Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Alien Species - 1996

I guessed earlier 90's, but I should've known better, cause it's pretty painfully obvious this was a immediate rip off of Independence Day also from 96, that or this was rushed out right before Independence Day to capitalize.  Do you ever find yourself curious, and end up stalking someone?  I just googled where my girl's work is and then the bus it takes to get there.  I realize this has nothing to do with Alien Species per say, but hey, gotta add in some flavor here somewhere.

Alien Species.  Generic nae for a generic movie.  Also, did these guys like, have any original ideas?  I know I just said it's generic, but this is just 500 different shades of copycat bs with basically no originality to it.  It's not like I'm trying to find fault, cut on my Strange Tales boxset, these films are below the scope normally considered "bad" even for me.

Alien Species has it all.  Terrible, hackneyed cartoonish CGI alien ships that zoom around blowing shit up.  Some innocent-or-not criminals that eventually have to get let loose by the cops so they can help out fight the aliens.  Horribly acted ditsy blonde airhead women who run around in small outfits.  And surprisingly, somewhat decent looking physical embodiments of aliens when they actually appear in the flesh.

That paragraph is basically the plot too.  Criminals being transported by Charles Napier in a small sheriff role get let loose eventually to help fight off the alien ships, and then it's like fuckin bullshit crap as the aliens and humans struggle in their intergalactic fight and the movie goes on like you care.  90 minutes, it didn't feel like an eternity, but there were many other things I could've done instead. 

Effects, acting, pacing, and dialogue were all in the crapper.  Seriously the acting here was goddamn some of the worst I have seen yet.  I watched this while texting and petting my cat.  I was way more interested in scratching my cats chin then this mess of a flick.  I wonder what the best movie is that director Peter Maris as ever made?  I don't intend to watch them and find out.  I would give this one star, but since it might be fun to rip on with friends, I'll upgrade to 2.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Lost Jungle - 1934

Now this is stretching the strange tales thing a little bit more.  I mean, come on REALLY.  This movie is essentially made in a time when people didn't know what animals looked like, and why not capitalize on that shit by having the fear of lions and crap brought to your local cinema show.  Step right up, step right up, see real lions menacing Clyde Beatty for only a nickel!

The thing about The Lost Jungle is that it does have it's place.  The shock factor of just seeing something on a screen is lost to those of us that grew up watching movies, especially movies that were around in the 80s-90s when I was young.  I saw The Matrix in theaters at age 13 in 1999.  Obviously I wasn't blown away by watching a real life tiger pacing back and forth while Clyde stands there holding a chair.

So what else do I even mention here...  There's a thin plot about Clyde's love interest Ruth, and how she just wants him to pay her attention.  There's a small storyline about the tiger getting lose and Clyde getting trapped in a hole in the ground with it.  There's the comic relief, the bowtie wearing buffoon Larry.  And hm.  Not much else.

This was a serial, meaning it originally had tons and tons of parts to it.  I guess this is part one, or maybe parts one and two or something.  What I watched was barely an hour, and it ends abruptly after they trap the tiger.  So I'm sure normally I'd have to "tune in next week" to see what happened to my beloved Clyde and Ruth.  But there's a total of 4 hours of this crap???!  Ehhh, no.  I'm good.  This is classic and it should be looked at that way, but I can't give it more than 2 stars.

This is Not a Test - 1962

Okay so I was a little bit off in my guessing game trying to guess the year of this movie.  It feels a little bit older.  However, if I had paid enough attention to the dialogue, I'm sure I could've been a bit more accurate.

No one ever makes horror tinged, fear mongering, exploitation films quite like this any more.  This is straight fucking propaganda practically, but in a good way.  It's also got the classic "me" approach I like.  You have a small group of people cluttered together, and most the plot development and most the film is communicated through dialogue.  It's the idea of the play, basically.  Can you communicate your idea without a lot of "things happening"?

