a trophy room of past killings and as a way of showing that the character Zanutto is a virus in the building.  It is the dialogue between the neighbors at the start of the quarantine that sets the humanity level of the story and then we get to watch the deconstruction of society on a small scale both inside and outside of Coco's apartment.   

     What I liked most about the movie is that it comments on the political world and current events very slyly and doesn't go overboard with it.  In fact the subject matter is just a back drop to what is happening, or what causes the quarantine. With music reminiscent of early 80's horror and minimalistic sound design helping build the tension up, which the movie does a good job of yet without going overboard with it. Those that are going in expecting a taunt thiller with surplus blood will be disappointed as the Fase 7 is more of dark comedy than anything else, yet it is more than worth viewing just for the laughs and the weird tension that rises throughout.

     A welcoming point blank shotgun to the face. I have a thing about exploding heads it seems........

     Who gives a flying fuck!

     Fase 7 played at the South By Southwest film festival this year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


WAKE WOOD (2011)
Directed by David Keating

Aidan Gillen - Patrick
Eva Birthistle - Louise
Timothy Spall - Arthur

     The parents of a girl who was killed by a savage dog are granted the opportunity to spend three days with their deceased daughter.

      Hammer Studios to me has always meant horror. Even though they did release sci-fi  and comedy movies, yet it is their horror movies that everyone remembers the most. Those movies just had a certain look and feel to them. The actors were recognizable due to them playing the same characters over multiple films, such as Peter Cushing playing Frankenstein to Christopher Lee playing Dracula. Even though the acting was decent in most films, some stuck out more than others due to them being better than most or just horrible. In the late 1970's the studio released it's  last film, The Lady Vanishes, which basically bankrupted the studio and hence they stopped film production. And here it is in 2011 and Hammer has released three new movies, though actually one of them was only as producers. So what do I think of Wake Wood which is the second full movie by the studio?

     I must say that children in horror movies are either good or bad. There is no in-between. Elle Connolly's Alice thankfully is on the good side of things. You can tell that something is just a little bit off once she comes back. At first it's just a hint such as her eye color is different. From there Alice just gets creepier. As for Aidan Gillen and Eva Birthistle, they do a fairly decent job as the grieving parents who get to spend three more days with the daughter. But it's Timothy Spall as Arthur who is the real treat to watch. Yes, Spall does overact a little bit, yet at the same time it just helps improve his character who is the head of the small town the story takes place in. Spall seems pleasant in his role, but at the same time has a dead seriousness to his character. Yet every time Spall shows up on screen he draws the most attention, as well as something bad almost always happens when he does.

     One of the things I really did like about the movie is that it tried to remain in the creepy atmospheric style of the classic Hammer films. Sure some of the shots seemed out of place, thankfully those shots are few and far between. David Keating knows how to create tension and unease and to keep it building. The horror is restrained and in its place is a creepy factor that permeates the entire film. The only real break that happens in story telling is when Alice starts killing the town inhabitants. The reason is never fully explained why she does this or how she's able to affect electricity, I'm still scratching my head at that one.  I do have to say that it's the Pagan aspect to the story though that that had me the most interested and it should have been expanded further as it is obvious that the ritual used has been around a long time and almost everyone in the small town has been apart of it in some fashion or form and the the people of Wakewood respect and fear it. Unfortunately nothing is fully explained, still it is because of this that there is a mystery to the story.

     Thank you England for letting Hammer Studios exist again. Yes, Wake Wood does go from a thriller to a slasher rather abruptly, yet the mood is still there in the film throughout for the most part. I would love to see more movies based around this little town of fiction called Wakewood. You can just tell that something bad has happened before and I  would love to find out what that is. As for the film itself, I'm happy to say that Hammer is back and in a good way. By all means the main concept of the movie has been done before, however it is how Keating puts the movie together that makes it more and additionally he doesn't try to make it seem like a farce. And in doing so brings the movie up to a higher level than what should have been possible.

     The second death of Alice. Stipulations will always get you.

     I'll be there in a minute.

     Wake Wood is the second feature from Hammer Films in 30 years.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Just thought I'd pass this along since it's pretty cool!

