Hurleysgivingpocalyptageddon: Bellflower

I decided to give this movie a go, because the main characters in it are building a car in preparation for the apocalypse. The idea of a couple of dudes preparing for such a thing is a totally awesome idea, and the car they build is flippin’ sweet… but…

This flick was incredibly weird. I think, if I’d been more sober, this movie would have been pretty great. It’s a really fucked up coming of age story, and it bounces around in time a lot, and it seems like the plot is something I’d normally enjoy, but I’m just not in the right mood whatsoever. I really don’t even want to rate this movie right now. I seriously think I would like it better tomorrow. For now though, I’m thoroughly unimpressed.

2 out of 5… I guess… I may rewatch this sometime.

Hurleysgivingpocalytageddon: Interzone

Interzone is one of the many Road Warrior inspired Italian movies of the late 80s. I dig this one quite a bit, since they’ve changed up several of the character archetypes, the change of the main villain to a woman (played by the awesome Teagan Clive), and the casting of Bruce Abbott is pretty amazing. Rather than having a crusty, old, disheveled protagonist like Road Warrior, Interzone features a dashing,  young, somewhat vain lead named Swan, who’s more along the lines of Mad Max. Not a huge shift, I know, but still pretty noteable among the post-apocalyptic sci-fi flicks of the era. There’s also the addition of futuristic tech (a force field), and psychic powers  (the priest/monk Panasonic communicates mostly telepathically [Seriously, his name is Panasonic]).

Still, some of the best moments in this film come from it’s completely unapologetic cheesiness. It’s all a little tounge in cheek, but strides the parody line without crossing it. There’s an excellent moment when our protagonist sees his true love up for sale on a slavery auction block. Once he lays eyes on her, he has a super-corny vision of the two of them running toward each other slow-mo through a field of flowers. Intercut with this fantasy are clips of the current events, including one of Swan mouthing the words “What. The. Fuck.” Apparently, he’s as confused by the random fantasy clips as we are.

The best line of the movie, however, goes to one of the main baddies. He has Swan cornered, with a gun to his head and says, “I’m gonna blow your brains out, and then… I’m gonna kill you!”

3 out of 5

Hurleysgivingpocalyptageddon: The Last Warrior

The world has suffered a massive earthquake, and California has become its own island. That’s where Dolph and his band of misfits are stuck. Of course, it’s not actually clear that they’re on the island until almost an hour into the movie. That’s only one of this movies many flaws. This flick has also got some serious scripting issues, and in fact, I wonder if the script was actually finished before filming began. There are several scenes where the dialog suddenly takes a left turn, and the conversation changes completely, segueing hamfistedly into the next story element. It’s almost as if the actors were told nothing but, “start here, end here,” and then they were put in front of a camera. I found this movie originally on a “Top 50 Post-Apocalyptic Movies” list on imdb (you’ll find it on there under “The Last Patrol”, btw). Even though it was barely hanging on to the list at number 50, I still wasn’t as impressed with it as that guy was.

3 out of 5

Hurleysgivingpocalyptageddon: Gangland

Not the same Gangland, but I couldn't find a decent copy of the actual DVD cover. The actual cover, btw, features pictures of Ice T, and Coolio, who both die within the first 10 minutes.

Wow. This movie is not good. Production values are super-duper low, and the copy available on Netflix is a screener, complete with studio copyright info, and a “not for rental or sale” warning.

This movie takes and innovative* approach by combining not only a nuclear apocalypse, but also an ebola outbreak. Nuclear fallout and a killer virus? That shit is Over. The. Top! This flick also could have benefited greatly from another dialogue pass. I know that dialogue is something I harp on a lot, but it’s kind of a big deal to me. I’ve seen more than my share of B movies, and there are some that would really, REALLY benefit from a simple dialogue pass.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve kind of lost track of this review. I’ve been drinking since noon, and it’s really starting to show. There’s plenty of other bad stuff I could point out about this movie. I won’t though, I’ll let you watch it, and experience the bad on you own.

*Not really though.

2 out of 5

Hurleysgivingpocalyptageddon: Predator

As you know, I’m watching a shitload of movies today. As always, I’m starting off my Turkey Day celebration with Predator.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up with this (Hurleysgivingpocalyptageddon also involves a fair amount of booze), but I’m going to try and post a short review of every movie I watch this year as I finish it. So, without further ado, I give you…

Predator

I love this movie. I would say it’s pretty easily in my top five all time favorites even. One summer, I think between 7th and 8th grade, I watched Predator almost every single day. I’m not even kidding when I say that I’ve probably seen this movie at least 100 times. If you’ve never watched this movie, you should fix that problem, preferably today, ’cause them’s the rules.

