Friday, December 31, 2010

The Descent Part 2

In before the new year. Sorry for the lack of updates. It's been rather busy here, what with the holidays and the 34 inches of snow that fell at the Jersey Shore. I swear, it's like I moved to Buffalo or something what with the massive snowfall that we have been having since around this time last year. Anyway, since I was snowbound, I decided to catch up on some movies. I watched Black Swan, which I'll review in a bit, and the following flick, which is The Descent Part 2.

I was a big fan of the original film. It wasn't quite what I expected after the awesome action free-for-all that was Dog Soldiers but it was excellent. It's a pretty tense movie, with the group of women going caving and then getting trapped in the dark tunnels where they soon realize that food and water might be the least of their problems when something begins stalking them. It was well shot, well acted and very, very claustrophobic, which is what a cave movie should be. When I heard about the sequel, I was a bit nervous but decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did.

While it lacks the polish of the original, The Descent Part 2 does recapture a lot of the tenseness and claustrophobia of the original, while not cribbing from it directly. It takes place pretty much right after the first film (SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST MOVIE AHEAD) with Sarah being found by some locals while a search is being made for the missing cavers. This pretty much uses the American ending though she's not in her car like she should be. A small quibble, though it could be that they used the British ending and she did indeed get out after her hallucination. But I digress. In a move to try and rescue the others that they don't know are dead (because Sarah doesn't remember), the police force her to accompany them down in a mission to find them, making them probably the worse police officers to grace a movie in recent times, doing that to a trauma victim. When they enter the caves, they find they might not have a way out and Sarah begins to remember what exactly went down in the darkness as it begins to hunt them.

From there, it's a pretty decent film, not relying on too much of the original in flashbacks, which is thankful, as the cave shots in that movie were much better. Here, they feel a little too well lit for flares and flashlights and it removes some of the horror when you can see that much around you. The actors are decent, with several from the original showing up in flashbacks and what not and the new folks are good, screaming in terror as the crawlers hunt them. Surprisingly, there's a lot of gore, which is nice, with blood being sprayed and dripped just about everywhere and by the end, everyone is coated in it. The effects are good too, with the only dodgy ones being when someone falls into a pit, where it looks worse than it did in Superman 2.

A solid little film that keeps you guessing as to who might live right up until the end and it event throws a curveball in with a new party member that arrives towards the endgame. My only real problem with it is that the ending pretty much demands a sequel, as it raises questions that really need to be answered or it's a moot point putting the ending in at all.

Check it out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Virginia Creepers

It's been a busy month for me, so busy that I've had little chance to watch much outside of the endless episodes of Max and Ruby that my daughter inflicts on me. However, I did get to a little gem of a documentary that I'm finally writing up called Virginia Creepers.

Made by one of my old professors from Virginia Tech, the film is a look back at horror hosts in the Old Dominion, which is one of Virginia's nicknames and not to be confused with King's Dominion, which was a fun theme park when I was little. Honestly, I'm not familiar with most of the hosts as none of them were really airing in my area when I was there. I think I caught one or two in my late night ramblings, but I can't remember much about them. Several I recognized the names of, like Mr. Lobo, who hosts segments, and Sir Graves Ghastly, who is probably the biggest name to come out of there.

There's no real hook or story to the documentary. It's just a loving look back at something that the filmmakers loved and wanted to share with us. Even though it clocks in at two hours long, it feels like it could have been much, much longer as just as we get familiar with a face, we're on to the next one. I wouldn't mind seeing another installment with more on each or maybe an in-depth look at several that were already covered.

It's fun to watch the various production levels of the shows fluctuate from one to the next. Some are pretty slick productions that look to be up to Elvira standards. Others are cobbled together affairs that still have a better value than the movies they show. Some look like they were shot on handycam and you wonder how exactly the host qualifies as a host.

It's well worth checking out if you're a fan of horror hosts at all and to see what lengths they went to to show us the movies that we grew up with.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Horror Rises from the Tomb (My First Paul Naschy Film or Hello Naschy)

It is the in the death of November and the birth of December that we celebrate one of the true cinematic geniuses in the world. Sadly, he is one that you may have never heard of, but to remedy this, the kindly and kitten kicking Vicar of VHS and Duke of DVD from over at Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies have organized a blog-a-thon in which to spread the word of all things Naschy, or Jacinto Molina as he was born. Indeed, it was an opportunity for me as I have heard of the man, but never seen one of his films due to apparently a grievous omission in my movie watching history. To start, I have picked what some have heralded as his best film, Horror Rises From the Tomb.

I chose wisely.

While not as outrageous sounding as some of his other films, this one truly proves to be a remarkable force to be reckoned with in terms of horror that rises from the tomb. We are first introduced to Alaric de Marnac, the movie's villain and a rather heart-wrenching type of character, in that he likes to pull people's hearts out to give them to Satan. This is probably why he and his cohort, a luscious little number name Mabille, are being taken to the local hanging tree to be strung up during that grand old period we call the Inquisition. Well, Naschy doesn't make it that far, being beheaded after spitting out a gem of a curse. Fortunately, we do get to see his nubile companion strung up, thankfully without her clothes, as it is the only proper way to hang a witch. Then she gets shanked, but not before a little voodoo hoodoo curse of her own for the crowd.

Enter--the future!

An artist and his friend (also played by Naschy), meet and go out for drinks, hooking up with their ladies in the process and then, because it's the hip thing to do, decide to go out for a seance. Here they summon the ghost of Alaric who tells them where his head is buried, far from his body so he can't rise. Like any good group, they decide to go and dig it up to find out what all the hubbub is about. On the scale of good ideas, this one doesn't rank very highly. Like a three. Maybe a 4. I mean, it is a ghost, so it does get coolness points, but doing a little research on the guy who you might be reanimating would be a good idea.

Well, needless to say, the head is dug up and things start to get creepy fast as the ghost starts possessing villagers to help recapitate him and bring his lady love back from the grave. Then there's a zombie attack, the wickedest looking medallion of protection ever and lots of heart wrenching. The latter is achieved by some brilliant bedroom seductions by the dynamic duo of dastardly darkness as they teleport into the rooms of their victims and give them a little dose of bedroom eyes and bam, there's a naked woman or man at their beck and call. Being fair murderers, Alaric and Mabille both disrobe as well, so we may bask in the glory of Naschy's manliness and Mabille's assets. Then they tear the poor sap's/sapette's pumper out. It actually makes a lot of sense. If you know you're going to be doing something so bloody, you might as well make sure you don't have to worry about dry cleaning your ancient robes. Those things don't just grow on trees.

Anyways. With the undead on the loose and people dying left and right, it's a breakneck race to the finish to try and stop them before they carry out their nefarious plans and shroud the world in darkness. Or raise the devil. Something like that. I was actually pretty tanked on bourbon during the viewing, which made for a rousing experience. Gore? Check. Nudity? Check. Paul Naschy? Triple check, as he also appears as Alaric's brother for about a minute.

For my first Naschy film, I don't think I could have picked a better flick. Already, I feel the burn and want to see more of his films, in particular, the werewolf series he did that spans about twelve films or so. That should keep me occupied. He's an intriguing man, with a great presence, whether he's dominating the screen as Alaric or trying to solve the mystery as his descendant, Paul Naschy owns it.

I'm quite happy with my viewing of Horror Rises from the Tomb. It is a quintessential film of the era, with decent production values and grindhouse sensibility, keeping things moving at a brisk pace that reminds me a bit of Amando De Ossorio's Blind Dead series in gore and nudity. Check it out.

