Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Filtering by Tag: television

What I'm Watching: The Quest

Gasp!  ANOTHER post about something recent!  ANOTHER tv post!

ANYways, I wanted to talk a little about ABC's new show, "The Quest".

If you don't know, "The Quest" is a reality show with the usual format of completing tasks and voting someone off the Middle-Earth. The 12 competitors are normal people from the 'real' world, playing along, and the world is populated by actors to add flavour.

I can sum this show up in two words, "dopily entertaining".

Having something that's a twist on the usual reality show style is a nice change of pace. And making the very obvious dichotomy of a reality show in a fantasy realm is a great way to go with.

Can you sense the 'But' coming?, it just doesn't work. The mythology is bland and generic, the actors filling up the world are mostly lackluster, and the logic of the show is pretty meh. I guess some of that is to be expected, however, things are just kinda there.

The show is HIGHLY MST3Kable, which fills in a lot of the entertainment, so there's that.

My biggest problem is that for a quest, it's pretty boring. So far, in the two episodes, these great heroes that we're supposed to be see trying to save the realm have basically been doing training, or so they want us to believe. In reality (Hah), it amounts to little more than busywork, IMO. Sure, you can't just drop untested rubes from Jersey (And beyond!) into an adventure, and training is probably good, but it comes off as SO tedious and boring.

And having the losers of the busywork having to do MORE busywork to try and not be the person sent home this week is no less tedious.

A better way to do things, and I'll even keep some stuff!, is okay, let's still have them do a training mission to kick things off. That's fine, and makes some sense. But instead of then trying to show the Fates that they're still worthy by nailing horseshoes to a wheel (WHY), you could at LEAST try and dress things up and make things, oh I dunno, more QUEST LIKE and make their later test some sort of adventure type thing.

Instead of having someone voted off the castle, have then grabbed by an orc in battle, or SOMEthing instead of just walking out an arch.

NOW, all that said? The ending of the second episode, and the promo for the third, actually start to make things look like they're going in that direction in a big way, and actually going on a quest for stuff. That could be a HUGE step up, and I really hope it is. The shoe desperately needs something beyond making fun of it for laughs.

There is legitimately a decent idea back there, but they just seem to be going about things the wrong way.  It's not terrible, it has some moments, and there's hints that it MIGHT veer in a better direction very soon, but so far it's just kinda goofy.

What I'm Watching: The Strain

Hey look, I did it!  Two in a row!  And this one is current events!  AND tv!  Don't do enough of that...

ANYways, The Strain!

It's no surprise that I'd give a horror show by Guillermo Del Toro a shot, considering my love of Pacific Rim, and Hellboy, and so many other things.

The Strain focuses on an aircraft that is mysteriously attacked from within, touching upon modern fears, and tapping into that zeitgeist.  It's made all the more palpable after recent events in the Ukraine, and the timing is downright creepy.  But I digress.

A lot of horror deals with our fears, and shit going wrong on airplanes is a big deal in the last decade, and this plays into them well.  Fortunately, rather than a bombing or crashing, it's a viral outbreak, which also ties in well with our fears of disease.  The two dovetail well with each other to create something of a mystery that we don't see very often, since the days of Fringe.

The mystery slowly unfolds, but any horror fan should be quick to pick up on some familiar bits of lore, and I love those little touches.  So yeah, we're pretty much dealing with vampires, but they are not your familiar bloodsuckers.  They are also most emphatically NOT prettyboy sparkling love interests.  Which is so welcome, for me.

We've seen the 'vampire as virus' idea played out in other places, and it's a natural fit with the whole blood angle, but The Strain takes things to this whole other level with details and science rarely seen in stories before this, and still manages to make their vampires stand out in a crowded field.  These harken back more towards the Nosferatu type, while picking up on details from Stoker's novel, and the more classical lore, while not relying on it heavily.  These creatures are entirely their own thing with just enough familiar DNA (Ahem) with the classics to please the big time horror fans.

Also pleasing to the big time horror fans are the use of scares and blood in the show.  There's not a lot, but what there is, well...they say go big or go home, and The Strain goes big.  The pilot episode slowly draws you in with flashes and teases for over half the extended running time, and then explodes for a few seconds of bloody ultraviolence when the main creature strikes.  It's well paced and does a great job laying things out before that moment, and it strikes at a perfect moment and works as a great reveal.

I'm also quite pleased that this is a series, and not a movie, because the expanded format gives us great character moments where we can just sit down and have our leads talk about their lives, and get involved in widely unrelated things, all for the sake of building these people up and getting into their personalities in more ways than a shorter runtime would allow.

I can't give this anything but one of my strongest recommendations.  I'm intrigued to see where things go, it's pleasing to old horror fans, while still delivering something new and doesn't feel stale.  There's a lot here to like, and while it doesn't lay the groundwork of possibilities that something like Sleepy Hollow's pilot did, this is well-crafted from the ground up, by some masters of the genre.

The biggest shame in all this is Syfy's "Helix".  Sorry, but a WAY better horror based medical outbreak drama just came along, guys!  And I enjoyed Helix, so no slight against it.  The Strain just blew it out of the Arctic.

What I'm Watching: Almost Human

This past season saw the end of one of the best science fiction tv shows of the 21st century when Fringe drew to a close.  I wasn't immediately on board, but I saw the potential behind the series, and the show quickly grew on me, and eventually dealt with themes I love (Parallel timelines!) and got very deep with the symbolism, metaphor, and allegory.

My life has been lacking a decent scifi series in the same vein, but fortunately now we have Almost Human.

Now, Almost Human is NOT Fringe 2.0.  I could see some stories being done on either show, and the creators are some of the same people, as well as there being those similar thematic links, but ultimately Almost Human is...well, nothing like Fringe.

But, the two shows do sit nicely next to each other, like brothers that went into similar but different careers.  You know they're related, and yet they are SO different.

Almost Human is a story set in the near future, after science has begun to outpace our morality and our laws.  Quite frankly, we're already starting to see this, and AH posits it is only going to get worse from here before it gets better.  And I'm on board with that viewpoint.

The show picks up after detective John Kennex is involved in a failed raid where he lost his partner, and his leg, and slipped into a coma for 18 months.  After a period of recovery, John returns to the force, and even in that brief period of time, things have changed; every officer is now partnered with an android.  John is immediately frustrated with this restriction, and its not long before his MX unit has an 'accident' and falls out of the car and needs to be replaced.

John's new new partner is a DRN unit, or just Dorian, a run of androids that were too human, given a bit more free thinking, creativity, and emotions.  And just like humans, this gave them a tendency to be unstable, so the line was scrapped.  Dorian's ability to be more human, and less cold, as well as keep up with Kennex and his ways actually makes the two quite the pair.

With that setup, the show then delves into your usual cop show tropes, but with a scifi bent to them.  Now, I'm not a fan of the police procedural.  I have nothing against them, but in a day and age of three Law & Orders, three CSIs, and two NCISes...well, the market is kinda flooded with the same stories retold over and over, and this is just in recent years.  We've been seeing these stories for ages.  And me, well, it's obvious I like a little gimmickry, a little scifi, and this show delivers just the right added touches that keep me interested.

Yes, this show has the weird science that made Fringe come alive, and that is the biggest connective tissue between the two shows.  The science isn't QUITE as mad as Fringe was, and mostly sticking to the realm of just advancing what we can do now with tech and drugs and such.  Still plenty of time for gooey moments with chemicals and diseases and androids with their skin ripped off, but so far there's no sign that we'll delve into alternate realities here.

