Friday, December 28, 2012

"It's on like Donkey Kong.".... or the new episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour'....!

The 44th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and streaming LIVE right here!

Well, it's a show. Hopefully, this will entertain you for a few minutes.... but the talking bits are kind of lame, sorry. Next week, right? This weeks topics include: sports in my life, females heroes and the backgrounds of each band played. ENJOY?

Songs played this week:

1) Jerk Lessons by Apocalypse Hoboken

2) Ethel Merman by Archers Of Loaf

3) 15 Seconds by astroPuppees

4) Lion's Mouth by Big Chief

5) Today Will Be Yesterday Tomorrow by Big Hello

6) Bird, Pt. 2 by Blinker The Star

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

my thoughts on.... 'Silent Night' (2012)

It's Christmas time and what better way to celebrate than with a Christmas themed horror movie? After remembering 2006's surprisingly enjoyable 'Black Christmas' remake, I figured I'd give this direct to DVD movie a shot too. (However, I wasn't sure if it was a remake or what it was, before I watched it.) I also had to weigh in the fact that I've seen just about every other Christmas horror there is, I needed something new and something outside of the usual holiday fodder. Going a little further back in this story, I originally saw this movie on the shelf at Wal-Mart. Before that, I hadn't heard anything about it. With the sheer amount of stuff coming out direct to DVD and direct to certain retailers, it's hard to keep up. The box cover intrigued me and the cast was interesting enough to make me send a reminder text to myself to research it later. It looked like a gritty, slasher with no real in depth storyline, just a 'check your brain at the door' popcorn movie. The reviews were decent and the trailer and screen caps ultimately made my decision. Somehow, this one wasn't in high demand on Netflix, so I was able to get it for the week before Christmas. Upon settling in and starting the DVD, I got a little nervous. The opening sequence basically gave up the face of the killer Santa. The girl, tied up and bloody, turned me off and the first kill involving Christmas lights, was kind of silly. What happened as time went on was a curiosity to see how the rest of it would play out. That and the fact that I realized it was a reboot or re imaging of the classic 'Silent Night, Deadly Night' from 1984. The realization came during a scene where a young man was talking to a senile, mute old man. The old man suddenly becomes very animated and verbal and warns him of the deadly, killer Santa. This scene is almost carbon-copy from the original. However, the original scene was much more frightening. I'll let you in on a little secret though, I only caught about one more directly copied kill in this movie.... but I'm not an expert on the original.

The basic plot line here, goes like this: Small town police officer Aubrey Bradimore (Jaime King) is tormented by something in her past and is supposed to have Christmas off. She awakens to a call from her boss, Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) wanting her to come in to work. It would seem that the officer that was supposed to be working her shift, has strangely not shown up. Soon she discovers that he and another woman have been murdered. However, it doesn't take long to realize that the murderer is dressed up like Santa and seems to have an ax to grind. (ALL pun intended.) The bodies start to pile up, but no real leads. There is an annual Santa parade in town that has created an overflow of men in red suits with beards. The only possible lead that they have is a man by the name of Santa Jim (Donal Logue). After taking him in to custody, Sheriff Cooper thinks things are all wrapped up, but things are about to get so much worse. Aubrey realizes that all of the murder victims are 'guilty' of something and have been sent a gift before getting murdered. Worse yet, her father received one of those gifts too! But her father is a good man and a former cop, why would he be targeted? The plot thickens. All of this is leading up to a big climactic showdown at the police head quarters involving Santa, the sheriff, Aubrey, Santa Jim and a flame thrower. No, I'm not kidding.

Before I go any further, I have to point out one thing with this movie. I'm guessing that the director, Steven C. Miller ('The Aggression Scale') must be a Rob Zombie fan. The use of a shaky cam during kills, was intended to show the power of the killer Santa. Rob Zombie used the same tactic, to much better effect, in his 'Halloween' remake. In this movie, it just gets kind of annoying. Too much of a good thing, I suppose. Back to the review.... The opening scene gives you a small taste of who the killer is, without giving up all the goods. As the story moves on, it becomes more and more clear who's behind the crazy Santa get up. But, by the end, if you TOTALLY missed the reveal.... there's a complete explanation of everything. I don't know if that was a good thing or not, but it exists and that's that.

It may sound like I didn't like this movie, but it's kind of the opposite. I actually quite enjoyed it. 'Silent Night' had a nice little cast, the Santa costume was genuinely creepy and the story was solid (although a re-hash). The biggest problem with this movie was the shaky cam and the somewhat silly kills. The wood chipper was the worst dum-dum moment. I suppose you could qualify it as an homage to 'Fargo', but it really came off as a complete waste of film. It was unbelievable and over the top and put this movie in the b-grade category because of it. This part also made me wonder how many damn Santa suits this killer had? Because by the end of the wood chipping, he was covered in blood. Either he is a dry cleaner on the side or he owns stock in a Santa suit only costume store. (I'm guessing he also made several more masks, but they just don't show him doing it.) All in all, a 3 out of 5 star outing for Christmas time. A movie that I would recommend, if you're all done with family time and want to take out some aggression. It is your typical 80's style slasher movie.... complete with revenge back story, a good mask, original kills and a little nudity for fun. I would actually consider adding this one to the collection, just to have it around for next year's Christmas break. This would fit in well with 'Santa's Slay' and 'Black Christmas' (2006). Don't let anything else you've heard about this sway your opinion, this is a simple and solid horror movie for fans of horror. Just enough cheese to top your nacho's and just enough gore to not make you throw them up. Merry Christmas!

