One of the sweetest, feel good movies in recent memory, ‘Love & Monsters’ came as a totally welcome surprise! And that’s all being said as someone who’s normally pretty tough on newer horror/fantasy/sci fi movies. Love & Monsters which came out last year may not have the most original plot but it more than makes up for any shortcomings with its impressive special effects and it’s truly heartwarming adventure. I guess I’d at first glance describe this as having somewhat of a “Zombieland” type of a thing going on and it might be easily dismissed as just some wimpy copycat. On the contrary, Love and Monsters buries ‘Zombieland’ (and especially the sequel), with what I think are just plain more likable characters who embark a much more compelling and colorful adventure in general.
Roughly seven years after the Earth was subjected to a mysterious monster invasion, the rather cowardly Joel Dawson has been living underground with a small pod of people trying to avoid what lurks above. He spends his time reconnecting over the radio with his high school girlfriend, Aimee, whom he was separated from when the tragedy hit and also cooking his signature soup for his crew. When the feelings of isolation and cabin fever finally get the best him he decides to muster up the courage to head to the world above. Seeking to finally reunite with his lost love who resides 80 miles away at a coastal colony, as he surmises that there’s nothing really left for him underground anymore. As he heads out alone he soon realizes he’s hardly prepared for the dangers all around him in the outside world. Mutant monsters are hungry and lurking around nearly every corner.
One of the high points here is the inclusion of charming canine character named “Boy”. Lifting a bit from ‘A Boy and his Dog’ (minus the weird sex plot) in a much sweeter way, we get the best of both world’s here for this little apocalyptic adventure. ‘Boy’ proves to be the show stealer here imo and his bond with Joel makes dealing with the dangers a bit less frightening, all things considered. The two make an excellent team against the creatures and it’s clear that they both need each other more than they likely ever realized for piece of mind in a crazy world. He also meets a few other interesting characters, a pair of wandering scavengers, Michael Rooker along with the ruff and tumble little girl named ‘Minnow’. Joel soon learns the tricks of the trade from them and has to make a big decision on the outcome of his journey. One of the best scenes involves a strange AI intelligence, who brings even more unexpected meaning to his travels.
The whole thing is a great exercise in escapism during these real life uncertain times we all face at the moment. It also shows just how important real human (and animal) connections will hopefully always be to us here on the planet as we move forward. As we’re feeling isolated to certain degrees currently, Love and Monsters showcases some parallels to the current state of affairs. I guess we can all at least be relieved that big mutant monsters aren’t waiting to chomp us to bit when we head outside at least?
Let me get to the monsters here as well, I was half expecting some sort of chintzy fx work here to spoil the damn party. Not the case, the creatures here though mostly CGI are a treat to behold and for the most part are pretty convincing threats to our heroes. As a HUGE fan of monster movies I think it hits that sweet spot quite nicely. There’s also some cool plot twists and of course some admittedly hokey ones that otherwise might not have worked without such strong characters at the forefront. If you’re looking for “Calgon to take you away” (80’s kids you know the reference) from the worries of the real world, I can’t think of a better new fantasy adventure flick to visit than ‘Love and Monsters’, easily one of my faves of 2020!
I’m all for 80’s throwback nostalgia, it was the decade where I spent most of my damn childhood for cryin’ out loud. That being said HBO’s “home pandemic theater” holiday release ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ should have really been a dream come true for me. Literally tailor made for someone just like me who still often longs for the good old days and full on nostalgia of the 1980s. However ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ somehow completely misses the mark and simply seems to try an make a checklist of what Hollywood thinks we want to see from that era, it’s the DCEU’s version of 2016’s ‘X-Men: Age of Apocalypse’, which in my opinion supremely failed at what should have been a sure-fire nostalgic hit with the awesome source material they had in their hands.
The funny thing is I’m not quite sure how to pin point just exactly what doesn’t work for me with Wonder Woman 1984. On paper it sounded like a wonder-ful idea to have Diana Prince hangin’ out in that particularly colorful fun filled era of cinema. It just made sense. There seems like so many totally radical scenarios to put her and the supporting characters in, but as the movie slogged by with it’s flimsy plot it was quite clear to me: This was not the 1980s I remember sooooo fondly. I guess the main problem is the plot’s pointlessly random approach to almost everything that occurs in it 2 hour and 30 minute run time. Dressing it all up in wild neon 80s fashion and the whole “fish out of water” approach just doesn’t save this one from being a bit of a stinker. I know Patty Jenkins was attempting to recreate the magic of Richard Donner’s Superman and and in the first 20 minutes it seemed like she was on track. It was soon apparent though it had more in common with say, George Lucas’ ‘Howard the Duck’ than ‘Superman II’.
