Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Videogame Bits: King Of Fighters (2010)

By Terrry Cleveland

King of Fighters, for those who don’t know, is a greatest hits of SNK fighting games where fighters from all of the SNK fighting franchises vie for the title of King of Fighters.  This isn’t such a bad idea when you see it on paper, but playing the games is nothing more than  a mish mash of bad fighting games from the late 90’s, and sadly the movie is worse.... much, much worse.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Five Greatest Revenge Movies

By Paco McCullough

In honor of the newly released Colombiana, I figured I'd do a countdown of the five greatest revenge movies. Check 'em out after the break.

New Releases: August 30th

By Paco McCullough

This week was nothing but crap. Don't bother with any of it. We didn't. More after the jump.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crapsterpieces: Reindeer Games (2000)

By Paco McCullough

For the next two weeks, I've decided that I'll be reviewing classic Ben Affleck crap movies for this column. As Reindeer Games is famous for being one of Affleck's worst films, I figured it would be a great place to start. For those who haven't seen it, Reindeer Games is one of the worst movies of the last decade. But is it so bad it's good? Find out after the break.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Martial Arts Madness: Chocolate (2008)

By Paco McCullough

After spending so much time on  Kung Fu and Samurai films, I felt it was time for this column to branch out into one of the hot new areas of martial arts film. After Tony Jaa burst onto the scene some years ago, Muay Thai has become one of the hot new martial arts. I honestly believe that Chocolate is one of the best martial arts films of any style. Without any doubt, it is my favorite Muay Thai flick.

Red State (2011) Review

By Jason Haskins

Red State is Kevin Smith’s departure flick. After almost twenty years of building his empire of movies with connected stories (his Viewaskewniverse) and conquering most forms of media including comic books and redefining what podcasting is capable of, he returns to film in a big bad way with a whopper that is completely different from everything he’s done before. He set out to finance the movie for an independent $4 million dollars and make a small movie that would be the spiritual successor to his only other indie flick, Clerks, back in 1994.

Colombiana (2011) Review

By Paco McCullough

Luc Besson has a spotted past with action films. He's made some classics (The Professional, La Femme Nikita) and some real stinkers (From Paris With Love). His new film, written and produced by Besson, directed by the awesomely named Oliver Megaton, opened this weekend. So how does Colombiana compare to his other films? Find out after the jump.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Comic Movie Collection: Batman (1989)

By Jason Haskins

1989’s Batman film stars Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson and was directed by Tim Burton as his third feature behind the successful Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice. This also happens to be one of my favorite movies in the franchise revolving around the caped crusader who battles evil in the to fight for what was taken from him so long ago with the murders of his parents.

Senna (2010) Review

By Paco McCullough

Aryton Senna was a madman. The Formula One driver pushed himself and his vehicles to limits that no one had reached before. The excellent documentary named for him does not exceed convention in the way that Senna did, but it was still an incredibly powerful film. Powerful enough for even a person who has no interest in car racing to be completely blown away.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Videogame Bits: Silent Hill (2006)

By Terry Cleveland

Finally it I happened; I finally found a video game adaptation that isn’t a complete pile of trash, or something that Uwe Boll decided to shit on. Being a fan of both horror and video games I didn’t really have high hopes for this film after seeing the mess that was Resident Evil, but thankfully I found that I enjoyed most all of the film, which in lieu of all of the other films that I have been watching for this column lately is a much needed respite.

What's it Meta For?: The Holy Mountain (1973)

By Tom Swift

This movie is Metafor the totality of transformation and its unbearably promiscuous scope, going out and banging all the possible perspectives it can wrap its lusty, signifying limbs around.

Cult Films: Darkman (1990)

By Jason Haskins

Liam Neeson plays Peyton Westlake--a scientist who has found a way to produce synthetic skin in this ultra-realistic fashion, which may very well make a huge splash in the surgery wards at every hospital from Los Angeles to Timbuktu. However, the skin dissolves after exactly 100 minutes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Releases: August 23rd

By Paco McCullough and Terry Cleveland

This week we had a gimmicky documentary, a controversial actor's attempt to redeem himself, and a direct to DVD Action/Thriller. Curious?

