Mandatory March: DEMON HUNTER

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demon hunter - demon hunterdemon hunter - summer of darknessdemon hunter - the triptychdemon hunter - storm the gates of helldemon hunter - the world is a thorndemon hunter - true defiancedemon hunter - extremistdemon hunter - outlivedemon hunter - wardemon hunter - peace

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FAT TUESDAY UPDATE

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celtic crossGreetings and salutations, my wonderful freaks. I’m dropping a bit of an update here to mention that, in observance of Lent this year, I’m going to not be posting the usual movie / book reviews until after Easter. Instead, I’m probably going to be focusing more on some much-needed study of the Scriptures and maybe posting my thoughts and brain droppings on my faith, the liturgical season itself, and other things pertaining to it.

Mind you, I’m not going all Me So Holy on you all. I am still going to be scheduling the movie and book reviews (the music reviews and band interviews have been moved to the NECRO SHOCK RADIO blog, in case you were wondering), they’ll just be posting after Easter this year, or April 22 for those of you non-observant readers of this blog. There will still be the scheduled Session postings on NECRO SHOCK RADIO, and there are still the movies scheduled with the other members of the Exalted Geeks during this time, where we’ll record the pubcasts and posting on the Will Code For Beer blog.

But, for now, aside from the one last movie review for today, and this particular news update here, there’s nothing specific scheduled for posting for the next 40 days leading up to Easter. In case anyone shows up between then and wonder if I just dropped off the face of the earth…well, it’s not for the usual reason, like so many times before. Until then, I wish you all a blessed Lent season if you observe, and for those who don’t adhere to the Christian faith, enjoy the next couple of months. I remain, as always, your humble servant Uncle NecRo.

::END TRANSMISSION::

Movie Review: PRISONERS OF THE LOST UNIVERSE

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prisoners of the lost universeDimension Films
1983
NR

“I think you should know, I can’t stand hights, they give me a headache.”

Three people are transported into a parallel universe. There they find that they must use modern technology, but medieval weapons, in order to save the citizenry from a murderous warlord.

You might have noticed, but coming across and watching obscure low-budget sci-fi and horror movies is kind of what I do. It give my dark, lonely nights meaning. A reason to continue to live, if you will. My theory is that, by witnessing these train wrecks, the very act of existence doesn’t seem so bleak. I’m an optimistic nihilist. And if your head just didn’t blow up from that conceptual paradox, let’s discuss the early 80s scienc fiction fantasy movie Prisoners Of The Lost Universe, shall we?

Prisoners Of The Lost Universe is a sight to behold. And by that, I mean it’s a cheep-looking visual cheeseball that seem to may have spent the majority of its overall budget on getting the original Captain Apollo from Battlestar Galactica as the lead. I say “may have”; the original Battlestar Galactica wasn’t exactly a special effects extravaganza, but compared to this movie, that makes the show seem like Star Wars.

The cheese levels on Prisoners Of The Lost Universe rivals that of Star Crash, only this one lacks both David Hasselhoff and a sassy robot sidekick with a bizarrely specific southern accent. It’s interesting in a trainwreck kind of way, but still gets tedious long before the end credits roll. I wouldn’t necessarily say “pass” on this one; mileage may vary, but for me, it’s a case of one-and-done.

Movie Review: BE KIND, REWIND

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be kind rewind movie posterNew Line
2008
PG-13

“The past belongs to us, and we can change it.”

 

Amateur film director Mike must find a way to save the local video store business after his magnetized friend Jerry erases every movie in the store. Using an outdated video camera and their own special effects, the two embark on an adventure to remake all the movies, from Ghostbusters to Driving Miss Daisy, turning the two town misfits into local celebrities.

I recall watching a preview for Be Kind, Rewind that was stuck at the beginning of another movie I rented. DVDs used to have this annoying thing where they made you watch the previews before getting to the main movie menu. The preview for this movie was on there, ad it did pique my interest. Though, what the preview showed made Be Kind, Rewind seem like a wacky comedy where Jack Black gets the super power of accidentally erasing videotapes. So, a few months later, I see this title at the Family Video store, and I decide to pick it up to check it out.

