Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kill Zone

Foreign Film from China - Chinese Title: Saat po long [also known as Sha po lang or S.P.L.]
Language - Mandarin with English Subtitles or Dubbed in English

Genre - Action/Martial Arts - Crime Drama
Year Released - 2005
Running Time - 93 minutes
Directed by Wilson Yip (who also directed Flash Point)
Written by Wilson Yip, Kam-Yuen Szeto, (who also wrote Flash Point) and Wai Lun Ng (who also wrote Vampire Effect)
Cast Includes:
Simon Yam (Once Upon a Time in China)
Sammo Hung (Enter the Dragon, Game of Death, Project A, No More Mr Nice Guy, Zu Warriors, The Hand of Death, and The Magnificent Butcher - he also played Sammo in the short-lived television series Martial Law)
Donnie Yen (Iron Monkey 1 & 2, Once Upon a Time in China 2, Blade II, Highlander: Endgame, Flash Point, and Hero)
Jacky Wu (Zu Warriors)

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Diagnosed with a brain tumor, a police detective decides that, after years of failure, he will do anything it takes to put a notorious crime boss behind bars, even if it means breaking the law.
Joined in his mission by Officer Ma Kwan, veteran cop Chan sets out to snare the gangster Po, leaving a trail of badly beaten henchmen along the way.

This is a great film! I rented it primarily due to Sammo Hung & Donnie Yen being in it and I was treated to so much more - a deeper story than I was expecting, about the consequences behind our actions. . .

It starts off with a car accident involving a key witness to a criminal's [Po, played by Sammo Hung - who plays a great bad guy in this one] case. The only survivors are the main detective on the case [Det. Chan, played by Simon Yam] and a young girl, who the detective ends up adopting, as both of her parents were killed in the accident. Due to his injury in the accident, the detective finds out that he has an inoperable, malignant brain tumor. He decides to go after Po - the criminal who he has been unable to put away - before he dies.

Soon, a video tape surfaces of Po beating someone with a golf club - after he is finished beating the guy, one of his lackeys shoots the guy in the head. Chan alters the tape, erasing the last part, and arrests Po for the murder - he and the other officers working with him on the case then track down the real killer and mercilessly beat him, until he ends up falling to his death.

Donnie Yen plays another cop, who is an outsider to this group, yet working with them to bring Po down, even though he doesn't agree with the way they are going about it.

While Po is incarcerated, he sends an assassin [played crazily by Jacky Wu] after the other cops.
Ever since the arrival of the assassin, you can't wait for him and Yen to get down to what they do best, which also leads to the inevitable showdown between Yen & Hung:

Like I said though, there is way more to this movie than the sporadic martial arts action - the story runs deep and my jaw hit the floor during the last few minutes of the film - a shocking ending!

Here's the trailer:



Genre - Horror/Slasher
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 94 min [about 90 minutes too long, in my opinion]
Directed by Ryan Nicholson (who also directed Live Feed)
Written by Ryan Nicholson (who also wrote Live Feed)
Cast Includes:
Dan Ellis (the best part of the movie - and that's not just because he was in both Monsturd & RetarDEAD)
Alastair Gamble, Candice Lewald, Wade Gibb, Trevor Gemma, Nathan Witte, Mihola Terzic, and Jeremy Beland

Rating: D. O. A.

Plot Summary:
After two adversarial groups of teenagers clash at a bowling alley during its midnight disco party, one of the girls is violently raped. The next night, all of the kids return for a revenge session, but are surprised to encounter a homicidal stranger. Wearing a bowling bag over his head to disguise his identity, the killer begins picking off the teens one at a time, making sure that each experiences a grisly death.

Where do I even begin with this one? First off, I just have to say that I have never seen Nicholson's Live Feed, and after having watched this one, I am not sure that I want to. . .
[I have heard good things about both films, yet I was sorely disappointed in this one!]

