Saturday, September 28, 2013

I'm takin' what they're givin'.... cause I'm podcastin' for a livin'....! episode 74 of 'The Kpants' is online!

The 74th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe, Stitcher Radio and streaming LIVE right here!

It was my first week at my new job, soooo why not talk about it? This is an entire show about workin'. Topics include: my new job, managing work life and home life and my rough job history. It's a decent little show with awesome music! (as usual) ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) American Dream by Team Illuminati

2) Runts And Losers by Stepwell

3) Octopus by Vagina Waterpark

4) American In Amsterdam by Wheatus

5) Curse In Your Verses by Rappy McRapperson

6) Proofs by Mates Of State

Sunday, September 22, 2013

my thoughts on.... 'Prisoners'

It's rare that I get out to see a movie in the theaters anymore. The cost alone, is enough to turn off most viewers and it just seems to be getting worse. The other issue is, finding a movie that I actually want to see in the theaters! It has to be something I want to see with friends or one that my wife and I can both agree on. 'Prisoners' was one of those rare films. I'm not sure if it was the cast or the story line or the trailers. There was just something about it that spoke to each of us. (My wife also has a thing for Hugh Jackman, so that never hurts the chances of seeing him in a movie.)

The trailers gave you an overall feeling of what to expect from the film and a bit of what the story would entail. What ended up being the actual film, was two and a half hours on an emotional roller coaster in the dark. No matter how comfortable you got with what was going on, the minute you caught your breath.... it hit you in the stomach again. Granted, there was a lot about it that was predictable and cliched, but that really didn't matter to me. The ending also left a little bit to be desired. It was a tad unfinished, especially considering that you had already invested almost three hours. I think 5 more minutes of exposition wouldn't have hurt. The result of this lead one movie goer to remark, "That was stupid." as she left the theater. I think she was wrong about the ending and the overall film. But, I imagine that there will be a few other folks that might feel the same way too. Indie films use the vague ending quite a bit and it's something that we've all come to expect. Big budget thrillers, with an 'A' list cast and a lot of great press usually have a more "idiot proof" finale. Regardless of one viewers rush judgement, the critics are all disagreeing. Across the board, it's getting rave reviews. I haven't heard any thoughts from any one I know yet. I'd be curious what the average movie goer thinks, versus that of a major newspaper or movie review site. I'm a bit jaded and consider myself pretty well schooled on films. I went to school for it, have seen more than I can count and have incorporated it into my everyday life. I love movies in every form: good, bad or indifferent. I love to talk about them, write about them and over think them. It's a passionate hobby. With that being said, me enjoying it and not really seeing the outcome too early.... says something about 'Prisoners'. Too me, it is a mark of quality. To be able to take a person like me and engage them and keep their interest for an extended period of time, is a feat all by itself! Granted, my wife caught on really early and made sure to tell me her theory. (Which was correct, by the way.) I preferred to just let it play out, without any preconceived notions. I like to be surprised every once and a while. Don't you?

I read somewhere that this film would make a good companion piece to David Fincher's 'Se7en'. They aren't really the same animal, but they do kind of have a similar feel. They both play out almost entirely in the rain/snow. There is very little sun in either film. They both deal with a cat and mouse type scenario. Good guys vs. bad guys, but neither is clearly bad or good. It's dark and doesn't have much light to lessen the weight of the drama. There's really no humor or action. It's really a story about choices. How far would you go to save someone you loved? And I honestly think that they did it with tact and some reality. There's moments of things being a bit over the top, but never so much as to lose the viewer. The violence is also understated and more implied than shown. It's quite effect and affecting.

In case you've missed the previews, the story goes like this: (taken from "Keller Dover is facing every parent's worst nightmare. His six-year-old daughter, Anna, is missing, together with her young friend, Joy, and as minutes turn to hours, panic sets in. The only lead is a dilapidated RV that had earlier been parked on their street. Heading the investigation, Detective Loki arrests its driver, Alex Jones, but a lack of evidence forces his release. As the police pursue multiple leads and pressure mounts, knowing his child's life is at stake the frantic Dover decides he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?" This is the basic outline for the first half of the film. There's so much more going on than this. The story gets deeper, more complex and pretty damn dark. This element may turn off a few viewers, but it 'Se7en' is your kind of thing.... this will be a cake walk. Hugh Jackman is listed as the lead in this film, but Jake Gyllenhaal really is the main character in the story. Terrance Howard, Maria Bello and Paul Dano also star. Everyone in this film turns in a high caliber performance. I don't know that I'm seeing an Oscar nods here, but it's still early and there's a lot more films to come out this year. All the characters are fairly complex and engaging. No one is really one dimensional, however, Melissa Leo's turn as 'Holly', is a bit stiff. She's not got a lot of screen time, but she's a name actress with some critical acclaim. Because of that, I suppose I expected a bit more. Jake really was the surprise stand out. He doesn't fall into all of the trappings of the slightly burned out detective. He doesn't smoke or drink. He doesn't have an ex-wife and kids that he never sees. He's even offered a drink, at one of his lowest points, and denies it. I respect the decisions of the writer to not give us that stereo typed detective. It was refreshing. I actually wanted more back story on him than we were treated to. He is a fully 3-dimensional character and we end up knowing so little about him. I'm kind of hoping they make another film with him as the lead character. I should also mention Paul Dano's portrayal of Alex Jones. I expected him to run away with this film. He was pretty amazing, but he was so subtle that he kind of got overshadowed by the other characters. The funny thing is, that's what would've happened to his character in real life. That being said, he was pretty perfect in that role. Suitably creepy. Anyway.... that's my two cents.

