Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tis the Season

Season's greetings, loyal readers.

As we are now in the very center of merchandise holiday season, I figured I should be all sorts of generous and giving and try to spice up this blog.

Thus, for the next week, I shall take any request for any film, B-movie or not, and give it a wholesome review.

Will this be detrimental to my health? Absolutely, but I'm not in this for longetivity.

So enjoy your holidays, whatever they may be, and send in your requests via a comment on this post.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Personal Therapy: Pulse

This is something new.

I'm lying in bed, three in the morning, and I can't sleep.

It's not that I'm not tired. Believe me, 13 hours of traveling to move a thousand miles is exhausting, especially when this was somehow accomplished using planes.

I should, by all rites, be out cold and enjoying sweet dreams of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fighting the Jessica Alba, but instead I'm up writing a sequel to a review.

What can I say to explain this?

I'm afraid to go to bed.

I'm a grown adult, at least physically. Sure, I play my share of video games and read dumb airport novels, but who doesn't?

But being afraid of the dark? That's something new to me.

I gave up night lights when I was five. So what's going on?

I'll tell you: My house is haunted.


There is a ghost named Cosmo who has lived in this house since before I was born. He's a prankster, mainly doing the fun and easy stuff like moving doors and objects when you're only sorta looking so you freak out.

But now he's moved up to something a bit more exotic.

Sound effects and toying with electric things...

Anyways, let me get on topic. I was all set for sleepy times when all of the sudden my electric razor started freaking out.

It was in its cleaner, untouched, and then started CLEANING ITSELF!

I was laying in the dark when this happened, and I nearly gasped aloud.

But, being a semi-athletic-type with a background in violent videogames, I decided I could handle whatever lay ahead. I went into the bathroom and the damned thing was RISING UP AND DOWN ON ITS OWN!

I unplugged the chord and it quieted down, but I was sufficiently rattled.

I asked the ghost, in polite terms, to let me get some rest. I turned out the lights, assured myself of my place on the food chain, and went to bed.

Then the sounds started.

Rattling, scratching, and some whispering. The usual gamut for the incorporeal entertainment artists.

I am not too proud to say I did what any human being would do under these circumstances: I hid under my covers and tempted asphyxiation.

Then, feeling quite the tool, I puffed out my chest and wandered the upstairs of my house looking for the source of the disturbance.

Nothing. No rats, no squirrels, no undead minions of the BEAST (read: Uwe Boll)

So what was I left to do? I got online to write on my blog about this experience.

What does this have to do with "Pulse", you ask?

I think the movie actually had an effect on me. I'm not proud of this, as I often boast I can't be scared by the jump tactics used in movies these days.

But I am scared by the macabre.

This is why zombies really get to me, and why wolfman does not. "Pulse" had some seriously disturbing images, and I'm not talking "Hostel" oh-my-that-was-eye-juice-she-just-leaked disturbing. I mean oh-that's-a-ghost-with-a-MOUTH-FOR-A-FACE!

I can't escape such visuals. They stick with me and pop up at the most inopportune times, like now for instance.

So I figure, if I resume the review that (let's be honest) was only half-done, perhaps I can find closure and thus rest.

Let's take a good look at the movie with a critical eye.

The plot centers around a digital-virus-ghost (it's never explained if the ghosts are in fact dead souls or just electronic signals that look like people but really just want some lovin'.

It's hinted at, but much like an episode of "Lost" there are more questions raised than answered.

A lot of people commit suicide in this movie. The reason given is that, when a ghost soul-sucks you, all your will to live is taken away. You search for release, usually in the form of the nearest ledge or hammer you can drive into your face.

But I think the real reason is the fact that the entire world is a horrific shade of gray.

Seriously, the whole movie was shot through a BAWLS glass (if you don't what BAWLS is, go find out NOW and enjoy life in a new way).

Everyone is depressed, even the happy-slutty friend. The ghosts are the happiest things in the film, and their idea of fun is finding new and surprising places to pop out of.

Since we are on the subject of popping out, why is it that, no matter how much a person knows about the foe they are up against, they will search EVERY nook and cranny in EVERY creepy locations they are in?


And they love to be alone during these assaults on humanity, or at most with one other person just to make sure there is no chance of safety in numbers (the ghosts, on the other hand, travel in super packs near the end of the film, making them the smarter of the species).

The manner in which the creatures take their victims also begs a certain bit of introspection.

If your will is forcebly removed from your face (via the swell soul-sucking method taught in every ghost univerity) you have a few ways you can die.

