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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eyes In The Dark: A Modern Day Satan's Blade

01 Eyes Poster

Every so often, I run into a film that challenges my ability to process it in a way that actually prevents me from having a clear stance on it. Allow me to elaborate… Written and directed by Bjorn Anderson, Eyes in the Dark is a found footage film that is quite simply awful. From the heard it a million times before story to the seen them just as many times characters, Eyes in the Dark brings nothing of worth to the cinematic table, let alone does it do anything positive for low-budget horror as far as showing what it's capable of. The setting is as familiar as that weird mole on your inner thigh (seriously, what is up with that thing? And why do you always pick at it?), focusing on seven "teenagers" who have decided to spend their last weekend together at a snowless ski lodge before collage starts. Does any of this sound familiar?

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Each character is introduced through the lens of a video camera that the resident dick face brought with him so he can tape the entire weekend (THANK GOD for that!), and this is where we learn all we need to know about each character's, well, character. But seriously, who fucking cares about character details and traits in a movie like this?  I don't even know why I mentioned it. I guess you cannot expect too much when a film's core consists of boneheads, beer, babes and bikinis, all while spewing out dialogue consisting of, "Let's go skinny dipping!" and "Hope we have some chips." Me too, you know, so I can put the empty bag over my head in the hopes that suffocation quickly occurs.

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With an ensemble of friends that make every teen character from the Friday the 13th franchise look deep and richly written, Thighs of Darkness doesn't bode much better when these nitwits are faced with danger. The details of that danger are a little sketchy, as by the time the innkeeper where they are staying at explains it, I was organizing my taxes (Now that's scary! HAHAHAHAHAHA.). Regardless, I did get the gist of the film's conflict, which involves ancient monsters that eat people for reasons I couldn't explain to you even if I cared. They do have red glowing eyes and growl quite loudly, therefore making their presence known with out having to resort to the use of those over-the-top, obnoxious Hollywood special effects. However, they do resort to some pretty incredible puppets that unfortunately aren't clear enough to truly enjoy.

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Look at that chicks face. That's love, baby

People are killed, footage is missing and/or spliced together for the reason of exposition, boredom is to be had and nothing is to be gained at any point. Well, almost. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I had some issues making up my mind as far as my actual enjoyment of Eyes in Dark Places, as I kind of knew (thanks to the world of the internet and other reviews) that this movie was going to blow me with shattered glass teeth. Well, it did blow me with shattered glass teeth, and for the first fifteen minutes or so, I wanted to see if microwaving your head with the door still open is possible. Once I got passed that point though, I started to ALMOST find Eyes on the Dork entertaining. ALMOST being the keyest of words since that term was coined.

Here's where I have the internal conflict. There's nothing to like about the movie, in fact, I didn't actually like anything about the movie, but after some time, I just stopped getting annoyed and simply let myself go. Maybe it can be looked at as giving up, but I see it as more me not feeling like the movie was worth my utter hatred. It's not as if the film is even entertaining on a so bad it's good level, because it's really not, whether or not there are times when it does come close. It's more or less entertaining because I couldn't believe what I was seeing at times.

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What it really comes down to is, Guys with a Dark-mass runs parallel with its own lead character, Josh (Wayne Bastrup, who is also today's screen grab star), who serves as a sort of make or break for anyone that watches the film. Playing the guy behind the camera, Josh is so fucking annoying at first. Like, there was a point where his voice, his face and his dialogue made me want to start cutting myself. However, after a short amount of time with king dickweed (whoa, did you just say weed, bro?), I almost began to appreciate him and his incredibly grotesque presence. He literally snarls and sneers throughout the entire movie, making these rapey sexual faces on the constant. I was waiting for him to maybe do a lizard like tongue flick or that thing where you lick around the edges of your lips all seductively, and then I realized it wasn't 1983 anymore. Too bad, 'cause home slice would've done it. 

So, what it comes down to is, Pies on the Tarp is a pile of steaming diarrhea, but I was just so enamored with how horrendous it was, that it got to the point where I almost enjoyed it. Again, keyword being almost.   