5 out of 5

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day, everybody!

I don’t know how all of you celebrate Thanksgiving (although, I invite you to tell me down in the comments), but I drink all day and watch movies. I mostly watch post-apocalyptic sci-fi, but I start my day off every year with the classic sci-fi-action masterpiece Predator.

Predator?

Now, a little back story. I was at a convention, Wizard World Chicago probably, talking with the awesome Jason Latour, when the subject of holiday movies came up. We talked about Die Hard, and it’s place as the consumate manliest Christmas movie of course, and then he brought up Thanksgiving. Until that time, I’d never really thought of any movie as being a “Thanksgiving” movie. That’s when Latour learned me a little something.

Die Hard : Christmas :: Predator : Thanksgiving

“These are the rules,” he told me, “we don’t make ’em, we just follow ’em.” Since then, I’ve watched Predator every year on Turkey Day, ’cause them’s the rules.

Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi?

A few years ago, I picked up a DVD set I’d been look for for some time, “Post Apocalyptic Triple Feature“. It’s an awesome set that features three movies I remember renting from the video store as a kid, that pretty directly led to post-apocalyptic sci-fi being my absolute favorite movie sub genre. That year, Thanksgiving rolled around, I was off of work, and had nothing to do. So, I decided to sit my ass down and marathon through all three flicks.

Every year since, I’ve tried my hardest to make time to marathon through as many post-apocalyptic flicks as possible. I’ve always just called it my Post-Apocalyptic Thanksgiving. This year, however, my good buddy Kevin Mellon came up with Hurleysgivingpocalyptageddon, which I’ve now decided is the only applicable name for my special celebration.

Booze?

It’s a fucking holiday, of course there’s alcohol.

 

There you go folks, a little explanation of the Fall tradition that is Hurleysgivingpocalyptageddon!

Movie Reviews 11-19-11

The Lost Room

I’m not sure this should really go in with movie reviews, since it was really a TV show, but since it tells a complete story in only 6 episodes, I’m lumping it here.

I absolutely love The Lost Room. Jeremy introduced me to the show a few years ago, and I’ve been vaguely obsessed with it ever since. It’s the story of police officer Joe Miller, who discovers a magical key that opens any door, and causes that door to lead to a hotel room that is outside of space/time. When he leaves the room, the door can lead to anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, his daughter gets lost inside the room and disappears. Now, Joe has to find other magical objects that once resided in the room, and try to figure out a way to save her. I could seriously go on and on about this show, and someday I may. For now though, Just know that The Lost Room is great, and you should go watch it.

5 out of 5

Hellraiser

It’s odd to me that, as such a big horror fan, I’d never seen Hellraiser before this week. Alas, I’ve remedied the situation, and had a damn good time doing it. I really love the effects in this movie. Some of the “hooks tearing skin” stuff looks a little too rubbery, but all of the scenes with the still forming skinless Frank are pretty amazing looking. I’m not a huge Clive Barker fan or anything, but I definitely dug this one.

4 out of 5

Horrible Bosses

Yep. This movie is god-damned-hilarious. I love that the characters come so simply to the conclusion that they should just kill their bosses. It’s the leap of logic that has to work to make this movie happen, and it’s handled really well. Also, I absolutely love the idea of a “murder consultant”. I think I would read a comic book called Murder Consultant.

4 out of 5

Pontypool

I love single location movies like crazy. If it’s done well, it can make for some of the greatest stories. Pontypool is single location horror done perfectly. It deals with tension wonderfully, and the idea of language as a virus is pretty much amazing. Small cast, simple effects, single location, huge mind-bending concept… this is the kind of movie I would love to make.

5 out of 5

Bunraku

Bunraku is basically a mash up of eastern and western revenge stories, set in an interesting, but highly affected near future. The sets for the movie are all constructed and lit to look like a stage show, and while that is an interesting pretense, I mostly just found it distracting. That might have been a different situation if the story had been anything new, but like I said earlier, it’s really just straightforward revenge. Bunraku was nothing terribly new or innovative, and relied almost completely on it’s affectations to make it stand out.

3 out of 5

American Grindhouse

Yep, it’s another showbiz documentary. American Grindhouse covers a lot of the same ground that Machete Maidens did, but it covers a wider breadth of movies. Not just 70s exploitation flicks, but exploitation flicks dating all the way back to the invention of the motion picture. If you’re into cult cinema history, definitely give this one a look. Also, John Landis gives some really excellent interviews.

5 out of 5

Death Race 2

If you follow me on Twitter (and you should, btw), you know that as I was writing up these reviews, I forgot that I had watched this movie. There wasn’t anything particularly good or bad about Death Race 2, there just wasn’t anything memorable. It’s a prequel to the Jason Statham vehicle, and it features the origin of the first Frankenstein. Nothing terribly bad here, but nothing terribly good either.

