Has anyone been checking out the latest season of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’? Am I the only one who’s feels like this show has seriously lost it’s original charm? It’s been a while since we’ve seen ol’ Larry David in action (six years to be exact) and now he’s finally returned to get back into all those uncomfortable situations most people have similarly experienced at some point in our lives. Well after checking out the last few episodes of this new season, which I was pumped about, it’s clear Larry and Co. have ultimately lost the brilliant situational comedy the show’s most well known for. Every damn situation he gets himself into feels incredibly forced & too dang silly to really feel relatable to anymore. Most of all this new season so far feels A LOT like a parody of itself.
‘Curb’ feels like it’s lost it’s originality, now putting Larry into situations that unfold in the most predictable ways possible. From miles away you can see where every awkward moment is going end up. Whether he’s opening a pickle jar or grabbing cookies in a hotel lobby with his fingers rather than the tongs, it always advances the show’s plot to another unbelievable level. It’s maybe just gotten a bit too self aware for it’s own good? For me the past seasons for the most part, felt like Larry was existing in the real world and it made all of his antics that much more relatable. You’d feel like, you’d been there before and many times Mr. David would say the shit you’d wished you could, but were too afraid of suffering the consequences.
Now no matter where he goes he’s always got people who feel like they’re programmed to cause a stink over anything and everything the dude does. Like Portlandia some of these situations just drag on far too long now and a lot of the dialogue now feels like it was written by a fan of the show trying their best to make things as uncomfortable as humanly possible as much as possible. We’ve lost the realism that directly fueled the comedy and made everything that David said and did that much more cringeworthy & consequential.
We get it, Larry is always saying and doing the wrong thing, but in the past it felt a bit like we were watching a real guy navigate through the real world. This season follows, in my opinion, a once brilliant formula a bit too by the numbers. In the past we’d never quite know when or why the shit was gonna hit the fan. Perhaps they’ve run out of ideas or perhaps now the landscape of things even in six years have changed so drastically that Larry’s just not relevant in the way he used to be. Whatever the case I had to make a quick rant, I still find aspects of the funny don’t get me wrong, this was one of my favorite comedies of all time, I’m gonna finish the season but dang do I miss Larry’s glory days…what do you think?
Last night I had the pleasure of seeing a fantastic lost haunted house 80’s gem from Japan called ‘Sweet Home’! I only heard great things about this one recently online while looking for obscure horror movies and just had to check it out for myself. It was never released here in the USA but luckily there’s a great site called Twisted Anger that has some excellent lost cinema you can purchase if you’re not thrilled about watching movies on Youtube (it however is indeed on Youtube).
Sweet Home has some real sweet things going for it, right from the start of the movie it’s clear some love went into the production of this one. It’s beautifully shot and filled with some stunning locations and sets peices. Writer & director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, who’s probably most well known for his 2001 horror film ‘Pulse’ does a great job here letting his spooky tale unfold on screen with tons of color and a great score to accompany it as well. We follow a TV production crew who’re making a documentary about the legendary, now deceased painter, Mamiya Ichiro. They trek out into the foggy countryside to his creepy abandoned mansion and begin exploring, discovering his strange paintings about the house. Soon they begin filming & are confronted by a deadly presence that intends to possess and destroy all who remain inside.
It’s a simplistic story that takes some nice twists and turns along the way and is filled with some colorful characters as well as some nice comedic moments thrown in for good measure. The real star of the show however is clearly the movies excellent special fx work from American master of trade Dick Smith. Smith’s got an impressive resume too as he’s well known for his work on movies like The Exorcist, Poltergeist 2, Scanners, Altered States, Taxi Driver, to name a few. The movie starts off with a quiet tone however when weird shit begins to go down Smith’s stunning fx work really pushes the movie into new territory and is a true glory to behold. The quiet little ghost story by the finale explodes into an action packed visual feast with one of the best onscreen ghostly monsters of the 1980’s. Creepy babies, melting men, monsters & with tons of that 80’s electricity I adore so much, it really contains some “why the fuck have I never seen this before” moments that if you’re a fan of that classic decade of horror you’ll truly appreciate and likely never forget.
