Friday, October 5, 2012

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Debut on NICK "Rise Of The Turtles"

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) Episode One: "The Rise Of The Turtles"
Written by Stuart Cooper
Starring: Sean Astin, Jason Biggs, Rob Paulsen

Anyone reading this who knows me in real life will know that I’m a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan. I grew up during the time period when TMNT was at its absolute peak. I have fond memories of wondering around the isles at Toys R’ Us mystified by the endless stream of Turtles related toys and vehicles! Christmas 1991 I actually received the ninja turtle’s sewer base, the pizza shooter vehicle, and several action figures from the show. It was probably one of my most memorable Christmas’s ever. I also remember renting the VHS tapes of the episodes over and over and over again. So it’s no mystery that I love Ninja Turtles. But now that I’m an adult and my imagination has diminished a bit, could I still enjoy a new TMNT related product? The answer is yes. This past week NICK debuted their new incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had been hearing about this new show for several months but hadn’t seen much footage. I saw the toys at my local Wal-Mart recently and was pretty impressed with what I saw (aside from Krang which we will get to). I basically went into this debut blind with low expectations, and I finished the viewing impressed. The show debuted in a one hour feature called “Rise of the Turtles”. The story would closely follow some ideas set up in the original series except slightly altered. Let’s dive right into it shall we!

The show begins with showing us each turtle practicing their skills in their underground sewer headquarters. The movements of the characters are very quick, and the animation is very smooth and colorful. The style of the turtles is definitely kiddy and kind of reminds me of that “Chibi” Japanese style animation where the characters heads get real big and their bodies stay the same. Takes some getting used to, but I understand there is no sense in redoing the show unless you make some changes. The turtles are voiced by some pretty notable celebrities…Sean Astin voices Raphael, Jason Biggs voices Leonardo, Greg Cipes plays Michelangelo and Rob Paulsen from THE ORIGINAL TMNT returns except this time he voices Donatello instead of Raphael. Pretty funny that he voices a different character this time around. Why wouldn’t you just recast him in the same role? Does it really make that much of a difference? These voice choices end up being pretty good and maintain those lovable turtle voices we all enjoy.

Splinter and April O’Neil are then introduced and while Splinter is pretty similar to his previous incarnations, April O’Neil appears to be a young teenage girl and not a reporter (at least that they’ve shown so far). It was also made clear that one of the turtles had the hots for April. This is something that was teased in the movies and older shows but never really addressed. I’m not sure how I feel about a martial artist radiation filled turtle wanting to be with a teenage girl…will be interesting to see if they follow up on that. The enemy in the episode comes in the form of zombified humans that appear to be under control of “The Krang”, notice I said the Krang and not just Krang…it’s because there is apparently an entire army of Krangs this time as oppose to one giant menacing Krang. This was really the only complaint I had. Krang in this version appears to be a race of robots with living beings inside their stomachs. While I realize the original came from a planet of other Krangs, they were never really villains in the series. This is fine I suppose, but I’ll be interested to see if they reveal some type of Master/leader Krang. The turtles basically spend the entire episode investigating these Krang beings and eventually we are shown a brief glimpse of Shredder who resembles Shao Kahn (Mortal Kombat) quite a bit. I’m pretty interested to see the turtles square off against him.

Overall I think the new show has promise. The turtles are still the goofy joke cracking heroes they were before, but this incarnation seems to offer a bit more serious aspect (I said A BIT, so don’t get too excited). What I’m referring to is one particular scene where the turtles capture a thug and threaten to torture him by pouring ooze on his face and turning him into a monster. I thought that was something the old cheesy turtles would have never done. So there is certainly a difference. The animation is smooth, the voices are spot on, and the original content is still ingrained. I think if you are a TMNT fan at heart you will enjoy the show and give it a chance. Oh and the new theme song is actually pretty catchy!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Review

Written by Stuart Cooper

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Starring Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Rufus Sewell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead

One of the many summer films I had been looking forward to was Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The movie is adapted from a popular book of the same title. I did not read the book so I won’t be able to compare the text to the film, but from what I’ve heard from others, there are a few differences. If you would like to let me know what those differences are then feel free to comment below. The film is pretty much exactly what the title says. It’s an alternate take on the life of Abraham Lincoln. In this version of his life he loses his mother at a very young age after witnessing a vampire murder her in the middle of the night, this causes Abe to form a distinct hatred of vampires and he in turn devotes a large portion of his life to destroying them. The film is definitely not the most historically accurate film, nor is it supposed to be. If you overanalyze the subject matter you probably won’t enjoy it. It is more-so along the lines of films like Wild Wild West and Jonah Hex, except much more entertaining. I wouldn’t have minded a few giant mechanical spiders in the film though.

The story itself starts off with Lincoln as a young boy, and then quickly jumps to his life as a young adult. There is no mention of his life in Kentucky which was unfortunate considering I’m a Kentucky native myself and would have liked to have seen more about that. Also thought we’d see something about his wrestling hobby, but I guess they only had so much time and couldn’t really touch on all the aspects of Lincoln’s life. Lincoln’s main goal at the beginning of the film is to track down the exact vampire that was responsible for killing his mother. This is not very hard since the vampire has been running the same shipping port since he was a child and still works in the same exact place. One thing that is rather convenient in the film is that the vampires can work and function in the daylight if they wear sunglasses and put on some type of extra strength suntan lotion. I thought this was a bit goofy but given the tone of the film I accepted it. It also helps explain why the vampires could be present on the battlefield during the Civil war (which I will get to later). In his search for vengeance Lincoln meets a few interesting characters along the way, some familiar to history buffs, some not. Lincoln encounters a man by the name of Henry Sturgess who actually becomes a Jedi master of sorts for young Lincoln. Henry is the one responsible for giving Lincoln some much needed focus and skill that he would need in his battle against the vampires. There is a great chemistry between Lincoln and Henry and I really enjoyed that aspect of the film. They had a nice Sherlock and Watson thing going on. Since Henry seemed to have a slight British accent I couldn’t help but imagine a BBC spin-off detailing the adventures of these two. As the film progresses Lincoln’s training is finished and he eventually becomes a vampire assassin of sorts. We see all sorts of cool “vampire hunting” sequences as a result, which delivers every time. The only pet peeve I have about some of the action sequences are the fact that at times Lincoln displays skills that no normal human would have. He seems to have super strength and super agility, despite the fact that he is not a vampire. This is never really explained other than the fact that he is just…a badass. Seeing Lincoln make use of the axe he wields is probably the highlight of the film. The moments when Lincoln is swinging his axe around like the lost member of the ninja turtles…priceless.

As far as the historical ties that the film has, there are a few. Several key players in history from that time period appear in the film. We see Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd Lincoln played by the always beautiful Mary Elizabeth Winstead, a small appearance by Harriet Tubman, and the incredibly charismatic Alan Tudyk as Lincoln’s political rival Stephen Douglas. The portrayal of Lincoln’s wife worked out pretty well but I was pretty letdown by the short screen time given to Alan Tudyk. Tudyk is one of my favorite actors and I think the film would have been served well by giving him a bigger role. There is also an interesting alternate take on the battle of Gettysburg which makes for a fun “what if” scenario. Unfortunately the film does not feature Stonewall Jackson and I thought that was a missed opportunity considering the asylum used his character in “Abe Lincoln vs. Zombies” and it actually worked in that one.