All in all, this is a very satisfying piece of modern cinematic drama. I found myself fully invested into the story, within the first three minutes of the film. I watched every little action and re-action of each character, trying to find out all of the little hidden details. When the third act finally began, I was so ready for a payoff and I got what I wanted and then some. It bordered on being a bit too much. As every time you thought things were ending, it kept going. I think that's part of reason why the very last scene in the film seemed a bit abrupt. It was due to the audience expecting the film to keep going at parts where it felt like the ending, that when it was finally the end.... it felt like I should've kept going. Does that make sense?

My final thoughts are that this was a great film and one that deserves to be seen. In the theater or at home, I think it will still pack a punch. It's a kidnapping film that doesn't re-hash every other kidnapping film ever made. It doesn't rely on all of the cliched characters and their cliched actions and the stuff that you see in every single cop show ever made. 'Prisoners' instead relies on giving you a chance to do see something at a slightly different angle. It may be a bit over the top in the end. The story might just go a hair beyond the realms of belief, but I really didn't mind. I cared so much about the characters and the outcome, that I bought it all.... hook, line and sinker. I'm also not someone who left the theater feeling unsatisfied. I've seen vague endings before and ones that end so abruptly that you have no idea if the film is even over. This one gave you an ending that stops short, but isn't unfinished. There is closure. I give 'Prisoners' 4 out of 5 stars and I think my wife feels the same way too. Sadly, the lady who left before me, didn't agree. Her loss. This is one that will continue to bring in an audience, as long as the critics keep loving it. This film has also created an interest in the other works of it's director: Denis Villeneuve. I'd never heard of him prior to this, but I've got his other films queued up and ready to go at any time. The man knows drama. Highly recommended.

If you like this, check out: 'Se7en', 'Nightwatch' (1997) and any of the Hannibal Lecter films. (Although, those are all serial killers and not kidnapping films. They just feel similar.)

By the way, I hate the poster. Nuff' said.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What the heck is that? Well, it's a show.... I think. ep 73 of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour'....

The 73rd episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe, Stitcher Radio and streaming LIVE right here!

Well, my tongue is injured, it was my last day of work and I'm all kinds of funky. However.... I got a pretty good show pulled off and this is it! Topics include: my video game honorable mentions, the joy of remodeling/make-over shows and doing the right thing because it's the right thing. It's one hour, on the dot. ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) First Dibs On Last Chances by A Step Behind

2) Take It Easy by Bright Eyes

3) City Skies by Dylan In The Movies

4) Ring Of Fire = 4 Points by The Sainte Catherines

5) I Am An Island by The Good Life

6) All On Black by The Alkaline Trio

Friday, September 13, 2013

Love is.... the title of the show! ep 72 of 'The Kpants' is online.

The 72nd episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe, Stitcher Radio and streaming LIVE right here!

After a busy week, here's a decent sized show for you. I feel pretty good about it overall. Topics this week are all about love, but no.... this isn't a Valentine's Day show. It's Friday the 13! ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) Armageddon by The Alkaline Trio

2) Time To Dance by Panic At The Disco

3) Sara Poor Sara by This Day Age

4) Take It Easy by The Gabor Bolla Quartet

5) OK With This by Three Legged Dog

6) Shortcut by Built To Spill

Thursday, September 12, 2013

my thoughts on.... Rob Zombie's 'The Lords of Salem'

It's no secret, to those of you who know me, that I love Rob Zombie. I'm only a moderate fan of his music, but I absolutely love his film making. I own everything he's done and multiple versions and formats of each one. I own toys associated with his films as well as the soundtracks and anything else I can get my hands on. Something about his style and vision speak to me. The rest of the world doesn't always agree with my opinion about Mr. Zombie and as a matter of fact, his films are received one of two ways: you love them or hate them. There really seems to be no middle ground. I don't know whether people hold him to a higher standard because of his monster movie pedigree? I personally feel that this has a lot to do with it. Everything he does is put under an ultra fine microscope and he's expected to put out a 'Citizen Kane' caliber film, each and every outing. The reality is? That's not possible for even the most amazing film maker or the worst on the planet. Just because he has seen and/or owns every single monster movie ever made, that doesn't mean that he will create the perfect combination of them all in one pure film. Instead, he borrows some of his favorite elements from them and infuses his dark and unique voice to create something new and fresh. Especially with all of the PG-13 carbon copy garbage that's being churned out right now, it's nice to see someone still have their own personal vision and not be afraid to express it. To dig their hands deep into the guts and the grit and give us horror, not teenage date night material. The other thing I appreciate about his film making is that whenever you see a film made by Rob Zombie, you're never quite sure where he's going to take you. It's like a vacation without a plan or a map. It's completely frightening and unnerving, but at the end.... you're glad you made the trip. This is how I see his films. If that view point will affect your reading of this review, stop now.

