Posts Tagged ‘Review’

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Star Quality Shines Through in Stardust

December 14, 2008

STARDUST (2007)
d. Matthew Vaughn

In the extras, Matthew Vaughn describes this movie as The Princess Bride meets Midnight Run, and it’s an entirely accurate description that captures the delightful and engaging tone of this fantasy based on an original novel from Neil Gaiman.

This Star Is Not The Only Thing Rising

This Star Is Not The Only Thing Rising

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G.I. Joe — Wave 12: Tripwire — Mine Detector

November 23, 2008

Tripwire 1) TRIPWIRE — Mine Detector

  • Head — Lt. Slip Stream (Target Exc. Conquest X-30)
  • Upper Body/Thighs — Sgt. Flash (w5)
  • Shins/Boots — New
  • Weapons/Accessories — New

Tripwire makes his single-carded appearance in Wave 12; he initially was included in the Comic 2-Pack (w5) with Cobra Commander. Unlike a straight repack, Tripwire has been packaged with a MASS element cannister. It is yellow to represent the meteorite element.

This character does a fairly good job of recapturing the likeness of the classic version, though I would have preferred the smooth padding as it was adapted for the H.I.S.S. Driver and AVAC Pilot since that would have been more accurate to the classic figure. But a mere collector’s quibble means nothing as the overall figure is excellent.

 The MASS cannister my figure came with has a removable glass casing, though I’m not sure if this is meant to occur or if it is faulty manufacturing. Therefore I wouldn’t suggest trying to twist off the cannister’s casing. The inclusion of this accessory means that you can complete your MASS device, along with the cannisters that come with the Cobra Diver (w12) and Cobra Commander (w8, w12).

***

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G.I. Joe Comic Pack w6 — Scrap-Iron / Wild Bill (Loose)

November 15, 2008

Just opened up my Scrap-Iron/Wild Bill comic pack, and here are the loose pics for your pleasure.

Wild Bill (Front) 1) Wild Bill Helicopter Pilot

  • Body — Wild Bill (w7)
  • Helmet — New

Here we have Wild Bill painted to represent his cartoon version, which doesn’t really work for me thought I like it a bit better than his drab olive and green colors. He comes with his signature cowboy hat and six-shooters, but he also comes with a cool new removable helmet (which gets a lot of mileage as it will show up with Scarlett (Pilot) and Destro (Pilot) and most likely some Cobra troop builders). Otherwise, since he’s just a straight up repaint, nothing much more to write about. **

Scrap-Iron (Front)2) Scrap-Iron — Anti-Armor Specialist

  • Body — Cobra Trooper (w2)
  • Head — Scrap-Iron (xc2)
  • Vest — New

Utilizing a different body and webgear construction from the Arctic Assault version, this Scrap-Iron looks like the perfect update of the original. And just like the Arctic Assault version, his visor is removable to reveal some pretty ugly scars. However, I think I prefer the Extreme Conditions version over this one mainly because that came first and all my excitement was used over that one, and the re-used comic-pack Firefly mold was rather genius. Here it’s just a ho-hum Cobra Trooper body; it works, but it’s just not as cool! Anyway, still glad to have Scrap-Iron in his classic colors. ***

Meanwhile, a brief glance at the comic reveals artwork that actually looks pretty good! Usually these comics feel light on story and art, so my expectations are low. The story has Wild Bill chasing after Scrap-Iron, and the novelty comes in the form of a narrative told solely through radio transmissions. It’s a pretty interesting gimmick, along the lines of the silent issue, but still a gimmick. It’s pretty much about what one would expect from the comics of these two-packs, but I’m not buying these for the comics.

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G.I. Joe — Wave 12: Cobra Diver — Underwater Trooper

November 12, 2008

As part of the case I ordered online, I received an extra Underwater Trooper, so here I present loose photos of the Cobra Diver.

He is basically a repaint of Lt. Torpedo (w6) with red dominating the color scheme. He has the same accessories as Torpedo with the exception of his sidearm, his rifle — which comes from the Arctic Assault Scrap-Iron (Extreme Conditions Pack #2), and the inclusion of a heavy water element cannister which can be combined with the M.A.S.S. Device.

This figure is a great troop builder even if it is a little underwhelming. Still, in comparison with the other figures in this wave, it tops the Cobra Trooper with red face-mask/sigil. Hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be able to get loose photos of the rest of the figures in this wave.

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Spirals Out of Control: Uzumaki

November 9, 2008

UZUMAKI (2000)
d.  Akiro Higuchi

A strange J-horror movie that approaches Lynchian excess and almost captures Lynchian success, but just falls short. Strong visuals cross-breed with over-the-top characters to create a memorable film that leaves more questions than answers.

