Monday, June 24, 2013

Under the Dome - Episode 1 - "Pilot"

So as I do with my other TV reviews, we're going to do this recap-style, so SPOILERS AHEAD.  I was not a huge fan of the Under the Dome book...I really liked the concept, and I love apocalyptic shit, but didn't love the dialogue or ending.  Maybe it could be improved for TV?

We start out directly with bird eggs hatching and a guy burying a dead body.  Also, Jeff Fahey!  YES.  People banging, minus the thrusting, because this is CBS.  Meanwhile, the town busybody calls in a reporter, Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre) to tell her about some frequent propane deliveries.  Ignored by the local police, she is determined that something is afoot.

Meanwhile, Dale "Barbie" Barbara (Mike Vogel) is booking the hell out of town due to some sort of deal gone wrong.  But he gets sidetracked by some errant cows, and watches as the dome comes down, slicing a cow in half in the process!  Now the residents of Chester's Mill are trapped behind some weird invisible dome, and you know there's going to be some dramz.

Airplanes falling from the sky!  Severed limbs!  Awesome.  Unfortunately the fire department is on one side of the dome while the burning plane is on the other.  People are reporting crashes all over town as people go smack dab into the impenetrable field.  Julia is fast on the scene trying to get to the bottom of it all.  The hospital is quickly overrun with injured people, as "Big Jim" Rennie (Dean Norris) makes an emergency broadcast for everyone to keep off the roads.

Junior (Alexander Koch), Big Jim's son is not taking the loss of his girlfriend, Angie (Britt Robertson) lightly.  She thought they were just fuck buddies for the summer, but he had plans to leave school to be with her.  When she bums a cigarette off of Barbie, Junior becomes enraged.  While most teenagers party it up on the bridge, some go into random seizures where they mutter nonsense about stars falling in lines.  Junior has had absolutely enough of Angie and her smoking cigs with sexy guys and strangles her in a jealous freakout.  He pops her into his dad's fallout shelter for safekeeping, telling Big Jim that it's flooded and useless.

Julia brings Barbie back to her house, where her husband is oddly missing.  Everyone thinks he's having an affair, but she claims to know differently.  Poor Duke (Jeff Fahey) collapses with heart problems near the dome, with only Deputy Linda (Natalie Martinez) to help.  However, the outside of the dome buzzes with police, military, and media presence.  The premiere closes with a shot of the dome from the outside, with the people of Chester's Mill trapped within.

Next week: "The biggest threat they face is each other."  I like this show so far, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops.  Until next Monday!




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

How have I never written a review of this movie, one of my favorite guilty pleasures?!  So much randomness going on in this movie.  Although dozens of movies have been based on Stephen King books, this is the only time he directed one.  King fully admits that he was "coked out of his mind" during the entire filming of Maximum Overdrive, and when asked why he didn't direct another film, he responds: "Just watch Maximum Overdrive."  I loved this story, and I love the incredible campiness of this movie, even though it does seem like something someone on drugs would make.  Also, what other movie has an entire soundtrack of AC/DC?!?!  And the band riding in a speedboat at the beginning of the flick. 

Maximum Overdrive is about a meteor passing over the Earth, which causes machines to become possessed.  Soda machines launch cans at people, ice cream trucks become homicidal, and most importantly, a group becomes trapped in the Dixie Boy Truck Stop, surrounding by rogue semis.  The ragtag group is forced to survive, first dodging the trucks, and then fueling them.  You would think that trucks would just run out of gas and give up, but in the mind of SK, they demand gas and continue to dominate humans.  I mean, even electric knives get ballsy in this movie.  There's death, destruction, explosions, and a lot of revving engines.