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Enter the Darkness of Two Crippled Heroes

enterthedarkA few months back, I wrote a review for Todd Miro's Enter the Dark (which you can read here!), a short horror film that I found to be quite enjoyable. Well, now you too have the opportunity to check out the 17-minute film for FREE as a part of the FirstGlance online film competition. The only catch is you have to create an account, but it's no more than an email, user name and password, so it's not all that tedious to do. While there, you also have the OPTION to vote for the film, which would give it a chance to be entered into the FirstGlance Film Fest in Philly. If you were kind enough to do so, you would have to watch, from start to finish, two (of the nine) other films for your vote to count. That may sound like a lot, but if you think about it, you're checking out a handful of short horror films for free, as well as showing support for independent horror. Plus, as I said, this is optional, and if you only want to check out Enter the Dark, you could totally still do so. 

Here is the link to the FirstGlance site where where you can watch Enter the Dark, and if you would like more details on the competition as well as the film itself, head over to the movie's official website by clicking here. I wouldn't pimp it if I didn't think it was worth your time, and if any of you do take the time to check out the short, please, feel free to share your thoughts about it right here!

Since I'm here doing a little pimping, might as well pimp myself out while I'm at it. Over at the wonderful website known to humans as Paracinema, I just posted a review for the DVD release of The Crippled Masters 2: Two Crippled Heroes. That's easy enough, right? While you're there, take a moment to check out the other goodies the site has in store. Just don't drink the water. It will totally give you the runs.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My March MADness Picks: Round One

During this time of year, March Madness seems to eat up a huge portion of many people's lives; while there're plenty of rabid college ball fans out there digging in, there are plenty of people that could give two shits, too. The Mike of From Midnight, With Love fame is a major sports fan, and decided to take his love of sports and mix it with his love of horror cinema in a way where all can enjoy. Well, all specifically meaning horror fans, that is, but that's all that matters, right? Anyway, The Mike came up with an idea for a bracket using horror movies instead of college teams. Great idea, right? Well, it gets better, because in true bracket fashion, Mike asked a bunch of internet horror know-it-alls to take part in the selection process (with comments being optional), one of them know-it-alls being me, specifically.

So there's your backstory, and now we can move on to the meat and taters of all this build-up. Round one has just been completed and with that comes a whole lot of winners and losers. Below I thought I would provide all of the seeds, what I picked and what, if anything, I had to say about whichever film I thought should move forward. I tried to make it as easy to read as possible, underlining the matchups and boldfacing my picks, so you can run through it quick and pick and choose what you want to read. However, these are solely my picks (and thoughts), but to see what other horror fiends picked (and their thoughts), and what films moved on to the next round, you will have to head on over to From Midnight, With Love to find out.

Enjoy!

ROUND ONE

The Frankenstein Regional

#1 Seed: Predator vs. #16 Seed: C.H.U.D

Arnold is the end all deciding factor in any match up. Always. Plus, I don’t see anyone voting against him again. No longer being the governor only means he can get to da choppa and come kick-in the teeth of all that oppose him. And rightfully so.  

#8 Seed: Night Creatures vs. #9 Seed: Road Games

I really like Road Games. Stacy Keach is great in it and one can never go wrong with a little Jamie Lee Curtis, either. Also, I have never seen Night Creatures, so there you have it. 

#5 Seed: Carnival of Souls (1962) vs. #12 Seed: Stephen King's Cat's Eye

Yikes…is this really a match-up? I simply adore Cat’s Eye and have loved it since I was young enough to do lines with Drew Barrymore. Carnival of Souls, on the other hand, is one that I caught up with for the first time a year or so ago, and I absolutely loved it. I guess I’ll give it to Carnival because I think it deserves it slightly more. But know this, it hurts my heart to make such a decision.   

#4 Seed: Pretty Poison
vs. #13 Seed: The Illustrated Man

#6 Seed: They Live
vs. #11 Seed: Fire in the Sky

For the record, flawed as it may be, I really dig Fire in the Sky, mostly because I too was once raped by aliens. I kind of asked for it with the outfit I was wearing, though. Still, consumerism commands me to pick They Live.

#3 Seed: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) vs. #14 Seed: Raw Meat

The #3 seed is my #3 all-time favorite horror film, therefore my pick is a no brainer.

#7 Seed: Ginger Snaps
vs. #10 Seed: Mr. Majestyk

I find it very difficult going against the catfish himself, Charles Bronson, but I absolutely love, and I mean LOVE, Ginger Snaps. I really relate to the whole menstrual thing.   

