Adam M. Wilcox, is a journalist, website owner, YouTuber, and musician. He served as Arts and Entertainment editor for Joliet Junior College, and Illinois Central Community College. He served two years in the United States Navy, as Command Journalist for the USS Inchon. He managed a GameStop for 7 years, and also sings in an electronic music group, Taro 2.0.
Seeing Godzilla King of the monsters split my personality in two. Not because of the confusing name. (Godzilla originally released as ゴジラ Gojira in Japan, in 1954, and then re-edited with Raymond Burr as master of exposition for America and released as Godzilla: King of the Monsters, even though it has only one monster.) No, because the five year old me, wants to say OMG the monsters are so cool, and then Godzilla was like RAAAARRRRRR, and Monster Zero, was like BLAM!!! and then…omg it was amazing!!! BEST MOVIE EVER! Then the adult in me is like, yeah it was fun…but THINGS!
Those things being the script is running on some serious first draft type fumes. Literally anything to get the monsters together. The impressive cast which boasts personal favorites such as Ken Wantanabe, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Kyle Chandler, despite the scripts best efforts to give them something desperately to do, are there to basically shout exposition to the audience. It might have been better off to just have an announcer with a famous gravelly voice just say: “ROUND 1, LET THEM FIGHT”, but you get the idea. Good actors, bad script. Script is there only because something has to get these monsters fighting.
In regards to the monsters, I think the movie does a good job respecting these creatures. When they show up, it’s a huge deal, and everyone is excited. It’s basically all star wrestling with kaiju, but this movie refers to them as titans which works, because it ties nicely back to several versions of ancient folklore which the movie goes to great lengths to explain.
The best parts are when these creatures do show up, and the special effects ARE gorgeous, but I do feel like I could have used some more daytime fights, because Kong: Skull Island did those much better. Speaking of Skull Island, did you know we are three films into an expanded universe now? That’s right, there multiple call backs to Monarch which is the bad good guys from Skull Island, depending on how you look at an organization that seems to have deep pockets and does nothing more than build expensive facilities around monsters just waiting for them to wake up and destroy everything. And that brings me to my first minor gripe. All bs aside, where do these funds come from? I realize there is suspension of disbelief around a movie with giant monsters using Washington D.C. as a giant Octagon, but still…this much money could have paid for some artificial titans to be built, oh wait that is the plot for Pacific Rim…my bad. Nevermind.
The script is basically, Vera Farmiga, and Kyle Chandler lost a kid in 2014, when Godzilla beat up whats his face in the last movie. They split up. Kyle takes pictures of tigers in the wild, and Vera Farmiga works for Monarch. She basically makes fancy duck calls, that wake up ancient sleeping lizards. No way that will ever go wrong! Well, all of them get woke up at one point, and the world is turned into chaos faster than you can say congress!
That is where the fun begins! I would not classify this one as disaster porn, the world mostly becomes a giant backdrop for these monsters to square off. While I would have prefered a little less rain and snow, the monster fights were fun. A true summer popcorn flick. At no point do you ever have to think too much, but I would not classify it as insulting either.
One thing that always drives me nuts in most monster movies, and if you have ever seen even one Asylum movie, you will get this reference. It is a trope that I have not yet named, where most of the cast carries the movie by shouting exposition to a computer monitor of some sort, so that the audience knows why the monsters are doing stuff. This movie does SOME of that, but I will give it a partial credit for at least pretending to give the cast something to do from time to time, even if it comes off as a bit weak. Also, if you liked the scale from the Gareth Edwards 2014 film, I think they played off of that nicely with this one as well.
I did stay for the post credit extras. While there ARE several mentions of Kong in the movie, there was no big teaser for Godzilla VS Kong. I won’t spoil the post credit scene, but I will say that if you are doing the post movie pee pee dance like I was, you can probably skip it, and not have to worry.
I grade everything on the cheese curd scale, so I have to remove two points, one for a really lame script, and another for having some really lackluster acting. I found it nearly impossible to really care about any of these characters or ever even feel like any of them were in any real kind of danger even when they were maybe less than a foot away from giant titans and what not. I am giving it a 3 out of 5 cheese curds. I think it is worth a look. If you liked Kong: Skull Island or you are sucker for monsters movies like I am, I think you will be entertained. However if that movie annoyed you, this probably won’t win you over either. Minor spoiler, don’t expect the gender of Godzilla to be explained. Also, Millie Bobby Brown does not beat up Whitney Houston, or get her hooked on Crack.
I don’t usually do spoilers, and I think I can pull this off without spoilers. Why do people try aggressively to spoil this movie? I am not sure that it is intentional. This is a movie that is meant to be a shared experience. The culmination of 11 years, and 22 films worth of set up. It is about resolutions, and the water cooler talk of the moment is either Game of Thrones, or Avengers Endgame. To discuss said resolutions would in fact spoil things. At this point at least 3 billion dollars worth of people have seen it, but I refuse to break tradition. A good review CAN be presented without spoilers. To cover virtually any details of the movie’s three-hour run time would in fact spoil the hell out of this movie, so unfortunately this review will have to be shorter than normal.
Avenger’s Endgame picks up 23 days after Avengers Infinity War, where Thanos achieved his goal of getting all of the Infinity Stones, and snapping away half of the population in the universe. A large chunk of this is dedicated to the ones who were NOT snapped out of existence dealing with the aftermath. Character developement has always been a strong point of most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Most comic book movies, are only as strong as your villain, but somehow the MCU managed to break that curse, but making these super heroes both relatable and believable. By design it has been a fun journey to grow and advance with these characters in their respective movies throughout the last decade. The biggest star of THIS movie is probably Nebula played by Karen Gillan, who was first introduced to us as a villain from Guardians of the Galaxy. We have gradually spent time throughout these movies developing this character, but this time she gets more screen time than before. Of course Rocket Racoon voiced by Bradley Cooper, is still the scene stealer and of all the characters in this universe he bounces off everyone’s lines flawlessly.
