Thursday, May 28, 2009

On the road again [and May Movie Madness]

Well, it's that time again - time to hit the road - only this time, there is no set destination, as we have yet to hear back from any of the job placement recruiters. . . 

In the meantime, we are going to head over to Tennessee, as we all agree that TN may be a potential place to settle down [we all love Chattanooga] 
We are going to hit the road tomorrow, which means that I will miss the theatrical releases of Pixar's UP and Raimi's Drag Me to Hell - two film's that I will definitely check out, first chance that I get!

While in Tennessee, we are going to check around Nashville, as it just so happens that the neighbors we have befriended, here in Green Bay, [the ones who were recently married] may be moving to Nashville to run one of Gill Montie's [a famous tattoo artist] tattoo studios. They are the coolest neighbors ever [seriously, you couldn't ask for better] so we figure that it will definitely be cool if we all relocated to the same location [or at least near one another]

So, that is where we currently stand - while waiting to hear back from the job recruiters [positions are currently pending, in Maryland, Ohio, and Seattle - we have already been to Seattle, so we may end up in Maryland or Ohio] Depending on where we end up going from TN, it may be a few weeks before I get back on-line, so in the interim, I will leave you with some brief reviews of the movies that I have watched, thus far this month:
[I am just going to list them alphabetically, so that you can just find the poster of the ones that may interest you]

First up, we have At Close Range, a Drama from the mid-eighties. This one was recommended to me by fellow Blogger Phantom of Pulp - this is one of his top-ten films of all time! 
While the film was definitely worth watching and boded some excellent performances, I wouldn't put it in my top ten - My Rating: 3 Skulls

Not to be confused with the film, with the same title, that I reviewed earlier this month. This one is a horror/war film set in World War II - it has a great story and great direction! My Rating: 4 Skulls

With the upcoming re-make [September, I believe] I figured that now would be as good a time as any to check out the original film, from 1973, and I am glad that I did! A Great Film!
Now that I have seen it though, I think that I would prefer a sequel, rather than a re-make [though if the re-make is done well, perhaps there will be a sequel to that - one never knows] My Rating: 4 Skulls

I am sure you are all familiar with this one - I do not know about you, but I found this one to be extremely long and drawn out - in other words - Boring! My Rating: 2 Skulls

This was a great flick, from the allegories to the cool visuals, this one is one of those films that will need to be seen a 2nd time in order to be completely appreciated - My Rating: 4 Skulls

The other night, I went fishing with my neighbor and his wife, and when we returned, he whipped up an outstanding dinner of fresh fish [Northerners & Rock Bass] and potatoes. It was the best fish I have ever had! My neighbor also taught me how to clean and cook the fish, so next time I can do it myself! :-) 
Anyhow, during dinner, he was telling me about this creepy World War I flick, so we decided to watch it - while it may have been creepier than the above Bunker flick, I actually enjoyed The Bunker more [we watched The Bunker immediately afterwards] My Rating for Deathwatch: 3 Skulls

This one was chosen by my wife - a very well done romantic comedy - My Rating: 4 Skulls

To cut right to the chase, I hated this film - it was just plain idiotic! I was not familiar with the terminology behind the film's title, however I had heard that this film was akin to Knife in the Water and Dead Calm - two excellent films! This one however, was not - do not bother wasting your time on this one! [unfortunately, this is one that I took over to my neighbor's, when it arrived via Netflix - if you have seen it, imagine my embarrassment!] My Rating: 1 Skull

I saw the 1st Emanuelle flick about 5 or 6 years ago and wasn't that impressed. This one however, has a subplot about snuff films, so I decided to check it out. 
While better than the original Emanuelle, this one is still pretty much basically a porn film [it actually becomes X-Rated about an hour into the movie] Once the film gets into the snuff [towards the tail end of the film] it quickly becomes sick, brutal, and disturbing! My Rating: 3 Skulls

I came across this one via Netflix and added it to my Queue, simply because it had to do with a woman searching for the cause of her migraine headaches [something I occasionally suffer from] I had no idea that it is a supposed re-make of 1932's The Mummy?!? Either way, this film was Blah - The Mummy is a far superior film. My Rating: 2 Skulls
It seems like I've been waiting for this one forever - it finally arrived on DVD, just this week, and it was well worth the wait - Based on a novel written by Elmore Leonard - Not sure why it wasn't released theatrically - My Rating: 4 Skulls

Next up, I give to you a triple-feature:

Years ago, I remember seeing bits and pieces of the 1st Maniac Cop, and I recently heard that there are plans for a 4th film, so I decided to check out all three films.
Netflix currently has all three Maniac Cop films available to watch Instantly [which is what I did] and I highly recommend that you do too! 
These are great flicks! All three - I loved them all - The 2nd film picks up right where the 1st one leaves off and the 3rd film picks up right where the 2nd one leaves off - I am not sure how they will do a 4th film, but I am looking forward to it! [I am not sure why the Maniac Cop isn't up there with other iconic horror figures, but he deserves to be, in my opinion!]
My Rating for all 3 films: 5 Skulls each!

