Monday, June 29, 2020

What We Do In The Shadows: Season 1

Pleasantly surprised to be sure.

What We Do In The Shadows is a fascinating new show that I will fully admit that I had no intention to watch it. Not that I looked down on the show or deemed it stupid off the bat, it just wasn't on my radar in the slightest until it was recommended to me by my own dear momma. I sort of begrudgingly watched it, I wasn't much in a mood for a new series, and it took a handful of episodes for me to actually get into the show but once I understood the format it was going for and got a grasp on the characters, I quickly fell in love with it. It is the most hilarious show I have seen in a very good long while, centered around a group of vampire roommates living in Staten Island as they live out their night to night lives as blood drooling hilarious beasts. It is a show without any form of arc, after all it's a comedy series first so it took me awhile to slip into that form of television, but the entertainment value is very high and is just a fun show to watch. The characters are the reason you keep coming back to it, the stories that are told while good are just dumb fun, you really aren't going to see True Blood levels of plot here. But I think I appreciate it more for that, because it's absurdly great just to see these wildly different characters bounce off of the situations and other characters. We have Nandor, a once greatly renowned warlord who has grown to be a bit of a ditz in his older years. Nadja, an outspoken and quite frankly hysterical vampire married to Laszlo a downright blunt and complete horndog, further leading to more proof of how that....other vampire couple that we do not speak of is an utter trainwreck in the depths of hell. Then we have Colin Robinson, a unique type of vampire that feeds off of energy instead of life juices that is constantly being ignored by his friends. And last but certainly not least Guillermo, who is Nandor's familiar and desperately wants to become a vampire himself one day but is too busy being the only competent person in the household. It's a major toss up between Nadja and Guillermo as my favorite character, but everyone has moments to shine and they do grow on you. The show is presented in a mockumentary style with visible camera crew, interview sections, and a smidge of shaky cam which works brilliantly with the comedy aspects. As I've said this is the funniest show I've seen in probably half a decade, and I immediately wanted to dig into season 2 after I watched the finale. But all good things to those who wait. I very strongly implore people to watch this show and give it a shot, even hardcore horror fans who aren't big on comedy with classic monsters. They get their lore right in this show, with tons of nods to other vampire films than just Dracula, we get the wall climbing, the ability to turn into mist, the rising out of the coffin directly from Nosferatu, even the whole siring process from Vampire The Masquerade (yes I know it's a common fact, but I like that game). They did their homework and it's wonderful! This is a great show, it's for pure entertainment but when has that been a bad thing? I personally give it 4 stars, a solid 8.5/10, I really had zero big complaints and only very minor nitpicks. So I urge people to watch this show and while it may have been more suitable to talk about this in October, it's Halloween every day at my house and I refuse to hold off on telling people about an amazing show. See you next time for season two!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Yor The Hunter From The Future

Well I already did Space Mutiny so this was the only true way to end this week with another Reb Brown classic.

