Sunday, June 27, 2010

Short reviews

Too lazy to do a long post, so here are some quickie short reviews:

Drive Thru (2007) - This movie was GREAT!!!!!!!!! It doesn't take itself too seriously and is a ton of fun to watch. Set in Orange County, this supernatural tale of a murderous mascot at a fast food franchise is hacking up youths in a quiet suburban town. (Hellaburger, that's fuckin awesome... only they don't say "hella" down in SoCal) One of the funnier B-grade trash slashers I've seen in awhile. Don't expect too much from this cheesy horror comedy or you will be disappointed. 7 out of 10 purely for the fun of this movie.

The Mighty Peking Man (1977) - Think King Kong... except sorta racist. This was good one though because of the hot Tarzan lady that picks up English at an uncanny speed, despite talking to a bunch of animals and a giant ape for most of her life. A bit of skin (Ok, more than just a bit) and the satisfaction of watching little assholes getting stepped on earns this cheesy little knockoff an 8 out of 10 stars.

976-EVIL (1989) - Hahaha, the '80s were awesome. Dial 976-EVIL to get your Horrorscope!!! I loved this movie cause it was a lot of fun to watch, especially what happens to the guy in the beginning. Classic. Plus, "Evil Ed" from the movie Fright Night was in this. That alone is worth a rental.

Pandorum (2009) -  Interesting movie about a spaceship that's supposed to be a "Noah's Ark" type carrier to a new planet, where they were going to settle and populate the planet. Something goes wrong and one of the flight crews awakens from an extended hyper-sleep. Different members of the crew awake, but with no recollection of what happened or what their mission was. Strange creatures seem to have populated the ship and the remainder of the crew do what they can to survive, while trying to bring power back to the ship. Not really my kind of movie but I did appreciate the violence. Also, Cung Le was in this!!!!!!! Very claustrophobic feel to this and plays a lot on paranoia and psychosis. I give this one a 6 out of 10 stars.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

E3 Mortal Kombat Stage Demo

     The stage demo for the new Mortal Kombat game, set for a 2011 release, was debuted at this year's E3. Being a HUGE fan of Mortal Kombat, (as previously mentioned) I had to put this up. I'm totally fuckin pumped for this shit to come out. Check it out guys:

How can you not get off on this? I wanted to touch myself to the violence of this game... definitely mature.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Upcoming Movies

Just thought I'd do a lazy post for the day, here are some upcoming movies that I'm looking forward to seeing:

The new Predator movie looks AWESOME. I hope they don't fuck this one up like they did Aliens vs. Predator. (No, AVP isn't getting linked to Netflix or anywhere cause the movie was garbage) How can you NOT love the original though, especially in the scene where Arnold's team makes first contact with the Predator and they mow down half the freakin forest to get kill this thing. (Would ya believe that they don't kill it either?)

Ah, The Expendables, I've been following this movie for months now!!! (I first read about it on Kung Fu Cinema) Something about the ensemble All-Star cast of action movie greats that just gives me a boner. (No homo) I just get a hard-on for movies that have more than one established big name actor, it just gets my juices flowin. (Such as The Forbidden Kingdom) Plus, Sly can totally direct!!! The new Rambo was friggin AWESOME!!!

Jonah Hex looks cool as fuckin hell. I don't even follow the comic series, but I still think it looks cool as hell. (Or should that be "cool as Hex"?)

Last but not least, (no pun intended) The Last Airbender looks like it's going to be a good one. I just got my hands on the popular Nick series that this movie is based on. I'm trying my best to finish it before the movie comes out. Also, it's going to be in 3D!!!!! I can totally get off on 3D movies... (My favorites are still the My Bloody Valentine remake and Avatar, but you would definitely have to had seen them in theaters... to get the full, orgasmic 3D effects... IMAX if available.)

Also, I'm excited (but a little peeved because it doesn't seem to follow the storyline at ALL) for the new, appropriately violent, reboot of Mortal Kombat. I'm gonna forgive the storyline thing because it just looks SO sick... (and being a HUGE Mortal Kombat fan) I will definitely have to see this:

Come on, Lateef Crowder as Baraka? How fuckin bad ass is that?! For those of you who don't know, Lateef Crowder is part of the ZeroGravity stunt team based out of SoCal. He's best known for being the super smooth capoeira fighter opposite of Tony Jaa in the movie Tom Yum Goong. (Known here in the States as The Protector)

This clip is supposedly a test run to see what the fan reaction for an MK movie would be. The last news I remember reading said that Threshold Entertainment, the producers of the first two MK movies, was suing Warner Bros. for attempting to make this movie without first consulting them. Threshold Entertainment owns the rights to the Mortal Kombat movie franchise but Warner Bros bought most of Midway Games' assets, the game development company that makes the Mortal Kombat video games. Last I heard, the movie is being stalled while they work this out in court.