- You can kill yourself (the most popular method of the film, and for heaven's sake try to come up with something more creative than hanging yourself with your computer's power chord).

- You can burst into ash at the drop of a hat (also a nice choice, though try to do this in front of your emotionally fragile friend to increase the chance of her doing something incredibly dim witted like STANDING THERE AND WATCHING THE ASH SWIRL IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ALL-OUT ASSAULT ON HUMANITY.

- Finally, and this is really the way to go, lean against a wall and get sucked in.

Wait.......let's go back a sec.

If you have the black death mark growing on you, and you lean against a wall, you get SUCKED IN and leave a greasy shmear on the stucco.

It's also done best if your friend has your free arm and tries to pull you away from this awful fate.

This movie has some seriously ridiculous holes in the story and universe, but that's not why I'm pointing them out.

Despite these obviously far-fetched plot points, this movie still scared me.

I know it shouldn't, because it's a remake of an Asian horror film and thus a POS, but here we are.

I still recommend this, because it's still a nice piece of filmage. I might even watch it again to try and face this new anxiety.

I know this post was not the usual fair you all look for on this site.

But if you look up in the corner of the page, you'll notice there is a name written there.

That's mine.

It's my site.

So I can write whatever the hell I want.


Now go watch the new Bond movie until you get your fix of raw manliness for the month.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is Stephen King Ghostwriting: The Pulse

Some of you out there are lucky enough to have read Stephen King's latest novel, "Cell".

It was an homage to George Romero's epic storyline of the Dead, and his own personal twist on the zombie genre.

And it was.....ok.

Honestly, the dialogue was hackneyed, the plot was cumbersome, and he decided early on that he wouldn't so much have closure as a crappy ending to the novel.

You may ask why I mention this. Well, I have just watched a movie that may be a better version of King than the man himself can write.

Let's take a look at "The Pulse."

The guest list for this outing is rather slumbersome, though there are some names worth mentioning:

Mattie, the college-girl-with-too-much-head-on-her-shoulders (played delectably by the swelteringly hot Kristen Bell of "Veronica Mars")

Dexter, the too-cool-for-school-technophile (Ian Somerhalder from "Lost")

Stone, the....well, the stoner (Rick Gonzalez doing the role he has played in every other movie with college kids)

Dr. Waterson, the psych-who-thinks-he-knows-everything-until-the-unknown-drops-in-his-lap (Ron Rifkin from "Alias")

These actors do a fine job of acting freaked out for an hour and forty minutes, which is surprising given the state of this plotline.

Allow me to summarize without giving too much away.

Someone, perhaps a techie-lab with too much power and too little control, has unraveled the space-time continuum, unleashing hords of ghost-like-aparitions upon Earth.

Though they look and move like the creepshow from "The Ring", they don't take true control of their technical prowess by making obscene phone calls to their victims.

They move through anything electric (computers, cell phones, radios), they can only really hurt you if you look them straight in the eye.

This is where I posed the question: "What if you are wearing a blindfold? For the rest of your life?"

Anyway, these spectors fly around sucking the life out of people and consuming them from the inside.

Now this is the trippy part: It's all pretty freakin' scary.

I went into this film with pretty low expectations, and I suggest you do as well, but it really did scare me at times.

The jump scares were done exceedingly well, and the ambience remained eerie throughout the film; not a small task.

What really blew me away about this movie is a small but significant fact: This is a remake of a Japanese horror film.

Now I know what you're all thinking:

Has Adam sold out and started LIKING these attrocious wastes of cinema space?

I haven't turned in my colors just yet, loyal readers. I still hate those movies with the passion of Sly Stallone pounding a slab of meat.

But this was really something else. This movie changed the ugly, white and pasty face of asian horror remakes forever.

It wasn't great. I don't want to lead you all into thinking this was some seminal piece of filmmaking. But it was good, and that's something.

There was a scene in the movie, let's call it "that diner scene", which borrowed heavily from the cheese section of the scriptwriting grocery store. It doesn't so much take away from the movie as provide a sense of relief.

The whole film you keep expecting this bag of suck to happen, and this scene helps ease you through the rest. It's just so damned campy.

But that's the only really predictable moment. This film does an excellent job of flying against the grain on other counts.

Was this a perfect movie? No. But is it better than nine-tenths of the other remakes out there?


This movie gets a hanging-with-Kristen Bell-during-a-blizzard-and-sipping-on-hot-cocoa-whilst-playing-a-PS2.

It's not top of the line, but you don't care.