When I was doing a tiny bit of research on this movie I discovered two facts, one I'll get to now and the other I'll save for later. The first fact was that this is actually an adaptation, based off a comic book from Argentina which immediately makes me want to track down every issue of it cause I want to see more of this material which apparently the movie adapted faithfully. The story is quite possibly the most basic and yet simultaneously awesome of the bunch this week, following a mysterious hunter named Yor who travels across a desolate world in search of answers to who he really is, he soon meets a young woman named Kala and her protector Pag who accompany him on his travels. What follows is a bizarre sequence of events where Yor battles purple cavemen, dinosaurs, sand mummies, and much more before the movie drops a bombshell with just 30 minutes left of film. Spaceships exist, confirming this is not a pre-historic story but actually a post-apocalyptic story where the world was wiped out by atomic weapons leading to the various mutants and dinosaurs roaming about that Yor encounters. What soon follows is a very slapdash showdown between a rebellion led by someone who looks like if you combined Adrian Brody and Ricardo Montalban in Wrath Of Khan together, and some cloaked figure known as the Overlord and his garrison of androids that look like Dark Helmet from Spaceballs and the Borg thrown in a blender. The movie was already a bit off it's rocker with papier mache dinosaurs and impressively cheap costumed villains, but then it adds thing after thing to the point where it surpasses a so bad it's good movie and simply becomes an amazing movie. Once again though, the cast is dedicated and treats it seriously with Reb Brown giving one of his most subdued performances in his filmography but then I learned he was actually dubbed for this movie. Which honestly makes zero sense because he has a good voice I mean the man can emit a warcry that would freeze Lucifer himself in his tracks, and he has his voice in productions of both american and italian cinema so what the hell? He's still awesome though, Reb is the true Humanoid Typhoon virtually wiping out every single civilization he comes into contact with in this movie and is literally invincible against all possible harm. Even the Terminator can't boast such a high casualty count and inability of damage. We then have Corrine Clery who does nice work and honestly makes a great match for Reb, but again is dubbed for no real reason, okay yes she was born in Paris but she speaks english well and does have a nice voice. Luciano Pigozzi has starred alongside Reb on more than one occasion so it's cool to see him now and again, and for an older guy he is pretty awesome in his own right in this film. I will fully admit the villain is rushed and while the performance and voice of John Steiner is good, there really wasn't much going on in the last half hour. Odd to say when it basically becomes Space Mutiny all over again with lazer battles galore in a factory setting. But what it lacks in story and bits of the ending, it makes up very quickly with the score specifically the fist pumping spectacular theme, and one of the most absurd and yet truly awe inspiring shots that might just be the most awesome thing ever recorded on film. Needless to say this movie was brought to my attention a decade ago by the Spoony Experiment who showcased his review on it and made it all the awesome, which I highly recommend you watch even if you don't see the movie. And now comes the part where I divulge the biggest discovery I made about this movie, it wasn't always a movie. The movie was an italian production shot in Turkey, and was broadcasted as a television mini-series. Four episodes, each with 50 minutes of footage. You're telling me that there is a movie that is over 3 hours long, of Reb Brown fighting dinosaurs, cavemen and androids, and I do not own it?? I implore you, Signore Margheriti, I beseech you, share that mini-series with the world. The film got a full Blu-Ray release which I already am looking into buying, but it pales in comparison of such a magnum opus. And by all accounts of the director, it was made with virtually zero budget and was just a fun project they wanted to do, to just make a fun and very entertaining picture, which honestly if you walk in with that mindset you can have quite a good time with this. It falls in the middle ground, not as trashy and cheap as Deathstalker but not as amazing and well made as Beastmaster. I still give it 2.5 stars, 6.5/10, I have seen worse movies in terms of production and story and this really ain't even close to one of the worst movies I have ever seen. You can find the movie in decent quality at the good ol' Internet Archive so if this sounds like a great movie to have a watch party with friends, drinks, chips, dips, chains, whips then by all means go for it. Until next time, BAT!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Beastmaster

This is the greatest movie I've ever seen in my life!!

It's like if Deathstalker actually had a budget, was more inventive, and was you know, good. How this movie performed average at the box office is beyond me but thanks to VHS it's grown a cult following that still runs strong today. I was very impressed with this movie, it had my attention from the start but by 20 minutes in I was living for this movie! The plot is once again simple but the creative decisions in terms of character and plot is what makes the movie so damn enjoyable, with an evil high priest warned of his coming demise by the king's unborn son who through one of the most bizarre acts of magic I have seen in cinematic history is born from an ox, yes I'm serious, and is almost killed before being rescued by a commoner from a small village. Through some magical means the young boy grows into a fine young man named Dar who has the unique ability of controlling animals and eventually sets his sights on the evil priest. He meets a young woman named Kiri, a skilled warrior named Seth (very ancient warrior name I know), and an assortment of animals. The cast like in Deathstalker are fully commited to their roles and are actually really really good, Marc Singer is all sorts of awesome and is a great lead, Tanya Roberts is heart shatteringly beautiful, John Amos being in anything is an automatic win, and while Rip Torn doesn't have much of a presence he still does good work. The technical aspects as well are most impressive, with good effects including miniatures and quite decent creature designs, great cinematography at points with good use of color and camera movement, not to mention the fact how very well trained the animals are. Do not get me wrong I am a practical worshipper of cats but even I would be just the tiniest bit apprehensive around a tiger. For a PG movie it has some serious balls, not only do they have zero issue showing the death of a child, but there are three instances of frontal nudity in this movie. This...PG movie. To quote a better internet critic, "Oh bless the 70s and 80s. Our movie's PG, bring the kids! We got tiddies and everything!". Again, nothing but hardcore respect and admiration for anybody to be nude in a film, you have to be incredibly comfortable in your skin to do that on film, where countless people will be able to see you for all of time, and Tanya Roberts is one of those people. Boy, kind of makes me wonder how many pre-teen kids saw this back in the day. Probably got quite a few rentals from the video store. But there is seriously a very competently and well made film here, I was having a complete blast with this movie and fully understand why it grew a cult following. It's pretty awesome, I won't lie to you for a minute. If you can look past the occasional absurdities and the fact that you know, a guy can communicate with ferrets so they can go steal shit, you can have a great time with this movie. It really reminds of sort of the same avenue Highlander went down, a lesser known but completely awesome film which got horrifyingly ruined in the sequel, but people still love it to this very day. And I'm proud to call myself a fan of both. Like, I am going to buy this movie on any format that I can. 4 stars, screw it I'm giving it a 7.5/10, could not recommend it enough!