Still, the scifi elements definitely make this my kinda cop show, and boy am I grateful.  I am enjoying the heck out of this.  Not quite as much or as immediately as Sleepy Hollow, but there is a lot to love here.  If you're a fan of cop shows, you have got to watch this.  There is enough to keep those fans interested, and enough of its own take on things with the scifi that it is familiar and also unique on the modern landscape.

And I'm not gonna lie, I'm hoping the Bad Robot guys pull the same tricks they've pulled with Lost and Fringe before, where they start you off simply with character drama and not a lot of crazy science fiction and then...BAM hey!  Your show has massive amounts of time travel!  I love that method of keeping things basic and hooking the everyday viewers, and then opening up into something so SO much more.

Besides the stories, the clear attraction here is the cast.  Karl Urban is perfect as Kennex, and yes, you can see a little Dredd around the edges, but he's softer, more human, and without the facscism.  Michael Ealy as Dorian is also great, with just the right blend of android like calm, with slightly awkward stumbling towards humanity.  It hits the notes it should absolutely perfectly.  You know he's not human, but he's also not stiff and emotionless.  But besides the two on their own, I absolutely LOVE the chemistry the pair has with each other.  It's almost like watching two brothers at their worst, the way they bicker, but clearly like each other.  The banter and jokes between Kennex and Dorian is enough alone to watch this show.

My biggest complaint with the show is the secondary cast.  I'd like a little more balance to give them time to shine.  Minka Kelly is an incredibly underrated actress who feels almost completely wasted here as the tech girl who gets three lines an episode.  She's better than this, and I hope she gets a storyline soon.  And one that doesn't make her be the damsel in distress.  She's supposed to be a fellow detective, but they're not really selling me on that.

There is one character whom I think will end up being a breakout for the show, and that's Rudy, played by Mackenzie Crook.  At times you can tell he is trying SO HARD to be this show's Walter Bishop, and in some ways he is, being the slightly off mad scientist in the basement, but he's nowhere near as literally crazy as Walter was.  But he's a good actor, and a good character, with some good lines, and he provides some humour when it's needed.  He'll easily be the fun character on this show.

So, there's a new scifi show on the air, and it's surprisingly really good, and definitely worth your time.  There's a few flaws, to be sure, but since the show is only four episodes in, I am sure there is more than enough room for improvement!

What I'm Watching: Agents of SHIELD

Continuing along with the premiers I give a crap about, and fit vaguely with this site (The Blacklist is fun but predictable, by the way!), Marvel has finally done it, and made a prime time live action tv series, Agents of SHIELD.

Anyone who has listened to me for awhile has heard my rant how I long for a comic based tv show way more than I want another movie.  I'm not going to ge into THAT rant here.

The question is, does SHIELD fit the bill? comes close.  See, I'm gonna be THAT guy.  I'm not in love with the show.  It's good, but I didn't quite connect with it from the pilot.  But hey, the same thing happened with Fringe, and that became one of my favourite shows of the last few years, so initial impressions, ESPECIALLY of a pilot are always dicey.

Still, I was hoping for a little more, and I suspect its the expectations that hurt more than anything.  After the Avengers, the bar was set pretty high, and the show doesn't reach them.  But, it doesn't have to, does it?  It's a tv show.

And one of my biggest problems isn't even the show's fault, but the marketing.  I've been hearing about the show all year, seeing clip after clip, and even though I didn't even WATCH most of them, I *still* felt like I'd seen most of the show.

The other thing was, I was hoping for a little more comicbooky stuff.  I get wanting to use original characters for the team, it allows them free reign to do what they want, they won't be ruining say, a future appearance in the movies of Agent Carol Danvers (For example), and they have no expectations with the fans of what the characters might do.  But it still felt more like it's own universe more than anything TOO Marvel related.  There were moments though, and they did exactly what I prayed they would do with Lola.

It's funny that another problem I had was that there was TOO MUCH comicbooky stuff.  Not actual content, but the references were getting to be a bit TOO cutesy.  "Ready to joing us on our Journey Into Mystery?"  Iiiii see what you did there.

I hope they get stuff like that out of there system, because while I do actually like cute stuff like that, doing it too much can become too annoying with the constant winks to the audience.

The story itself in the pilot was decent enough, building on the movie universe's tech already, and each character has a bit of mystery and questions to explore, although nowhere near as with Sleepy Hollow.

Now, I say I didn't love the show, but I did absolutely like it.  I was mildly entertained, I enjoyed it more on my second viewing when I wasn't in critic mode, although still a few bland bits, but it was mostly solid for a pilot, and that's what I judge it on.

The first episode was not a home run, knock it out of the park affair, but it was good, it did what it needed to do, and I absolutely see the potential there.  I am just as sick of 'getting the team together' stories, as I am of origins, I guess.

Now, the second episode that I just got done watching?  A definite step up in quality, and they did a really good job of mixing the cool action with some solid character moments that really made these people more real in the context of the show.  It can be tough to strike that balance of action and talking, and this episode more or less got it right.  I'm not entirely sold on some of the directions they're *going* with the characters, but hey.  It's there show.

Overall, while I wasn't immediately grabbed, the show has potential, and I'm sure things will pick up.  The second episode made that pretty clear.

And I'll admit it, classifying the plane as SHIELD 616 made me grin huge.

What I'm Watching: Sleepy Hollow

Fall is here!  In all ways except it, y'know, actually technically *being* Autumn.  But that means the new season of fall shows begins, and oh, what a way to kick it off!

I literally just got done watching the series premiere of Sleepy Hollow, arguably the show I have been anticipating most since I first heard about it.

And to be blunt, it did NOT disappoint.

The general plot revolves around the familiar elements, with Ichabod Crane encountering the Headless Horseman (Before he lost his head, in this version), and making the first half of that name a most accurate description.

We immediately cut from the Horseman's beheading to modern times, where Crane awakens in a crypt in a cave, and stumbles around until he finds the plot.

Meanwhile, the Headless Horseman himself has too arisen, seeking his missing head, as he is wont to do in most versions of the story.

This gives us a pretty solid setup of a mystery of who this creature is, why Ichabod and he are in the present day, and VERY easy humour with Crane's culture shock, as well as the 'Odd Couple' style humour of his style with the leiutenant he runs into immediately upon arriving in our time.  Not to mention that since this ties back to the Revolutionary War, and there's a secret history to explore, there's even MORE of a tapestry to peel back and explore.

The mythology expands with one of those twists that is SO bloody obvious, I can't believe it hasn't been done before now; making the Headless Horsemen one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  This expands things hugely, and hving his arrival being a harbinger of his brethren, but first their return must be prepare by more demonic forces make the show able to not make it JUST about the Horseman, but about the town and the weird shit about to descend on it.

All of this pretty much can be summed up by saying they came up with great ideas to give the series legs.  The mystery, the monsters, already lots of potential with that, the character interactions...all the elements are here.

My biggest disappointment at using such great actors as John Cho and Clancy Brown, and wasting them before the pilot is done.  I would have lvoed to have their presences around for a longer term, especially Brown whom I have loved since his role as the Kurgan in the original Highlander movie.