I am thankful to say that I rarely felt this movie’s three-hour runtime. It was never boring. I would be lying if I said I was not genuinely entertained. There was a great deal of humor in this movie. Surprisingly not as dour and depressing as the last movie. There were still a couple of minor gripes I would have to address, because while they were not enough to ruin the movie, they were enough for me to remove a couple of points from having a perfect score. One of them involves a character that kind of shows up, and then disappears. There are actually a few scenes where characters show up and disappear that may or may not have been the result of simply having a movie with this many characters that continuity becomes a villain itself. My other gripe, is that there are some not so subtle moments in the movie that tease some possible future instalments of this franchise, that may not sit well with all fans. There is a glaringly forced scene involving multiple female characters that looks cool, but doesn’t make much sense within the scene itself, if for nothing else than to virtue signal that there are women in the MCU, as if anyone actually needed to be reminded. The scene really sends me mixed messages, but still not enough to ruin the experience for me.
As far as the resolutions that I refuse to speak of? I would say that most fans will be satisfied with how the story wraps. The same way that most of us felt when we first saw Return of the Jedi. Had that been the last Star Wars film, we would have been completely satisfied. I feel the same about this movie. I am completely satisfied with the ending. I may even buy a copy of this one at some point. I would recommend seeing it. I am giving this one a 3 out of 5 cheese curds. I will be posting a spoiler review on my YouTube channel on Monday: 5/6/19.
When I say wasted opportunities I can think of a lot of things, like NWA, never getting back together before Easy E died. The Beatles not getting back together before John Lennon died. When it comes to the latest reboot of Hellboy, watching David Harbour in the title role, is a bit like going to a Motley Crue concert with John Corabi as the lead singer. Sure, he can get the job done perfectly fine, but nobody cares.
I was one of those angry folks who were shouting to heavens when Guillermo del Toro’s third movie was dumped for this one. Since I found that the other Hellboy movies were a lot of fun, and that the second trailer actually looked pretty good, I decided to give this a fair shake anyway. I left all of my reservations at the front door. I have to say though, that it IS impossible to not make comparisons. For one, David Harbor’s Hellboy looks like HB has been dancing with Mr. Brownstone on the 6th day, of a 7 day binge. Perlman had the right face that fit the look. David Harbour just looks like he’s really uncomfortable under a ton of makeup and latex. Again, this is a reboot here, for a movie that is not really all that old. It is imposible not to have these expectations. Also, unlike the first one, there is almost no urgency in trying to hide HB from the world. He just kind of walks around on the crime scene, and nobody seems to give less of a fuck? You know who else probably gives less of a fuck? Oscar Winner Gillermo del Toro! Because instead of working on Hellboy 3, he went and made Shape of Water, oscar winner for best picture of 2017. Suck on that Lionsgate!
I have to admit that the first Hellboy trailer was really rough. I was not convinced at all. The second trailer, is what got me to go buy a ticket today and sit through this. Sadly though, all of the best bits were in fact in that trailer, and some of those scenes are about as long as they are in the trailer too. The rest of the budget was spent on those dope movie posters, because it sure wasn’t spent on this script ooo boy…I mean Hellboy. This is an exposition nightmare.
To make this review make more sense, I have to take you back to a time about 15 years ago, when comic book movies were not the norm. Movies had to be sold as movies first. Comics were just a rough outline. Most importantly, you never had to read the comics to understand what was going on in the movie. The original Hellboy had a simple story. Crazy, but simple. The rest of the movie was spent on trying to sell the audience into this strange world that fights monsters with more monsters. Also, it had to make you appreciate the characters, so that when shit happens, you actually care about your characters. This movie could have done that, but the script was so bad, that literally everyone in this movie has to take a back seat to it. I suppose it depends too much on those who have read the Mike Mignola comic books, but nobody reads comic books, and don’t give me any crap about needing to read the comics before I watch this movie. I live in a world where I just watched Hellboy, in a same theater that is showing Captain Marvel, and Shazam, less than two weeks before Avenger’s End Game comes out. I guarantee that every time a bell rings, a comic book store has closed down in your community so nobody else is reading these things either. Get off my lawn with that trash!
The opening sets the tone for the entire movie. Exposition dumb, action, exposition dump, action, over and over to the point where it gets so monotonous that you want to smash your face into your popcorn to make the pain stop. It’s that bad. This happens, and then we go here. This happened, and then we go there. This will happen in London, because TAX BREAKS!!! Seriously. Every character we ever meet in this movie has a convoluted back story to the point to where you almost want to get up and say “WHO FREAKING CARES?!!!”, because the ALL of the characters in this movie except for maybe Professor Broom, and HB are totally forgettable. I don’t even remember the names of them as I am typing this. I could go to IMDB and look, but I would be cheating myself and this review at the same time. And the worst part about that is that there are moments of greatness here. For example, Ian McShae, and David Harbour have a really good chemistry that I would have liked to have seen explored, but it got in the way of the obnoxious flash backs and exposition dumps. It made me sad, and gave me a headache.
The special effects looked pretty good. There were some decent fights between HB and some large monsters, but it would have been nice to have tried to set up these characters better before jumping into the fight. Or maybe tone down that awful script by a few thousand paragraphs or so.
One of the things I was excited about was the appearance of Milla Jovavich, and sadly she is one of the worst villains I have ever seen. Literally every sentence that comes out of her mouth feels like you cut and pasted dialogue from every mustache twirling fucktard villain in every single super hero comic book nonsense movie you have ever seen. Seriously, when you see this, make a drinking game, and take a shot every time Milla says something that you have heard in any other movie.
And the biggest punch in the balls this movie has, would be the ending. The original Hellboy movie had a fake out ending, where you think it’s all over, and then the shit really hits the fan. This movie does quite the opposite. The movie just kind of ends, and then they are doing something else that doesn’t really have anything else to do with the movie at all. Who ever assembled the footage of this movie was either drunk, or was just as lost as I was over this awful script. Of course that doesn’t stop them from trying to eek out two post credit scenes. Yep…setting up future instalments, and I don’t care. I am giving this one 2 out of 5 cheese curds. Probably won’t ever watch this ever again. I am not saying this is the worst movie ever, but it would be better if you just waited for a rental on this one. Seeing what I have seen today, I would have been better off seeing the third and final installment of the Hellboy franchise, but I feel this movie has killed both a chance for a sequel to THIS crap, AND del Toro’s sequel as well. Thanks Lionsgate! Why did you have to go and do my boys dirty like that? Why?