The Most Unnecessary Remakes of All Time

By Paco McCullough

Since two of the three major theatrical releases this week (Fright Night, Conan the Barbarian) are remakes of older films, I decided to write this week on some of the most unnecessary Hollywood remakes of all time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Classic Movies: The Godfather (1972)

By Jason Haskins

There are a lot of great examples of classic American cinema, but the one gem that comes to mind immediately is Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 classic, The Godfather, which changed the entire genre of gangster film. Growing up, my biggest exposure to gangster films were Martin Scorsese's crasser brand of criminals and characters and I seem to think there are two sides--those who dig Goodfellas and those who enjoy The Godfather. I have to find a middle ground, because both films are tremendous efforts. If you've never seen this you are in dire need of catch up.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Crapsterpieces: Shoot 'em Up (2007)

By Paco McCullough

2007’s SHOOT ‘EM UP knows exactly what it is: a big, dumb action movie. In fact, it may be one of the biggest, dumbest action movies of the past decade, which is saying a lot, considering the grindhouse revival and the CRANK franchise. In other words, if you’re looking for a big, dumb, action movie, SHOOT ‘EM UP is worth checking out.

Martial Arts Madness: 5 Element Ninjas (1982)

By Paco McCullough

This past Tuesday, I had the good fortune to view the only known 35mm print of the Shaw Bros. Classic 5 ELEMENT NINJAS. The film begins with a Kung Fu tournament. When one Japanese man is forced to commit seppuku, he sends a note to his companions. Soon ninjas have challenged the school that defeated him. The ninjas use five elements: gold, water, wood, fire, and earth. To properly defeat them, one student must study the ways of the ninja.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Comic Movie Collection: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

By Jason Haskins

Hugh Jackman's first break was replacing Dougray Scott in the original X-Men film while becoming a household name in recent years with some top notch movies like The Fountain and The Prestige and others like Australia and Van Helsing. He was the proponent who most wanted an X-Men spin-off film around his character, Wolverine, in order to fill in some of the back story that was mostly left vacant from the trilogy. Then again we all wanted this--and with Jackman in the producer's seat I figured this would be a golden opportunity.

For the longest time I looked forward to this movie as Wolverine's a great character and I had a solid trust in Hugh Jackman's ability, but as the credits rolled after my most recent viewing I couldn't help but think that he had forsaken himself as the big cheese. This is a big stubbed toe in the comic book movie world and I can't help but question why the filmmakers chose to go about it this way. This, of course, is 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine directed by Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Rendition).

Horror Flicks: Creepshow (1982)

By Jason Haskins

George Romero is the mastermind behind such classics as Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. Stephen King is the crazy who brought us books such as It, The Stand, and The Shining. What do these boys have in common aside from being icons in the horror genre? They banded together in 1982 to bring us a Tales from the Crypt-inspired movie of short films under the guise of Creepshow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cult Films: Apocalypto (2006)

By Jason Haskins

Mel Gibson sure has been in and out of some controversy the past handful of years. Going from the clean-cut action/thriller go-to guy role he displayed in such classics as Braveheart and Ransom to the man responsible for the biggest marketable movie of all time: The Passion of the Christ (hey, I enjoyed it!) and later getting buzzed for being buzzed (and driving no less with anti-Semitic motives!).

However, we all forget that some people lose themselves when drunk and mistakes happen. Obviously his public persona has been bashed for years, but Apocalypto proves that he actually has some talent behind him as a filmmaker instead of a man simply trying to cash in on Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New Releases: August 16th

By Paco McCullough

This week was a very disappointing crop of films, including one from a legendary filmmaker. Pick these up at your own risk.

Final Destination 5 (2011) Review

By Paco McCullough

FINAL DESTINATION 5 is much better than any horror franchise with the number 5 in it has any right to be. In fact, it may just be the best horror film since 2009’s HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. It’s easily one of the most suspenseful films I’ve seen in some time. The plot, for those of you still unfamiliar with the franchise, involves a young man who has a vision of a horrible accident. This protagonist is able to get several people out of harm’s way. In this case, it’s a bridge collapse and the young man is Sam. Death begins picking off the survivors one by one through complex, Rube Goldberg-esque setups. In FINAL DESTINATION 5, the survivors also learn that if they kill someone, they get to live out however long that person would have had left.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Best Death Scenes of All Time

The new Final Destination movie is upon us and it had me curious as to what the best death scenes in horror history are. Sure, some of these are ‘givens’ and ‘no-shits’ with their obviousness in terms of iconic status in the genre, but others are just so outlandish (and cool) that they must be mentioned. Don’t even ask why there are three Wes Craven films on this list. On with the show (after the jump). (and beware of massive SPOILERS).