The pilot did everything it needed to do, set up a long term plot (And teased a seven year plot at that), with lots of avenues they can go down so clearly shown.  I have rarely seen a show jump out of the gate with so many ideas they can work with so soon.  The vision here is clear, and that is a plus.  I don't know how much they know about where the show is going, but it sure seems like they have some solid ideas.

A few things happened seemingly for plot convenience sake, and that bugs me just a little.  The pilot probably could have used some extra time to flesh things out just a little more.  Hopefully there's an extended version or deleted scenes that will do the trick somewhere down the line.  But a few storytelling shortcuts can almost be forgiven in a pilot, so I don't hold that against it too much.

I was looking forward to this all summer long, and I am definitely on board. I can't wait to see how this new show's mythology expands from here, and look forward to the adventures of Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills.

What I'm Watching: Zombieland Pilot

Awhile back, I shared my thoughts on the awesomeness that was Zombieland.  It was widely known that they originally wanted to make a series, hence the Zombie Kill of the Week would've been a real thing, and other little touches.  But that didn't work, and they eventually got it to launch as a theatrical movie.

So, the wheel turns, and we come back around to...Zombieland being made into a possible series!  Go figure.  At Amazon, of all places.  But hey, if they get the tone correct, it's all good, right?


Well...  How can this feel so wrong and so right at the same time?  I really think the main problem here is the cast.  Now, there was NOOO way they were going to get the movie's cast back, clearly.  And other properties have transitioned well enough from movies to tv with a changed cast, like Stargate.  But Zombieland has SUCH an iconic cast, that it is tough, at least with this first episode, to get over that.  I hope that lessens as time goes by, because I would really hate to be constantly bothered by that.

Because really?  This was good.  This was GOOD.  This was, quite frankly, more Zombieland.  If you were to read the scripts, or if these were two separate chapters of a book, you would go, "Ah, yes.  These are two parts of a whole.  These are both of a piece."  I would be hard pressed to find someone who loved the movie that didn't at least like this, and at least be willing to give it a chance.

The cast is not bad, not really.  But yeah, hard to get by not having Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and the rest.  And it's been awhile since I saw the original, and I know Tallahassee was never the sharpest blade in the scabbard, but did they dumb him down, or is it just me?

I get they're going for comedic effect, and it's like Randall getting a slight IQ downgrade between the Clerks movies and animated series and whatnot.  It's funny to have a guy that's clueless.  And the guy playing Tallahassee was pretty good, and the way they wrote him suited the actor's protrayal, so it all works in the end.

They also did a funny bit opening the episode, which was maybe a little on the slow side but it's easing you in I guess...  But they open up with a joke that ONLY works because they recast the role.  The whole joke is, you don't know the guy, but if you knew this was Tallahassee, FL, then you would know that was who that was!  That is so meta, and pretty brilliant, and a great way to say, "Yes, we know they're not the same actors, live with it."

Little Rock came off as a poor man's Chloe Moretz to me.  And that's not a bad thing.  She was probably the closest to the original actress, in my head.  But being compared to Moretz is a plus, in my book.

I don't really have much to say about Columbus and Wichita, but they did decently enough.  Columbus as our returning narator works well enough, and isn't terribly jarring, which is a plus.

Aside from Tallahassee being dumbed down, Wichita's casting throws me the most.  She is SO different from Emma Stone, but she delivers the lines well, as some decent awkward chemistry with Columbus, and is pretty funny.  So it's the most distracting, but she does a good enough job of both making the role her own, and feeling at home at the same time, that it almost works.  And will surely grow on me if this goes to a series.

But the biggest question I have on the plot side of things...who the fuck is keeping OnStar going in the zombie apocalypse?!  That's almost crazy to me, and almost demands having a story told just to explain the hows and whys, before my suspension of disbelief snaps like a rubber band.

But in short, this is good, VERY good.  Especially for a pilot, and one that has such expectations breathing down its neck.  It hits all the right notes, and has the same tone as the movie.  You get that mix of humour and horror that the movie excelled at, and knows when to switch between the two.  It gets right what it needs to get right, and the stuff it gets wrong can be ironed out.  No pilot is perfect, and while the cast is different, the story remains the same.

Definitely worth checking out, and giving Amazon your feedback.

What I'm Watching: The Following

Ahh, a little tv this time around, eh?

I'd been hearing about The Following for awhile, and it sounded more or less up my alley.  I like the occasional mystery, especially a good murder mystery.

The use of the internet for the criminal mastermind to build his cult was also a uniquely fascinating idea, although I did have the fear that it would come across as something talking about the evils of the internet.  Fortunately, they did NOT go that route, and in fact, the internet is a very small part of it.  It's a tool that is used, nothing more.  And that is exactly how it should be.

I've watched the first two episodes so far, but not the most recent.  The show centers around a serial killer who was captured eight years ago after a murder spree inspired by Edgar Allen Poe.  He escapes, but is quickly brought back to prison.  But that's when everything starts to go wrong.  While he was in prison, he established connections with various other like-minded individuals who want to be inspired by him like he was by Poe, and are his, yes, following.

They do some interesting tricks with storytelling, bouncing all around the timeline with pertinent information.  They have their share of decent twists, and some good murders already in the first couple episodes.  But it does have that vague feel of, "Well, we've seen all this before, haven't we?"

And yeah, we kinda have.  There is very little new here, it's quite derivative, and yet, it's well done.  The cast is great, headlined by Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, and it's well made.  So while it is a bit 'been there, done that', it is at least very well done that before.

I'm also a huge Poe fan, naturally, and I am totally geeking out over all the references and fun little touches.  That brings a nice deal of unique voice to the show, and gives it that sense of being its own thing and not just "Seven: The Series".  Also, having both of the leads being authors, and having that sense of storytelling and the hero's journey being used deliberately by the villain gives it a great metatextual feel that I hope continues through the series.

It is definitely worth checking out, and I hope this is the case of a single season story and we're done.  I don't want to see this dragged out for years.  This should be done as a rock solid miniseries, not an ongoing, never-ending series like everything else.

I don't love it, but I don't hate it, and there's enough here to keep me interested, so give it a shot yourselves!


What I'm Watching: Revolution, Beauty & the Beast

I'm gonna give y'all a tv two-fer today, playing some catchup on the new season.

I've been watching Revolution for a few weeks now.  This is the new show from J.J. Abrams, and Erik Kripke.  The basic premise is that one day, the power goes out, and doesn't come back on.  The story picks up 15 years later, the power is still out, militias are slowly consolidating power, and the adventure begins.

That's a solid premise for a show, and I think for the most part, we've got something good here.  The acting is decent enough, the show looks fact, the biggest complaint is that it looks TOO good.  It has that 'pretty people in a post apocalypse' problem that is all too prevalent in visual media.  But for me?  I can live with it.  It doesn't really bother me that much.

The other big complaint is that comments have point out how things don't make sense, electricity doesn't work that way, why haven't they made more yet, etc.  But I do not get these complaints.  THE SHOW ITSELF is constantly pointing out how this is wrong, how unnatural it is, and how the laws of science are broken, because this is wrong!  This is a plot point, not a plot hole, people.  Granted, it will probably just be handwaved with a magic explanation, but I am not overly bugged by it.

They're slowly expanding the world, and things are mostly holding together.  I'm interested in where things are going, and so far, this is my fave new show of the season.

Meanwhile, on the CW, we have Beauty & the Beast.  This is a remake of the 80s series starring Linda Hamilton and the heavy makeup effects on Ron Perlman.