On July 11th, Fangoria will be hosting an exclusive screening of Insidious at the Silent Theater in Los Angeles. Immediately following the screening at around 9pm PST/midnight EST, we’ll be doing a Q&A with director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell, which will be live-streamed directly to our Insidious Facebook Page
Facebook Link
 All questions will be fan-generated: we’re collecting questions on the Insidious Facebook Page, as well as via Twitter using #InsidiousLIVE

Also, here is a piece of news that we are ONLY announcing via online media:  If you tune in to the Q&A on our Insidious Facebook Page and leave a comment on the Ustream tab using #InsidiousLIVE, then you will be instantly entered for a chance to win a free DVD copy of Insidious.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


SUPER 8 (2011)
Directed by J.J. Abrams

Joel Courtney - Joe Lamb
Kyle Chandler - Jackson Lamb
Elle Fanning - Alice Dainard

     After witnessing a mysterious train crash, a group of friends in the summer of 1979 begin noticing strange happenings going around in their small town, and begin to investigate into the creepy phenomenon.

      I'm a child of the '80s, so those movies I got to see when I was young are of fond memories. Whether it be seeing The Goonies in the theaters a every Saturday for a month or being able to see Return Of The Jedi in the same theater for an even longer time frame, those movies gave my young brain an escape for an afternoon from baking in the Virginia sun. There was just a magic to those films I saw during that time that is hard to find in recent movies. The main difference now and then is that every movie now is trying to be a "A" movie. There's barely any movie trying to be a "B" movie and fully embrace that stigma, where the whole aspect of the movie cannot happen but the actors fully believe in their roles, which in turn makes the world on screen believable for the audience . Now comes Super 8 which is a homage to those movies of my youth, and that of the director, J.J. Abrams' youth as well.

     I must say that J.J. Abrams has been impressing me more and more with each movie he puts out.  With this one he brought back the feel of those movies from when I was growing up while combing genres of sci fi, horror, and adventure while putting a fresh take on it. Yet at the movie's heart, it is a monster movie and it doesn't try to hide it. It isn't afraid of trying to shock the mass audiences with what is happening. It doesn't try to hide the fact that childern are in danger. In fact the movie is at it's best when it is trying to scare the crowds watching it. The movie is just beautiful to look at as it transports you back in time, when there was less worry about the country collapsing and the Soviet states were the true worry.  The story for the film is just fun, and on top of that it wasn't stupid or dumbed down for the mass audiences.

     As for the main actors in the movie I have to say that both Joel Courtney's Joe Lamb and Elle Fanning's Alice Dainard are the emotional attachment to the audience in the movie. In the movie Courtney's Joe just lost his mother months ago and is trying to survive by hanging out with his friends making a super 8 zombie movie for a contest. This is what brings in Fanning's Alice. There's some on screen relationships that feel forced in movies and some that feel like, "Why is this happening". With this one in feels natural and unforced. Yet it is a innocent relationship. This is truly evident when Alice sneaks into Joe's room late at night. The whole time is spent just talking about their past and their parents and is the last time their is actual quiet in the movie, in the peaceful sense. The other stand out actor is Ryan Lee who pays  Cary. Everyone had a friend like him, or close to him when they were growing up. He loves explosions and fireworks and that love shows as you can tell he's having the time of his life at the end of the film when the military takes over the town he lives in and turns it into a war zone. Cary is leaving his dream at that moment and it is infectious to the entire audience. Even though I only mentioned three of the actors, everyone in the film did an amazing job.

     As this is a creature feature type movie, I'll end with saying that the alien is ugly, vicious, and brutal. Yet you can also sympathize with it. It was being held against its will, and the whole time it was just trying to get home. Yes, it killed lots of people, yet it can be said that it did what it believed was right after what the military did to it. Unlike recent alien movies, this alien, "Cooper", you can tell has emotions and has been wronged. Just the creature design is fascinating to look at and watch. I just have to say even the silent moments between kids and their parents carry weight that is missing from most movies and that weight helps move the film along. The real sad thing is, is that you see a movie like this come along that is this fun, with the perfect mix of horror and comedy while being able to convey actual emotion once every couple of years only. Yet thanks to that, it makes what is being seen special.  This is what "Summer " movies used to be, and I'm happy and proud to say I loved it.

     Basically all the Air Force soldiers on the flipped bus hit hard. Each one is different yet brutal. Sorry I don't have a picture of it. So here a picture around the time where everything is set off.

     If you talk about this, you and your parents will all die.

     Abrams named the film's setting, Lillian, Ohio, after his grandmother.

     During production, Judd Apatow was shown some completed footage, which he praised as "awesome". Subsequently, Abrams placed Apatow in the "special thanks" section of the credits.

     The creature's nickname on the set was "Cooper".

      Since the kids were making a zombie movie, there are several references to director George A. Romero in the film.


Directed by Michael Bay

Shia LeBeouf - Sam Witwicky
Josh Duhamel - Lennox
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley - Carly

     The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and to learn its secrets.