Something this time around about Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman just didn’t resonate with me in the way it did in the charming first installment. Sure we got the ‘Mandalorian’ himself Pedro Pascal as the greedy “Lex Luthor” type villain who apparently has spent his entire life searching for some ancient magic crystal that grants wishes-why? Who knows and I guess who really cares right? Then you have Kristen Wiig playing the frumpy coworker of Diana’s at the Smithsonian Institute, who’s also set on becoming the next Iconic villain for Wonder Woman. Far from it. Of course Pedro Pascal or ‘Max Lord’ conveniently figures out that the two of them are in possession of and studying his most coveted crystal treasure. Things from there increase to get incredibly uninteresting, the pace slows way down and lets you enjoy the most boring aspects of the 1980s. Oh but wait, we just cannot forget Diana’s ex-lover, Chris Pine shows up, resurrected from the dead and randomly in the body of another man for some reason that I guess is connected to the magic crystal’s wish granting power.
The action scenes are decent, the acting isn’t half-bad and the 80s backdrop was for the most part handled fairly well. But this movie’s bland overly random plot points combined with it’s stereotypically boring supporting characters (mainly two uninteresting villains with ridiculous motivations) had me checking the time counting down the minutes tell it’d finally be over.
We do of course get to see Wonder Woman in a fully CGI final battle against a (for some reason fully CG) generated Kristin Wiig “Cheetah” that harkens back to that terrible final fight underground train sequence in the Black Panther! Yeeehaw! Trust me as someone who grew up in the 80s I can assure you they were much more totally radical than this. As a fan of the first outing this one, as we said in the 80’s this one gagged me with a spoon….I’ll gladly take THIS instead any day!
I’ve seen some heated arguments out there lately about the upcoming SHE-HULK “Disney+” series, something I’d never have expected to be an issue a few years ago even. However it’s now 2020 and everything seems to quickly escalate into some sort of major online argument or politicized debate, yes even She-Hulk has become a goddamn hot-topic! The big issue at hand is what version if the character we’ll see in MCU?! For most of her existence in the Marvel comics, She-Hulk was known for being well, let’s not beat around the bush…NOT particularly ugly. She was, for me as a kid growing up in the 1980’s one of my very first crushes. The Hulk was and still is my favorite superhero and when I saw She-Hulk for the first time I was admittedly an instant fan! Yeah slightly embarrassing…I guess? Or what the hell, maybe not!
She-Hulk in the 1980’s was also one of the most fun loving characters in all of the Marvel Universe, seeming fully confident in her green skin. Jennifer Walters really embraced her inner “Hulk”, unlike her cousin Bruce. She dealt with plenty of sexism in the pages of the classic comics, but many today are accusing the many of the male writers/artists of the past for blatantly exploiting and sexualizing her character. She-Hulk in the 1980’s was indeed a bit of sex symbol in the comics as were plenty of the ultra sculpted male characters but let’s be fair here, She-Hulk was indeed through the years given some of the most ridiculously cringeworthy scantily clad moments by artists. That being said, the classic third wall breaking John Byrne run of She-Hulk in 1989, was a truly unique approach even though it obvious he was truly delighted drawing her every curve.
I need to re-read those to see how it holds up today and see just how offensive it might be in 2020? Up until recently, I’d thought 80’s She-Hulk would be a great basis for a new series but times have changed right? Now She-Hulk, in the current comics is basically a female version of The Incredible Hulk, she’s essentially rejected her more feminine, “sexy” side & has serious regrets about her past looks and behavior. So an MCU Disney Plus She-Hulk series faces the issue, should She-Hulk be a more serious crime drama in the age of #metoo or a comedic, third wall breaking courtroom comedy?
Should the show be a more politicized statement on current affairs in the age of a sexist chump like Donald Trump? A wild female Jekyl & Hyde monster thriller? Or a sort of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” self aware NYC comedy? My idea is how about we combine ALL the approaches into one. The best of all worlds? Start the show off as Jennifer Walters navigates through the current landscape of things, as ridiculous as things are in the Trump era combined with how over the top PC things have sometimes become at the same time? Perhaps Jennifer’s Hulk out starts off as more of a comedic creature feature, and she quickly figures out how to tame her inner Hulk thanks to Ruffalo’s Banner Hulk.