From 1964, directed by Roger Corman, and starring Vincent Price, this is Poe's tale in classic form - My Rating: 3 Skulls

This one was recommended by my friend, Nikki. . . All I have to say about this one is that it is a sick, demented flick - definitely not for everyone! 
I personally didn't like it [sorry Nikki] I felt that the story was weak and the end of the film was simply too easy - My Rating: 2 Skulls

The only reason for renting this one - Quentin "Rampage" Jackson, Anderson "the spider" SilvaGeorge St. Pierre, BJ Penn, Heath Herring, etc - the UFC's top MMA fighters, all in the same movie. . . unfortunately, the movie itself is pretty lame [for MMA fans only] 
Not only could the afore mentioned MMA stars save this film - neither could the abundant female nudity - My Rating: 2 Skulls

Another of my wife's picks - unfortunately, this one wasn't as good as her prior choice. This film had its moments, but overall it was a dud. If you want to see it, I recommend just waiting for television. My Rating: 2 Skulls

A Norwegian thriller [aka Naboer] This one will mess with your mind - a twisted flick! My Rating: 4 Skulls

This one is basically a dumbed down, silly version of Die Hard - still, I have to admit to liking it, somewhat - My Rating: 3 Skulls

This one was not near as good as I was expecting it to be! :-( 
For those who may be unaware, this fim was inspired by Brad Pitt's character in True Romance [one of my all-time favorite films] So, I guess that my expectations were just too high - My Rating: 3 Skulls

This one was on the same disc as The Masque of the Red Death - again, based on a Poe story and directed by Corman - this time around the year of release was 1962 and instead of Price, it stars Ray Milland - My Rating: 3 Skulls

One the whole family can enjoy! A multi-layered story about morals, with a great cast and excellent animation! My Rating: 4 Skulls

While packing up, to get back on the road, I let my neighbor browse through the select horror films that I brought with me on our travels. When he inquired about this one, I couldn't believe that he had never seen it, so I took it over, and we watched it. He liked it, whereas I love it! [my rating is 5 Skulls] This is David Arquette's directorial debut - if you too have never seen this one, check it out!

I recently read a book, to review for Hacker's Source magazine, that had a similar plot to Videodrome, which just made me want to watch it again - Yep, it's just as bizarre as I remembered! :-) My Rating: 3 Skulls

So, there you have it - an idea of the types of films that I watch on a monthly basis [if I hadn't been so busy this month, I wouldn't have even bothered posting a review for a lot of these films, however since I did it this way, I just decided to include them all.

If you have any questions about any of the above films, I will be more than happy to go into greater detail, upon my return to the world-wide-web [whenever that may be]
I will log on once more, later this evening, before packing my computer, so I will reply to any comments, after then, when I get back on-line. . .


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Terminator: Salvation

Genre - Action/Sci-Fi
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 130 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action/violence and language
Directed by McG (Creator of the television series Fastlane - he also directed the Charlie's Angels films and We Are Marshall)
Written by John D Brancato & Michael Ferris (both of whom also wrote Terminator 3, The Game, and The Net)

Cast Includes:
Christian Bale (Equilibrium, American Psycho, Reign of Fire, The Machinist, and of course Batman Begins & The Dark Knight)
Sam Worthington (Rogue and Dirty Deeds - he is also going to be in the upcoming Avatar and next year's re-make of Clash of the Titans)
Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village, Lady in the Water, and Spiderman 3)
Moon Bloodgood (Pathfinder)
Anton Yelchin (Charlie Bartlett and this year's Star Trek)
Helena Bonham Carter (Fight Club, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, and the latter Harry Potter films)
Michael Ironside (Scanners, Total Recall, Highlander II, and Starship Troopers)

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
All grown up in post-apocalyptic 2018, John Connor must lead the resistance of humans against the increasingly dominating, militaristic robots. But when Marcus Wright appears, his existence confuses the mission as Connor tries to determine whether Wright has come from the future or the past - and whether he is friend or foe.

I loved the T-600 model

First, I just have to say that I am a huge Terminator fan and Terminator 2 is one of my favorite movies of all time! With that said, I was not expecting this film to be better than the 2nd one, however I was expecting it to be better than the 3rd one - to be completely honest, I'm not sure that it was - if anything it was on par with the 3rd one. . .

I think that my main issue was with the story - it just seemed weak to me. 