That's all for now, what movies are you guys waiting to see?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Karate Kid (2010)

     I watched The Karate Kid today with a few friends of mine. I must say that I enjoyed it much more than the original, probably having to do more with Jackie Chan being in the movie than anything else. The premise of the story was pretty much the same, just a different setting. This movie has to do with an American child, Jaden Smith, moving to China and being the “new kid” trying to fit in. He immediately takes a liking to a little Chinese girl at the park and tries talking to her. The conversation is cut short however by a bunch of bullies at the playground and he gets beaten up on his first day. He eagerly tries to sign up for a Kung Fu class when he realizes that the bullies that pick on him at school are taking the same class. Without anyone to teach him Kung Fu, he attempts to stand up to the bullies… only to get tossed the beating of his life. Enter Jackie, the unassuming maintenance man who actually turns out to be a martial artist and a GREAT Kung Fu teacher as well. (Go figure, EVERYONE in China knows Kung Fu!!) Jackie attempts to go talk things over with the Master at the school and somehow ends up entering little Dre Parker in a Kung Fu tournament. The rest of the movie has to do with his love interest and his training for the tournament. All in all, I think Jaden Smith did a fantastic job with some of his martial art scenes and Jackie Chan gets to display more of his acting rather than his fighting skills in this movie. (In addition to his comedic scenes, he also has a rather emotional scene in which he's pretty convincing) The movie had a really inspiring message about getting back up even when life knocks you down and I really enjoyed some of the more humorous scenes. I would’ve given this movie a much higher rating if not for the biggest drawback of action movies nowadays…. the damn camerawork!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m sick and fucking tired of these stupid close-up shots and shaking camera to show excitement. I think it just makes the movie look messy and I know for a fact that there were some well-choreographed fight scenes in that movie. All of which were ruined by the poor camera work. They should’ve let some of the HK guys do the camera work… they would’ve gotten MUCH better shots, that’s for sure.

Z-rating: 7 out of 10

     As a side note, I don’t see why this movie earned twice as much as A-Team did. I honestly had a better time watching The A-Team. Also, I totally think Jackie Chan and that Master Li guy should’ve fought it out in the end just so we could see another fight scene. (Knowing this movie though, it would’ve been shit camerawork anyway) But if they didn’t wanna ruin the movie or something, they could’ve at least had a parking lot brawl between the two Masters after the credits or something.

For a demonstration of the differences in American action films and the camerawork in Kung Fu/Action films of Hong Kong check out:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Creature Features

     One thing I’ve always seemed to enjoy is a good ol' creature feature. I was a big time Godzilla fan as a child, tuning into week-long Godzilla marathons on the Sci-Fi channel that seemed to air pretty regularly. (This was, of course, before Sci-Fi channel started making their crappy original movies with unwatchably bad CGI) There are so many subcategories that fit into creature features, involving anything from giant monsters rampaging through a city to archaic creatures that have existed for millions of years waking from a deep sleep or even some crazy experiment gone horribly wrong. (Ah science, always upsetting the delicate balance of nature) One movie that I’m sure many of you will fondly remember is Jeff Goldblum as The Fly.

           Jeff portrays a scientist whose DNA is accidentally combined with that of a fly, causing him to slowly transform into a giant fly/man/monster that he calls the Brundlefly. This movie freaked me out big time as a kid because of the disturbing gore and violence.

(How do you forget an ugly fly man vomiting acid that melts a guy’s leg off?) Who else but a twisted director like David Cronenberg, who lensed such movies as Videodrome and Scanners, could bring you such a gut-wrenching remake? (Yes, the 1986 version of The Fly was a remake) Aside from more common creatures such as werewolves and vampires, one of my favorites featured giant worms that came up from the ground to devour people. I’m almost sure everyone has seen…

     Tremors is one movie they’ve been playing this on TV since I was a kid!!! People trying desperately to survive as giant, nasty worms burrowed underground read the vibrations of their every move and systematically hunt them down. The creature was a giant worm with smaller worm tentacles that had razor sharp teeth to help pull food into its gaping jaws. (One of these things ate a fuckin car!) I loved the slimy effects of the smaller worms and the sloppy, bright orange, and supposedly smelly innards of the “graboids”. (Aptly named by the general store owner who, later in the movie, met his demise when he was grabbed… and pulled underground) This movie was so popular that it spawned 3 sequels and a TV series that ran for one season. Getting sillier with each subsequent sequel… (come on… Ass Blasters?) but not too long after that, the use of CGI in Hollywood became widespread following the box office success of Jurassic Park. The days of men in rubber suits and animatronics were dying out, ushering in a new era in which creatures were being done in CGI instead. Depending on the budget, this could have been totally awesome… or completely disastrous.

