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Archive for March, 2012

D4 (2010) Review


Directed by Darrin Dickerson ( also starring)

D4 follows a team of special ops mercenaries on a mission to rescue a kidnapped kid believed to be held in an abandoned government facility. Hired by the boy’s mother, a wealthy doctor with high reaching influence, all seems to be an easy job. But as things unfold, what was meant to be a simple search and rescue turns into a fight for survival.

I enjoyed this, despite a few flaws and the evident low budget. It says 35.000 $, that`s hardly a budget these days.

This is the first feature for the director, and it surely has the amateurish mistakes in it, one could expect, eventhough there are some directors, who are able to not make them. Those are normally the ones, who end up beeing big names.

This isn`t something you must see, and I`m  not sure why I am writing a review about it.

I chose it for the military cheapo film aspect, to watch something without expectations and maybe be pleasantly surprised.

I was pleasantly surprised, but that doesn`t mean its awesome or anything. I dug the cheapness of it, and the laughable story. Sometimes I just like that. I like a lot of cheap movies, each for something different, cuz sometimes they offer something completely nonexistent in “normal, better-budgeted films. In short, I was entertained. Despite some flaws  and riciculous moments in here.

There are scenes in there..my god…at one point in the film, they are fighting this “monster”, and each of the team sneaks up on him from behind, veeery close. Too close!!! Damn, how stupid must one be to get so close to that damn monster, you can shoot him from a distance and not be shot, disarmed or beaten to a pulp. That deserves a big WTF in my book. I am far away from beeing a director, but even I would`ve avoided that kind of stupidity . The team itself is a good mix of characters, I could have done without the woman, though.

I am not sure sure how much I wanna write about this…on one hand I want this to be full of good info and all, on the other hand I`m a lazy bastard.

Let`s just go on and see where it leads….

I liked the actor Ted LeGarde, who played the grandfather to another child , which was taken from him , promising treatment for his epilepsy. He eventually tracks his kid down to that gouvernment facility , which is also the destination for the special ops. As a former Vietnam vet, he gets to be of help later on.

He was the only one with real acting talent, in my opinion. The others are ok, but he displayed real emotion, that made me feel for him. His last role before this was a tiny , uncredited role in Star Trek on TV,in 1967,lol. He surely took his time to make a comeback to the screen. The most evident thing budget-wise were the ultra-cheap bloody bullet impact scenes. That must be seen to be believed,lol. But as I said, I enjoyed it, despite some major flaws. And the end was unexpected and pretty dark. If you are trained in cheap films, and if you, like me ,can like a film despite a lot of flaws, then I`d like you to watch it and let me know what you took away from it. It is far from perfect, but I didn`t lose interest in it the whole time.


The Hunger Games(2012)


Directed by Gary Ross

Man, the second bad film in a row I`ve seen this weekend. So glad I made up for it with “Headhunters”(2011) today, I may write a review about that film, too, cuz it was a pretty pleasant surprise after two bad apples.

The Hunger Games takes place in a nation known as Panem after the destruction of North America by some unknown apocalyptic event. Panem consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. District 12, where the book begins, is located in the coal-rich region that was formerly Appalachia. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or “tributes”) must fight in an outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol, until only one remains.

I didn`t expect much of this, given that the story wasn`t exactly tickling my interest, I´ve seen BATTLE ROYALE, and that surely is a much grittier and more memorable experience than this.

I know , there are a few books out, that seem to be very popular, though I´ve never heard of them. They sure as hell must be better than this poor film version. They surely  tackle the issues in the story with more depth and seriousness, than the film does.

It is a watered down version, for teen audiences, it has a love story and a supergay elite, that lives in the capitol, the place where the rich one percent of people lives. It depicts the USA in the future,now called Panem, there is the capitol, and there are the 12 districts, which are milked for all what they are worth, so the rich folks can enjoy life in their capitol.