This is a first for the blog, but I believe I might have actually been moved to poetry by this film. Please forgive it, as I may just be a little tipsy on whiskey. Again.

With dark eyes and a manly beard,
you have stolen my heart.
Wait, that wasn't your gig,
so it must have been that bird you were with.
She was hot, a female force not
unlike your own evil nature.
So I lie here, gaping hole in my chest,
no satisfaction in the premature ending of me,
wondering--will you bring me back?
I can be a good zombie.
I can get you some hearts.
I'll take that bird from you if you're too tired.
Please? Pretty please?
Ok, maybe not.
But now go, Alaric, and take those other hearts
as you have taken mine
and spread your wicked wrath
across the countryside.
Mind the amulets, though,
they hurt.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Strangeness

Often thought to be a rip off of The Boogens, The Strangeness actually predates the film by a year, even though it wasn't released to cable until about 4 years after its completion. It makes a nice entry into the monster in a mine genre and is a great book end with the former movie.

Might like the other film, The Strangeness involves the re-opening of a mine that has been long closed (gold in this case where in the Boogens it was silver) due to deaths that had been occurring to the miners. Eventually, after the body count got racked up and nobody wanted to go back in, they shut it down. Well, the price of gold is skyrocketing so some people want to open it back up to take advantage of its stash. Unfortunately for them, whatever killed the miners long ago is still in there, waiting for a new meal.

It's a motley crew that goes into the mine. We have the company man, two miners, a guide, a geologist, and oddly enough, a writer and his photographer wife (hot) who are documenting the legend and the new attempt to open it. Not long after they arrive, the entrance collapses and they realize that finding a way out may be the least of their problems after one of them is picked off and they find the body dissolving in an odd fluid.

The movie is low budget, but comes across as a solid production. The actors are pretty good and the story is tight and makes sense and for the most part the characters don't do anything supremely stupid to bring about their downfall. The creature, which is done in all stop motion, is very excellent too, and is shown rather often, which puts The Boogens to shame with its rather lackluster creations. This thing, on the other hand, is a fucking beast, kind of like what might happen if a otuygh mated with the Creeping Terror and a triffid. A lot of the mine scenes is supposed to be filmed in someones basement too. If so, kudos, because it doesn't look like one.

I know it gets a lot of comparisons to The Boogens, but one film it really resembles more is one that came out years later, in The Descent. In both, being trapped in a cave takes more precedence and the monster comes secondary, which gives a great feeling of claustrophobia.

I got to check it out on an old vhs, but there's a dvd from Code Red with all the fixins that I recommend. I know I'll be checking that out next, as I am really impressed by this film.

Check it out.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

It's tough being a movie that has been adapted from another source. When it's a book, it's always hit or miss. When it's a comic, you should probably just break out the whiskey and start drinking. Fortunately, the adaptation of Brian Lee O'Malley's comic book turned out on the rather excellent side.

For those not familiar with it, the story revolves around Scott Pilgrim, who is dating a seventeen year old girl when a new girl, Ramona Flowers, bursts onto the scene and he tries to do anything to win her, including fighting her seven evil ex-boyfriends. The comic is mostly light-hearted, with a heavy dose of video game culture and wit to boot and is actually rather deep as well. I'm happy to say that the movie captures all of Scott's misadventures in near perfect glory, save for several parts here and there, but all in all, it's a great effort from a favorite director, Edgar Wright.

The hard sell on this movie for me, despite my love of the source material, was going to be Michael Cera. Don't get me wrong, I like him, but his delivery is starting to be on the same again and again side of things. In this, he's actually showing his chops and channeling the comic character with aplomb, save for some parts where the movie deviates from it and he falls back on his Michael Cera routine. Everyone else is pretty spot on from the comic, with great performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Kieran Culkin to name a few. I can't really point out any I didn't like, though I might be able to on subsequent viewings.

If you like the books, check it out. If you like the movie, check out the books. If you like both, check out the game when the patch to stop all the freezing comes out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Green Lantern Trailer

I get back from Milwaukee and I gots me a late birthday present in the form of the Green Lantern trailer. Check it out at bleeding cool. Nuff said.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/11/16/that-green-lantern-trailer/

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Repo: The Genetic Opera

As it was my birthday weekend and I had choice of movie last night, I chose something I had been wanting to see for awhile but just forgot about until I saw it on instant streaming. The movie? Repo: The Genetic Opera. It's listed as a musical but I was happy to report that they actually sing all the way through, like they do in real opera, save for a smattering of lines here and there, which makes it a rather fun experience. I rather liked it.

In the near future, organ failure becomes rampant and the human race is dying off. Enter GeneCo and their organ replacement plan, saving people everywhere for a price. Not long after this, however, they get a bill passed through congress that makes it legal for them to be able to repossess the organs if the recipient can't make the payments on it. To do this, they have employed a grim Repo Man who cuts the organs out while they're still alive and is pretty much a boogeyman-type figure to the people of the city. The family that owns the company, the Largos, are a bunch of degenerates and madmen and their father, who is dying, doesn't want to leave them any of it. Enter a girl, the daughter of a doctor (Anthony Stewart Head) in the Largo's employ who he sees as a way to get back at his family, and at the doctor, who long ago had stolen the women he loved. The daughter, however, is dying of a blood disease herself and is sequestered in her room by her father, never allowed to go outside, even though she desperately wants to. Add in a plot about a singer (played by Sarah Brightman) who wants out of the business but owes her sight to the company and a graverobber who makes anesthetic out of the dead and you have one wacky time.

It's a mad movie, for certain, replete with a overabundance of style and panache and fast editing and disturbing visuals. But it's a good one. I didn't find myself bored with it and each of the actors does well with their parts and the singing, especially Head and Brightman, who are fantastic. Paul Sorvino has a fun turn as the head of the company and we even get some Bill Mosely action for good measure. Alexa Vega makes a decent lead, though her singing isn't quite as up to snuff compared to her co-stars. Even Paris Hilton sounds better than her for the most part. A small complaint, at best.

The songs are well written. Some are better than others but that might be more a matter of the scenes which they are in and the characters that they're sung by than anything else. The drug description song is one of my favorites and I'm probably going to make it my ring tone, I enjoyed it so much.

It's a unique experience for a sci-fi/horror movie, but a fun one. The pieces range from more classically-styled songs to full on rock and roll and blend together quite well. It may not be repeat viewing for everyone, but it's definitely worth a least one viewing for such an interesting and unique film. I might actually check it out again tonight before the Walking Dead, I'm digging it so much. It's unfortunate that it didn't do so well at the box office, because ingenuity like this deserves to be rewarded. The writer said it was planned as a trilogy too, so it's a shame if we don't get to see more of this. Still, what we have is pretty damn good and I think I found my Halloween costume for next year. Check it out.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Cropsey

Started watching this little documentary last night on a whim, as I'm a fan of the Burning and the Cropsey legend and wondered how it would go in depth and explore it. Honestly, it really doesn't shed much light but instead focuses on a real killer and how it might be based on him, even though he didn't seem to stalk campers but instead kidnapped and killed mentally handicapped children. The truth side is definitely chilling and I can't believe this went on for so long in Staten Island. If I were a parent when this was going on, I'd be scared shitless for my kids. Nowadays, with things like this being pretty rampant, I'm still scared shitless but this case just really put me on edge. It's a sobering little watch and I wish they focused a little more on the Cropsey legend instead but the results are good, regardless. Check it out.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Walking Dead

I have to admit, the zombie renaissance that we're currently experiencing is something I never expected. I used to have to hunt to find new zombie flicks to watch on the shelves of the local video store. Zombie books? Few and far between. Zombie comics? Just as rare. Zombie tv shows? You're talking crazy. Now all you have to do is throw a rock and you'll hit one of the above. In this case, a zombie tv show based on a popular and long running zombie comic that you can see on Sundays on AMC. The premiere was on Halloween, and a great way to cap off a night of horror movies.