With that aside though, the effects were top-notch! 
[other than the CGI "ArnoldT-800 that is - I wasn't digging that him at all - why bother?!? While better than the CGI rendition of Patrick Stewart in Wolverine, it still detracted from the film]

Anyone who may doubt McG as the director of this film can lay their worries to rest. For what it's worth, McG definitely pulled the movie off and made it worthwhile to see on the big screen - the apocalyptic world that he envisioned is right on [though I do have a hard time believing the possibility of 2018 being the year it all goes down - I mean, back in 1984, with the year being 2029, it was much more plausible - now, with only 9 years away, not so much] :-)

Here is the 4-minute long expanded trailer:


Sunday, May 17, 2009

4 Hours in a Mosh Pit [aka Music as a Weapon IV]

I have not been on-line very much this month, due to this being our last month in Wisconsin. 
Yes, it's almost time to move on, once again. After getting used to only being in places for 3 months at a time, we've spoiled ourselves by remaining in Wisconsin for a full year! 
We still have not decided where we are going to go next - If you had asked me last week, I would have told you Bangor, Maine - however, that job did not sound as appeasing as we had hoped for, so we are just waiting for the ideal place to come up.
Enough of that though - I will inform everyone, once we have made a decision on where we are going to go next. In the meantime, I am focusing on finishing the kid's schooling up, before we head back out on the road. [hence my not having been on-line very much this month]

The reason for this post:

The family and I started our morning by traveling north, for about an hour, to attend our neighbor's wedding. [My horror loving/tattoo artist friend that I've mentioned several times before - he and his girlfriend have been together for 11 years and just now decided to get married!] They had a small ceremony, for family and friends, at a beautiful waterfall park, and it was a perfect day for it!
I am happy for the both of them and honored that we were invited to attend in their special day.

After the wedding, I took my 15-year-old son to the Music as a Weapon tour, headlined by Disturbed. This was the last day of the tour, which also included Lacuna Coil, Chimaira, and Killswitch Engage. My son is a self-taught guitarist [a pretty good one, I must say - he can play Beatles, Metallica, etc] Anyhow, Dan Donegan [the guitarist for Disturbed] is one of his inspirations, so I thought I would take him to his first major concert, and to make the event more memorable, we arrived super early, so that we could get front & center stage!

I, of course, am familiar with Disturbed and I was looking forward to seeing Lacuna Coil live, however I was not really familiar with Killswitch Engage, and had never even heard of Chimaira.

My son and I were about 10th in line, waiting to get into the concert, and as the doors opened, they had a pat down area, where I was told that my wallet chain was considered a weapon [?!?] and I would have to take it back to my vehicle. [did I mention that the line was at least a thousand people long, behind us?] I wasn't about to let our time spent in line go to waste, so I sent my son on in and told him that I would find him [the doors opened an hour before the concert started, so I knew I had time] After taking my wallet back to my truck, I skipped everyone in line and went directly back to the same security guard, to let me through, so that I could find my son, which I did, no problem. 

We were right at the stage, with only one row of people between us and the rail, which was a good thing, as this allowed for some sort of cushion when the crowd started pressing forward. Fortunately for us, my son was right beside the Asgardian god of Thunder - this dude looked just like Thor! [I even told him that he should audition for the upcoming movie, which is pretty funny, as he is actually starring in an upcoming independent horror film! He's going to be the killer, due to his size - He's at least 6 1/2 feet tall and built!] So, I told my son, when people started moshing, etc to stick by that dude! This worked out perfectly for Lacuna Coil & Chimaira, but after that, Thor decided that he had had enough of the moshing, behind us, and the crowd surfers over us - not to mention the idiots that kept throwing their cups of beer - disgusting! [You don't get that kind of disrespect at a Metallica concert, that's for sure!]

So, Thor left and Killswitch Engage came on. Killswitch Engage likes to do a little something they call the Wall of Pain, where they split the floor down the middle, and then have the opposing wall of people collide with one another - this was fun and all, except for the fact that my son & I became separated at this point [no biggee as we had a contingency plan] I stayed where I was, so that I could take some pictures for his MySpace page - here are some of the pics:
[I took pictures of all four bands, however since I am a fan of Lacuna Coil & Disturbed, these are what I am posting]

Andrea Ferro [co-lead singer] and Criz Mossati of Lacuna Coil

Christina Scabbia [the other co-lead singer] of Lacuna Coil

Disturbed's Set

David Draiman [lead singer for Disturbed] coming out ala Hannibal Lecter

Another shot of Draiman

John Moyer [Bassist for Disturbed]

Dan Donegan [Guitarist for Disturbed]

Another shot of Donegan with the 'Indestructible' backdrop
One more of Draiman

Mike Wengren [Drummer for Disturbed] during his outstanding drum solo!

So, there you have it. :-)

Just an FYI that I also bought my Terminator: Salvation ticket [for the midnight showing on Wednesday night] so stay tuned for that review, on Thursday. I will also, more than likely, post a list of the movies that I have been watching, throughout the month, that I have just not yet had the time to blog about, before we leave Wisconsin. . .