Each year, one male and one female are chosen to participate in the game-a battle to the death. Somehow not really an idea, that would strike me as something, that ensures the districts to behave and not revolt against that elite of supergays. ( No offense intended to gay people, but the look of them all is just so over the top, it`s  not funny.) The Games don`t change anything in the lifes of the people living in the districts, they only lose a few loved ones more each year, and the winner gets to live in the capital.(?) Hardly enough to keep them from revolting, but OK…

Again, the books, as much as I´ve understood, are much more in depths about it all, characters and the overall story.

But for a US blockbuster, it must be dumbed down, so the audience isn`t disturbed with thought-provoking material.

And this is what happened, very much so.

For fans of the books, it may be nice to see their “beloved ” story on screen, but if they are honest to themselves, they must admit, it`s a poor adaption. For me, not knowing anything about it all going in, it took a full hour before any kind of action took place.  And following that, I saw a watered down version of Battle Royale, mixed with Robin Hood, any dystopian future film that involves  some sort of unjust regime and a half-assed love story.

That may appeal to young girls, but not to me. I have seen too many films, good and bad, so that I expect a little more, but then again, one shouldn`t expect anything from Hollywood. They just look for the money potential, not for quality of material.

And rarely does this money machine produce something with long-term value. And if they do, they tend to fuck  it all up with sequels. There are exceptions, of course, but that`s not the point.

It didn`t make sense to me, that some of the kids build a group and went after the rest of the contenders. Just one thing that annoyed me. The whole thing felt so lame, I truly didn`t come across one detail that I would`ve called interesting.

The look of the capitol and it`s inhabitants was lame, uninteresting. Their gadgets for the game…lame.

Just nothing there to justify watching it more than once, and even this one time was two and a half hours of  lost life-time.

If your curiosity level is low for this one, keep away, your not missing anything.

Let`s hope some of the money they end up making with this crap goes into producing something worthwhile.

But we also will have to endure two more movies, as there are 3 books out there.


GHOST RIDER 2-Spirit of Vengeance-directed by Neveldine /Taylor


Well, I didn`t expect this to be as dissapointing as it was. I really was excited for this, simply cuz the trailer led me to believe,that there was a more kickass version of Ghost Rider coming my way. But that wasn`t the case. The trailer is deceiving. Pretty easy, happens a lot. Bad movies can have awesome trailers, and still suck really, really bad.

Sadly, this was the case here.

While I was kinda dissapointed with the first one already, now I must say..the first one was better.

Who would`ve thought? Not me.

Johnny Blaze hides somewhere in Eastern Europe, to do as little harm as possible as his alter ego Ghost Rider.

Somehow that appears stupid to me….

Then he gets visited by some french black dude(Elba), and he tells him he can lift his curse, but he has to save a boy from the devil. Duh…what a stupid, overly simple plot!!!  Haven`t we seen that kinda thing a hundred times in other variations?

Ok, that aside….the somewhat new look of the Ghost Rider didn`t really bother me, but if compared, I must say, that the look of the first film may have been better. But it`s ok, not my real problem here.

The plot was really, really simple, and the film suffered from that. Then the acting…also no revelation,

even Cage wasn`t able to make something out of the bad script. The one-liners weren`t funny,

the dialogue in general bad.

The action scenes? Well…. nothing there that impressed me. I felt , they should`ve chosen other scenarios, that would be impressive or fun, but instead it felt like ..”That`s it?” Is it really so hard to write scenes that make me laugh or go “WOW”? Apparently, yes.  Johnny Blaze has the chance to get rid of his Ghost Rider alter ego, and when presented with the idea, he jumps right at it,,,no doubts about giving up the power. And the “exorcism” was waay to fast and easily done.Why give up the power before the job is done? The whole film felt  like a rush job.  I expected a lot more from Neveldine/Taylor, who brought us the awesome CRANK movies. But I saw nothing of the crazy ideas that made those work in  Ghost Rider 2.

There should have been more Ghost Rider and less Johnny Blaze, especially when the scenes with Blaze are so weak.

The devil is now a guy named Roarke? And why a new actor in the first place, was Fonda not able or willing?( I like the actor Ciaran Hinds , though-he looks great!) Dunno…or Sam Elliot, also not there. Did he die in the first one? It`s been so long since I´ve seen the first one. I should watch it soon. I know for sure that it`s better than this one. They really blew a great opportunity here.