I'm a big fan of the comic, or was. I kinda dropped it around issue 50 as I wasn't digging it as much for various reasons. Up until that point though, it was a highlight of my Wednesday when it came out. How does the series hold up to the comic? So far, pretty damn well. It seems to be a translation of the first two issues, which I never thought would cover a whole hour and a half of tv, but it's handled masterfully and doesn't feel like it is being padded for time.

We follow Rick, a police officer, who is shot in the line of duty. He goes into a coma and wakes up and zombies have pretty much taken over the world. The hospital is in ruins and the city looks like a disaster area. If it sounds like 28 Days Later, you wouldn't be wrong, but the comic and that film came out around the same time and were developed independently of each other so it's just a happy coincidence. Either way, it's a fun way to introduce someone to the world of zombies when they have as much knowledge as we do. Anyhow, Rick heads home and finds his wife and kid have bailed for the city of Atlanta so after he recovers from his gunshot wound a bit more, he heads off to get them and sees just what kind of sorry shape the country is in.

I gotta say, I was impressed with this pilot episode. I love zombies. I love the comic. I love good drama. This is the best of all worlds and we get a faithful adaptation with good gore and zombie makeup, great acting and a situation we're invested in from the get go. It's definitely worth checking out or setting the dvr to record if you're like me and usually rather tired on Sunday nights. I think you'll want to make it until this one ends before sleeping though, as your friends will be talking about it after every episode for sure.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

[Rec]

Shaky cam is a very polarizing prospect. When it's done right, we can get a film that has authenticity and realism to a degree that a slick horror film can't quite reach, like The Blair Witch Project. When it's done wrong, we get Cloverfield. [Rec] is it done very right. In fact, it might be one of the best shaky cam films that I've ever seen.

We follow a reporter, Angela, and her cameraman, Pablo, as they follow a group of firefighters around for a night. At first they're stuck in the firehouse with nothing to do but when the alarm rings and they all go out for a routine mission to break a lady out of her apartment, things start to go terribly wrong. Like zombie wrong. Add in the fact that they can't escape the building as it is quarantined not long after they enter, and the problem grows even greater. Soon, Angela and Pablo are recording and reporting everything they see in what might be their last assignment ever--an assignment in terror!

It's a simple enough premise, but it works extremely well and the narrative is taut and without much in the way of filler. Indeed, once we get past the introductions in the firehouse and enter the apartment complex, the pace remains fast and furious as everyone is trying to figure out what the hell is going on and if they can even make it out alive. As it is a Spanish movie, I don't recognize any of the cast, but I think this helps it out. The movie was remade as Quarantine and features actors you know so it's just them playing a part. Here it is more effective as I only know Angela as Angela and the same for all the other characters, making it a more real experience.

All in all it's a tightly paced and made movie that handles the subject of a zombie outbreak quite realistically, or as realistically as we can do with such a thing. If you don't mind the subtitles, I heartily recommend checking it out, as it is a perfect movie for Halloween or any other night you want to be scared. Check it out. Also, there's a sequel and two more movies after that planned, so you'll be in on the ground floor of something grand.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Sixth Ward

Listening to the debut EP by Allendale indie rockers The Sixth Ward makes me angry. Not through any fault of their own. Indeed, the album is as nigh close to perfect as you can get. I'm not even angry because singer/guitarist Bill Schlavis looks like a young Ben Affleck. No, I'm angry because 106.3 is now a Top 40 station when in their heyday any of the four songs on the album would have been perfect for the alternative rock format that they supported. Instead, we are forced to either *gasp* go out and see them live or find out about them through Facebook, Myspace and iTunes. Or my blog. *Shameless Plug*.

It's a shame, really, because The Sixth Ward is a band that really needs to be played on a radio station. It brings me back to the days when I was just starting to get into music and was excited about finding new bands to listen to like The Replacements and Dramarama, both bands that I used to play heavily in the Firebird when they came on the radio and I wanted to try and impress some girl on the side of the road with my choice in music. Sadly, it never worked, but this album does. It's a hard-rocking testament to a time when bands weren't trying to sound like someone else, they just sounded like themselves. Listening to the four tracks--"Alcohol", "No Sneakers", "Bowery & Bleecker" and "F.Scott"--is truly a treat and you can feel the pure energy and enthusiasm that the band members throw into their parts, merging to make a sound that's not only a nostalgia trip, but damn good as well.

I can honestly say that I am extremely happy I bought this album on iTunes and since I did, it's seen heavy rotation in my car on the way to and from work, blasting it through my speakers with the windows down and the roof open to give everyone around me a taste of something beautiful. The four tracks are lean and mean, making you beg for more. There is no need to separate the wheat from the chaff on this disc. It's all wheat, enough for Aunt May to keep this Peter Parker-ish dude in wheatcakes until the apocalypse. That's pretty fucking wheaty.

I love this EP. It's sent the Selena Gomez and the Scene cd into the glove box and will remain in the changer until I burn the sucker out. Or they come out with some more songs to sate my appetite for good music. Thankfully, we have those other venues online and we can hear about the good stuff like this if we keep our ears to the ground.

The House on Sorority Row

Despite the provocative poster, House on Sorority Row isn't about sexy girls in their underwear. No, this classic slasher is about some girls who play a prank on their house mother that turns quite deadly. They hide the body and attempt to get rid of it but someone has seen what they did and is hunting them down one by one.

This one has been sitting in my queue for a while now so it was good to finally see it. I was quite impressed. It's a serious, terse little film with some good kills and only a few goofy parts, like the prank itself, where somehow making the house mother get in the pool at gun point seems like a good idea. After that though, when they're all complicit in the crime, it's played rather straight, with them trying to keep people at the party they're throwing out of the pool and then trying to get the body out of the house when it mysteriously appears upstairs in the attic.

I don't recognize anyone in the cast but they're generally good in their parts, with the bitchy ones being bitchy and the mousy ones being mousy. They actually act like college students, which is a nice change from the slashers of the 90s where everyone was self-aware and smarter than thou.

The kills are rather gory, usually involving the cane of the departed house mother, but a knife and some other implements are used as well. I'm sad that a movie like this isn't on the underrated slasher list over at Topless Robot, instead of films that have a higher profile than it. Very disappointing. Still, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying it. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Boogens

There are some movies that you catch as a kid and they sit there in your memory, bugging the hell out of you and possibly scaring the hell out of you, waiting for you to rediscover them to see them through the clarity of your older and more experienced eyes. For me, The Boogens was that movie.

I didn't remember much about it save for the name, which was pretty distinct. I saw it once as a child on cable and remembered some parts in a mine but that was about it. You can imagine how ecstatic I was when it was released about ten years ago onto video cassette. I bought that sonofabitch as fast as I could and watched it, seeing how it held up when compared to my memories of it.

It wasn't bad at all.

Honestly, it's a fairly decent, low budget horror film from the 80s. It takes place in a mining town in Colorado, I believe, where the local silver mine has been closed for years thanks to a cave in that made it unsafe and some odd reports of attacks on the miners. Well, all of that is in the past and a company wants to reopen it and get at some of that there silver. So they send a miner and his young cohorts and their lady friends to do it. A crazy man tries to stop them, telling them about strange creatures that live in the mine. They ignore him but soon they are being picked off one by one by something with tentacles and a craving for human flesh.