#2 Seed: Dead of Night (1945) vs. #15 Seed: Blue Steel

While it lacks the rawness that came with Le Tigre and Ferrari, Blue Steel is a pose that is quite simply unforgettable.

The Myers Regional

#1 Seed: John Carpenter's The Thing vs. #16 Seed: The Food of the Gods

Man, the choice between giant roosters and the frosted beard of Kurt Russell? What’s a girl to do?! The Thing.

#8 Seed: Robinson Crusoe on Mars vs. #9 Seed: The House of the Devil

Even after seeing it a few times already, I still get the urge to watch The House of the Devil quite often, and for me that’s the mark of a great horror film. It has its detractors, but I personally think the film is as taut as it is fantastic.

#5 Seed: Stir of Echoes vs. #12 Seed: Clownhouse

As much as I enjoy The Sixth Sense, I always found it to be very unfortunate that, due to the success of that film, Stir of Echoes went almost completely unnoticed. Stir of Echoes is wicked underrated, brah.

#4 Seed: Big Trouble in Little China vs. #13 Seed: Scarecrows

You know what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like this? Scarcrows doesn’t stand a chance.

#6 Seed: Sisters
vs. #11 Seed: Of Unknown Origin

Outside of Kidder’s slightly off putting accent, Sisters is a near flawless thriller, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Tyler Perry take a crack at a remake. Of course it would be titled ‘Sistas’ and star pop culture icon, Beyonce, in her most groundbreaking performance yet.

#3 Seed: The Body Snatcher (1945
) vs. #14 Seed: Happy Birthday to Me

#7 Seed: The Diabolical Doctor Z vs. #10 Seed: Friday the 13th

#2 Seed: Horror of Dracula (1958) vs. #15 Seed: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

The Hammer Regional

#1 Seed: Moon vs. #16 Seed: The Roost

There are a handful of reasons why Moon is a wonderful piece of cinema, but what really drives it, what is essentially the film’s core, is that deep emotional impact that it emotes thanks to Sam‘s existential interactions with himself. One of the best science fiction films of the last ten years, Moon is a movie that will most certainly stand the test of time. 

#8 Seed: Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter vs. #9 Seed: Candyman

From the Philip Glass score to the frightening Cabrini-Green setting, Candyman is an incredibly poignant film focusing on the deterioration of one woman as she is forced to face the wrong doings of others. There is much more to the horror here than just that guy with a hook for a hand. It’s poverty, it’s the lack of trust we have in our own neighbors, it’s racial tension in an area that has been neglected and all but left for dead. Oh yeah, and Tony Todd is awesome.  

#5 Seed: The Devil Rides Out vs. #12 Seed: Burning Bright

#4 Seed: Kill, Baby...Kill! vs. #13 Seed: Piranha (1978)

You may think you can pick against Piranha, but Paul Grogan’s beard and tucked in flannel believe otherwise. You best listen.

#6 Seed: The Abominable Dr. Phibes vs. #11 Seed: The Ugly

#3 Seed: Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) vs. #14 Seed: Silent Night, Deadly Night

One of the rarest of times where I won’t pick Carpenter. I really dig Assault, but a Santa Slasher is the quickest way to my blackened heart. That and Mrs. Budd's White Meat Chicken Pies. Seriously, why are those things so friggin good?

#7 Seed: Spider Baby
vs. #10 Seed: Danger Diabolik

The opening credit sequence to Spider Baby says it all. One of the strangest and most enjoyable genre films ever made. 

#2 Seed: The Omen vs. #15 Seed: Popcorn

The Blob Regional

#1 Seed: Evil Dead II vs. #16 Seed: Attack of the 50 Foot woman

You would have to realize that anyone that spent much of their childhood quoting things like, “Someone's in my fruit cellar!” and “I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul! I'll swallow your soul!” will probably pick the Evil Dead II. Guess what? That’s exactly what I’m picking.

#8 Seed: The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) vs. #9 Seed: The 'burbs

#5 Seed: Martin vs. #12 Seed: The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires

LOVE MARTIN! He's so funny, especially in those Big Mama's House films! 