Overall Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a fun shallow action film with some delightful action sequences and some quality acting from Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. The film could have been a lot better but the short comings were few and far between. If you are ready to sit back and relax and just enjoy a film, this would be a good one to choose. It’s definitely what you would call a “popcorn flick”. If you love either Abe Lincoln or vampires, then you will probably enjoy this film.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Men In Black III Review

Written by Stuart Cooper

Men in Black III (2012)

Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin

Well its summer blockbuster season and you know what that means…sequels! This summer features another Batman film, an Alien prequel, a Spider-man remake, and the latest installment in the Men in Black franchise. Today I will be discussing “Men in Black III”, a film I was surprised by and enjoyed quite a bit. Both Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith return for this sequel, and Josh Brolin plays a pivotal role in the film as Young K (Tommy Lee Jones). Many have a bad taste in their mouths regarding Men in Black after the very lackluster and terrible Men in Black II, but I assure you this one is much better. The story is more interesting and the acting is top notch. The film actually reminded me a bit of the short lived animated TV series that the WB created. It’s like the first film with more aliens and a weirder storyline.

In this installment of Men in Black we see the classic team of J and K (who has aged quite a bit since the original) embarking on a mission involving time travel. I don’t want to reveal too much about the plot because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but basically J (Will Smith) gets caught in the middle of a rivalry between K and an old nemesis of his by the name of Boris the Animal. Boris is played by the always awesome Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords. Clement seems to have no problems adjusting from a comedy band/show to feature films. I really loved him in Gentleman Bronco and Dinner for Schmucks. Boris the Animal is a criminal that was caught by K in the 60’s and has since been detained in a prison facility on the moon. That’s right, a prison…on the moon. That idea sounds pretty awesome to me. This prison seems to be reserved for the most dangerous criminals, and you will definitely see why Boris is such a threat as the film progresses. The film opens with Boris escaping the prison. Boris eventually makes his way back to earth and gets his hands on a time travel device. This is when the evil plot begins to take shape. Boris intends to go back in time and stop K from injuring and arresting him. He aims to kill K. Agent J soon finds out about this plan and it is up to him to stop it. This means that Agent J must go back in time and find Boris before he kills K. The story is immediately better than the last film and the fact that they don’t waste time on a romantic interest in this one certainly helps. Sorry Rosario Dawson but you kind of ruined the second film. So put your concerns to rest and enjoy the film because it is pretty much a comedy action thrill ride from the beginning.

When J travels back in time he must team up with a young K, played by Josh Brolin. Brolin does a superb job of mimicking Tommy Lee Jones and if you close your eyes and just listen to his voice, you would swear they were the same person. The two men together have the same comedy element that exists between Jones and Smith. One is the loud mouth goofy type, and the other is a stone cold robot of a man who finds little to smile about. The dynamic works perfectly and though I love Tommy Lee Jones, I was equally pleased with Brolin’s performance in the film. One aspect they play with is life in the 60’s. We see some racial humor with Will Smith that is pretty funny, though they play it safe and I seriously doubt little kids going to see this film would pick up on some of it. There is a funny moment when J goes back in time and immediately gets pulled over by the cops. My favorite part in the film is when J and K both meet up with Andy Warhol at one of his parties, and Warhol is played by the always hilarious Bill Hader. This scene has to be seen to be believed, truly funny stuff. Another character in the film that is an integral to the story is Griffin, an alien that can see multiple time dimensions at once. The character is played by up and coming actor Michael Stuhlberg who portrays Arnold Rothstein on Boardwalk Empire. I had no idea this guy had such a comical side and I ended up really enjoying his character. So the casting is definitely very pleasing. I think every character in the film offers up a unique style that adds to the universe that Men in Black takes place in.

The film maintains its comedic tone and you are treated to joke after joke from Smith’s character J. Some of the jokes are funny, some are not so funny. But what is important is that the film brings you that feel good chaotic alien action that was so good in the original. I wouldn’t say MIB III is as good as the original, but it is certainly a worthy sequel. If anything, go see this movie for Boris the Animal, possibly the coolest villain I’ve seen in years. The only things missing from this film were Rip Torn as Zed, and the classic “here come the men in black” song from the original that we all secretly love. My only complaints are that the final showdown is a little lackluster, and they could have done a bit more with J and K teaming up in the 60’s, but other than that it is quite an enjoyable addition to the franchise. I would suggest going to see this one in theaters if it’s still there, or wait for the Blu-ray. I didn’t waste my time on the 3-D version of the film, so I can’t speak for the 3-D effects. All you need to know is that it’s a better sequel then part 2 and that was good enough for me.

Rest in Peace Richard Lynch (1940-2012)

Written by Stuart Cooper

Today the world lost a true cinematic villain in Richard Lynch. Lynch portrayed many classic evil and villainous roles throughout the years. Richard was born in 1940 and was most active throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Personally my favorite role I remember him in was the villain in the Chuck Norris classic action film “Invasion USA” where he portrayed the ruthless ex-military bad guy. Lynch made his name mostly through the horror and science fiction genres. Rob Zombie recently used him in “Halloween” and apparently he has a role in the upcoming “Lords of Salem” project, which sadly will be his last role. He passed away at the age of 76. Those who knew him had nothing but amazing things to say about him and his acting talents. The cause of death is unknown at this time. You will be missed buddy, I’ll see you inside the big theater in the sky, save me a good seat.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Written by Stuart Cooper


Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Ibris Elba

One of the most iconic franchises in film history is back! Well kind of. “Prometheus” hit theaters this past weekend. Without a doubt this was one of the most anticipated films in the past couple years. Definitely qualifies as a summer blockbuster. Ridley Scott returns to the director’s chair to once again direct his baby (or face hugger) and in my eyes it did not disappoint. The first thing you must do before seeing this film is to separate yourself from the ALIEN franchise you know prior to this film, because I will tell you now it has elements of the franchise, but if you are looking for wall to wall gun fighting and acid blood, you will be disappointed. The film centers more so on the origins of the xenomorphs and the “space jockey” character from the original ALIEN. Now I will try my best to avoid any major spoilers because I want everybody to go see this film and judge for themselves, but I will discuss some basic plot details. Don’t worry I will leave plenty for you to discover on your own.

The film stars Noomi Rapace as the main protagonist Elizabeth Shaw. Her husband is played by Logan Marshall Green, and together they make up a couple who have devoted their entire lives to researching the origins of humanity. The couple travels the world examining artifacts and caves, examining signs of what could only be referred to as Ancient Aliens. If you watch the show on the history channel, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. The film immediately ties itself to a real life theory that is more popular and acceptable now, than ever. I myself am actually a believer in the Ancient Alien theology (to an extent) and if you are open minded in your beliefs; the film may actually hit home on certain pre-existing theories. So the film immediately makes the situation in question, a relatable one.