Gutterballs starts off with a notice that all of the actors, at the time of filming, were 18+ years old - hmmmmmm [you don't normally see that one in a slasher film]

During a midnight outing at a bowling alley, a group of teenagers begin picking on a cross dresser in another group - things soon turn violent, and the owner(?) of the bowling alley has to break things up. After everyone is leaving, one of the girls realize that she forgot her purse inside - when she returns [alone] to get it, she is graphically gang raped by the 1st group of trouble making teens. [Now, I am not one for rape scenes to begin with - I understand that sometimes they are necessary in order to strengthen the plot, however rape is not something that I enjoy watching, at all!] This rape scene was entirely too much! [it was like 20 minutes long to begin with and culminated in one of the guys sodomizing the girl with a bowling ball pin - and not with the tapered end at the top]
The next night, both groups return for a bowl-off, only to encounter a mysterious [stupid-looking] killer calling himself BBK, who has an assortment of [bowling-related] killing tools.

Here is a teaser trailer for the film: [*Note: Foul Language]

That was what ~ a 40 second clip? How much language was in just that 40 seconds?!?

In this clip alone, you can tell that the characters are annoying as all get out, the acting is terrible, and there is more foul language than normal language! Add to that the fact that this movie wasn't sure whether it wanted to be a slasher flick or a porn flick and over the top gore effects, and you have yourself a vile, sick, twisted, and disgusting movie! [Also, the killer is pretty predictable]

I would not recommend this movie to anyone!

Now, with that out of my system, I honestly do understand where Nicholson was attempting to go [other than strictly shock value] I get it - I really do, however there is such a thing as going to far!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eagle Eye

Genre - Action/Thriller
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 118 minutes
Directed by D. J. Caruso (who also directed Disturbia)
Written by John Glenn, (who is writing the screenplay for the 2010 re-make of Clash of the Titans - a re-make that I am actually looking forward to! He is also writing the screenplay for the 2010 re-make of The Warriors) Travis Wright, (who is co-writing The Warriors re-make) Hillary Seitz, (who wrote the film Insomnia) and Dan McDermott
Cast Includes:
Shia LaBeouf (Holes, I, Robot, Constantine, Transformers - as well as its upcoming sequel, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull)
Michelle Monaghan (Mission Impossible III, The Bourne Supremacy, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Made of Honor)
Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, Armageddon, U-Turn, and A Simple Plan)
Michael Chiklis, Rosario Dawson, and Ethan Embry also co-star, and Julianne Moore provided the voice for the super computer

Rating: 2 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Returning home after the shocking death of his over achieving twin brother, an aimless slacker named Jerry finds himself inexplicably linked to a notorious terrorist cell. Now, with the nation's law enforcement agencies hunting them down, Jerry and single mother Rachel - who's also been framed - must work around the clock to thwart a political assassination and clear their names in the process.

Ahhhhhh - one of those films that could have been much better than it was. . . one of the films where the trailer is just as good as the actual film. . .

After Jerry's twin brother dies in a car accident, Jerry finds $750,000.00 in his bank account - he then arrives home to discover that there are several boxes of weapons, airplane manuals, passports, etc in his apartment. - he then receives a mysterious phone call telling him to get out - that in mere seconds the FBI will be there - mere seconds later, the FBI's terrorism task force apprehends Jerry. . .

I'm not really sure why I am telling you all of this since the trailer "shows" it to you - see for yourself:

While the movie is a decent flick, Disturbia [the same director/actor team-up] is a much better film. As for Eagle Eye, I recommend just waiting for it to show up on television.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Storm Warning

Genre - Horror
Year Released - 2007
Running Time - 84 minutes
Directed by Jamie Blanks (Urban Legend and Valentine)
Written by Everett De Roche (Razorback)
Cast Includes:
Nadia Fares
Robert Taylor (The Matrix and Rogue)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
When a storm forces a couple to land their sailboat far ashore, they stumble upon a remote island inhabited by a demented father and his psychotic sons. Captured, beaten, and sexually enslaved, the couple turns the tables in a bloody fight for survival.

Another recommendation from my neighbor. . .