3 out of 5

Movie Reviews, 11/9/11

I wasn’t feeling awesome this week, and I went to a convention in Kansas City that took up most of my weekend, so I only watched 7 movies. I may be addicted to media.

Final Destination 2: Buckets of Blood

No, that’s not really the subtitle, but that’s what my friends and I called it when it first came out. Upon rewatching it, I gotta say, that name is still totally valid. Some of the kills in this installment are pretty spectacularly gory. I remember liking this installment of the series last time I watched it, but I had forgotten how cool the connections to the first movie are. I love the first movie, and this is a crazy-solid sequel.

5 out of 5

Final Destination 3

The third flick was the first in the series that I hadn’t previously seen, and I gotta say, this one’s not too shabby. While the characters in this movie aren’t directly related to the previous films, the basic concept is the same. There’s nothing new or different here, and the slight mystery is pretty lame, but overall, it’s a perfectly decent movie. Nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

3 out of 5

The Final Destination (a.k.a. 4)

And then there’s this one. In addition to adding nothing to the franchise but bad 3-D effects, this is just a plain shitty movie. Some of the characters don’t even have proper names. There’s one survivor who’s seriously credit simply as “racist”. I really don’t want to talk anymore about this turd, so let’s move on.

1 out of 5

Card Subject To Change

I loves me some professional wrestling. Even more than that, I loves me some wrasslin’ documentaries. I’ve particularly been impressed with all of the docs that WWE has produced the last few years. However, nothing makes me happier than finding a documentary that focuses on an aspect of professional wrestling that’s totally new to me. This one follows a small indie promotion in the Northeast, and the wrestlers, new and old, that come through it. They spotlight a few legends, including the amazing Kevin Sullivan, Sabu, and Kamala, as well as some up and comers I’d never heard of until now. I wish the focus had been a little tighter on the promotion side of things, but I still enjoyed this one a lot, and I hope I can find more like it.

4 out of 5

Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling

Another wrestling doc! As these reviews go on, you’ll notice that I get stuck on themes and genres pretty often. This look into the early days of pro wrestling in The States through the eyes of the first, and biggest female wrestlers was pretty damned fascinating. I really had no idea how restrictive things were in those early days, and hearing it from these ladies, each of whom is an awesome character, is highly entertaining. The one big downside of this one for me was a lack of actual match footage. There was a little here and there, but not nearly enough for my tastes. Not my favorite movie of the week, but certainly the one with the longest title.

3 out of 5

Copyright Criminals

Yep, it was a pretty documentary heavy week in general. I’m a huge hip hop fan, and the business behind the music completely amazes me. This doc focuses on the practice of sampling, and the legality of it. I’m pretty much all for sampling, as long as permission is acquired, credit is given, and residuals are paid, but that’s not everyone’s stance. Copyright Criminals does an excellent job of finding a balance in its interviews between folks both for and against the practice. It also provides a wide array of personalities, and doesn’t get bogged down in the culture aspects that trip a lot of hip hop documentaries. If you like Copyright Criminals, I also highly recommend RiP! A Remix Manifesto.

4 out of 5

Square Grouper

I’m a huge, HUGE fan of the documentary Cocaine Cowboys. When I first saw it, I was completely transfixed. It was the most flashy, frenetic doc I’d ever seen that was still incredibly informative and well structured. I wasn’t quite as big a fan of Cocaine Cowboys 2, but I was still really impressed with the look and feel of director Billy Corben’s movies. So, when I saw Square Grouper on the shelf for rent, I knew I had to see it.

Before I get into this one, I have to warn you that this review jumps around a lot. It thought about doing a much longer form review, and I still may. For now though, you’ll just have to deal with this string of fairly random thoughts. Square Grouper has an interesting structure. It’s divided into three distinct sections each relating to the Florida marijuana trade of the 70s and 80s. The first deals with the Zion Coptic Church, and is easily the least interesting. I think that this stemmed from my own personal biases regarding religion more than anything. Like the rest of the movie, this first section is well constructed, and incredibly well shot, but it leaned a little to heavily on archive footage. The other two sections deal more directly with the smuggling operations that I was really hoping to see in this flick, and I found them far more entertaining. I kind of wish that the filmmakers had figured out a way to mix all three stories together into one narrative. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know how they could have done that, but I think it may have helped the overall product. Still, all in all a very entertaining documentary with some of the best looking interview shots I’ve ever seen.

