Book Review: FROM A CERTAIN POINT OF VIEW

Leave a comment

from a certain point of view

  • In honor of the fortieth anniversary¬†of Star Wars: A New Hope, this collection features Star Wars stories by bestselling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from Star Wars literary history. More than forty authors have lent their unique vision to forty “scenes”, each retelling a different moment from the original Star Wars film, but with a twist: Every scene is told from the point of view of a background character. Whether it’s the X-wing pilots who helped Luke destroy the Death Star or the stormtroopers who never quite could find the droids they were looking for, Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View places the classic movie in a whole new perspective, and celebrates the influence and legacy of the unparalleled cultural phenomenon, Star Wars.

As I’ve mentioned in previous Star Wars book reviews, I started reading the expanded universe novels around 2001, on the insistence of my friend Nex. This was long before Disney bought out Lucasfilm and Star Wars, rendering the novels to be what I like to call “professional fan-fic”, aka Star Wars Legends. Personally, my favorite ones that I liked to read were the three that contained short stories from the point of view of the peripheral characters: Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, Tales of the Bounty Hunters, and Tales from Jaba’s Palace. I’ve always been intrigued by what the minor characters you see in movies, experiencing what’s going on, were thinking or doing that lead up to that moment. These books really scratched that imaginative itch I had.

Of course, now that those have been regulated into the Legends category, it was a wait to see if anything like those books would appear in the new official Disney canon. Lo and behold, in 2017 there was published the anthology From a Certain Point of View, a collection of short stories that were written by several authors, based on certain peripheral characters that were in the background of everything going on during the run of the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope. This was released in conjunction with the movie’s 40th anniversary since its release back in 1977, and since it features 40 stories (one for each year, I presume), I need to stop yammering on and get to the stories contained within this tome. Shall we? We shall…

“Raymus” (Gary Witta)
It’s the story of Raymus Antilles, the captain of the Tantive IV, taking place from essentially the tail end of Rogue One, when they launch out of the Star Cruiser Profundity, to when he’s choked to death by Darth Vader after their capture over Tatooine. Basically, this bridges the small gap between the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope…

“The Bucket” (Christie Golden)
This one deals with Stormtrooper TK-4601, who is the one who manages to nab Princess Leia on the Tantive IV, right after she sticks those Death Star plans into some random astromech droid that I’m sure has no bearing on the overall saga whatsoever. Oh, and the “bucket” in question refers to the stormtrooper helmets. You’re welcome…

“The Sith of Datawork” (Ken Liu)
A brief yet amusing look at the bureaucratic side of the Galactic Empire, specifically the paperwork involved for a certain gunnery captain that ordered his subordinates not to fire upon some escape pod that didn’t have any life signs…

“Stories in the Sand” (Griffin McElroy)
Here, we have a story about a Jawa named Jot who likes to hide in his secret space on the clan’s sandcrawler and watch the “stories” taken from the memory cores of the droids they find before they’re wiped for resale. Then one day, he happens upon the memory core of a recently acquired R2 unit, which shows him clips from the Prequel Trilogy, among other things…

“Reirin” (Sabaa Tahir)
A young female Tusken Raider outcast wants to leave Tatooine (couldn’t imagine why), so she’s tasked with finding a shiny stone held within the Jawa sandcrawler that happens to be selling a couple of droids to a moisture farmer and his plucky nephew…

“The Red One” (Rae Carson)
That’s right, there’s a story about the R5-D4 unit that was the Owen’s first pick from the Jawa’s swap meet. This goes into things a bit into detail as to why it fritzed out like it did…

“Rites” (John Jackson Miller)
Hey, you remember the part in A New Hope, with the Tusken Raiders who ambush Luke while he’s trying to find R2? This is a story about those guys. This one has a bit which alludes to the part in Attack Of The Clones, where Anakin slaughters a camp of Tuskens for killing his mother. Continuity, yay.