#4 Seed: Death Proof vs. #13 Seed: Vice Squad

There was a time when Starz HD would show Death Proof like ten times a week, and every time I would happen upon it, I just couldn’t change the channel. The rewatchabilty is so high for me, especially that amazing car chase that goes on for like half the movie. Love the soundtrack, love Stuntman Mike, love both sets of stories, love Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a cheerleader uniform, LOVE Death Proof! I’d totally make out with it while a rock ballad plays in the background.

#6 Seed: Phantom of the Paradise vs. #11 Seed: Maniac (1980)

#3 Seed: The Descent vs. #14 Seed: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

As close as this one feels like it should be, I have only seen The Descent once. While I really liked it, I didn’t find it to be quite as great as others claimed it to be. Killer Klowns, on the other hand, is one of my childhood favorites. It’s as funny as it is creepy, as silly as it is serious, and I feel quite comfortable in saying that it is a perfect midnight movie. Maybe down the road and with a few more viewings of The Descent, my mind would change, but until that time, I’ll stick with the Chiodo Bros.  

#7 Seed: The Stepford Wives (1975) vs. #10 Seed: The Entity

#2 Seed: The Incredible Shrinking Man vs. #15 Seed: The Pit.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Loved Ones: Finger-Lickin' Good

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After losing his father in a car wreck in which he was driving, Brent has been going through immense growing pains trying to deal with his dad's passing. Without a clear clue as to how to handle the pain that comes with such a loss, Brent (Xavier Samuel) has become slightly rebellious, resorting to self-inflicted physical pain to try and help cope with the hurt that he feels emotionally. Brent is a shell of what he once was, however, his relationship with his girlfriend, Holly (Victoria Thaine), is strong, and she would seem to be the best medicine for the infinite sadness that surrounds him. As bad as things have been for Brent, things aren't looking to get any better as an admirer named Lola (Robin McLeavy) asks Brent to the prom, an offer that Brent respectfully declines seeing as he is going with Holly. Not one to take no for an answer, Lola has Brent kidnapped so they can enjoy their own personal prom at her home, complete with disco ball and her father (John Brumpton) playing chaperone.   

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Now, imagine if the Letherface clan from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 impregnated Annie Wilkes, then nine-months later she had a wittle baby girl and named her Carrie. Well, that's kind of the best way to describe The Loved Ones. The first feature film from writer/director, Sean Byrne, The Loved Ones is an Australian horror film with a wicked black sense of humor set primarily in one location. That location being a kitchen, living room, and dinning room combo made up to look like a prom only a psycho could appreciate. And psycho is no less than the perfect descriptive for a girl such as Lola, a twisted young lady that is not portrayed as a complete loser but more of a nobody, or at least somebody that really doesn't matter in the big scheme of high school.

As opposed to many lonely losers in high school set horror films, Lola is never shown getting picked on or belittled by her classmates. The only time she is really seen before her homemade promenade is when she actually asks Brent to the dance. While it's clear that she's not really the type of girl anyone wants to chill with on a hook-up level, Lola's not completely pathetic looking, either; she's just plain. Her motives for kidnapping Brent have nothing to do with revenge nor is there any need to fill a void left by being unwanted. It's much deeper than that as she has issues that delve well into a world of delusion as she has a need to control the people around her. Specifically with the relationship she shares with her father, which is one that floats an incestuous line where her domination is one part sexuality and another part daddy's little girl.

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It's all quite sick and deranged, but as much as this film is twisted, The Loved Ones is filled with humor that is so dark, you might want to watch with a flashlight handy. A lot of where the humor stems from is due to a wonderfully sadistic and decadently mad performance put forth by Robin McLeavy as Lola. The Loved Ones is quite simply a perfect example of a black horror comedy, and the balance of the horror and humor in the film exactly mirror that of the character of Lola. Here is a movie that is funny enough, it's brutal enough, it's serious enough and all without any one of those individual elements being too overbearing. The comedic elements never take away from the horror of the situation, which is very important because there is a level of emotion brought to the table with some of the characters, something else that's never played off too heavily, either.     

As I mentioned, Lola is not portrayed as a complete waste, in the same token, Brent is not shown in a light that is negative, either. He's not the bully that you actually want to see get his just desert, instead, he is a pretty sad kid that is easy to feel sorry for, thus making him truly the victim in this situation. Brent is actually one of the few cinematic rebellious teens that doesn't completely irritate me, which is rare with most films of this nature. A lot of that has to do with Brent being someone that Byrne clearly wrote in a manner that respects the character and doesn't feel completely disconnected from the teenager as a real life entity. This is an area that can really hurt a film such as The Loved Ones, so it's nice to have characters that, while not breaking any boundaries, are well realized.