And some of the developments with Blaze`s character..they should`ve saved that for a third film, but they ruined the second, so there might be no third. And why didn`t they keep the design of the bike? It looked so badass!! Why would he change his bike? Makes no sense…..in the end, meaningless action sequences, a thin story, and they even rushed thru this thin story…Christopher Lambert is in this, for a few…but didn`t get the time to do anything worthwhile.

This wasn`t the fun ride I was expecting. It was a rather forgettable “ride”, sad, but true.

I didn`t care for anyone in this, not the boy, the mother or the Ghost Rider himself.

I don`t like writing negative reviews, but I cannot defend this film. It was dissapointing.

The best thing was the intro, with Cage rehashing his origin story…there I was still excited and hopeful.

Not anymore.


some comic sketches of mine..done recently… Punisher and Captain America


I used to draw like crazy when I was younger…the passion died for some time, but slowly it comes back…

I was asked to try and come up with stuff like Captain America , Robocop and The Punisher…Robocop is in the works..

but I have done a few sketches on the others…

I had only pencils and a bit of black edding to work with..fast sketches, nothing fancy…


More VHS goodness!


These are my latest purchases:

German VHS Big Bix Hardcase- Born American aka Arctic Heat (1986( Directed by Renny Harlin

Albert Pyun`s DOLLMAN-german clamshell BIG BOX (1991)

Albert Pyun`s NEMESIS (1992) german big clamshell


William Friedkin`s SORCERER Laserdisc finally arrived!!!!


 

Hah, not that I knew that it was coming, it`s just…it took 2 months to get to me. This is a gift from robotGEEK, and it was a total surprise!!! You can read my little review here

Since the DVD of this is in glorious fullframe, I found out about the laserdisc, and it said Widescreen…

If 1.66:1 is widescreen, then yes. But I think its called letterboxed then, right?

It still isn`t the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 …but hey….its the best version available, until they come through with a Blue Ray release of this underrated film.

Thank you so much robotGEEK, for this great piece of cinematic history in its best available form!!!


Happy Birthday, robotGEEK !!!!!


One year older, a bit wiser and still going strong!!!!!

All the best wishes from Hellford667MovieReviews !!!!!!!!

Check out his Rewiew Blog and visit his geeky store,too!!!

http://robotgeekscultcinema.blogspot.com/

craftieROBOT-Etsy-store


NATURE OF THE BEAST (1995) aka Bad Heat aka Bad Company


Directed by Victor Salva

with Lance Henriksen and Eric Roberts, Brion James

Jack(Lance H.) meets Adrian(Eric R.) out in Nevada. Adrian latches on to Jack, and won’t go away. Jack tries to lose Adrian, but Adrian informs Jack not to mess with him, or he’ll call the police because he knows Jack’s secret. In the meantime, the car radio keeps blaring news reports of a serial killer in the area called “The Hatchet Man”, as well as a theft of a huge sum of money from a local casino. Jack is concealing a briefcase, and wherever he and Adrian go, “The Hatchet Man” seems to strike within the vicinity!

This is an underrated little film.

Although I´m reading it was New Line`s most successfull DTV title that year.

Victor Salva got the attention of Francis Ford Coppola early on,after winning several  national awards for a short he did .

Coppola then  produced his first feature “Clownhouse”. During that film, Salva molested one of his young actors, he was sentenced for sexual misconduct  and did a year in prison. Despite all that, he continued to make movies.

Salva would gain more attention with Powder and Jeepers Creepers a bit later.

I must admit, I kinda liked Powder…Jeepers Creepers though wasn`t my kind of film….

But because of the cast incolved, and  knowing nothing about Salva`s child abusing history, I rented this title, mainly for Lance…after Hard Target I was watching everything of his…or trying…it was before the age of the Internet.

This film works because of the two main actors….Lance rocking a big (fake ) belly …I`m glad it was fake…

This is kinda hard to review, I would spoil a lot, telling only half the story. It`s a cat and mouse game, you can`t be sure who the killer is, almost til the end. Both actors shine in their roles.  If you like a crime thriller that keeps you guessing, this is for you. Seeing Roberts and Henriksen face off is a pleasure.