A well paced and fairly lean film, the Boogens features some characters we can actually care about and enjoy before they die, some great nudity, and no real moments where you scream at the people for doing something stupid. Outside of going into the mine in the first place, that is. Always listen to the crazy old guy. He knows things. Scary things.

There isn't a ton in the way of gore but the deaths are well done and surprising at times. The only failing of the movie is in the design of the Boogens themselves, which is rather lackluster. I've heard them described as seals mated with turtles which then had tentacles stapled on. Not truly menacing but scary enough and a darn sight better than the monster in It Conquered the World.

It's a solid film and worth a look if it's on TCM like it was this past weekend or you find the vhs tape somewhere. A forgotten classic, to be sure. Now I just need to find the other lost creature in a mine film, The Strangeness, so I can have a good double header as I've had a blast watching the Boogens again this year on my well worn vhs cassette.

Check it out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Prowler

It was a quiet Sunday night and I felt the hankering for something horror-like, so I decided upon a movie. The Prowler turned out to be a good choice. In this under-appreciated and probably unknown to the general public slasher, a soldier comes home from WWII and finds a Dear John letter from his girl. So he gears up and kills her and her date and is never caught. The town, Avalon Bay, NJ, decrees that they shall never have a graduation day dance again because of this. Well, 35 years later, they're having the dance again for the first time since the murders and it seems that someone is still around and doesn't like that and expresses his annoyance with grisly murders.

A good companion piece to the similar My Bloody Valentine, this film is set in a blue-collar world and features kids who just want to have a little fun. Unfortunately for them, that fun means dying. And oh, how they are dispatched. Tom Savini often cites this as his best work, and it's definitely up there for me. The kill shots are long and realistic. There's no quick stabbing scenes. No, he drives that knife home and lets it linger there for awhile, letting the pain sink in. Good times. The killer has a great outfit too. It's basically fatigues, a helmet and a scarf/mask of some sort and is simple but works for the movie. I also like how he uses basically two weapons the entire time--a pitchfork and a knife. The former doesn't really fit in with the army motif for me but it gives us some decent kills. I like that kind of consistency in a slasher. It gives him character.

The cast is mostly unknowns, save for Lawrence Tierney, who plays an old Major that lives across the street from the dorm/apartments that the main girl lives at. They do pretty well. I don't have any complaints, save for the scene where the deputy is trying to reach the sheriff who went on vacation. The motel clerk is rather annoying and the scene, while humorous, kinda throws off the pacing so late in the game. Earlier on it would have been better but at this point a bunch of people are dead and a killer is on the loose and the tension is mounting and this just throws it all away.

All in all, The Prowler is a fun slasher with some good kills that are sure to whet your appetite for gore. It's on instant streaming too, which is nice, since I had never heard of it and just added it for the cover, so when I was going through them for something to watch, I decided on it. Good choice. Go me. Check it out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Legion

Had a movie night last night with the missus. Her choice of film was Legion, which was one of several biblical themed movies that came out earlier in the year. This one was a siege type movie where a group of people are trapped in a remote truck stop where they are under siege by some evil force while an ex-angel gives them the key to surviving what might just be the apocalypse.

I didn't know too much about this movie going in and it had suffered from some bad reviews so far. It was an entertaining enough affair. Not the best movie of the year by a long shot but it starts firing on all cylinders early and keeps you moving right until the very end. The whole people under siege by evil routine is always a fun one, from NOTLD, to Precinct 13, to a ton of others, it is always a plot I enjoy and this one does it well.

The cast is well acted, with Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid leading the pack with support from Roc and some chick from Private Practice. They do what they can with the material and we're treated to some pretty gruesome deaths along the way, which is never a bad thing in my book. Bettany in particular is quite the bad ass in this film, liberating a bunch of automatic weapons early on that are put to good use in ventilating their enemies. A couple of the characters fall for some stupid crap or act stupidly in the movie, and I'm always annoyed that the sensible people don't just let them die for being dumbasses. It doesn't happen too many times though and it doesn't seem as bad as the chick going to rescue the dog in the Dawn of the Dead remake, so I'll give them a pass.

Good popcorn flick, easy on the eyes with nothing heavy to think about, save why they use the same damn quote from a character to open and close the film. They would have been better off starting it in the beginning and then finishing it at the end, since it's got a punchline that is wasted right off the bat. Oh well. Decent enough.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New York Ripper

For tonight's Friday Night Fright I decided to go Italian, since I was denied my customary spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. For this feast for my eyes, I picked The New York Ripper by Lucio Fulci. I had heard good things about this film, that it was one of his best. Having loved his zombie series of films like Zombie, Zombie 3, the Beyond, City of the Living Dead and the like, I figured I'd try this one, which was more of a giallo/slasher film.

In this movie, a killer is terrorizing the young women of New York, quacking like a duck and cutting them up gruesomely. We follow a detective on the case, a young woman who survives the attack and her husband, Alexendra Delli Colli playing a perv and a professor as they all collide on the path to figuring out who is responsible for the murders and which one of them could be next. It's a pretty solid thriller with some rather effective kills that linger on the slow cuts and stabs that end each victim's life. The characters are rather interesting, especially Delli Colli who gets naked and tied up like in Zombie Holocaust, and the movie keeps moving at a brisk pace as we try to figure out who the killer is as well.

I'll have to say that the reveal wasn't much of a surprise as it is telegraphed early on, but they do some effective dekes that had me questioning whether my choice was correct or not. In the mean time, you get some great shots of the city and an effective use of color in some other shots that is astounding. I was applauding the use of extreme close-ups at first but he did seem to go overboard on them, at one point even having them as two men had a staring contest over the sounds of an audio sex tape.

All in all a solid effort, though it wasn't to my liking as much as his more supernatural films. The tension in several of the scenes makes up for that, such as one where the cops listen to the killer murder a young woman as they try to find out where she is. Good stuff.

FNM - Attack of the Insecticons!

So the thing that has me most excited about Scars of Mirrodin is the new infect ability. After reading The Turkish Tornado's, colum over at iwantmymtg.com a few weeks ago I decided to give it a go. He was suggesting a three color Blue-Black-Green version using Adventuring Gear and fetch lands for massive fast creature pumps. Due to a lack of Verdant Catacombs I thought I would take it in a little bit different direction. I love the Distortion Strike combo making small creatures +1/+0 and unblockable. So I thought about what else was unblockable that I could work with infect. Creeping Tar Pit is unblockable and with Tainted Strike is a good late game option for a kill. In addition, Plague Stinger will give me some added evasion and Vampire's Bite will combo for some huge infect hits. When I first got back into MTG and into Standard I loved this card on turn 2 in conjunction with a turn 1 Vampire Lacerator. 5 points of damage that quick is pretty good, but on infect that is essentially 10 points of damage if you play it combined with Distortion Strike. You will have to watch out for the 2 for 1 (or even 3 for 1) doing this, so be careful (the loss of Path to Exile helps however). So here is the deck list I played last night:


Insecticons 1.0 (2010-10-22)





Creatures
Land
1 Hand of the Praetors 4 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Plague Stinger 2 Darkslick Shores
1 Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon 3 Drowned Catacomb


7 Island

Atrifact Creatures 7 Swamp
3 Ichorclaw Myr

3 Necropede 60 Total





Instants
Sideboard
3 Doom Blade 3 Corpse Cur
2 Steady Progress 4 Into the Roil
3 Tainted Strike 4 Livewire Lash
4 Turn Aside 4 Spell Pierce
2 Unsummon