Despite being a fan of gold old-fashioned monster movies of yesteryear, a few of the best creature features I’ve seen since entering the new millennium include:

Slither – A horror/comedy about an alien invasion of a small town. The threat comes in the form of a parasitic slug that, through the use of infectious barbs, infects a local townsman played by Michael Rooker. (Best known for being the main character in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer but I know I’ve seen him all over the place) The infected Grant Grant begins storing up rotten meat to feed to his eventual mate, so she can incubate a swarm of alien slugs. Paying homage to B-movie works by the aforementioned David Cronenberg, this splatter comedy is a gross-out good time. The style of this movie can be compared to that of Troma Entertainment, which is no surprise as it was written and directed by James Gunn who got his start working for Troma. (There’s even a cameo by Lloyd Kaufman in this movie! Keep an eye out for him!!) Highlights include: a woman that’s swelled up into a ball while incubating hundreds of thousands of alien slugs that crawl in your mouth and turn you into a zombie, a squid-like creature cutting a guy in half, and a smokin hot Mrs. Grant that we get to stare at for most of the movie.

Fans of gross out comedy and cheap laughs should also check out Feast. (Honestly, if you’re not a fan… why would you even be reading this?) There’s a scene that involves a guy getting projectile vomited on by some monster and later has maggots growing from his wounds. This movie also spawned 2 sequels that I haven’t seen but have heard good things about. (More for the laughs than for the creature effects)

For some good monster movies, check out The Mist and The Host if you haven’t already seen them. The Mist is based on a short story by Stephen King, which was first published as part of a greater horror anthology and later adapted into a feature length film. The story told of a thick mist that crept down from the mountains and enveloped a small town, reducing visibility to zero. After being trapped in a supermarket, the townspeople are terrified of “something in the mist”. Later, it becomes apparent that monsters and strange creature inhabit the strange mist and those that venture out in hopes of finding help or rescue, are brutally slain. This was a good movie to watch in theaters because there are GIANT monsters in addition to smaller ones. (Depending on the size of your TV, you might get a similar effect at home) What I liked about this movie was that the monsters weren’t the only threat to our main characters. This movie also shows what happens when big groups of people are frightened and panicking, how religion and paranoia come into play. I liked this one a lot.

The Host is a South Korean monster movie about a little girl whose family tries to take her back after she’s been kidnapped by a creature that’s supposed to be a fish that mutated after a scientist (Ah, science) dumps bottle after bottle of formaldehyde down the drain. (Another monster movie with an environmentally friendly message. Nice!) This is supposedly the highest grossing South Korean movie of all time. (So popular, it has since spawned a sequel!!) A great movie and a breath of fresh air from the usual American horror packed with blood and guts, but CGI monsters aren’t exactly my favorite.

For people with claustrophobia, The Descent featured a group of girls going on some cave expedition and getting trapped in an “unexplored” cave. That wouldn’t be entirely bad except for the fact that this cave is home to a species of blind mutant freaks that eat flesh. Fear and panic soon spread the group apart and distrust turns some of the girls against each other. (Can you believe it? Chicks will fuckin kill each other over a man… even while being chased around by a band of bloodthirsty creatures!!!)

After beginning to rent more action/kung fu movies, I hadn’t seen a good creature feature in awhile…. but got a pleasant surprise when I happened upon Splinter and Growth. These two B-list gems had renewed my interest in the genre and were my inspirations for this post. Splinter’s biggest drawback comes in the form of the frenetic camera work that I despise, oh so much. (I would rather get a really good look at the creature, flaws and all!!!) Not surprisingly though, the movie involves a mold or bacteria that grows “splinter-like” barbs that infect living animals, and people, once it pricks them. We follow a couple as they are car-jacked by another shady couple and end up at a gas station with an overheated car. The junkie girlfriend goes off to the bathroom only to discover a dead body with spikes poking out all through its body. Upon discovery, the body seemingly reanimates and chases her out. What I liked about this movie was that as the body count rises, the infectious mold collects different body parts to become a giant clump of flesh and barbs. (AWESOME concept) This was one of the more creative creature ideas I’ve seen in awhile and really enjoyed the effects of this movie. Special effects were pretty good, I only wish it could’ve been displayed through better camerawork.