I would recommend going in without watching any trailer….


PRISON – German VHS big Hardbox -Renny Harlin 1988


This arrived today in the mail, and its awesome. Only , it came apart somewhat, maybe during delivery-the whole cardboard cover  came unglued from the underlying plastic casing. I will fix that with superglue later….

It wasn`t expensive, so it`s ok. Looks great, with a metallic shine allover-especially the back print shimmers in all rainbow colors. The camera can`t really capture that, but you get the idea. Good little horror film from Renny Harlin.

And when I fixed it up with some superglue, it will be an awesome addition to my collection.


DOLLMAN (1991) Directed by Albert Pyun


Wow, this was fun!! Finally a good Pyun again, after watching quite a few bad ones.

Pyun is really a hit and miss kinda director. I know, I know..his budgets are small, almost all of the time.

But he has proven  often enough that he can deliver despite budget shortcomings.

Intended or not, he has given us a good little number of film gems.

And now I wanna add Dollman to that list.  If you had fun with a movie, and it is likely that you will see it again soon, if only to show your friends, does it really matter how big the budget was? I have seen Transformers, each movie once, and I have no desire to watch them ever again…why do you think that is? Cuz they have no heart, that`s why….

And one of my , no my favourite comedy of all time is CLERKS, and we all know that wasn`t exactly expensive. Or  a movie like Timecrimes, a small movie about time travel, a real genius little piece of work, which my buddy Jason over at RobotGEEKS Cult Cinema  is recommending  , cuz its available on Netflix now…..take the chance and see it , if you are a Netflix customer.

Ok, back to Dollman:

It stars Tim Thomerson, a regular with Pyun…he plays Brick Bardo( a name Pyun is using in a lot, maybe  even all of his films?) as a Cop from another planet, who, while still on his own planet, clashes with a villain who is merely a head in a hovering device. After a great shootout, the villain escapes into space,packing some dangerous WMD, pursued by Bardo. They end up flying into some kind of  wormhole, or whatever that was….and both crashland on earth, more precisely-the Bronx. While the evil head gets picked up by some gang members, Bardo saves a girl from the assault of another gang member. She takes him and his spaceship home, since he and his ship are now tiny, compared to humans.

He is like 11 or so inches “tall”. But he still has his “Ruger”, a really powerful handgun, that on his home planet had the effects of a bazooka. I would call it a splatter gun,lol. On earth , it is powerful enough to blast big holes into humans, so he is still well equipped to defend himself. Vincent Klyn(Cyborg) plays one of the gang members. Another Pyun regular.And one more, Michael Halsey, also no stranger to the Pyuniverse, has a small role in the beginning.

I don`t wanna spoil the whole film, but he ends up helping the young woman and her neighbourhood to get rid of the scumbag gang members. The boss of the gang is none other than Jackie Earle  Haley, now better known as Rohrschach from the movie WATCHMEN. Pyun either gets the good actors early in their careers, or later, when their star has somewhat fallen. It`s amazing.  Pyun shoots the scenes with Bardo on earth very well, there are certain techniques that can make it look convincing. The scenes in space…ok, those are pretty cheap but only last a few seconds anyway…that I can stomach. Thomerson looks like he does in the Trancer movies, coat and sunglasses.

This is a  fun flick, with lots of shootouts, splatter n blood and plenty of laughs. Sadly, the sequels are more on the silly side than this first one already is. I will check them out, regardless.

As far as Pyun goes, this is very entertaining, seemingly made with a little more time and love than a lot of his other projects later on. Not always his fault, that should be noted, too. But then again, who says I must like every Pyun film.

He`s done a lot, and I liked quite a bunch of them. Im not really interested in his latest films, but I am eager to see what he will do with the Cyborg prequel. Hope it stays simple and down to earth. But he is crazy, so you never know.

(Sorry , Albert, I meant it in a good way)

Check out Dollman-it`s a lot of fun.