One thing for certain for anyone who has ever spent any certain length of time in bands, is that bands suck. The guitar player is an alcoholic and can’t stand up long enough to practice, but when he’s sober he can play a melody that would open the Heavens, or the gates of Hell…pick one. The singer is pretty cool, but you are pretty sure he has his eye on your woman. The bass player just wants everybody to get along and play a few decent gigs before his back gives out. Oh, and all of them have stories of when they were better… Yeah I was in a band like that, until I wasn’t. I know this routine. Somebody in the band is always an asshole, and the thing about assholes is everybody has one, or maybe ALL of them are assholes? Most of them come and go, or they just kind of gradually fall out of touch, and temporarily bleed into other bands. Very few go the distance, and live to tell stories about it. For the four assholes that formed Motley Crue, they didn’t just go the distance, they did laps around the solar system, lived on their own terms, and lived long enough to tell stories about it.
I grew up around the middle of Motley Crue’s career. Doctor Feelgood was the album I had. Everyone I knew had a copy. For those first few years of high school, Hair Metal WAS the pop scene unless you listened to R&B or hip hop. It was all about the excess. Stories of hotel parties, cocaine filled limo rides, groupies, fast cars, and women. Most of these guys slept on a pile of money, and snorted the rest. It would seem forever until three assholes from Seattle put an end to that almost overnight, and most people were about as eager to burn those Motley Crue records, as fast as the night that disco died.
For those years of the late 80s and early 90s, we had metal magazines, and swapped exaggerated stories of excess, and wild parties. This Netflix biopic nails THAT aspect of the hard rock scene that most of us pondered over. What surprises me about this movie is exactly how funny it really is…until it isn’t.
“What surprises me about this movie is exactly how funny it really is…until it isn’t.”
The Dirt is set up on a four-way narration style level of Nikki Six (Douglass Booth), Vince Neil (Daniel Webber), Mick Mars (Iwan Rheon), and Tommy Lee (Colson Baker AKA Machine Gun Kelly) all telling different parts of the story from different perspectives. Director Jeff Tramaine does a nice job of showing these actors together with chemistry. I would say this movie kind of reminds me of The Wolf of Wall Street, where the director spares no details when showing exactly how far down the rabbit hole of Sodom and Gomorrah these four assholes are willing to go, and it works so well! It is hard to pinpoint the EXACT comic relief, but I would have to give it to Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars, who is the oldest member of the band, and has simply no time for shenanigans, he just wants to be in a band that is going to be the most successful. Most of the time he just comes off as the grumpy bear of the band who scoffs occasionally when the Crue takes turns pissing in the swimming pool. Literally pissing….in the pool, and I refuse to spoil some of the cameos here, so I will just leave you with that mental image. Mick Mars is my spirit animal in this band. Old, and cynical as Fuck. Really though, all of these guys get a chance to shine, but I think the strongest performances were from Baker and Kelly.
It is really damn hard not to laugh at these guys running naked down the hallways of motels and setting each other’s rooms on fire just for the sake of being goofs. This is where the movie hits the strongest. The rest of the movie is your typical by the numbers rags to riches biopic, about how another band went from zeroes to heroes over a span of just a few albums.
The movie kind of takes a much darker tone by that third act, when all of the excess catches up with the Crue, and life becomes reality. Drugs, jail, and domestic disputes end those parties quick. The film gets somewhat confusing about midway through the third act, when things kind happen, and then don’t really happen. I can’t do THAT much fact checking….like I said, we had magazines and MTV back in the day, all we really knew, is what we heard in interviews, and read in the damn metal mags. Pretty sanitary stuff. I was surprised that the band was actually sober when they did Dr. Feelgood. That was the album I had. I had assumed that was when they were all at their worse. See how much I know? I mean at one point, these bands were kind of started to sound alike, but at least Motley Crue was one of the faster bands, and definitely too raw for the mainstream. I am sure the movie took some liberties, but after all this is a biopic about one of America’s wildest bands, and biopics are the flavor of the month at the moment. Although unlike Bohemian Rhapsody, you MIGHT not want to watch this one with your parents. Not even minutes into this movie, a girl is ejaculating on the carpet at a party. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it fits in with this band’s roller coaster lifestyle.
I cannot complain. I found it really damn hard not to enjoy this film for what it is. A biopic about a Crue that partied hard, rocked hard, lived excess, and overcame pretty much every shitty thing that came their way. What I respect about this movie, is that even after all these jerks did to each other, and everyone else, the movie still finds time to drop a message about being friends and staying together. It leaves you with just the right amounts of warm and fuzzy to make you stay for the damn credits where they show the faces of the actors next to the actual Crue. Unfortunately I am old enough to remember the actual Crue. This movie made me go dust off my Motley Crue records…oh what you thought I burned them? 5 out of 5 cheese curds. Go check this one out on Netflix!
In 1977, a film was released that would alter my universe irrevocably. Sorry to disappoint, but it is not the one of which you are thinking, the one involving George Lucas. In the furor that followed the release of that film, another, lesser-known movie was released to be overshadowed by the special effects extravaganza.
Ralph Bakshi, a pioneer in the field of animation, wanted to do a fairy tale, but one with American attitude and sensibilities. His project, ‘Wizards’, is a classic story of good versus evil and brother against brother. As the opening tells us, it is, “An illuminating history bearing on the everlasting struggle for world supremacy fought between the powers of technology and magic.”
I saw it in the AAFES theatre in Landstuhl, Germany in 1978. My mind was blown.
Before I proceed, I want to thank Mr. Ralph Bakshi and his collaborators in this and other films. Mr. Bakshi, you introduced to me a new realm of what could be done with fantasy, with animation, and with film. Over the course of the next 80 minutes, I experienced thousands of years of a new world, with amazing characters, incredible art, and a whole lot of laughs. My universe was widened, and though I was ill-prepared, I embraced that widening and have loved fantasy ever since.