And now we got to 650 reviews. Good God. No doubt we'll hit 700 before the year is out with some special months coming up, zip a lip on that though, you'll just have to be patient.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Well I was going to do all the the next generation Star Trek movies, but they got taken off so the lesson of today boys and girls is, always take the initiative or you may lose your chance. Now I have to talk about Deathstalker.

This movie....uh, it's not good. I knew the reputation of this film for probably about a decade but I saw this along with other complete cult fantasy hits, so I decided what the heck let's have some fun. Now you certainly don't have to watch this movie, it's Z-grade sleazy trash but in the right mindframe you can have a bit of a good time just poking fun at the movie and it's absurdities. We all see different types of movies, and the movies you watch should reflect your personality and your preferences, you watch the movies that make you happy and very soon you too will experience the joy of moviegoing. Now that we've made a happy little intro, let's do it. I'll admit I wasn't expecting greatness from the beginning but there were elements of this movie that were better than I expected. It's still garbage, but it's entertaining garbage. The film was made for two reasons, to see fools get cut up real good and to see bewbs. Lots of bewbs. When a movie has already shown a flash of nudity, unnecessary nudity at that, not even 3 minutes into the film you know you're in for a ride. The plot is about as cookie cutter as you can get with this fine haired, muscle bound swordsman tasked with defeating an evil wizard and reclaiming three items of power. There you go, there's the plot. Tolkien wishes he could write like this. I haven't seen many exploitation movies in my time, but I'm taking a real good stab in the dark that this is what it's like. Our main character, I refuse to call a man who forces himself onto women almost constantly a hero, is a complete jackass but Rick Hill has a bit of fun with it and has a modicrum of skill with a sword so I'll give him a few points. Deathstalker meets up with another warrior played by Richard Brooker who you may know better as Jason Voorhees in Friday The 13th Part 3, who kind of fits that more chivalrous warrior for the most part. Easily my favorite character was the badass warrior woman played by Lana Clarkson who may be the first to take the mentality of, well if guys can run around shirtless stabbing people in the heart I sure can too, and she even got her own spin off movie which is pretty rad. I think the only reason she was my favorite is because literally every guy in this movie is a pig, and that includes a straight up pig man, I mean it is shameless in it's view of women. Now am I saying that there wasn't a period of human history when women were nothing but trophies and essentially sentient sex toys? No, it no doubt occured but I just felt really unclean and uncomfortable at times with how much this movie comes close to full spank material. I mean the movie knows what it is and revels in it but sweet Jesus. Anyway, back to the characters. Bernard Erhard actually does a good job as the evil wizard who honestly reminds me a lot of Mondain from the first Ultima game, even the tattoo is similar to one you see in Serpent Isle. And for all 1 of you who understood what the hell I was talking about, I'm gonna stop waving my geek flag and get back to the review. But yeah, even though the characters are as basic as could be, the performances aren't all terrible and you could tell they did try. The action isn't amazing but even I have to admit the kills were brutal at times, though the special effects aren't exactly Tom Savini levels of quality. Best part of the movie period was the soundtrack, I was really not expecting anything even noticeable about the music in this movie, but it's pretty damn awesome and I was digging the hell out of it man! It's a mixed bag for sure, the film is trash undeniably but has some decent elements to it here and there. It's a movie you will only watch once but it is an experience I don't think you'll forget, even if you're drunk. And the film just barely clocks in past an hour and fifteen minutes, so it's mercifully short if nothing else. I still can't believe Roger Corman produced this, I know the man is a champion of financing low budget and independent films to make sure they get a decent release, but good lord. 1.5 stars, 4/10, 650th review coming tomorrow.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Rush Hour 3

Okay. You got me movie.

Rush Hour 3, honestly not that bad. Decent story that actually ties back to the first, with now ambassador Han having almost been assassinated brings Lee and Carter back together again this time hunting Triads in Paris, which honestly makes sense as the middle ground between America and China, it was gonna be in Europe no question. The action I feel was more involved and inventive than the second one, hell probably even outdoes the first. Cast once again does very fine work, and I must give the movie props for bringing back Tzi Ma as Han and while little Soo Yung is all grown up and is not the original actress, I'm not going to say a dang bad thing about Jingchu Zang, add Max Von Sydow to the equation and you got yourself a solid cast. The comedy wasn't as strong as the first but not as weak as the second, and really anytime an Abbot and Costello routine is performed I crack up so easily. So it's kind of a shock to go back to the most forgettable entry in this series, and find something really entertaining and worthwhile. That's never a bad thing in my book! I had a good time with this movie, true the first is still the best but it's a fairly solid trilogy when you get right down to it. I feel that while the brother subplot with Lee in this movie is interesting and really could bring some major good dialogue and moments it sadly was kinda just there and didn't do much, and I will admit the finale is slightly thrown off by CGI shots and kinda dodgy rear projections, so it's by no means perfect but they did put effort into it. This was by no means a cash grab of a series that again, hasn't been around for 6 years at that point, they had a fun story with interesting locations and setups and just went with it. Even I can agree that the filmmakers were looking to make another Rush Hour movie and not the absolute best Rush Hour movie, yet I still say it ended this series on a decent note and hasn't garnered a worse reputation in my eyes. So I dub this a win! 3 stars, 7/10, this is by no means some of the best martial arts movies I have seen but truthfully it's a pretty good starting place for future fans.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Rush Hour 2