If you dug this one and one some other non-traditional suggestions, let me recommend 'Santa's Slay', 'Die Hard' 1 and 2, 'Black Christmas' (2006), 'Gremlins' and 'Christmas Evil' (for some varied holiday themed movies)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Horrordays! 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is here and just in time for Christmas....

The 43rd episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and streaming LIVE right here!

Happy holidays everyone! Another week, another episode in the books. This is my annual Christmas show and I hope you dig it. My topics include artistic inspiration, concerts and what Christmas should be about. It's possibly the last hour this year.... ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) It's Christmas Time by A Band Called Quinn

2) Call Of Duty Christmas by The Energy Commission

3) Give Me A Second Chance For Christmas by The Candy Butchers

4) Here Comes Christmas by The Nadas

5) Halloween Is Awesome by Hyper Nonsense Music

6) Chistmas Is Over by 2 Drunks And A Guitar

Saturday, December 15, 2012

my thoughts on.... 'Apartment 143'

Good lord, where do I begin? First off, I really dig the 'found footage' movies that are out there. There have been a few pieces of garbage, but overall, they're pretty solid. 'Apartment 143' was suggested to me by a friend and falls vaguely into the 'found footage' sub-genre. Secondly, It was billed as a 'Paranormal Activity', but with the action those films were missing. Sadly, it was missing all the good stuff from those films and the action they were talking about was horrible.... at best. It showed its low budget shortcomings loud and clear. I've seen countless films that had little to no budget that have pulled off amazing things. This one obviously had some money behind it, but they must have spent it on milky white contacts, instead of a good script or decent actors. Everything felt stiff. It was like watching paint drying on cardboard. This movie was really just an exercise in trying to cash in on a proven sub-genre. The only really new things it brought to the table were.... nothing.

The plot was centered around a guy and his two kids that moved to an apartment. The house they used to live in became haunted after his wife (the kids mother) died suddenly. However, once they moved.... the spirt moved with them. So, they got involved with a paranormal investagative team and soon the team was hunting ghosts. There's some vague sub-plot about murder and possilbe incest. None of it ever really goes anywhere. There is some backstory with the investagators that is bland and unfinished. That's about it. Good guys win.... or do they?

All in all, this movie was a turd. Maybe I missed the hidden nuggets of candy that were wedged in the middle of the movie? Maybe I was not in the right mindset to watch a movie of this type? Maybe it just sucked? I think so. I didn't care about the characters. I lost interest in the movie after about 20 minutes in. The special effects were poor. They location was okay, but there are tons of apartments out there that are kind of creepy. And to top everthing off, there's a little 'surprise' at the end. I only wish I'd turned it off before that part happened. It made an already terrible movie, that much worse.

I think what the reviewer must have missed about the difference between this movie and the 'PA' films was the stuff you didn't see. I hear that said a lot about movies and films that rely on your brain over CGI. 'PA' is so successful because it plays on our fears and only we know what those fears are. So, if you have a fear of spirits or the things that go bump in the night, then you can relate to the films. And since you never really see what's haunting the characters in the film, then you can make that horror anything you want. 'Apartment 143' laid all its card on the table and left you with no room to imagine the horror within. Because what you are afraid of in your mind is FAR scarier than anything a guy behind a computer can create. But if you are someone that has to SEE the scary parts, the maybe 'Grave Encounters' is more for you. It falls into the same sub-genre as 'Apartment 143 and the 'PA' films. It also shows you the stuff you're scared of. The big difference between 'Apartment 143' and 'Grave Encounters' is, the ghosts in 'GE' are unique and actually quite frightening. There's suspense and terror there. 'Apartment 143' just re-hashed every ghostly cliche you've ever seen. Another one that is in the same boat is 'Paranormal Entity'. It's really just a 'PA' knock-off, but it succeeds on so many more levelas that 'Apartment 143'. It feels like something you've seen before, but it still creates tension and horror. I'd recommend that one over this one any day of the week. That's it.... plain and simple. 'Apartment 143'....it sucked.

All in all, I give 'Apartment 143' a 1 out of 5 star rating. It's a ghost story with no real scares and no re-watchability. If you decide to watch it, keep your expectations low and you bottle of Jack Daniels even closer.

Other films that 'Apartment 143' wanted to be like: 'Paranormal Activity' 1 through 4, 'Grave Encounters' and 'Paranormal Entitiy'

Friday, December 14, 2012

I'm not dead yet! ....a BRAND NEW episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and ready!

The 42nd episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and streaming LIVE right here!

I'm BACK! This episode is kind of a re-boot. In the episode I explain what the heck is going on, have William S. Burroughs take the mic and some background info on the music. It's a big one. ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) The Remedy by Abandoned Pools

2) Red Wine by Alcohol Funnycar

3) 99 Red Balloons by Angry Salad

4) Drugs by Ammonia

5) City Song by Animal Bag

6) Anything For You by Another Girl

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

not quite dead yet....?

If any of you are still checking this blog out, it may not be dead just yet. I'm in the process of trying to jumpstart my creative life after taking a big break. Moving, a new job, etc. killed all of my time. I'm working on making things happen again.... so keep you eyes pealed.... things may get posted here soon! Thanks!

Friday, August 17, 2012

I've got news! (and not all of it is good for you....) Check out 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' ep 41 to find out more!

The 41st episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and streaming LIVE right here!