After 'Halloween 2' was released, I had the chance to see it for my birthday weekend. What I saw was something completely different from what I was expecting. When the film started, I thought that was the direction the whole thing was going to take. What transpired over the course of the rest of the film, laid a ground work for where Mr. Zombie was headed in the future. For better or for worse, it was his vision and direction. I saw a take on 'Halloween' that I never expected and one that (in theory) shouldn't work.... but he pulled it off. After that film was over, I wondered where he was headed next? I have to admit, that when I heard the plot outline for 'The Lords Of Salem', I was apprehensive and skeptical. I have never been a fan of werewolves or witches. Slowly bits and pieces of the story and shots from the set started to leak. Nothing about it really spoke to me.... but I had faith that he would create something great anyway. Once everything was done and I finally saw the trailer, I was convinced that he had done his magic again. I as confused and unsure of what in the hell was going on exactly, but I couldn't wait to figure it all out. Sadly, once it his the theaters, it didn't make it to my hometown. I had no way to see it. So the long wait for home release began. Then.... on September the 3rd, my birthday, it was released. I couldn't wait to get it home and see what all of the buzz was about. Let me just say that I was not disappointed. It didn't quite hit me in the face like the 'Halloween' films did, but I could see that it was going to have a long term appeal. The next night, I sat down with pen and paper and popped it back in the player and watched it again.... this time with the commentary track on. Once again I was taken into his overcast world of evil and loved every minute. I understood more this time and could really get a hold of all of his nuances. Then, the wait. I wanted to let it all settle in and think it all out before writing a review and here we are.

Rob Zombie is a man steeped in horror knowledge and has created an entire persona around all things dark and sinister. He wears it proudly, like a badge and makes no bones about any of it. 'House Of 1000 Corpses' was a tribute to films like 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. 'The Devil's Rejects' was a long song to the road movie, with guns. 'Halloween' 1 and 2 were simply his vision of the Michael Myers legacy, with a stronger focus on Michael rather than Laurie. 'The Lords Of Salem' is his take on a 70's horror film. There is a definite influence of Dario Argento, with its bright colors and vivid imagery. There is the static and slow camera work of Kubrick. Rob Zombie himself lists 'The Shining', 'Rosemary’s Baby' and 'The Devils' as his influence. If you've ever seen any of the films or film makers mentioned, then you can clearly see this showing through in 'The Lords Of Salem'. I am a big fan of that era of horror film making. There seemed to be a stronger sense of story and the director's and studios took the time to make a horror film that was good. They didn't slap dash something together, just to get it into the theaters to give teenagers a cheap scare. The 80's gave us that mentality. The films tended to be a bit slower and built the tension masterfully. There didn't seem to be any subjects that were taboo. It was a much more interesting time to be a film goer. There was no limit to what could be created. The only thing that slowed a film maker down or kept them from making a certain project, was special effects. Back then, everything was a practical effect.... they had no other choice. Because of this, some things came off as cheesy or silly but more often than not, those were saved for the B-movies at the drive in. Rob seems to feel the same way I do about the 70's horror legacy. He took great pains to create that same vibe and story line that has made those older films "Classics". I think that this is a big part of the reason so many people didn't get 'The Lords Of Salem'. They have no concept of what he was drawing from. The majority of film goers these days, weren't even alive in the 70's.... or even born yet. For them, a scary movie is 'Scream' or the 'Saw' franchise. This film is like night and day, compared to the films of the new generation. That doesn't make the newer films terrible or complete garbage. They're just a different kind of horror. Nothing wrong with that at all.

The basic plot of the film is that Heidi is a DJ who has finally gotten her life back together. She's on a highly rated radio show and seems to have everything in order. One night she gets a mysterious package from a group called 'The Lords'. Inside the wooded box is a record that contains some of the most disturbing and bizarre music I've ever heard. When she finally plays the record, it puts her almost in a trance. She comes out of it feeling nauseous and sick. Her friend and fellow DJ decides that they should play it over the air. Once they do, all of the women in the community become entranced as well. As Heidi's mind starts to unravel, so does the mystery behind 'The Lords Of Salem', a coven of long dead witches. With the help of the record, Heidi and the women of the area.... the witches begin to create their final solution. Help bring the devil himself back to earth, via a surrogate woman, Heidi.