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Spending much of the time in one location, The Loved Ones never overstays its welcome as things move along fairly quickly without too many lulls. Things are broken up with minute story lines following Brent's mother, as well as Holly, both of whom are clearly concerned for his well-being (which is only compounded by Brent's slightly suicidal state of mind). Another tool that is used to break up what could be the monotony of a long torturous dinner table scene is a side story focusing on Brent's pal, Jamie (Richard Wilson), who is on a date with the hot Goth chick, Mia (Jessica McNamee). The time spent with these two characters seemingly has nothing to do with the film's core, yet, it is all handled in a way where it doesn't feel boring and works to break things up unobtrusively. Furthermore, even if it seems there is no connection to the main story, there is a pretty heavy reveal that puts a small emotional punch behind Mia's rebellious motivations as well as something that connects her to the main plot.

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The Loved Ones is not the most original picture to have ever been put to celluloid, but what's in place works and works wonderfully for the type of film that it is. It's not always an easy task balancing horror and comedy (let alone black comedy), but Sean Byrne has certainly come out swinging with this one, and I believe a lot of that has to do with him showing respect for both the genre as well as its fans.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dreaming Maniacally

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Yearning to read about a film that takes a deep look into the mind of a heavy metal songwriter, features a '90s pornstar, has numerous guys in their tighty whities, and is filled with a shit ton of fog? Well, have I got the review for you! Over at BthroughZ, I have a freshly wrapped review of David DeCoteau's Dreamaniac, a little slice of '80s cheese that is sure to please even the most lactose intolerant. While there, be sure to check out all the other goodies the issue has to offer, after you read my review of DREAMANIAAAAAAC!!!, of course. I don't think falsetto translates to the written word too well.   

ATTENTION!!! This is future Matt-suzaka, and sadly BThroughZ no longer exists, so here is a link to my review of Dreamaniac which is now located on the very blog you are reading! Enjoy!

Click it or ticket

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Totally Tubular Trailers

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Starting things off this lovely evening is the trailer for Gonzalo López-Gallego's first English language film, Apollo 18, a found footage styled movie that focuses on a NASA mission gone horribly wrong. I've often shared my loving thoughts on the found footage genre, when done well, and one of the things I like about the style is it's cool to see how many different ways it can be used (before it gets completely milked). There're plenty of avenues that can be taken with this style, and I'd like to see it applied to the right types of films in a ways that are both beneficial and creative. Apollo 18 is a great example of a brilliant idea, however, it's tough to say whether or not this film looks any good. More often than not, when I see a trailer for a film such as this, I tend to get pretty pumped for it, however, I cannot honestly say that this trailer is all that great. Something about it rubs me the wrong way. Take a look and decide for yourself. 

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Next up on the docket is the low-budget "you kids best not be messin' 'round these here parts" film, Madison County. Written, produced and directed by Eric England, Madison County is the familiar tale of a group of no good kids who head to a small mountain town in the hopes of interviewing the author of a book that tells about the areas brutal murders (longest sentence, EVA!!). Of course they find no such author nor do the local yokels prove to be of any help, so when the kids try and dig deeper, they find that they may actually be digging their own graves! MWHAHAHAHA!! It's clearly a very standard backwoods slasher affair, which is not a huge problem so long as a film, specifically this one, can deliver the goods in other areas. The trailer is good, and I think the pig mask could be pretty cool. And really, what it comes down to is cool killers killing kids in cool ways, right?

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31

My next preview is as brief as it is interesting. 31 is a short film about a girl who wakes up only to find herself trapped with no clue as to where she is, let alone how she got there. Some other stuff happens, I'm sure, but this is a short that will be running somewhere around 10 minutes long, so I doubt that sharing too many details would be the best idea. Anyway, what would be the bait and hook for 31 is that it's broken up into 31 individual 31-second segments, with each new segment premiering at 3:31 pm EST everyday (on You Tube), for 31 days, starting on March 31st. Whoa, wait, what? That's a lot of 3rty-1nes, right?! Yes, and while it sounds confusing, it's not. Either way, it's an interesting concept, and I like the idea that it's essentially a daily horror serial that will go on for a month. And with each segment only being 31-seconds long, it's would be very easy to keep up with. Now the question is, will it be any good?