This one is an Australian film that starts out with a lawyer and his French girlfriend renting a small sailboat, for some relaxation and fishing. In one of the lighter moments in the film, the girlfriend catches a fish, and her boyfriend beats it to death with a wine bottle. After she comments that's disgusting, he replies, 'that's fishing babe' - I just thought that was pretty funny. :-)

Shortly after this, a storm starts brewing, so the couple decides to head inland, however with the tide now being lower than it was before, the couple ends up getting lost and ultimately getting stranded on an island, waiting for the tide to rise. By this time it has turned dark and it is now pouring rain, so the couple decides to seek shelter in an old farmhouse on the island. After searching the house and barn, they discover that there is no phone, and the barn is filled with marijuana [enough to put the owners away for 10 years, easy]

About this time, the owners of the house return home, to discover the intruders, and things rapidly deteriorate for the couple. I do not want to say anything further, so as not to give anything away - all I will tell you is, wait until you see what the woman does to one of the brothers and the father - whoa!

Here's the trailer:

While this film is not as intense as it could have been, it is still worth watching [at least rent]

Until next time,



In 2006, After Dark came up with their Horror Fest concept - "8 Films to Die For"

was the 5th film shown in the "8 Films to Die For" 2007 Horror Festival.

Genre - Horror
Year Released - 2007
Running Time - 105 minutes
Directed by Zev Berman
Written by Zev Berman and Eric Poppen
Cast Includes:
Brian Presley
Jake Muxworthy
Rider Strong (Cabin Fever and its upcoming sequel, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever)
Martha Higareda (Street Kings)
Sean Astin (Goonies, Toy Soldiers, and of course, Sam in The Lord of the Rings trilogy)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
When three Texas University students travel to a Mexican border town on the eve of their graduation, the last thing they expect is to face their own deaths.
Without warning, they fall prey to an ancient blood cult hell-bent on finding candidates for human sacrifice.

The back of the DVD packaging states, "Although this is inspired by a true story, the events and characters depicted in this motion picture are fictitious." Huh?!?

A few days ago, I discovered that my neighbor is a voracious horror fan!
[living next to him for almost a year now, I am not sure how we never connected, other than the brief conversations here and there - mainly about tattoos, as he is a tattoo artist, we never realized our mutual obsession until last week] He arrived home, as I was getting my mail, and he had a lot of [tattoo] stuff to carry in, so I offered my help - as I entered his abode, I was treated to shelves and shelves of movies [easily 1,000+] I of course noticed the horror titles and to cut a long story short, I spent about an hour over there, discussing horror movies. He kept offering me movies to watch, which I've either already seen or already own myself. That is until I noticed the "8 Films to Die For" section - I mentioned that I had never seen any of those, and he suggested that I start off with this one. . .

As I mentioned above, the film is loosely based on a true story about a leader of a cult who practiced human sacrifice - it sort of has a Hostel /Turistas vibe to it.

In the beginning, the film opened strong, with two police officers entering an abandoned home looking for evidence of a cartel. What they find are tarot cards strewn about, blood, and a human jaw bone [amongst other things] While searching the house, the detectives separate. One is then ambushed and the other is forced to watch his partner be tortured and ultimately killed. [he is left alive to tell the police force to stay away]

Jump to a year later, where 3 friends [in Galveston, TX] decide to cross the border into Mexico looking to have a good time. When one of them goes missing, the other two began a search for their friend, which brings them across the path of the aforementioned blood cult. . .

After such a strong opening, the film seemed to take a while to get back up to speed, but once it did, it was worth the wait. [pretty much from the rooftop scene on, the film is worthwhile]
Another thing to note was Sean Astin's performance ~ he played a great bad guy!

Here is the trailer for the film:

While this film was watchable, it certainly wasn't "to die for" I guess that I was just expecting greater things from these series of films.

