Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Thing on the Doorstep (2014)

After putting off my planned trip into the strange world of H.P. Lovecraft, last night I made the journey into his mythos. Fortunately, I was able to find something that filled that desire. After a quick search at Family Video, I decided upon the 2014 low budget entry The Thing on the Doorstep.

Plot/ Daniel Upton's relationship with his friend Edward Derby is abruptly changed after Edward becomes romantically involved with Asenath Waite, a hypnotist with an odd reputation. As Edward's behavior becomes more erratic and events unexplainable, Daniel investigates. Is it madness...or something far more terrifying?

I love H.P. Lovecraft and definitely enjoy when I find movies that stick close to the vest and look at the core of his work. Unfortunately, these are not always easy to find. In this case, the no budget indie flick takes on that exact ideology, and crafts a solid debut. Yes, it does have some flaws relying too much on the uneven performances and narration, but those are minor issues in an entertaining film. The cinematography is sound throughout; there is an eerie atmosphere, and enough of Lovecrafts’ warped sense of being flows through (amazing considering this is one of his least known works from Weird Tales in 1937). In the end, this may not be a perfect movie, but it is a realistic modern adaptation of Lovecrafts’ work that should satisfy those who appreciate the literary works of the master. Not for everyone as it relies on story more than gore, this low budget gem should be seen.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Horns (2013)

After the trip into action and adventure, I had planned to take a trip into the world of H.P. Lovecraft. Instead, I decided to venture into something different than my usual. After some debate (and a chocolate milkshake), I decided upon the 2013 fantasy drama Horns.

Plot/ In the aftermath of his girlfriend's mysterious death, a young man awakens to find strange horns sprouting from his temples.

Having never read the book or even seen a trailer, I was not sure what to expect with this one. Now, having watched the movie, I may search out the book, as this was an interesting storyline, and a movie that I enjoyed a lot. Yes, there were some disjointed parts that seemed to cloud some of the meaning. The acting is solid, including an amazing performance from Daniel Radcliff, the dark comedy works within the layered story, and there were some interesting effects. However, there seemed to be some genre balance issues as the storyline developed and the story was a touch predictable; items the prevented it from reaching its full potential. In the end, this was an entertaining flick with many things to like. While it is not for everyone, it is fun mix of comedy, drama, and loss.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ragnarok (2013)

After a night away from the computer as I prepared for Thanksgiving, I decided to jump back into it with something a touch different. Of course, I also wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, as I hope everyone is safe and sound. As we move deeper into the holiday season, there is always a feeling of hope that rises, and I think 2014 will bring out those same feelings. Next up for review is the 2013 Norwegian film Ragnarok.

Plot/ The ancient and modern worlds collide when archaeologist Sigurd Svendsen finds the true meaning of the secret runes found in the Oseberg ship.

Every once in a while I venture into films from other countries to see how they bring their stories to life. Yes, I will have to deal with subtitles, but I often find it interesting to see how the dialog develops. That was the case with this one, and I left it satisfied and enlightened. A mixture of many family adventures (Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones), this movie has some solid performances, an interesting story, and some decent effects. Sure, there are some plot holes, and with the subtitles, you have to pay attention, but that was just fine (except for the daughters who lost interest). In the end, this is far from a great movie, but it is an entertaining family action and adventure flick. If you enjoy foreign films and subtitles, give it a shot, it is a solid entry into the genre.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Chair (2007)

Every once in a while I take a chance on a movie because it continually shows up on my recommended list, and this was the case with my next review. Honestly, it seemed like this one was popping up everywhere for about two weeks. That movie is the 2007 independent flick The Chair.

Plot/ Danielle, a young psychology student, is trying to rebuild her life when she sublets a century-old Victorian house. Unknowingly, she awakens an evil specter lurking in the dark recesses of her new home.

When I picked this one out the other day, I was not sure what to expect. What I found was an interesting movie that was clearly something different than the typical low budget slasher or found footage flick that has become all the rage. Slowly paced, this one has some decent effects, solid acting, and sound cinematography that worked well within the confines of the minimal locations. Sure, there are some uneven spots and the storyline does seem to change midway, but those are small issues that really do not bring this one down. In the end, this is an intriguing supernatural thriller that was extremely entertaining. Yes, it is not for all horror fans, but if you enjoy intelligent supernatural thrillers, you should check it out.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Rumors of Wars (2014)

With the continued rise of lawlessness coming from Washington DC, and the lack of desire coming from the opposition party, it reinforces the idea that all politicians are bought and paid for by the same backers. Regardless of party, their agenda of oppression and tyranny is the same, and we must wake up and spread the word about these lying bastards. That is the only way to stop this globalist agenda. One movie I recently watched discussed a similar them, 2014s, Rumors of Wars.