Okay, maybe you're still not impressed. Maybe you're still not seeing what I see and that's okay. Not every film is for everyone. For example, my wife would have hated this film. The only reason she's seen his two 'Halloween' films, is because she went with me to see them on my birthday. This is why I love film.... there's something for everyone.

Say what you will about Rob or this film, but at least he didn't go CGI on the effects. Everything here was a practical effect, even the rats. Despite what people seemed to believe.... the rats are real. The hallway of the apartment complex was rather short, but through camera tricks and other methods, it created the feeling of being extremely long and ominous. His vision of Satan (the thing in the giant theater type setting) was done on purpose and on a budget. He wanted to create a devil that no one had seen before. He described it as a deformed baby and an over stuffed turkey, that impregnates Heidi with his intestines. You have to respect him for trying something new and completely different. Did it work? I think it did. It was disturbing to see something you've never seen before doing god knows what to our main character. Not too mention the sound effects and the music added to the creepy factor. Another thing about 'The Lords Of Salem' that you really have to respect is level of commitment that each and every actor had to the film. Meg Foster ran around naked for a large part of the film, in horribly cold weather. He was also able to get a worthy performance out of his wife, Sheri. She's not known for her acting chops, but in this film, she proved that she's more than just a pretty face. Everyone involved, believed in what they were doing.... plain and simple. And if you left the movie wondering what in the hell happened at the end? That was all intentional too. Up to the end of the film, we're a little unsure if what we're seeing is reality or just something in Heidi's mind. The ending shows us that either way, her mind has completely snapped and we witness her final descent into madness. The ending is left ambiguous and up to the viewers interpretation. That, is 70's film making for sure.

Here's my final thoughts on 'The Lords Of Salem': I really enjoyed it. I think it proves that Rob Zombie still has a lot to say in the horror genre. It also shows that he's growing as a film maker and is willing to take risks. No matter whether you liked it or not, it doesn't matter. He created the film he wanted to create and he doesn't make films that are made to please everyone. He's a film maker who revels in the dark side of life. He's lived and breathed horror for his entire career and because of this, he has a concentrated lens to point at his subjects and create something that's visually strong and genuinely scary. He's not even at the height of his powers yet. This is the one thing I learned from 'The Lords Of Salem'. Don't get me wrong though, this is not the perfect film. This still has many flaws. I also don't believe that this is his magnum opus, but I can see glimpses of what may be in the future. I can see that he's still working on mastering his story telling and his pacing. He used this film to step outside of his comfort zone and to try new things. The results were successful and has given him more tools in his arsenal for the next film he makes. (Which is going to be a hockey movie. Yup, a hockey movie and not a horror one either.) At the end of the day, if you're expecting another blood bath of violence and mayhem, this is NOT the film for you. This film as all about creating a mood and a sense of dread. It has almost no blood and very little violence. It's almost more on par with a thriller or drama with witches, than a horror film.... by today's standards. It's slowly pace, abstract and beautiful to look at. Three things that belong more in an art house film than a Rob Zombie joint. That to me just proves once and for all that he's not a musician playing around at making movies. He's an artist who's proving that he has a very large palette to paint with.... music, art, films, etc.

Before I sign off for this review, I have one last thing to say. I read another review that really summed up everything nicely, so I thought I'd repost a direct quote from it here. I don't think I could say this any better. "In the modern horror landscape, The Lords Of Salem is something very different. It’s not going to be for everyone. I’m not here to spin you bullshit and trick you into seeing a film you’re going to hate. I’ve really liked every Rob Zombie film to date and I really liked this one too. Some of you who have liked his previous films aren’t going to be into this one at all – it gets pretty weird." That takes everything I've just said and magnifies it into one brief paragraph. Thank you Rob for creating another chapter in, what I hope, is a long and healthy legacy of flim making.

4 out of 5 stars, but I've only seen it twice. It may change with repeated viewings. Also, there is also a severe lack of features on the home release and after hearing of the hours of footage left on the cutting room floor.... I imagine we'll see a much beefier special edition in the near future.

If you like this, check out his films: 'House of 1000 Corpses' (2003), 'The Devil's Rejects', 'Halloween' (2007) and 'Halloween 2' (2009)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

'40 Going On 14'.... What is it?

What is '40 Going On 14' you might ask? Well, it's quickly becoming a bit of an obsession. I think my cousin, fellow blogger and podcaster, Josh, summed it up best on his blog:

"....I post when I want to, not because I need to anymore. I've come to terms with that. I like these outlets to be a labor of love, not one purely of obligation, because the content is always better when I'm inspired, rather than required to create it. The collaboration I've found in this podcast, called '40 Going On 14'... well, it is inspiring."

That's the same way I've felt, ever since this started: 'inspired'. Granted, it's only been a week since we first recorded, but sometimes that all it takes. A kick in the ass, a push off the cliff, someone to push on the gas and the next thing you know.... you're doing 90 in a 55 mph zone. That's exactly what this has been, a whirlwind of creativity. It's just something that you don't find very often.