3 Vampire's Bite 15 Total





Sorcery

4 Distortion Strike

4 Preordain


I started off against Adam. Adam beat my green elves deck a few weeks ago with his infinite combo myr deck. In game one I got out to a good start with three small infect creatures out and a nice Distortion Strike/Vampire's Bite combo on a Ichorclaw Myr. I was then able to get the kill on the next turn with the rebound, another Distortion Strike, and a Tainted Strike for some pump. 1-0 Game two did not go quite as well. After a mulligan to six I was doing alright, but then he got his combo off on turn four for the win. 1-1 Game three we both mulliganed to six and I was stupid and kept a junky hand (three Islands, three Distortion Strikes). I don't know why I ever kept this, it goes back to the rule "if you have to think about it you probably shouldn't keep it". Although I don't know why I was even thinking about this one. Maybe if those were Preordains instead, but not Distortion Strike, especially with the low creature count in the deck (twelve, that is one thing I am going to modify). So the game wasn't going bad, but I wasn't able to play much and he burned the one creature I got down. I had a lot of blue mana open so he was not playing the Splinter Twin but was able to beat on me with his myr. I got Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon in my hand but was stuck on only one black mana and his pair of Myr Galvanizers did me in.

0-1 (1-2)

Next up was Noyan playing mono black (check out his latest article on iwantmymtg.com, yes, he net-decked himself). Game one was going well and I got him up to nine poison counters (or Phyrexia Bucks as I like to use). However when he played Liliana's Specter with a Mimic Vat in play things started to go sour. I should have held back and waited to get another Distortion Strike but I made some bad moves and attacked. With the specter on the Vat I was screwed having to discard every time the specter was played. Once he top decked Wurm Coil Engine I scooped because I had no out (he used Sadistic Sacrament and removed my two Steady Progress which was my only win condition in that situation since I could only play instants before having to discard). 0-1 Second game the Mimic Vat came out early again and I never really got any board control. He quickly killed me with a couple of Wurm Coil Engines. 0-2

0-2 (1-4)

Next up was a newer player at our FNM, I believe Josh was his name. His deck was a preconstructed deck at best. I'm not going to even write about this one because it was no contest (in addition to his weak deck he kept really bad hands both times and I don't think he shuffled well either). I felt kinda bad about that one, but what can you do?

1-2 (3-4)

Last round was against Eric playing a white knights deck. I can't remember much about game one except his knights pounded me pretty good (White Knight, Student of Warfare, Knight Exemplar). I actually don't remember much about games two and three, but I won game two and then in game three was able to swing in for the win with 2 life left facing down Ajani Goldmane and a couple of knights.

Overall it was a fun night trying out something new. A few changes I've already made are -4 Turn Aside, -2 Unsummon, -1 Tainted Strike, +4 Mana Leak, +1 Necropede, +1 Ichorclaw Myr, +1 Ichor Rats. The Mana Leaks will be much more useful than the Turn Asides and the extra creatures will bring me up to a creature count of 15 since not pulling many creatures was a problem. I also need to trade for two more Darkslick Shores. I thought about mainboarding two Into The Roils in place of the Unsummons, but I think the Mana Leaks will be better. We'll see. Now what do I play at FNM and game day next week, Insecticons 1.1 or back to elves?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Madman 30th Anniversary DVD

Finally, after being on order for what seems like forever (1 month), my Madman dvd finally came in the mail. Why am I so excited for this? Why, it's the 30th anniversary dvd, loaded with bells and whistles and it's also in print, so I don't have to drop the cash for the OOP Anchor Bay dvd, which is a bonus.

What's the verdict? Pretty awesome so far. The print is nice and clean, though it has some of the same scratches and damage from the print I saw on IFC. Presumably, those can't be removed but it's all good. They give it that drive-in feel I love. I've read reports that there is some interlacing issues, but my dvd player/tv doesn't seem to care and it all looks fine to me. Those of you with progressive tvs may experience it differently but most of the players out there should be able to take care of it. I also heard that they removed the blue tint from a lot of the night scenes, but I honestly don't remember what ones and don't have the time to check it out. Some of them still have it and the others look good so I don't have any complaint. Maybe upon a comparison of the old print (on IFC this month) I can analyze it better. It's just so good to have Madman on dvd and not a bootleg or on the dvr.

Special features include a commentary from cast and crew, a 30th anniversary doc/retrospective and one of my favorites, a piece on bands that were influenced by the movie, which includes one of my favorite versions--the extended Ballad of Madman Marz by the Vicar of VHS. I have yet to sample all of these as I'm still working through the movie again, but I can't wait. It's a Halloween treat for me for sure and should be for you too.

If you have a love of the movie or just want to check it out without breaking the bank, this dvd is a solid purchase. Buy it quick too, as Code Red will be closing their doors soon. I hear that the producer said there might be another dvd down the line with some deleted scenes as well, but I don't know if I'd bank on it as it took us this long to get this disc. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Night in the Lonesome October

In addition to watching as many horror movies as I possibly during this month, there is another tradition that I partake in, which is a reading of Roger Zelazny's A Night in the Lonesome October. It's a book about a strange game that takes place in the English countryside where factions are formed and the players seem to be taken right out of horror fiction and movies and the results might mean the end of the world if the wrong team wins. The story is told by Snuff, the animal companion of Jack the Ripper as day by day, they assemble what they need for the end of the month finale.

It's an atmospheric and clever book and uses traditional characters in a fun way and having a book from dog's point of view is quite amusing and reminds me of Bunnicula in a way. The book is also broken up into chapters that correspond with each day in October, making a reading easy. Just do one a day. Some are long, some are only a page. It's a fun trip all the way to the end and worth repeating year after year. It adds a bit of familiarity to the month and makes it a little more special on rainy days like today. You can still catch up too if you hurry.

Check it out.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Predators

The Alien and Predator franchises haven't had much of a good record lately. For Alien, they suffered the fourth film before jumping into the AVP franchise. For Predator, we only got two movies before they joined the abortion of a combo franchise as well. Some people were happy with that. I can't imagine who. Fortunately, some weren't and thus we got a new Predator movie, entitled Predators, which is a return to form for the series as well as giving us a whole new world (literally) to play with.

Indeed, the movie opens with several characters plummeting to their doom before parachutes engage and they land in a jungle the likes of which they haven't seen before or place anywhere in the world. It's a motley crew of soldiers and villains, the pick of the litter from the world's armies and prisons for which to test the Predators mettle against, and test they do soon enough, encountering odd traps and obstacles that let they catch on rather quickly that whatever scooped them off of earth was not benign in its intentions. Soon, they must band together to try and fend off the alien attacks as they realize they are on a completely different world and need to find a way off if they are to ever survive.

Adrian Brody leads off the cast, with notable co-stars that include Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne and Alice Braga. They do a fine job with the material, which seems to tread a bit in homage territory to the first film but breaks off enough to do its own thing that you won't feel you're watching a rehash. Indeed, it's a good start for a new series to take off of, as the Predator game preserve gives us an answer to having repeat Predator encounters without trying to shoehorn them into a plot or figure out why nobody ever sees them when they hunt platoons and people all over the world. The action is fast paced and well done and the Predator designs are great, giving us some fresh faces to look at behind the masks.

I was afraid of what the movie would end up like but Robert Rodriguez produced a great film for us and director Nimrod Antal pulls out all the stops in getting us from place to place without letting us slow down too much to catch our breath. I can't say it's better than the original, but it's up there with the second film at least and I'd be interested in seeing a sequel to this for sure. Check it out.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Hatchet 2 Pulled?