Plot/ A student keeps a journal while a one world government takes over the world. Years later, a soldier finds her journal and questions everything he believes.

While this movie was a touch more religious than I expected there were many points brought out that should open some eyes. I am not going to speak on the biblical aspects of the film, which will likely turn some viewers off. However, the detailed storyline that talks about NDAA, illegal NSA spying, and the rise of the military industrial complex as purveyors of the RFID chips and their role as managers of the FEMA Camps make this one of the more informative post apocalyptic films to come out in some time. Sure, the acting is uneven, the effects all over, and the scripting is geared toward a detailed Christian message of faith, but those aspects in no way detract from the powerful true message on governmental and globalist tyranny. In the end, many of the items outlined in this film could become a reality if the world does not wake up to the globalist tyranny being pushed upon the world by the elite. No matter what religion you believe in, the reality is the globalist technocrats and their Agenda 21 cronies are out to destroy the world, and this movie does provide a glimpse into that possible future. Give it a shot.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

AE: Apocalypse Earth (2013)

Lately, I have been in a Sci-Fi mood. I am not quite sure why, maybe it is the overwhelming urge to discover if Nibiru is real, and what their inhabitants would have in store for us when it arrives. But, of course, that all could be a legend. Next up is a Sci-Fi flick from The Asylum, the 2013 entry AE: Apocalypse Earth.

Plot/ A group of refugees from Earth work to survive on a hostile alien planet.

When I headed into this one, I really did not expect much, as it was another entry from The Asylum. While this one is not close to perfect and has all of the typical flaws such as rough CGI effects, uneven acting, and uninspired cinematography, there was something different here. That is the interesting storyline, which was something that I did not expect. Sure, there were some problems with the execution of the material, but at least there was an underlying meaning and there was something to make it at least somewhat original. In the end, there are a ton of flaws and the movie may not be great, but it is pretty much on par with other entries from The Asylum. Would I search it out, no, but it does serve well as a Sci-Fi backdrop to a slow creeping day.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mercy (2014)

As I continue to struggle through the final days of this miserable college math class, I decided that it was time to throw on something supernatural to assist in my learning. After some debate, I decided on the 2014 independent entry Mercy.  

Plot/ Two unruly boys move with their mom to grandma’s old farmhouse to care for her and discover that grandma has a pact with ancient beings that bestow on her special powers. Now they must survive the terrifying presence in the farmhouse.

I often cringe when I see something listed as a Stephen King adaptation, as usually they can never live up to the source material. Unfortunately, while this movie is not as bad as some, it definitely struggled to capture the atmosphere and creepiness of the original short story Gramma. While there were some positives in the film within the extremely short run time, with a decent cast, some solid performances, and the pace kept things interesting. However, even with those positives, the lack of atmosphere and some strange cinematic decisions with the lighting brought this down to average at best. In the end, this one again failed to match the potential of the sources King work, and becomes another in a long list of movies that fail to capture the magic. Is it terrible? No, but it is not great either. If you love Stephen King, give it a shot, if not, there are better options out there.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

As the days creep toward the holidays, it is fun to occasionally venture into a few blockbusters. Usually, I stay away from them, as they are often watered down and miserable. Fortunately, there are times where I roll the dice and come out surprised. In this one, the mention of Planet X or Nibiru was that moment. Next up, 2013s Star Trek Into Darkness.

Plot/ After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.

As someone who is not a huge Star Trek fan, and one that hates reboots, I actually have intentionally stayed away from this series for some time. Now, after watching this one, I may have made a mistake. While it does stray from the intricacies of the original Gene Roddenberry platform, it does take the series into a direction that is at least interesting and action packed. Having not watched many of the original series of movies, my memories are stuck with the original series I watched in my youth, I was able to appreciate some of the modern ideals that were added. The action was solid, the plot made sense, and there was some layered character development throughout. Sure, some of it was predictable, and there were some plot holes mixed in with the clichéd moments, but this did little to offset the underlying themes put on display. In the end, I may not be a Star Trek purist and that may have allowed me a different insight, but I definitely found this one of the more Sci-Fi films in some time, and it made me want to explore this universe some more. If you have not seen it, give it a shot.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Shivers (1975)

Over the past few days, I have watched a wide variety of stuff. Sometimes, I get in these moods, and cannot figure out exactly what I am in the mood for. This has definitely been one of those periods. Of course, it is likely the math, I hate math. One of the more interesting films I have watched over this period is the 1975 exploitation horror flick Shivers (AKA They Came From Within); the movie that in many ways created a cinematic legend.

Plot/ The residents of a suburban high-rise apartment building are being infected by a strain of parasites that turn them into mindless, sex-crazed fiends out to infect others by the slightest sexual contact.