Whatever they decide the real issue remains, should She-Hulk reject her “sexy” side and go full monster? How should she appear? In 2020 it might be frowned upon for her to keep that 1980s, 90s & 2000s look and instead embrace the more ultra muscular modern “Hulk” look. I think I’d be happy with either, but my final thought is a blend of the two is what would work best. They way I’ve seen her depicted at times has bothered me a bit, like when she essentially looks like a ridiculous green skinned porn star with no muscle tone. Here’s the best look in my opinion of what the MCU She-Hulk should probably look like, the more powerful amazonian look:
What do you think?!
I headed out to the local video store the other night (yeah in Portland we still got an amazing one called Movie Madness) to rent some movies, just like we used to do back in the good ol’ days. Let’s face it folks, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the bland streaming services like Netflix and physically roam around a video store in hopes of stumbling across something entertaining. I decided this time I’d check out some new stuff I haven’t seen streaming out there.
First up was ‘Gags The Clown’ a movie I’d wanted to check out for quite some time now, being a Wisconsin native for much of my life & knowing this horror flick takes place in Green Bay (a place I’d personally hung out so many times in my teens & twenties) made this a no brainer rental. The cover art alone is pretty awesome and would look lovely gracing an old VHS.
Anyway I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a giant fan of “found footage” horror movies and it’s been pretty played out these days in my opinion at least. But in this case I was lured in mainly because I’m just downright intrigued by movies made in ‘The Dairy state’. So the idea of ‘Gags’ was inspired by the whole creepy clown roaming the streets in real life viral video phenomenon a few years or so back. The interesting thing here is that creator of ‘Gags’ actually took advantage of this using his character to supposedly fool local Green Bay residents and the local news to report on it, eventually gathering up some worldwide interest in the creepy clown. A pretty brilliant marketing move to say the least. Continue reading
So some interesting plot info finally dropped about the upcoming “Ghostbusters 3” now officially known as ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’. If you missed it here’s what was recently released:
“The Third installment centers on Callie (Carrie Coon) and her kids Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) as the move to Oklahoma into a haunted house that reveals their family connection to one of the original Ghostbusters – though which of the four is Phoebe and Trevor’s grandfather remains unrevealed. The Ghostbusters’ 1984 stand against Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man has all but faded from the memory of modern day teens (as tends to happen), so Trevor and Phoebe will need to get some contextual help from an older guide: enter Paul Rudd’s summer school teacher character, Mr. Grooberson. Grooberson was a kid during the events of the Ghostbusters original adventure, and has been an obsessed fanboy ever since. It will be Grooberson who helps guide Phoebe and Trevor toward dusting off the Ghostbusters mantle – hopefully in time to save the town from whatever is in that haunted mine.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife a direct sequel to Ghostbusters 2, following up on the events of what is now called the “Manhattan Crossrip,” in which ghosts and other apparitions (including the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man) materialized in New York City. “
So this all sounds great right? There’s been some images released showing the younger cast of kids, who are assumed to become the new Ghostbusters. I’m hoping this one’s not going to try and give us a yet another “Stranger Things” type of scenario, as much as I was thrilled with the Netflix show I’ve been feeling like there’s been a bit of an overflow of movies and tv shows trying to do the same thing due to the it’s success. What worries me the most here is the lack of mention of the original cast, even in the photos released. Sure we all know they are going to be in the movie, but they also made appearances in Ghostbusters 2016. So for as a fan of the originals, I’m pretty damn interested in seeing just what the hell our favorite characters are up to these days. Am I alone here on that? I think the movie needs to give the original cast ample screen time and a decent part of the plot should be dedicated to them. I’m growing tired of these “sequels” sidelining the original characters, they’d better no pull a “Luke Skywalker” on old crew.
So my one desire for this new movie is that we see the original Ghostbusters actually bust some damn ghosts just one last time! Please don’t give them all just the obligatory cameo. I wanna see the old crew actually have something important to do before they pass the torch for good. Otherwise I feel this sequel is going to end up pissing off fans once again in the way ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ blew it’s second chance opportunity to be something fans would never forget as a direct sequeL to T2 . I’m hoping that in the trailer (which drops Monday) they indeed show the original cast too, if not I’ll be guessing they’ll likely have very small roles. What do you think? Wouldn’t you love to see the original cast actually be a real part of this film? What do you think their role will be?