Classic Movies: The Gold Rush (1925)

By Jason Haskins

The Gold Rush is considered one of Charlie Chaplin's finest films and by most standards I would agree with that estimate. He truly was a master of physical comedy and with this 1925 effort (which was also Chaplin's second full length film and one of the biggest hits of his career) he proved that his direction was also key to his own success.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Crapsterpieces: The Stabilizer

By Paco McCullough

THE STABILIZER is a bad movie. Sure, at times it’s a fun bad movie, but overall I found the experience of watching it unpleasant. What plot there is involves a FBI agent, Peter Goldson (the stabilizer), traveling to Indonesia to track down the evil Greg Rainmaker. Rainmaker killed Goldson’s girlfriend with his spiked shoes, which has led to Goldson following him around the world. Rainmaker has been making a new strain of drug that he’s attempting to sell to the Indonesian population. There’s also a subplot involving a drug detection device and a bunch of other ridiculous stuff.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Martial Arts Madness: Enter the Dragon (1973)

By Jason Haskins

Bruce Lee was the late great martial arts expert/philosopher who was one of the first Asian American actors to hit it big onscreen and introduced a culture to smarter kung fu flicks. While he only made a handful of pictures in his lifetime, these stand up as some of the best the genre has to offer. Enter the Dragon was the last completed picture he starred in and was released a little bit after his death in 1973 of cerebral edema. While the last movie he worked on was The Game of Death, I find the film (though great) much unfinished and certainly not a high note of this caliber to end his career on.

Cinemecca Animated: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

By Terry Cleveland

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is a criminally overlooked film from the early nineties that is as good as the current set of Christopher Nolan films that have been dominating the box office for the past few years. I remember watching this film as a kid until I literally wore out the VHS copy that I owned. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had lost none of the magic that I remember as a child.

Attack the Block (2011) Review

By Jason Haskins

Attack the Block is the little film that could—the Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead)-produced film that has been making tons of waves overseas that has just hit our shores in limited release. Hyped as the best lower-budget sci-fi film since 2009’s District 9, Attack the Block has been getting widespread acclaim for its monstrously fun laughs and thrills, but is it worth your attention?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another Take: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) Review

By Jason Haskins

Believe it or not it’s been 10 long years since the last Planet of the Apes movie…remember the one Tim Burton directed starring Mark Wahlberg? Yeah, I wasn’t a big fan, either. After that terrible release I was very skeptical on what direction the series was going to go from there. I mean, the Apes movies have been a fun little science fiction detour for years (none coming close to the finesse of the original, of course). This summer we see the release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes—the inevitable prequel to the series. The big question on everyone’s minds is whether it’s good or bad.

Horror Flicks: Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)

By Jason Haskins

Wes Craven used to be a name synonymous with mainstream American horror. Throughout the eighties and nineties he created some masterpieces, such as his enormously successful A Nightmare on Elm Street and 1991's awesome The People Under the Stairs. However, he was also responsible for one of the most atrocious horror films of all time.

Comic Movie Collection: Sin City (2005)

By Jason Haskins

In 2005, the big screen adaptation of Frank Miller's awesome 90s comic series Sin City hit theaters everywhere. Miller stepped in as director alongside Desperado's Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino (who shot one scene of the film). It was explosive--especially given that all of the books in the series were republished by Dark Horse and the event was very well received by audiences and fans. After re-watching it again I completely fell in love with not only the stories represented again, but how well done the film was shot overall.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Videogame Bits: Street Fighter Alpha (1995)

By Terry Cleveland

I didn’t quite know what I was in for when I sat down to watch Street Fighter Alpha. My thought was, “hey I like Anime and video games. How bad could it be?” The answer: absolutely awful, and then some.

What's it Meta For: What's Up, Tiger Lily?

By Tom Swift

“What’s Up Tiger Lily” is metafor shits and giggles. The film uses the fact that the audience knows that the audio track is not the one used for the original film and uses that understanding to play off of and undermine the thin line separating the original’s undeserving seriousness. This is also engorging to the mental phallus because his use of meta’s infinite abilities: film is a dualistic medium in the sense that it engages two senses - eyes and ears; Woody has only to change half the movie to direct attention to several overlapping layers, complementing the awareness of audiences everywhere. It’s obviously silly as fuck (serious, but undermined comedically from a more objective angle) and obviously absurd to the point of prejaculation. This movie is the delight of my life. 