The couple, along with Weyland (of Weyland Industries from the other Alien films) opts to form a scientific expedition with the purpose of seeking out this alien life they believe to exist. As far as actual plot details, that is as far as I can go without spoiling anything important to the story. But we can at least talk about some of the characters in the film. Charlize Theron, sexy as always, plays a stern corporate representative for Weyland named Vickers. She is responsible for making sure the money spent on the expedition is worth the effort, and she also monitors the activity of the crew and can give orders if needed. Theron was very effective in this role and I thought it was perfect casting. Another notable cast member is the android David, played by Michael Fassbender. I’ve been a fan of Fassbender ever since he popped on the scene, and he is perfect in the role of David. He does a very good job of playing a cold emotionless android. David is not as two dimensional as some of the other androids in the previous films though, he actually seems to have a childlike curiosity and hunger for knowledge. David is really there to seek out answers, and assist the crew. But as you know with the previous ALIEN films, the android’s behavior is questionable, and the true motives are hard to predict given the emotionless character. This makes for quite the interesting contrast in comparison to other characters on board. The other cast member worth noting is the charismatic captain played by Idris Elba. Elba definitely has some good acting chops and he fits the role quite well. There is just something very badass about his attitude that he brings to a lot of his roles. There is a few other crew members as well, each seem to be from some type of scientific background, while others are there for security purposes. Together all of these people journey to the unknown planet, in search of answers to the burning question that we all have “Where did we come from?”. The film makes a habit out of answering one question with another question. Some people seem to have taken issue with this, but I am fine with it. I don’t expect a director or writer to spoon feed every aspect of a story to me, so I really enjoyed the way things are laid out. You learn a lot about the space jockey and the alien race behind the space jockeys, whom are referred to as “Engineers” in the film. You see several things that will remind you of the things you love in prior ALIEN films, but some of these ideas are slightly altered, implying that they will evolve into things you are familiar with. This is also something people seem to take issue with, but again I see this as a pointless complaint. I think that is part of the reason why Ridley Scott told people it was not a prequel, so they would not bring a heavy handed bag of nostalgia with them to the theater, but people did that anyways, and as a result had unrealistic hype and expectations. For those that didn’t do that, they seem to have loved the film.

Now getting on to the one thing I definitely wanted to discuss, the breathtaking visuals! This film is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The world that Ridley Scott created in the previous films is expanded even more so, and in ways you couldn’t even imagine. The ships in the film are incredibly unique and detailed; the look of the interior inside the Prometheus is similar to that of the Nostromo from ALIEN, with a few tweaks that set it apart. The look of the aliens in the film are also quite unique, not exactly what I expected but I was not let down in that respect. The eerie feeling that you get from the other ALIEN films is also very present in this one. You will definitely feel like you are watching a part of the ALIEN mythos, without being beaten over the head with xenomorphs. There are also a few nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey which I really got a kick out of. I can’t really talk about them without giving away details of the plot, but I think if you are a fan of 2001, you will spot these similarities immediately.

The one thing I always found creepy about the original ALIEN was the feeling of isolation. That is what made the film so eerie. You can run, but you can only run so far and at the end of the day, it’s just you and whatever creature is following you. No back up, no police, no family members, no safe house, it’s just you, space, and whatever occupies that space. In space no one can hear you scream…never rang so true. Another aspect of the film that seems to be discussed quite a bit is questions it provides concerning evolution, religion, purpose, all of these big issues that every human thinks about. Some find the fact that these things are discussed unnecessary, but I think it is a vital part of the story. These questions being posed in the film are good. These questions make it more than a space thriller; it makes it a deep, multi-layered universe that is thought provoking. So if you like movies where you can turn your brain off and let the characters explain everything for you, you may not like this film. A lot of things in the film are open to interpretation and I loved that about the film, but some critics find this aspect challenging and dismiss it as “plot holes”. I think the film may have a few things here and there that could be done better, but overall I enjoyed the storytelling and the questions posed. If anything it gives you more reason to care about the universe that the story takes place in, as opposed to just watching people shoot aliens. Something “Battle: Los Angeles” could have used.

Overall I think “Prometheus” is a unique and thought provoking film. If you are a fan of the ALIEN mythos and the style of Ridley Scott, this film is worth your time. If you enjoy the art style of H.R. Giger and the eeriness that exists in the previous films, then I would recommend this film as well. If you like your films cut and dry, black and white, without any questions, then you may dislike the film. So I think it’s really up to the viewer as to how they interpret the film. Don’t let the unrealistic hype train known as the internet ruin this film for you. Go into the theater with a clear head, no expectations, and enjoy the ride. Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace give powerful and enjoyable performances, the visuals are stunning, and the storytelling is bizarre and unique. It’s everything I wanted and more.

Bonus Video: ALIEN trailer done in the style of PROMETHEUS...very cool.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Abe Lincoln vs. Zombies Review

Written by Stuart Cooper

Starring Bill Oberst Jr, Don Mcgraw, and David Alexander

Four score and seven years ago, America faced a civil war and was briefly interrupted by a zombie outbreak…wait you mean you don’t remember that? Well the latest Asylum Hollywood mockbuster “Abe Lincoln vs. Zombies” centers on this idea. As most of you know there is a film coming out this summer called “Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” which is based on a novel in which Abe Lincoln hunts Vampires in the midst of the Civil War. In usual Asylum fashion a film was crafted with a similar premise, except instead of Vampires, Honest Abe is faced with a small zombie outbreak. Believe it or not this film actually ended up having a little bit of charm that makes it an entertaining watch all the way through.

Bill Oberst Jr. steps into the presidential shoes to play Abe Lincoln in the film and does so with full force. You have to give props to Oberst Jr. for taking the role seriously and actually bringing some good acting chops to the role. I really enjoyed his portrayal of Lincoln, while hokey at times, still entertaining. Though I couldn’t help but notice his voice is quite similar to that of the old police chief from Police Academy, I had to double check IMDB to make sure it was not the same guy, their voices are that similar! The film starts off with pretty much the exact same premise as Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Abe loses his mother to a zombie attack (as opposed to a vampire attack) and this causes him to form an intense hatred for Zombies and a bit of a dark side as he is actually forced to decapitate the zombie with a sickle at a very young age. Apparently Abe kept this sickle the entire time because it is his weapon of choice throughout the film (again, as opposed to the axe in the vampire version). Abe finds himself in the middle of a small zombie outbreak when he and his men are at a fort preparing for the next Civil War battle. The men accompanying Lincoln are actually an early version of the secret service, so that was kind of cool to see. After Lincoln accepts that the dead have risen, he organizes a group of men to hunt down and destroy every zombie they can find. Of course these men have moral complications since they don’t really believe in the undead, and feel as if they are being ordered to kill sick people. Funny enough one of the men that is helping out Lincoln is none other than his arch rival John Wilkes Booth. Obviously this film would not be historically accurate, so I can forgive the fact that Booth is randomly at his side during the film, though the character is actually deceptive throughout the movie, hinting at his obvious dark side. There are actually a few other historical faces that pop up throughout the film, most notably would be General Stonewall Jackson, who runs into Lincoln after a group of his men are found hiding from the zombie outbreak. Stonewall is actually quite the entertaining character throughout the film and honestly made me wish we could see Stonewall Jackson vs. Frankenstein or something. Another historical addition to the film is a Young Teddy Roosevelt who is apparently mothered by a group of prostitutes that Lincoln is friends with. It was very hard to type that sentence without laughing but it is part of the movie none the less! So there are certainly some funny moments in the film, whether they are intentionally goofy or not, I’m not really sure.