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Blooded

Blooded is yet another familiar story of survival (familiar seems to be quite the trend tonight, huh?), specifically focusing on a group of hunters that are kidnapped, only to awaken in the Scottish hills wearing no more than their underwear. Now, while having your chest acne, saggy boobs, and poop stained underwear exposed may be enough to cause some serious stress, the group of hunters find that they have more to worry about as they are being hunted by an animal rights group, claiming that (tagline alert!) "if you hunt, you're fair game." It's familiar, but as I said, and will always say, if it's done right, that can be forgiven. And the idea of flipping the script on hunters is kind is fun, and I like that there is the automatic humiliation factor of putting them in their underwear. That also bodes well if there is at least one hot chick n the film, and I bet you there is (I see her on that poster! YES!)!

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Okay, for shits and giggles I thought I'd throw in this trailer or Quarantine 2: Terminal, just because I cannot believe that it's real. I mean, Quarantine was an inferiorly shot version of an incredibly crafted handheld horror film, but at least there was a marginally successful attempt at making something competent. This shit, however, looks like they've gone way off the rails here. Seeing as it's a sequel to a handheld movie, I see absolutely no sign of the technique on display here. I suppose that completely dropping the hook essentially makes you a regular old zombie film that's using the name of a somewhat successful horror film, which was a remake of a much better film, only meant to cash in on yet another Foreign property, right? That's like the fucking circle of cinematic life, isn't it? Good luck with this one.

Okay, now that I'm done being too cool, I do kind of what to see this one, only because it looks so bad. Also, I do love that play on words. Sorry, I never said anything about having good taste. 

That's it, bitches.

Friday, March 11, 2011

An Expendable Director

sylvesterstalloneWith the recent reports that Sylvester Stallone does not intend to direct The Expendables 2 and will in fact be shopping for directors to helm the sequel to the 2010 hit film, I simply cannot help but share my opinion. First off, I want to express that I really enjoyed The Expendables for what it was. Seeing that collection of action heroes, both young and old, really got my testosterone all worked up. I totally did like two sit-ups. While it certainly has its detractors, there are many that defend the film, claiming that it delivered no less than people, specifically action fans, should have expected. That may be true as far as the actors, the characters, the dialogue and the ridiculousness of film goes, but the core element of any action film is the action, and that for me is where The Expendables failed.

To be fair, some of the big action set pieces were pretty great, for instance, Sly releasing gasoline from The Expendables plane onto a boat dock of baddies below, only to have Jason Statham, from the nose of that plane, shoot the boat dock with a flair gun, thus causing a massive explosion. That was pretty epic, but with that said, my issues were specifically with (many of) the fight scenes and some of the gun battles. For whatever reason, the almost always awful shaky-cam action style was utilized for The Expendables, and it fails miserably, as it often does. These scenes are grotesquely edited, with no real sense of direction, let alone a sense of fluidity. People like Jason Statham and (especially) Jet Li are very easy to make look great doing what they do, yet their talents were wasted due to incompetent filmmaking.

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One scene that specifically comes to mind is the fight between Dolph Lundgren and Jet Li. Jet Li is not known for his height, while Dolph is quite the imposing figure as far as his stature goes. So here you have this great opportunity to use these contrasting physiques for what could have been a visually impressive fight scene. Nevertheless, the scene is so poorly put together that you almost cannot even discern the height difference between the two, let alone there being more than a few seconds allowed to actually see them fight one another. The worst part is, just before they fight, Lundgren's character makes a reference to Li's height telling him to, "bring it, happy feet!" hinting at what could have made for a visually great fight scene, yet, there's nothing but top down shots, poor angles and action that's too frenetic to be able to see, let alone enjoy. 

Some folks point to the shitty action and say that this is what we should have expected from a throwback action film, but those people are way off base in my opinion. The action films from the '80s were very well represented in many ways (in The Expendables), but to claim that the action from the films of that era were inherently crappy, is an incorrect notion. Now, with Stallone being the person that was basically the backbone of The Expendables, I have to shovel some of the blame on him (as well as the praise, to be fair), therefore, having him step away from the directors chair, to me, sounds like the best decision for the sequel. However, who exactly should be the one to step in and helm a sequel to a successful throwback to the '80s action film? Well, there is only one name that I feel would do it best, and that name belongs to Isaac Florentine.