This time around, the show is about a cop who had a strange encounter that has haunted her life ever since; she was saved from an attack, by a strange, beast-like man.  Years later, she's investigating a case, and it leads her straight into that same man.  He's wrapped up in a government conspiracy, and now Catherine is drawn into it as well, although she may have a larger connection to it than she at first suspected.

I didn't watch much of the original, so I have no major connection to it, but I found this show to be mostly okay.  It didn't blow me away, I saw most of the twists coming, and I kinda roll my eyes at not going all the way with the Beast side of things, and leaving us with a handsome leading man to draw in the ladies.  Making him permanently and always a monster is more interesting, IMO, and showing that someone like that can still be a romantic lead as well.

But this is the hand we're dealt, and what we get is good enough of a start.  I'm not really as intrigued by what may come from B&B as I am by Arrow, but the mystery was nice.  And it feels like it has been a while since we've done the detective with a supernatural partern trope, so I'm gonna keep watching for now.


What I'm Watching: Arrow

The new fall season has begun!  There's new genre shows aplenty, and I'm going to try and run down the ones I'm watching, and gives my thoughts on them.

Hopefully before they're cancelled.  *coughcough666ParkAvenuecough*

Let's start off with Arrow, the CW's answer to a lack of Smallville, by reworking the DC Comics' character, Green Arrow.

The episode opens with Olivier Queen, a rich, spoiled kid, being discovered on an island where he was stranded five years ago.  He's been believed to be dead by the world at large, so his return is a shock to everyone who knew him.

Once he's back, he sees corruption everywhere in his home city, and sets about putting things right, by crafting the guise of...well, I'm calling him Green Arrow, for the sake of simplicity.

It was a solid pilot, laid out all the pieces well, and left a few dangling mysteries to drive the series forward.  The characters are decent enough, and the cast is mostly biggest problem is Olvier Queen himself!  He's not terrible, but he just seems to be lacking a certain quality.  He seems to just be reciting lines half the time.  I hope the actor settles in over the course of things, because that's something that can get better as he grows more comfortable to Ollie's hood.

I felt the pilot was a bit by the numbers.  There weren't any huge surprises.  There was no moment that made me really want to see the next episode.  There is a TON of stuff in there for the comic fans though, that have promise for things to come...but those are further down the road, and not here.  I can't judge the pilot on what MIGHT come some day.

The hour had that feel of television, which kinda made it feel small at times.  But at least they chose a character that works for.  If this was someone in space, or with amazing powers, it might suffer more.  But a regular guy who is an awesome archer...well, you can work with that on a smaller budget.  And hopefully the show lasts and the budget gets better.

There is a lot of room for improvement on the show, but it starts out with a solid base, so there is hope that these issues WILL improve.  It is definitely not bad, and certainly watchable.

But hey.  It's a pilot.  I do not expect perfection.  I'll watch more, definitely.

What I'm Watching: Late November

And away we go with more movies!

A little off the beaten path from our usual fair, but with a reputation of badness, I finally got a chance to see the Hitman movie adaptation.  Now, I am NOT a player of the games.  I have Hitman 2, played it a little, but never quite got into it, so I am vaguely familiar with the property, but not intimately.  I felt they got a lot right, and it was a fun story, with an ok cast.  I *liked* Olyphant's 47, and the movie was fun, but not great.  The biggest problem was the needlessly complex plot that wndered all over the place for very little reward.  Way better than I'd heard, but I can see how fans would be more pissed than I was.  Don't seek it out, but if you stumble across it, what the hey.

Speaking of poorly received adaptations, hello Green Lantern!  A lot of the same things I said about Hitman apply here.  Not as bad as you may have heard, an ok cast, a lot they got right, but it ended up not gelling right.  If anything, the plot could have used a little MORE complexity.  In reality, it's biggest crime was coming out in the same year as Captain America, Thor, and X-Men: First Class.  Sucks to be you, Hal Jordan.  It needed some work, and comes off as a pretty basic story, but an ok comicbook movie that is better than some, worse than most.  Thoroughly average with a good cast.  Go watch the new cartoon instead. ;)

Somewhat horror like is a movie I have NO idea what I feel about it.  Yeah, Red State is one of those.  Kevin Smith tells the story of a group of teens that run afoul of some very religious folk, and how horribly, HORRIBLY wrong things go.  I love Kevin Smith, and this is SO different from his normal type of movie.  And that is a good thing.  The cast is simply amazing, and the preacher steals the entire freaking show.  But Kevin almost wanted to make three different movies, as three stages of this one larger film, and I don't think everything came together quite as well as he would have liked.  That said, it's better than Cop Out, and probably some of Smith's best directing as the camera does more than just sit there, with the aforementioned astounding cast, I just...don't know what to make of it.  This movie is likely going to get a cult following, and could grow on me over time, it's just so not cohesive upon that first viewing, because it goes all over the place, deliberately.  Just as you find your footing, it veers elsewhere.  And I *like* that, but it makes it hard to get a handle on this movie!  Worth seeing just to form your own opinion.

I have a new favourite found footage movie; Grave Encounters.  Now, I still love the Paranormal Activity movies, but GE gets SO much right.  It is genuinely spooky.  It is the best excuse for a found footage movie so far, using the current glut of Ghost Hunter shows as its premise to follow a group of tv people making that sort of show in a genuinely haunted asylum.  And shit goes way the hell wrong.  Where most found footage movies hold their scares, and only do minor little things, this movie is VERY in your face, and it had me twitching by the end of it.  Really, really enjoyed it.

Meanwhile on tv, there's American Horror Story, a new horror show on FX, that uses their more adult themes to the fullest, and doesn't hold many punches.  The very first episode left me cold, and didn't click for me, but the show has gotten better with each episode, and the Halloween two parter was the best yet.  It's the story of a family moving into a new home in LA, that has a long, storied, and bloody history.  Cue the ghosts that won't leave them alone.  I'm not sure how the hell it can really last as a lengthy series, but for now I enjoy the ride.

Also there's one of two fairy tale inspired shows, Grimm.  I still haven't watched the other one yet, give me time!  But this one is about a detective who learns he is the latest in a long line of hunters of fairy tale creatures, and he must protect normal people from them.  It's a little Supernatural, a little Buffy, and...since I just watched the first episode, only a little ok.  The plot is ok, it has some mildly interesting stuff, but seems to be trying too hard to shove its cleverness down our throats.  And the final clue that leads them to the Big Bad Wolf trying to kill Red Riding Hoods is so mind numbingly stupid, it almost made me throw my remote at the tv.  I hope it gets better, but that one moment almost ruined the entire show for me.

And finally, if you want to see my review of In Time, which I will say I kinda loved, swing over to my LiveJournal and read many more in depth thoughts than, "Yay good!"

WHEW!  Ok, that mostly catches me up, and clears the deck for our post-Thanksgiving review, and for the massive December plans I've got brewing.

Happy holidays!


What I'm Watching: Fall Season Spectacularrrr.

Ahh, autumn.  The leaves are turning, the weather is getting chilly, kids are planning how to scare people for candy, and new tv shows start.  And there are quite a few genre shows this year that are worth talking about.  Or are they?