From what I’ve read about this movie, it’s been said the director wasn’t happy with this or really most of his 80’s work. Like ‘Poltergeist’ where it’s rumored Steven Speilberg was actually the one on set with the megaphone rather than Tobe Hooper, Sweet Home’s producer was also rumored to be quite an imposing force to director Kurosawa’s final vision. Still the movie manages to be one helluva good time despite any behind the scenes squabbling and is must see for any fans of ghostly 80’s horror done right. The movie also spawned a rather hard to find Nintendo NES Capcom video game as well as being the main inspiration of ‘Resident Evil’. I recommend seeking this odd little lost treasure of flick out this halloween, the fx alone are worth the price of admission!
I’ve been soooo pumped for ‘Cult of Chucky’ ever since the stunning after credits scene of the awesome previous installment ‘Curse of Chucky’ back in 2013. So this week I wasted no time when it was released streaming on Netflix tuesday, the question was it worth the wait for all of us Chucky-fans?!
Overall I’m gonna say it was a pretty compelling sequel, but it for me didn’t quite live up to the full on battle royale I was hoping for between Andy Barclay (yeah the actor kid, Alex Vincent, from the first two movies returns!!) and ol’ Chuck. Once I got past that aspect of the movie, the fact of the matter is that it brings some great new twists and turns to now ongoing epic story of the legendary killer Good Guy doll. I guess in my head I pictured Andy being more of the main focus of this one, finally settling the score once and for all. From the movie’s strong start we get an awesome glimpse into Andy’s world now and how he’s become somewhat of a gun toting, weapon wielding badass (still claiming though he’s all for gun control). I love the opening sequence and it alone has some great surprises that will get your heart a pumpin’.
The majority of the rest of the movie follows ‘Nica’, Charles Lee Ray’s daughter (Fiona Dourif) as she’s imprisoned in a mental institution, brainwashed, believing Chucky isn’t real and in fact she’s the one responsible for the murderous rampage of the last film. Along the way we meet some interesting characters in the psyche ward and of course Jennifer Tilly, who looks totally amazing still somehow by the way, returns to start some major mischief herself! This one’s full of crazy surprises, plot twists and some ultra impressive gory moments. It’s also got it’s fair share of comedy, some of it landing and some it not so much. Chucky looks pretty awesome too and this time around they’ve steered away from using any CG to enhance his movement or face. There are a few dodgy scenes of CG I could have done without and to be quite honest I wasn’t a big fan of the “way too shiny” look of the insane asylum but hey maybe that’s how these places actually look in 2017?
Without spoiling anything I can say there are some great scenes involving Andy and it’s really great have him back for old fans of the franchise, I mean who’d have ever thought we’d see the original actor back again in the role?! I also really love the ending of this movie, at least the new insane development it brings to the table, what the HELL happens next? We’re left with a great cliffhanger, part of me was a bit surprised when the movie ended, it seemed like the finale was really ramping up and then boom it was over, to me a bit too soon. Overall though ‘Cult of Chucky’ shows how a horror franchise can continue on without being given a flimsy forgettable Hollywood remake. It adds a bizarre new chapter to the Child’s Play story with fresh new ideas and surprises a’ plenty-what did you think?!
OH yeah, the Netflix version doesn’t for some reason feature the after credits sequence that’s on the DVD – seek it out if you’re a big fan of the movies, it’s another great scene and return of a classic character from the franchise!!
Hot Daaayum! I’ve been swamped with work lately and totally unable to find the time to do some damn bloggin’ but now I’m back!! As you all may realize I love hunting for old vhs tapes, you just never know what the hell you’re going to find next as there’s seemingly a limitless supply of oddball movies from the 1970’s & 80’s out there waiting to be stumbled upon. Well while I was out hunting for cool shit for my vintage shop Hollywood Babylon in Portland, Oregon (shameless self promotion) I of course found a bunch of interesting vhs tapes as well. One such was an creepy looking movie from 1977 called “Whiskey Mountain”. You just never know what you’re going to get and when I searched online for info on this flick there really wasn’t much on the web about it, so I figure I’ll try and put this one on the map a little more.
