Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shining Night

Considering I'm quite a fan of Tom Holland's 1985 classic horror flick Fright Night, I was a little worried about a remake. I don't know why considering there have been some good horror do-overs such as John Carpenter's The Thing, Cronenberg's The Fly, or as I told you earlier, the Nightmare On Elm Street remake. The Fright Night remake doesn't surpass the original, but it definitely works as an equal.  My cautions kind of disappeared once I found out Marti Noxon, one of the writers of Buffy, was behind the script. Fortunately, she wrote something that differed enough from the source to be enjoyed on its own, while still including a few nods to the original.
The most notable changes are in the characterization.  First up, Jerry is no longer the suave and sexy neighbour but goes for just the new guy on the block, before changing to the cold menacing bastard pretty early on. Then of course we have Peter Vincent. No longer is he an aged horror actor, stuck hosting repeats of his work on TV, but a Vegas magician with a penchant for the occult. Admittedly, it was the casting of Peter Vincent that got me interested even more. If there was anyone who could do Roddy MacDowall proud, it'd be David Tennant.
Mind you, with Anton Yelchin as Charley, I kind of looked at this as Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover. Even there, it succeeds. Even if there wasn't any technobabble.
The token cameo by original Jerry, Chris Sarandon was also quite well done. An improvement on the usual Stan Lee variety.
Another highlight was the surprise repetition of a character arc. If you've seen the original, you know who I'm talking about, if not, I'll shut up. Anyway, when you-know-what happened to you-know-who, I wasn't quite expecting it to happen.
All in all, it comes across a neat flick, even if the vampire effects aren't quite up to scratch.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bunch of words making a title

Evening all, thought I'd just go for another one of those insights into my life.
I haven't kicked my social networking habit. Still addicted to facebook. Even worse, last week I got bored and got a Twitter thingy (Raoul_Thompkins if you're interested). Now all I have to do is get a decent webcam and start a vlog. Then I'll never have free time ever again, yay!
I've even been doing some proper socialising. I'm talking, to people. Real, live people. With a face and everything. OK, I'm doing it a little serial killery by getting people when they're alone-ish and have a casual chat. Bus stops are the best spot.
I met that competitor I mentioned this way. Fortunately, they've realised I'm not enough of a threat and has decided to live, we've even gotten to be quite friends. But in twenty years time, I will have to meet them for a Thunderdome type battle. I'm already working on my glaive skills (both the polearm and the Krull shuriken thing).
Last week I sort of broke my vow of not seeing 3D films. I got free tickets for Priest. It wasn't particularly great. Definitely best suited for beer and pizza night. It went for just about every cliche in the book. All that was missing was a post-credit sequel tease where the bad guy picks up his hat. It does have some good stuff though, namely good action sequences and Karl Urban. I really hope he'll get a few more things worth putting on a resume. So far he's only got Red (2010) and Star Trek (2009). Fingers crossed for Dredd. As long as the helmet stays on.
It wasn't the only film I've seen this week that was sort of saved by its action and one actor, the other was Bitch Slap. In that case the actor was Michael Hurst, the real star of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. I kind of had high hopes for that one, what with it being an exploitation tribute with the cast of both Hercules and Xena. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a Star Trek Generations type hype, where Hurst was the only one with noticeable screen time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bob: A fine name for a planet

Last year on Doctor Who, there was a crack in the universe. Anything that came in contact with this crack stopped existing and never did. It seems this crack made contact with a very good film. Hopefully, this will make people remember it and will it back into existence. The film in question is Titan A.E. I discovered it was forgotten when it seems to be the only part of Joss Whedon's work that doesn't get brought up, when even he's frequently remembered for a single line from X-Men he did. Yes, there's a Joss Whedon film that's virtually unknown. To make the outrage worse, it was also written by Ben Edlund, the mastermind behind the Tick, among other things.

What's all it about? Early on in the 31st century, mankind have invented an experimental ship known as the Titan. So the Drej, energy-based evil aliens, attack the Earth and eventually blow it up. The remnants of humanity are adrift throughout the many galaxies, and aren't exactly one of the popular races. Cale, the son of Titan's lead researcher gets recruited by a ship thanks to having the map to Titan. Cale and crew journey across the stars to find the Titan, while escaping the pursuit of the Drej.

Sure it's a Don Bluth film, but you've got to remember, he only made the first Land Before Time movie. In fact, this is quite a dark film, I really don't know it managed to keep the classification of kiddy flick. There's a fair bit of characters dying, including a neck snap, and a few bits of bleeding, which makes it the only kid's movie you can unashamedly bring along on a bloke's night. I wouldn't be surprised if some notes for this went to the other Joss Whedon sci-fi, Firefly.