“Master and Apprentice” (Claudia Gray)
An existential bit of a discussion between Obi-Wan and the force ghost of his old master, Qui-Gon, during that part where Luke goes back to find his aunt and uncle kind of sort of not well…

“Beru Whitesun Lars” (Meg Cabot)
This is a short but rather interesting story narrated by the title character, Luke’s Aunt Beru, all about raising Luke and her thoughts on that. Given the ending of the story, it does raise more questions, here…

“The Luckless Rodian” (Renee Ahdieh)
Of course, there’s going to be a story about Greedo, the green-skinned bounty hunter that NEVER SHOT BECAUSE HAN SHOT AND THAT WAS IT…sorry. Deep breaths, here. Anyway, this is what led up to that confrontation, and it appears there was a woman involved that horked Greedo off in the first place…

“Not for Nothing” (Mur Lafferty)
Presented as a chapter from a book of memoirs by one of the members of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes (that band in the cantina that plays a style of music that elicits giggles by myself immature man-boys when spoken of), this sheds a bit of light as to why a band comprised of Bith (a species with pink sensitive skin and big, lidless eyes that are unable to secrete tears) would be on a planet like Tatooine in the first place…

“We Don’t Serve Their Kind Here” (Chuck Wendig)
Now we take a look at the cantina bartender Wuher, who is grumpy but affable, going about his day trying not get involved with everything going down around him. Which includes the arrival of some farm kid and an old guy in robes with a couple of darn droids on the day that his droid detector is not working properly…

“The Kloo Horn Cantina Caper” (Kelly Sue DeConnick / Matt Fraction)
Kind of a wacky story involving Muftak and Kabe, the two aliens that…well, Google ’em, you’ll know them when you see the images. Anyway, this involves a sought-after Bith instrument, where the rent monies went to, and various other instances involving Greedo that demonstrates that the continuity between the stories are a bit off…

“Added Muscle” (Paul Dini)
And here we have a bit of a Boba Fett inner monologue involving that Special Edition scene where Jabba the Hutt confronting Han Solo in Docking Bay 94 with a bunch of other bounty hunters to collect on Solo’s debt. This one was written by long-time television writer Paul Dini, and let’s just say he doesn’t really nail Boba Fett at all. He sounds more like Lobo, from the Superman: The Animated Series which he has worked on. Really could have used K. W. Jeter handling Fett…

“You Owe Me a Ride” (Zoraida Cordova)
This one is about the Tonnika sisters, the two females that were seen maybe a split-second in the movie. Here, they head off to Jabba’s palace for a job, then decide to steal the Millennium Falcon to get off planet and…do stuff. Things don’t go as planned, obviously…

“The Secrets of Long Snoot” (Delilah S. Dawson)
This one’s about that steampunk clad snitch Garindan ezz Zavor, who lead the stormtroopers to Docking Bay 94. Goes a bit into why he was on Tatooine, and how he was trying to get back home…ah, who cares? He ratted out our heroes, guys…

“Born in the Storm” (Daniel Jose Older)
A rather amusing story told in the form of an Imperial Incident Report form, from one of the stormtroopers that happened to be in the group that were on Tatooine searching for a couple of droids…

“Laina” (Wil Wheaton)
Yes, that Wil Wheaton. Here, he pens a story about a rebel soldier on Yavin IV videotaping a message to his 2-year-old daughter, whom he’s about to send away with a couple of aunts off-world for safty’s sake. This one had me shouting, “THAT WAS MY JOKE GUESS, YOU BASTARD!” at the end…

“Fully Operational” (Beth Revis)
Here we have a story taking place shortly before and during that meeting on the Death Star where Tarkin informs everyone that the Senate was disolved and that chokey-chokey thing happened between Vader and an Admiral. This is from the point of view of General Tagge, not the guy getting choked, but the one who was concerned about the Rebels finding a weak point in the Death Star from the stolen plans. Interesting bit, here…

“An Incident Report” (Mallory Ortberg)
Taking place directly after the previous story, this is the rather angry incident report filled out by the guy who was force-choked by Vader, one Admiral Motti, Chief of the Imperial Navy. He doesn’t seem too happy about the incident, it seems…

“Change of Heart” (Elizabeth Wein)
This is from the point of view of…um, Unidentified Imperial Navy Trooper, who was the guard of Princess Leia while she was prisoner on the Death Star, and was present at her interigation by the hands of Vader, and on the bridge when Alderaan got blow’ed up…

“Eclipse” (Madeleine Roux)
Things are getting rather dark, as now, right after the previous story, we have one about Leia’s adoptive mother, Breha Organa of Alderaan, experiencing her final hour or so on the planet before getting blow’ed up…

[It’s right around here, where I had to pause and look at pictures of kittens for about ten minutes before continuing on with the book]

“Verge of Greatness” (Pablo Hidalgo)
Didn’t think we would skip a story featuring our favorite galactic despot, Grand Moff Tarkin, did we? Here, we get a glimpse of his black, icy soul as he contemplates the power of the Death Star, his acquisition of said Death Star, the destruction of Scarif and thoughts on Director Krennic, all while preparing to take out the rebellion once and for all…