More news keeps coming my way.... should I be concerned? This week only has one topic and you'll have to listen to find out more. It's short and sweet, but please try and ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) You Bring Me Down by Blood Red Shoes

2) Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution by The Black Crowes

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mars? I'll show you the moon! On this episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour'....

The 40th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and streaming LIVE right here!

I love doing this show, I just hope that you love listening to it! This weeks topics include: my new job, enjoying the view from Mars and email vs. snail mail. It's a laid back episode, as usual. ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) Ever Changing by Rise Against

2) Stay - It's All About The Timing by Sir O

3) California Song by Letters Burning

4) My Guitar by Speak Friend

5) Mountain by Soapbox Army

6) Stay Away by Ballistic

Friday, August 3, 2012

Do I smell a Whopper? Nope, it's just episode 39 of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour'!

The 39th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and streaming LIVE right here!

Not sure what to make of this episode, but here it is anyway! This weeks topics include, sex in the movies vs. reality, house hunting and falling in love daily. It's an hour of great music and so-so talk.... ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) Be A Man by 40 Ways From Sunday

2) The Lost Tracks Of Edinburgh by The Palace Flophouse

3) Listen To Your Heart by Jenni Alpert

4) Blood by Shining Through

5) Bird On A Powerline by Eric Erdman

6) Just Take The Monkey And Leave by Inkwell

Friday, July 27, 2012

i think that picture is 'Shopped.... ep 38 of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is finally here!

The 38th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe and streaming LIVE right here!

I may be a little under the weather, but that won't stop the 'Kpants' train! This weeks topics include: doing good deeds, MILF's, renting vs. owning and what is art? It's a jam packed hour of fun! ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) Teenage Suicide by Le Chat Noir

2) Five One Six by Black Suit Youth

3) The One by Stroke 9

4) Don't Say by Subcity Dwellers

5) Sweet Horizon by Chemical Cocktail

6) Give Me Anything by The Maine

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Short List Of Movies Or Films Without Full Reviews: part 15

As a lover of cinema, I watch a lot of stuff. Sadly, I don't have the time, energy or even desire to write reviews for everything I see. Rather than to just continue to let these movies sit on a list, I've decided to post them here with a rating and maybe a little word or two. If you trust my judgement or agree with me on my decisions, then maybe this will be helpful to you in finding some keen new stuff to watch. I think it will also free up my mind a bit to see a much shorter list of things to review in the future. That being said, here we go!

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Cars 2

This movie got a lot of flack after it was released. I really don't know why? My feeling was that it was a wonderful follow up to the original. It felt like they weren't trying to just copy the original. Granted, they played up a lot for the fans love of Mater, but what did you expect? I loved it, own it and think it was an example of what I dreamed my cars could do back when I was a kid. Didn't you have Hot Wheels that did some amazing things that actual cars could never do? That's pretty much what happened in 'Cars 2'. It was a giant fantasy for kids and adults. Our playtime imagination brought to life. Re-watch it with those eyes and tell me if you still feel that it wasn't as good as the first. 4 out of 5 stars


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Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

WHY AREN'T YOU WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW? It's still on Netflix OnDemand and is well worth your time. This movie took me by surprise and is such a breath of fresh air. A movie where it's a horror/comedy, but in a totally new way. Think 'Final Destination' meets 'The Andy Griffith Show' or something. Such a strange and fun little movie, that I am wondering why I haven't watched it again. This is one that I will own someday and will cherish. It's not quite up to 'Evil Dead 2' status, but it's damn close. Go. Now. Watch! 4 out of 5 stars. (This movie really should have had a full review, but I need to clean up my backlog of movies to talk about.)


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Furry Vengeance

You may be saying, "Why would you watch this?" Well, I have kids. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. It won't win any Oscar's or anything, but it's fun. The cast seems to be enjoying themselves and it's pretty harmless. Not too mention that the kids loved the music. Recommended for people with kids. 3 out of 5 stars.


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Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

My fellow contributor to this blog and cousin, Doc Stout, will probably not be happy with me for this.... but I wasn't super impressed with this movie. I love Edgar Wright. I love some of the cast. I even really enjoyed the music, but I just couldn't get into this movie. I'm not a Jason Schwartzman fan and he always reminds me of those awful Wes Anderson movies. Ugh. I enjoyed this for what it was and might come to love it with repeated viewings. However, that might take a while before I have any desire to sit through it again. This is totally dismissing any ties to the original comics. I never read them, so I can't compare or judge based on that. I'm strictly making this verdict based on what was presented on the screen. Nothing more. I think this movies is for fans of the comics, mostly. 2 out of 5 stars. (For now.)

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The Wizard of Gore (2007)

No, this is not the Herschell Gordon Lewis gore splattered classic. This is 'The Wizard of Gore' for a new generation. I honestly wanted to hate this movie. I even tried to hate it, but it's so strange and interesting that I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Crispin Glover is brilliant, as usual. Kip Purdue is out of character and does quite well. The director, Jeremy Kasten, creates a surreal vision of the original and it works beautifully. Where the original gave me no real reason to watch it a second time, this one did. There was so much going on that I almost feel like I have to watch it again to catch everything. Highly recommended for genre fans. For everyone else, this might not be your cup of tea. 4 out of 5 stars.