Okay I gotta level with you on this, I did not see the first Rush Hour until way after this, we're talking 2005 or maybe 2006. I got this movie on DVD in 2002, first time I ever met these characters, first time I ever saw Jackie Chan, this was the one that introduced me to martial arts films. If it wasn't Star Wars or Lord Of The Rings, I did not watch movies in order back then.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's get on to it. Unfortunately Rush Hour 2 did not surpass or meet the standards of the first, yet I still did enjoy it. So we pick up literally about 3 days since the end of the last movie with Lee and Carter going to Hong Kong for a vacation but very quickly accept the case of a counterfeit money ring run by the partner of Lee's dad, as they work with a Secret Service operative to figure out how they are smuggling the money and shutting the operation down. Pretty much by the end of the movie I realized how strikingly similar it was to Diamonds Are Forever. We start off in an asian country but quickly shift gears to Las Vegas, the villain supppsedly dies only to pop up again, the henchman or in this case henchwoman is one of the most memorable parts of the movie and even has a final go at our heroes before their demise at the end, and it has a bit of smut to it. I was kinda shocked and yet not surprisingly shocked at the fanservice with this, any opportunity to show half-nekkid ladies this film delivers to the point where I was like, okay damn put some clothes on before you catch a cold, and if you did your math I was about 7 years old when I saw this movie. And I watched it a lot, may have even fueled a particular taste in women....I've said too much right now so let's not dwell on that. To the technicals! I will say this movie upped the first with how many more stunts and hand to hand fights there were, with plenty of variety in location and inventive use of the environment. On the flip side, I didn't laugh as much but what it lacks in comedy it makes up for in action, so it's a fair trade off between the two. For an hour and a half movie it flies at almost lightning speed, I barely felt like I sat down when the third act rolled in which isn't a bad thing but it is something I noticed, and the first movie is like not even 10 minutes longer than this so it keeps you going quite quick. The cast again was quite good, with Jackie and Chris still having good chemistry and it's an appropriate shift to see Carter now in Lee's territory. John Lone plays a very cool headed and very smooth villain which he does quite well at, but Zhang Ziyi steals the show with a psychotic urge to kill and a striking look so she was easily the best new addition to the cast which speaks a lot about her acting talent as she didn't understand english and yet delivered a very good performance. Roselyn Sanchez I simultaneously liked her in the movie yet didn't, I liked her because she does kinda keep you guessing on who she's working for and even isn't half bad in an action sequence, but I just hated how the camera was leering at her with a few instances of let's just say undress, but she did fine work in the role. It's kinda weird how I remember liking this movie so much more than the first when I was younger, and was even expecting a little bit for it to still be my favorite and yet now I very much agree the first is still the best. I couldn't tell you how much I wanted to watch Rush Hour 3 after it was jokingly teased, and had to wait 6 years for it. Needless to say I do not remember much about it and I honestly don't think I cared for it much even back then. Only one way tonfind out where it stands. In the meantime, 3 stars, I give it 6.5/10, still worth a watch even if only once, and I'll see you next time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Rush Hour

I got to thinking about what movies specifically got me into loving films like Ip Man and Enter The Dragon, and believe it or not it all started with Rush Hour.

