Category: comedy

The ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Movie Reboot Needs to Go Old School!

I’ve been hearing lately that the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie franchise is going to again be rebooted after the shit show of the Michael Bay era of the reptilian heroes in a half shell. So it sparked me to revisit the original 1990 movie the other night which I hadn’t seen in probably 20 years or so. I was amazed at how well that movie has aged, seeing it in theaters back in the day I’d enjoyed it but kind of dismissed it as “kid stuff” at the time as my older brother in the 1980’s collected the original indie comic series and I’d had the chance to read them as a kid. If you’re aware of the TMNT early beginnings you’ll remember that it started off as a dark, gritty & violent comic series. I was blown away back then at the sheer oddity of the characters and the equally bizarre story lines of the originals. When I decided to revisit the 1990 TMNT film I’d forgotten just how dark that original movie actually is, especially considering today’s climate of safe moviemaking. The movie is almost closer to an R-rating than it’s original rating of PG. There’s kids smoking & drinking alcohol, robbing people, the foot beating up April O’neil, Raphael beaten into a near coma by The Foot and a badly beaten and bloodied up Splinter strung to a fence. It’s actually a pretty dark and gritty movie with the addition of the comedic surfer dude Turtles to lighten things up.

So currently we’ve got these new “TMNT” flicks, a big bloated Michael Bay produced, soul-less mess of CGI, uninspired storytelling and poor character development. The current franchise just hasn’t been connecting with fans the way they’d hoped, mainly with the amount of money that the films have made. Now they’ve got plans for a brand new reboot and it’s never been more clear just what this franchise needs to do: go old school. 

So first off let’s address the obvious big issue, imo the latest Michael Bay era CGI Turtles look terrible. They’re massive 8 foot tall green hulking humanoid turtles with creepy ass faces and not in a good way. Compare the newest incarnations with the very original designs. They couldn’t be more opposite. Even the Turtles of the 1990 movie do essentially look pretty much like what you’d hope for, sure they’ve been made much cuter but they stay fairly true to the original vision. So let’s face the facts, the original designs of the 80’s weren’t broken so why try and modernize them by making them the opposite of what they were intended to look like? Bring back the smaller classic versions of these characters, go simpler with their general design. It’s a lot easier to digest and most definitely not rocket science folks. 

Next I’d say you could go the similar route that many movies are taking by making the next movie a direct sequel to the original or at least setting the movie in the late 80s’ or early 90’s, it’s clear people love that era of film today (Stranger Things, IT anyone?). That being said bring back the suits!! Put real actors in real costumes with modern day animatronics the Turtles could look absoluterly mind blowing. The 1990 movie Turtles STILL look great and that was with a micro budget of 13.5 million dollars for the whole damn film. What they could do now would be incredible, we all want to believe that the TMNT are actually living breathing creatures and the latest movies sadly look like fakey cgi rendered cartoon characters inserted into the “real world”.

Lets get real here and let’s keep the budget low, we don’t need a TMNT movie to be on the scale of an Avengers film, we need a smaller more personal, more heartfelt movie with high stakes like the original. Next let’s get some real martial arts, real choreography and some real stunts again. One thing that blew me away revisting the 1990 movie was the actual real on screen martial arts that were displayed, it was pretty amazing actually and I’d love to see something in that vein in a brand new Turtles movie. It’d be like nothing out there in the mainstream that’s for sure. Lastly I’d love to see a darker more serious storyline, of course an “R-rated Turtles” movie would be my first choice, one that evokes the original comics would be absolutely insane. However, I know that’ll never happen so I think at the very least going as dark as the original movie would be more than good enough. Let’s see the Turtles roaming the city streets at night, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and roaming the dank sewers. Bring on the amazing real life set pieces, puppets and crazy creatures once again, I think fans would go bonkers for a throwback style TMNT. However I doubt Hollywood has the courage to try something as unique and inspired as the original movie. What do you think?!  

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VHS Verdict: 1992’s ‘Private Wars’ is a Lost Action Movie Gem!

1992’s ‘Private Wars’ from PM Entertainment is an 80’s action fan’s dream come come true. It’s got everything you’re likely to want from the genre and more which was a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t sure just what to expect when I picked this sucker up randomly on VHS recently. From the cover it didn’t look like anything particularly special but within the film’s first 5 minutes or so it was clear this was gonna be a total spectacle to behold. We’ve got a great cast here as well, one of the films several leads is Steve Railsback (Lifeforce, Nukie), who stars as an unlikely anti-hero, a drunken wild card who from the movie’s fully over the top get go sets up the mayhem that pretty much continues to ensue for the duration of the film. Also equally bad ass is Dan Tullis Jr. who you just might remember for his role as “Officer Dan” on the sitcom Married… with Children. He gives the movie a damn fine does of comedy as well as some sweet ass action!