Mike Ploog’s whimsical artwork supports a narration that gives us the setting, and it returns at points in the film. It is both evocative and captivating. Plus, using it saved a fortune on the budget – less to animate. Ian Miller’s rough sketches are used as compelling backgrounds; the images are astounding.
The premise is fairly simple: Nuclear holocaust begets a world of magic and radioactive wastes. Elves and fairies are reborn into our altered world, joining the mutated survivors of the war. Technology is eschewed by the fey as evil, and magic embraced. “The only true technology is magic,” says a wise elf.
Into this world are born the twin sons of the faerie queen. Good and evil, fey and mutant, they are the wizards of the title. Their conflict sets the stage for the movie: technological wonder weapon vs. magic. In the interest of preserving the details, I will leave the rest for you to discover.
Ralph Bakshi was a pioneer in the use of rotoscoping, that is, animating over film of live actors and animals. In ‘Wizards’, he used this technique extensively. I recognized several films, including ‘Zulu’, ‘El Cid’, and ‘Battle of the Bulge’. Additionally, archival footage from the second world war is employed as well. The image of mutants flying Messerschmitt Me-109s and Junkers Ju-87 Stukas has never left me.
From a technical standpoint, it is not a great film. Much of it consists of illustrations with narration. The animation is fair, aided by liberal use of rotoscoping. I thought I had imagined it as a child, but throughout the movie, one can see the shadow of the camera in the centre of the shot. As an adult, I wonder if this was a mistake, or if it was intentional on Bakshi’s part. If you watch the film, you will learn why.
Compared to other animation of the day (Disney’s The Rescuers, Rankin/Bass’ The Hobbit, and Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown all came out that year), Wizards looks clunky. The use of illustrations in many places, rather than animation, might detract from the viewing pleasure for some.
Those other movies might have more animation, possibly better animation, but none are trying to squeeze into 80 minutes, the sheer magnitude of the world being created. None has the pop-culture references, either. Look for the CBS and Coca-Cola logos in the background.
To this day, I love Wizards. It is my favourite Bakshi movie. It remains my favourite fantasy movie (and post-apocalyptic movie), even in this age of Peter Jackson and the 24 hours of Tolkien that are his films. Lavish, spectacular, perhaps, but they lack the rough charm of Wizards, to say nothing of scantily clad faerie maidens, resurrected mutant assassins, and our antagonist, Blackwolf, with the partially exposed skeletal structure (words cannot do justice to the sheer, unrelenting neato-ness!).
For years, I thought I had imagined it all. We moved back to the States, and no one, not one person I spoke with, had ever heard of this film. Then, it appeared on the midnight movie circuit (Thank you, Louisiana 1-2-3!), and I managed to pirate a copy off of HBO, the one time they deigned to show it. I kept that video for two decades, watching it sober and, shall we say, psychedelically enhanced, until the DVD came along.
Wizards is unadulterated brilliance, a brilliant gem lost in the dust of the monster Lucas created, and, speaking for myself, it is epitome of a Lost Flick.
Know ye of days long past, when the writer was young, and the tales of swords and wenches was weaved from the truly lost flick of the mists of Legendry. I remember seeing this joint on HBO back in the 80s. I am revealing a dark secret that I was once a fan of movies such as this. Conan The Barbarian, Excalibur, Beastmaster, and of course this one. I remember the three things that always made me remember this one was the ridiculous sword that fired three blades, though having seen this movie a thousand times, I have yet to figure out how it works. Where is the damn trigger? What makes it work? Gun Powder? Springs? Mists of legendry? There is the 80’s practical effects make up for this movie that makes it border on a midnight horror movie. I mean the Xusia the Sorcerer looks a bit like Freddy Krueger, and E.T. had a love child that nobody ever heard of. And of course, the name of our title character Talon! Such a cool name.
Let’s talk about our hero first before we get into the meat and potatoes of this movie. Talon, is a hero, who has a tragic back story set up, only to reveal that several years later, he becomes a scoundrel that pretty much lives by his own rules. We only view him as a hero because he has his own awesome theme music that plays whenever he enters a room. I can only imagine what it would be like to have my own theme music that plays whenever I enter a room, but all I hear is the Benny Hill theme for some reason. Anyways we hear this theme music play when he enters a room in slow motion while chewing on a leg of beef as he watches and attempted rape in progress. Ladies and gentleman, your hero! Yes the 80s were fucked up. Thar be dangerous plotlines that might not fit into politically correct waters going forward so proceed at ye own risk lads and lassies.
The movie opens up with Cromwell and his army rowing ashore at the entrance of a cave at the end of the world among mists of Legendre. Look, before we go any further, I had this movie only on a shitty tape I copied from HBO once, and then later on a DVD that almost never played. At the time of this review, the only copy I could find, was a Rifftrax version on Amazon prime, and they used that “mysts of legendry” bit so much that it has become part of my daily vernacular, so please deal with it! Titus Cromwell is our bad guy played by the forever ugly Richard Lynch, who was the Dollar General version of Christopher Walken in the 80s. He’s a pretty slimy bastard, with a pointy nose that could cut through the mists of….GOD DAMMIT… Anyways…
We cut to the entrance of a cave, where our not so Grace Jones looking sea witch yells mumbo jumbo bippitty boppitty boo over a crypt decorated with a lot of gooey faces. Xusia who is played by Bull from Night Court comes to life, and pulls his “who woke me up on the Sunday after Superbowl bit”. As Witch Hazel tries to start sexy time by licking the buffalo sauce off of Xusia’s fingers. Cromwell basically promises Xusia a free pony, and tickets to Blue Man Group if he helps Cromwell defeat his goody two shoes opponent and become king of…Adennnnn…..something? er…not Detroit. Of course to prove that Xusia can do anything other than card tricks, he Force throws the Witch Jones against the wall, and pulls her heart out of her chest without moving a single step. This gag was really big in The Temple of Doom!