There are really only two problems with it. It was a bit rushed and would've been better as a series instead of a movie. Second, the trailer features a Creed song. Fortunately, it doesn't appear anywhere in the film. Plus, I'd have really liked to have known what it was that Gune had made in his sleep. What am I talking about there, well, you'll just have to see the movie and find out.

Friday, September 9, 2011

5, 6 Grab your crucifix.

Now for the final part in the rundown of the Nightmare On Elm Street series. Yes, I know yesterday ended with "The Final Nightmare", but they decided they could get a few more out of it. So we got a meta fiction type thing, a crossover and a reboot. At least I'm not doing Friday the 13th. There's been 12 of those, including two "Finals". Those were 4 and 9, in case you were wondering.

Let's start with 1994's Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Yep, Wes stuck his name in the title. This is the meta fiction, where it set in the "real world" where Wes is making a new Freddy film and real life starts mimicking the events of the script. Apparently there's some great and ancient evil that can only be stopped by encasing it in stories, and this evil has taken the form of Freddy. Unless Wes can finish the script, the world is doomed. I think he may have a high opinion of himself. Anyway, this is another of the truly great ones, even if it falls a little short of its potential, and acknowledges number 6. On that note, I guess you could say that this is an apology for how crap that one was, and they didn't want to finish on such a sour note. Shame Clint couldn't do the same after The Dead Pool. That killed all the awesomeness of "Dirty" Harry Callahan. Another highlight is that it basically kicks you in the face for liking a sick son of a a bitch, by reminding you just what Freddy is.

Onward to 2003's Freddy vs. Jason. They're getting pretty far apart now. It seems the only way Freddy can keep on killing teenagers is to get Jason Voorhees to do it for him just enough to get people thinking Freddy is out there again. Needless to say, it works, and Jason quite likes having all these teens around, and takes away Freddy's fun, bringing about the fight the title promises. OK, we're back to jokey Freddy, but for some reason it's not so bad. Maybe it's because logic and adherence to canon aren't important in crossovers. Let's face it, a film that promises a clash of cultural "icons" needs almost nothing other than said battle. At least the battle is worth the admission, as opposed to some other clash films.

Now we move on to the 2010 remake/reboot/reimagining. Story wise, it's pretty much the same as the first one, with a few extra bits added in. The most noticeable is that it doesn't cover up Freddy's dark side. While the previous ones only hinted at what he did, this one didn't really pull it's punches. It does have a bit of a reliance on jump scares and doesn't quite have the usual dream-like quality, but is still just as good, maybe a little better than the original. Of course, the most important thing is; how does Jackie Earl Haley match up to Robert Englund? I'd have to say he fills the glove quite well.

Can someone please break my legs before I get the same idea for the Leprechaun series.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

3, 4 Better Lock Your Door.

OK, yesterday I covered the first three films in the Nightmare On Elm Street series, now I shall the next three. This time around, there will be a bit of spoilers for both the 4th and 6th. For the 4th, it's just difficult to cover the plot without doing so, and in the case of number 6, well, you'll see.

A whole year after the third, we were given The Dream Master. Hey, wasn't the last one Dream Warriors? They're really sticking with this dream thing, then. Now as I stated just five sentences ago, here be spoilers. It seems the kids who survived the third film have been released from the looney bin and are back at school. Thing is, Kristen isn't completely convinced Freddy snuffed it for good. Turns out she's right. Freddy comes back and kills the three of them. Just before he takes out Kristen, she brings Alice into her dream. When she dies, she sends her soul, and power, to Alice, via Freddy, thus connecting Freddy and Alice. Thanks to this, Freddy's allowed to continue killing teenagers despite finishing his vengeful rampage. Alice also gains some powers by obtaining aspects of her friends personalities as they're taken out, eventually turning her into the titular Dream Master, Freddy's antithesis. I know I've just told you three quarters of the damn thing, but this is another of the ones that are well worth a look. Usually by number four, the writers and such stop caring and just give the most generic stuff. OK, they start going for basic characters, like the nerd, tough girl and jock, but everything else stays more or less on par, with it's predecessor.

Onward to The Dream Child. Alice is now up the duff and Freddy is using the unborn child's dreams to keep on going. Apparently, this is one of Robert Englund's least favourite. It's definitely one of the ones that suffers from great idea, poor execution. It really dabbles in a bit of psychology and other such science talk. Unfortunately, the writer(s) weren't quite as good at adding this into the actual film. It's definitely not the best, but it's just as far from being the worst.