Anyone else out there have any other suggestions from these series of films?
[my neighbor has them all]


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Double Feature: Screamers & Screamers: The Hunting

Genre - Sci-Fi
Year Released - 1995
Running Time - 108 minutes
Directed by Christian Duguay (Live Wire, Scanners 2 & 3, and The Art of War)
Written by Dan O'Bannon (the Alien films, including Alien vs Predator - The Return of the Living Dead, Lifeforce, Dead & Buried, Total Recall, and also Blue Thunder) and Miguel Tejada-Flores (Fright Night II, Beyond Re-Animator, Darkness)
*Based on the short story Second Variety by Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly)
Cast Includes:
Peter Weller (Robocop, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Naked Lunch)
Andy Lauer
Jennifer Ruben (Taryn from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, The Doors, The Crush)
Roy Dupuis (Michael from the television series La Femme Nikita)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
It's 2078 on the war-torn planet of Sirius 6B, and the man-eating mini-monsters created by Commander Hendrickson, to fight off the New Economic Block, have now become the biggest obstacle to a cease-fire.

Screamers: The Hunting

Genre - Sci-Fi
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 99 minutes
Directed by Sheldon Wilson (who also directed Shallow Ground)
Written by Miguel Tejada-Flores (who co-wrote the 1st Screamers) and Tom Berry (who produced the 1st Screamers)
Cast Includes:
Gina Holden (she was in the television series Blood Ties and Flash Gordon - she was also in The Butterfly Effect 2, Alien vs Predator: Requiem, and Final Destination 3)
Greg Bryk (Saw V)
Lance Henricksen (Bishop from Aliens/AvP, Frank Black from Millennium, Near Dark, Pumpkinhead, etc)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
In this sequel to the 1st Screamers, a team of rescuers from Earth responds to an SOS from an abandoned planet, only to find a motley crew of human survivors eking out an existence there.
But are these humans really human, or have the Screamers - the robotic killers that destroyed the other human inhabitants - simply morphed into human form to carry out an even more sinister mission?

Review: [for both films]
The 1st Screamers starts off on the planet Sirius 6B, in the year 2078, where for the last 50 years, the New Economic Block [N.E.B.] corporation has controlled all of the mining operations throughout the known solar system.
Twenty years prior, the N.E.B. discovered the solution to the world's energy crisis - Berynium - but they soon found out that mining Berynium unleashed lethal doses of radiation and pollution.
"The Alliance" - a federation of mine workers and scientists - demanded that the N.E.B. immediately stop all mining operations. The N.E.B.'s response was to declare all out war.
Soon enough, massive N.E.B. nuclear bombing raids decimated the civilian population of Sirius 6B and devastated the once beautiful planet. Thousands were killed by clouds of the deadly Berynium radiation.

Enter the Screamers - machines built by "The Alliance" to help against the war against the N.E.B.
They are called Screamers because of the ear-piercing scream that they produce en-route to destroy the enemy. Problem is, the Screamers have begun modifying themselves - not only that, they are breeding. . .

The 2nd Screamers - The Hunting - takes place 13 years after the events of the 1st film.
A rescue team is sent to Sirius 6B to see if there are any survivors left over from the war. Problem is, as they draw closer to the planet, they realize that a massive meteor storm is going to hit the planet in 6 days time - a storm big enough to destroy the planet completely.

En-route, we learn that one of the team members [Gina Holden] turned down an opportunity to command her own ship, to be a part of this rescue mission - if you've seen the 1st one, it is pretty obvious why. Speaking of obvious, you can see the end of this one coming from a mile away!

Still, both films are watchable and enjoyable, if you are a sci-fi fan.

Here are the trailers for both films [the 1st one cuts off before it ends - it was the only trailer I could find]



Genre - Drama/Mystery
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 142 minutes
Directed by Clint Eastwood (who has also directed Play Misty for Me, Pale Rider, Unforgiven, A Perfect World, Million Dollar Baby, as well as several others, including last year's Gran Torino, which is on my "must see" list)
Written by J. Michael Straczynski (he has written for several different television shows, ranging anywhere from He-Man and She-Ra to The Twilight Zone to Babylon 5... I believe that this is his 1st screenplay - he is also the writer behind the upcoming World War Z, Ninja Assassin, and Silver Surfer films!)
Cast Includes:
Angelina Jolie (Hackers, Gia, The Bone Collector, Mr & Mrs Smith, Wanted, etc)
John Malkovich (In the Line of Fire, Mulholland Falls, Con Air, The Man in the Iron Mask, Knockaround Guys, Being John Malkovich, Eragon, Burn After Reading, etc. He is also going to he in next year's Jonah Hex)
Jeffrey Donovan (Michael from the television series Burn Notice! He was also in Blair Witch 2: The Book of Shadows)