So this movie got terrible reviews and no one ever liked it, but I don't care.  It's campy and fun and has a coked out Stephen King and a sexy Emilio Estevez.  Sure, you could have serial killers any day, but when do you get a bunch of possessed vehicles taking over a truck stop?  I am not ashamed to say I freakin' love Maximum Overdrive.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Turistas (2006)

So I saw this movie when it first came out, but apparently never wrote a review.  I've been traveling a lot lately, and movies like this have just been worming their way back into my head.  I wouldn't call me a "safe" traveler.   My husband and I love going off the beaten path, which comes with its share of dangers.  We've taken cab rides where we've been like, "fuck. hope we're not going to die at the end of this."  The fears of Turistas are all too true -- a bus breaking down, being drugged and robbed, left without a place to stay.

Can we stop for a second and realize how many people were in this freakin' movie?!  Josh Duhamel, Melissa George, and Olivia Wilde?! Holy crap.  So a bunch of young hot people go to Brazil.  They try to save some cash by taking the bus which Scream Queen has done on several occasions.  The bus never ends well.  This bus gets into an accident and leaves them on a beach with beautiful scenery, hot girls and tons of booze.  Oh, and organ theifs.  NBD.

After waking up all hungover and amnesia-ridden, the group takes off for town, hoping to find safe haven.  But lets remember for a second that many tropical paradises are emerging nations with political and crime problems.  They get led by their "friend" to an organ theft ring, of course swimming through beautiful underwater caves in the process.

This movie is like a tropical Hostel so if you got a kick out of that flick, you'll like this one too. Definitely not as graphic and gory as Hostel but I think it's realistic and would resonate with the pleasure traveler.  Everything was filmed in Brazil so the scenery is legit.  The cave swimming scenes were awesome and reminiscent of Fortress.  Sure the end gets a little melodramatic but not enough to ruin this movie.  As a traveler and a horror fan, I liked this flick!  Also, now I want to go to Brazil. 

Missing (2009)

Missing has been lingering at the end of my instant queue for a while, but it stood out as one of the only movies on my queue that gets rated 4 stars.  So clearly I felt compelled to check it out.  It comes out of Korea and is based on a true story about an elderly murderer in that country.  Kidnapping and hostage stories always intrigue me.  The thought of being locked up in a room or cage is particularly terrifying to me.

Missing is about a young woman who goes with her boyfriend to get some traditional chicken soup at a house out in the boondocks.  Little do they know that the man of the house no longer serves chicken soup, but actually just kidnaps young women, tortures and kills them.  Oh, and also maybe feeds them to his chickens.  No big deal.

After he kills the boyfriend and sticks the girl in a cage, her sister becomes worried when she doesn't return home or answer her cell.  She goes in search of the mysterious "chicken soup" place that her sister mentions on her voicemail.  Meanwhile, the man does all kinds of bizarre things from singing to his captive to feeding her cake to hosing her down.  The sister is resilient in searching for her sibling, but police are reluctant to get involved, leaving her to face much of the danger on her own.

This was a short movie, especially for Asian horror, which is usually quite lengthy.  I liked the story, and the kidnapper/killer was seriously creepy.  I liked the ending as well.  If you have time for a short Korean horror flick that is more disturbing than slasher, Missing is a good one. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

Tommy Jarvis is back -- yay!  He is not being played by Corey Feldman...booo!!  Well, grown up Tommy (John Shepherd) gets to dream as Corey Feldman for a bit, but in this sequel, he is all grown up and on his way to life in a halfway house.  You know, just chillin out after his extended stay in the mental institution.  He still has all those weird masks with him, because you never grow out of that kinda thing.

This halfway house is full of a weird mix of traumatized teenagers, and one random little black kid named Reggie.  Poor Tommy is getting picked on all the time, and is having a generally awkward time of it.  Since murder and mayhem seem to just follow him around, murders start happening in the area.

This time around, apparently Jason views the entire area as a camp, and he does not discriminate when it comes to killing.  Michael & Janet Jackson look alikes, cheesy coke sniffers, and Madonna-wannabees -- all are fair game for Jason.   Meanwhile Tommy is totally shocked that Jason is still alive, after the pounding he gave him all those years back. 