First up is an odd pairing.  Heck, even being a pairing just makes it all the more odd.  Sarah Michelle Gellar is back on tv with a new show on the network that made her a household name, with Ringer.  She plays dual roles of sisters that could not be more different.  One is a successful socialite with a husband, charity work, and a life.  The other is a stripper, an addict, and on the run from the wrong side of the law, and the right side, as they want her to testify against a mob boss.  She runs straight to her twin sister for help, whio then promptly ends up dead.  Seeing the perfect place to hide and the perfect life, Brigid takes the place of her sister.  And that's when trouble starts.  This has some clear soapy bits to it, but the over the topness of it all, and the whodunnit nature also gives it a little bit of a giallo bent, but only barely.  Ringer is ok, to be blunt.  It is way over the top in the way you would expect any good soap to be and the plot often makes little to no real sense or logic, but the cast is pretty decent.  It's a pleasure to watch any of these actors, but the actual writing leaves a little something to be desired.  It could get better, but overall it is way more soap opera than engaging mystery.  Worth checking out if you're a fan of SMG, but missable for the cheese.

And not to be outdone by one twin swapping story, ABC Family has joined the fray with one of their own, the Lying Game.  This one does not have the same strength of cast as Ringer, nor is the writing as sharp.  Yeah, and I was pretty harsh on the writing of Ringer.  Most of the cast is unknowns, or might as well be.  Only Adrian Pasdar has any real name recognition, although Helen Slater is in there too.  Even then, they've got a lot to carry.  The story is about two high school age twins whom have only recently discovered each other after being seperated since birth.  They're looking for their mother, and trying to figure out why they were given up.  Sutton, the rich bitch of the pair, goes off to find their mother, and makes Emma take over her life to cover for her.  Just why this elaborate ruse is necessary is not made quite clear for some time.  And that is a problem.  The mystery is a little too mysterious, even to the audience, and the show tries to make the mystery of who their mother is and why she's missing, into the biggest mystery of the universe, to the point of some super conspiracy, stolen property, frame jobs, and more.  The show does finally get around to elaborating on just why this all is, but it's not fast in coming, and rather than deal with the actual mystery at the core of the show, it would rather blather on about teenage angst and relationships that have almost little to no actual bearing on the plot.  So much filler.  There's something here, but overall, Ringer is the better of the two twins.

Something completely different is Scifi Channel's Paranormal Witness.  The channel has become quite well known for its ghost hunting series, but this time, it's different.  It's stories of the supernatural, from ghosts, to aliens, and hauntings, and bifgoots.  They are supposedly true stories by real people, and dramatised on the show to show the audience what happened.  It's Unsolved Mysteries for ghosts.  The format is decent enough, and the stories have been intriguing, and even downright spooky at times.  But at the same time, it is very easy for a sceptic to poke holes in the stories.  I can't figure out every single detail (Aside from just saying "Everyone on this show is lying!  LYING!!") but enough can be explained away with rational explanations and critical thinking.  Others might have better luck with the details.  But even besides that, the stories are decent enough.  I take it as listening to ghost stories around a campfire.  You know they're likely not true, but they can be engaging enough.  If you like some good spooky stories, it's worth a look.

Something more normal is the new CBS show, Person of Interest, starring Jim Caviezel, and Michael Emerson.  In a nutshell, the show is Batman without the capes.  It's not a perfect comparrison, but I think it works.  JC plays Reese, a former special forces operative who has fallen on hard times, and gets recruited by Finch, a man who designed the super duper version of Carnivore.  It watches people and faces, using the network of cameras now around NYC in the wake of 9/11.  It sorts through all that data and reports on imminent threats to the population.  But the government was only interested in major threats to large numbers, not the little people in ones or twos that the system also recognised as being in danger.  Finch was unable to take that burden quietly, so recieves a list of social security numbers that the Machine has flagged as in danger, and uses his resources and Reese's skills to stop bad things happening to good people, that the government considers to be 'unimportant'.  The premise is solid, unique, and has just enough room to do a usual procedural type show but where the crimes are stopped before they're committed, but also you can see the larger plot lurking in the background, and how things could get much more intense and 'mythology arcish' in the near future once they've set things up.  Amazing actors with some decent action, and solid writing.  Currently my pick for show of the year.

On the other end of the spectrum is A Gifted Man, about a dickish surgeon played by Patrick Wilson, who is visited by the ghost of his dead ex-wife, to try and make him softer.  Picture House with less interesting doctors, less interesting writing, and increased moralising and preaching about how good we should all be to each other.  Meh.  Another good cast, but the writing is just so blah, and the plot is not that great.  I passed after a single episode.  If he was visited by more ghosts, instead of just the one, who may or may not be real (The latter making you root for a crazy person...ok.) then it might be something, but there's just nowhere for this show to go, other than making the jerk more fluffy and nice.

And somewhere in between the best and the worst, is certainly Terra Nova.  After we've ruined the planet, we discover a rift in time and space, that enables us to travel back in time 85 million years to try and get things right.  Or possibly to just fuck over the planet a second time.  The concept is great, and there's some good actors, but don't come here looking for good science fiction.  The rift is very convenient, the time travel hurts, and the story is more about the factions of humanity and OMG dinosaurs! than any real science.  If things aren't solved by technobabble, then things are solved by convenient deus ex machinas, like in the third episode when a memory wiping disease is cured simply because there's a root that someone conveniently had that just so happened to stop him from losing his memories.  Handy.  But the show is ok, and has moments, so it isn't a total waste.  And the cast that's good is Very Good Indeed, so I keep watching for now.  It has potential, but so far they're squandering it.  Fingers crossed that they sort out what's wrong quickly.

And that wraps up my look at the new shows that caught my interest.  Did I forget one that you like?  Or hate?  Or did I just forget one, because I have a terrible memory?  That last one is very likely.  If I remember someone I forgot in this post, I'll get around to it when I post about Once Upon a Time and other stuff later, since that hasn't premiered yet.  And sadly, as much as I really want to see Grimm, I just can't, as it is up against too many other shows.  Sadness.  I'll try my best to watch it someday, but for now it remains a mystery.


What I'm Watching: Late September, 2011

Hello once again!  The summer time is drawing to a close, fall is creeping in, the leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, and the harvest comes for us all.  And if you think that sounds ominous, just wait 'til October, my friends...

Just a really short WIW post this time around, since most everything was covered in the first half of the month, and I've mostly just been watching Fringe DVDs, and waiting for the new fall season to start.  I'll get to that later.

Also on the DVD front is the ever-present MST3K.  Got the new set, all the Gamera movies they mocked.  That was a really fun ride, and I love making it a theme like that.  I'd love to see more sets like that, although I am not sure what they'd do.  Very classic MST3K though, and some of their better early episodes, as the show was beginning to hit its stride.

Over the summer, I did stumble across one cool show a little late in the game, but I caught up quickly thanks to reruns, and it was a nice little guilty pleasure over the warm months.  That show was Cinemax's Femme Fatales.  I love me some anthology shows.  Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Tales from the Crypt...all some of my fave stuff from the past.  FF is very much in the same vein, although probably closest to Crypt, since it has a host, although Tanit Phoenix is Lilith is much easier on the eyes than the Cryptkeeper.  But then again, so is a pile of roadkill.  Anyways, the show is about various noirish style stories about women gone bad, or just taking things into their own hands.  There is a big revenge theme running through things, and being on Cinemax, you can assume the adult nature of the show, and that is very present.  But the show is very well written, the twists are actually very clever most of the time, and the show does not take itself TOO seriously, which is always a plus.  The thing that sets this show apart from other anthologies is that all the stories happen in the same town, and in the same time period, more or less, and they are slowly building a mythology in the background.  These stories are all interconnected in small ways, and even Lilith becomes part of the story.  It seemed like just a little easter egg each episode, but by the time the first season ends, you realise there is a much bigger plan in place, and Lilith has a much more active role.  I highly recommend the series if you enjoy well told stories, don't mind a little sex, and want to see men getting what's coming to them.  I loved having this show to watch over the summer, and hate that it took me so long to bring it up.