The actual look itself of the film is also not bad. Considering there is very little reason for CGI in most of the film, you aren't overloaded with low budget effects, and that certainly adds to the charm of the film. With most asylum films you are usually witnessing some type of giant CGI monster or CGI alien invasion, but since most of this film centers around humans, you only see a few little CGI tweaks here and there. Another cool little thing I noticed is that Lincoln calls the zombies "un-fortunates" instead of undead, I thought that was a nice touch. The Lincoln character definitely has that wise man persona that we've come to love about the real life figure. At one point he even tells young Teddy Roosevelt to "walk softly and carry a big stick" except instead of the original context of that quote, he means it quite literally since Teddy actually uses a big stick to fight off zombies.

If you have a free night and are up for redboxing a cheap fairly entertaining film, this one wouldn’t be a bad choice. If you keep in mind that you are watching a mockbuster and not a Hollywood summer blockbuster, there is definitely some enjoyment to be had. Compared to some of the latest Syfy originals, you could do a lot worse. Bill Oberst Jr. makes Lincoln a funny and badass character to watch, and the addition of Stonewall Jackson and John Wilkes Booth to the film makes for quite the interesting historical “what if”. I would say if you are in the mood for a cheesy horror film, this one is worth a watch. If you are a history buff like me, you might get some enjoyment out of the absurdity of the situations throughout the film. If you are very sensitive about historically accurate films then you might want to pass on this one.

Snow White and The Huntsman Review

Written by Bobby Ramos

Snow White and The Huntsman (2012)

Starring Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworthy, and Kristen Stewart

If you were to ask anybody what is the first thing that came to mind when they heard the name Snow White, (Seven Dwarfs), but to me growing up it was always the Evil Queen. Some of you would probably think that I was a very messed up kid cause who would focus on something so evil?, especially at the tender age of 5 years old, well I answer that question with another question, What's not there to be fascinated by?. You have this Evil Woman who has a friggin mirror that talks to her when asked a question, and is able to poison an apple and make someone die from biting into it, AWESOME.

Snow White & The Huntsman touches up on the key elements of the story but presents it for what the whole story is, DARK. There are frightening hallucinations, blood and the forces of evil are clear in this tale, death takes no side line because there are plenty of people who die in this movie. It brings back the great PG-13 movie of my childhood, where yes it can be viewed by kids but you will have to let them sleep in your room because they can't look at the mirror in their room.

Charlize Theron shines brightly and is sexy as ever with her show stealing performance of the Evil Queen “Ravenna”. You find yourself rooting for her to win this one because you find out reasons why she is the way she is. Chris Hemsworth replaces his Thor accent for a Scottish (Sometimes Stallone esq) accent but is not the weak link of the film. Kristen Stewart does not have that many lines in this movie but stands out as the weak point of the film, You could almost play a drinking game to how many times she is just breathing heavy in this movie (But you could do that with all of her movies, also how many times she does her lip bite). But despite the lackluster performance it does not take away from the movie. Also keep an eye out for some familiar British actors playing the dwarfs.

In closing I say that Snow White & The Huntsman is definitely worth checking out in theaters, it is beautifully shot, well written and well has you wanting to see more of the grim adaptations brought to the screen.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Iron Sky Review

Written by Stuart Cooper

Iron Sky (2012)

Starring Julia Dietze, Peta Sergeant, and Udo Kier

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the Nazis somehow escaped their destruction in World War II and setup a base on the moon? Well probably not…but “Iron Sky” brings that idea to life in a way I could have never imagined. When I first saw the trailer for this film I was partially shocked, and partially fascinated. I was not prepared for the final product. “Iron Sky” depicts a near future where American astronauts discover a hidden Nazi moon base on the side of the moon. The idea itself sounds absolutely absurd but the film really made it work. The style is similar to “Sky Captain in the World of Tomorrow” with some Dick Tracy mixed in. The style is really unlike anything I’ve seen before, especially in a film involving The Nazis. The film even has an underlying sense of humor that is constant throughout the movie and really makes the idea easier to swallow because you find yourself laughing along with the absurdity of what is going on. The only thing this film was missing was a cameo by Indiana Jones.

The story really begins when two American astronauts venture to the moon as part of a re-election campaign by a Sarah Palin-esque president and discover the Nazis. From there one of the astronauts is kidnapped and given a crash course in the world of Moon Nazis. The Nazi base is incredibly elaborate and features a school, a military training facility, roads that actual German cars can be driven on, and a facility that houses saucers and space zeppelins! One of the main characters is a sexy Nazi school teacher named Renate Richter and she teaches revisionist history to a new breed of German children. The history lessons she teaches pretty much retell history as if The Nazis were heroes, driven away from earth because of its problems. This brings a rather creepy element to the film. To think about these ideas taking place is partially disturbing, but also humorous because it is so outlandish. The citizens of the moon base believe whole heartedly that the Nazis are good people and never did anything wrong. The teacher actually looks at her Nazi cohorts as saviors who will one day return to earth and actually help people. The other main Nazi characters are played by horror star Udo Kier, who plays a moon version of Hitler, and Gotz Otto as Klaus Adler, a power hungry soldier who wants to lead the campaign to take back Earth. These characters are quite intense but also have humorous sides to them and often make fun of Nazi culture without realizing it. The American astronaut is played by Christopher Kirby and his character is definitely comic relief. The character is African American and when he encounters the Nazis it makes for a perplexing situation since some of these soldiers and people have not seen a black man before. Upon realizing he is black, a mad scientist employed by the Nazis actually turns the black man’s skin white, and attempts to assimilate him into Nazi culture. This opens a huge can of politically incorrect worms, and makes for a very awkward yet funny character. As the film progresses you see the conflict between the moon Nazis and the earth move forward, and you are even treated to some pretty cool space battle scenes. The Nazis attempt to infiltrate earth culture and eat away at the Americans from the inside, so there is certainly an element of seriousness mixed in with the odd humor.

I was pleasantly surprised with the film’s soundtrack and visual effects. When you think of a Nazi moon movie you think of a Syfy channel original with a very limited budget and cheesy effects, but this film was the total opposite. Some of the effects rival stuff you see in Zack Snyder films. The space scenes are quite impressive and bring a nice futuristic battle tone to the latter part of the film. The soundtrack is made up of German rock sounding music, 40’s style rhythms, and modern rock. It makes for a nice mixture and really flows with the tone of the film. So I definitely give them props for the audio and visual side of the film.

Overall this film really nailed everything it was going for. You expect an overly cheesy low budget action film, but instead you get an interesting concept mixed with nice effects, good unknown actors, and hilariously awkward scenarios. The film does not really take itself seriously and I hope the people who take the time to watch the film don’t either. I’ve seen on some message boards that some people are offended by the film and call it anti-American, but if you stop and smells the roses and realize it’s a film about freakin space Nazis, then you might actually enjoy it. I would definitely recommend this film for people who liked odd comic style films like Sucker Punch, Watchmen, Sky Captain, and Dick Tracy. It is definitely like reading a really absurd graphic novel that has come to life. Like I said previously in the review, the only thing that was missing was a chase scene with Indiana Jones and some “celery breaking” punching sound effects. This film is definitely worth checking out, though I’m not sure when the Blu-ray/dvd will be hitting the shelves. I suggest following the film on Facebook and IMDB if you are interested in viewing it.