So, here we have another instance where the preview is rather misleading. It happens more often than not, especially when you mostly delve into independent type movies like I do. The distributing company needs to catch the eye of the potential customer, you know. Here, while Jack Black’s character of Jerry does get into a bit of a mishap where he’s temporarily a human electro-magnet, something that understandably doesn’t come in handy when you’re working at a VHS movie rental shop, that is just the catalyst for the main premise of the movie itself. Namely, the two friends banding together to try and replace the entire stock of VHS format movies in the store the only way they know how: by filming no-budget versions themselves, and passing them off as the “sweded version” of the otherwise better-known Hollywood flick. Somehow, this actually works, and the customers actually end up preferring the sweded versions over the originals. Of course, the big Hollywood suits catch wind of this chicanery, and they step in to stop what they’re doing, and now it’s one of those Little Guy Vs. The Big Corporate Jerks type of movie.

Really, as an indie quirky comedy flick, Be Kind, Rewind works pretty well. Of course, if you’re going into this expecting one of those low-brow type comedies that Jack Black’s been in previously, you might not get it at first, like I did initially. But, once you realize this movie was made by the guy who brought us Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (another movie starring a comedian playing an unconventional role), things begin to click, and you can enjoy Be Kind, Rewind for what it is: A movie about imagination, heart, and creating something with what you have. Also, this is a movie with Sigourney Weaver. Mmmmm, Sigourney Weaver. Recommended.

Movie Review: TOYS

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Toys movie poster20th Century Fox
1992
PG-13

“Oh, yeah! I love jokes. I love all kinds of jokes. But, you knwo what I don’t like? I don’t like people trying to kill me, hurting my family and my friens, and destroying the whole world as I know it. That just doesn’t sit well with me.”

Robin Williams stars as Leslie Zevo, a fun-loving adult who must save his late father’s toy factory from his evil uncle, a war-loving general who builds weapons disguised as toys. Aided by his sister and girlfriend, Leslie sets out to thwart his uncle and restore joy and innocence to their special world.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, Robin Williams proved himself as more than just a comedian in the acting department. He did have dramatic roles early on in his career, but he really didn’t hit his stride until the later part of the 80s onward, in my not-so-humble opinion. I had caught his turn in Dead Poets Society, then caught one of the more underrated Peter Pan adaptations released, Hook, and then his blowup voice work in Aladdin. When the movie Toys was released in late 1992, I held off of watching it in the theater like the afore-mentioned movies. Mainly because I had just transitioned from High School Student to Welcome To The Real World schlub that very year, and wasn’t really seeing a lot of movies in the theater at the time. Not unless it involved a date. Which I did once in a while. Ah, memories.

Anyway, I ended up renting Toys the summer after it was first released, from the small-town gas station that happened to have a small selection of VHS tapes for renting, and watched it at my grandparent’s place. It was…something.

I don’t think I was ready for what Toys ended up being. I don’t think anybody was, really. Even with his award-winning dramatic performances, the name Robin Williams attatched to a movie makes one think of a comedy. Maybe not always a wacky laugh-a-minute kind of comedy, but comedy none-the-less. Even with his dramatic rolls, Williams always had that kind of quirkiness that was uniquely his. The same can be said for his roll in Toys, but this may be an instance where his unique quirkiness couldn’t salvage the hot mess that this movie is.

The best way to describe Toys is a surreal stream of conscience. It tries to go for a whimsical undertone, but it doesn’t really work as well as Tim Burton or Barry Sonnenfield had done previous. Maybe they were trying to go for a Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, only with a toy factory and half the charm. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a movie that costarred rapper L. L. Cool J. (that honor goes to the Michael J. Fox / James Woods dud The Hard Way…which I now realize I’ll have to drudge up from my memory banks to do a review of one of these days); here, he plays the adopted son of the evil brother of the owner of the toy factory. He is…adequate. As is everyone, really, if you want to put a fine point on it. If there was one aspect of Toys that I can point to that I liked, that would be Joan Cusack’s character. Mainly because I’m morbidly drawn to weird characters like the one she played here.

Overall, I don’t consider Toys to be a bad movie. It’s just weird and off-putting in not a very good way. I came away from this movie a bit more confused and depressed than I think the movie was trying to go for. It’s worth checking out, just out of curiosity. But beyond that, I don’t see watching this again any time soon.