     I'm going to go ahead and admit that I really liked the first Transformers movie,both the animated one from 1986, and if you haven't seen it yet you should, as well the Michael Bay one. The Michael Bay one did have problems, there was no doubt about that. One being Sam Witwicky through most of it, the other is John Turturro's Simmons. Then came the second live action movie and what a piece of shit of a jumbled mess that was. The one good point of it was Optimus Prime going all bad-ass on Decepticons before he was killed half-way into the movie (I'm not even going to talk about the whole balls thing.............). So here I am getting ready to go and see the third one, this time in 3D, just hoping that the script isn't dumbed down and  ghettoized like the second one (don't believe me, look at Skids and Mudflap. Discussion over with, and don't try to argue the point!) So the third Transformers movie has a lot to prove and to improve due to the terrible taste the second one left, yet does it?

      I'm going to start with what I didn't like with Dark Of The Moon. John Malkovich playing a fucking idiot and fanboy is one. Another is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She is just there for eye candy plain and simple. True she did have one decent scene in the movie yet the rest detract from it. And no I'm not talking about he slow walk up the stairs. And since when would Megatron take advice from what he considers an insect. Never happen. Another problem I had with the movie was that it slowed down to much halfway through. Now that's not a bad thing sometimes, yet for a movie like this for it to slow down for about 30 minutes, that's to much time that could have been spent building back up. Unfortunately this movie doesn't do that until the whole 30 minutes was up. That's not to say the whole script was terrible. In fact it wasn't. It was actually a vast improvement over the first and second movie. Shia Lebeouf's Sam is still the main character in the movie, but unlike the other movies isn't so much of a scaredy cat and actually has a spine in this one. Unlike the first two, Lebeouf's character actually runs head long into danger instead of running away from it which helps his character out, yet also shows that he can't live without danger in his life now. In fact he craves it. And thank God the writers actually gave John Turturro's Simmons something other to do than act like a idiot in this one. I can even say I like his character now even though he does act wacky every so often, yet for the most part it's calmed down and he's one of the more interesting characters now thanks to Turturro eating every scene he's in.

     Now that my main complaints about the movie are out of the way, I'll go ahead and say that I wish the movie spent more time on the opening sequence that takes place on Cybertron. That whole sequence which shows the civil war on that planet is just amazing to watch and brings back childhood memories of the original cartoon series. And for the first time in all the movies you have Optimus Prime acting like Optimus Prime should. He kicks ass and takes names and actually controls the Autobots as a military leader should, including splitting the team up to take on different missions and actively looking for trouble spots. Just seeing Optimus swoop down and hack death unto a street full of Decepticons is a joy to see and behold as it actually has a kinetic energy to it as you see giant robot arms and legs go flying in a shower of sparks and oil. As for the last hour of the movie, it is action for actions sake. It's like watching a live action anime! You can tell that  Bay knew he dropped the ball on the last one and wanted to give the audience an apology letter for the screw up,and thankfully he made good.

     This probably Bay's best movie by far action wise. The reason for this is more than likely due to it was filmed in 3D. Which basically meant that Bay had to slow down on his action shots and think about how they would be filmed instead of doing it on the fly which causes the action to be jumbled. You can actually see what is happening in full detail for a change for the most part. Yes, it has the usual Michael Bay downfalls such as forced crying from the characters, overly dramatic speeches, shallow characterizations, and racist jokes. Yet Bay does what he always does, he creates escapist movies where you can just enjoy what is going on and you don't have to think to much. But damn, did I have fun in it. This is one of those movies where you shut down your brain and enjoy the ride even with all the fucked up science (how come the Earth wasn't crushed by the shift in gravitational pull). But I don't care, this is "B" movie goodness where things don't always make sense and you're taking for a ride for 2 1/2 hours of fun the most part fun.  So just sit back and enjoy the ride for what it is. An escape.

     Even though it's one of the Decepticons, it would be the one that gets it head punched/shot off by way of an uppercut from Bumblebee.

      Why do the Decepticons always get the good shit?

     Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who worked on the screenplay for the previous two films, declined to work on this film due to schedules with other films and because they "risked getting stale." More like Bay got smart and fired them.

     A Decepticon attack leaves Simmons in a wheelchair. This is a homage to Chip Chase, a wheelchair-bound human from the original Transformers cartoon from the '80s.

     Optimus Prime's trailer bears a resemblance to the original one from the original Transformers cartoon with the decorative stripe running along its side.

     The Wreckers take the alternate modes of NASCAR Chevrolet Impala automobiles, resembling those of Juan Pablo Montoya (#42 Target), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (#88 AMP Energy/National Guard) and Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe's/Kobalt).