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The Dead

Another zombie movie? Really? That's what I'm guessing 95% of the population was saying when they saw these released. What they may not have said was, "Wow. Another zombie movie!" Which is what they should have said. This movie was a bit of a fresh take on things. You still have shambling zombies everywhere and things are extremely bleak, but that has to happen. What sets it apart is the setting and the cast. This takes place in such a desolate and impoverished area and the whole political climate is polar opposite to anything else we've seen. It puts a whole new spin on an old theme. There is nothing not to like about 'The Dead'. The only possible things that may turn off certain viewers is the pacing at times and the poorly thought out title. Sadly, if you look it up, you get 1,000's of other things with the same two words: 'The Dead'. Other than that? A winner in my book. 4 out of 5 stars.

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Red (2010)

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from 'Red' when I turned it on. What I got was an awesome thrill ride with an amazing cast, killer action and a damn fun story! This film is one of my favorite action/comedies of the past decade. It has something for everyone and should satisfy even the most jaded viewers. What's not to like? 4 out of 5 stars.

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Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2

'The original 'Laid To Rest' was an indie blood fest that was kind of a gory little surprise to everyone who saw it. There was no fanfare or glory for this movie. It just crept up on everyone like the 'Little Engine That Could', if that engine had a video camera, a giant hunting knife, tons of cash and a wicked chrome skull mask. This is the sequel to that original gem. I can't say that I hated it, but it did feel a little short. The background story was great and gave Chromskull a lot more depth. Some of the stuff going on in the movie was awesome. It still kept many of the things that made the first one great, but it just didn't feel the same. Watch only if you're a fan of the first. 3 out of 5 stars.

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Cats & Dogs

Again, I watched this because of the kids. Not great, not terrible. I don't need to ever see it again. 2 out of 5 stars.


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Dear Mr. Gacy

Low budget serial killer movie, based on a real story. I rather enjoyed seeing this strange true crime story brought to life. William Forsythe was fantastic as John Wayne Gacy. He gave me a serious case of the heeby jeebys and that's a compliment. If you think you've seen every serial killer movie on the shelf, I'm betting you haven't seen this one. It's not your traditional story line, but that's what makes it great. You can check all your expectations at the door and just enjoy the ride like everyone else. I'm glad that this diamond in the rough finally showed up on my radar. Hopefully I've put it on yours now too. 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Short List Of Movies Or Films Without Full Reviews: part 14

As a lover of cinema, I watch a lot of stuff. Sadly, I don't have the time, energy or even desire to write reviews for everything I see. Rather than to just continue to let these movies sit on a list, I've decided to post them here with a rating and maybe a little word or two. If you trust my judgement or agree with me on my decisions, then maybe this will be helpful to you in finding some keen new stuff to watch. I think it will also free up my mind a bit to see a much shorter list of things to review in the future. That being said, here we go!

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Brutal Massacre: A Comedy

It's been months and months since I'be seen this, but it still sticks in my mind. A funny, little indie comedy about making a low budget horror film. With some names you'll recognize and a decent script, this is a fun way to spend an evening or afternoon. Very enjoyable and something that may have slipped under your radar! 3 out of 5 stars


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Extract

Mike Judge is a damn talented guy. 'Beavis and Butthead' started his ball rolling, but 'Office Space' and 'Idiocracy' cemented his place in live action comedy film making. That's what makes it such a surprise to me that this came out with no real fanfare. It has several A-list actors, it's a pretty damn funny script and it's right on par with his previous work. You may have not heard of it, but you have now and I highly recommend that you check it out. Good stuff from a proven talent. 4 out of 5 stars.


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Hot Tub Time Machine

What an incredibly stupid plot! That's what I was thinking when I first heard of this. I actually thought it was a fake movie, until I saw a real trailer for it. Because of my preconceived notions about this movie, I stayed away from it for a long time. When it finally popped up on Netflix OnDemand, I figured it was finally time to take a chance. The end result? A hilarious movie that, sadly, had such a weird premise, it may have turned off a lot of potential viewers. If you're willing to check your brain at the door and just enjoy a big hunk o' stupid, this is the movie for you! (Also, it has some good stuff too.... that's not so stupid.) 4 out of 5 stars.


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Skyline

This is the first of 3 reviews all about alien invasion films. They all came out around the same time and I waited to watch them, until all around the same time. First up is 'Skyline'. This one has a simple story line, aliens invade, a small group of people fight to survive. The twist? Love. You'll understand once you see it. A lot of people were really turned off by the ending of this film. I think it was made to have a sequel and I think I'd watch it, if they made one. Granted, it was a bit strange and a little silly, but the rest of it made up for any of the bad taste left at the end. I really dug it and I now own it. 4 out of 5 stars.

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Monsters

I must be a sucker for alien films. The second one out of three is 'Monsters'. This one has a much lower budget than the other two, but I don't feel that it suffers because of it. This has more of a story about the two main characters and the aliens are kind of secondary. You do get some alien sequences, but they're few in number. I loved this for what it was and it felt like a breath of fresh air, after all the other GIANT CGI aliens from the other films. A very satisfying piece of cinema. 4 out of 5 stars.


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Battle: Los Angeles

The final film in this set is 'Battle: Los Angeles'. Not too be confused with the knock-off "mockbuster" 'Battle of Los Angeles'. This is more on par with 'Skyline' than 'Monsters. Big budget, big explosions, big guns and big aliens. Think world war III, but with aliens. There's not a huge amount of intelligence in this opus, but I loved it anyway. This is the kind of film you make a big bucket of popcorn for and watch on a rainy afternoon. If you have a giant TV and a good surround sound system, I'm guessing you'll enjoy this more than people without those things. I dug it quite a bit and would add it to my collection, if I had the spare cash. 4 out of 5 stars.