Anyways in a not so shocking turn of events, Dollar General Walken pulls the old double cross on Xusia and stabs him in the chest, and leaves him for dead. We cut to young Talon getting his sword, watching both of his parents get slaughtered by Cromwell and his band of blue meanies, and not doing much of anything about it except showing us that the sword fires a blade and shoots it at one of the guards before riding off on a horse with a couple of his digits nailed to a tree.
We see him doing his best impression of A Knight in King’s Court with 3 blades back in his sword pointing it at the sky atop a cliff by the sea. No less than a minute later, we cut back from the sea to the exact same cliff, and it’s Lee Horsley as Talon, who is now a pirate, a general, a mercenary, third member in the barbershop quartet, member of the royal order of loyal water buffalos, a hooker, and a member of the volunteer fire department. Lee Horsely went on to do mostly TV shows like Matt Houston, and Love Boat after this, so he never had the same luck as Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger after this, so don’t get too excited. After watching this movie you can see why? Remember that awesome theme music I wast telling you about? Yeah that stuff was written and composed by David Whitaker whose previous works mostly involve low rent smut, but trust me the music sounds a lot more awesome than this movie probably deserves. It may sound like I am shitting on this movie, but trust me when I say this review comes from a place of love. See the music IS in fact Lee Horsley’s personality. A lot of Lee Horsely’s performance in this movie involves him looking stupidly into the camera, or looking at somebody with one expression. The expression is basically that of somebody that farted about 23 seconds ago, and is just waiting for the reaction of the first person that notices…WHO CUT THE CHEESE?! WERE YOU BORN IN A BARN? WHAT ARE YOU? SOME KIND OF LEE HORSLEY?
We flash to another revolution happening, lead not so cleverly by Mikah who serves as the master of exposition dumps and yet cannot understand why his plots keep becoming easily overturned by King Cromwell McPointynose. He’s betrayed by one of the members of Spinal Tap, and tossed into a dungeon ran by former WWF rejects who are addicted to baby oil, torture, and bad puns. Mikah’s sister Alana manages to stab a guard and get away, but you will quickly learn that in THIS movie, wounds are only mortal if the plot needs them to be so. This guard tracks down Alana in a matter of seconds and the first rape attempt begins with whimsical music playing until the hero cue music changes and Talon enters the room gnawing a cow leg, wondering if he wants to get involved before or after the guards notice he farted 23 seconds ago. After he finally makes a small weenie joke, and beats the shit out of her attackers, they go to a tent. Alana offers Talon a shit load of monopoly money if he will help break her brother out of Cromwell’s Dungeons. And in a surprising turn of events, Talon wants a one day lay in the hay with Alana in turn for busting her brother out. After being almost raped 10 minutes ago…seems fair right? So our “hero” decides to do this thing. And this is where things get even more bizarre.
I mentioned that Talon is a hero only by the cue of music, and his whimsical fart face right? Wait until you see his stealth skills. After shouting at some guy who has a map to a sewer, they run underground to get into the dungeons. There might be some rats. And Talon heroically saves the day by…kicking over a conveniently placed barrel of oil, and lighting it on fire. No normal man could have pulled off this act of stratagem! Wow, no wonder he is a general!
Once he does bumbleboob his way into the prison though, he finds that one of the prisoners was once the architect that built the castle, above the prison. Deus Ex Machina be damned to HELL! Things get a little fuzzy here, because there are some plot points that I have left out as not to bore the reader, but I just want to focus on the more banal aspects of this mess. Talon does get into the prison, people are freed, and he DOES fight King Nose Job at one point, but does get away, and disguises himself as a guard for a bit. Around this time, we flash to one of Talons’ other mercenaries, and many of his men who are all in a brothel. Word from one of Cromwell’s wenches is that Talon had been captured, and I shit you not, some deadlocked Bob Marly on steroids looking dude announces himself as Captain Morgan…no seriously….this time. They agree to go bail Talon out of prison. Did I mention, that Talon in this movie is a bit like Farris Buehler? Everyone seems to know him. A lot of things happened off-screen, and everyone seems to owe him one for one reason or another. Save Talon you heartless wench!!! 30 seconds later, Captain Morgan, and Talon’s men are yelling at each other from jail cells.
After more bumbling and awesome Indiana Jones like music, Talon does finally get captured, and it is announced via exposition dump that Talon is to be crucified at Cromwell’s wedding. See Cromwell is convinced that Talon is actually Xusia the Sorcerer in disguise. Oh yeah, remember there was a sorcerer in this sword and sorcerer movie!? Yes, King Walkenwannabee is going to marry Alana because we need to rescue a maiden in this movie, and so far, she has served no purpose to this story other than set our “hero” on his journey. So then we flash to crucifixion. Yep. Our bumbling smelt it and dealt it hero is nailed to a cross, with a ball gag in his mouth, while the board of directors of the NFL wine dine, and try not to drool on themselves while getting drunk on wine. And of course we get back to that Ferris Buehler moment again, where two rich white dudes talk to each other, and say “hey isn’t that Talon? We owe him a debt for what he did for us”. Well thanks for sparing us of THAT detail movie, I am sure there was a really good reason to not sit and watch some dude die on cross while you shove grapes into your mouth ya jack ass.
Now Captain Morgan and the rest of his band of merry idiots are freed by Cromwell’s whores. So of course they show up at the wedding just as the reverend is about to marry the two, Talon actually pulls both of his hands off the nails, and yells “KAHHHHHHHHHHHHNNNNNN…..er sorry wrong movie….CROOOOOOOMMMMWELLLL!!!! Then we get the big action pay off, and honestly, as many times as I have seen it. It’s pretty fucking awesome. The music is awesome, I don’t know who is fighting who, but I don’t care, heads are rolling, music is swelling, some of it is in slow motion. I love every minute of it.