Rating: 5 Skulls
[this one gets a "Bone Breaker Award" for Best Drama of 2008! Though I still have yet to see Doubt]

Plot Summary:
Christine Collins is overjoyed when her young kidnapped son, Walter, is brought back home. However, when Christine suspects that the Walter who was returned to her is not her actual child, the police captain has her committed to an asylum. Soon, a crusading Reverend comes to Christine's rescue, in this gripping 1920's-set drama.

To be completely honest with you, my main reason for seeing this film was because Jeffrey Donovan is in it. [he plays a 'burned' spy in one of my favorite television shows, Burn Notice]
What I learned from this, is that even though I love his character in that television show, Donovan pretty much came across as a one-dimensional actor.

Where this film really shined was in Angelina Jolie's performance!
Not really knowing anything about the film [other than the fact stated in the plot summary] I was riveted to the screen the entire running time of the movie.

The film is based on a true story that is related to the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, that took place back in the 1920's.

On March 10th, 1928, Christine Collins [a switch-board operator supervisor and single mother] was called into work on a scheduled day off. Pretty much forced to leave her 9 year-old son home alone [which was really not an uncommon practice back then] she returned home that afternoon, to find her son missing. [Now, if you are a parent, I am sure that you would agree that this is every parent's worst nightmare, and Angelina Jolie shows her fear and emotions superbly well!]

Not giving anything away - around 5 months later, a young boy fitting her son's description is found and returned to Christine. She immediately states that the boy is not her son, however the police captain [Jeffrey Donovan] states that she is in a state of shock, and it has been 5 months, after all. Not to mention the fact the the boy recalls his home address, etc.

When Christine takes the boy home, and gets him in the bath, she realizes that this boy is circumcised, where her son was not - she then measures him and realizes that he is several inches shorter than her son.

Still, the police and others involves do not want to hear it, so Christine gets her real son's teacher, dentist, etc involved and takes her case public, drawing the attention of a Reverend [played awesomely by John Malkovich] who has a radio show that discusses corruption within the police department.

When the police department feels that things are getting out of hand, they institutionalize Christine [again, I am not giving anything away that the trailer does not already reveal] in an asylum for the insane, raising the ire of the Reverend.

I am going to leave the rest for you to see for yourselves. . .

Here's the trailer:

Just in case you were not aware, this film has been nominated for 3 Oscars, including Best Actress for Angelina Jolie!

A must-see film!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feast III: The Happy Finish

Genre - Horror
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 79 minutes
Directed by John Gulager (who also directed the 1st two Feast films)
Written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan (both of whom also wrote the 1st two Feast films, as well as Saw IV, V, and the upcoming VI)
Cast Includes:
Clu Gulager - returning as the Bartender from the 1st two films
Diane Goldner - returning as the Biker Queen from the 2nd film
Juan Longoria Garcia - returning as Lightning from the 2nd film
Carl Anthony Payne II - returning as Slasher from the 2nd film
Hanna Putnam - returning as Secrets from the 2nd film
Tom Gulager - returning as Greg Swank from the 2nd film
and introducing two new characters into the mix:
John Allen Nelson as Shitkicker [that's his character's name]
Craig Henningsen as Jean-Claude Seagal [I'm not kidding]

Rating: 2 Skulls

Plot Summary:
As the flesh eating beasts continue to devour what's left of humanity, embattled survivors Biker Queen, Bartender, and Lightning do their best to stay off the menu, in this 3rd installment of the Feast franchise. But a new hope dawns when our heroes meet a karate fighter with a taste for knives and a man who seems to know how to contain the monsters.

If you read my review of the 2nd Feast, then you already know that I loved the 1st one and that I despised the 2nd one!

