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Archive for September, 2009

DVD of the Day #267 - Hellraiser: Hellworld

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

I’ll admit it. I’m a pretty big Hellraiser fan. I can find something to like about any of them. The first was a pile of gore far ahead of its time. The second was creepy as hell and a nice piece of metaphysical wackiness. The third was mostly crap but had Pinhead’s best lines in the entire series. The fourth was the coolest idea even if it did get Alan Smithee’d. The fifth and sixth are excellent mysteries where Pinhead plays an important part, albeit one more akin to Barker’s original Novella. The seventh Deader was better than I expected.

Then there is Hellworld. This is the eighth film in the series and the only one I have never seen or owned. I decided to netflix to see if it was worth picking up. Sadly, there is nothing at all enjoyable about this film in the slightest. It’s easily the worst of Hellraiser films.

Man, remember when Lance Henriksen was aweome with things like Pumpkinhead and Millenium? Well, he’s fallen a long way and I’m sure Hellword is actually a bright spot on his career since it was made in 2005. Poor sad bastard.

So here’s the plot? Those previous seven films? They’re all fictitous. Cenobites aren’t real. Also, there’s a kick ass online MMORPG called Hellworld that all the kids are playing. However it’s so addicting some kids, like this guy Adam get so into the kill themselves with satanic rituals. But that’s okay, because all his friends are still alive to paaaar-tay! In fact, there’s a big LeMarchand party this weekend and they all won VIP invites by being super good at the game. When they get there though they start to see weird freaky things and sometimes (for a whopping 3 minutes of screen time scattered throughout the film) Pinhead and other cenobites who act totally different from the previous films and mythos.

Whoops. It turns out the hundreds of thousands of dollars put into this party was actually a crazy scheme by Adam’s boozehound deadbeat father to get all the kids his son used to play Hellworld with into the middle of nowhere and kill them! Of course the party isn’t really. He drugged them all with a hallucinogen that also makes them highly susceptible to suggestion. So he knocks them out, buries them alive and uses cell phones in the coffin to give them the perception that they are in a strange Hellraiser themed party. Dad gets away and then in a craaaaazy plot twist, Cenobites are real and this is all their big scheme to enter the world. Ho ho ho. They cut Dad in three. The end.

God damn, what a stupid movie. it didn’t even need the Cenobites or Pinhead mythos. They feel totally tacked on and completely wasted here. The acting in the film is terrible, the plot is so inspid it feel like it should be the Americanization of a Japanese horror film, and the camerawork feels like this was some high school fan film project. There is nothing at all good about the film save for getting to see/hear Doug Bradley as Pinhead one final time. What a horrible way to end the series. I think I’ll just pretend everything ended with Deader.

Is It Worth Keeping? No.
Rating: 2/10

DVD of the Day #266 - Surveillance

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

This is one I almost pre-ordered after Vlad and I saw a trailer for it. Instead I netflixed it and got it the day it came out. Not too shabby. I’m really glad I didn’t buy it though as the script was awful and you should be able to see the twist coming less than 15 minutes into the film. Oh Jennifer Lynch, you’re daddy (David Lynch, you ain’t.)

The setting is Santa Fe, New Mexico. We start with two FBI agents played by Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman driving towards a police station to cover a multiple homicide of four civilians, and one cop. The three survivors, one of the three crooked cops at the station played by Kent Harper, a druggie slut played by Bell Hames and a little girl played by Ryan Simpkins. While Bill Pullman looks on through a camera in each of the three rooms, each witness tells their tale of what happens and things don’t really match up…

I will say that the cast does a great job acting wise. Cheri Oteri and French Stewart have some amazing dramatic presence in their supporting cast roles. The rest of the cast, mostly unknowns do a good job as well.

The movie dies due to a horrible script though. The movie can’t decide if it wants to be a black comedy, a thriller, or a mystery. The cops are definitely an attempt to emulate Super Troopers but in a dark way. This kind of fails pretty badly, although I laughed two or three times. Again, due to the poor writing of the script and the direction/cinematography, you can tell what is going to happen from the very beginning of the film and none of the would-be twists were shocking because they had been made blatantly obvious from the getgo. Disappointing to, as with some re-writes, this could have been a really strong and dynamic film due to the quality of the acting. Instead, the cast can save the film, but they do manage to salvage it.