Well this is actually a pretty weird little 70’s ‘hixploitation’ flick that surely fueled more modern movies like “Wrong Turn” & “Tucker & Dale vs Evil”. I checked out the trailer for this on youtube before viewing and it looked like something worth at the very least checkin out, yeah the trailer was full of some pretty frantic 70’s action sequences & a ton of cool ass over the top 70’s fashion. A little more research online made me even more intrigued as the director William Grefe also hlemed a truly bizarre movie I totally dig called “Impulse” that stars William Shatner in his most ridiculously psychotic over the top performance of his career. So yeah I was eager to see what this had to offer. Here’s a little snippet from ‘Impulse’ so you get the gist of what Shatner’s got going on…
With ‘Whiskey Mountain’ we’ve got full on action right from the start as we meet our two main cowboys who appear far too old to be participating in a crazy dirt bike motocross race, but more power to em! One of the lead actors Christopher George is somewhat of a horror icon starring in cult classics like “Mortuary”, “Graduation Day”, “City of the Living Dead” & “The Exterminator” so I was pretty curious what ol’ Whiskey Mountain might offer me. I realized from the box that the movie was rated PG though, so I wasn’t expecting things to get too twisted. Well these two motorbike riding Marlboro men and their girlfriend’s all head off on a road trip to find a place called…you guessed it..Whiskey Mountain, a place where the weird ass locals claim doesn’t exist, which clearly means it does! Supposedly there’s treasure up some where in those hills and our two lovely 70’s couples are on a quest to find it. Of course things get freaky pretty quick when the local hillbillies at the filling station try to make lewd advances at one of the women.
At this point we follow the couple’s journey into the mountains where they encounter raging forest fires, waterfalls and of course hillbillies who’re dead set on stealing women’s panties while the gang skinny dips of course. There’s a lot of time spent trekkin’ about in the woods but luckily the movie never seems to get boring as most of the settings and landscapes are actually pretty breathtaking. It for the most part has a pretty lighthearted tone, but things take a rather jarring dark turn suddenly when the group investigates a pot farm in a mountain cave. There’s some dark shit that occurs and the movie’s “PG” rating feels waaaaay outdated. There’s a totally chilling super uncomfortable scene involving a series of Polaroids that should have easily pushed this film to an R rating, but it quickly reminded me that ratings back then ain’t at all what they are today.
The movie shifts tones dramatically quite often in the last third actually, one minute we see the disturbing “PG Rated” Polaroid sexual assault sequence and then in the next the two main hero dude cowboys are having a blast kickin’ hillbilly ass with happy banjo jams courtesy of ‘The Charlie Daniel’s Band’ a blarin’! There’s some good shit in that finale too, more motocross mayhem, a bridge gets blown the fuck up and of course one of the hero cowboy dudes jumps across on his bad ass dirt bike after (with those happy banjo jams a blarin’ again)! Then the tone shifts again as one of our main characters kicks the bucket suddenly and then just when you think the remaining members of the crew are on to safety shit hits the fan in one final Shyamalanian 70’s twist!
So yeah I recommend hunting this one down, it’s an interesting one that’s for sure, as it shows just how much you could get away with in the late 70’s with a PG rating! I dig the poster/vhs box art too and as far as hillbilly horror goes if that’s your jam this one’s a gem….
Dammit! This was a weak ass summer for movies wasn’t it? Well at least “IT” is now in theaters!! Well I’ve been thinking about some cool movies that look like they’ll be redemption for a rather underwhelming summer of Hollywood Sludge! Here’s five new upcoming movies to be excited about!