It ain't a bad introduction to international fighting movies, very much a product of the 90s but still greatly enjoyable nevertheless. Maybe I'm in a very small minority here nowadays, but I really liked this movie. This was pretty much Jackie Chan's introduction to american cinema, though his popularity here in the states dates back about a decade before this movie in 1998, and I have to once again commend the movie for showing me more of this absolute legend of an actor, stuntman, and brilliant choreographer. So the story picks up right after the very big event of Britain releasing control of Hong Kong back to China after 150 years, and the consulate travels to America but his young daughter gets kidnapped leading the FBI to step in. We quickly meet Detective James Carter of the LAPD, and Detective Lee who has a strong tie to the young girl and aides in the investigation and rescue. That's pretty much it, this is a film told in black and white, you got your good guys, you got your bad guys, it's pretty standard fare. But what keeps the film so enjoyable and entertaining after 20 years, is the chemistry between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, they are friggin' great! There's no other way to say it, they're hilarious, they work wonderfully as a duo with each bringing their own personality and attitude, it's just a blast to see them work together. I honestly don't have a problem with Chris Tucker in this movie, I thought he was a riot he had me laughing frequently and loudly, now we'll just have to see how that holds up over the course of this trilogy. Do I even need to talk about Jackie Chan? He's one of the most upbeat, incredibly charming, and even more so physically outstanding actors working in film to this very day. In fact, all the cast is pretty damn good! Ken Leung is a good villain, plays the part well and looks awesome while doing it. Julia Hsu stole my heart in a grand total of 2 seconds, I'd die for this kid and have zero regrets about it, she's just that dang precious and even gives the villain his scar, come on now! She's amazing. So it already has an entertaining plot, really good comedy, great actors, and now we get to talk about the action bits. Very well choreographed, nothing too fancy but very visually stimulating. One thing I did notice is you see dust swirl in the air after a hit to simulate real impact which I thought was an interesting choice cause obviously you can't high kick Chris Tucker in the face so it makes the hit a bit believable, I can't recall many movies doing this but I feel it works here. Plus you get your explosions and shootouts, so you got all your bases covered. Now is the movie dated? Yeah, a little bit. Do I really care? Nope. I kinda love how 90s it is. From the blocky wireless home phones, to the fashion, to the musical references, it's really no secret when this was made. But again, it still works. I think it's a really good and highly entertaining movie, well worth a watch and I honestly cannot wait to do the sequel. 3.5 stars, 7.5/10! And we will see you tomorrow in Homg Kong.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Ip Man 4

Truly a finale, and certainly not a bad one at that.

Yes the culmination of this series and it really was the boost I needed this week. I heard originally that this was going to get a release in the States, but for the life of me I didn't see it anywhere even at the theaters who show foreign films, so I had to wait for it to hit video. And I must say this is the most Ip Man movie of them all, basically combining all the elements of the previous three movies into one which kinda makes sense seeing as how each subsequent movie took elements from the last and continued building upon them in original ways. So this film starts in the early 60s with Ip Man living with his teenage son and travelling to America to seek better tuition for him, as he meets various masters of different schools and gets entangled in the events with their students and rival martial artists from a marines base. That's the basic gist, and follows true to the feel of the Ip Man series with good character progression, excellent choreography, and a basic but still engrossing story. I must give major commendations to the writers, they really got every main and side character and had all of them tie together through the story in some fashion or another, they all have their place and all help progress the events of the film. That's impressive, and the cast is once again really good with particular love going to Yue Wu and Vanda Margraf, one of the masters of a school and his teenage daughter respectively. They had damn good chemistry and their story runs parallel in some ways more than others to Master Ip, they were the standouts besides of course Donnie Yen. Yeah, it breaks my heart this is the last film but I can't imagine what it's like for Donnie to have the great privilege to bring this man's work and story to life and to see it to the very end. I know the movies have been decent hits here in America but I seriously hope it garners more attention and love, but then again for a movie series that has spanned for over a decade and has sent waves through western civilization is still pretty incredible regardless of the size of that wave. I was completely happy with the ending of the series, most people would argue it's just martial arts fluff but that is so not the case for this series, it's as much about the characters as the fighting, I mean it's personified in the fact that while Ip Man is a martial artist he does not go looking for a fight but fights to help others. I really enjoyed seeing the follow up to essentially the first film as we see Bruce Lee has introduced chinese martial arts to the masses and Ip Man sees that as a good thing while the other masters don't. You really see a mix of both China and America in this film from both sides, some people are against such things but it works out in the end. I read reviews of this film and the sheer balls some people had to practically shriek this is chinese propaganda made me want to consecutively strike their kidneys 50 times, I mean are you f***ing kidding me? I cannot begin to tell you how fundamentaly wrong that statement is, that's being as closed minded as the marine instructor and karate team in this movie who think chinese martial arts is bullshit but karate is superior. Okay yes, China is not the founder of the martial arts we know today, they learned it from Okinawa in the 17th century and mastered it for 300 years before even introducing it to Japan but for the love of all that is good, karate ain't american or superior so what in the hell are you on? It's practically a chinese fighting style! How is one okay but the other laughable? Not all fighting styles are equal no matter what the region is, but there's also not such a thing as a perfect fighting style. Wing Chun is not superior or equal to karate or boxing, just like something such as UFC fighting is not the same or superior to boxing. And the moral stance on villifying americans or more specifically white people is absurd, because clearly only white people have picked fights in this series. For God's sake. I just...I can't, why must I share a planet with this much stupid? Ugh, bloody hell. Bottom line, I very much liked this movie, it was a good ending to a movie series that didn't get to be a total disgrace of an overstretched franchise. If I had to rank the films based on pure memory alone, because I actually did not marathon all the movies I would say, second movie is the best, then the third, then the first, then the fourth. It doesn't make this a bad movie by any stretch, because it all comes down to opinions and that's my two cents on the matter. 4 stars, 8/10, this is a very rare circumstance but this is a very strong tetrology.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Queen And Slim

I'm really depressed now.