The Dictator Review

Written by Bobby Ramos

The Dictator (2012)

Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris

It has been about 3 years since we last saw Sacha Baron Cohen in the 2009 comedy “BRUNO”, plenty of time to cool and collect from the many what most sensitive people would label as “Controversial Moments”. I don't recall him doing anything else other than a guest voice spot on The Simpsons (Which sounded more like John Tuturro doing an accent). It must be said when seeing the trailers for this one I groaned a bit mainly cause it seemed like the whole style of Cohen's comedy has died off especially with the whole speaking in English then doing the overflow of gibberish that is supposed to be the native tongue of his character, but I decided to give it a watch cause well I would want people to do the same for any of my scripts.

The start of the film begins with a warm hearted dedication to the memory of Kim Jong Il, which I must say caught me off guard and had me laughing loud for a second. As the movie progressed it was an up and down ride of laughs and groans at how bad the jokes were either from cliché' or just there for shock value (EX: Cohen's character playing Nintendo Wii). But all together the movie was not bad, I love the way Cohen could be a total asshole and learn a lesson in life but still be a total asshole about it. I have been hearing a lot of people down talk this movie, I think mainly because they were expecting some of the “Is this real” style film making Cohen has become known for. I say since his first big character Ali G's film “Ali G In Da House” was forgotten by the masses, He felt the need to try his hand at an actual movie once again, sadly I don't think it was what he expected, I would say a lot of the comedy personalities that appear in this movie help out but most of them are just there and unless you get happy by the sight of them, You won't think any different of this movie.

So in closing I liked “The Dictator”, Call it my love for the outcast but I would say this movie is worth a redbox or netflix rental.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Retro Game Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in "The Fall of the Foot Clan" for Gameboy

Written by Stuart Cooper

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (Gameboy,1990)

One thing I wanted to start doing on this blog was revisit older video games. One system I've always been quite fond of is the Nintendo Gameboy. When I was younger I had a pretty massive gameboy collection but unfortunately sold most of my games. Since then I've gone back and recollected multiple games from my childhood. One of those games was "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan". There were 3 TMNT games for the original gameboy and I plan on reviewing all three of them eventually. This game was released in 1990 by Konami in the midst of the TMNT craze that was sweeping the globe. I grew up during the Turtles era and I collected pretty much everything Ninja Turtles. The video games were no exception.

This turtles adventure is a very basic side scrolling adventure game. It is not really similar to any of the arcade or home console games, but is a side scrolling game none the less. The game opens up with a story informing you that April has been kidnapped (go figure) and it is up to the four Ninja Turtles to find and save her. Upon starting up the game you can actually do quite a bit. You can change the controls to fit your comfort, you can choose any of the four turtles, and you can even choose which level to start on! The only catch is that if you don't start from Level 1 you will not receive the full ending of the game, so that is certainly a good reason to just suck it up and start from the beginning. I was able to make it through the entire game and beat it in one sitting, so you shouldn't have too many issues with the difficulty. The game still has a fair amount of challenge, but is relatively short and easy compared to some of the other turtles games. The turtles can do three things, attack, jump, and if you hold down and the attack button you can throw shurikens at your enemy! This makes your turtles pretty fierce and really the only challenging parts will come with some of the jumps. The level design is your basic sewer background, city background, factory, an outdoor level and parts of the technodrome.

The enemies consist of Foot clan members, mousers, flying robots that look like giant flies, and those rolling robots that shoot out wires. You will see lots of familiar characters, so they at least got that much right. The boss battles are my favorite part because they feature pretty much all the iconic villains in the series. The first level boss is Rocksteady, second level is Bebop, third level is Baxter Stockman, fourth level is Shredder, and the final boss is Krang! The villains actually look quite good as well. As a matter of fact the graphics are quite crisp for a early gameboy game, I was very pleased with that aspect of the game. The only issue with the villains is that they are just too easy! Shredder was one of the easiest bosses in the game and you can't help but wish he was more menacing. At first I found it odd that Krang was the boss and not Shredder but I do remember early on in the series Shredder seemed to answer to Krang and do his bidding, so that makes sense. The game also features a great sounding soundtrack considering it's limited gameboy capacity. The tracks are various incarnations of the turtles theme music, with some different music being played during the story scenes and epilogue.

Overall I would consider this game to be a great addition to any classic gaming collection. The game itself can be found pretty cheap on amazon or ebay, I personally got my copy for less than 5 dollars and I would definitely consider it worth the money. If anything it will give you a nice trip down memory lane and remind you of the good old days when cowabunga and pizza were all the rage. Hopefully I can pick up the other two TMNT gameboy games and review those as well.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Remembering "The Macho Man" Randy Savage

Written by Stuart Cooper

It's really hard to believe that yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the death of "The Macho Man" Randy Savage. I still can't believe that he is gone. Savage made a massive mark on pro wrestling history and tho he may have passed on, his legacy will live on for ages. Growing up as a fan of the WWF I was often rooting for The Macho Man. I was never really a big hulkamaniac and often found myself wishing Savage was on top and not Hogan. The first time I saw Savage wrestle was when he won the world title tournament at Wrestlemania 4, and of course since then I've watched almost every Savage match I could get my hands on. Randy never let his fans down and always brought a massive amount of spirit and energy to his job. Every Savage promo and almost every match was memorable. I truly hope that there is a heaven and Randy is looking down at all his fans, happy with the impression he made on this world. One of the greatest, if not THE greatest wrestlers in the history of the planet, you will always be loved and remembered my friend. The tower of power, too sweet to be sour, funky like a monkey, never to be forgotten.

Mother's Day Review

Written by Stuart Cooper

Mother’s Day (2012)

Starring Rebecca De Mornay,Jaime King,Deborah Ann Woll,Shawn Ashmore,Kandyse Mcclure

There is nothing more unique and special than the relationship between a mother and her children. The film “Mother’s Day” takes this idea to the extreme. I’m going to review the 2012 version of the film, but keep in mind it is a remake of a 1980 Troma film written by Charles Kaufman. I have not seen the original, but from most critics and fans I’ve talked to, the new version is considered far superior. I will watch the original at some point and let you guys know! The film is loosely based on a real life incident referred to as the “Wichita Massacre” where a group of home owners and their guest were sexually abused and killed in a home invasion. Now this real life incident took place in 2000, 20 years after the original film, but from what I understand the new version of the film borrowed a few details from this case. After reading the details of the case I did notice quite a few similarities but it is a rather depressing news story to read, so I would not advise researching the topic unless you want to be depressed. The actual film was completed in 2009 but due to various distribution problems the film just now saw a complete release. “Mother’s Day” stars Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle) as the mother, remake scream queen Jaime King, True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll, Shawn Ashmore (X-men trilogy, Frozen), Battlestar Galactica’s Kandyse Mcclure, and quite a few new faces. The story revolves around a deranged mother who raises stolen babies and turns them into heartless criminals. The family loses touch with each other and had a back-up plan in case anything went wrong, unfortunately that plan is to meet at their old home, which is now owned by a young couple. The couple is throwing a party at their new home when the children arrive and are just as surprised as the guests. The criminals immediately begin holding the guests hostage and that is where the nightmare begins.