In the beginning, a cop driving along hears the radio call, the one they've all been fearing.  Imminent fear of nuclear attack.  He stops all the nearby cars (movie takes place at 4am so there's not a lot).  Then it's all dialogue from the people as they try and find out what's going on, as the cop holds them there, and as the shit goes down.  They try to build a bomb shelter out of a truck, they suspect one of them is an escaped criminal, and people panic in different ways as they wait for more updates about the nuclear strike on the cops radio.

This has the ingredients for a film I'd appreciate and enjoy, however it wasn't all great.  It's main flaw was that you need some good, solid writing for this idea to work out well.  And this film had intriguing moments, but it ultimately fell short on the interest factor.  There's a few unanswered questions that plagued the movie, such as, why doesn't the cop communicate with people a tiny bit more, but not enough to panic them?  They also didn't need some of the less central plotlines that come up.

At only 73 minutes, I was interested about 35-40 of them.  So this one's not all bad.  It's on my newer (older) sci fi boxset.  This boxset is so much more what I expected from some shitty old sci fi movie set.  It's all black and white, it's totally mixed genre.  I have to say, in retrospect, they did a great job on Sci Fi Invasion, keeping most of those films truly about aliens, sci fi, even with a theme of invading aliens.  I mean seriously, without looking back at the blog post, I could name at least 10 movies where aliens were actually invading to a greater or lesser extent:
The 3 Rocky Jones movies
Evil Brain from Outer Space and the other one with Starman
The Eyes Behind the Stars
Footprints on the Moon
Assassin
(forgetting names here) the weird one with the dude with the clear glass skull helmet
The Day Time Ended

I could go on but I forget a lot of their names.  The point is, this boxset so far.......sucks.  I give this movie a substandard 1.5 stars.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Counterblast - 1948

I needed this.  I needed to start this new sci fi boxset.  Almost as much as I needed to go a month without drinking, almost as much as I needed to have a new sexual experience with a new girl.  Yes dear readers, I said I'd been going through a lot, one of those things was the whole "splitting up with the wife" thing which is apparently not as easy on paper as it might seem.  But the sci fi boxset is the last link in the chain which now I'm saying, damn I'm glad I did this.

However, Counterblast is a bad example of a movie that I had to watch.  What you have here is a dismally old, incredibly long feeling drama about disease vaccination.  First of all, what is this doing on my boxset?  And, okay I get it the DVD box says Strange Tales.  It's not like I'd go out of my way to call it "Strange" per say, but I guess as a general catch all category you could make it fit.  This movie is as much a "Strange Tale" as it is "a film".  Anything is strange in some context.

Counterblast was a interesting flick, and it's not all bad.  Made just a few years after the end of WWII, it's all about a real life fear:  the fear that German scientists, German sympathizers, etc were infiltrating the government and the ranks of the world.  This is a microcosm of that idea, it's all about one particular small experiment that's ongoing that a German scientist infiltrates.

Dr. Forester gets replaced early on by a German scientist.  Dr. Forester was working on an immunization for the common cold (I think) and essentially continues the work.  He has several guinea pigs as well as a hot assistant, Tracy.  Tracy has never met Dr. Forester, so when she meets the imposter she knows no different.  She eagerly helps him, and explains away all the seeming inconsistencies that her man-meat Dr. Paul Rankin brings up.

Not much really happens along the way.  Honestly, I did watch this in two sittings, and I don't remember about the first 45 minutes of this movie.  It's a glacial plot movement, and it doesn't pick up in the end either.  Sure, eventually Forester has to end the experiment, and sure eventually Dr. Rankin is after Forester, but if that sounds interesting, you are far off track.  Instead it's dialogue aplenty and many unneeded scenes.  IMDb claims this movie is 90 minutes, but it was actually longer on my DVD.  It was at least 1:40, and it should've been a 75 minute work at most.

The acting was alright.  The quality is typically bad for a cheap ass DVD and a movie that's almost 70 years old.  I wonder if the last WWII veteran has died yet?  That war ended over 70 years ago?  Wow.  Google tells me there are still some veterans alive.