While many were championing The Expendables as an homage, a love letter, a true return to the '80s action film, there was another movie that made its way straight to DVD in 2010, and that movie kicked the shit out of The Expendables in every possible way. That film was Undisputed III: Redemption. With Undisputed III: Redemption (which I admit to having a wicked boner for), Florentine put out a film that is, without trying to be, an '80s action film. Everything is in place, from hokey dialogue and a thin plot, to a budding bromance and a great antihero in Yuri Boyka. Most importantly, Undisputed III has some of the best fight scenes I have seen from a none traditional martial arts film in years. It's an '80s action movie brought to modern times with the use of style, ability and technique, all while being as hard hitting and tough as any film can be. The comparison between both Undisputed III: Redemption and The Expendables is nonexistent, because there are no comparisons as far as what was delivered.

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Both films came out in the same year, therefore my comparison of the two, but Florentine has been making a name for himself for quite some time, and I believe he is the guy that could really push The Expendables to the level that it needs to go. Now, I cannot say that the issues with The Expendables is solely attributed to Stallone, as the problems were specifically with the cinematography and, even more so, the editing. In fact, the editing was so horrendous that it carried over into the non-action scenes more than once. If Florentine were to be chosen (not that I actually think he would), it would be great if both cinematographer Ross Clarkson and editor Irit Raz could come along with him as both have worked with Florentine quite a bit and both have a lot of great experience.

There has been a ton of (AWESOME) casting rumors floating around for The Expendables 2; such as, Bolo Yeung, Cynthia Rothrock, Michelle Yeouh, Arnold Schwarzenegger (in a bigger role) and Jean-Claude Van Damme (who's already worked with Florentine), just to name but a few. Now, another rumored actor that stands out in a big way - and would totally make the Florentine pick all the more perfect - is Scott Adkins. Adkins and Florentine have made a number of awesome action films together and, quite frankly, Adkins is a specimen whose skills and presence are matched by very few action "actors" out there. The thought of having Adkins be in The Expendables 2, with Florentine at the helm, is a dream come true.

boyka

My intentions of this post was never to roll in the hate wagon for The Expendables (or Stallone, for that matter), because I really did enjoy the film, but its flaws are glaring, and to simply dismiss them by saying "what did you expect" is way off base for those specific problems. What I expected was, at the least, competent action scenes, and if the right director stepped in, The Expendables 2 could be an action masterpiece. Florentine is perfect because he has the experience , the skill and he is not a huge name outside of the world of DTV action market, but the people that know his films, know his skill and that skill is what is necessary to put The Expendables 2 over the top. If you don't believe me, watch this and you'll become a believer soon enough.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Birthday Beard!

The one, the only, Chuck Norris, is celebrating his 71st birthday today. Seeing as he is the patriarch of this fine blog you are reading right this very moment, we here at Chuck Norris Ate My Baby (I don't know who I'm referring to when I say we, but it sounds better, right?) would like to wish Mr. Norris a happy 71st birthday, as well as thank him for a whopping 71 years of martial arts excellence.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Devil's Dynamite From Hell!

devilsdynamitemadron'sprevuesfromhell

Oh boy kiddies, I hope you have your permission slips all signed by your parents, because it's time for a filed trip! YAY! Okay, calm down now you little brats. Now, while most field trips are filled with learning, fun and adventure, this one is more than likely going to scar you for good, as we will be taking a trip to hell so we can play with dynamite! And when I say dynamite, I mean Devil's Dynamite, which just so happens to be the film I reviewed over at The Gentlemen's Blog to Midnite Cinema. Ninjas, jumping vampires, astronaut ninjas, short-shorts, crazy bad dubbing, and it's all brought to you courtesy of the great Godfrey Ho! This is so much better than the petting zoo, that's for sure!