Eventually King Needlenose, and Talon do fight, but in another scene, we have Spinal Tap running down Alana as she is trying to escape. Yeah she is REALLY SHITTY at trying to get away. Alana tries to seduce Spinal Tap, and realizes that something is afoot when she thrusts her foot into Spinal Tap’s wedding tackle only to realize that nothing is there. Of course this pissed off Spinal Tap so much, that he just decides to pull of his clothes AND his skin to reveal he is Xusia. True story time. Richard Bull Moll from Night Court was only actually Xusia in the first scene. He had serious problems with the contact lenses so all of the other scenes in the movie was somebody else disguised and Xusia, and Richard Moll dubbed in his lines in post. So the master of disguise is played by several other people. Eat your heart out Zartan from G.I. Joe!
Of course, our bumbling hero now reunited with his triple bladed sword is running down Cromwell when he bumps into Xusia trying to slip Alana the old E.T. phone home gag, and his best response is “I have no quarrel with you! It is Cromwell I am after.” Xusia says: “Cromwell’s flesh shall be mine.” Talon say’s “Well now we have a quarell”. Of course Xusia tries to E.T. phone home Talon as well, but don’t act like you didn’t see THIS one coming, he fires one of the blades at Xusia and he falls back. This is where the fun begins. King Beef Cromwellington smiles at Talon. Talon smiles back, fires the other blade at the stone wall, to indicate this is going to be a “fair fight”, and of course when these two fight again we get more sparks than Yankee Stadium on the 4th of July. At one point, Talon’s sword breaks, and he pulls a tiny sword out of the bottom of the hilt. I fucking love this scene. Next, Cromwellwellwell loses his sword, but he has a baton that he’s been carrying through the entire movie, except now a switch blade comes out of each end of it. At this point, I can’t tell if the movie has been trolling me, or if the props master was just tripping balls and said fuck it. These two fight some more, and suddenly in Talon’s gauntlet he pulls a Robocop, and yet ANOTHER fucking dagger comes out, and that is the one he finally kills King Christopher Walkenose with. Finally he reveals that he is Talon, son of the dude you killed at the end of the movie.
Talon gives the crown back to Mikah, Alana runs off happily to go “settle up” with Talon, as everyone chants his name. Then we cut to Talon back on the sea cliff with his men. All the blades back on his sword fixed. And “now it’s off to Maladon, to save Lambotia’s kingdom”. Some random asshole walks up and tells Talon he want’s to join up. Yes movie let’s introduce a random dude at the end of the movie and show us from his backside looking at General You Smelled it you Dealt it face, as he says “well then….we have a battle to offer, Kingdoms to save and women to love!!!” And they ride off into the sunset!
No post credits sequence, nobody had time for that shit in the 80’s but just at the fade to black we do get “Watch for Talon’s Next Adventure Tales of the Ancient Empire coming soon!” proving that people pulled that shit back in the 80s too. Coming soon was as soon as 2010 with Talon being played by Kevin Sorbo. Another lost flick for another review.
I know it seems like I am ripping this movie to shreds, but believe me I actually love cheese like this. It is why I got into writing these reviews in the first place. It is true lost flick. I mean it. I can’t even find a decent DVD copy for anything short of $66 dollars on Ebay. I mean I love it, but I don’t love it for $66. I would give this one 3 out of 5 cheese curds, just for its effort, cinematography, practical effects, and awesome score. It wasn’t a big budget movie, but back in the 80s nobody knew what a budget on a movie was. We just went and saw stuff if we thought it looked good. This one at least looks like it had a high production value, and it was Albert Pyun’s directorial debut, so I got to give him a pass, even if he jumped the shark of hoping for a sequel right away. I can even get past the fact that the damn Sorceror only pulls like two or three magic tricks in the whole movie. He can push people, make them hold really still, or pull a heart out of a chest, but only once!
Eventually I will track down this on DVD, but for now, I have movies to trash and reviews to write!
Adam will be back with his review of Deathstalker coming soon!
Dune has officially started shooting, and will take place over at least two films according to director Denis Villeneuve as quoted on Imdb.com. Today according to an article written by Scott Snowden on Space.com, Brian Herbert, son of Dune author Frank Herbert posted on twitter that principal filming has started.
For those of us were are old enough to remember what a mess the David Lynch version of Dune in 1984 was, this comes as exciting news. To be fair, the 1984 film could not be blamed on David Lynch, it was originally the passion project of surreal director Alejandro Jodorowsky who was jettisoned from the project due to creative differences with the studio. Lynch was the pinch hitter, who had to make what he could out of it. The harshest problem with the 1984 film is that it tries to tell too much story in one movie. Also, it took creative liberties with technology in order to invent clever special effects. The movie looked amazing, but made absolutely no sense.
For those of us who didn’t read the book, there was Dune (TV Mini-Series) which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel (Not SYFY) back in 2000. It might not have had the production level of the 1984 film, it looked more like the first season of the original Star Trek, but it was more faithful to the book, and had some decent performances. Most importantly, the story was simple to follow.
This new Dune adaptation is showing some exciting promise, with a director that has already demonstrated that he can respect the source material of an exciting property (Blade Runner 2049), and prioritized story over spectacle (Arrival). It also has a cast that we are all super excited about like Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Dave Bautista, Javier Bardem, and Stellan Skarsgård as the megalomaniac Baron Harkonnen.
The most exciting news is that the movie WILL be split into at least two films according to Denis Villeneuve so that the original story would be “preserved and not cut into a million pieces.” We like that idea!
The original Dune was written in 1965 by Frank Herbert, who wrote six novel in the series. His son Brian Herbert, along with Kevin J. Anderson, co authored another 26. If they finally get it right this time, there could be a long franchise of Dune movies ahead of us. Lets home that none of them suck this time! We have faith that Denis Villeneuve will get it right this time. Let’s hope the audiences are as into it as we are!