I greatly enjoyed and was even a bit moved by this movie, but it truly breaks my heart that the world of the movie is no different than reality. The story spans over the course of six days as one time date couple Ernest and Angela are on the run after killing a police officer in self defense, as we follow their progress from Ohio to Florida as they meet sympathizers to their situation, law enforcement seeking to arrest them, and people who don't even know who they are. Again very much like Parasite, it just shows people both good and bad. We see white people who stand with them, and black people who stand against them and what they stand for, and vice versa with no true antagonist of the story. It's not a person but a major problem of society itself, the film on multiple occasions brings up fictionalized yet all too real situations of violence and cultural standards. It makes one disgusted to be designated human sometimes. And the film really doesn't shy away from the grim meathook realities of the events as Ernest and Angela travel, slowly becoming folk heroes in the eyes of many and having to come to terms with their situation. Daniel Kaluuya has supreme amounts of charm and is impossible not to like and really he only gets better as the film goes on, he's a nice man who believes in God, doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, very empathetic and even a pacifist. But he was the one who pulled the trigger and we see him try to deal with that, he has every intention to turn himself in because even he can't believe what happened though it was a survival situation. Now I'm not saying all cops are horrible, they are people who wish to perform a public service to protect and serve, but this guy....oooh boy, he was an uppity little prick. Did he deserve death? I have no authority or place to say, not now not ever, but he could have been nicer. That's pretty much my stance on things, I don't care who you are, where you come from, what your language is, any of that, if you're a nice and reasonable person then you're my new buddy. And if you're a jerk, f*** off. Jodie Turner-Smith is very much a polar opposite in character as Angela, very honest and rough, doesn't have much love for cops, easily aggravated, and very much the pessimist of the duo but also the realist. Which makes sense for her character because she's an attorney, she has seen stuff in that position and makes logical sense that she is very closed off and a bit hostile. The writer said that it was very much akin to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X when it came to personality and beliefs of our main duo, which isn't hard to figure out but nevertheless a strong element. The story is great, but the cinematography is absurd. I mean this film looks gooooood, oh my sweet sainted grandmother it is beautiful at times, and the director only worked on music videos and television episodes so she knows damn well how to make a shot interesting and memorable with beautiful atmospheric shots and creative camera work. The only thing that tops that is the score, now the actual song selection is really good, you know I'm a sucker for jazz and more slow soulful kind of music, but the actual score is how can I say this? Uh, perfect. I can't get over how amazing this score is, like get this on my phone, I will buy a CD, kind of quality. Ohh, it's sublime! I pretty much from the first time I saw the trailer, was interested to see this and yeah it took me more than half a year, but I was soooo not disappointed and feel it was very much worth the wait. A very poignant movie that unfortunately has as much importance now as it did decades before the movie even came out. Slim & Queen along with Black Klansman would be a fantastic double feature to have, and so help me if I form an Empire, the times will be a-changing with the future looking truly bright. 4 stars, 8/10! Thank goodness this wasn't the last review of the week I would have been severely depressed, so next time hopefully we can end on a high note.

Monday, June 8, 2020


Well then. Wow.