It’s directed by Jason Reitman, the son of Ivan Reitman who directed both Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2. So I’m cautiously keeping my fingers crossed he’s going to give us the sequel we always wanted…
John Byrne’s run on the Fantastic Four in the 80’s is arguably the best the title has ever seen. One of the biggest changes the legendary team encountered during his run was when The Thing left the team & She-Hulk replaced him. It was a risky move at the time, but Jennifer Walters rounded out the female ratio quite nicely with her brute strength, beauty and charming sense of humor. We all know that Byrne was a huge fan of She-Hulk and Fantastic Four #275 features the character in one of my favorite covers. She-Hulk, especially in the 80’s had to deal with a LOT of sleazy men gawking over her, this cover features a prime example of exactly that. I’m also looking at this cover and thinking this depiction of the character would be a great one to base look of the upcoming MCU tv series character on. There’s so much you could do with She-Hulk in a live action series and I’m hoping it adds the comedic elements of Byrne’s classic version of the character. I’ve always loved John Byrne and to this day his iconic 70’s and 80’s comic book art, in my opinion, is easily some of the best of the era. This cover is truly classic SHE-HULK!
I love all those real life robot videos out there from Boston Dynamics, they are simply a marvel to behold. The technology these days involved in robotics is stunning and even a bit creepy but one thing is for certain these robots aren’t going away anytime soon!
One thing that that I always found funny are the videos where the humans are fucking with the robots to test their durability and balance, pushing them over and just basically making them look like complete fools. Here’s a real life example of what I’m talking about:
Well this latest video from the Youtube channel “Corridor” sure does hit the spot when we get a glimpse of a robot who’s just plain had enuff!! The VFX wizards behind this video have got people out there seeing the rise of robots in our modern culture in a whole new way- check this amazing shit out!!
Here’s a pretty neat little modern throwback horror movie I took a chance on recently that turned out be quite a bit of fun. ‘Book of Monsters‘ is a low budget British creature feature that clearly makes it’s best attempt to harken back to the gory glory days of 80’s horror flicks like ‘Evil Dead 2’ & ‘Night of the Creeps’. It takes place on the main character, Sophie’s 18th birthday, when she reluctantly decides to throw a birthday party at her house. Her and her two friends are hardly the cool kids in school and aren’t even sure anyone will actually show up. To their surprise the birthday bash attracts a whole crew of unruly teens and even a few of the school bullies. Well it doesn’t take long before some weird supernatural shit goes down due to meddling with a necronomicon type of book. A full on bloodbath occurs when some creatures emerge from another dimension, invade her house and begin to slaughter the rowdy party guests. Sophie and her pals must band together to fend off the attack and protect their classmates from monster carnage.
It’s a simple story to follow and with a short run time of 84 minutes it’s a perfect party movie (literally) to watch on a Saturday nite with a gang of old school horror fans. One of it’s strongest parts is the protagonist Sophie, who’s a totally likable heroine who struggles with self esteem, teenage sexuality and the strange events of her past which tie into the supernatural events that occur. She’s also one of the only gay horror hero’s I can really recall seeing and they present this aspect of her character in a way that doesn’t feel fully forced into the narrative. Sure we got some bigoted bullies and typical teen jerks but those were always prevalent in the 80’s teen horror movies that likely inspired this one.
Now onto the horror aspect of things, though I liked the movie, I’ve got to admit I’m a bit tired of the ‘evil book/necronomicon’ angle of things, it feels pretty played out and I kind of wish they’d have used a different reasoning for the summoning of the monsters. Hardly a complaint really as once things get going here it’s pretty fun & action packed. The monster & gore effects are pretty ambitious for the most part. For the budget they had to work with they deliver a fair share of cool practical fx work avoiding for the most part cgi entirely (if my memory serves me correctly). The monster designs are pretty good too, one looks a bit like it was ripped out of M. Knight Shyamalan’s the village, one’s like a standard slasher dude and the other is kind of like a “Natasha Henstridge” Species/cenobite type-o creature. They all do a decent amount of gory, goopy damage too & it’s all executed in a fairly cartoonish way so it could easily be digested by the light weight horror fans. Oh yeah some evil garden gnomes are thrown in as well, that with a little more budget could have been far more crowd pleasing- but still an “A” for effort. There’s lots of chainsaws and general ass kicking done by the three female leads and even though most Hollywood blockbusters are trying to currently shoehorn girl power into movies ‘Book of Monsters’ does it in a tasteful way that doesn’t feel like it’s blatantly pushing some agenda for brownie points.