Is It Worth keeping? No, but it may be worth watching
Rating: 4.5/10

DVD of the Day #265 - Nova: Secret of the Samurai Sword

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

This was a really fun documentary I got from Netflix. It really goes into the history of how swords are made, how they are tempered, and the metallic makeup that gives one the best sword.

It was also a bit sad to see that swordmaking is a dying art due to the lack of money in it and the sheer amount of time it takes to make a single blade. It was also a bit sad to see that it’s really only for collector’s these days. People paying up to $100,000 for a sword they’ll never use or even practice with. It’ll just sit there on a mantle or wall gathering dust. Of course what can you use a sword for these days? You can’t rob a bank with it or take out a militia. You can’t defend your home against thieves with it if they have semi-automatic weapons, at least not very well. You can’t stop a tank with one or stop a missile with it. It’s a dead art form and a dead line of weaponry. Of course, we could ban guns and make it law that everyone has a sword in order to save sword manufacturing, but then all those bullet and gun makers would be out of buisness. Oh humanity, why must one suffer for another to succeed?

Seriously though, this is a really fun documentary and one of the better ones I’ve seen by NOVA. I’ll definitely up buying this one day. I’d also love to see it on blu-ray.

That’s all I got people. It’s 45 minutes on people tempering steel and making it sharp enough to kill other people.

Is it Worth Keeping? Yes
Rating: 6.5/10

Save the Bunnies!

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Right now, Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society could use your assistance! :) A super simple way you could help MCRS help bunnies is to participate in the online Shelter Challenge contest. All you have to do is a couple mouse clicks daily on behalf of MCRS and we could win up to $21,000 to help the bunnies! How? Just go here: http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/shelterchallenge.faces?siteId=3.

In the search box, type “rabbit” and choose MN as the state and then click ’search’. MCRS will appear - click the ‘vote’ box and then be sure to identify the photo of the animal that appears next to make sure your vote is officially counted. You can vote every day til the contest ends on December 20 of this year.

Another way to help MCRS is to sponsor one of the individuals walking in our upcoming fundraiser - Hop to the Rescue: A Walk to Benefit MCRS, planned for this Saturday, Sept 26. Sponsorship is easy, just follow this link: http://www.firstgiving.com/process/participantsearch/default.asp?did=20996. Please note the list of walkers is more than one page. Donations can be done online and are secure. Even a $10 donation would be a big help.

Why support MCRS? Here’s just a few reasons:

* Since its founding in 2002, MCRS has helped almost 800 homeless rabbits find new homes.
* MCRS piloted the original PETCO partnership, replacing baby rabbits for sale with adoptable rabbits. That concept spread across the country and now PETCO no longer sells any rabbits in any store!
* MCRS fills a niche that shelters cannot. We take in rabbits with fixable medical and behavior issues that would otherwise be euthanized. This is rewarding work, but medical bills add up and we need your financial support to be able to continue this important service.

Please take a minute to help MCRS by voting in the Shelter Challenge and/or supporting one of the walkers today.

Thank you!

DVD of the Day #264 - Something Beneath

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Ah another crappy horror film I was curious to see but unwilling to spend money on. Go Netflix!

This was an odd little film about a hotel built on some weird ground. It’s not an Indian Burial Ground or some undead curse. Rather it’s a strange new life form that attacks the guests in a hotel because they built the hotel upon it’s home and it’s just defending its territory. The creature secrets a powerful hallucinogen that causes people to experience their worst fears and die from fright because they think it is real. Interesting concept, and I’ve always liked the haunted hotel idea, but there are a few problems.

First off is you know you are in trouble when crazy Neo conservative Kevin Sorbo is your star character. Here he plays a priest who is leading an environmental summit. Kevin Sorbo as both a hippie liberal and as a priest in the same role? That’s some strecthing here. Sorbo does the best he can with his complete and utter ability to act, but thankfully the rest of the cast, whicha re pretty much unknown do a better job…but it’s still B-Movie quality. Natalie Brown does a good job as the female lead, and she continues the trend of Canadian Women generally being foxier than American.