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The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Morgan Spurlock came out of nowhere several years ago and changed the face of documentary film making, kind of like Michael Moore had done years before. He made them fun again and got people who didn't like documentaries before, to watch them now. There is no denying that the man is charismatic and very entertaining to watch. This somewhat recent outing from him takes an interesting turn. He sets out to fund a documentary with nothing but ads from sponsors. The two things really don't go together, but he makes it work and asks a lot of really smart questions along the way. I love everything he does and this was no exception. Highly recommended for fans of Morgan. 4 out of 5 stars.

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13 Assassins aka J├╗san-nin No Shikaku

I LOVE Takashi Miike. I think he's a modern day auteur and highly underrated in the states. I, however, am not a huge fan of old school samurai films. When I heard that he was making one of his own, I kind of balked at the idea. I'm sorry that I did. This film was awesome. I'm not even sure how else to describe it. The first two acts of the film are the build up to one hell of an amazing finale. This film has everything and you should stop reading this blog no and go and watch it! 4 out of 5 stars.

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I Saw The Devil aka Akmareul boatda

This is a serial killer film for people who love serial killer films. It may be Korean and it may be subtitled, but don't let that keep you away from it. (if that's something that bothers you.... i know a lot of people have issues with subtitles.... i'm not one of them.) Anyway, this film is pure genius. From the opening sequence, it grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until the bloody climax. It's two and a half hours that zips by like it's going 100 miles an hour. This sets a new standard for the serial killer genre and is one that's not too be missed. 4 out of 5 stars.


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Super

The last review here is reserved for a film I was going to go more in depth with.... but I need to get the word out about it, so I'm just going to give you a brief over view. 'Super' is a superhero film about a guy who isn't really very super and may or may not be a hero. This is dark, bloody, comical and twisted. The creator, writer, director and mad genius James Gunn is at the helm and all you need to know is that he's a graduate of Troma Studios and is a close friend of Lloyd Kaufman. That should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. There is nothing bad about this film. It has great actors, great action, great story, great music, great everything! The only reason to stay away, is if you have a weak stomach for violence and Kevin Bacon. I own it and love it. 4 out of 5 stars.

my thoughts on.... 'Michael Lives: The Making Of 'Halloweeen''

Rob Zombie's take on the 'Halloween' franchise has been met with various levels of positive and negative reviews. Some have valid points and others are just outright "haters". While I can understand both sides of the argument, I personally lie on the positive side of things. I am a huge fan of Rob Zombie's film work and found this remake/reimaging/revisioning to be a fresh take on an old property. The original John Carpenter vision had long since been lost.... somewhere after part 2. 'Season of the Witch' was charming in its own way, but no a true entry in the franchise. Parts 4 and 5 were decent, but felt like out of place. Everything after that was just a downhill race to extinction. In all honesty, I was never a huge fan of Mr. Myers to begin with and I had long since given up on the series. What Rob Zombie created was a fresh take on the films. He breathed life back into a long dead horror icon. This wasn't the Michael Myers you remember, this was the more realistic, grittier and downright vile version. What John Carpenter had started, was a clean slate of a character, one without no face or identity. A "shark", so to speak. He called him 'The Shape'. Rob took that character, gave him a background and an identity beyond the mask. He made it bloody and messy, like it might be in real life. He made the characters react to what was happening in a more real life way and the trauma that remained after, was almost too much to bear. You saw the characters have an arc in their personalities. They grew with time, rather than just stand still. This wasn't a horror-soap opera.... this was Jerry Springer-ish. I now call myself a 'Halloween' fan, thanks for Mr. Zombie's vision of evil.

With the release of the original film, there came several versions on DVD, to choose from. A theatrical, an unrated and a 3 disc collectors edition. I proudly own all three and the only reason I triple dipped and bought the 3 disc version, was to watch the 4 and a 1/2 hour documentary 'Michael Lives: The Making of 'Halloween''. I was not disappointed. (side note: I also own the theatrical and unrated versions of 'Halloween 2' and the "workprint" edition of the original.) Now, you might be asking, "What in the hell could take up 4 and a 1/2 hours of time for THAT film?" Well, a lot.... quite frankly. I actually watched it in hour long segments, just to make it last longer. There is a huge amount of information in this making of documentary and if you're not a fan to begin with, this won't change your mind. This is strictly for die hard fans only, if you're not one of those, you might as well stop reading now. Unlike the similar making of on 'The Devil's Rejects', this kept my interest for the entire time. Perhaps, with the other, I wasn't in the right frame of mind and perhaps I need to give it another chance? Perhaps. What does this cover, you might ask? It's basically a road map of Rob's film making experience from inception to release. Every stone is turned over and nothing is left to the imagination. Every actor, extra and crew person is seen in this behind the scenes extravaganza. You get the chance to know all the players involved and see exactly what it takes to make a film of this scale. There is actually quite a lot of blood, sweat and tears involved with the making of a horror film. Especially one where you're updating what many consider a masterpiece. Rob was very respectful of John Carpenter and his original material. He was a fan first and only took on the project with Mr. Carpenter's blessing. That should really be enough of a reason for the "haters" to stop hating so much. I mean, if he was okay with it, why aren't you? That doesn't mean you have to like it, but at least respect the effort.