5 out of 5 stars 

New Releases: August 9th

By Paco McCullough

James Gunn's follow-up to his terrific SLIVER is a bleak superhero action-comedy. Rainn Wilson stars as Frank, a mentally unstable schlub who's wife (Liv Tyler) leaves him. God appears as a sort of house octopus and tells Frank that he has a destiny- crimefighting. The first ten minutes and the last half hour are both incredibly powerful. Gunn takes his cues more from TAXI DRIVER than any normal superhero film, and Wilson gives a great performance as the deranged Frank. Even better than Wilson is Ellen "Juno" Page as a sexed up, violent wannabe sidekick. Page steals just about every scene she is in and gives Wilson a necessary foil for the later half of the movie. Unfortunately, the middle of the film is bland and could have used a few rewrites. The last 2 minutes or so are trite, due in part to a significant and undeserved change in town. Overall, expect to feel kind of gross watching this. If that's your thing though, go for it.
3.5 out of 5


As a big fan of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, I was looking forward to this, as it looked to be good, nerdy fun. Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to screen it. If you're into geek comedy, this looks like it could be fun.


PINEAPPLE EXPRESS in the middle ages. Didn't sound like much fun, and none of us had a chance to screen it unfortunately. Critics hated it, as did the box office. Check it out if you were dying to, but missed it in theaters. Otherwise, skip it.


An arthouse western, MEEKS CUTOFF was a big hit with the critics. A slower film, it deals with settlers on the Oregon trail lost in eastern Oregon and deals with issues of trust. If that sounds like your bag, go for it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cult Films: They Live (1988)

By Jason Haskins

Imagine finding a pair of sunglasses which revealed that a large portion of the population are actually aliens in disguise and the subliminal messages they've been hosting in all of our advertisements. That's what happens to the main character played by Roddy Piper in John Carpenter's They Live: A vagrant construction worker comes across a group of people trying to spread the word that the world is being controlled by an alien intelligence disguised as humans.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Classic Movies: It Happened One Night (1934)

By Jason Haskins

Frank Capra released one of his best pictures in 1934 during an awkward time in society, when the newly found MPAA was really cracking down on what could and couldn't be shown in movies. This censorship could have been a very damning thing to the entertainment industry, and it certainly was for a ton of movies, but true geniuses came forward and used their creativity to write around the rules and make movies even more tongue-in-cheek and sexier than if outward stuff was actually shown. One of the prime examples of this loophole being used is It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. Let the walls of Jericho fall!

Five of the Greatest Spoilers in Movie History

By Paco McCullough

Rise of the Planet of the Apes got me thinking about the original Planet of the Apes. One of the greatest scenes of that movie is, of course, the ending. This got me thinking: what are the greatest twist endings in movie history? I’m hoping to avoid the most commonly cited films (Fight Club, Sixth Sense, Psycho, etc) but a couple of these are bigger movies. Be warned, SPOILERS abound.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Crapsterpieces: Dreamcatcher

By Paco McCullough

Dreamcatcher is a bizarre film. Why so many talented people got together to work on a film about ass aliens defies all explanation. The creative team involved was behind some of my favorite films, including The Empire Strikes Back, on of the best movies ever made. The key actors are some of the most underrated actors of our era. Why did they all get together to make this mess of a movie?

Martial Arts Madness: Hanzo the Razor: The Snare

By Paco McCullough

Hanzo the Razor: The Snare continues the legacy put forth by it’s preceding film, Sword of Justice, my Martial Arts Madness column from last week. This is both a good and a bad thing. The majority of the strengths I listed before (great setting, fun samurai action, and interesting traps) all return. Unfortunately, so do some major problems. The use of rape as an interrogation method continues in this film, as does the victim’s eventual enjoyment of it. I stated previously what a problem I have with the segments. Fortunately, they are shorter in this film than in Sword of Justice.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Planet of the Apes (2001)

By Jason Haskins

The original Planet of the Apes was released in 1968 and starred sir Charlton Heston. Not only was it received well for its intriguing sci-fi/fantasy story based on the book by Pierre Boulle and co-adapted by Rod Serling, it won achievements in makeup effects (for the apes) and made back its budget five-fold. The impact is still around today where we have heaps of sequels strewn everywhere, but in this author's lovely opinion nothing matches the sheer awesomeness and freshness of the original film.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) Review