April 14th is the 8th and final season of Game Of Thrones airing on HBO. I am excited. Not because I love Game of Thrones, but because I am sick of hearing about it. I am a nerd. I have many nerd friends, and for most of my nerd friends, this show is more than a show, it is religion. I first started hearing about this damn show back in 2011. The problem with this show, is that you can just have somebody say “hey check out Game of Thrones”, and then just casually watch it. No. That is not enough. They want to strap you to a chair, make you chug a case of Red Bull, and then shove toothpicks into your eyelids, and force you to marathon about 4 seasons of this show until you jump up and scream to the heavens, “YES JESUS H TAP DANCING CHRIST, I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT! GAME OF THRONES IS THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO MY MEANINGLESS EXISTENCE. I WILL CONVERT EVERYONE I KNOW TO LOVE AS MUCH AS I NOW DO!!!” Most of you that know me however, will know that I walk a different path…
Honestly, I wanted to like it. I gave it about four episodes and was bored out of my skull. I may have even nodded out a few times. I am not going to say it isn’t necessarily good, it just doesn’t hold my interest. Kind of like the way the Lord of the Rings series didn’t necessarily hold my interest either. See, I am just not into what we used to call in the 80s “Sword & sorcerer Movies”. It is a subgenre of the fantasy genre, and was spawned by the “sword & sandals” movies of the 1950s. Some of which were biblical, but many of them involved some muscled dude playing Hercules going on an adventure. In the 80s however, Conan The Barbarian made a huge splash, and schlockmeisters of all sorts wanted to cash in on the popular trend. Now bear with me, because I had to do some deep diving to get some of this info streight, but to the best of my knowledge, Conan was the big one that started it all. After 1982, these movies were showing up in theaters every other weekend. We didn’t know which ones were big, and which ones were schlock. It was not like we could Google which producers were making the big movies, all we had were posters, tv spots, trailers, and maybe an occasional review in a newspaper or magazine. Most of the posters were really great though! So you would see these at the drive in, and maybe forget about them after a day or two. Only a handful of them can be found on Blu-ray now, and even less than that, have withstood the test of time. Luckily for me, I have YouTube, and Amazon Prime!
Sword & sorcerer movies were a dream come true to movie producers, because they were easy to make. I mean…what was the price of the average loin cloth in the 1980s, right? You could film them at your local park, secluded mountain range, or desert. Basically anyplace that didn’t have any technology. And then the following week, you could add some leather and rivets to the loin cloth, make up a few go carts, film the entire thing in a junk yard and call it a “post apocalypse adventure”, that will be next month’s featured genre. Most sword & Sorcerer movies have the same basic plots. A hero goes on a journey, usually to rescue a damsel, or kill some asshole. A long the way, he meets some more damsels, a wizard, slays a few monsters, and does it all without having to stop to rub more baby oil on. Most of the time, a magic sword, is involved. The basic Dungeon’s & Dragons RPG game was coming up around this time, and sold well on tv as well as The He-Man cartoon, and Masters of the Universe toy line. Kind of like the super hero genre, none of these movies were ever taken seriously. They usually had actors that bordered on soft core porn grade level of line delivery. Sometimes special effects were decent, sometimes they were insanely bad. Sometimes shots were reused from original to sequel like DeathStalker II. You know you have hit absolute fuck it, when you are re-using actual shots from the original movie. It’s not to say it’s all bad, in fact some of these are so bad, that they can be either downright charming, or embarrassing train wrecks. One thing for certain, is that most of these movies objectified women as either damsels to be rescued, or trophies to be awarded.
It wasn’t until the later 80s when several attempts were made to make movies about stronger female warriors, but like with early super hero movies like Elektra, some of these attempts fell short, and were lost to obscurity. Red Sonja didn’t exactly shatter the glass ceiling on the sword & sorceror genre, but you have to at least give it credit for trying, and some people have a soft spot for it.
Eventually these movies faded away into the night, but they are back now for the most part. Lord of the Rings was taken seriously, Oscars were awarded. Game of Thrones is a HUGE success, whether I like it or not, and most of the actors and actresses on this show, even though they show as much skin as the worst of the 80s schlock, they are taken seriously, and they show up in pretty much every other movie that comes out now.
Like I said though, I lived this already. I know this music. It doesn’t matter that these properties are taken seriously now, all I see are the same movies that I grew up with, just with a little bit better acting. I mean the stories are all the same, except now, it takes 8 seasons to tell the same story that might show up in two or three of these sword & sorcerer movies. I know, I know…but Adam…the acting…the drama. Yes, I can get all of that from just as many seasons of Breaking Bad, but without all the magic and dragon stuff. I know that it seems like I am dogging on this pretty hard, but I remember a great deal of these movies from the 80s, and they are super fun to talk about. Some of them I have a soft spot for, even if they are not good at all, and they are probably not the ones you THINK I am going to talk about. My staff will be joining in on the fun as well. I hope you enjoy reading about these movies as much as we love talking about them!
Weird, Italian made hybrid of The Terminator and Over The Top. A cyborg is programmed to assassinate a blind environmentalist, but at the last moment his programming breaks and he pulls his death punch, only wounding the old man. He goes on the run to Arizona, where he originally came from, and hides out at a no-tell motel owned by a young woman. The place turns out to be a mecca for arm wrestlers, with the pictures of the past and present champions hanging on the walls. Paco the Terminator runs afoul of the second place arm wrestler (George Eastman! He came from the east to…wait, that’s a different movie), and ends up a major contender for the championship! Meanwhile, he’s being pursued by the FBI and the evil industrialist (John Saxon!) who had programmed and sent him on the mission in the first place. Think that was weird to write? Just imagine watching it. So much cheesy craziness. I loved it. Catch it on Amazon Prime if you dare.
In the 1995 film Mallrats, Ethan Suplee plays a character named William, an overweight person who spends most of his day at the mall staring at magic eye poster trying to see the image. The joke is that everyone in the film can see that there is a sailboat in the image, but William never sees it. The aggravation of it all drives him slowly insane. That is essentially The Blair Witch Project phenomenon for me. There are several of my good friends that maintains that this movie is piss your pant’s scary, however I never bought it. Not even once. Essentially I am William in Mallrats.
