Monday, 29 March 2010

Close but No Cigar twice

Solomon Kane was not a great film - a real shame for Howard fans as it could have been so much better. I liked the grimy 16th C. styling, Purefoy was competent and the action was good if a little bloodless but the story itself was just rubbish. I've never read the original novels but this was a by-the-numbers fantasy tale that held no surprises. Kane is supposed to be an antihero but they barely developed his dark side and this subsequently left the film without much drive when he decided finally to pick up a weapon. I'd put it in the same fail bracket as Constantine I think.

Drunkenly playing with my Media Center late at night does mean that I end up with stuff I've recorded for no apparent reason like I guess Silent Hill. I've seen it before, thought it was alright and after watching it for a second time I can't say my opinion has changed. It's got it's moments of dread and they've gone to some lengths to recreate the look/feel of the games but it lost it's edge going through the Hollywood mangle. Doesn't help when you've got two leads, Mitchell and Bean, opening and closing mouths on time rather than acting.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Multiple Homicides

Harry Brown was a solid if unimaginative revenge thriller. Old man Caine, an ex-marine, decides enough is enough after the local yobs murder his chess playing buddy so he tools up and starts cleaning out the scum. It's acted well and the script is decent enough but they really needed to bring a fresh angle to the story as the whole thing plays out much as you'd imagine.

Another Brit thriller is The Hide. An oddly enjoyable two hander about a twitcher who finds his peace disturbed by a tattooed thug who wanders in off the moor. Both leads are pretty good and the tension between the two very different characters ebbs and flows before building to a quite unexpected & ridiculous conclusion. Still a strong effort.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Great Antidote

Mmm Martian Blueberries, the Red Planet keeps coughing up fascinating stuff. Via ScifiWire - it's a forced colour image by the way.

It's not long since the boffins were feuding bout the little Indonesian hobbits and now a new front looks like opening in Siberia. BoingBoing has a more thoughtful piece here.

Io9 has a great piece about Foucault's pendulum as proof of our Earth's axial rotation. One of the commenters has a link to a brilliant poster.

Pipeline Perusals

Thanks to Twitch for the still from the upcoming Mark Gatiss adaptation of Wells' The First Men on The Moon.

Satoshi Kon is one of my favourite directors but if you'd said one of his films was heading for the live action Hollywood remake factory Paprika would be my final guess. It's a fantastic film so god only knows what the Wolfgang Peterson jobby will be like.

A 3D IMAX version of Journey To The West - sold! - fingers crossed it's better than Forbidden Kingdom. Twitch again.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

One year done

Bumpipes - forgot my own Birthday - one year and one week ago I initiated the Compendium. Can I keep it up is the question I suppose ( no sniggering at the back pls ) Anyways thanks to my solitary follower and all those dropping by !

Shite in 3 flavours

Renowned moron Dubya returns to the world stage and not so subtly wipes his hand on Bill Clinton's shirt after shaking hands with a Haitian. Classy guy. Ta Metzger

As we're on the subject of shit here's a terrifying article via Gawker & WSJ about some poor farmer in the States who has a problem with 20ft bubbles of shit emerging from his dung pond. Poor sod is going to have to puncture them at some point I wish him luck. I once got a quad bike stuck in the edge of shitpile - not happy day.

More shit this time from the "brain" of Sarah Palin - ignoring the worrying signs of violence and abuse directed at pro-healthcare politicians she's put out a charming poster with gun sights over some of their districts. It appears that, bizarrely, Palin has secured herself a documentary series on Discovery - presumably it's going to be filled with slow motion animal killings and the bespoiling of the Alaskan environment. hat tip to the Dish.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Masticating Movies

Low-fi British serial killer flick Tony was a bit of a disappointment. Eschewing a narrative structure it follows the titular homicidal loon as he shuffles about dreary London visiting sex shops, meeting odd bods & then later chopping them up in his bathtub and that's it - it just finishes with him ambling off. Given the quality of the acting and the care they took in making the film I just wish they'd stretched it out beyond it's 75 mins and added some sort of story arc to the proceedings. Does make me wonder about some of the "unusuals" I get in the shop here wanting Seagal/Van Damme VHS'