This documentary almost plays itself out like a video diary. There is some narration to go with what's going on, but a lot of it is like a home movie. It's a nice even balance of both, so as to keep you interested. You get to see how each actor was selected, how the script grew and changed, how the sets and costumes came to be and even the editing process. This is any 'Halloween' or Rob Zombie lovers dream. All of the people involved in the making of this, took it very seriously and all of them had the best intentions. They wanted to make the definitive vision of 'Halloween'. (That's probably why all of them signed on for the sequel too.) It gives you a fly on the wall feeling and a chance to see what these people are like in real life. It actually made me appreciate the film even more, AFTER watching this opus.

Now, I can't recommend this to everyone. You really have to love the source material. This is not for the passive viewer. This is also not something that I could find for rental. If you want to see 'Michael Lives', you have to own the 3 disc set. Sadly, Rob didn't do the same thing for 'Halloween 2' or 'House of 1000 Corpses', as I would have loved to have seen those as well. I'm hoping that for his new film 'The Lords of Salem', that he'll compile another one of these. When it comes to his work, I can't get enough of it.... even the tiny little details that no one else cares about. As a film maker, film lover and fan, this is like a Christmas present that keeps on giving. I really don't know what else I can say about this, after all, it is just a making of documentary.... not the film itself. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and will eventually take it on again. It's not something to just pop in on a whim, it will take a little pre-planning. Rob, how do I love thee? Enough to own multiple copies of everything you do.

Similar making of documentaries: '30 Days in Hell: The Making of 'The Devil's Rejects''....nothing else is quite as in depth

(no trailer is available for this documentary, so I just put the trailer for the film itself.)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Short List Of Movies Or Films Without Full Reviews: part 13

As a lover of cinema, I watch a lot of stuff. Sadly, I don't have the time, energy or even desire to write reviews for everything I see. Rather than to just continue to let these movies sit on a list, I've decided to post them here with a rating and maybe a little word or two. If you trust my judgement or agree with me on my decisions, then maybe this will be helpful to you in finding some keen new stuff to watch. I think it will also free up my mind a bit to see a much shorter list of things to review in the future. That being said, here we go!

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With Great Power.... The Stan Lee Story

I'd say 50% of the world knows who Stan Lee is and I'd say the 100% of comic book fans know who Stan Lee is. What they think about him can differ greatly, depending on whom you talk to. This documentary is a fans look at the man behind the legend. There's nothing really negative here and that's okay by me. Stan Lee is very easy to like, very charismatic and kind of fun. This documentary tells the story of how he became to be the legend he is today. Highly recommended to comic book fans! 4 out of 5 stars


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BBC Jonathan Ross: In Search Of Steve Ditko

Now, we move onto another side of the Stan Lee story.... Steve Ditko. Steve isn't nearly as well known to the general public, but to old school and new school comic fans alike, he's a legend in his own right. This is a brief look at his amazing, but short career and his ties with Stan Lee. Jonathan Ross tells Steve's story with honest love and appreciation for his work. This is recommended to those who want both sides of the Marvel Comics story and who love Steve Ditko! 4 out of 5 stars. (There is no trailer, as this was a BBC special. Instead, I give you part 1 that links to all the other parts of the show.)


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The Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics

Finally, here's the history of Marvel Comics #1 competitor, DC Comics. This is a comprehensive look at DC's history and majesty. From Superman to today, this covers it all. Awesomely narrated by Ryan Reynolds, this is a must see for true comic book fans. I really enjoyed this documentary and it rounded out my comic book history lessons. 4 out of 5 stars.


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Defendor

From comic book documentaries to a comic book hero type movie. Here we have, 'Defendor', a man who's a little "off balance" and believes himself to be a superhero. This is a movie grounded in reality and Woody Harrelson plays 'Defendor' with zest and heart. I wasn't sure how this would match up to it's peers: 'Kick-Ass', 'Super' or 'Special', but it holds up quite well. It doesn't have as much style as the first two, but it makes up for it with a bit more heart. A good way to spend an evening. 3 out of 5 stars.

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The Innkeepers

The director of 'The Innkeepers', Ti West, is really hit and miss with me.... and with critics. He's not consistent enough with his films yet, to be a true contender in the horror genre. He has a lot of style and I think a lot more good left in him. Sadly, it seems that not all of his films are as well thought out as they could be. 'Cabin Fever 2' suffered from the sophomore jinx. 'The House of the Devil' was amazingly awesome and a love story to the 80's horror genre. But 'The Innkeepers' started out strong and seemed to be headed for greatness, however.... in the end, it just fell short. I have huge hopes for his upcoming 'V/H/S' and I think he's just about to hit his stride. Check out this movie, if you like ghost stories, but turn it off before the last 5 minutes happens. You'll thank me later. 3 out of 5 stars.


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Heckler

Jamie Kennedy doesn't care for heckler's much and this documentary proves it. He serves as our guide through the world of comedians and their detractors. Not something that I ever need to see again, but it shows a side of the comedy world that only the comedians see. Fun and educational. 3 out of 5 stars.

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Mum and Dad

When I'm spending my time looking for something good to watch, I do quite a bit of reading and research. Usually, I have pretty good luck at keeping the crap to a minimum. Somehow 'Mum and Dad' got past my radar. This was pretty much garbage. There is nothing new in this movie that you haven't seen before and probably didn't want to see again. It felt old, re-hashed, boring and lame. I stuck it out until the end, but it never got any better. This is your one and only warning, stay away from 'Mum and Dad'. Watch the trailer and you'll probably see why. 2 out of 5 stars.