When I tell people that I hate The Blair Witch Project, I mean it. To this day I use it as a litmus test to judge how bad a movie is. See The Blair Witch Project is not a so bad its fun to watch movie. It is just bad. It is downright painful. In spite of the movie tripping on it’s own established facts, its single biggest sin, is that it showed so much potential, but instead is a proving ground about generating enough hype surrounding your film can make it actually seem good in the eyes a general audience. In 1999, it was all the talk as to just how real this horror film was supposed to be. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist. For two filmmakers in 1999 they pulled that off like gangbusters. The legendary viral marketing, and old fashioned word of mouth, is a significant land mark in pop culture. The film itself however, is divisive as to how good it really is. I decided to do some further research on this movie, because now I have unlimited access to internet, which was not readily available to me in 1999. I discovered that this year marks the 20th anniversary so I decided to watch the movie again, and give it the fairest review I can, that you are more than welcome to read on this website. I spent a great deal of time arguing with friends of mine last week about the points that didn’t work for me in the original film. One of the things that kept coming up outside of Wikipedia or any of the outside resources was this 2016 film that allegedly explains some of the ambiguity of the original source material. Out of respect for those people and they’re passion about this movie, I reluctantly decided to give this a go.
I actually enjoy some of the films in this genre that we now called “found footage”; I think it can be clever when done properly. My favorites would probably be some of the Paranormal Activity movies, Cloverfield, Troll Hunter, and the V/H/S series. It’s just another form of storytelling now. Back in 1999, it was not a genre, and The Blair Witch Project influenced enough film makers to pursue this genre to the point where it has become a rather saturated market that is now showing signs of stagnation among film goers. The point of the original Blair Witch Project was to present itself as a historic event, rather than just a simple movie. Twenty years later, unless you have been in a coma, everyone knows that it was mostly a publicity stunt designed for entertainment. So it seems rather curious to me now that we would do a sequel or soft reboot of the original now. It is kind of like trying to open a hamburger stand between a Burger King, and a McDonald’s. Sure there is a market there, but you better make sure you bring something extremely new to separate your brand from the others right?
Set in modern 2016, we are given the same opening credits where we are told this footage has been found, and all of these people went missing. So we know shenanigans will inevitably occur. We open up with James looking at YouTube footage that appears to be taken in the same house as found in the original movie. He pauses on an image that appears to be his sister, Heather who went missing from the original documentary. So this takes place in the universe where the assumption is that the movie was real, and that none of those people were ever found. And I am ok with this. James is a paramedic, so I guess he has a pretty disposable income, because now he enlists the aid of his friends Peter, Ashley, and Lisa who all have high tech cameras that are attached to a Blu-Tooth headphone. They also have a surveillance drone which appears to be a plot point, but we will get into that later. His contact is the YouTuber Darkwebb666 who happens to live just outside Burkettsville MD, the location of the woods where the original 3 people went missing. Once they meet, the film gets somewhat interesting, and the Darkweb aka Lane, and his girlfriend Talia insist on going into the woods with them to show where they found the film they used in the YouTube video.
As you can see, despite the twist of having some strangers join the crew at the last minute the set up here is pretty much identical to the first movie. Where it goes completely different though, is that THIS particular movie wastes no time telling you that there is a definite supernatural element. The original film left most of this ambiguous and open to interpretation. Where this one falls apart however is very early on. James is watching the ending of The Original Blair Witch project which SPOILERS reveals Mike standing in a corner just before the camera hits the ground. In THIS movie, even though he is supposed to be watching the same video, a loud supernatural howl is added, which you have to admit, feels kind of cheap. And that brings me to my next point. Every time the movie is trying to build tension, there is a loud audible hum that signals that something supernatural is about to occur. It’s almost an assault on my intelligence. The best scares are when you least expect it. This film goes a bit too out of its way to set them up. The other problem I have is that overuse of jump scares ruin this movie right off the opening credits. There are so many jump scares even in scenes where jump scares are not even necessary, and they are so frequent, that by the time they matter, you can see them coming a mile away. My third problem is that this movie is using conventional special affects to show you that there IS something supernatural going on, and that is where this movie goes way off the rails. In this universe the Blair Witch can manipulate time. Some of our gang wakes up late in the afternoon, thinking it is morning. Some wake up in the morning and there is no sunlight. At one point the two YouTubers separate from the group, and when we see them again, Lane has a beard and says it’s been weeks since he saw them the last time. I liked this idea actually. In fact this might be the only aspect I liked. However, there is another factor that is briefly introduced, but seems to go absolutely nowhere. Early in the film, these kids foolishly cross a stream BAREFOOT, and Ashley apparently scrapes her ankle. It slowly gets more infected and starts moving by it self. Eventually some creature is pulled out of her ankle. Thought they were going to pick up that part of the plot and go somewhere with it. Never happens. A lot of things never happen. The drone goes up enough just to show us, that the highway cannot be seen, and conveniently crashes. The drone is found later in a tree. When Ashley tries to climb the tree with an infected ankle, she falls out of the tree, and is apparently dragged away.
As you might expect, things go from bad to worse for these kids, until they finally wind up the mysterious house from the first film that literally appears out of nowhere. Once they get into the house there is an interesting sequence that takes place, but like many of the events in the film, not all of them pay off. They even show us The Blair Witch herself/itself, who may or may not be a witch at all. The house might even be a spaceship. Yes I typed that. Also, the movie tries to be clever by telling you that if you look at the witch or whatever it is, it will get you, so they use the view screen of Lane’s original camera to watch for the witch. Ultimately though, it ends pretty much the way you think it would.
This movie had a couple of good ideas that work, but when framed around the Blair Witch lore, it kind of just doesn’t work at all. The over use of sound cues, jump scares, and visuals diffuses the tension and removes the believability of it being found footage. I think the director tried here. He was obviously a fan of the original, and wanted to present his version of that movie, but it just comes off as a cynical reboot of a movie style that has long been lost in a sea of white noise. Ultimately I found that if you are fan of the original, you will most likely love this one too…I think it respects those fans. If you were not a film of the original, unfortunately this one will not win you over, or convince you the original was better than it is. Unfortunately I am biased, so take my score with a grain of salt. I give it 1 out of 5 cheese curds, 1 cheese curd for the awesome chase sequence at the end.