The rest of the characters are greedy land developer, middle management schmoe who will do what ever it takes to get higher up the corporate ladder, Whiny spoiled celebrity debutante, crazy scientist who wants to hug the creature, and crooked cop looking to make good. Eventually the monster is not killed or even defeated. The good humans point out that they respect and like the monster and it decides to leave them alone. It still goes after the bad evil humans who put money over safety or the environment though. Man, i can’t believe Sorbo did this knowing his extreme political views. His Hercules money must have run out.

Is It Worth Keeping? No
Rating: 4/10

Review #303

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
Publisher: Activision
Developer:
Genre: Action-RPG
Release Date: 09/15/2009

You know, I actually quite enjoyed the first Ultimate Alliance. It didn’t win any awards from us, but I liked it enough to have fun with the review by having Deadpool do colour commentary with me. As you can imagine, I was quite excited when they announced MUA2, at the time called Fusion. However as time passed, little deserved doubts crept into my head.

The first was that Vicarious Visions was doing the second game instead of Raven. VV, you may remember did the Wii version of MUA1, which was widely panned. They’re also known for doing the horrible port of Doom 3 for the Xbox 360, and classics like That’s So Raven and the horrible DS Guitar Hero games. In fact, Vicarious Visions are best known for making BAD licensed games, so this gave me serious pause.

Then, I learned they were going off the Civil War storyline for this game. My jaw dropped and I think i let out some profanity. Civil War basically destroyed the last vestiges of respect and fond memories I have for Marvel Comics and this is coming from a guy who has the Captain America and the Avengers arcade cabinet in my living room, a Captain America Cookie Jar, and who can quote huge chunks of Roger Stern’s “Cap for President” story . What do I read these days? I just collect trades of Jonah Hex , Booster Gold, and Blue Beetle. Between DC’s gore-o-rama and Marvel’s ability to churn out crap and only crap unless it’s a Marvel Adventures issues has pretty much killed my love of comics save for classics.

In my opinion the only good thing that came out of Civil war was Fabian Nicieza’s Thunderbolts and Cable & Deadpool issues. Also a certain Nextwave cover. Still, I liked the gameplay of the first and this promised to be more of the same just with an even worse storyline tacked on to it. Besides, I reckoned the game would do away with more of the unsavory aspects of the storyline, like Reed Richards and Tony Stark being war profiteers, Iron Man going full blown Red Skull/Doctor Doom in JMS’ Spider-Man, and Joss Weadon’s horrible tacked on ending that “resolved” the comic and eventually led to Captain America getting killed because people viewed him as the bad guy for standing up to a late 00’s equivalent to internment camps and egregious acts against the Constitution. I mean, this was going to be a video game, right? It would just be, “Me no like you now. Smash smash!”

So against all my instincts, I decided to stick with my review claim and give MUA2 the once-over. Let’s see how it fared.
(more…)

DVD of the Day #263 - Puni Puni Poemy

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Well this was some fucked up shit right here. Although only an hour long, P to the three manages to outdo the entirety of its predecessor Excel Saga. This is a very weird and yet very hilarious send up of a lot of anime cliches, although it stick primarily to mock Pretty Sammy from the Techi Muyo! series, alien invasion animes and hentai.

Poemi is a stupid middle ten year old girl who just wants to be a voice actress. However her parents are killed by aliens with morning stars for penises and then the discovers that when she guts a fish the bones will turn into a magical staff that turns her into the anthropomorphic personification of the earth itself, Puni Puni Poemy! This doesn’t really change the fact that she is a moron or an orphan though, so her best friend and would be lesbian lover Futaba gets her family to let Poemi move in with them. Poor Futaba, as Poemi doesn’t return her love. Instead Poemi is in love with K’, who is not a King of Fighters character as you may surmise, but instead is a perverted alien octopous bent on world domination.