4 out of 5 (3 for the first chapter, 5 each for the last two)

 

A Short Trip To KC

While I usually try to focus on the writing side of things here on the blog, I’m also a comic dealer. I own and operate Hurley’s Heroes here in Joplin, and I travel to a lot of local shows and set up as a dealer. This weekend I headed up to Kansas City for the KC Fan Con. Craig runs about 4 shows a year in Overland Park, and while they’re not terribly big, I usually have a good time, and make a decent amount of money. This time was no different. Despite my complete lack of preparation for the show, I reached my sales goals, and meet up with some friends I don’t get to see as often as I’d like.

The one bad thing about the show, which was completely my fault, was my lack of stock on issues of The Beauty. I started last week at the store with over 20 copies of the book, and figured that that would be enough to hold me through the weekend. Boy, was I wrong. I sold out almost completely over the course of the week, and was only able to bring 2 copies to the show!  Don’t get me wrong, there are worse problems to have, selling out of a book is a good thing. Heading to your first local show since your book came out without any copies of said book to show around, however, is pretty annoying. Luckily, I was able to hold on to one copy of the book through most of the day, and at least let people give it a look. Like I say, selling too many copies is a pretty great problem in all honesty, but if I had to pick a low point of the weekend, that’d be it.

In addition to hitting up the con, it was my old man’s birthday! Happy birthday, Dad! My dad is awesome, and totally supports all of my crazy interests. I think a big part of his support of my comic book interests is the fact that he’s also a huge nerd. His nerd is model trains, he’s been into them longer than I’ve been alive and has a massive collection. He’s also incredibly talented in the building and painting of the models, and the scenery that surrounds them. You should check out his blog for some progress on his latest projects.

On my way out of town, I hit up the excellent Elite Comics in Overland Park, and chatted up the owner, William, for a while. He’s a great guy who runs a pretty sweet shop. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend checking it out.

All in all, I had a great time.

The Beauty: Interviews and Reviews

Just a little round up of all of the press The Beauty has garnered. I wanted to make sure I had easy access to all of these links, so dumping them here seemed like a good idea. I think I’ve found pretty much everything, but if you find any I missed, please let me know in the comments!

Interviews!

We were featured in USA Today, how crazy is that!?! http://www.usatoday.com/life/comics/story/2011-10-18/Top-Cows-Pilot-Season-continues-with-The-Beauty/50815448/1

Jeremy and I were guests on an episode of Comic Book Club Live, along with James Asmus http://comicbookclublive.com/?p=78

IGN interviewed Jeremy and I before the book came out, and provided a preview http://comics.ign.com/articles/118/1185367p1.html

Jeremy gets interviewed by John Siuntres on Wordballoon http://ifanboy.com/podcasts/word-balloon-chris-roberson-and-jeremy-haun/

Reviews!

Sci-Fi Pulse calls The Beauty “Street level science fiction at it’s best.”

Newsarama’s Best Shots gives The Beauty 8 out of 10! http://www.newsarama.com/comics/best-shots-rapid-reviews-111020.html

About.com says “I think the team of The Beauty #1 has put together something good here that deserves to continue.” http://comicbooks.about.com/od/comicbookreviews/fr/The-Beauty-1-Review.htm

The Daily Blam! Gives us 4 out of 5 Blams! http://www.dailyblam.com/news/2011/10/24/erics-top-cow-productions-comics-reviews-pilot-season-2011

Ology.com calls The Beauty “…a fresh idea we haven’t really seen before.” http://ology.com/technology/top-cow-rocks-new-comic-beauty

Forever Geek likes all of the Pilot Season books, but when it comes to The Beauty, “I think I have found my winner.” http://www.forevergeek.com/2011/10/beauty%E2%80%99s-in-the-eye/

NY Mag presents”Five Comic Books Worth Braving the Comic Book Store For” http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/recommends/#books

Pat Shand writes a piece simply titled, “Vote THE BEAUTY for Pilot Season”, and I agree with him. http://patrickshand.blogspot.com/2011/10/vote-beauty-for-pilot-season.html

Critiques 4 Geeks provides another 8 out of 10 review http://www.critiques4geeks.com/2011/10/27/comic-review-the-beauty-pilot-season-issue-1/

nFamous scores The Beauty at a 4.8 out of 5! http://www.nfamousgamers.com/reviews/books/pilot-season-beauty

Nerd Locker says that The Beauty has their vote, and gives us 4 0ut 0f 5 Nerd Skulls http://www.nerdlocker.com/comics/wolverine-aquaman-walking-dead-comic-book-reviews

Other Stuff!

Newsarama’s Exclusive Process Shots http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album_view.php?gid=3725&page=20

The Beauty tops The Runaround on Bleeding Cool http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/10/12/wednesday-runaround-the-beauty-the-girl-and-other-stories/