Finally, I escaped briefly to the theatres and saw Apollo 18, the latest in the recent glut of found footage movies.  I'm a little in between on the movie.  I thought the story was solid and well told, but I don't think it was a good found footage movie.  There's a huge problem with who found said footage and put it together for us, but I can almost let that slide, even if it is a bit of a bug in my brain.  But the biggest thing about these movies is the sense of reality.  You need that sense to really buy into things, and this movie just did not hit that out of the park for me.  Not once did I believe these people were real.  Not once did this feel like it was really the 70s.  The claustrophobia you would expect from being in a space capsule on the moon never quite comes through, and that could have been the highlight of this movie.  But the acting isn't half bad, which is good, since there really are only three people in the entire movie.  The creatures are creative, and the idea is good.  I just think it would have been a better regular movie, rather than trying to force it into a found footage style.  Not bad, but needed some work.  Which is a shame.  I mostly enjoyed it, but the bad things just did more harm.  Sigh.

And that is it for now.  Swing by in a few days for our next full review, and WIW will be back in October with our breakdown of the new fall shows!


What I'm Watching: August, 2011

Happy August, horrorheads!  Sorry I got lazy at the end there, and decided to stock up comments on assorted stuff for one big post.  So let us get to it, shall we?

Something I came across in the Very Odd Department of the tv was this odd little movie called Trail of the Screaming Brain.  The guys behind this have done a number of movies in the style of old, cheesy movies from the 1950s and 1960s.  Now, why would this have caught my eye?  In this movie, some scientists are looking to enhance brain power by enlarging the true source of all thought...the forehead.  And at the same time, alien foreheads are coming to Earth and possessing people.  Yes, this movie is EXACTLY as goofy as it sounds.  The writing and performances are straight out of scifi B-movies, with stilted repetative dialogue, the effects are deliberately awful, and it was all done in good fun.  I loved it, but at the same time, it made me twitchy.  There's something fun about embracing those old tropes, heck it's the whole reason I'm here right?  But at the same time, to deliberately make something awful is...odd.  They struck that balance between tongue in cheek and awful very well though, and if you have nostalgia for these sorts of movies, this is worth the look.  If we can bring back exploitation movies, why not scifi b-movies?

And that brings us right to Hobo With a Shotgun, doesn't it?  Unlike movies like Drive Angry and Machete that are doing modern day homages to the exploitation genre, this movie is one.  In every way.  I'm not sure how much it works, but I mostly enjoyed it.  In the exploitation resurgence, I'd still put Drive Angry ahead of it, since there's some things about Hobo that don't quite gel together.  But hey, it's Rutger Hauer hamming it up and killing things in insanely gory ways.  It is gloriously and unapologetically over the top.  It's a movie that I'm sure will grow on me over time.

Speaking of flawed movies, there's Dylan Dog...  Based on a foreign comic I didn't even know existed until I'd already ordered the DVD, Dylan Dog is the story of the eponymous investigator of the weird, who works as a mediator between all the tribes of monsters existing in New Orleans.  He's human, an impartial judge to solve their quarrels, but he had a falling out and retired from that position.  But the supernatural never lets you go, and Dylan gets dragged back into the world of darkness.  Brandon Routh is great as a noir hero, and the story isn't bad, but there's nothing too special here.  Low budget fun, and I can see why people wouldn't like it, but it's decent enough to kill 90 minutes and not regret it.  Definitely worth checking out.  It's perfectly average, and raised above that by Routh's deadpan, and some other creativeness and acting.  Peter Stormare!  How can you go wrong there?  But I say go seek out the movie Cemetary Man which is based off the same world.

A movie I don't know WHAT to say about, is Rubber.  If you've not heard of it, the movie is about a sentient tire that goes on a killing spree after discovering a tire fire.  ...And that's a sentence I never thought I'd type.  It's seriously 90 minutes of a tire going around telekinetically blowing up heads.  And breaking the fourth wall at every opportunity.  It breaks the fourth wall, and the rules of cinema left and right.  It's almost an arty horror movie.  I *think* I like it?  It's fun, but so weird, I just keep going, "Whaa?" every time I think about it.  And I can't make a single complaint about it, because the movie opens with a monologue about how every movie has an element of "No reason".  So if I want to know why the hell something happened...well, the movie already told me.  No reason.  Do not expect sense out of Rubber.  And yet, yeah, it was fun.  There's an audience watching the movie in the movie that provides some weirdness and commentary, and the opening reel of Robert (that's the tire's name) coming to life and stumbling through childhood like a baby growing up is actually really well done.

I think I'll wrap up with a movie I don't think ANYone has heard of, Control.  I stumbled across this around the same time I found last month's Portal.  It's the story about a criminal, played by Ray Liotta, who goes through the trope of behaviour modification.  He's believed killed by lethal injection, and then subjected to drugs and tests by the Green, Willem Dafoe.  Eventually, he's considered altered and normal enough to re-enter society, cleaned up, and sent on his way to gauge the success of the project.  You can probably figure out some of the tropes they stumble through, but it's well done, with a solid cast.  Things go wrong when he does get recognised for who he is while trying to make amends for past actions.  The movie is a good look at how much control a person has over their life and behaviour, and has a surprising and very effective twist at the end that ties right back to the nature of the movie.  I was pleasently surprised to have stumbled across this and was thoroughly engaged the entire time.  I definitely recommend seeing it if its on cable some night, or you see it for rent.  Or that newfangled thingie, Netflix.

Until the next review in a week or so, keep thirteening.  And keep an eye out for my thoughts on Captain America and Cowboys & Aliens.  I reviewed Oblivion, I *have* to see C&A, the good version!


What I'm Watching: July, 2011

Hello, horrorheads!

Before diving in, if you want to pick my brain on Transformers 3, swing over to my LiveJournal where I go pretty in depth with it, and no need to repeat myself.

With that out of the way, I came across an odd little movie on the pay stations a few weeks back, and checked out this thing called Portal.  No, not THAT Portal.  Sadly.  This Portal was about a pair of guys whose car gets stuck in the thickest fog bank this side of London's East End.  They spend the night at the lone hotel they find, and then things get weird.  As the plot unfolds, they discover they're stuck in a time loop, and there's satanists behind it all.  This was a really clever idea, done well enough, and made good use of 'bottle' storytelling, and the dense fog really helped sell the closed in idea, and minimal sets.  It doesn't quite execute as well as it would have liked, but since it was literally something I discovered at 3am on a Saturday, I can't complain.  As is usual, the ending falls apart and doesn't really resolve anything, but yeah, acted well enough, and had an intriguing enough plot that it was legitimately interesting.  If you find it at some 3am, check it out.