I came into this world in 1991. I was that awesome, the world had to restore the equilibrium by unleashing Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. To call it a crap sandwich would be an insult to fecal matter. In 1999, Freddy has killed all the children in Springwood, except for one. Freddy lets him leave so that he can find Freddy's daughter and bring her back to Springwood. Freddy then hitches a ride on his daughter so he can spread hi evil across the world. His daughter uses the magical power of 3D to enter Freddy's own mind and kill him once and for all. I know what you're thinking, it doesn't sound too bad. You know how they dabbled with jokey Freddy earlier? This time they went full blown comedy. Yes, the murderous pedophile gets turned into Bugs Bunny. Then for some reason, it regains the usual tone for the last 20-30 minutes. Even if you have some kind of OCD where you have to see an entire series once you start it, avoid this one completely. Cut off your own arm if you have too. And yes, Freddy is dead.

At least until the next sort-of sequel, which you can hear about tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

1, 2, Freddy's coming for you.

Depending on who you ask, the slasher genre started in either 1974 with Black Christmas or '78 with Halloween. Either way, it grew old fairly quickly as writer's ran out of holidays to make a movie out of. As proven by the decision to do Friday The 13th. By 1984, it was definitely wearing out it's welcome. Until Wes Craven decided to build on the formula with A Nightmare On Elm Street. It managed to fix things so much, that the genre made a brief return to popularity, and would explain why Michael and Jason also got a bit of the supernatural. Of course, it also created Chucky and Leprechaun. So maybe it made things worse. Anyway, I got considerably bored and went and watched all eight of the damned things. So I guess what, I'm doing a rundown.

OK, the first one was pretty good. Even if you haven't seen it, you know what this one's about, so I'll ignore plot and move right on. It kept the characters to a minimum, and more importantly, they were a bit more fleshed out then your average slasher teen. This one does still have a few problems. Some aspects of the idea aren't as well developed as they could have been, which is a recurring problem with most of the movies. Also, the $1.8 million budget for an effects heavy movie kind of shows, not that that's a huge problem. After all, I like classic Doctor Who. But the biggest thing that gets me is the ending. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. Of all the ways to beat Freddy, that was pretty weak. Unfortunately, it became a bit of a recurring theme throughout, being somewhat repeated in the immediate sequel, and the basis for the 7th(?) and 8th.

A whole year later, we got Freddy's Revenge (I can't be bothered doing the proper title, you're just getting subtitles). This time around, Freddy wants a more corporeal form to roam free once more. To do so, he needs to possess the latest teen to move into Elm Street. This is one of those sequels that seems only vaguely connected to the others, which would explain why it's not particularly well liked. However, if you look at it as a separate film, it's also pretty good. It's also known recently for it's undertones. The writer kind of took his own experiences of coming to terms with his sexuality into the script. In other words, Freddy was an allegory for doubting one's own homosexuality. Overall it's a bit of an improvement on the first one, especially in the effects, so it really got to set the standard for the rest.

When along came, The Dream Warriors. Wes Craven didn't really want this to be a series, so he returned to hopefully end it. At least they didn't put Final in the title. Apparently, it's six years since the first film and Nancy's now a bit of a psychiatrist who's moved to an institution that seems to be having problems with dangerous dreams. So she teaches them that it's freaking dreams, you can do all sorts of stuff, so the last Elm Street kids find a new way to turn the tables on Freddy. Also, they dabble into the origins of Freddy, it's quite dark, even for something like this. If you only ever see one Freddy flick, this would be the best bet. It's actually quite well written, even if it marks the beginning of jokey Freddy, mostly in the form of Arnie type puns. I'm just wondering why it took them three movies to decide people do amazing stuff in their dreams.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I do the next three in the series. Hell, I'll have time to watch the remake so I can do three on Friday as well. Until then.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Where are my pants?