PPS also features the following: Dog vivisection, tentacle rape of a three year old, three stanger people who roll giant balls around for the whole anime, Nabeshin from Excel Saga, dog crucificition, scooter stealing, lots of people dying, and the Japanese making fun of Americans who watch BDSM hentai.

Hilarious find and although sure to offend many people who watch it, Puni Puni Poemy is up there with Excel Saga as something to keep just to whip out and make people go “What the fuck???”

Is It Worth Keeping? Yes
Rating: 6.5/10

DVD of the Day #262 - Wild Pacific (Blu-Ray)

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

Originally called South Pacific across the Atlantic where it first aired on the BBC, it’s name was changed for the States so as not to be confused with a musical by the same name. Instead of being a war time hubabaloo filled with musical numbers like “There is nothing like a dame,” this is actually a six hour documentary series looking at the island, life forms and water that makes up the Pacific Ocean. As only 1% of the Pacific Ocean has landmasses on the surface, these rare and remote regions have some of the most unique animals on earth. Within this series you’ll see sharks vs. albatross, the world’s largest crabs (Over a meter wide. Holy crap!) and so much more. Although it’s not a David Attenborough series, nature lovers will be really impressed with the featured creatures this set contains.

For me though, it was all about the cinematography. I know that I harp a lot that nature documentaries are THE reason to have a blu-ray player, but it really is the truth. Once you’ve seen things like Planet Earth in high def, you can’t go back because difference in the quality and sharpness is immediately apparent. There were times I was simply gobsmacked by what I was seeing on my screen, it was that beautiful. From the beginning when you see a surfer dude riding a wave to watching tiger sharks get themselves a nice little snack, you’re barely be able to take your eyes of the visual splendor of this set.

The narration is a bit boring at times and I was annoyed to see so much time spent on the Galapagos when the BBC also has a 3+ hour documentary just on that set of islands, but this was a lot of fun and at the risk of sounding uncool or stuffy, I’d rather watch something like this on Blu-Ray than the latest action or horror flick simply because I’m getting to see life in all it’s impressive majesty rather than some trumped up special effects. Plus I get to learn something. yay!

Is It Worth Keeping? Yes.
Rating: 6/10

Fuckin’ Livejournal

Friday, September 18th, 2009

Nice to see you fixed the RSS feed thus hitting everyone of my posts for a week all at once.

Sorry about that guys.

Oh LJ, remember when you didn’t suck?

DVD of the Day #261 - Yu Yu Hakusho - The Spirit Detective Saga

Friday, September 18th, 2009

This was a fun little find off Swapadvd.com. I never got to see the anime when it was part of Adult Swim. Well, it’s more I didn’t want to seeing as it was done by Funimation and they royally crapped up Dragon Ball Z when they did the translation. i had no desire to sit through the horror of “It’s over 9000!” or “He’s gone to another dimension!” However I saw that these were all uncute and unedited episodes complete with the Japanese language track entact so I decided to give it a shot. While it’s not the greatest anime I’ve ever seen, it was a fun one and after watching this collection fo the first 25 episodes of the series, I’m going to be tracking down the other box sets and I’ve already ordered the YYH movie from Swapadvd.com as well.

Yu Yu Hakusho is basically the adventures of YUSUKE, a young man who is killed in a car accident. A car hits Yusuke when he saves a little boy, taking the blow instead. After he dies the grim reaper, a cute girl named Boton reveals the little boy wouldn’t have died at all and that Yusuke basically wasted his life here. However, as Yusuke wasn’t supposed to die he could take part in a mystic quest to be restored to life. Once he has returned to the realm of the living he becomes a spirit detective who tracks down monsters and demons for his new boss, the son of the lord of the Underworld.

The cast is a lot of fun and this is definitely Funimations best translation that I can remember sitting through. Unlike DBZ which has a zillion episodes in a row of people talking while powering up, this show is made up of a lot of mini arcs ranging between 4 and 6 episodes each. I am a bit daunted at the fact this series goes on for over 100 episodes, but I’ll watch them as they come up on Swapadvd.com

Is It Worth keeping? Yes
Rating: 6/10