Devil's Dynamite

Things aren't going to get much safer as we head on over to our next destination, a nice little movie theater where the crazed Mad Ron will be introducing us to a slew of his best horror, cult and exploitation Prevues! He doesn't do it alone, oh no siree, in fact, he has the help of ventriloquist Nick Pawlow and his undead buddy, Happy Goldsplatt, as they play host to the madness that ensues! If you've not heard of Mad Ron's Prevues From Hell, you should certainly stop by Strange Kids Club to check out my thoughts as well as the release itself (it's on Netflix instant). It's quite the bloody good time and a must for anyone that loves trailer compilations, exploitation, horror, grindhouse cinema and the 80s.

Mad Ron's Prevues From Hell

Well, that does it for today's field trip, but before I send you all back home to your parents, lets do a head count, starting with those that still have their heads!! BWAHAHAHAHA!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Birthday Babe!

cynthiarothrock

We here at Chuck Norris Ate My Baby would like to wish the lovely Cynthia Rothrock the happiest of birthdays. May all of your kicks hit high and your shorts stay short, on this, your very special day. That's more of a request, actually. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

FEARnot?!

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Earlier today, Marc Patterson of Brutal as Hell made a call-to-arms in support of FEARnet's HD cable channel. Some time back in June of last year I had done a post expressing my anticipation for finally having a horror channel on the horizon, specifically one that has a solid library of films that have been built up over the years through FEARnet's wonderful VOD service. In October of last year, FEARnet dropped a 24/7 horror network that's programming consists of an array of horror cinema covering everything from classic to modern, as well as FEARnet original series, all of which are properly broadcast in HD.

Now, the only issue with such a grand channel built specifically for movie fans that love to hear things that go bump in the night is, FEARnet HD is only available through Verizon FiOS (channel 197). Personally, I do not have Verizon FiOS due to it not being available in my area, and I will take the gamble and guess that there are many of you out there that suffer from this same problem. So, what's a ghoul to do? Well, for one, you can stop by the FEARnet website, and with a few simple clicks you can request that your local cable company carry FEARnet HD. CLICK HERE, then click on the thingy that says 'Get FEARnet HD', and the rest is history.

Seriously, most if not all of you out there right now are horror fans, so there is no reason that all of us cannot band together to give ourselves something great. It's easier than burning a bra or making a sign, so get to it, why don't cha? Look at their upcoming lineup for March if you aren't convinced yet…March Highlights.   

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Salute Your Shorts: Lover's Jump

lover'sjump

Clocking in at a mere five and a half minutes, including credits, Mark McCombe's Lover's Jump is an extremely short dramatic thriller set in a single location. The film's focus is on Peter (Laurence Fuller), a young man that is plagued by the death of his mother, as he believes it is his fault that she recently passed away. Peter only sees one way out of this nightmare that has become his life, and as he stands on Lover's Leap bridge, pondering ever so deeply, dark ideas swim throughout his head as he contemplates whether or not he will go through with what seems to be the best solution to ending the pain he is enduring. His Aunt (Holly Clark), whom Peter had asked to come to Lover's Jump, shows up and tries to talk sense into Peter, but is it too late, or will Peter take his sorrow and feelings of guilt into his own hands.

It's very difficult to get too deep into this film as it is so very short, and there is a major revelation that I would dare not spoil. Regardless, for a short that flies by at lightning speed, there is a great deal of depth to be found in Lover's Jump. Entirely set on Lover's Jump Bridge, with no more than the interaction between Peter and his aunt, this is a prime example of a lean story that bursts with ideas and backstory. The emotional damage and pain emitted from Peter is felt with Laurence Fuller's quiet performance, and the superbly written Jenny Wong dialogue is minimal but efficient enough to build a world and backstory in which these two characters are living.

As fast as things get going, Lover's Jump ends with a quick bang that is sure to catch most any viewer off guard. As I said, this one runs really short, but its end comes much faster than the runtime would suggest, only further cementing the impact that the revelation will have on the viewer. What's brilliant about this sudden ending is, as the credits roll, you have a moment to take in what just happened, only to come back to a shot of the bridge for a long poignant moment of reflection. Lover's Jump is a fantastic example of how much can be told in such a small amount of time with minimal means, and it's all done without it being forced upon the viewer, as it is the viewer that is given the chance to work things over in their own head. 

Unfortunately, Lover's Jump is still making rounds on the festival circuit, so it isn't readily available for you all to check out. However, you can follow the film's blog for any news as it comes in.

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