If ‘Book of Monsters‘ had been released in 1987 it’d have been a bonafide cult classic, it’s a nice switch from all the shoddy CGI & digital blood of modern horror movies. It leaves the door open for a sequel and I think if it gets one with more cash behind it, there’s a possibility the second installment could very well end up as a modern day cult classic. For the meantime though I think the best crowd for ‘Book of Monsters’ are those who miss the glory days of 1980’s schlock, goofy gore & teen horror flicks!
Damn! This dropped a day or so ago, it’s a fan made film that’s updating Star Wars: A New Hope’s classic but clunky fight between Obi Wan & Darth Vader. They used bits from the original movie and orchestrated a whole new fight sequence between the two and the results are pretty stunning to say the least. I never really minded the fight in ‘A New Hope’ but was also never wowed by it either.
This video from FXitinpost titled “Star Wars: SC 38” video which means “Scene 38” gives the classic fight more tension, more action and much more danger than the original with out going to far over the top with back flips, matrix back arches etc. Of course due to budgetary restraints you can see some CG spots a bit in the background and obviously they cgi’d Obi wan’s face several times over the stunt actor doing the battle with Vader. That’s all ok, because as you can see the passion behind it, the general idea they’re going for & choreography are pretty fucking incredible. Check it out as it adds a whole new dimension to this sequence in the movie!
One thing I’d like to ad, after watching this video, it got me thinking about how I’d hoped for something like this for an older Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi, squaring off against Kylo Ren or The Knights of Ren. Instead I got my hopes and expectations “subverted” by director Rian Johnson. It’s odd that fans are more capable these days of giving fans of Star Wars, material that they might actually find more exciting than a multi billion dollar corporation can. I think Disney Star Wars needs to pay attention to videos like this so we can avoid uninspired scenes like this next one I’m posting, where an iconic character we haven’t seen for 30 plus years is replaced with as a ‘hologram’ & sorta “battle” for 30 seconds:
Ok, I went from insanely excited about a reboot of Hellboy to now wishing that Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman were back again instead for a third installment. I loved the del Toro Hellboy movies but also recognized that they really didn’t capture the true tone of Mike Mignola’s visionary comic book series. Visually they were damn near perfect but I’d always hoped for a darker version of Hellboy to appear onscreen as a fan of the source material. I was positive that latest director Neil Marshall was finally gonna deliver the goods. I’m a huge fan of his debut werewolf flick ‘Dog Soldiers’ and his companion piece ‘The Descent’ was just as damn good. From the start, Marshall made many claims that this new version of Hellboy was going to have the feel of the comic books, much darker, gothic and less comedic than del Toro’s lighter take on the series. Well now after seeing both trailers for the movie at this point it seems the new incarnation of Hellboy is more or less the same take on the character we got from the previous films. At least from what the trailers reveal.
The only thing that feels different is the dropping of the ‘F-word’ and some shoddy CGI blood sprinkled about in the trailer. Heck it even seems as if David Harbour is doing a full on Ron Perlman impersonation and the wacky comedy seems just as prevalent (if not more so) here in the two trailers as it was in the del Toro movies. Why even replace Ron at this point if you’re just gonna do the same take on the character? Sure Harbour’s version appears to be not quite as cute visually but it still feels basically just like Ron. The trailer’s got a cheaper production quality as well in my opinion, dare I say a more generic vibe to it as well when you compare it del Toro’s perfect gothic style.
I was also a bit surprised to see just how CG heavy this footage was, Neil Marshall had originally boasted the movie was going to largely utilize practical effects over digital to give it a more real world feel. Instead I’m seeing a lot of truly subpar standard Hollywood digital effects at play here and it’s making me miss del Toro’s vision all the more. I’m gonna call it here, a prediction that Hellboy is going to flop. The one thing the first two movies had going for it were that they really stood out from the crowd, while this so far looks sadly like another bland Hollywood blockbuster.
I’d also heard that Mike Mignola, (the creator of the character/legendary artist), stated early on that this movie was much more in line with his vision of the character that the previous installments. I’m not sure as he’d stated that quite some time ago, if perhaps the production somewhat switched gears and now we’re getting a more standard “what you’d expect” from a big Hollywood production. The comic books are are truly incredible and anyone who’s only familiar with the movies might be quite surprised at how different the tone of them are from movies. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that there’s a real Hellboy movie here that hasn’t been presented in these two trailers. I’m still going to see it, but man am I disappointed with what I’ve seen so far. Any other fans of the comic book out there feel the same way or disagree? Let me know!