Watch carefully.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Who's Hungry: Feast

Ben Afleck is the cancer that eats away at the film industry.

I've seen his movies, and to a one they are depraved and hollow shells of what make that industry great.

His taint upon any flick instantly sends it into a nose dive from which there is no recovery.

So when his moniker is writ atop the poster of a movie, I tend to shy away.

Alas, I was drawn to this one like carrion to a fresh piece of roadkill.

The analogy is fitting, as you will soon see.

"Feast" is a culmination of many disgusting events that ends better than you'd think.

Let's start with a roll call. You won't recognize many.

Bozo - Balthazar Getty ("Ladder 49" and the third prize for the Charley Sheen look-a-like contest on E)

Hot Wheels - Josh Zuckerman (TV extra #1497538993264)

Drunk Girl - Chauntae Davies (Maybe some softcore, but we can't be sure)

Boss Man - Duane Whitaker ("The Devil's Rejects" and that should be a BIG clue)

Harley Mom - Diane Goldner (She's the director's wife)

Coach - Henry Rollins (The right, Henry F'N Rollins)

Jason Mewes - Jason Mewes (No....seriously...Jason in Jay and Silent he needed the work.....)

And then Tuffy, Honey Pie, Beer Guy, Bartender and the rest of the disposables.

These aren't cute names I'm coming up with (though I fancy myself a quick thinker). These are the ACTUAL names the writer chose.

And he had all day to come up with them.

The way to film starts is pretty standard. A car crashes and we don't know why, nor do we care. Then we get a quick burst of Monster Vision (tm) and are introduced to the bar, which is the ONLY SET USED.

Thankfully the bar is damned interesting, otherwise this would feel a lot like "Phonebooth".

A man gets out of his own crappy car and walks into the bar, bumping into two drunk ladies. One harlett shouts "Watch it BOZO!" As our man turns, mainly to check out some drunken ass, the scene FREEZES and we get a WWF style readout of the specs, complete with his occupation and life expectancy.

This technique is shocking at first, and rightly so. It's more in line with a cheesy made-for-tv film than the brain-child of "Project Greenlight 3."

What's really amazing is that, after a few tries, it's actually funny. The writers hit a few spots really well, and that's saying something for a horror movie of this particular type.

You see, this is a monster movie.

Now I know you all think horror movies are generally the same and can easily be lumped into one genre for ease of use. I can't impart how wrong you are.

There are ghost movies, where some horrible specter haunts people for no good reason.

There are slasher films, where crazed lunatics cut people into pieces for no good reason (these movies are often called "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Hostel", and "Turistas," and come out in sets, regardless of how recently a movie of the EXACT SAME STYLE came out).

Then there are monster movies, where a beasty/undead creature/man haunting children in their dreams comes out to eat and pummel drunk college kids, who usually have some pointless sex around minute three.

Another genre, re-make of a bad Asian movie, is also known, but I tend to vomit upon these movies as though they carried too much MSG.

Continuing on, this monster movie brings a whole new meaning to the term "creatures that chop characters to bits during the movie."

Actually, I don't know if that's so much a phrase as a proper representation of what happens.

After the disposables are introduced, a man bursts into the bar covered in blood and gripping a shotgun. Cue freeze frame.

"Name: Hero
Occupation: Kicking Ass
Life Expectancy: Pretty F'N Good"

He introduces the concept of the creatures and scares the begeezus out of people, then tries to secure the building. The Bartender (whose name is "bartender" by the way) asks "Who the hell are you."

Our hero replies: "I'm the guy who's gonna save your ass."

Then he gets pulled through a window and his head is eaten.

You can't buy that kind of awesome.

The movie follows the survivors of the opening attack as they slowly, person-by-person and piece-by-piece, get turned into alien lunch.

Some of the scenes are downright fantastic. Henry Rollins is given some great one-liners and he pulls them off perfectly. Even the Charley Sheen look-a-like is pretty decent.

The monsters themselves are nothing new, but they get the job done. The dead-cow-skull creatures are creepy looking and seen rarely enough to instill some sense of mystery.

The adults only come at the end, so the fact that they look like the artistic prerenderings of "Alien" can be forgiven.

The creepiest puppets are the baby aliens, who like to hump things if they aren't eating them.

I'm serious. There is a scene where a woman becomes the first-ever multi-terrestrial porn star. It's graphic.

This movie gets very predictable toward the end, but what can you expect from a monster movie? What matters is that the opening forty minutes is something you've never seen before.