This one is better than Sloppy Seconds, however I was still very disappointed!
The 1st one was so good... I just don't understand why these sequels are so bad! :-(

The Happy Finish starts off exactly where Sloppy Seconds left off - I knew right away that it was going to be in the same vein as Sloppy Seconds - how did I know this? Let me tell you - in the 1st few minutes, one of the creatures decapitates one of the main characters - he then ate the head, and within seconds crapped it back out - ?!?!?

Yep, this one tried to be over-the-top, like Sloppy Seconds, thinking it was being funny, when really it wasn't. I almost said enough after one of the [male] characters was raped by one of the creatures [I won't ruin what happens next, just in case you do not heed my warning and watch this film anyway]

There were a few moments in this one though that made it slightly better than the last one [hence it receiving one skull more] such as the scene where the Bartender performs "surgery" on one of the other characters - now that was laugh out loud funny!

As for the ending - this one truly had a 'what the frak' ending - seriously - one of the worst endings of all time! [after the ending, a guy comes out strumming a guitar, singing a song in Spanish, which alludes to a possible 4th film. . . If this does indeed happen, I will not be one of the ones watching it!

I was unable to find a trailer for this film.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Double Feature: Hulk Vs. [Thor/Wolverine]

Have you ever wondered who would win in a battle between Hulk and Wolverine?
How about Hulk vs Thor?
Well, now you can find out in this action-packed animated double feature!

Twice the Carnage ~ Double the Smash!
Genre - Action/Animation/Comic Book
Year Released - 2009
Running time - [82 minutes total] Hulk vs Thor - 45 minutes / Hulk vs Wolverine - 37 minutes
Hulk vs Thor directed by Sam Liu
Hulk vs Wolverine directed by Frank Paur
Both films were written by Craig Kyle (who also wrote The Invincible Iron Man and Ultimate Avengers 1 & 2) and Christopher Yost (who also wrote Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow)
Voice Talent Includes:
Bryce Johnson as the voice of Bruce Banner
Fred Tatasciore as the voice of Hulk (he also provides the voice of Hulk in several of the Hulk video games, as well as in Ultimate Avengers 1 & 2 and Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow - he is also going to be the voice of "8" in the upcoming film 9, which I am looking forward to)
Matthew Wolf as the voice of Thor
Steve Blum as the voice of Wolverine {he is also the voice of Wolverine in the animated series Wolverine and the X-Men)

Rating: 5 Skulls [for both films]

Plot Summary for Hulk vs Thor:
With the forces protecting Asgard at their weakest, Loki the trickster seizes the opportunity to destroy his cursed stepbrother, Thor, once and for all. In an epic battle that pits god against monster, the Mighty Thor is forced to clash with the only creature that has ever been able to match his strength - the Incredible Hulk!

Plot Summary for Hulk vs Wolverine:
The Incredible Hulk has been tearing a line across the Canadian countryside, leaving a swath of destruction in his wake. He must be stopped at all costs, and there's only one man up to the job. He's the best there is at what he does, but what he does isn't very nice. He's Wolverine.

First up, let's discuss Hulk vs Thor
While I definitely wanted to see this fight take place, I was looking forward more to Hulk vs Wolverine, so I figured that I would save the best for last :-)

Hulk vs Thor starts off in Asgard [Thor's home realm] where Odin [Thor's father] is taking his week long, seasonal slumber - during this time the wicked descend against Asgard in hopes to overthrow it, however Asgard is still protected by Thor and the Asgardian Protectors [whom if you are a fan of Thor and the comics, you will recognize - Volstagg, Hogun, Fandral, etc]

Thor's step-brother, Loki [see below pic of the cover of the Loki #1 comic book] decides that this is an opportune time to cause some mischief and destroy his hated step-brother once and for all!

With the help of Amora [a sorceress/enchantress] Loki brings Bruce Banner to the realm of Asgard - he then strikes Banner causing him to change into the Hulk. At this time Amora casts a spell, removing Bruce's spirit from within the Hulk! Loki then "possesses" [so to speak] Hulk in order to reign terror and destruction upon Asgard and to go after Thor.