The summer tv season has begun, and one of the first new shows to come out was Falling Skies.  In short, this is a post-invasion show, and we're following the resistance movement in Massachusetts.  The first episode wasn't bad, but didn't blow me away, but I am becoming more intrigued by why the aliens are here, what they want, and what they're doing.  I love that we are not seeing all CGI, and we get some practical aliens.  And hooray for them being REALLY alien.  I'm tired of humanoid aliens.  My biggest complaint is I want to see more of how we got here than just "the aliens invaded, and technology stopped working".  There's a story in there, in and of itself.  I get wanting to not go that route, since this is the story of the resistance, the fight back, and not the invasion, but I would like some details sprinkled in here and there.  It gets better each week, and the introduction of their Lokean archetype definitely brought a new level to the show.  You need that element of chaos.

And if you're like me and disappointed in Teen Wolf, you can get your animalistic funtime on in another show, The Nine Lives of Chloe King.  I'll admit it, I am kinda loving this show.  It's about a teenaged girl who wishes for some excitement for her birthday, something different, and boy, does the karma fairy grant her wish hard.  She discovers that not only is she a long lost member of a supernatural race of feline-like people called the Mai, but she is their prophesied unifier, who will live nine lives.  The show is very Buffy in tone, with those high school tropes and allegory, but not quite as much quirky writing or cleverness.  But not everyone is a Joss Whedon, so I don't hold that against the show.  But yeah, this is a really solid show that fills that Buffy void very well.  I hope the show finds a way to develop a little more beyond just having Mai versus a group of humans called the Order, but the high school drama gives it some variety.  Much better than Teen Wolf, much better acting, much better writing.

Finally, back to the movies, or DVD, I caught Adjustment Bureau at long last.  And...I loved this movie.  I love when science fiction poses questions, looks at the human condition, and plays with concepts that are just the other side of known reality.  And it's not REALLY science fiction, since there's no technology doing anything, but that's the closest place it falls into.  I love questioning fate, free will, choice, and how we all fit into the big plan.  This movie was fun, with an amazing cast, and a unique idea, or an old one told in a new way.  I highly recommend it if you like classic Twilight Zone or Outer Limits, because this falls very well into that wheelhouse.  It's much more like those stories than the modern Will Smith attempt at making I, Robot an action movie.

That's it for now, back to the big time reviews!  See you in a few days.


What I'm Watching: Late June, 2011

Hello, horrorheads!  Happy summer!  Anyone up for a trip to camp?  How's Crystal Lake this time of year?

Anywho, before diving into what images flicker in front of my eyes, I did want to direct everyone's attention to the Movie Cover Gallery which has a minor, but significant change.  I split out movies for 2009-2010, and a seperate page for 2011 as I mentioned earlier.  But as I kept looking at the pages, something felt wrong, and it felt strange to visit the 2009-2010 movies first.  So, I flopped the pages around, and when you visit the MCG now, the first movies that come up are the current year's fare, and the pre-2011 movies are now archied to a seperate page.  Chronological made sense, but moving the older movies to a seperate page made just that hair more sense to me.  Your mileage may vary, but it's not difficult to find any movie on those two pages.

But onto the watching part of this post.  First up was something that slipped my mind last time, the new Teen Wolf show.  Forgetting it did give me a chance to watch a few more episodes, and I wish I had tonight's newest episode to watch as well, but I guess that will have to wait.  Still, a few episodes in and I am formulating an opinion.  And that opinion is a resounding Meh!  They took everything you knew and loved about the classic movie and tossed it right out the window.  I'm surprised there's even a werewolf in this movie.  The humour is gone, the family curse is gone.  About the only things that DO remain are a wolf who is a teen.  It is so dark, so brooding, and just so, so meh!  I have no other word for it.  The characters are whiny, and making the show like every other werewolf story, where a guy gets bit and has to deal, makes it JUST ANOTHER WEREWOLF STORY.  There is nothing special here.  SO disappointing.  It's ok, but so nothing special.  And it's barely ok.  Maybe I just don't get the show, but it's just so bland and unoriginal.  I have hope that it's just growing pains, and they find their voice, but those hopes are low.

Speaking of werewolves, I also watched the big screen horrory reimagining of Red Riding Hood.  And even if I didn't know this was from the director of the first Twilight film?  I'd be able to tell.  It has that same clean, sterile style, and the haaaair.  Where did people in medieval times find so much product to slick their hair up into points like that?  The world looks very fake, very set-like, and way too storybook.  Which almost works for the story, considering the subject matter, but it pushes things a little too far, and almost feels like a play.  Look of the movie aside...this isn't bad.  The story is solid, well thought out, has some interesting twists, and makes sense.  The acting is solid, and Gary Oldman, as always, is a blast.  There's problems to be sure, but the movie doesn't deserve the bashing it got, I think.  It's fun, and an interesting take on the story everyone knows.  I did hate how they brought in the, "My, what big ____ you have" stuff.  That was WAY too forced, and I don't think we really needed it, other than to say, "See!  See!  RED RIDING HOOD!  In case you missed the title!  And the red hood!"  But that aside, it's worth seeing if you've got some time to kill and it comes on tv.  Not bad at all.

Another side thing that's what I'm watching, but not exactly that big of a thing, is MST3K.  I've mentioned, probably ad nauseum, that Mystery Science Theater 3000 is one of the grandfathers of Trisk, and a few weeks ago I was growing nostalgic, missing those Saturday or Sunday mornings where I'd curl up in my chair and watch the newest episode, and it hit me; duh, I have 20 volumes of DVDs.  I can recreate my weekly MST3K fix easily.  And so I did.  A month ago, I grabbed MST3K volume 1, and started from the start of that set, moving forward one episode a week, just like I originally saw a few years of the show.  Granted, this is far from all the episodes, and in no particular order, but order is unimportant.  Doing the show in order WOULD be fun to do someday, though.  As I'm watching, I'm also posting my thoughts on the episodes each week to my LiveJournal.  If you're so inclined, you can follow those posts right over here which links to the MST3K tag for my LJ, so all those specific posts will appear there.  I don't guarantee every episode I watch being talked about, but if I have something to say, I will.  Nothing major, nothing revelatory, but it might be of interest to some people.

And that's enough for now.  See you in a week for a new full review!


What I'm Watching: Early May, 2011

Before diving into the few things I've watched lately, I came across a serious bit of WTF news that made my jaw clang off my desk.  Which is especially impressive, since the desk is wooden.

Remember that movie I *just* reviewed?  The Killer Eye?  Full Moon has lost their nut and decided it would be a brilliant idea, 12 years later, to make a sequel.  Yes, a sequel.  Killer Eye 2.  Whafuh?  Seriously??  I still can't believe it.  And the timing of it is what really blows my mind.  JUST as I've reviewed it, they announce the sequel.

Here's the rough plotline from Charles Band himself: "Our killer horny eyeball is back as a replica size hypnotic monster that terrorizes 5 hot chicks as they set up a Halloween haunt in an old mansion!"

Oh, Charles.  What is it with you and killer puppets/replicas?  It was cute with the first half dozen Puppet Masters, and Dolls, and Dollman, and Demonic Toys, and Blood Dolls, and...   You get the point.

This idea hurts my soul.

And speaking of Rolfe...holy crap!  The man himself replied to my reviews of Killer Eye and TNOT!  I nearly spat out my morning coffee when I saw those replies.  I've long looked forward to and dreaded someone I poke fun at coming across my reviews of their work, since this is the internet and it was inevitable.  But much like how he hoped people would get his intentions with TNOT, I hoped whoever it was that finds Trisk would understand my intentions of mocking with love, and it's clear to me that Rolfe does get that.  Of course he would.