5. Dave Made a Maze (Out Now)
Here’s a truly unique looking movie about a dude named Dave who decides to build a maze in his living room out of cardboard as an art project. The maze ends up having magical properties to it and soon Dave ends up totally lost within. Good thing his friends come to the rescue only to find an insane world inside filled with pitfalls, magic & monsters all made out of cardboard!! Looks like damn good time…
4. Insidious: The Last Key (January 5th, 2018)
Insidious is one of my favorite modern horror franchises, I dig all three previous movies and Lin Shaye’s character has become the centerpiece for them. I especailly love her in the role of master ‘astral projector’ Elise as she’s off again on another ‘out of body journey’ into the mysterious dimension called ‘the further’ to battle another evil spirit. I’ve been waiting for this one for a while!
3. Early Man (January 26th, 2018)
I’m stoked for this new one from ‘Wallace and Gromit’ creator Nick Park! His movies pretty much always hit a surefire home run and this one looks to be on the same path. It looks like some crazy cave men will doing battle against the lords of the bronze age as they fight to save their city from an evil lord. Always a fan of the incredible stop motion adventures of Park and crew this one is sure to continue the the laugh & charms of his previous movies-sign me up!
2. Cult of Chucky (Oct. 3rd, 2017)
October just can’t come quick enough! That last ‘Chucky’ flick proved Don Mancini has still totally got the chops and then some. Fuck the whole Child’s Play remake idea, Mancini is showing all these classic horror franchises being remade lately that you can continue an original story and give the fans EXACTLY what they want! Picking up where ‘Curse of Chucky’ left off this one boasts the return of Andy Barclay (the little kid from the first two movies), played by original actor Alex Vincent who’s looking to end Chucky’s evil reign once and for all! Bring it on!!
1. The Terror of Hallow’s Eve (2017)
Here’s a cool spooky looking horror movie that looks like it’s workin’ with all the right ingredients. This follows a special fx obsessed teenager who’s brutally beaten up by bullies at his high school and makes a wish to get revenge upon them all while carving some sort of freaky magic pumpkin. It releases some sort of evil genie who gladly promises to do it for him! Set back in the 80’s I’ve heard this movie is a ton of fun filled with cool practical fx and a boatload o’ monsters!
I highly recommend the brand new Netflix Original movie ‘Little Evil’, especially if you’re already a fan of the modern cult classic ‘Tucker & Dale vs Evil’. It turns out ‘Little Devil’ is the newest & second movie from that very director, Eli Craig. That explains a lot about why the movie’s comedic horror charm is so damn spot on. It’s a great concept that puts a unique spin on The Omen and the “birthing of the antichrist” sub-genre of horror movies. We follow a newly married stepfather (played brilliantly by Adam Scott) as he struggles to bond with his new son Lucas while appearing to be the perfect dad to his new wife (Evangeline Lily).
It doesn’t take long before he notices his new son’s incredibly creepy & bizarre behavior and weird ass style of dressing. Most of the laughs revolve around just how crazy the kid acts while the plot ridiculously thickens as the stepdad slowly begins to accept that his new son is a god damned demon spawn. There are a shitload of memorable scenes here to relish and Craig proves once again he’s one of the best when it comes to horror comedy (damn that goat puppet is awesome!). So many attempt to pull it off usually with mixed results. The movie explores some familiar horror tropes too while adding just the right amount of eye winking to fans of old school horror.
The movie has a ton up and coming comedians & familiar faces (Watch for “Tucker” in an amazing scene) that add to it’s charm, my fave being Clancy Brown as a mysterious priest who you might remember from his role on the incredible cult classic series ‘Carnivale’. The movie’s a helluva good time (no pun intended) and has a ton of heart to it. It’s also got some genuinely creepy moments as well mixed in which is a nice touch, with all the absurdity the movies got going for it already. My only complaint is a minor one, near the final act the movie gets a little bit too cutesy, when I was really hoping they might build upon the terror of the creepy kid that was already brilliantly established. However things go in a bit in way of ‘major Hollywood style feel good comedy’ which I’m not against necessarily but was hoping for something a bit more off beat in the final act. All in all though this one’s a great Netflix original movie that’s filled with something for everyone and a second win (although not quite as good as Tucker & Dale) for director Eli Craig. Check it out!