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Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie

When it comes to bigfoot hunters, these guys take 1st prize. One part crazy eccentrics and one part serious investigators, these two take their fascination with bigfoot to the next level. I couldn't decide if I felt sorry for them or believed every word they said. They had such belief in their research that you can't help but want to think that they knew something the rest of the world doesn't.... that bigfoot is real. Watch it and decide for yourself, but I'll tell you know.... this isn't the most exciting documentary. 2 out of 5 stars.

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Burke and Hare

My sister recommended this film and I'm glad she did! I had never heard of it or the real life people it's based on. Not only that, but it starred Simon Pegg and Andy Sirkis and was directed by John Landis! How does this slip by any decent film goers radar? The point is, you've got a built in pedigree with this film, even before the opening credits roll. It's a bit dry and very English in its humor, but don't let that keep you from watching this little gem. It's one of the better black comedies I've seen in a long time and something that was well worth my Saturday afternoon. You need to track down this film. Quotable and extremely fun. 4 out of 5 stars.


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Bereavement

The movie 'Malevolence' is a bit of an indie slasher/horror legend. It set a new standard for the quality of horror films that could be created on a tiny budget. I've seen it and found it to be mediocre at best. There were moments of good things, but they didn't outweigh the overall blah factor. 'Bereavement' is the sequel.... in the form of a prequel. It tells the story behind the story and this time.... there's a bigger budget. This movie feels like the director, Steven Mena, is on his way to bigger and better things, but hasn't quite found his voice yet. This movie gets a little tiresome after the first 30 minutes and feels like it keeps repeating itself the rest of the way, until the end. I wanted to really enjoy this, but only ended up feeling like I kind of missed the boat and didn't want to go back to catch another one. If you like the original, you might enjoy this. That's the only reason I would recommend you watch it. 3 out of 5 stars. (For an honest effort.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

my thoughts on.... 'Underworld: Awakening'

Ever since I first saw the original 'Underworld', it felt like a cousin to the 'Resident Evil' films. Like they were companion pieces. I'm not 100% sure why that is, but they seem to go together. They're both action/horror films, they both have female leads and they both seem to have a bigger story line going on then you might have first expected. Where they differ is the type of creatures they're fighting. 'Resident Evil' is considered a zombie based film and 'Underworld' is werewolves vs. vampires. Now, over the 3 films so far.... we've seen all sides of the vampire/lycan war. The films are more story focused than action focused, but when the action kicks in, it's pretty sweet. Throughout the 3 films so far, the series has been steady and consistent, but not mind blowing. So, when I heard about the 4th one going in to production and that Kate Beckinsale was back, I got excited. Things seemed to be looking pretty good and I had high hopes for another good installment. Last night, I finally got my chance to make an educated verdict about it. We'll get to that in a bit.

This next chapter, takes place 12 years in the future and this is the basic plot.... from http://www.imdb.com: "Mankind discover the existence of the Vampire and Lycan species and they begin a war to annihilate the races. When Selene meets with Michael in the harbor, they are hit by a grenade and Selene passes out. Twelve years later, Selene awakes from a cryogenic sleep in the Antigen laboratory and meets the Vampire Thomas. She learns that she had been the subject of the scientist Dr. Jacob Lane and the Vampire and Lycan species have been practically eradicated from Earth. But Selene is still connected to Michael and has visions that she believes that belongs to Michael's sight. However she has a surprise and finds that she has a powerful daughter named Eve that has been raised in the laboratory. Now Selene and Thomas have to protect Eve against the Lycans that intend to use her to inoculate their species against silver." Sounds interesting, yes? Read on....

With the first 3 films, there was a certain level of production and the people involved all seem to be 'A' list actors. In this film, it felt different. Those actors were gone and although Kate remained, no one else did. Scott Speedman was digitally added into the storyline and it was obvious. The rest of the main players, felt to me like they were just substituting for the original cast. These were new characters to the story, so that wasn't really the case. I can't explain why it felt this way, but it did. This movie also seemed to scrap the more story driven formula for a more action based one. Len Wiseman was still at the helm writing, but it just wasn't the same. Things were just so simple and basic. There was plenty of action, right from the opening sequences. But as the movie chugged along, I kept expecting a moment to catch my breath and get more details as to why things were the way they were. Instead, it felt like I was driving by a bunch of street signs and I would be lucky if I could read all of them before they flew by. The movie itself flew by in terms of time. As soon as it started, it was over. The special effects seemed slightly lower budget too. It was almost as if it was a bigger budget direct to DVD movie. They also left it wide open for a 5th film.... one that I would gladly watch, despite my slightly lowered expectations. What I'm saying is, this wasn't the first 3 films.... but it wasn't bad either.

I won't tell you to stay away from 'Underworld: Awakening', I would just warn you to check your brain and your high hopes at the door. Instead, expect to see 'Die Hard 2: Die Harder' instead of the original 'Die Hard'. The characters have been established, the world is firmly in place and the only thing that changes is the dates the movie takes place. This feels like another chapter in the 'Underworld' franchise, it just doesn't hold up as well. Despite the constant rain of bullet casings and blood flying everywhere. Perhaps with repeated viewings this may improve. Very much like 'Die Hard 2: Die Harder', this movie might have a life yet. Maybe it just needs a fresh set of eyes, not expecting to see 'Die Hard', but ones expecting to see a lower budget sequel. I thought about what to rate this and I think it still needs a 3 out of 5 star rating. It wasn't the best movie in the series, but it isn't the worst movie I've seen of this kind. I don't know that this franchise will ever keep me as interested or get my as excited as the 'Resident Evil' films do, but it's good enough to merit the occasional re-watching. Also, if you are new to these films.... get all 4, start at the beginning, make a bunch of popcorn and check your brain at the door. Vampires are hip right now, again.... but these aren't the kind that sparkle. These are the kind that'll blow a hole right though a werewolf's head and not think twice about it. Team Jacob? Team Edward? I'm on Team Selene.