What the hell, AMC? You release the first unrated film in what, like 20 years, and give it one weekend before you pull it? What the fuck? I was hoping it was playing relatively near me but the closest is Jersey Gardens. Still, I was making plans to go this weekend after work, since I was up there. Guess that plan is out. Thanks a lot, fuckers. On the bright side, if they can get it onto OnDemand, I can watch it a bunch at home and try to give it some well earned cash that I was going to spend on it anyway. If you can, go see it if you can find it.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Video Dead

For this week's Friday Night Fright, I went into the time machine and actually picked up The Video Dead off the shelf of Easy Video instead of letting it languish there whilst I rented something else. Ok, that's not true. I just streamed it from Netflix. It is a bit of a holy grail for me, though, as it was one I never got around to watching and then by the time I wanted to, I could never find it for rent. Such is life. So after years of waiting, how was it?

Honestly? Not bad. Not bad at all. Ok, it was bad in a sense, ok a couple of senses, with acting and plotting being the main culprits, but it has a charm that makes you embrace that badness instead of just switching it off for something else. The effects are low budget and the makeup isn't stellar but it works, often better for me than something like The Dead Next Door, which had an equally dismal budget.

The story follows a brother and sister who are moving into a house while there parents are away overseas. That wouldn't be a problem except that three months before a haunted tv set was delivered and killed the previous owner with zombies from it. When the boy finds the tv in the attic and turns it on, he unleashes an evil on the town the likes of which they have never seen--The Video Dead. Once that happens, its a fairly brisk pace of murder and mayhem as the brother and sister try to piece together what is happening with the help of a Texan who has encountered the tv before. Along the way we get some funny kills and some good ones as the Video Dead decide to kill the neighbors before the people in the house. Can they stop them before they kill the whole block? Find out yourself. I'm not telling.

I enjoyed the movie a bit. Maybe it was the scotch or maybe it was just the fun vibe that it gave off. The movie knows it isn't as pretty or sophisticated as other movies in the genre but it tries hard and puts out that extra effort that really make it worth watching in all its lunacy. Its no Troll 2, but I had a fun time with it and the inane dialogue (there's great stuff about poodles) and some interesting zombie make-up (some look pretty decent, one looks like Gary from the Howard Stern Show) and it all gels to make a ride worth signing on for. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Supernatural Returns

It feels like it has been off forever, even though it was only a few short months and I'm glad it's back. Supernatural is one of the more consistent shows in terms of quality and fun. Add in the fact that they seem to be back to a monster of the week style show after several seasons of a rather tight story arc and it should make for some great viewing. My only complaint is that the CW, in their infinite wisdom, moved it to Fridays, which is already heavy thanks to Fox putting Human Target and The Good Guys there. Also, it's kind of a shitty slot as people are going out. Still, it's still on so I'm happy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Troll 2

As it was Friday night and I was looking for something to do before playing NHL 11, I decided a movie would be just the thing. I had read that the Video Dead was on Netflix instant view and had intentions of watching that. Instead, I decided on Troll 2, which popped up when I added the former movie. I gotta say, it was a brilliant fucking choice.

Troll 2 is amazing. It's an in-name-only sequel to the original that was originally filmed as something else but changed the title to capitalize on the original movie's ummmm, success I guess. The acting is terrible. The story is terrible. The effects are terrible. The package as a whole is terrible but there is something that captivates you and draws you in so that you can't stop watching.

The story follows a young boy who sees his dead grandfather and talks to him as the boy and his family get ready to go on a family vacation. Seems that they're taking part in a family exchange and going to live on a farm in a town called Nilbog, population twenty-six. Sounds like a blast. Well, the boy, Michael, begins to see that things aren't all peachy in the country and that the town is infested with goblins that want to eat them all. Throw in a crazy druid lady, some possibly bisexual teens in a camper, nasty looking food and people turning into trees, and you have quite a fun time lined up. Oh, and the goblins looks like midgets in burlap sacks wearing masks, which worked for the bogeymen in March of the Wooden Soldiers and I think it works well here.

It's not so bad it's good, it's so bad it's AWESOME. Seriously. I had a blast checking this out alone, and I can only imagine what a room full of drunks would be like with this film. There's a documentary that covers the fanbase and the making of the film too called Best Worst Movie that I must see now. That comes out on dvd in November, I believe. It will be mine, oh yes, it will.

Check it out.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Survival of the Dead


I was planning on going to see Scott Pilgrim this weekend after my wife got home from work, as the only showings were apparently after 11, which would make it easy to go to. Unfortunately, the theaters have bed bugs so I decided to stay in and catch a flick in my dvd pile instead. My choice? Survival of the Dead, by George A. Romero.

In this latest installment of the Dead series, we follow an AWOL team of National Guard members, several of whom were last seen in Diary of the Dead robbing the protagonists of that film. You even get a video recap of it. They, like anybody else in the world of the dead, are just looking to find a place to get away from everyone and have a place of their own they can survive the end of the world. The Colonel and his squad find Plum Island, where according to one of the inhabitants, they can live in peace. Turns out, that's a bold-faced lie as said inhabitant is part of a feud between families and just looking for someone to back his attempt at insurrection. Mayhem ensues.

So, how does the newest installment hold up in a series that is, what, about 40 years old? Pretty well. You can stick this movie into several places along the timeline without trouble. At this point, though, the movies are feeling less like epics about the end of the world and the human condition and more like little vignettes that combine ideas from the main series in a different part of the world. The story is a little weak but the actors do a good job with the material and we get several sympathetic characters and several batshit insane ones. The gore is plentiful though some of the CGI shots are rather sketchy. All in all a solid movie, though it does pale compared to the main four (Night, Dawn, Day & Land). With Diary and Survival, we get a new, lower budget series that is more interconnected than the others, with characters intersecting at parts of each others' stories and then going on to tell their own. Romero says he has several more planned if the sales on this one do well and I'm keen to see them after this. Judging by the empty racks at Best Buy, it's doing well the first week it was out, forcing me to go to Wally World instead to get my copy.

I will admit that I would like to see Romero diversify a bit more, as I am a huge fan of Bruiser and enjoy his non-zombie works quite a bit. Still, I'll take what I can get from one of our masters of horror who keeps putting out quality films, even if he isn't getting the budgets that he used to.

Check it out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rainy Days and Sundays

Not much to report as of late. Haven't watched anything of note, movie-wise, though I'm dying to go see Scott Pilgrim since I'm a huge fan of the books. I have been reading a ton of books though, so that's something and probably why I haven't watched much in the way of flicks. In particular, I've been reading the Dresden Files. I read Storm Front, the first book, about three years ago. Since I got the Kindle, I've gone through eight books in about two weeks. At this rate, I should be caught up on the series through book 13 in no time flat. They're great reads and any fan of fantasy should check out the series, which involves a wizard/private eye.

Housework, today. Gonna install some pegboard and try to clean up the garage and downstairs. I really need to find a place for all of my tools so I can get them all easier.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

His Name Was Jason

Updated version of the music video coming soon. While it was rendering, I watched this little documentary last night about the Friday the 13th series. Documentary might be not the right word for it, as it was basically a puff piece with people who were remembering the series as either fans or stars/crew members. They didn't really shed much new light on anything but it was a decent way to kill an hour and a half. It's hosted by Tom Savini, who, using the haunted house based on the series in Universal Studios, punctuates each segment with screams and gore. The interviewed members ranged from Sean S. Cunningham, the director of the original and pretty much father of the series to random cast members who you don't even remember in the films and everyone in between. They were noticeably lacking Thom Matthews, who as Tommy Jarvis in part 6, was one of the few human males to give Jason a run for his money consistently and not die doing so. They covered the film, but not a ton, which is unfortunate, as it is one of my favorite ones due to the humor element and the fact that this is where they changed Jason into a zombie/undead monster for the most part.