Okay! I see where you're coming from now with the whole Best Picture winner, and highly deserving of it I must say. Parasite grabbed hold of me from the opening shot, and kept me guessing until end credits. The story centers around a lower class family slowly integrating themselves as workers of a upper class family, but through subterfuge and dirty tricks. And uh, it doesn't end well for anybody. I'm not saying a damn thing more about the plot, just go watch it. It is a trip! For a person who has never experienced cinema from Korea, I loved it! I gravitated very quickly to the main characters, in particular Kang-ho Song who plays the patriarch of the family who has a very go with the flow attitude and was a joy to watch, and found myself almost instantly absorbed into the story practically hanging on every scene just to see what happens next. Especially since well, an hour into the movie it starts getting heavy and you still have well over an hour left of film, so you constantly are formulating ideas on how this will go down until it finally does. This is so not a one and done film, I have seen many movies in my time where you watch it once and never have inclination to watch it again, and Parasite I am almost positive is a film that gets better each time you watch it. While it is a very basic story, very much a cautionary tale mixed with a bit of Shakespearian tragedy, it holds your attention and makes you get invested into the film. And I really must applaud the story for not having characters, now what exactly do I mean by that you might ask, well the simple fact is...there are no characters in the film. Only people. They are not good people, or bad people, but individuals that harbor both inside them. You see the Kim family slowly degrade themselves over the course of the movie due to their greed, and the Park family while not exactly horrible rich people still carry a bit of negativity in them and are very much enclosed inside their bubble of a world. The film does not choose sides, but shows how things are. It does show the gap between better off families and families who are barely scraping by, it does show that people can be really nice and really rude, it does show a slice of life that goes south real quick. And that is the only way I could ever explain the latter half of the events in this movie, it was shocking but sort of obvious. You know for a fact this is a story that will not end well pretty early on, and I figured that out by simply paying attention to the dialogue. This is a funny film but when a movie gets pretty funny, and it's not a comedy, I could tell I was going to see some very screwed up stuff eventually. An almost perfect balance of runtime dedicated to the more lightearted aspects before shifting gears to the more dark stuff. I gotta tell you, I was not disappointed by the ending at all. 4 stars, 8.5/10, watch it on Hulu, rent it, buy it, rewatch it in black and white, I already have a spot picked out for it in my DVD library, it is worth it.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Fantasy Island

Well. That was a movie.

Fantasy Island is a fascinating beast, I really wasn't for it when I saw the trailers, not because of certain actors or how they take a 1970s TV show and add a sinister edge to it, I just didn't think too much about it. Full disclosure, I've only seen two episodes of the original show which takes a page out of Rod Serling's book, centered around a mysterious island and host that makes every person's dreams come true with a moral message in each anthology story. I'm a huge fan of The Twilight Zone and those types of stories so I really should sit down and watch the original show. But how's the movie? Complicated. It isn't hot garbage but it ain't good either. I can easily tell you Michael Pena and Maggie Q are the best characters and actors in the movie. Michael Pena I felt was a strange casting choice for the Ricardo Montalban role but he proved himself with his own story and one small scene with Maggie. Maggie Q is lovely as always and never once have I seen a bad performance from her, who has the most dramatic arc in the story and you really root for her until the end. Everyone else...they're there. We got skinny Joe, dude bro's, and bitchy McQueen, who's only real interesting bits occur when their fantasies actually overlap into one another causing a bit of plot intrigue but not much more. I'm not saying Blumhouse has made Shakespearian characters in the past, but they do good work to make them feel real and even a bit relatable but here it just falls flat. And that's the core problem of the movie, it focuses 99% of the runtime on these characters, and when the majority of them are just sort of there and don't have much to contribute you kinda just keep checking your watch. I'm gonna be a massive dick here but, these were the most basic bitch fantasies like ever. One guy wants to be a soldier so he can Call Of Duty it up, just...ugh. A girl wants to pretty much play Jigsaw and torture a elementary(?) or middle school(?) bully, but she honestly looks like she's still in high school and she just needs to get over herself real damn fast, I mean Christ woman. The bros want a big rocking party which, makes me want to swallow pills and drink heavily, I mean f***ing really that's your fantasy? You weak dipshits. And Maggie Q wants a do-over at a point in her life which starts out boring and cliche but gains a bit of interest near the movie's end. There's a twist and my God is it so uninteresting and just, what? I can't. I will say the location shooting in Fiji, though strangely limited considering they could make the island look any way they want, all you see is the resort, a bit of jungle, and a cave, but regardless looks nice. Even the messages the movie has is admirable, not well executed, but you know reaffirming that revenge is the most worthless of causes, and you can't focus on the mistakes of the past but strive for a better future is not bad stuff to say! I was shocked at the budget, shot only for 7 million dollars which is friggin' absurd to hear nowadays with so much inflated multi-hundred million dollar projects left, right, and center. I do hate how they de-mystified the island and explains how almost everything works, how the fantasies come true, why people are working at this resort on the island, the conditions of the fantasy and their limits, how Mr. Roarke our host got his position, I quite liked the sort of mystery aspect of the show. From what very brief, like 5 minutes reading Wikipedia articles kind of brief, research I did on the show it sounds so damn interesting, and I'd much rather have a unique theory of my own and never know if I'm wrong or right, even the creators and main star didn't know what the deal was with the island (insert Lost joke here), than you tell me everything when I didn't even ask. But I can commend the movie for at least drawing attention to an older show that not many people talk about and one I fully intend to dig into, and with better writing the movie's ideas and tone could make this kind of an underrated gem. It has elements to it that can work, but they needed to spend time on refining it more to make it as good as possible. I give it 2 stars, 5/10, I gambled a bit and got a totally average movie. What's my fantasy? Spoilers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

In Retrospect: Birds Of Prey

I might have even liked it more this time around.