By Tanner McCullough

I was leery when another Planet of the Apes movie was announced. After the debacle that was Tim Burton’s remake, a large part of me wanted filmmakers and the major studios to leave the franchise alone. Boy, am I glad to be wrong. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a great movie for fans of the franchise. Though for the most part the questions it answers were fine left unanswered, it is great to watch the first steps of our ape overlords.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Horror Flicks: Opera (1987)

By Jason Haskins

Opera centers on an opera house where a young singer is being stalked by a crazed fan who wants nothing more than to see her horrified. He kills people close to her and forces her to watch with needles taped to her eyelids so that if she closes her eyes she'll get an eyeful of pain.

Comic Movie Collection: The Punisher (2004)

By Jason Haskins

Those who do evil to others-- the killers, the rapists, psychos, sadists--you will come to know me well. Frank Castle is dead. Call me...The Punisher.

Poor Punisher. Right out the gates back in 1989, at one of the heights of the Punisher's popularities in the comic books, they made a film adaptation starring Dolph Lundgren that didn't do so well (I might be one of the few people on Planet Earth who actually dug it). Fifteen years later after the colossal success of the comics again due to Garth Ennis' treatment of the character they decided to go ahead and give it another go--Marvel actually responsible for making another R-rated comic book offering? Yes, please.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Videogame Bits: Double Dragon (1994)

By Terry Cleveland

Double Dragon starts out with two brothers, Jimmy (Mark Dacascos) and Billy (Scott Wolf) who happen to be martial artists and douche bags. The brothers find themselves stuck in a plot to control New Angeles City, with the help of an ancient medallion split into two pieces (like the wonder twins), perpetrated by a Vanilla Ice look alike with a lot of money (Robert Patrick aka Liquid T-1000 from Terminator 2).

What's it Meta For? : 8 1/2 (1963)

By Tom Swift

This is the first installment in a group of reviews I’m doing on the use of meta in film. Meta, vaguely put, is when a concept is abstracted from another concept which is then used to inform or complete the latter; some well known examples are A Midsummer’s Night Dream’s or Hamlet’s play within a play, Italo Calvino’s hypernovel If on a winter’s night a traveler(1979) - a novel imbedded with 10 false novels - or Roland Barthe’s Criticism and Truth (1970), a critique on traditional literary critique in France. Film achieves this most frequently by producing films about producing films or making a film about the failure of its own production, each using the film inside the film to establish a more oppositional realism, but each to their own respective ends. I will be exploring their ends, one by one and attempting to find out how deep each goes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Take: Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

By Jason Haskins

On paper, or at least in my head, the concept of mixing cowboys and aliens is an awesome one. Some may scoff at the title of the film, but it literally explains everything you need to know about this movie. Daniel Craig plays a bandit cowboy who wakes up in the desert without his memory, but with a weird contraption on his wrist that turns out to be a weapon of some kind.

Cult Films: Raising Arizona (1987)

By Jason Haskins

Nicholas Cage plays a guy who loves loves loves to rob convenience stores in the heart of Arizona. After all of his stints going to the big house he ends up falling for one of the officers-a policewoman played by Holly Hunter. Both get married and she quits her job (while he quits his robbing campaign) and find out that their bodies aren't very fertile and they can't bear any children. This isn't so bad, though, because they've just discovered that a local rich businessman, Nathan Arizona, has just had a pack of kids so they jump at the chance to kidnap one of the babies (since there's enough of ‘em to go around in this guy's household) and raise it as their own. However, when some cons break out of jail, too, and come looking for a place to crash at their house as well as some other proverbial poopiness that's certainly in the cards to hit the fan...this couple's predicament goes from bad to worse. Aside from the law after them there's also a crazed bounty hunter, as well as their own convictions getting in the way...of raising little Arizona.

New Releases: August 2nd

This week doesn't give you a lot options in terms of New Releases. The two films released this week are both geared towards families: one a Christian film and the other an animated film.

5 Westerns That Could Have Been Science Fiction Films

Cowboys & Aliens was a fun if forgettable little film that had an original idea and drilled home the concept that genre conventions can be updated and blended together in an interesting new way. Sure, the flick went back to the tried and true predictable ways of both the average Western and the typical Sci-Fi, but it made me think: what if some Westerns DID have Science Fiction elements in them? Would that change the entire course of the film? Spoilers beware!