Plenty of 80's boobs in this movie if you're looking for that kinda thing.  Pretty much the standard Jason machete kills...they didn't really go out of the box too far on this one.  Although a child does attempt to save the day with a bulldozer.  But that's less out of the box, and more just random and lame.

The actual twist in this movie (SPOILERS) is that Jason is not actually Jason but a grieving father.  And then maybe Tommy Jarvis, who just happened to have a Jason mask lying around in the hospital.  Apparently the intent was to bring Tommy back as the new killer, but this wasn't received well by audiences, so they continued with the Jason-from-the-bottom-of-the-lake formula.  I wouldn't say this is the best in the series, especially following the awesomeness that is The Final Chapter but if you're in the mood, this is available on Netflix instant.

Grave Encounters 2 (2012)

**SPOILERS AHEAD**I was a big fan of Grave Encounters.  I know, I know, we "real horror fans" are supposed to be totally over found footage movies, but I think that flick caused a bit of a revival.  The ending didn't really leave too much open for Grave Encounters 2, but hey, here we are.

I like the premise of this sequel.  It behaves as if Grave Encounters was an actual movie release, and some film students are trying to dig up some background on it.  As they are looking around, they soon realize that the story was real, and that those involved with the movie are still missing and presumed dead.  Determined to get to the bottom of it, they head to the hospital to investigate, much in the same way that the reality show crew did before.  However, they are being urged on by a mysterious YouTube commenter, claiming that he will meet them in the hospital.  But he never shows.

Much like the first movie, they set up their equipment and begin to see strange occurrences.  But in a surprise twist, they happen upon Lance Preston, who has been living in the hospital for several years, subsisting on rats and toilet water.  He claims to know the way out of the hospital, and leads the students on a wild goose chase throughout the grounds, with people dying along the way.  The group seems to escape at one point, but just take a hotel elevator back to the hospital.

Finally, Lance reveals what they must do to escape.  It seems that there may be only one survivor, so that they can complete the film and draw more "tourists" can come and be sacrificed to the entities in the hospital.  The film "visionary," Alex, decides that this must be him, and he will continue the trail of Grave Encounters and the story of the hospital.

Although I liked the ghosts, effects, and general story, this definitely didn't have the same kick as Grave Encounters.  It definitely was an enjoyable flick though, and is worth a watch if you liked the first one.  There is also a lot more random filler in this sequel, like scenes of partying and driving.   So you kind of have to hang on through those parts to stick it out for the ghosts and scares. 

Piranha 3DD (2012)

This movie gets such low ratings on IMDB and Netflix....were people really taking this movie seriously?!  I got a kick out of it.  Sure, it wasn't as good as Piranha 3D, but it had lots of nudity, a totally ridiculous concept, and man-eating fish.  What more can you ask for on a chill Saturday night?

After their attack at Lake Victoria's spring break, the piranhas are ready to feed again.  This time, their target is the "Big Wet" waterpark, which used to be family friendly.  However, after the death of one of the owners, it's being turned into a naughty topless playground for adults.  Of course, this is the perfect place for the piranhas to be lurking.

The waterpark's staff is full of attractive twenty-somethings and strippers, which is just a recipe for disaster in a horror film.  There are plenty of familiar faces, from Katrina Bowden to Christopher Lloyd to David Hasselhoff.  The "good girl" of the movie is Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) and once she finds out that the flesh-eating swimmers are headed for the waterpark, she springs into action.  But her life saving plans are being thwarted by her greedy/horny stepfather and the hordes of drunken revelers filling the pools.  Since the stepfather is saving dough by swiping water directly from the lake, the piranhas have an easy way into the waterpark.

Sure, this movie is no classic, but I got a kick out of it.  Ving Rhames has weapon legs a la Cherry Darling, Hasselhoff is hilariously self-depreciating and the deaths are almost as entertaining as the first movie.  We even get a penis-biting!  Sure, Piranha 3DD isn't going to make it's mark on cinematic history, but it sure was fun to watch!