Less soul-hurtingly, I've been watching the 1996 NBC scifi conspiracy series, Dark Skies.  I passed on this in its initial run, for whatever reason.  I can't remember now.  But man, this was some good stuff.  It's rough, it's mid 90s, it's mid 90s CGI.  But the writing is pretty solid.  I love weaving in and out of real history and UFO lore.  It's a fascinating build up of fact, and real mystery to weave together a truly interesting alternate take on what's really gone on.  It is truly a shame the show never made it any further.  If only the Scifi Channel was airing it instead, it might have lasted a few more years.  The storytelling can get a bit goofy 'monster of the week' in their attempts to give the protagonists something to do, but when it's dealing with history and such, it's pretty darned good.  If this show was made today, in a post-Lost world, it surely would have been written differently, and would have been all the stronger for it, I think.  A true shame.

And finally, Scream 4.  It has been AGES since I've watched any of the original trilogy, but the latest installment *felt* like it sat well in the Scream universe.  I especially liked one character calling Sydney the angel of death.  That's a terribly accurate description of her, with everything that's happened, and one of those knowing nods that works for the movie.  Honestly though, I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about the movie.  I loved the opening, there were some good moments, the writing wasn't bad, and the acting was pretty solid almost across the board, especially for a horror movie.  But where the movie fails was in part it's reason for being; the metatextual commentary.  Several reviewers commented that the movie gets a little up its own metatextual butt, and that's not too far off.  In some ways it's too meta, and not meta enough, somehow at the same time.  It had a few good comments on the recent state of horror, which has changed a LOT in the last ten years, but it didn't do much more than say, "I don't like torture porn" without adding anything to that discussion, or doing anything with that.  But then it goes all out to subvert the various rules and tropes of the genre from the last 30 years, but the problem there is, EVERYTHING is a cliche.  You do this, that's a cliche, you do the opposite, well...THAT has become a cliche too!  They kept saying everything was the rules of the genre to the point where such statements become meaningless to the point of annoyance.  It's a joke that would've worked a few times, but they hammered it home a few too many times.

Overall, it wasn't a bad story, but they got a bit too in love with themselves and trying to be clever, that they missed the mark more than hit it.  But a strong cast with a fun story make up for a lot of that.  It's enjoyable, but becomes frustrating at times.  I'm also not sure how I feel about the ending, and that's the most important part of this movie.  I think the twist works, and is actually pretty clever to go the route they did, I just think the motivation is a bit over the top.  That said, it's a meta moment that almost works, and is a good turn on the previous movies being inspired by horror movies of the time, and this time having the killer being inspired by the original Scream.  That makes a lot of sense, and is a good way for this to have gone.  But I never liked the whole, "We kill people because horror movies are kewl" motivation from the first movie, and this pays more than a fair share of homage to that.

If you're a fan of the originals, you might just enjoy this if you go in with an open mind and don't take it too seriously.  Lord knows I've seen worse movies than this.

That's it for now, keep an eye out for the next review, something with a little less Rolfe, thankfully!


What I'm Watching: April, 2011

Hello, horrorheads!

First up, before I get into my rambling thoughts, my scanner seems to have passed away.  This has a minor effect on the website, as each review contains cover images from the DVDs that I scan in myself, as a bit of odd proof that I actually own these things.  This is never anything I've pointed out, but it's there.  I'm shopping around for a replacement, so it's a minor thing, and I'll get by no problem, but there might be a slight difference that gets noticed.  Or maybe not.

I've been watching the classic V tv series from the 1980s.  I saw a number of these back when they originally aired (Sigh I'm old), but mostly remember them from the Scifi Channel reairing them in the 1990s.  I finally grabbed the DVDs and have gotten around to watching them.  What with alien lizards, killing people, and a few scares, it's an appropriate thing to mention.  Also, cheese.  There is a lot of nostalgia for V, and much of that is due to the original miniseries, which is a brilliant bit of allegory.  But once it became a weekly series, the quality took a dive.  Not many alien effects, most of the spaceships are reused footage from the miniseries, the cast is pared down almost weekly as money dries up, and the writing is simplistic and corny, if not downright silly.  The reboot of the show in recent years is getting a lot of deserved flak, but...the other original series?  Not that great either.  It's still campy fun, and does have some brilliant moments, and familiar characters, but it's wince worthy too.  And it gets worse with each episode, I think.

It is no secret I love Doctor Who.  I reference it in almost every damned review, in some way.  Often, more than once.  So yeah, the new series kicked off just before I'm writing these words, and I loooved the newest episode.  That's all I'm saying.  It was surprising, terrifying, and all those things you expect from Who.  I also picked up the American-made FOX tv movie from 1996.  Eric Roberts as an over the top, super campy bad guy.  He needs to appear in more movies I review.  He's a godsend to Trisk.  So goofy, I love his performances.

On the movies I missed front, there's the much-maligned Skyline.  Aliens come to Earth, and people get sucked into the sky and their ships.  A lot of the dislike this movie got is well deserved.  The movie has nothing that stand out about it, but it's not THAT bad either.  But it's not bad enough to come around to good again.  The performances are fine, the effects are surprisingly good, but the plot is slow, plodding, and takes too long for anything of substance to happen.  You never quite get a feel for the characters, with all the time they spend with them, which is a shame.  So much time, and I couldn't care less about these people.  Making most of them be stereotypical LA asshats doesn't help.  The plot is also a little too murky.  It clears up on repeated viewings, and with some commentary, but I don't think the movie itself quite explained itself well enough.  I'd check this out if it comes up on tv, since it's an OK movie and not as bad as many say is still kinda bad.

Also, finally saw Black Swan, which may be the most critically and commercially acclaimed movie I've seen and owned.  Why is this here?  It is just barely horror.  This is the most horror movie that will win an Oscar, I think.  It has definite elements of horror to the story, wrapped up in a serious drama.  It's more the latter than the former, and is actually very well done.  Darren Aaronofsky is a brilliant director, very visual, and this is such a well made movie in almost every way.  It's just barely not something I would normally watch, but has those minor bits that DO interest me, and brought me into a movie that I mostly enjoyed.  A definite must see.

And finally, a movie I bet none of you have heard about, which is nothing new for Trisk; Dead Awake.  This is about a man who's struggling through life after his parents died, obsessed with death and who killed them, and unable to move forward.  The trailer made the movie look a lot more supernatural than it was, and while there were some elements of that in the final product, the movie was not what I thought it would be.  It's not a bad movie, and has some good things to say about life and loss, and that state of suspension some of us can fall into after losing someone, and is actually quite good for a small, personal film like this.  Just not what I was expecting.  Once I got past that, I came around to liking it.  Nothing great, but a good watch.  It's a very personal story, good character bits, and well written.  Just the kind of small, independent movie with just the right amount of the darkness to keep things interesting.  You never quite know how much of that stuff the movie is dealing with, 'til the very end.

So, that's the long write ups here.  If you want to see what I thought about some other recent releases, swing by my Livejournal, and read my in-depth reviews of Source Code and Insidious.  I won't repeat myself here, and let you read those wordy reviews over there.  They really are entire posts unto themselves.  In short, they're both great movies I loved watching.  Pick through my reasons why at your leisure.

See you in a few days for the next Trisking review!