I rather enjoyed McGuigan's The Reckoning. A straight-forward medieval murder mystery, it follows a troupe of actors who pick up a wayward priest and end up in a town embroiled in a seedy child murder investigation. The players set about using these recent events as the basis of a new play much to the displeasure of the authorities. An excellent cast, a decent script and some reasonable historical detail lifted this above the average. It's a little hammy in bits but overall pretty entertaining.

Kevin Smith seems to be a spent force these days and Cop Out is further evidence that he's lost his movie mojo. A homage to 80's/90's cop/buddy movies this was neither funny nor entertaining and, in fact, I felt a little embarrassed for those involved during parts. I know Tracy Morgan is a big star from SNL and he's good on 30 Rock but he really should avoid acting as much as possible.

Propagator 2010

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Dum Dum De De De Dum Dum

Horror comedies are pretty hard to pull off so I was pleasantly surprised by Severance. Despite it's by-the-numbers plot it rolls along with a decent-enough script and has quite a few genuinely funny bits. The casting of ubiquitous idiot Danny Dyer was a mistake though and not killing him off brutally their second mistake. Dunno why/how Dyer gets such a lot of work but frankly the film would've been greatly improved with almost anyone else in the role.

Requiem for Detroit
is a powerful, thoroughly depressing documentary about a city on it's knees. Directed by Julien Temple it charts the rise and fall of one of America's most iconic cities devastated not by a hurricane but by the harsh economic realities that we all now face. The footage of the dereliction, of the half demolished neighbourhoods and unremitting poverty is almost unbelievable - looks like the post-apocalyptic game Fallout3 than 21st C USA. This is a beautifully shot, well put together film with some excellent contributions from locals and historic footage. A stark warning to the world about the consequences of our post-industrial age. It's on iplayer at the moment so don't miss it.

Jon Stewart's brilliant Glenn Beck iparody was followed up by an equally amusing skit on Colbert's show the other night. Presumably they're trying to provoke this turd-bucket into a war of words as I can't remember either host twisting the knife with such relish before, not that I'm complaining though as he's such a supermassive bunghole he makes O'Reilly seem reasonable. I'd love to be able to embed the clips but they're not viewable in the UK - Stewart is on 4od though it's a slightly edited version but you could always download the Hotspot Shield if you were keen.

And if you're in any doubt about our 'Merican cousins losing the plot here's some ugly footage of people insulting and sneering at a man suffering from Parkinson's. I'd like to echo Metzger's sentiment of hunting the money throwing prick down.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Sky at Night

Lovely pic of interstellar dust courtesy of the Planck observatory, & I09.

Bit from the Beeb on the recent discovery of the first temperate exoplanet, CoRoT-9b. Catchy name.

Another bit of astronomy from I09 about some NASA boffins astonishing Second Sun theory, a Brown Dwarf hiding in the Oort Cloud bombarding us with comets nonetheless. Just couldn't make that shit up. Nibiru next ?

Bangsian Fantasies

Mmm learnt a new word today, Bangsian, after watching the amateurish Riverworld last night so I thought I'd put together a little list of decent afterlife based screen things. Not in any particular order of course.

1) Gantz - crazed anime bout a rather violent mission based afterlife. Big screen live action version next year.

2) Carnival of Souls - weird cult nonsense from the 60's - watch @ youtube here

3) A Matter of Life And Death - P & P's classic fantasy of WW2 pilot meets celestial judges

4) Bothersome Man - Norwegian black comedy

5) Beetlejuice - back when Burton was good

6) After-Life - Japanese film about memory in an organised, clerical afterworld.