The film really pulls no punches when it comes to brutality. As with most home invasion films (Last house on the Left, I Spit on Your Grave) the viewer is subjected to various acts of torture, sexual abuse, and twisted humor. The family consists of 3 brothers, 1 sister, and the mother who clearly heads the operation. One of the brothers was critically injured in a robbery earlier in the evening and thankfully for him one of the guests is a doctor who is of course forced to help the dying brother. There is an older brother who is the more reserved and logical one of the group, then there is a younger brother who appears to have undiagnosed A.D.D. and probably a few other mental disorders. The younger brother is really the one the guests have to worry about, he is very eager to fire his weapon and create chaos. The film is definitely one of those “what would you do” situations where the audience will find themselves yelling at the screen giving the guests advice on how to escape and survive. The main plot point comes when the mother of the family finally arrives at the house and informs everyone that there were several packages that had been shipped to that address over the past couple months and these packages contained money, and they simply wanted their money. The couple that moved into the house swears that they had never received any kind of package addressed to the family, let alone any amount of money. The mother does not believe the homeowners and the torture games begin. Rebecca De Mornay absolutely nails the psychotic mother role and brings a whole new level of creepiness to the film. The character she portrays is deceivingly sympathetic towards the house guests, but don’t let it fool you because she proves herself to be a true monster by the end of the film. The mother spouts off lots of motherly advice and even helps prepare a chocolate cake for the guests to snack on, while at the same time subjecting them to horrific physical and psychological torture. I believe the casting for the mother role was perfect and she definitely becomes the strongest character on screen, rightfully so. The True Blood alumnus Deborah Ann Woll plays the daughter in the family and she is actually fairly apprehensive about their actions compared to the rest of the family. She seems to be the only member of the family that feels like what they are doing is actually wrong. This angle is explored quite a bit in the film and makes for interesting tension between her and the members of the house. The final character I’ll comment on is Beth, played by Jaime King. Jaime King is casted in almost every horror remake, so I was not shocked to see her appear in this film as a central character. This character I actually did not care for because of the direction the character ends up going in the film. She of course makes many stupid decisions as with most scream queen characters, but when you get to the end of the film I’m sure you will find yourself disliking her as much as I did. Get used to this actress because she will be appearing in yet another horror remake when “Silent Night Deadly Night” comes out later this year.

The film itself actually looks great. There are several cuts that will cause you to jump. The story also takes place during the middle of a giant storm that is so bad that most of the town is actually evacuated to shelters, thus explaining the lack of police and neighbors interfering in the story. This makes for a rather eerie feeling evening full of killers stalking the characters in the rain, which is almost a staple of horror films at this point. The soundtrack is also rather good. One of my favorite groups “The Heartless Bastards” has a great track on the score that is definitely worth a listen.

Overall “Mother’s Day” is a pretty memorable home invasion flick that will most likely stick with you at least for a few hours. Rebecca De Mornay really shines as the mother and I am actually more inclined to follow her career after watching it, just to see what else she is capable of. The film keeps a solid level of intensity throughout the entire film and really comes to a peak in the climax of the film when several important details are revealed. I definitely recommend checking this one out and it is actually rather cheap at Wal-Mart right now, so I’d even recommend a blind buy. It’s only 10 dollars on DVD and 15 on Blu-ray and I’d say it’s worth every penny. The film is also available at RedBox. If anything you could at least have a movie to watch every year on Mother’s Day, and it will certainly make you appreciate the positives…and negatives of having a family.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Avengers (2012) Review

Written by Stuart Cooper

The Avengers (2012) Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlet Johannson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Tim Hiddleston

I never thought this day would come. I can remember being a young child and hoping I would see live action versions of my favorite heroes…The X-men, The Silver Surfer, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America…it all seemed like a fantasy. Little did I know that years later all of these hero films would become a reality. While all of their incarnations may not have been classics, they were brought to life none the less. If someone told me that in 2012 we would be seeing the ultimate marvel-team up movie, I would have laughed in their face. Now I am sitting here trying to wrap my brain around what I just witnessed. My entire childhood wrapped into 2 hours and 35 minutes. The film I am referring to is of course “The Avengers”, which is being released nationwide in 2-D, and 3-D IMAX. The film collects all of the major Marvel Film Stars (aside from War Machine’s unexcused absence). Robert Downey Jr. returns as the very charismatic Tony Stark (Iron Man), Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor, Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury, Chris Evans returns as Captain America (not his human torch alternate personality), Scarlett Johansson returns as The Black Widow, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, and Jeremy Rinner as Hawkeye. That is quite the all-star list if you ask me. One cast member that I believe deserves the most credit is Tim Hiddleston as the unstoppable mega villain LOKI! Now I am going to try my absolute best to avoid any spoilers, I will be giving away some basic storyline elements but to be honest you probably picked up that much from the trailers.

The conflict begins when Loki, who survived at the end of Thor, is shown making a deal with an alien race called The Chitauri. The deal involves him leading an army through a portal connected to Earth and ultimately conquering it. This idea is threatening enough that Nick Fury calls upon The Avenger plan and organizes an elite group of super heroes. The film takes it’s time catching up with each member of the team. We see that Tony Stark has just finished building Stark Tower (which is involved in the comic books quite a bit), Captain America is still adjusting to his new time, Hawkeye is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as Black Widow, and Bruce Banner is off in a third world country helping others with his doctor talents, keeping the beast at bay. After Loki makes his presence known on earth, Nick Fury races to assemble the team. The film really kicks off the action fairly quickly as we see Loki go at it with a few of the Avengers, and there is some cool Hero vs. Hero sequences that I don’t want to spoil. The Hero vs. Hero scenes get quite heated and interesting. As an audience member I almost found myself begging these guys to get their acts together so they could function better as a team. The fact that I felt such emotion so soon into the film is proof that Joss Whedon definitely knew what he was doing with this film.

Most of the film is spent on the conflict between Loki and The group, but we do get a few moments of background story on Black Widow and Hawkeye. One character I was particularly pleased with was Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. I was not impressed with the casting choice at first because Ruffalo hasn’t really done any films other than “Blindness” that I really cared for. I am happy to admit I was very wrong and he does a fantastic job with The Hulk character. Ruffalo makes the audience feel true sympathy for the Bruce Banner character. Many think it would be wonderful to have the strength and power of The Hulk, but for Bruce it is a true nightmare and he makes that very clear. There is even a slightly tear jerking moment where Bruce discusses his unhappiness with the group. The Hulk character was done perfectly. One worry I had was that there would simply be too many characters and they would suffer as a result, but Whedon does a great job juggling all of these characters at once. The team is constantly at odds and playing off one another and it comes off quite natural. Robert Downey Jr. definitely shines as Tony Stark and is the most charismatic and comfortable character on screen. It’s evident that he is the best actor when he is in the room with the whole team, talking circles around them. There are so many little jokes here and there between the team members; I can’t even start listing them. You really have to see it for yourself. Chris Evans as Captain America is quite fun. He sticks to the choir boy persona and stays true to all the things that Captain America stands for. There is a part in the movie in which Thor and Captain America exchange remarks about God and Captain says something along the lines of “well I only believe in One God and he isn’t like you and your brother”. I’m of course paraphrasing but it was quite the odd thing for him to say. There is also a moment where Stark is poking fun at Banner and asking him what his key to calmness is and he suggests that he may have a big bag of weed on him! So the jokes are definitely in there, and make for great banter between action sequences.