There’s a lot of stuff to fully enjoy here and luckily the pace of the movie rarely if ever lets up. We’ve basically got a wealthy sinister asshole businessman who’s dead set on getting the inhabitants of an old neighborhood to abandon their homes so he can build a huge boring business center there. To achieve his deviant goals, he bribes the corrupt local cops and uses organized gangs to harass pretty much any woman, man or even child who sets foot near them. There’s an incredible sequence that simply must be seen to be believed where the local gangster thugs go on a crazed rampage ruining kid’s toys, jump kicking innocent side walkers, shoving the elderly people, kicking over full trash cans and destroying fruit stands! These guys mean business and they quickly cross the damn line when they set one of the beloved locals on fire. The neighborhood bands together to unsuccessfully try to stop them and soon they look to employ the skills of drunken fuck up tuff guy Steve Railsback to help the cause.

This one’s filled to the brim eratic action scenes, wild explosions, crazy ass car crashes, kung fu mayhem, charismatic characters and some pretty well timed comedy. There’s an totally hilarious scene where the neighborhood watch gets together to audition locals badasses to help them out that’s totally unforgettable. They also seem to love strapping people to the front of vehicles and the surprisingly impressive stunts and explosions make me totally miss those golden years of action movies before everything was done via CGI. Private Wars has true heart as well and throws some pretty sweet nods to ‘Rocky’ when Railsback finally cleans up his act in order to get ready for the final battle with the greedy developer and his goons. It’s the perfect party movie and is truly a forgotten gem of an action movie that’s sure to put a smile on any 80’s action fans face. Seek this one out, it’s totally worth it!!! 

 

‘Ghostbusters 3’ Desperately Needs the Original Cast!!

I was super duper pumped about the recent news of ‘Ghostbusters 3’, that’s being directed By Ivan Reitman’s son Jason. It’s going to be a direct sequel to the 80’s franchise and after literally decades of talk about a third movie it finally seems like things are back on track. We got a new Ghostbusters reboot in 2016, which to me turned out to be another forgettable remake. The 2016 version to me was about as memorable as recent remakes, the likes of Poltergeist, The Thing, Fright Night, Total Recall & The Karate Kid etc. etc. So now we’re lead to believe we’re getting a true sequel, however as more info is being released it’s starting to feel more and more like soft reboot territory.

 

What we’ve been told so far is that it’s going to focus on four teenagers, two boys and two girls who’re set to become…..the new Ghostbusters. The movie is again being called “a passing of the torch” by many. Now I get that Hollywood wants to restart the franchise with young actors so they can make a bunch more sequels and make a big cash, however there’s good way to do this and another more risky way, which Hollywood seems to be unable to resist trying over and over. I’m gonna be honest and straight forward here, fans want the third Ghostbusters film to focus on the remaining living cast from the 80’s. I fear Hollywood just doesn’t understand this and is on it’s way to make the same mistake that the latest Star Wars trilogy has made.

 

 

 ‘Ghostbusters 3′ can go the way of “passing the torch”, I’m all for that. But this third film really needs to center around the characters people have been waiting since 1989 to see. Plain and simple. We need Bill, Ernie and Dan back for one last adventure. This should indeed pass the torch to a younger team, those new characters in this installment should start out as supporting ones and by the movies end, get in on the action to help the old cast defeat whatever spooky threat has materialized. I think the latest Disney Star Wars made a big mistake by not focusing more heavily on the iconic characters from the original trilogy, rather they put them as secondary characters, pushed to the background, getting very little screen time. It’s almost like they were completely clueless about how much the fans wanted more of those classic characters just one last time. We all wanted more Leia, more Han, more Chewy, more Luke hell we wanted more of some damn R2 & C3P0 too! I think by ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ the newer characters could’ve become much more beloved by fans had they slowly worked their way into the plot rather than feel forced upon us. Continue reading

VHS Verdict: 1991’s ‘Children of the Night’ is a Forgotten Horror Gem!