I won't in good conscience tell you this film is groundbreaking and really sets itself apart from the genre.

What I will say is that, in the past few years, a LOT worse have come out. This movie is great because it doesn't try to be any of that.

I'm not going to own this movie, nor will I really ever want to see it again, but I will recommend it to likeminded (ie - sick and twisted) individuals.

This movie is like watching-the-snuff-film-of-Ben-Afleck. Gross yet creepily satisfying.

Give this a shot if you enjoyed the last few Freddy movies, or if you are on a diet and need some way to kill those midnight cravings.

Watch carefully.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Twice the Houses, Twice the Dead, Half the Crap: House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim

I generally don't like sequels, as a rule.

More often than not, they fail to live up to the benchmark set by their predecessor.

Most barely entertain, and never really try to be original.

Some obvious exceptions come to mind quickly:

"Terminator 2"

"The Bourne Supremacy"

"Indiana Jones"

The sad fact is sequels are bad ideas written down and filmed.

But sometimes they have to be made to create a balance.

As those of of you who follow my blog know, I hate Uwe Boll. It's not that I don't like his films, or that he personally erks me, it's that I think he is a bane on humanity.

His film "House of the Dead" hurt me to watch. I developed a severe blood condition for a few weeks while it worked its way through my system. It was a burden upon my soul to watch it.

So when, whilst Netflixing (new verb, all me baby) this pile of retch for my friend Warren--one of my not-quite-voluntary assistants in this job--I noticed the sequel listed as well, I was quite bemused.

And by "bemused" I mean "scared for the children."

What struck me about this movie, aside from that the fact that it is of the made-for-TV variety, is that it is LEAPS AND BOUNDS beyond the visual ebola outbreak Uwe Boll made.

And it stars Sticky Fingaz, that Oscar-Awards-watching actor/rapper/FBI profling case #447-3809.

I'll get to the rest of the players in this drama later, but first I have to tell you the premise.

I'm that excited, I'm skipping around the steps.

Let's take the first movie. Now forget it.

Wasn't easy was it? Kind of sticks in there, like clothing with third degree burns.

This movie has one small, miniscule, barely visible connection: The dude from the first movie (let's call him Doucheman) brought his girlfriend (Skankatron-of-the-Dead) back to the mainland and dumped her in his father's lab at a local college.

This is because community colleges of the midwest have the latest, state-of-the-art technological storage rooms and laboratories needed to discover how to re-reanimate a corpse.

Needless to say, things don't go exactly as planned. Doucheman gets eaten and his father tries to bring HIM back, thus creating a zombie situation on par with the latest Rolling Stones concert (only slightly less people are eaten).

What makes this movie really different from its predecessor is the genre of zombie-killers it brings to the table.

In the first movie, you had the dumb-college kids turned zombie hunters, with all the stereotypes:

Dumb kid.

Smart kid,

Pretty boy.

Tom girl.

So on and so forth.

In this movie, you have the commando-assault team, complete with:

The rookie, who goes crazy and gets killed.

The sleazy guy, who does something gross and gets killed.

The woman...who discovers how hard it is to be a woman and yet a manly warrior...and then gets killed.

And the commander, who leads bravely and kills many...and then gets killed.

But this movie goes one step further. It adds the government agent with a history, and his girlfriend, and her dog, and the neighboors from across the way.

Oh yeah, and a couple of them get killed.

It actually gets kind of ridiculous, but then again, this is "House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim."

The story progresses much in the same way a virus does, and eventually a quarantine is necessary for the campus. The army-types do their thing and add, rather than subtract, from the zombie horde. The government-type-person discovers a "cure" for the disease, but everyone wants a piece.

And of course, disposable characters run around trying to get eaten.

I can't help but think this movie is a joke. Everything about it, from the crazy-ugly gore to the oatmeal-faced zombies to the plot-twists taken out of cracker-jack boxes.

And again, let's refresh, Sticky Fingaz is a LEAD ROLE!

Now let's give Fingaz his due. He did a fine job in "Over There." He even does a passable Blade.

But he isn't so much an "actor" as a "human being, in some light".

The only reason this movie isn't a brown streak on the side of the proverbial cinema underwear is because I watched it directly after "House of the Dead."

I'll give this movie a hooking-up-with-your-college-roomate's-best-friend's-sister's-foreign-exchange-student's-mother-while-drunk-on-three-and-a-half-bottles-of-Listerine.

With Finals coming up, I might not be able to post as often as usual. Be patient, and I shall return.

Watch carefully.