Seems to me like after the “grand finale” series of the recent shared Marvel Netflix universe show, The Defenders, that Marvel’s lost some serious steam or should I say street cred?! Yeah, final verdict here on The Defenders…weak ass shit! Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t as bad as Iron Fist. BUT seeing the character of Iron Fist in the mix with The Defenders wasn’t really so bad in comparison to his other teammates. I realized that all of the shows are a bit stale when you take a step back and look at them. They all drag on too damn long and when they hit that lull they’re incredibly tedious, every now and again they’ve got their shining moments but they’re few & far between. I was initially pumped for a lean 8 episode, no BS Defenders series, however even 8 episodes felt a bit like a chore to sit through at times!
I wasn’t very impressed with The Defenders, as a longtime comic fan I think of all the ways the show should’ve been amazing and all the ways it was a bit of a let down. I’m tiring of the whole “uninteresting drama, for the sake of drama” these shows fill themselves with. I mean, does anyone really give a flying fuck about Foggy & Karen Page while they whine & worry over Matt Murdock’s Daredevil escapades anymore?! Was anyone captivated by Elektra & Matt Murdock’s “passionate” romance in the last season of Daredevil and this new Defenders series?! We certainly don’t feel anything real for Danny Rand & Colleen Wing! What about Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ supposed “love connection” anyone care about that? The whole “Jessica Jones is an alcoholic thing” is so by the numbers that every time she takes a drink I feel like rolling my eyes. Uggh it’s just all feeling a little plastic, this cookie cutter drama factor they keep trying to push, it’s just not very interesting. It takes up a LOT of the actual run time of these series.
Well how about the action? Aside from that hallway fight early on in the first Daredevil season I’m not feelin’ that these shows are setting any new action trends. The way I see it these shows should have really upped the ante in the way of action, especially when it comes to superhuman kung fu!! I’m thinking they should’ve been taking notes from movies like “Big Trouble in Little China” & mashing it up with say the likes of Tony Jaa’s “The Protector”. Compare The Defenders for a moment to something that is actually awesome like the movies I just mentioned. Take a moment and imagine if they would’ve slapped a blonde wig on Tony and had him do the action sequences for Iron Fist or even Daredevil, the Marvel shows should be striving to top action sequences like this one here:
Instead we get some seriously bland kung fu by people who’re supposedly superhuman heroes and villains. Heck imagine at the very least if Danny Rand was breaking bones left and right and seriously fucking people up with that iron fist? How much would that alone have changed the dynamic of things? The shows so far range from decent to barely passable, but they should be a serious spectacle to behold visually at the very least. Instead these shows are kinda lazy, no one’s willing to push the boundaries to give us something we wanna watch again and again. I enjoyed the first season of of Jessica Jones & Luke Cage….BUT…do I every really wanna revisit them? Honestly no. Do I wanna revisit say “Stranger Things”? Hell yeah!
I watched one of the latest ‘Game of Thrones’ episodes right before I started The Defenders. Not a good idea, The Defenders ended up feeling pretty cheap, the acting, action, even the sets felt very “made for TV”. Marvel’s got to make a few changes to it’s Netflix stuff. We need more inventive story telling, plot twists, better writing in general, far better action, actual interesting villains & more damn costumes!! Yeah put Iron Fist in his damn costume, that would at least make shit more fun. Give us some classic super powered villains rather than a gang of blah “bosses” and a bunch of faceless drone fighters for our heroes to do mediocre made for tv kung fu street fighting with. The time has come to start remembering where the roots of this shit came from, the comic books! Take notes on what made the last Wolverine movie “Logan” so good and give the fans what they really want!! I don’t have time to waste on more mediocre media Marvel, so get your shit together!