Been on a VHS binge lately watching tons of old forgotten movies, some are of course are steamin’ turds but every now and again you come across something that’s a total delight! I ran across a copy of 1991’s ‘Children of the Night’ and was fairly certain it was again going to be another crapper, however this one proved to be a totally sweet romp of a horror comedy. I’m a giganto fan of 80’s horror and this one while being from 91′ has still got that great old school vibe and charm coming off the tail end of 1980’s. In my opinion a lot of flicks up through 1994 more or less continue to keep that feel in tact. That being said, I had a good feeling about this one when I’d seen that Peter Deluise of ’21 Jump Street” fame was billed as the star, I watched the shit out of that show as a kid in the 80’s and he was one of my favorite characters from the series for sure. Then I noticed Karen Black also starred and then that the director was Tony Randel of ‘Hellraiser 2’ & ‘Ticks’ fame. 

Well I’m pleased to say from the start of this one (which I found out later was actually a Fangoria production) it fully delivered the goods and then some in all the ways I’d hoped for. Playing much more like a horror comedy we get a sweet little story of of teenage girl played by Ami Dolenz (also in ‘Ticks’ from 1993) who lives in a small town and accidentally awakens a wicked vampire lord while swimming in an underground pond below a church. Yeah that’s what she and her buddy do for fun…..well schoolteacher played by Peter Deluise later comes to town to see what’s up and ends up in the thick of a vampire attack where he teams up with the teen girl and a local town drunken preacher played by vinatge SNL alumni Garrett Morris. I gotta say when he arrived it was the icing on the damn cake, he’s known also as “Chocolate Chip Charlie” from the horror classic ‘The Stuff’ from 1985 and in this movie he drives around town at night drinkin’ mad amounts of whiskey in a crazy van that’s got a giant glowing cross spear mounted on the front it it to impale vampires with. By that point in the movie I was already in, but this solidified the deal for sure.

At the end of the ‘Children of the Night’ day plays a bit like ‘Evil Dead 2’ none of it can be taken too seriously but it’s not a full on spoof either. There’s a lot of cool FX work going on here as well as cool spooky inventive sets and locations. It’s a neat little horror adventure that’s not afraid to add some heart to it either. A lot like gory teen horror comedy that’d fit quite nicely along with 80’s cult classics like ‘Vamp’, ‘Critters’ or the highly underrated ‘Night Life’ from 1989. There’s also some cool ass action sequences and you also get some Karen Black super weird vampire lung moments to ponder upon! If you’re looking for some super fun lost nostalgia to watch with a gang of movie maniacs ‘Children of the Night’ is a prime choice in my opinion!

Comic Cover of the Week: The Great Lakes Avengers X-Mas!!

Holy shit it’s Christmas eve!! I thought I take slip in rad holiday themed comic book cover from one of my favorite Marvel comics super teams, The Great Lakes Avengers! Hailing from my old stompin’ grounds of Wisconsin, these midwest misfits don’t ever seem to get the respect they deserve! Aside from Squirrel Girl, who’s now a superstar, these dudes haven’t been given enough respect & deserve in my humble opinion their very own damn movie!! This great cover from 2006 drawn by Paul Pelletier is a ton of fun to behold. The issue itself is pretty damn great as well! A must read this Holiday!!!! Long live the Great Lakes Avengers!!

Universal Dork’s 2018 Radical Recommended Holiday Viewing!

We’re getting closer to the big day-yep Christmas will be soon upon us, from now until then though what’s out there worth a view on the ol’ tube? It can be tuff to find new things each year to check out, sometimes the usual traditional movies and specials need a break.

I mean you can only watch the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ so many times right? That being said here’s a few ideas this year of some Christmas movies worth a spin from Universal Dork! Let’s get the holiday party started already!!

 

The Christmas Chronicles (2018) 

I checked out this new Christmas movie which you can stream on Netflix last night and thought it was actually a ton of fun. We’ve got Kurt Russell as slightly rough around the edges Santa, who’s sleigh gets into an accident when a brother and sister sneak aboard it while he’s out delivering presents. It’s a sweet little holiday movie with some decent comedy & fun adventure. Russell’s Santa teams up with the two kids and they try and help him save Christmas after he loses his gift sack in the sleigh crash. For new Holiday stuff this one was WAY better than what I was initially expecting.

 

Silent Partner (1978)

This is an interesting one that I just discovered this year while searching for forgotten holiday movies, a Canadian thriller set during Christmas. A mild mannered bank teller gets wind of a bank robbery plot ahead of time and steals the cash himself before the thieves arrive. When the psycho robber, who’s also a mall Santa realizes he’s been tricked, he hunts down the teller with a serious bone to pick to try and get the cash for himself. This one’s a forgotten Holiday gem of a thriller!