While there is a lot of humor, there are also some tense moments that had underlying themes I felt like. There is some references to the earth being in trouble because we need a renewable energy source (which is true), there is a remark Loki makes about humans spending a lot of time killing each other (which is true), and the one comment I thought was quite chilling; an alien says that “humans cannot be ruled because they are unruly”. These kinds of remarks added a layer of reality to the film and made me reflect a bit on human characteristics. Hawkeye as a character was just kind of there, I felt like he had a cool gimmick but I really didn’t care for the character. Hawkeye’s S.H.I.E.L.D. counterpart however ,The Black Widow (Johannson) really impressed me. Not only does she ooze sex appeal the entire time, but she whoops so much ass, you will have to appreciate her character. Although if you want to get technical, it doesn’t make much sense seeing as she has average fire power and no super powers, but she can move like Spider-man and she proves to be a valuable part of the team. One last cast member I want to talk about is Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, whom you may remember from all of the previous marvel films. This character really becomes quite likeable and has quite a few lines that will give you a chuckle. I enjoyed that character in this film more than I did the other appearances. So if you are looking for quality characters, this film has definitely got it.

Now let’s talk about what everybody came to the party for, the action! The action sequences in this film are absolutely breathtaking. I’m often left unfulfilled with the final fights in Marvel films. Too often is it just a few moves and boom it’s over within a minute. This is not the case with The Avengers. It’s as if all the Marvel films leading up to this were prequels and they were saving the fighting for this installment. If you want destruction, you got it, if you want crazy superpower battles, you got it, if you want beautiful C.G.I. and not Indiana Jones aliens, you got it. The Avengers delivers in every aspect. The fight scenes will leave you on the edge of your seat! I don’t often say things out loud during a film but I found myself yelling “Oh No!” and “Yeah!” quite a few times. It really had me fully immersed in the Marvel Universe.

I really hope all the comic book fans check this film out in theaters. It is really one of those movies you have to see in a theater setting first, so don’t hold off for Redbox, get your ass in the car, shill out the 7 bucks for a matinee showing, and enjoy yourself. If you grew up a fan of any of these characters, or if you are a new comic book fan, or even a casual action film fan, you will enjoy this movie. I said it before and I will say it again, this is the PERFECT super hero film. Without a doubt, The Avengers is a must-see.

May the 4th be with You!

So instead of making the obligatory Star Wars related post, I simply leave you with this:

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Titanic II (2010) Review

Written by Stuart Cooper

TITANIC II (2011) Starring Bruce Davison, Shane Van Dyke

Recently James Cameron released Titanic 3-D in theaters to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic disaster. By now I’m sure you all know the story and you all have the Celine Dion track looping through your brain involuntarily. I wish I could say the movie I’m about to review would cleanse your pallet, but it will not. My tribute to the 100 year anniversary of Titanic will be to review the one thing people thought would never happen, a SEQUEL to Titanic! Well…kind of. The film is called TITANIC II and yes it is a real movie. The film is not directly a sequel to the famous James Cameron film, but The Asylum hoped to create some confusion with the title, and thus Titanic II was born. How do you make a sequel to a movie about a ship that is now at the bottom of the ocean? Well, you just redo the story all over again, duh! Hollywood has been using this formula for decades. It’s very easy to take a pre-existing idea, use the same name, and just change the setting and cast, and call it a re-imagining or sequel. This was the case with the TITANIC II.

The film takes place in modern times and follows the creation of a new mega cruise liner called…you guessed it, THE TITANIC II! Now let’s just stop there for a second. Who in their right mind would purchase a ticket to a cruise named after the most horrific boating accident in history? Even if the technology got better, that’s like purchasing moon flights on a space shuttle called The Challenger. It’s just a terrible idea in the first place.

The opening of the film follows a surfer who is catching waves off of the broken ice caps. That’s right; a guy is surfing off the melting polar ice caps. Do people actually do this?! The surfer is quickly disposed of after he realizes that the ice caps are breaking off in bigger chunks and causing massive tidal waves. This serves as foreshadowing for the problems the Titanic II will face later. Basically they updated the storyline and instead of random ice caps in the middle of the ocean causing the problem, it is now global warming and the polar ice caps. Al Gore would love this movie! The cast of characters then boards the Titanic II and the adventure begins. There aren’t really any notable actors in the film other than Bruce Davison whom you might remember as Senator Kelly in the X-men films. Davison plays some type of Captain/Researcher who is the father of the main character and ultimately discovers this polar ice cap problem before anyone else. Other than Davison the film revolves around a doctor on board the Titanic, and the owner of the ship who is apparently some type of celebrity (though they don’t ever fully explain who the hell he is). These characters are cookie cutter and remind me of characters from the Poseidon films. After the Titanic II sets sail the problems begin almost immediately. It’s quite hysterical how quickly the ship has problems after assuring all the crew members that “issues with icebergs are a thing of the past” and the ship is design to “avoid all ice patches”. Then almost immediately they are faced with ice related issues. You really have to turn your brain off and bury it in the ground at this point.

The film then turns into your basic “oh god we are all going to die” disaster movie. The tidal waves from the melting polar ice caps apparently dwarf any wave ever created. You know it wouldn’t be an Asylum movie without gigantic MEGA DISASTERS! At one point the tidal wave actually takes out an airplane! That’s right…an airplane could not out run a wave in the ocean, but don’t worry Bruce Davison outruns the wave with his trusty helicopter! So yeah at this point in the film I’m just waiting for the ship to sink and the credits to roll. Unfortunately the running time still has about 40 minutes left at this point and we are treated to “danger” scenes recreated from Poseidon and The Titanic. The ending of the film even resembles the ending to the original Titanic, almost exactly. There isn’t much else to say about the film at this point, it pretty much works out the way that the viewers would predict. The only other note I made about the film is that the longshots of the ship looked like CGI out of a Sega Saturn game, so that might provide you with a few laughs. Otherwise I would say do what the Titanic didn’t do, and steer clear of this iceberg. If you have to watch an Asylum film I would recommend checking out Two headed Shark Attack or Sharktopus, not this one. The only way I would watch this film again is if James Cameron himself sat down with me, simply because his face would be priceless. And spoiler alert, they still don’t find the heart of the ocean.

The Actual Trailer: TITANIC II Trailer

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Raid: Redemption Review

Written by Bobby Ramos

Starring Iko Uwais, Ananda George,and Ray Sahetapy

I haven't been this excited over an action film that was not Comic book related in a long time. When I first heard about The Raid, I wondered if the pictures in my mind, would match up to what was actually filmed. When I first saw the red band trailer, my mind's mental images were beaten up and shot dead in their tracks. A movie that combined martial arts with gunplay, in the spirit of the underrated era of kung Fu movies in the 80's. But instead of Cynthia Rothrock we have the awesome Iko Uwais which if you have seen his previous collaboration with Director Gareth Evans (Check out “Merantau”), you will know that this is gonna be a fun ride. Before I get into how I felt about this movie lemme run down the plot real quick.

A team of cops are about to raid the building of a notorious crime boss that is entirely inhabited by killers on each floor, but there seems to be more behind it than just a simple tag and bag.

Yup that’s it, the entire plot summed up in a few sentences, which if you ask me is what an action movie should be, and not everything needs to be a slow paced story with a huge 3 hour storyline. This is something that is a love letter to both the genre of Action as well as it's fellow fans.