7) Wristcutters - romcom set in a suicides only purgatory

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

From Average to Awful, via Superfluous

When 8 Bells Toll, based on a Alistair MacLean novel, is a Bond esque spy romp with a young Anthony Hopkins as the frog suited hero. It's not bad I suppose, a nicely paced adventure about some missing gold bullion of the west coast of Scotland and there's some good banter between Hopkins and his boss played marvelously by Robert Morley but the plot is hackneyed to say the least.

Descent 2 is a sequel to the US version of the caving horror flick and it's ok but lacks the erm bite of the original. Dragging the only survivor of the first film back down the caves, a sheriff and some rescue peeps trapse around the now strangely well lit caves looking for the rest of the team. Peppered with flashbacks to the original this barely musters any atmosphere from the setting and spends most of the time setting up cheap shock-scares and splashes of gore and then it finishes it all off with a nutty twist ending. Hohum who says Merican movies are all dumb ?

Never read PJF's Riverworld saga but the whole "everyone who's ever lived wakes up on the side of a ginormous river" idea sounds cool. They've tried before to bring it to the small screen with little success but after watching SyFy's new 3hr pile-o-shite it looks like they should just give up. Helo and Gaeta from BSG wash ashore in this terrible, cheap, badly scripted & very, very stoopid nonsense. Presumably the cast was gambling on who could be the worst actor throughout as the quality ranges from ham to cheese to wood. Maybe it was made for kids or the mentally soft or something but if I were you I wouldn't bother and for fans of the books pray it doesn't get picked up for more.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Thrillers Three

Hell Drivers was brilliant - if you thought Peckinpah's Convoy was the best trucking movie ever made well you'll be thinking again after seeing this little gem from the 50's. Stanley Baker plays an ex-con who gets a job driving ballast trucks at breakneck speed and finds himself in a deadly competition with the other drivers. Patrick McGoohan stars as Red the psychotic pace man of the crew along with Herbert Lom, Sean Connery and Sid James to name but few. Catch it if you can.

I watched the original Edge of Darkness last year and loved it but the director and producer have returned with a trimmed down Ollywood version starring Mel Gibson and though it's decent enough it isn't a patch on the 80's mini-series. All the main plot points are still there: daughter slaughter, cop dad looking for revenge, enviro/corporate evil exposed, cop dad dies but it's just not given enough time to brew and the ending has little of the excitement or mysticism of the original and opts for cheese instead. Good effort but I'd recommend their first effort over this.

Runaway Jury - Grisham guff but at there's a decent cast in this tale of jury manipulation with Hackman, Cusack and Hoffman taking the leads. Thriller by the numbers though so only for the very bored.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Mucho Madness

Can't beat those 'Mericans for astonishing acts of idiocy - my new favourite is the dosing of an entire French village with a LSD derivative as a little experiment back in the Fifties. As appealing as hallucinogenic baguettes sound I can't think why the boffins felt the need to try such a large scale test, specially as they'd been testing it on unwitting service personnel already. Mind we weren't much better.

James Brown's body is missing from his crypt. A zombie Godfather of Soul stalks the land? His daughter reckon's he was murdered too.

Scientologists aren't too impressed with an upcoming documentary to be shown on German TV and are accusing them of trying to "create a mood of intolerance and discrimination against a religious community" - eek - those Xenu lovers really love to spread the hate around. Hopefully the German's will stand firm as I like a bit of idiot bashing & hopefully someone will upload a fan-subbed version soon.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Tired old tropes

There's been so many revenge thrillers over the years I should probably make a section in the shop, the latest addition to the genre is The Horseman, an Australian slant on the Dad on the Rampage motif. Dad sees drugged daughter in a porno and starts to eliminate those involved in a rather brutal fashion picking up a runaway in the progress. It's decent enough I suppose with a good performance from the lead and some tight plotting and there's certainly plenty of violence but, I dunno, there's just nothing particularly exemplary or even original about it. Give me Dead Man's Shoes anytime

Ahh Cobra - I'm sure Stallone's 80's actioner will get a remake sooner or later but as it was on late night TV I thought I'd give it a go since I hadn't seen it since my childhood. Mmm can't say it hold up well but it certainly typifies the decade - gratuitous violence peppered by unfunny one liners &held together with a paper thin plot - much like the game.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Contagion X 3

The Crazies, Romero's low budget chiller, gets a glossy remake but they largely waste the opportunity by drifting through horror/zombie cliches and having a zillion plot holes. Cardinal sin though is the skimping on the violence, I mean FFS, they spend more time wandering about than battling the demented locals.