Growth is supposedly an American horror film that, strangely enough, has no distribution company here in America. (go figure) So this one will be a lot harder to find, but is an interesting new movie to check out if you would like a break from mainstream media. An experiment in which parasites were genetically altered to enhance subjects to become stronger, faster, super soldiers. (Damn those scientists!!! When will they stop playing God?!) While successful for a short period of time, the parasites eventually end up feeding on the host and thousands of leech-like parasites eat their way out. I must warn you though, the special effects are what you might expect from crappy Sci-Fi original movies. (Bad CGI) Although if that doesn’t bother you as much, the movie was interesting enough to keep me entertained. Excellent concept with questionable execution, a bunch of no name actors coupled with bad CGI makes this an easily overlooked film. But unless you wanna rent Tremors for the 20th time, giving this movie a gander might not be such a bad idea. (But don’t pay for it…. this is not a movie I would randomly throw money away on… the internet rocks.)

 Got a favorite monster movie/creature feature that I missed? Shout it out in the comments!!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The A-Team (2010)

Greetings to all, I return to the Z-portal after nearly a 3 month long hiatus. There have been some personal issues going on in my life that has taken up most of my free time, but now I’m back baby!!!

 …with a review of the new A-Team movie that opens today. First off, before I launch into the review, let me apologize to any A-Team fans that I might offend in this post. I admit that I was never a fan of the original series and am completely unsure how this movie lives up to the original series. With that being said, allow me to touch on why I was so eager to see this movie. One line from Jessica Biel stating that the A-team “specialize in the ridiculous” was all it took. Coupled with the fact that the trailer for this movie showed Bradley Cooper firing at an aircraft from a tank that was falling from the sky, all promised tons of insane action to come. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson stars as B.A. Baracus (originally played by Mr. T) and being a fan of MMA, definitely sparked a little interest as well. While I enjoy an intelligent movie, I also enjoy mindless action from big budget summer blockbusters as well and the A-Team movie delivers that in spades.

     In the opening scene, we find a man getting “worked over” by two corrupt Mexican officials for attempting a one-man rescue mission. After being left to the dogs, and dispatching of them rather quickly during his escape, we find that it’s Col. John “Hannibal” Smith, a master tactician and the (eventual) methodic leader of  the A-Team. Liam Neeson plays Hannibal in role very similar to the one he played in the crime drama Taken, where he’s a highly skilled CIA agent trying to find his daughter who was kidnapped during a trip to Europe. We are also introduced to Rampage Jackson’s character as he goes on a rampage to get his van back. We also find Bradley Cooper, who I thought gave an exceptional performance in the (2009) sleeper hit The Hangover, as Templeton “Faceman” Peck who is about to be burned alive by a crooked Mexican government official for sleeping with his wife. Rushing to the rescue of his comrade and protégé of sorts, Hannibal attempts to car jack B.A. in the dessert but enlists his help after finding out that they are comrades of the same military unit. After a daring rescue of Faceman, they attempt to make their escape with the General’s army on their tail. The band ends up at a hospital where they seek medical attention for B.A. and are in search of a pilot. It’s here that we meet the fourth and final member of the group, H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock played by Sharlto Copley. (District 9) A mentally unstable pilot who, after a single ride in a helicopter during their escape, instills a fear of flying in B.A. after his insane aerial maneuvers. This is how the A-Team is formed. Fast forward 8 years, and after 80 successful missions, Hannibal and his A-Team catch wind of Iraqi insurgents having come into possession of plates that can be used to mint billions of dollars in unbacked American currency. Despite General Morrison’s attempt to discourage Hannibal, they accepted this mission as they normally would and the A-Team set out to do what they do best. Only this time, after successfully retrieving the money and stolen plates, the evidence was destroyed and General Morrison was killed, setting up the A-Team to look like criminals. After being dishonorably discharged, the A-Team is incarcerated in separate federal prisons. After 6 months of planning, Hannibal makes his escape and breaks out the rest of the team. Now fugitives on the run, these four set out to retrieve the plates once again and clear their name. What ensues is a ton of insane and ridiculous action as promised, punctuated by plenty of humorous moments. (A few of which are due to B.A. fear of flying)

     The ONLY complaint I have about this movie is the frenetic camerawork during B.A.’s fight scene in the beginning. They delivered on the ridiculous action as promised… but why cast Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, someone who actually knows how to fight, but give him a very short fight scene that doesn’t clearly show the action. Aside from this minor complaint, I personally LOVED this movie and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fast paced action movies that almost require you to suspend your logic and just enjoy it for what it is. Once again, I was not a fan of the original series and have no idea how this compares. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about the movie, especially if you were a die-hard fan of the original series.

Z-rating: 8.5 out of 10