The podcast consists of myself, Pat, Josh and Mike. The four of us originally met in college nearly two decades ago. In the years since then, we have talked about and talked about all of these grand plans for amazing things. However, the four of us never could seem to get anything off the ground. Call it the apathy of youth or just general laziness, I don't know. But here we are, almost 40 and finally feeling like it's time to crap or get off the pot. My wife has been wondering what's taken us so long. Honestly, I think we all needed to live our lives and cultivate our own interests and grow and mature and get married and junk. That way we could come back together like a super mega ultra Zord of geekiness.... we compliment each other in such a way that we make one ultra nerd.

Pictured above: Josh in blue, Me in green and Pat in orange during a production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Don't you already have a podcast? Why yes, yes I do. I have two of them. But this is different. 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is all about me and some amazing music. 'The Undercover Unitards' is a straight up comedy show. '40 Going On 14' is nostalgia, wrapped in geek life and culture, wrapped in 4 guys who're "brothers from another mother". It's a show that helps those of us who are kids at heart, but with knee problems.... cope with growing older and seeing things from both sides of the coin. It's a love song to years gone by and things yet to come. It's a chance for the four of us to do what we've always done, but to share it with the listener. We each have our own skill sets and specialties. We all have different backgrounds and upbringings. We all see the world in a slightly different way. It creates a comprehensive study on everything from video games, movies, music, television and role playing games to growing older, getting married, having kids and being single in the great state of Texas.

This is what we've been building towards all of these years. A chance to get together every week and take a break from real life. A chance to talk about the stuff that we're passionate about and not be ashamed to let our freak flag fly. I think that our hope with the show, is to allow everyone else to have that same break from reality. There's no judgement here. We're all big kids at heart, who still like to play with toys.

Pictured above: Mike and Pat.... sharing a grape.

There's really not much more I can say, that I haven't said already. If you like anything that you've read in this post, then check us out. Give us 1 hour of your time, I think you'll like what you hear. I'm really proud of what we've put created. It's just like those long nights of sitting around the dorm and talking about nothing specific and everything in general. I've included a direct link to stream it on Talkshoe. You can find it at the bottom of this post. We're available for download, as well, through: Bluberry, Stitcher, iTunes and other fine podcasting directories. Along with the weekly podcast, we'll be posting blogs and other fun stuff online. You can find that stuff on our Facebook page, Twitter and Thank you for your time and look for a new episode to drop this next Sunday! I love these guys and I think you will too.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

3 Day Zombie Movie Fest Weekend! (epilogue) - my thoughts on.... 'Zombies vs. Strippers'

A zombie movie fest? It was bound to happen. I've had several zombie movies in my queue, waiting to be seen. However, I just wasn't in the right state of mind to watch them and I didn't have the time. But, with the 3 day weekend upon me.... I figured there was no time like the present! So I fired up Netflix and away we go!

Full Moon Features is certainly not the mark of quality, but that doesn't mean that they're not entertaining. I've seen more of their movies than I care to admit to. Ever since I was in college, my friends and I spent many wasted nights enjoying the movies of Full Moon. It's been about a decade since I've seen anything from them. As a matter of fact, I wasn't even sure they still existed. So, when 'Zombies vs. Strippers' started, I was shocked when the Full Moon logo appeared! It sent a wave of nostalgia through my brain and quickly told me what I could expect over the next 80 minutes.

Now, the title automatically tells you what to expect. It's not a clever way to get people to watch and then the movie features werewolves and midgets.... oh no, it's nothing but strippers and zombies. If you want nudity, this movie has it. If you want zombies chewing on people, this movie has it. If you want high quality art house film making, this movie doesn't have it. This movie is just a big, dumb, reason to sit around and watch zombies chase after topless women. Plain and simple. This one won't leave a mark in the zombie genre and will most likely be forgotten by anyone who sees it. It's not a movie that anyone would aspire to have in their collection. It's just a reason to kill time.

The plot, is simple. (surprised?) A strip club owner is on the verge of losing his club and is trying one last time to make it work. During the last hurrah, a zombie outbreak occurs and the world begins to collapse. Everyone at the strip club is completely oblivious to the end of the world. Instead, they're having a going away party. Then the outside world starts to creep in and everything goes to hell. It's an all out battle of zombies vs. strippers, who will win? Who cares? That's it. Plain and simple.