I wasn't a fan of the seemingly tacked on puff piece about the then new remake coming out, as they didn't tell you much about it and it was just everyone talking it up saying how it was going to be awesome. It was good, that is for certain, much better than Freddy vs. Jason. Kind of a crappy coda to end on though. It would have been fun if they got Kevin Bacon to reminisce about his role in the first film as well, but to no avail. Worth checking out for fans of the series.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Music Video Rough Cut

Finally have a rough cut of the music video we were working on. So far, the only change has been the title, which was missing an all important "The" at the beginning. I have thusly changed it and re-posted it for your viewing pleasure. Courtesy of Rob at Rucksack Films.

New cut: 8/15/10. Color graded some of the footage different and added strobe and noise and blur to some as well. Looks a lot better in quicktime where you can see some of the subtle changes better. Youtube kinda glosses over them. Still, looks closer to the other footage so they mix better.

New cut: 8/30/10: New footage placed in at the end.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Magic Weekend

Took a day trip down to my brother's house to see him and his family and also to play some magic in a little tournament. This is the second time we've done this such thing, where we buy ten packs apiece and form a deck out of them and play to win some more packs. Last time it was Zendikar where I lost but got some great cards. This time it was Rise of the Eldrazi and I lost again (though I won one game in the loser bracket) and only got some middling cards. No mythics whatsoever, whereas one of the players got like 8 and Dave pulled a damn Gideon. In all fairness, I told him I wasn't going to be the one pulling him from a pack.

I'm sure a better player could have made something good out of the cards, but in all the colors, I was missing something to push it over the top. I think removal would have been the missing component. Too many things on the board and all I had was consuming vapors vs eldrazi spawn, which means all the big targets get missed by it. Ah well. It was fun time. At least in the downtime between a match I got to test my vampire deck, which did well against Urzatron. God bless the bloodsuckers, and with only five mana for the whole game. Fortunately, that covered all my big guys and I kept pulling good cards. If it got really bad, I could have tossed out a Sign in Blood but I did ok.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Grilled Gold

In my efforts to discover fun new recipes, I have stumbled upon a good one. It's still in the works but I'll give you what I have so far.

Hot & Cold Dogs

Ingredients:
-Hot Dogs & Buns
-Sriracha
-Cole Slaw

It's a simple enough recipe. Grill up the dogs and put them on buns. Drizzle the dogs in the Sriracha. Top with cole slaw and add a little black pepper to taste. Enjoy. Homemade slaw is best but store bought will serve in a pinch. It's a nice balance of taste. Crack open an cold one and enjoy!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Call Me Editortron

Or don't, really. Just got done with a several hour editing session with Rob on the music video we shot for his friend. I think it turned out rather well, so does he. We might have had to stretch a little at the end of it but it worked out just fine. It's amazing how, when editing to music, the shots just drop into place and match up perfectly. It's like fate. Or luck. Probably luck. Its good stuff though. I can't wait to get that sucker uploaded. We're just waiting on the credits information, or rather, to see if we can put some on there for me and Rob or at least Rucksack Films. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Steadicam


I can't remember if I ever uploaded a photo of the steadicam that I made and use on a regular basis for filming. Well, here it is in all of its unholy glory. The recipe to make one for yourself is pretty simple. It's based in part on the Poor Man's Steadicam recipe that you can find on the web that utilized lead pipes. Or steel. I can't remember. Instead of that, we use a monopod as the base. On the lower shaft you attach a weight like you would on a barbell. You can also use the velcro ankle weights if you don't want it as permanent.

After that, you put a layer of foam and tape on the top shaft, pretty much right under the handle. Then you slide the t-joint onto it. It should be a tight fit. You drill two holes for thumbscrews before attaching and insert them after you have it where you want it and tighten away. Then you, again through previously drilled holes, screw in the pvc pipe and cap. Wrap some foam and tape around the end where you will be holding so you have a good grip. If you like, you can paint it before hand so you have it all black and the white doesn't stand out.

I don't particularly care that it is white or looks odd as I made it for about 15 bucks so that's just fine with me. Depending on your camera, you may need more or less weight and by extending the monopod, you can either use it as a monopod or change the center of gravity, which helps with the balance. The more you know, and all that jazz.

Orange Lantern Hal




Did this one awhile ago. Looks more orange in person. Honest. He's looking good standing next to Larfleeze on my shelf. It was a pretty simple repaint, in all honesty. Sometimes those are the best though, as they just let you knock one out really quickly without any sculpting or much to do. I still have a ton of customs on my desk I need to finish. Might have to work on some tonight to give me more room, though the hockey figures I'm waiting on decals for and have to order them first, so that's going to be awhile.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Review: Midnight Movie (2008)


Since the wifey was going to bed early tonight, I decided that I was overdue for a horror movie. Considering that I have a ton on DVR that I haven't watched yet, it was a tough decision on exactly what to watch. In the end, I chose Midnight Movie. I can't say I regret it but I'm not exactly thrilled by it.

The premise sounds neat enough. A bunch of people come to a theater to watch a cult horror film and end up getting picked off one by one by the killer from the movie. The execution is a little lacking in places and it leads to an uneven film. The main part is shot competently enough, but the movie within a movie was rather terrible. I'm not saying they needed to make a classic, but when you're watching something that's supposed to be from 1968-ish and in B&W, you should at least put a little effort into the filters. Converting a film to black and white and putting some scratches on it does not authenticity make. They could have fiddled for about 5 minutes in FCP and done better if they tried. Honestly.

The cast is likable enough and do a good job, though there are the usual stereotypes found throughout it like the asshole, the final girl with a secret, the burly tough who has a good heart, a little fucking kid. You know the drill. You get to know most of them and care a little bit when they get killed and you find yourself rooting for them against the killer, who has a cool mask, kinda like Leslie Vernon in a way, but a shitty weapon, which looks like a metal ice cream cone. In the end, it doesn't matter, as there isn't really an ending. What leads up to a third act doesn't really pay off and you're left wondering what happened to everyone. I know it was semi-magical and I didn't need to know exactly how the film comes to life, but I do want a little sense that I didn't just waste a half an hour, which is what I'm kinda feeling.

If you can catch it on tv, I'd say give it a whirl, but prepare to be disappointed in the end. The rest of it was worth it but the ending just killed me. Maybe they're just waiting for the sequel.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More verse

Down came her tears,
Down came the rain.
Out came the bourbon,
Out went my brain.

Weekend of Non-Horror

Been a busy weekend for me. In addition to my normal duties of taking care of my lovely daughter, I got to see the A-Team, which was awesome. It actually hit on the right notes for an adaptation. Most of the ones coming out like Land of the Lost and Starsky and Hutch are played for comedy and border on parody, so it's nice to see something that treats the source material with a little more reverence. The story is pretty solid and the cast is top notch. I expected good things and got them from Liam Neeson and Bradley Cooper, but complete surprises were Rampage Jackson and the dude from District 9. Both played their parts very well, and I was happy to see Murdock was rather insane and nailed it completely. Definitely worth checking out.