This movie was a huge “Picnic Basket” full of ass kicking goodies. You got elbows, knees and throws that are so painfully realistic looking. No wire work, no flying in the air, nothing that Hollywood has beaten to death. I will say this, if you are looking for a different style vs. another then you will be disappointed, but if you know the country and that it is the fighting style to know there, you will enjoy what this movie has to offer. You will see some of the sickest kills in fighting history. From broken door frames, to machete gangs, to simply being chucked over the side of a rail!

The characters are all different in their own way, you have the hero who knows the difference from right and wrong but has no trouble killing, and the villain is not a sharped dressed man. It is a dude who says to the world “I don't give a damn what you think about my style, I can eat ramen while shooting you in the head and still be respected."

The direction is a clear display of someone who watched their share of GOOD kung Fu movies. No close up shaky cam stuff that we are being force fed, it's the right amount of framing and the right cuts at the right moments. Yes the action is fast paced but the camera man can keep up with the action. I was in a theater with a crowd who knew how to react and this just added to the violence on display. You will say “OOH” on instinct thanks to the direction and editing.

The soundtrack is an element of its own; I am not a Linkin Park fan AT ALL (Yes even the Hybrid Theory years ((Band not album)). But I give props to Mike Shinoda for seriously providing the best action soundtrack to a beat em up, without having to resort to your typical random usage of Lapdance by N.E.R.D., or Bodies by Drowning Pool. (Dis-honorable mention “Hoobastank” ((Anything by them))). But I haven't wanted to make a playlist for my video games with a modern movie soundtrack in a long time.

With all that said, you will love the final fight of the movie. You will seriously have to pick the people you root for, but despite your decision you will want to stand up and applaud the fighters for putting on a great and bruising fight.

So do I think you should see The Raid: Redemption? Yes, but only if you crave something different, something brutal and something very exciting. But if you don't like subtitles, and non-American leads, then I will suggest this, open your damn mind cause you are missing out!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Youtube Spotlight: Joe Gagne's Funtime Pro Wrestling Arcade

Written by: Stu Cooper

It's time for a new edition of the Youtube Spotlight! This week I wanted to focus on a video game related youtube account. Video Games are something I am going to begin covering on the blog, so you may see several posts about retro gaming in the near future. Today I wanted to talk about a youtube account that has stolen countless hours from my life and is responsible for giving thousands around the world flashbacks to their childhood. This account is MikeandTomPresent and the particular video series I am referring to is Joe Gagne's Funtime Pro Wrestling Arcade. This video series focuses on pro wrestling video games and their history. Joe is slowly working his way through the entire library of pro wrestling games. The coverage is often accompanied by a review and several wrestling jokes. It makes for a great quick watch. If you grew up a fan of pro wrestling or just video games in general, you will enjoy these videos. Here are some of my personal favorites, tho I suggest checking out the entire channel:

So after checking some of these videos out and thinking about it, what is your favorite wrestling game? Post in the comments below and let us know!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

21 Jump Street Review

Written by Stu Cooper

21 Jump Street (2012)
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Brie Larson and Rob Riggle

At this point in my generation I’ve come to terms with the fact that we are witnessing very few original concepts on the big screen. The amount of remakes and adaptations at this point is staggering, and the list continues to grow by the day. In a few years I can imagine that almost every hit show or film will have been remade or have a deal to be remade. When I first read that 21 Jump Street, the once popular 80’s undercover cop drama starring Johnny Depp, was going to be remade, I was a bit speechless. The show seemed like a very random choice for an adaptation, though it was not unheard of since we had to endure the Starsky & Hutch and Knight Rider remakes. I was not old enough during the peak of the show’s popularity to appreciate it, so I really was rather indifferent going into the film. With that said, I was incredibly impressed with the final product! This 2012 R rated comedy stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum playing two rookie cops who are chosen for an undercover mission in which they would have to go back to high school. Channing Tatum plays Jenko who was once the popular high school jock, and Hill plays Schmidt, a timid awkward guy who spent most of his high school tenure working up the guts to ask out a girl. The two men are total opposites, but find themselves bonding through the police academy. While the television series was more of a drama, this film is definitely in the comedic category. The film takes itself very lightly while staying based in reality. It uses the “Dumb and Dumber” cop idea that we’ve seen before in films like The Other Guys.

The film starts off with a glimpse into the lives of Jenko and Schmidt in high school. Almost immediately there is a moment of bonding between the two men in the film. They realize that while they are both dramatically different personality wise, they both have frustrations with their lives. The film then jumps to post-high school where both men find themselves enrolling in the local police academy. The two men immediately recognize each other from high school and begin to bond. Schmidt is definitely the brains of the team, while Jenko is the obvious brawn. The two men team up while in school and help each other pass. The film then cuts to their current situation in which they are stuck being bike cops and lacking the sense of adventure they had been anticipating all those years. After a failed drug bust attempt the two men are quickly shipped off to a special operations section of the police department. The special operations are located on…you guessed it, 21 Jump Street. Soon after you meet their boss, Ice Cube! Ice Cube definitely brings the funny to the table. He plays off the stereotypical loud black police chief role and provides tons of laughs. I would have to say he was actually my favorite character in the film. The chief quickly gives the guys their mission. Their mission is to go undercover back to high school and find out who the new high school drug kingpin is. This is where the true comedy begins. I don’t want to spoil all of the laughs but I must say most of the comedy is found in the hilarious social commentary regarding the difference in the 90’s generation and the 2000’s. The new form of “bully” is an environmentalist poet and the oversensitivity of the kids is hysterical. If you grew up in the late 90’s and are displeased with the current “hipster” generation, you will appreciate the humor. From that point the film really tells the tale of these two guys and how they are forced to adapt to situations they are not comfortable with. The jock has to learn to use his brain, and the nerd has to learn how to be the popular kid. It’s a bit teeny, but doesn’t over do the American Pie party movie elements.

The film really finds the perfect balance between a goofy comedy and a quick witted American action movie. The action sequences are reminiscent of Pineapple Express in which people actually use guns, get hurt, but still have a sense of humor about it. Throughout the film you meet some secondary characters that have memorable performances. Rob Riggle who never disappoints, plays their burnt out high school gym teacher and ends up with quite a few funny lines. Scott Pilgrim alumni Brie Larson and Johnny Simmons also have roles in the film. The casting is really spot on. The only aspect that was a bit off was when Schmidt develops a crush on his high school friend (despite him being a full grown adult), but the audience is to assume the girl is at least 18 I guess, and they do a good job of not crossing any pedophilia lines. By now you’ve also probably heard about the Johnny Depp cameo, which I can assure you, is memorable! I was smiling ear to ear when I finally heard Depp’s voice in the film. It is truly random and has to be seen to be believed. It’s nice to know Depp still has his sense of humor and appreciation for his roots, I’m sure he had a lot of fun with this one. When the film concludes you are left wanting more, at least I was. Hill and Tatum end up being the perfect onscreen team and play off each other as if they were real police partners. I was actually left hoping to see a sequel (a plot device is set up for this possibility).

The film really has no downsides that I can think of. The casting, the jokes, the runtime, the pacing, it’s all perfect. The film left me very pleased and surprised at how much it made me laugh. This will be a definite Blu-ray purchase for me upon its release. If it’s still in theaters near you I suggest checking this one out, if it’s already gone then put it on your amazon wishlist and check it out as soon as it’s released. 21 Jump Street is officially a comedy homerun.