There's a possibility that you've been informed of the change in Superman's uniform. He's about to lose the bright red underpants. This has become clear thanks to set photos of the upcoming film, The Man Of Steel. Despite the fact that these undies have been a source of ridicule for at least the last 40 years, people, and the internet, have exploded at this change. Somehow, no one seems to care about Batman having lost his some time ago.
I can sort of see why they're complaining, as they do break up the wall of blue. Plus, it takes your eyes away from his Supermanhood. However, the new suit looks, oh, what's the word, alien. You know, just like Superman is.
Mind you, most of the hatred seems to be aimed at the guy making the movie: Zack Snyder. The internet really doesn't like this guy. He's only made five movies so far in eight years. Among them there have been a remake of a zombie movie, two graphic novel adaptations, a children's book series adaptation, and most recently, a piece of original work. While, I only vaguely remember the Dawn Of The Dead remake, it was most assuredly a brilliant debut. The lapse in memory is partly to do with the other zombie movie released at roughly the same time (Shaun Of The Dead). He disappeared for two years before giving the world 300. This one was a wee bit silly, but mostly due to the source material. Frank Miller can be pretty good (Sin City), but 300 isn't one of the best ones to make a film out of. Maybe Snyder should've gone for a more historically accurate telling. He disappeared for three years before returning with Watchmen. Again, it was a pretty good flick, especially compared with all the other directors who decided it was an unfilmable graphic novel. Anyone who can succeed where Terry Gilliam failed definitely deserves respect. (I wonder if he'll give Don Quixote a shot then.)
Just last year, he gave animation a try with Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'Hoole. Despite being an Australian film (let's face it, most of them are crap) and coming across as a little bit "magical journey", the only real problem was the insanely large title. This year, he went for his first original piece, Sucker Punch. And you know how much I love that movie.
There are many claims that he goes for style over substance. This is somewhat true, what with the slow-mo and fantastic scenery and the like. But, the key word is "over", it's not that one is represented and the other left out, but that the style is merely layered over the substance. You need to look through the bells and whistles. Or would you rather he just beat you to death with the messages.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A compliment to the chef.

On numerous times, I've attempted movie reviews. As a fat guy, I definitely know a thing or two about some good eatings. So, let's have a change of pace. I've been a bit of a fan of spicy food. Even looking forward to all the times the major chains have a limited time only super special burger. And each time I get considerably disappointed. Then, one day, I discovered a new shop in the food court, Burp: Mexican Made Fresh. Mexican food, it has to be spicy. It would be against the law otherwise. Eventually, I twisted Mum's (a.k.a. Money Lady) arm to go along so I could try it out. Holy Burt Ward, it was amazing. I've since been a regular customer for many moons. And am only now telling you about this wondrous place. I know, I'm selfish.

Now, they describe themselves as "Subway but with Mexican food", or variations of that phrase. It's more or less accurate, but doesn't do it justice. You can get your meal in a variety of ways, be it taco, burrito, enchilada, quesadilla, or nachos. Once you've made that choice, you get to work out what to put on it. All of it is absolutely brilliant, but personally, I go either a chook or meat lovers quesadilla with the lot. If you're not overly fond of spicy stuff, there are more tummy friendly options.

Then, there's the service. They seem to genuinely give a damn about the place. I've even managed to befriend one of the higher-ups. (Don't question my integrity.) In fact, remember when I was all excited about scamming the Man by seeing a movie for a mere $6? When it comes to Burp's loyalty card, I feel kind of bad about getting a free meal. That's right, this stuff is so good, it can make a student feel guilty about free stuff.

Finally, the most important detail. Where is this dispensary of ambrosia? You can find a Burp in either the Elizabeth City Centre or Hollywood Plaza food courts, or there's another one on Hindley Street.

They say a burp is a compliment to the chef. Burp has chosen a truly appropriate name.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who's the Mon.

No, you shouldn't be reading the title in a Jamaican accent. I am instead referring to the great monster debate. Should they be pocketed or digitalized? For the less nerdy, which is better; Pokemon or Digimon? I'll the argument of who's ripping off who. Especially when one was a card game and the other, a virtual pet. Mostly because I'm focused solely on the cartoons. (If you want me to use the correct term of anime, I might as well use the correct names of Poketto Monsuta and Dejitaru Monsuta). Even in this case, the cartoons are two completely different series. The only connection being kids with cute little creatures. The creators of Troll have a better argument against Harry Potter.

Now, back when they were on, Pokemon was just a little more popular simply because it came to attention first. Of course, they were both on Cheez TV, so channel loyalties were out of the question. In fact, I felt a little dirty, siding with those who killed the one and only, Agro. Back then, I didn't really hold a loyalty, I had a stronger one to Power Rangers and related shows. But recently, I had one of those nostalgia-based cases of boredom and decided to re-watch them. I gave up on Pokemon after about 15 episodes. Why? Because I'd also been killing time playing the old games on a GBA emulator, which the series seemed to just adapt as faithfully as possible. And the games were a lot better. The show had such a repetitive formula. Even for a kids show. Plus, there are a few unanswered questions, such as why is Ash even doing this if the pokemon are already well documented?

As for Digimon, I found that a lot easier to get through. Possibly because there was a continuous story line. And there was a greater variety of characters, who grew in episodes. And stayed grown the next episode. Also, maybe, I just liked it more because of a stronger sci-fi connection, what with the whole Tron deal of entering a digital world.