I enjoyed Roth's original Cabin Fever as it had a neat slant on the kids in the woods trope but Cabin Fever 2 is far more traditional horror fare and it's crap. The dirty water has reached the local school just in time for Prom and 90 mins is spent linking rather disgusting scenes together with little regard to script or acting. Avoid unless you're really really bored.

Pontypool - a Canadian zombie/plague thing with, finally, some flickerings of originality and imagination. Set in a radio station, the aging DJ and his staff are witnesses to a new sort of zombification transmitted by... well I wont spoil it. The script is decent, probably as it's based on a radio play, and the acting not bad but it starts to falter in the last third. Regardless I rather enjoyed this tense little film and though I wasn't entirely convinced by the central conceit it made a nice change for a horror film to have some intelligence behind it. Wasn't keen on the scene after the credits though - what was that all about? Anyways it's the only one out of the three I'd even consider watching again.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Double barrelled bampots

Glenn Beck, massive dingbat, is flexing his stupidity to new heights/depths now denouncing social justice programmes run by Churches. I'm sure Jesus is real proud Glenn. Never really figured out why simple Christian 'merican's put up with his Moroni based drivel guess they just don't read their beloved Bible.

Stupid comes in pairs and Palin never shies away from matching Beck's halfthinking verbage. This week she's using scripture to defend her childish palm notes, well if it's good enough for the non-existent sky god. Anyways her most idiotic recent burbling has to be her confession that she skipped across the border to Canada to take advantage of their evil, socialist healthcare system that would destroy America. Mmm feel that stupid, like a warm breeze of dumb.

As we're on the subject of the Bible I really should mention the Vatican gay prostitute scandal and that church going homophobic politician who just got done for DUI outside a gay club.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Mixed Media

Evil Dead done in 60 seconds with CLAY - 2010 from Lee Hardcastle on Vimeo.

Sweet posting via ScifiWire of this amusing remake of Raimi's classic shocker. Think it can't get any weirder? well here's a link to the graphic novel of The Muppet Wicker Man courtesy of Bleedingcool.

And finally a brilliant piece from IO9 bout some crazy artist who has created a stunning history of scifi weapons arranged into sepiroths for some reason or other.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

3 films that sucked balls

First things first, bad movies aren't exactly uncommon but here's 3 I thought might actually be good but turned out to be steaming piles of celluloid shit. Kicking off the crap fest is The Long Weekend starring Jim Cavaziel, it's a remake of a 70's Ozploitation about a couple of tiresome townies taking a jaunt into the bush only to provoke Mother Nature with their littering, casual vandalism and a general ignorance of country ways. Dunno if the original is any good but this fizzles out into a whole heap of nothing not long after starting. You'd think the Outback would be the perfect setting to get tormented by beasties what with all the poisonous critters and that but no the filmakers see some dead sea critter as the focus for fear.

Legion next, another pile of cack. The idea of an angelic war on earth sounds like pretty lucrative plot ground to me and there's plenty of decent precedents eg Walken in Prophecy & a dozen or so eps of Supernatural but no they lumber around with zombie-possessed-by-angels cannon fodder with flashbacks to supercamp Camp Angel HQ and a forthcoming mysterious birth and about a zillion million plot holes. Not worth anything.

From Paris With Love - a competent but desperately unoriginal action movie from Besson is fatally flawed by laugh out loud casting. Fey Rhys-Meyers & aged Travolta stumble through the film trying to be the Willis of different shades but fail miserably, the same film with two different actors and a couple of more gags and it could've been worth watching.