I will leave the rest for you to see for yourselves, as there is more to the story than just the epic battle between Hulk & Thor. . .
[though I will tell you one of my favorite scenes is when Hulk/Loki tries to pick up Mjolnir - Thor's hammer - to no avail. Even with the mighty strength of the Hulk, this was impossible! Awesome!]

On to Hulk vs Wolverine - As good as Hulk vs Thor was, this is the fight that I was waiting to see!
This one opens with Wolverine bloodied & beaten, not knowing what happened or where he is - then the Hulk comes crashing down in all of his brutal fury. . .

Jump back to 4 hours earlier, and we learn that the Hulk has gone on a rampage across the Canadian border - enter Wolverine who has been brought in to handle the situation.
[a funny scene ensues, as Wolverine is tracking Hulk - we see footsteps leading to a giant crater - looks like where a bomb went off - and then no more footsteps... then, eventually, another crater - this was from Hulk doing one of his mile-long jumps!]

And then, the two come face to face - oh yeah, what a battle ensued! Until it was interrupted by members of the Weapon X program [Sabretooth, Deadpool, Omega Red, and Lady Deathstrike]

As much as I enjoyed this slight detour in story/plot, I wanted to get back to the prior fight, until Wolverine started to tear into his former teammates - very cool and lots of blood!
[there is also a great scene where Deadpool puts a grenade into Hulk's mouth!]

I also loved the scenes that were lifted straight from the comics, such as the below:

Hulk vs Wolverine also has a cliffhanger ending - leaving us wanting more - hopefully Marvel will deliver!

Here's the trailer for Hulk Vs.

Hulk vs.
is definitely recommended, whether you are a fan of the comics, or you just like to see a good brawl.

I'm still waiting for this one to be made into a movie!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th [2009]

Genre - Horror/Slasher
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 100 minutes
Rated R (for strong bloody violence, graphic sexual content, language, and drug material)
Directed by Marcus Nispel (who also directed the '03 Re-Make of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well as Pathfinder)
Written by Damian Shannon & Mark Swift (both of whom wrote Freddy vs Jason) and Mark Wheaton (who also wrote The Messengers)
*Based on characters created by Victor Miller (who wrote the original Friday the 13th)
Cast Includes:
Amanda Righetti (Return to House on Haunted Hill - she was also in several episodes of The O.C.)
Jared Padalecki (the '05 Re-Make of House of Wax, Cry Wolf, and he also plays the role of Sam in the television series Supernatural)
Danielle Panabaker (Sky High, Yours, Mine, and Ours, and Mr Brooks)
Travis Van Winkle (Accepted and Transformers)
Aaron Yoo (Disturbia and Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist)
as well as several others, including Willa Ford (UFC Fighter Chuck Liddell's girlfriend!)
and Derek Mears as Jason (he also played Chameleon in the '07 version of The Hills Have Eyes Part II)

Plot Summary:
When his sister goes missing, Clay travels to Crystal Lake - against the advice of the police and local citizens - to search for her. While at Crystal Lake, Clay gains the assistance of a young woman, who was visiting the lake with a group of her college friends. As Clay continues to search for his sister he meets Jason Voorhees, a killer who stalks Crystal Lake.

So, here we are with a "re-imagining" of the classic 1980's slasher film that spawned a legendary horror franchise. . .

Rather than just re-make the original, the creators decided to take different aspects from the first four films and intertwine them within this film. Did they succeed? It's all a matter of opinion. . .

Me personally - I'm just excited to see my namesake back on the big screen! :-)

It has been 8 years since Jason terrorized us on his own and it has been 6 years since he shared the terror with Freddy.

One thing that I definitely liked was the fact that the filmmakers covered Jason's backstory within the first five minutes. We see Pamela [Jason's mother - played by Colonel Kira from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - I forget her real name] acting out her retribution upon the camp counselors, whom she blamed for Jason's death, back in 1980. [we all know how that turned out, and the filmmakers didn't waste any time explaining it - thank you!]