Yeah I gave the titling some major good grief but I was expecting more of a origin story for the Birds Of Prey and that's what I got. Granted I think me along with everyone else wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this movie but I very much appreciated it's style, color, and revelry in the absurd. It's a comic book movie, it fricking knows it's a comic book movie, and has a ball with it. Yes it's silly to the point of insanity, yes it's not telling a grand story, yes it is not a great movie and I am 150% okay with that. This is the odd duck of the modern superhero movie craze, had it's own ideas and ran to the bank with them, didn't explode the box office opening week but still made over 185 million dollars in contrast to it's 85 million dollar budget, and came out at a weird time when people were slowly headed toward the major lockdown season of this year. It doesn't make it a box office failure or a bad movie, it just hit at an awkward period. If I didn't say this in my original review I'll say it here, this has massive potential to be a rental cult hit now. I did enjoy aspects of it more, I accepted it's absurd action scenes the first time around and still loved them just as much, the comedy still got me, the colors, choreography, and all aspects of the production are still great! I'm probably one of the few comic book fans where I don't care if they change stuff, I've seen too many interpretations of one character to be bothered if they do it a bit different. I've seen Batman be campy, or fun and very 90s, or dark and serious, or downright epic, so what do I care if Cassandra Cain isn't Batgirl? I'm happy to see Cassandra Cain in a new way. Why the f*** do you people think I love Gotham so much? They took creative liberties to unparalleled heights and pulled it off in spades, I'm happy and willing to see new ideas with classic characters. I didn't hate Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress at all, but she really grew on me the second go around and I can't wait to see more of her! I hope to see Renee maybe become The Question now that she's an ex-cop/crimefighter. I dig what they did with Black Canary and am game to see her kick even more ludicrous amounts of ass. It's different, but not at all bad. I can see some people getting hung up on the tone, action scenes, and character changes which is fine, I know this movie isn't for everyone (R rating obviously duh) but I still want people to watch it and see if they come around to it. I can dig what they did with Suicide Squad, it ain't perfect, it ain't great, but it is good and I do like it and same goes for this. Birds Of Prey tried something different and fun and payed off incredibly well in my opinion, and here's to Gotham City Sirens. I'll be there opening day guaranteed. And if for nothing else give Margot Robbie some credit, she helped fund this movie and had a lot of love and faith in it, so you get a round of applause from me.

Uh, not make me regret this. Fantasy Island tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

In Retrospect: The Invisible Man

Does it hold up on a second viewing?

Well with most mystery movies and horror movies, your first initial emotional experience will be different from the second and so on number of viewings, thus leading to more critical analysis of the movie. But I still say I love The Invisible Man, even if the scares don't get me it still holds my attention, and regarding the fact the villain cannot be seen it still makes your eyes dart around wondering where he is. Elisabeth Moss is acting her heart out, her character really going through hell and back again before she gets out of it and she potrays it so well. I heard people's voices of confusion regarding the identity of the Invisible Man, but I personally saw it as a duo act to keep up the illusion of Adrian's death. Even if the story doesn't do it for you, the way the movie is shot is excellent, the slow pans are a fascinating but highly effective decision on the director's part. I still gush over the ending, it really was everything I wanted it to be and while this is no doubt a self contained movie, to see Elisabeth Moss back would be a real treat. Apparently they got Ryan Gosling cast as The Wolfman, an interesting choice but one I can see working, Larry Talbot is a very nice, more laid back, everyday kinda dude which is what I get from Ryan outside of his acting roles. I find these movies to be very important to get younger people, at the very least aware and at the very best interested, in the classic Universal Monsters. It's a niche yes, but an important cornerstone of horror movies to this very day and still a pop culture giant. It really is the perfect movies to introduce kids into this genre, because while younger generations see Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers as classic horror icons they can't really watch them due to the blood and nudity, and the classic monsters could very much be enough to spook them without traumatizing them. That's how I watched them, back when I was 8 years old and obviously it worked considering my stance on horror has done a total 180° since I was that young. And really the fact that people still want to tell these stories with these characters dare I even say icons, to this day is the true victory. I still very much like The Mummy but I can see where Universal stumbled and am so happy they haven't given up on it. But The Invisible Man is still a fine movie, beautifully shot, very well acted, still holds some suspense and more importantly your attention even on multiple watches. Thumbs up from me without a doubt!

Birds Of Prey next, very much enjoyed it while still accepting it's faults, will it continue to do so? Probably yeah, I'm an easily amused and fun loving individual.