If you like this movie, check out: 'Underworld' (2003), 'Underworld: Evolution' and 'Underworld: Rise of the Lycans'

A Short List Of Movies Or Films Without Full Reviews: part 12

As a lover of cinema, I watch a lot of stuff. Sadly, I don't have the time, energy or even desire to write reviews for everything I see. Rather than to just continue to let these movies sit on a list, I've decided to post them here with a rating and maybe a little word or two. If you trust my judgement or agree with me on my decisions, then maybe this will be helpful to you in finding some keen new stuff to watch. I think it will also free up my mind a bit to see a much shorter list of things to review in the future. That being said, here we go!

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Rampart

I love Woody Harrelson. I enjoy "bad cop" movies. This combination of both didn't work so well. We're not really made to care about the main character or anyone else in the movie. Everything is slowly paced and kind of dull. There isn't really much to enjoy here and in the end.... it just ends. No solid ending to the story, just credits. Not recommended. 2 out of 5 stars


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Autopsy

After taking a healthy break from horror movies, I finally decided it was time to dive back in. This movie was the first one that popped on my radar, so I gave it a shot. That was the wrong decision. Perhaps my mind was so out of whack after not watching anything scary in a long time? The point is: this movie sucked rocks. There was nothing good about this movie other than the location of the hospital. And the ending? It was some of the worst garbage I've seen in years. If this pops up on your radar, delete it and forget you ever heard of it. Awful, terrible, crappy, junk. 1 out of 5 stars.


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Blank City

This documentary is about the indie film movement of the 80's. It's interesting if you're a film buff, but the average movie goer will more than likely get bored. This wasn't too bad for what it was. Something felt like it was lacking, I'm just not sure what it was. Watch, if you enjoy any of the people in the documentaries movies. 3 out of 5 stars.


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Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

There was all of the ingredients here for a classic piece of crime cinema. What we got instead was another generic movie. It felt re-hashed and uninspired. Like Ethan Hawke and Phillip Seymour Hoffman were just sleepwalking their way through the script. The big push for this movie was that the director Sidney Lumet, was 84 years old when he directed it. This was his final movie. Sadly, it wasn't his grand final opus.... but it's still worth your time. 3 out of 5 stars.

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Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

I put this movie off for a long time. I've never quite figured out why I waited, but I'm not sure it would have been any better or worse, no matter when I watched it. This was based on a comic and I'm fairly certain that it was supposed to be turned into a franchise movie series. It's just so forgettable. I tried and tried to really love it, but it just fell flat. For some reason, all of the elements on their own, work really well. The problem is, when they're put together, they seem to cancel each other out. 'Dylan Dog: Dead of Night' isn't the worst comic adaptation ever, but keep your expectations really low. 3 out of 5 stars.


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The Oregonian

My hopes for this were high. What I got was one of the worst movie going experiences I've ever had. This movie was trying so hard to be a David Lynch film, that it had no identity of its own. It was boring, difficult to watch, complete nonsense and basically a turd on tape. I cannot express how much I disliked this movie. If you see a copy in the store, burn it. 0 out of 5 stars.

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Shark Night

Just like 'The Oregonian', this was garbage. I was anxious to watch this as Joel David Moore was in it and the lovely Sara Paxton. There was nothing that either one of them could have done to improve this piece of crap. I was hoping for something along the lines of 'Deep Blue Sea' or 'Piranha 3D', instead.... I was given a complete waste of time and talent. Don't waste your time on this, unless you're using it for prisoner torture or you're a masochist. Ugh. 1 out of 5 stars.

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Superheroes

With all of the superhero films out there these days, it seems that real life superheroes are on the rise. This documentary introduces us to quite a few of the ones out there. There were a few omissions of some of the more well known superheroes, but it was entertaining none the less. These interesting characters seem to walk the fine line between cool and crazy. Some of them you believed had the potential to really do some good, some seemed to just be in it for the fame and some actually were crazy. The one that left the best impression on me was Zimmer. If I was to make a comic book about a real life superhero, he would be my leading man. If you have any interest in this topic at all, 'Superheroes' is a great place to start your research. 3 out of 5 stars.

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Madison County

Why oh why don't I hate this movie? There was nothing original about it. The story was extremely weak. The acting was sub-par. But.... it was worth my time to watch it. There was just something about it. Perhaps it was the cinematography? Or the bad guy? I don't know. All I do know, is that if you enjoy slasher flicks, this is one to check out. 3 out of 5 stars.


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The Devil Inside

Finally, 'The Devil Inside'.... Yes, it's another found footage movie. Yes, it feels and looks like most of the other found footage movies. There were moments of good and a few brief moments of awesome. In the end, if you can call it that, the whole thing just crapped the bed. I honestly had to rewind the movie to make sure that it actually ended and I hadn't missed something. Even after confirming that the movie had ended, I still felt sincerely cheated. Why couldn't they keep up the good pace they had going? This could have been great, but instead it just fell flat. Flat on its face. 3 out of 5 stars.