The film then jumps to the present day, where we get to see Jason, in all of his glory, punish others for the death of his mother. . .

Here's the trailer:

The trailer promised us 13 deaths and 13 deaths we get to see! :-)

[my favorite probably being the scene right before Jason obtains his hockey mask ~ simplistic I know, but extremely realistic, I thought]
The most surprising death involved an arrow and the most-memorable death is probably the one that takes place in the water.

As for the story. . . It could have definitely been better!
[I am still perplexed as to why, exactly, there were mine shafts underneath Camp Crystal Lake?!? and as for the end ~ I did not like the end at all. . .]

But enough of that ~ like I stated at the beginning of this review, I am just thrilled that Jason is back on the big screen! Derek Mears played a great Jason! Very menacing, which I loved!
Also, Marcus Nispel set the tone and the atmosphere perfectly.
The acting was good, there were a lot of great kills, some good "jump" moments, and there was plenty of exposed female flesh ~ all of these things being why we love this franchise after all :-)

So, while Part VI: Jason Lives remains my personal favorite, I still enjoyed this one, and it is a worthy addition to the series!

4 Skulls


Thursday, February 12, 2009

His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th

12 Films ~ 3 Decades ~ Bad Luck Was Never So Bloody

Genre - Horror Documentary
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 90 minutes
Directed by Daniel Farrands
Written by Anthony Masi (who also co-wrote Halloween: 25 Years of Terror) and Thommy Hutson

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
30 years ago, a small horror film gave birth to 11 sequels, an endless body count, and one of the most terrifying icons in horror history.

Gore FX legend Tom Savini is your host for the ultimate documentary on everybody's favorite hockey-masked momma's boy and his three decades of cinematic carnage.

Featuring classic clips from the Friday the 13th movies, rare behind-the-scenes photos and footage, and over 80 interviews with filmmakers, actors, stuntmen, FX artists, journalists, and fans including Sean Cunningham, Kane Hodder, Seth Green, Harry Manfredini, Betsy Palmer, Greg Nicotero, Amanda Righetti, Adrienne King, James Roday, Amy Steel, Felissa Rose, Ari Lehman, Camilla & Carey More, Lar Park-Lincoln, Shavar Ross, Tony Timpone and many more!

His name was Jason. . . and this is his incredible legacy!

In preparation for the release of the latest Friday the 13th film, which comes out tomorrow, I decided to watch this documentary feature [rather than attempting an 11-movie marathon]

In all honesty, I thought it would have been pretty cool for a theatre to have had a 24-hour Friday the 13th movie marathon, showing all 11 films, culminating with the release of the latest, at midnight tonight - now that I would have been down for! No such luck though - this is why I need to own my own movie theatre ;-)

With all of that said, I definitely enjoyed this retrospective, and all I watched was the 90-minute feature!

The feature starts off with a rapid-fire re-capping of the first 11 films in just the first 15 minutes!
It then settles into a more comfortable pace, going back to Jason's roots, discussing the formula used throughout the films [nubile young teens, sex and nudity, interesting & unique kills...] creation and make-up effects, music/score, memories from cast & crew, marketing, etc.
There is also a great killing montage sequence!

Towards the end of the feature, they briefly mention the book "Crystal Lake Memories" which, if you have never read this book and are a Friday the 13th fan, you need to own/read as it is a fantastic book!
They also briefly discuss the "re-imagining" which I am even more psyched for now!

And, of course, I have to mention that the film was wonderfully hosted by none other than F/X Master Tom Savini, who rocks!!

Here's the trailer:

The DVD is a 2-Disc "Splatter Edition" which includes:
The Men Behind the Mask [extended interviews with all of the men who have played Jason]
Final Cuts [extended interviews with the directors]
Dragged from the Lake [More stories from Camp Blood]
From Script to Screen [interviews with the screenwriters]
The Camp Crystal Lake Survival Guide [which is what I will probably watch next]
Jason Takes Comic-Con
Fan Films
Friday the 13th in 4 minutes
*and much more! Overall, I still have over 4 hours of Bonus Material to watch! :-)