Shivers was an interesting film with a fascinating mixture of sexual indulgence and zombielike overtones. Truly, it was a film that fit in the middle of the low budget exploitation movement of the time ad should be viewed as such. Amazingly, writer /director David Cronenberg knew little about the filmmaking profession, yet created a piece that demonstrated the skills (and thematic elements) that would make him a household name. The film is definitely uneven, with some so-so acting, incoherent moments, and low budget quality, but that does not matter when you immerse yourself into the storyline and remember that this movie predated the anti-sex craze and viral epidemics that plagued the world in the late 1970s to early 1980s. In the end, this early Cronenberg piece may not be perfect, but it is one of the more influential films in his catalog. Not for everyone, so be warned, but it is a movie that should be seen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stargate (1994)

Over the past few days, I have been part of some interesting conversations on Nibiru and hollow earth. While both subjects are fascinating, they are no more fascinating than our own ancient histories, where cultures such as the Egyptians and Mayans create intricate artifacts that have stood the test of time. How did they accomplish that? Who really knows, but Stargate (1994) does venture into one possibility.

Plot/ An interstellar teleportation device, found in Egypt, leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.

Stargate is such an amazing story and does provide a science fiction explanation to some of the real life mysteries that haunt our ancient past. While there is an interesting and layered plot, some solid performances and the cinematography and score blend together in a seamless fashion, it is the historic detains of the story that draw me in every time. As a researcher, the potential questions (and answers) it brings to life makes it a must see, Plus, the action and atmosphere are not bad either. Sure, if you are closed minded, it may not appeal to you as it does to me because you must suspend reality to accept the possibilities, but that is part of the realm of science fiction that makes the genre amazing. In the end, this movie may not be for everyone, but if you are open minded and love plot driven science fiction this one is for you. Give it a shot!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

I was quite amazed by the amount of Sherlock stuff I saw when purchasing my Underoos today. Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite detectives, although I have found it difficult to immerse myself into a book the way I did in my youth. Speaking of my youth, here is a flick that captures Holmes early on: Young Sherlock Holmes from 1985.

Plot/ When assorted people start having inexplicable delusions that lead to their deaths, a teenage Sherlock Holmes decides to investigate.

Young Sherlock Holmes is one of those 1980s flicks that have stood the test of time rather well. Not for anyone who is a Holmes purist, this one does take some liberties with the young detectives life that differ from the source material. However, this one is a rather entertaining trip into the detective story and created an alternate reality for him to grow. The storyline is simple and clichéd, the pacing works, sound track amazing, and incredibly the early CGI effects work better than some of those seen today. Sure, the acting is uneven, the historic aspects unbelievable, and the characters never truly develop, but that does nothing to bring this one down. In the end, this movie is entertaining, interesting, and fun to watch with the family, especially if you want to bring the genius of Holmes to life for a new generation.

Bermuda Tentacles (2014)

I took a couple days away from the blog so I could focus on finishing my college math homework for the week, and I was miserable. To make up for that misery, I ran out to pick up some Captain America Underoos, to help rid my mind of the useless math that I have been suffering through (one week to go). I also got back to some movies, first up is the mindless SyFy Channel original from 2014, Bermuda Tentacles.

Plot/ After Air Force One goes down during a storm over the Bermuda Triangle, the United States Navy is dispatched to find the escape pod holding the President. A giant monster beneath the ocean awakens and attacks the fleet.

It has been a while since I have ventured into the realm of SyFy Channel originals, and now, after suffering through another tremendous effort, the clock will start again. Sure, Bermuda Tentacles is not the worse entry, but that is not saying much. This one had very little going for it, with a few solid performances and a crazy storyline, but even those positives are not enough to make it a blip on the RADAR. The cinematography is all over, the scripting is incoherent, and the CGI created some of the most laughable creatures in some time. In the end, this predictable and clichéd CGI driven SyFy original may not be the worst entry from their catalog, but it rates near the bottom. There are clearly better choices; stay away!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Total Recall (1990)

Yesterday was a long day, as I had to pull a late night at the institute. Yes, it was only a few hours, but that time seemed to drain the life out of me and when I got home, I did not feel like doing anything. Tonight, I decided to get back on track by reviewing another one of the retro flicks I have watched over the past few days, 1990s Total Recall.

Plot/ When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?

This was a movie that I recently searched out for many reasons. Based on the Phillip K. Dick short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, I decided to venture into this one again to see some of the areas I may have missed when it came out. While what I found was a touch dated, it was definitely worth watching again. The storyline is fantastic, the action scenes were solid, sets interesting, and the performances were actually better than I remember. Sure, some of the effects see out of date and the dialog is all over, but that was somewhat expected from what I had remembered. In the end, this was an entertaining trip into a strange and layered storyline. If you have not watched the original, give it a shot, it is worth it.