There's no reason to watch this movie, but there's no reason to not watch it. If you like zombies and sleazy strippers, that's all you need to know to make your decision on whether you watch it or not. The make up is pretty terrible. The acting is sub-par. The sets are a joke. It has all the same earmarks that Full Moon had in the 90's, which is sad and awesome.... all at the same time. There's a Michael Jackson impersonator zombie. There's character stereotypes out the yin yang here. This movie has so many cliches that it goes beyond being bad and back to good again and then back to being bad. I really wanted to like this movie, I really did. It honestly had me hooked within the first 15 minutes. The problem is, there was never really any pay off. The further it went along, the worse things became. It's almost like the writer started out strong, but got a hernia, ended up in the hospital and his 13 year old son took over. This one had so much potential and could've been a bit of a cult classic. Instead, it just ended up being another reason to wonder why in the hell you just wasted an hour and twenty minutes of your life.

If I could change one thing about this movie, it would be everything. 'Zombies vs. Strippers' should sell itself by it's title alone. Sadly, you can't infuse charm and charisma into a movie that lacks it. If a movie is built around all of the right elements, it doesn't matter how bad it is.... it can still be wildly successful. I've seen movies shot on a value meal budget that amazed me. A good script, an original story, something to set it apart can turn a horrible movie into a classic. With all of that being said, I will give this movie one big shout out of respect: the cast was 100% committed to their characters. No matter what was going on around them and no matter how bad things were, they stuck to their guns and sold it like they were working with Ron Howard and not Clint Howard. I wish that would have been enough. I really, really did. Full Moon used to mean high quality crap with a heart. This had some of that flavor and flare, but not enough to make me want to dive back in to the deep end of their pool. Sorry 'Zombies vs. Strippers', you're not two great tastes that taste great together.

2 out of 5 stars

If you hated this or liked this, check out: 'Zombie Strippers', 'Doghouse' and 'Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead'

Friday, September 6, 2013

ep 71.5 is a short one, but there's some content here! Your episode of 'The Kpants' is ready.

The 71.5th episode of 'The Sunshine Happy Kpants Hour' is uploaded and now available through iTunes, Talkshoe, Stitcher Radio and streaming LIVE right here!

Well, it's a supplemental show for this week.... sorry. I'm just updating you on life at the moment. There are a couple of announcements though, I still hope you ENJOY!

Songs played this week:

1) Pills In Your Pocket by Shining Through

2) San Diego Summer by Shining Through

Monday, September 2, 2013

3 Day Zombie Movie Fest Weekend! - my thoughts on.... 'Cockneys vs Zombies'

A zombie movie fest? It was bound to happen. I've had several zombie movies in my queue, waiting to be seen. However, I just wasn't in the right state of mind to watch them and I didn't have the time. But, with the 3 day weekend upon me.... I figured there was no time like the present! So I fired up Netflix and away we go!

The poster I used for this review reads: "A mad rollicking mash up of 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'". I couldn't agree more. Perhaps I would've used 'Snatch' instead, but it's a similar sentiment. This movie feels like a hybrid of the two and almost a perfect combination at that. It takes equal parts of both movies and blends them together into a zombie/comedy/heist/action movie. One of the biggest selling points of this little gem is the superb acting of Alan Ford. He channels his character Brick Top from 'Snatch' and reminds us just exactly how bad ass he is. I honestly don't know if this movie would have worked as well, if it wasn't for him. Granted, the other characters are all likable and funny and charming and all of that.... but not like him. This movie also stands out, because it throws more old people into the mix. This is something we don't see much in zombie movies. The elderly. How would they react? How would someone who's life is nearly over, react to the end of the world? This also gives us a whole new angle on a bank heist. *possible spoilers?* What if you went into a bank to rob it, came out to find the cops waiting, went back inside the bank only to come back out to a zombie apocalypse? This answers that question. Hilariously.

Also, *possible spoilers?* How do you kill a zombie with a plate in their head?

I've kind of already detailed out the plot, but here it is again.... in case your missed it: This British movie is about a group of inept criminals who decide to rob a bank so they can save their grandfather's retirement home from being demolished by developers. Meanwhile on another building site some workers dig up an old graveyard and they get bitten by the "undead" which sets off a chain reaction. Then the bank robbers are cornered by the police while in the process of the robbery, but when they exit they find that they are all dead as a result of the horde of zombies. They have to get to the retirement home before the zombies do! (taken from That's basically the movie in a nutshell. The old folks are hold up in a kitchen, until the youngsters come to their rescue. That's everything but the ending.

I honestly have no complaints with this movie. There was a lot of time and love put into the script, casting and zombie effects. The comedy is sharp and witty. The action if well done and still comical. The casting choices are all spot on. The locations are brilliant. And.... the fact that they're Cockney's just adds a whole different level of awesome. This is one that I would put on the 'must see' list of recent zombie movies. The only reason you might not like it, is if you like your zombie movies dark and violent. This one ain't quite like that. Everything about this movie makes me smile and I'm honestly ready to take the trip all over again. I think this will find it's way into the hearts and minds of a lot of zombie lovers. I also can see it heading to the short list of recent cult classics. This movie hits all the right notes.