     The Autobot Wheeljack's alternate mode in the original Transformers cartoon was a Lancia Stratos sportscar, but this was revised to a Mercedes-Benz E550 automobile as well as being renamed Que. His head is also luminescent, in homage to his appearance in the series where two bulb-like appendages on his face regularly lit up. As a side note he was my favorite as well when I was a kid!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Horror Blogger Alliance: July 2011 for the HBA MEMBERS

Review for YellowBrickRoad is now up.


Directed by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton

Cassidy Freeman - Erin Luger
Anessa Ramsey - Melissa Barnes
Clark Freeman - Daryl Luger

     1940: the entire population of Friar, New Hampshire walked up a winding mountain trail, leaving everything behind. 2008: the first official expedition into the wilderness attempts to solve the mystery of the lost citizens of Friar.

      If there is one thing I really don't like about where I live, it's that not a lot of smaller or independent movies makes it here. There used to be a small theater that used to run cult and classic movies on weekend nights at midnight as well as show newer small release movies as well. The sad thing is that it closed over 10 years ago. There was a fair amount of great times that happened there while watching showings of Pulp Fiction and The Crow. Not to mention I miss there chocolate milkshakes. After the theater closed down the chance of seeing something weird was regulated to VHS and DVD watching, and if people were lucky the cheap mall theater would get in a weird new movie for a week before it was gone again (this is how I was able to watch Midnight Meat Train on the big screen, and it was worth it!) Now the AMC Theater chain has teamed up with the Bloody Disgusting website to release some of newer horror movies and I just have to applaud their effort to bring less studio influenced horror movies to the fans. YellowBrickRoad is the first of these releases and one I've been wanting to see since last year when I heard about it.

     The plot of the movie is fairly simple and has been done before, such as group of explorers go searching for an answer to some mystery and weird and terrible things start to happen.  These type of movies can fail or succeed on the actors and how they interact with one another. For the most part this movie does well with this due to help by Alex Draper's Walter, who is the one true voice of reason throughout the whole movie. Even when he succumbs to the madness, he doesn't go over bored by trying to overact it, yet he downplays it and that in return enhances the pain his character suffers. The other bright spot acting wise is Anessa Ramsey's Melissa, as the one character that doesn't lose her mind thanks to the journey yet loses everything at the same time and knows that she is losing everything. On the opposite side of the acting spectrum is Sam Elmore's Cy. There's chewing scenery which is where the actor takes over the scene, and then there's over-acting which is what we have here when an actor is new and tries to do more than what that person is capable of at the moment. This is Elmore's problem as he doesn't have the experience yet to try and steal each scene he's in and it shows.

     While the film looks amazing and the setting of closed wilderness helps with the feel of the movie, it also detracts from what the film is trying to accomplish which is something gritty and visceral. The reason why is because the film looks to polished and slick. Maybe if the filmmakers put some type of grain filter on the camera to make it look less polished it would have helped. The main draw of the film is the story and for the most part it works wonderfully, until the explorers split into different groups and the film is fractured trying to follow four different storylines when there was only one do begin with. Though it does follow through and shows what happens to all the players in the movie and their own trek down the road, it still slows down the story and only two of the characters ending are satisfactory and a third's is somewhat cool, the rest is just left hanging and not giving a true ending. Another draw back is the use of CG in spot. One sore spot with movies with me is bad CG and this movie has it, even though it's only in spot, it still ruined the scene it was in and in turn brought me out of the movie and ruined the tension of the scene it was in.

       This is one of those movies where the audience is either going to love it or hate it. I'm not going to say why, though it does deal with the end of the film. I, myself, liked it. Specially due to one of the final images shown. The atmosphere in the movie can actually be felt through most of the film and the sound design plays into it as well which also heightens the tension to what is happening. The unevenness of the movie stops it from being truly an exceptional film though as nothing is truly explained, which isn't always a bad thing in movies yet with this one it would have helped as not one thing is actually explained. Though I will say with YellowBrickRoad, it is the journey more than the destination that matters most in it and what happens to all involved. 

     Old fashion amputation by way of the stone age! Yet it's the scarecrow that truly disturbs.

      These questions will kill us.

     Many of the cast and crew began experiencing vivid nightmares starting on the second week of filming.

     The sibling characters of Daryl and Erin Luger are played by real life siblings Clark and Cassidy Freeman.

     The Rialto Theater is an actual theater in Lancaster, NH and was originally built in 1930.

     Filmed in 20 days in the isolated, remote region of Pittsburg, NH.