Basically, this movie tells the story of small town overcome by a strange obsession with spirals, uzumaki. High schoolers Kirie and her childhood friend, Shuichi, experience the weirdness first hand through Shuichi’s father’s growing obsession with the shape. His obsession ultimately leads to his doom, but not before it infects his wife, Kirie’s father and several classmates.

Ah-hah! ... No I Still Don't Get It

Eyeball, Spiral... Whatever!

As the spiral shape slowly overwhelms the psyche of the townsfolk, we soon discover that it is transforming them as well. Hope arrives in the guise of an out-of-town journalist, who may have discovered a reason behind the strangeness (somehow involving a Japanese play on the word Kagami, meaning both “mirror” and “serpent”). Unfortunately, this never plays out and the town’s fate is sealed.

I describe this film as Lynchian because characters with broader-than-life personalities populate this town as weirdness erupts in violent spasms; the more strange the world becomes, the more strange the people become in reaction. Also, the editing and acting help create a dream-like atmosphere typical of Lynch’s films. However, the tone created by these clashing elements only disrupts and undermines the effectiveness of the horror. Don’t get me wrong, it is still creepy as hell watching this film, but without any rationale, it falls apart. My guess is that this is based on a manga.

Still, it is worth it to see the human snails climbing the walls of the school building, even if it is only brief.

** stars.

Next week, I hope to have the live-action Aeon Flux as well as a couple of Masters of Horror episodes.

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This Movie Stinks… Of Beauty: Street Trash

November 2, 2008

STREET TRASH (1987)
d. Jim Muro

You gotta love those trashy independent horror films from the 80s — The Toxic Avenger, Re-Animator, and Street Trash (among many more). Films such as these pushed the envelope of taste and humour as they stretched the boundaries of what was allowable on-screen — insane gore effects despite the low budgets, and, more often than not, full frontal nekkid chicks (and a couple of penis shots for fair balance).

You Know It's the 80s When It's Neon-Colored

You Know It’s the 80s When It’s Neon-Colored

This cult movie, long consigned to the back wall of video stores, finally made its DVD debut a couple of years back in a souped up two-disc “meltdown” edition released by Synapse Films. It tells the story of a community of bums living out of a automobile wrecking yard in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and what happens when a 60 year-old hooch, Viper, hits that community and starts melting bums from the inside out.

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“It’s All A Set-Up” — Halloween: Resurrection

October 18, 2008

HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION (2001)
d. Rick Rosenthal 

In spite of bringing back director Rick Rosenthal (Halloween II), and in spite of a fairly plausible explanation for bringing back Michael Myers, this film totally squanders the energy and freshness from the H2O reboot and settles for a mediocre meta-commentary on horror films (more successfully explored in Scream) and reality television/media that feels several years too late to be relevant.

The film begins with Laurie Strode in lock-down at a psych ward; she pretends to be medicated (stashing the pills in a doll) while waiting for the inevitable arrival of her brother. It is revealed that Michael switched places with a paramedic, and that the paramedic was the one who Laurie decapitated in the last film. So when Michael arrives, it becomes immediately apparent that the quality of script is not on the same level as the previous film; for one thing, characters do stupid things, they die.

For example, after hearing his partner getting killed, a security guard investigates and comes across a laundry dryer, and in a gag reminiscent of the scene in Part 6, decides for no reason to open it to check its contents. Nothing motivated this action beyond sheer plot contrivance for a boring kill; even the manner in which Michael appears (lowering himself one-handed from the ceiling) steals from a previous film.

The opening sequence climaxes with a confrontation between Laurie and Michael on the roof of the sanitarium. Having successfully ensnared him, Laurie does the unforgivable act of trying to unmask The Shape; of course this leads to her downfall and one very angry fan. What an insulting way to end her character’s journey, especially after how strong she was at the end of the last film.

Once Laurie Strode is killed off, I wondered “How the hell are they going to motivate Michael now?” Well, apparently the plot proper kicks off with a group of college kids taking part in a webcast set in the Myers household. What attempts to be a meta-commentary on the horror film genre as a whole, the Halloween films in particular, media manipulation in general, film voyeurism, and the sex vs. violence debate only comes off as a snarky, half-thought out dull film that just happens to have Michael Myers in it.

The group of kids are hardly engaging or as sympathetic as the group from H2O, as it includes that unfunny dude from American Pie and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) doing her facial tic schtick.

So it’s ho-hum as Michael winnows down the group of kids while they cry for help directly addressing the camera Blair Witch-style. The only highlight: Busta Rhymes in a Michael Myers mask cussing out the actual Michael Myers. It is also the lowlight of the entire series (Thorn cult notwithstanding).

One star.

Well, this wraps up the Halloween franchise marathon; too bad it ends on a downer. Next up, the psychic thriller, Patrick.