If you see very few zombies movies these days, out of the fear of being let down. Have no fear, this one won't let you down. I loved this movie and will be adding it to my collection, sooner rather that later. I keep trying to think of any complaints I might have about 'Cockneys vs Zombies', but I just can't come up with one. Alan Ford, alone, is worth the price of admission! That's really all I have to say about that. Go. Watch. Now!

4 out of 5 stars

If you like this, watch: 'Shaun of the Dead', 'Snatch' and 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels'

3 Day Zombie Movie Fest Weekend! - my thoughts on.... 'Dead Season'

A zombie movie fest? It was bound to happen. I've had several zombie movies in my queue, waiting to be seen. However, I just wasn't in the right state of mind to watch them and I didn't have the time. But, with the 3 day weekend upon me.... I figured there was no time like the present! So I fired up Netflix and away we go!

Everybody and their cousin is making a zombie movie these days. Pound for pound, it's every student film makers ideal first choice for a movie. Special effects are cheap, setting can be anywhere and zombies are hot right now! Because of this, the market is flooded with zombie movies. They're like zombies themselves.... taking over! It also means there's a glut of bad ones, along with the good ones. That makes the zombie lover a bit more picky about what he/she watches. With all that being said, 'Dead Season' scared me a little bit. It looked like it had a budget, but I didn't know if it had the heart or a decent story.

I'm glad I took the risk.

This movie might not have re-written the zombie playbook, but it added a decent chapter. The story was a bit common, but the actors were committed and made you care about them. Some of the action was a bit 'clunky', but it was few and far between. One of the nicer things about 'Dead Season' were the little surprises here and there. The couple of twists that you weren't expecting.... the outcomes that were shocking and unique. It made me believe that good zombie movies are still out there and still being made. The ending could've used a tweak, but that's not unusual for most movies these days. I can forgive that.

The plot: When a worldwide viral outbreak leads to a plague of zombies scouring the earth for the living, two survivors flee the chaos of America to a remote island, hoping for a chance to start a new life. What they find is unrelenting horror. Beyond the hordes of the flesh-hungry undead, the other people already on the island force the pair into a fight-or-die battle amongst themselves. Armed only with crude weapons, they must descend to savagery and cutthroat tactics just to make it through each day. Meaning? The bad guys aren't just the zombie.... or at least they're not what they seem to be at first.

As I said at the beginning of this review, I was really concerned about this movie. You shouldn't be now. If you go into this expecting the best zombie movie ever made, you will be let down. But if you go into this expecting to check your brain at the door for an hour and a half, you'll walk away happy. The effects are decent, the story line is entertaining and there are a couple of little touches that add a new dimension to the old tale. The writer and director also take the time to let us get to know the main characters. An all too important factor in horror movies that is missed. If you don't like the people that are the main characters in the movie, then why in the heck would you care if they die or not? One of the trademarks of a worthwhile horror movie, is caring about who dies. Otherwise, it's just masturbation.

This is a nice way to spend an afternoon. I don't know if I would ever add it to my collection and if I ever need to see it again. I'm not quite sure if it's that kind of movie. It does prove it's worth in the genre. I left the whole experience feeling satisfied and happy. The characters made a couple of dopey decisions, but that's the reality of life and being in a situation you can't control. People do dumb stuff all the time, right? Give this one a day in court and you won't be let down.... trust me on this one.

3 out of 5 stars

If you like this, check out: any of the Romero movies

Sunday, September 1, 2013

3 Day Zombie Movie Fest Weekend! - my thoughts on.... 'War of the Dead'

A zombie movie fest? It was bound to happen. I've had several zombie movies in my queue, waiting to be seen. However, I just wasn't in the right state of mind to watch them and I didn't have the time. But, with the 3 day weekend upon me.... I figured there was no time like the present! So I fired up Netflix and away we go!

Let's start this off by saying, I'm not a fan of Nazi zombie movies or "flying through the air" zombie movies. Both of them have their exceptions, but overall.... they just rub me the wrong way. 'Dead Snow' and 'Day of the Dead' (2008) are a couple of ones that I actually enjoyed in each sub-genre. Because of this, I had really low expectations for 'War of the Dead'. It was Nazi zombies who jumped and flew through the air like super heroes or something. Knowing that, I was all prepared to hate this take on the genre. Well, I can admit when I'm wrong and I was wrong about this one. It may not be my new favorite zombie movie ever, but it certainly delivered a much better experience than I could have ever hoped for. The zombies were fearsome, but not scary. The action was well paced and not too much. The script was fairly basic, but enjoyable. There was only one scene that had me completely baffled in the whole thing. Where one of the main characters gets on a horse, only to ride about 20 feet and then get off and into the car that everyone else was in. Which, very slowly, had just crashed through a fence. You have to see it to understand.... or not understand.

This is the basic plot: During WWII, Captain Stone and a platoon of American and Finnish soldiers are on a mission to find a bunker held by the Germans. On the way there they come under fire and at the same time run into some German soldiers that seem to be "undead". How is this possible? Their platoon is almost completely killed off apart from a few of them, including Capt. Stone. They move on and run in to another survivor, a Russian soldier. They all try to survive and end up at the bunker they were meant to take out. Once inside, they find out just how the German soldiers became the "undead". All the while, they're finding out that despite them being on different sides of the war.... they all have a common enemy.