Not much else.  Very low entertainment value.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

It - 2017

I'm going to jump the shark, I'm going to subvert the norm, I'm going to (insert similar phrase here) and review a brand spanking new horror movie from 2017 that's in theaters right now, and that I saw last night with two friends while I was somewhat plastered on beer.

It fucking sucked.  Let me start off by saying that right out.  This movie, while I wanted to like it, was far too terrible for me to even care about what the hell was going on.  I will say the pacing was masterful, in that the long ass 2 hour 15 minutes didn't feel like a chore to get through, however the reason it worked will be hard to explain, but I'll try.

First of all, there are plenty of "scary" attempts with the clown and other bizarre shit happening.   There's not a lot of focus on characters, which is good cause the kids in the movie were written horribly.  The dialogue from the kids was first and foremost some of the worst I have EVER had to listen to.  Who the fuck wrote this script?  Oh my god are you kidding me, Cary Fukunaga???!  WHAT THE FUCK?  Cary "I made an actually decent movie with a good script called Sin Nombre" Fukumotherfuckingnaga?  HOW did this end up sounding so terrible then?

I am a child of the 90's.  I was born in 86 and the 90's were my jam as well as the early 2000's. And even in the 90's kids didn't talk like this.  This is some smartphone millennial bullshit ass dialogue that HURTS with how deplorably ridiculous and over the top it is.  Dick jokes, constant "your mom" jokes, awful one liners and cheesy ass bullshit spews forth like a vomited lollipop, and this crap runs the ENTIRE MOVIE.

I might sound angry, but honestly, this movie was right up there in terms of laughably bad.  It is going to be a possible classic with how bad it is, which is sort of refreshing.  It, as a flick, could have potential but honestly I feel like the book has too many campy and hokey elements which would need to change.  It was a good book to read as a young adult, since it delves into the childlike mind, but it's far too silly for an adult audience.  I get that it takes place in the 80's but everything feels so completely cartoonish and overdone that it reaches a whole different level of lame.

There was a cool scene in the bathroom where blood erupts from the toilet, and there was a cool scene where....um trying to remember another cool scene.  Maybe that was it?!  The acting, while not stellar, was okay.  Pennywise was okay, not great though.  The guy clearly did his best but the over the top cartoonish nature wasn't congruent.  He's a bit too animated I'd say.  Which is again, part of the problem with the book.  Maybe if you already have a fear of clowns it's scarier, I couldn't say.

The effects and music were pretty good.  The pacing was very good.  The cinematography and all was adequate, nothing super noticeable.  Hm...  What else.  I dunno!  I'll wrap it up.  Wrap that shit up B.  2-2.5 star range I suppose.  We'll see if it holds up.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Light Sleeper - 1992

Recently I rewatched Sorcerer, the 1977 tension filled film directed by William Friedkin.  It got me in a mood to watch anything that Friedkin had directed, and if you're not a big fan of his I'd recommend seeing most of his films.  One I watched and absolutely loved was the 5 star To Live and Die in LA.  Part of what made To Live and Die in LA great was a stellar performance by Willem Dafoe, who was the villain in the movie.

In this film you have Willem Dafoe, great actor that he is, and the writer of Taxi Driver Paul Schrader collaborating on a drama about drug addiction and drug selling.  Basically, I was enthralled.  I definitely got excited, and I almost didn't watch it for many reasons.  But, then I decided screw it and I threw it on last night.  I wasn't expecting too much, and I'm glad I wasn't.  Cause although this movie isn't bad, it certainly isn't all that great either.

Willem Dafoe plays John LaTour, who's a struggling ex drug addict.  He still sells the stuff, and he's in the process of putting his life back together, getting ready to go on the straight and narrow along with his friends.  The whole basis of the film is regrettably slim, which I think was problem number one.  Willem Dafoe's John character is already on the straight, he's already made his choice, and apparently that's just fine with everyone.  He woos his ex flame Marianne, who's looking quite Demi Moore-like in this flick.  He's also selling the drugs and generally just living life.