Next up, I met with my buddy Rob tonight to film a music video at Monmouth Beach. It was a dusk shoot with fading light so we had to move quickly and we did so with great aplomb. I rocked my HV20 on a steadicam (home made) while Rob used the Digital Harenizumi 2. I think we have more than enough for the video, with 20+ minutes alone being recorded by me, so in addition to Rob's stuff, we should be sitting pretty for the edit session. It was rather crazy, being at the beach where the surf was pounding us. We all went barefoot and I had my cam wrapped in a DIY weatherproofing rig (ziploc bag) to protect it mainly from sand, but it turns out that surf was to be my enemy. It was wild, definitely one of the cooler shoots I've done. Look for that video soon.

Now my arms hurt from wielding the camera, so I must bid you adieu. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jim Wynorski is My Hero

I mean, in addition to directing the legendary classic Chopping Mall aka Killbots, he's got a pretty solid body of softcore films that are parodies of mainstream blockbusters, such as Cleavagefield, the DaVinci Co-Ed and the Bare Wench Project. Then he's done fun little cheapies like Ghoulies 4, Munchie, The Return of Swamp Thing and Komodo vs. Cobra. It's like he combines the two things I love into films as much as possible. I love the exploitation sensibilities of his films and they're pretty fun. And in the instance of parodies, particularly Cleavagefield, they're more entertaining than some of the original film they mock. I mean, shit, as goofy as the monster was in the parody, at least you saw the fucking thing. And then there's the copious amounts of sex. Never a bad thing for some late at night viewing.

I only bring this up since I taped The Hills Have Thighs, his newest epic, on Cinemax last night and plan on being entertained by it. Maybe I'm in a schlocky, softcore kind of mood. Maybe I'm just curious about how it holds up to the original and the pretty decent remake. Maybe I'm just a dirty old man now at heart.

Either way, at lot of his stuff is pretty top notch budget film making in my book. Check him out.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Colloctor's Corner FNM Top 4

Friday I played FNM at Collector's Corner. There was a huge turnout (28 players) which is more than double their usual turnout. I played my version of Beastmaster Monument based off of Zvi Mowshowitz's Pro Tour San Juan block constructed deck. The changes are due to either a) not having all the cards or b) the addition of M10 options. Here it is:


Beastmaster Monument 1.0 (07/02/2010)





Planeswalkers
Side Board
4 Garruk Wildspeaker 4 Leatherback Baloth


3 River Boa

Creatures 2 Naturalize
1 Avenger of Zendikar 2 Tajuru Preserver
2 Elvish Archdruid 2 Gigantiform
4 Joraga Treespeaker 1 Gelatnis Genesis
1 Khalni Hydra 1 Forrest
4 Kozilek's Predator

4 Lanowar Elves 15 Total
1 Lotus Cobra

4 Nest Invader

1 Oracle of Mul Daya

1 River Boa

1 Wolfbriar Elemental






Instants






Enchantments

4 Beastmaster Ascension

1 Eldrazi Conscription






Sorcery

1 Bestial Menace






Artifacts

2 Eldrazi Monument






Land

16 Forrest

1 Dread Statuary

4 Khalni Garden

3 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood





60 Total


My first match was against Dan who was running Elvish Monument. Dan's deck still needs some upgrades like three more Eldrazi Monuments so without the big win conditions, it wasn't a huge challenge. It was a fun match and great for a warm-up since I haven't played standard in 2.5 months.

Win 2-0.

My second match was against John playing Jund. John was playing really fast and I started to get pretty nearvous. I won game 1 after dropping some elves, Nest Invager, Kozilek's Predator, Avenger of Zendikar with three plants, then popping Garruk's Ultimate with a Beastmaster Ascension in play. That was sick. Second games I sided in the 3 additional River Boa's for their regenerate ability (removed 3 Nest Invaders). I was able to get out 2 River Boa's Early and he was mana screwed with only a Putrid Leach in play. I had Beastmaster out and was attacking with the two River Boas. I got it charged up to 6, but he Jund Charmed it. I don't remember exacltly the whole match, but I had him down to 3, and then the game just swung in his favor with a couple more Jund Charms and the Leach. He took me down to one and I thought I had a chance until he played Blightning for the win. Nerves were kicking and I know I made some mistakes in this game (forgetting an Eldrazi Spawn when I played Nest Invader!). After the match was over we chatted a bit and he told me I could have won game 2 if I had attacked with my plant token one turn to get the full charge on Beastmaster. Bad mistake that cost me the game. Thinking back I think he may have suckered me on that one when he said "attacking with river boas?" and I did. I could be speculating, but that may have been the turn I could have won if I had slowed down and played more carefully. Lesson learned, stay calm and think each play through. Game three I added in the 4 Leatherback Baloths in place of 3 Kozilek's Predators and Bestial Menace (this card ended up getting sided out just about every time). I don't remember much about this game but John took it for the match win.

Lose 1-2

My next match was against someone playing vampires. This match was over pretty quick by popping Garruk's ultimate in the first game. Second game my deck played pretty smooth again and he was short on mana.

Win 2-0

My next match was agains a red blue black deck with Sedraxis Specter and Abyssal Persecutors. The first game was close because I was able to get out a monument to block his flyiers (he also had Sarkhan Vol out and was making 4/4 dragons). The problem was I had to sacrifice to the monument every turn and eventually he was able to swarm me with his fliers. From my sideboard in the second match I grabbed the Leatherback Baloths figuring I could take a shot at just pounding him early. I got lucky and one baloth came out on turn two or three and was able to start pounding him. I didn't really see the specters or persecutor that game and was able to take the win. I don't really remember the third game, but took the win for the match win.

Win 2-1

At 3-1 I was looking pretty good to make the top 8. I was paired up with my friend Keith who was currently in fifth place (I was in fourth) and we were able to draw in to top 8. He was playing his Red-Green Elves. We played two games for fun and split 1-1. It was an odd match-up but fun.

Draw

My overall record was 3-1-1 and I made the top 8. Who did I get paired against? Keith.

So our decks run kinda similar but he had a small advantage with Elvish Archdruid pumping all his creatures, and Nissa being able to grab Nissa's Chosen to sacrifice to Monument. First game was crazy with both of us getting Monument online. It was pretty much a stalemate and I was using Garruk to make beasts to sacrifice to the monument. Eventually I just ran out of creatures and he swarmed me. Note the Elvish Visionary was also a big advantage for him being able to draw a card off it and then sac it to monument. Second game I sideboared 11 cards! The baloths, boas, Naturalize, and Gigantiform all went into the deck. Second game the deck ran really well getting two baloths out on turns 2 and 3. He played Pithing Needle and named Garruk Wildspeaker who I was holding in my hand, so that was a dead card. I eventually won the game by dropping an Eldrazi Conscription on a spawn token and he scooped. The third game was close and his mana was running odd with all green for a few turns (actually that may have been the second game). He got out a Pithing Needle again and named Garruk and the next turn dropped Monument. I was thinking I was in trouble here, but was holding Naturalize, Garruk, and Khalni Hydra. I was about to naturalize the Pithing Needle, but then realized that stupid and the Monument was the real threat since I had the hydra. I naturalized the monument and played an elf. Then I think I played Wolfbriar Elemental kicked twice next turn and was able to play the Hydra for GGG the following turn. With that on the field I was able to take the game.

With that win I made top four and we split since it was almost 1:30 am by then.

Overall this was a really exciting night. I played mono-green which I love and did really well. I was also able to trade for a second Lotus Cobra to replace the Oracle of Mul Daya. I also picked up another Wolfbriar yesterday to replace the Bestial Menace and substituted Pithing Needle into the sideboard to replace the Gelatinouss Genesis.

M11 comes out next weekend, so I'm not sure how that will affect this deck in the future but I guess we'll find out in a few weeks. This deck is really fun, so I'll probably continue to play it.