I don't think that this movie was meant to be any kind of giant blockbuster, but it has all the earmarks of a great war movie. It's also beautifully shot and feels like a much more epic movie then I think it actually was meant to be. With some more time and a slightly better script, this could have been pretty epic. It seems that the writer and director took several liberties with the story, in favor of just getting it done. It doesn't hurt the overall experience, but it does make some parts seem forced. There are also several logic jumps, but all of them can be forgiven. It's got lots of gun battles, hand to hand combat and Nazi's! My biggest complaint with the whole thing is that the zombies aren't as interested in chewing on human flesh as they are getting in to a fist fight. They also seem to have super human abilities, thanks to their transformation into the undead army they've become. I can look past all that though.

If you have a rainy Saturday afternoon and are looking for something new, but familiar.... then this might be the ticket for you. It's a solid war movie, a solid zombie movie and a decent thrill ride. I don't know that I really ever need to see it again. Not that this is a bad thing. Some movies are meant to take you on a one way trip through a new reality and then drop you off on the other side. Some are like a good song, meant to be played over and over so you can re-listen to your favorite parts. All in all, this movie comes recommended for fans of the zombie and/or Nazi zombie genre. It has likable characters and a good enough story line to kill an hour and a half without feeling like you wasted the time. Not too mention, who doesn't want to shoot some Nazi's in the head?

3 out of 5 stars.

If you like this, perhaps you should check out: 'Dead Snow', 'Day of the Dead' (2008) and 'Oasis of the Zombies' (for an example of an original Nazi zombie movie.... but not a very good one.)

3 Day Zombie Movie Fest Weekend! - my thoughts on.... 'A Little Bit Zombie'

A zombie movie fest? It was bound to happen. I've had several zombie movies in my queue, waiting to be seen. However, I just wasn't in the right state of mind to watch them and I didn't have the time. But, with the 3 day weekend upon me.... I figured there was no time like the present! So I fired up Netflix and away we go!

Well, well, well.... another zombie comedy, eh? What more can another one of these things offer that hasn't already been done before? The answer is.... a lot. Man, this movie was great! Right along the lines of 'Deadheads', this one delivered exactly what I wanted in a zombie comedy. It was a little light on the zombies, but that was barely noticed because of all of the other stuff going on. I really wanted to not like it in the beginning. For some reason, it started off feeling a little too low budget and simple. However, as the story went on and you grew to love the main characters, the whole thing just took off! It's a really simple story line, but it doesn't need a lot of glitz and glamour. What it offers is very funny dialogue, slap stick situations and people that just ooze charisma. It also pays a lot of homage to other films in the genre and does it cleverly and in good taste. This movie never takes itself too seriously and is always firmly rooted in the mythos that makes zombies a reality. It does take the 'Return of the Living Dead' stance on zombie lifestyle and that works to its benefit in this case. Being a fan of that movie, this one sits right along side of it as a nice companion piece. A lot of similarities between the two.

The plot is one that we've all seen before in several romantic comedies. The main difference is, zombies! This is the basic outline: Infected by a virus, a mild mannered HR manager attempts to fulfill his overwhelming desire for brains, all while trying to keep it together so as not to incur the wrath of his bridezilla-to-be. He also has brought along his sister and her over the top husband, as they head up to a cabin in the woods for some time together. Meanwhile, a zombie hunter and his partner are on the prowl for the undead and soon are hot on the trail of the newly transforming HR manager. Did I mention he was infected by a mosquito who bit a zombie, carried the virus, was killed, came back and then infected our hero? Yeah, that happened. It's genius.

The cast in this movie are all people you might recognize from their other works. No real big celebrities here, but they all have great credits behind them. The special effects are on par with the movie and the script crackles with a life all its own. Everything in this movie feels brand new to me, despite it's tie in's with other like minded movies. There's nothing too graphic in the violence.... but the f-bomb is dropped to almost the point of absurdity. The characters are all well drawn out and they all feel like someone you know. I honestly found very little to criticize about 'A Little Bit Zombie'. It fires on all cylinders and flies by like any great movie should.

At the end of the day, this movie will eventually find its way into my DVD/Blu-ray collection. This is one that would be good to pop in anytime. Especially after a viewing of 'Return of the Living Dead' and 'Deadheads'. It makes a perfect little bookend to these movies, even though they're made by different folks at different times. If you like your comedy to be smart, a little foul mouthed, mildly gross and with a bit of sappiness thrown in.... then this is a movie for you. A great little diamond in the rough, that I'm glad I found earlier rather then later. Now, it's your turn!

4 out of 5 stars.

If you like this, check out: 'Deadheads', 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Return of the Living Dead'