The first like, solid hour of the movie....not much really happens?  Eventually John sells drugs to white collar criminal Tis Brooke.  Turns out John's ex Marianne is there too, possibly immersed in the drug world, and then later that night she apparently jumps to her death from the same room where John came and sold the drugs.  Now John has to get reacquainted with the underworld in order to extract some sort of revenge on Tis.

Given all this, the end was cool.  The last 40 minutes are solid.  But goddamn, I literally do not remember any of the first like hour.  I mean, I'm sure things happened.  Mild sexual tension between Susan Sarandon and Dafoe.  But in the end I felt like this movie was almost too upbeat and carefree.  In the end of the movie (spoilers) Dafoe kills like 3 of the people he blames for Marianne's death.  And then he's in prison he's totally carefree and happy, and making moves on Sarandon who is like, sure I'll fuck you.  It seems like everything in this film is of no consequence essentially.  And Dafoe seems almost like too much of an all around happy successful bro.

This movie will join the ranks of the odd ones I've seen on here, especially those 90's crime capers.  In a way, this was the last bit of the classic crime era, and I'm not saying they are bad now I'm saying the genre has been stylized a lot and sold differently.  You don't see a lot of drama character studies at ALL anymore, especially crime drama character studies.  It bombed at the box office, it was very quickly forgotten.... But Dafoe does a great job and looks hot as FUCK, and the movie is alright.  It's not one to search out or anything, but it'll do.

I almost gave it three stars just now.  Seems really high.  Then I was like, okay two then.  But was it that bad?  No.  So in the middle, 2.5 stars.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Terror-Creatures from the Grave - 1965

I literally forgot the name of this movie like 3-4 times now.  I also forgot the name of my boxset this is from, which I am going to write here so it's easy to find.  Strange Tales 20 movie pack.  I got this walloping motherfucker about 12 or so years ago at Suncoast.  It's kind of reassuring that, as far as things go, it hasn't lost value all that much.  I got it new for like $10-12, and that's still the price of the box now.

I did lose one of the DVDs from this box several years back.  I will not be having a complete boxset review of this like I have multiple times on this site.  I doubt I'll even watch all the movies I do still have, even though it's been my goal for the last like 12 years.  It's funny, because I honestly barely touched the box after buying it.  I remember watching This Is Not A Test, and I might remember watching Idaho Transfer or something at one point in time.

Terror-Creatures, originally titled something more like 5 Graves for a Medium, is a long, dialogue filled, dull ass movie.  IMDB tells me that there were both deaths and nudity in this movie, though I'd be hard pressed to remember either.  I think I'd remember nudity, IMDB later says its like side-boob.  Nah.  Not something I'd remember, never mind.

You know, I have been having a shitty time in life recently.  This movie didn't help.  All I wanted to do was enjoy what I commonly say is my favorite holiday, Halloween.  Of course, Halloween II the original sequel was my first choice.  I watched Halloween last Halloween, and I thought it would be super cool to see Halloween II.  I also rewatched Halloween 3 recently, and shit I guess I didn't review it?  I should've, damnit.  Anyways, that could have basically kicked off a Halloween marathon, if I had played my cards right.  Maybe tonight if I don't do anything I'll watch Halloween II.  Isn't it funny, by the way, that some movies use Roman numerals, and some use numbers?  What the fuck?  What the hell is the deal?

I have virtually nothing to say about Terror-Creatures, if that's not obviously apparent.  I barely even remember the sad mess of bad black and white footage and the barely follow-able plot.  I'll give it a cautious 1.5 stars, in case I missed something while I was depressed and lonely in my house.

On huge knock against this movie:  this is 24 years later than the other movie off this boxset I watched, Robot Pilot.  And yet, this feel about exactly the same age, and looks about as shitty as that movie did.  Robot Pilot had a reason to look bad, and be terrible.  This didn't.  I'm just further justifying my rating here.....