 

The Children (2008)

This one’s on my list for a revisit over the next week or so, I remembered thinking it was a pretty effective British holiday themed horror flick when I saw it back in 2008. Taking place during the Christmas season it follows two family’s who get together for a snow filled weekend of fun. Things take a turn when their children become psycho killers after contracting some sort of disease. Check it out if you’re looking for something truly scary this Christmas! 

 

Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo (1995)

Here’s one that’s a ton of fun, Frostbiter was filmed back in the late 80’s but wasn’t released until 1995 when Troma decided to finally get it out there to the public. It’s a snow packed, low budget, splatter filled tale that’s in the same arena as Evil Dead 2. It also stars Ron Asheton, famed guitar legend of The Stooges, has a bunch of cool puppets, bad ass stop motion monsters and takes place in the fictional town of Bedford Falls, where “It’s a Wonderful Life” takes place. It’s got a pretty cool soundtrack as well and for a budget of ten thousand bucks this one is way more fun that it should be! Watch the FULL movie here… 

 

Life & Adventures of Santa Claus (1985)

Total forgotten Rankin Bass weirdness, this stop motion production looks like it could take place in the RB Rudolph universe however it’s somehow got more in common with The Lord of the Rings! A weird adventure that follows Santa’s early years as he hangs out with forest Wizards and battles orc like monsters who want to put the kibosh on his plans of toy making! One of my favorites, it’s a pretty bizarre Christmas production from Rankin Bass that many people haven’t heard of!  

 

Night of the Comet (1984)

It’s been sooo long since I’ve watched this one but the other day I’d remembered that ‘Night of the Comet’ is somewhat of a holiday movie, taking place around at the time of Christmas. This year it’s on the watch list. This cult classic features a group of survivors of a zombie attack triggered by a strange comet find themselves on the run from mad scientists as well. There’s a ton of Christmas references and it’s filled to the absolute brim with 1980’s goodness-give this a whirl this year too! 

WTF…’Ghostbusters 3′ MIGHT be Happening Now?! Not this AGAIN!

Ok let me clarify my statement above, I’ve got my fingers totally crossed that ‘Ghostbusters 3’ indeed happens, but it seems like us Ghostbusters fans have been teased with the idea of the damn sequel movie happening for far too long. Over the years it’s been a tug of war battle to get this movie made, it’s happening, then it’s not, then it is, then Bill Murray isn’t into it, then Murray is into it but only as a ghost, then instead we get an all female cast movie instead, then the female cast one is getting a sequel, then it’s not, now Ghostbusters 3 is back in development- blah blah blah. Yeah maybe it’s just me but this whole Ghostbusters thing has gotten a bit tiring.

Anyway that all being said, I really DO want part 3 dammit!! I just don’t want to be jerked around, either do it or don’t. Maybe you heard just a day or so ago that Dan Aykroyd had some interesting news that came out of the blue about the third installment to the original story while being interviewed by Dan Rather, he stated “There is a possibility of a reunion with the three remaining Ghostbusters… It’s being written right nowI think Billy will come. The story’s so good. Even if he plays a ghost” the actor said. This certainly gets me excited once again about seeing the remaining characters reunite to take down some ghosts but I can’t help but wonder if this is all just simply more talk. With the passing of Harold Ramis I figured it was truly the last nail in the coffin for a sequel to ever see the light of day. He went on further saying “I think we got a story that’s gonna work. It’s being written by a really good filmmaker, can’t say the names, but they’re a good team, they’re making an effort to bring back all the spirit and the emotion of the first two movies, and then take it into the 21st century with a vernacular that’s needed today to get it a crossed.”

However it seems Dan Aykroyd is back at it again, trying to gather some steam behind the proposed third movie. I really do wonder if Murray would ever truly get on board? I think it’s likely the question of just how good IS the current ‘Ghostbusters 3’ script? I’m fairly certain people would indeed be pretty excited for an official sequel and I think if Bill Murray isn’t down with it they should just do it anyway with Ernie Hudson and Aykroyd in their iconic roles. Perhaps they’re retired from ghost busting as paranormal phenomenon hasn’t been occurring since the events of the second movie? What happens though when strange things begin to happen again, perhaps the two, down on their luck “has beens” get a second chance to shine? Perhaps they’ll need a couple new recruits to help them? There’s most definitely a story there worth exploring and I really do hope Aykroyd can back up his claims and get a REAL sequel green lit. Of course if they could snag Murray, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis to star as well that’d be a true treat for fans. I’m rooting for Dan Aykroyd to make this happen-what do you think?