“Far too Remote” (Jeffrey Brown)
This is a single panel comic involving stormtroopers and an Imperial officer (turns out it was General Tagge) searching out Dantooine for that rebel base…

“The Trigger” (Kieron Gillen)
Okay, so, here we have a story involving one Chelli Lona Aphra. As someone whose fandom of Star Wars only covers the movies, a handful of cannon novels, and The Mandalorian series, I had to look up this character. Seems that Aphra is a scavenger that is mentioned in a lot of comic book stories, and apparently appears here because it involves the obligatory search of Dantooine by Imperials, and her running into them while scavenging the abandoned Rebel base. Decent story, though…

“Of MSE-6 and Men” (Glen Weldon)
And here we have a story told from the point of view of the MSE-6 repair droid aboard the Death Star, some time before the destruction of the base above Yavin IV. You know, that thing on the wheels that skittered away freaked out by Chewbacca? That’s the one. Only, the majority of the story concerns the hook-up between a stormtrooper and an Imperial officer, as told by way of the recorded information stored within the droid. Like an episode of Queer As Folk in space…

“Bump” (Ben Acker / Ben Blacker)
Now we have a story about that one Stormtrooper that famously bumped his head on the threshold of the control room where C-3PO and R2-D2 are hiding out in the Death Star. You know the one. This is a story about what happened leading up to that moment, and what happened directly after…

“End of Watch” (Adam Christopher)
This is a story about an administrative Imperial officer in charge of the Death Star’s Station Control West, who is about to get off of duty for the night, when wouldn’t ‘cha now it, there’s an unscheduled arrival of some old YT-1300 light freighter named the Millennial Falcon messing up the traffic…

“The Baptist” (Nnedi Okorafor)
Hey, do you remember that eye-stalk that pokes out of the fetid water of the trash compactor, conjoined to that thing that drags Luke down into the water with it? Presumably to eat him? This is the story of that creature. Turns out it’s a “her”, her name is “Omi”, and she wasn’t planning on eating him after all, really…

“Time of Death” (Cavan Scott)
Finally we have a story about Obi-Wan Kenobi, told from his point of view…just after he’s killed by Darth Vader. Buncha flashbacks in this interesting story, which features a 3-year-old Luke Skywalker at one point…

“There Is Another” (Gary D. Schmidt)
Hey, a story involving Master Yoda. Who wasn’t a part of A New Hope. Eh, whatever. Here, he’s getting ready to plant some seeds for food, takes on some Imperial probe droids, and senses the death of Obi-Wan. It also seems Yoda would rather train Leia rather than Luke as a Jedi, as Obi’s force ghost tries to convince him otherwise. Also, there’s a cooking pot…

“Palpatine” (Ian Doescher)
Okay, so, this one was written by the guy who has written the William Shakespeare’s Star Wars book series, so this story is also written in iambic pentameter. And, true to the title, this one is from the point of view of Emperor Palpatine, after hearing news of Obi-Wan Kenobi at the hands of Darth Vader. He goes from gloating, to worry about other Jedi that may have slipped the Jedi Purge, right back to gloating again…

“Sparks” (Paul S. Kemp)
This one focuses on Dex Tiree, one of the pilots in Gold Squadron, and his thoughts on things as he goes through the briefing on the Death Star schematics, and his favorite R5 unit nicknamed “Sparks”, going on the run on the Death Star…kind of ends on a downer, this one…

“Duty Roster” (Jason Fry)
And here we have a story from one of the other starfighter pilots that didn’t partake of the run on the Death Star due to some anger issues, mostly due to the Empire ravaging his home world, but also having the nickname of “Fake Wedge”…

“Desert Son” (Pierce Brown)
A story told from the point of view of Biggs Darklighter, Luke’s friend from Tatooine. This focuses mainly on his perspective of the trench run on the Death Star, and what’s going through Bigg’s head, up until it was his windshield…

“Grounded” (Greg Rucka)
Here’s something from a mechanic on the Rebel base on Yavin 4, named Nera Kase. We get a look at the situation and tension at the base as the battle of Yavin takes place over the radio broadcast, and the weight that the deaths have on the ground crew…

[again, I had to pause to look at kitties…man, this is taking more out of me than expected…]

“Contingency Plan” (Alexander Freed)
And now, a story of Mon Mothma, another character that didn’t appear in A New Hope. Anyway, in this story, it’s explained why she was absent during the Battle of Yavin, and delves into the inner turmoil she was experiencing after Alderaan was destroyed. It gets kinda dark, this one does…

“The Angle” (Charles Soule)
Another story involving a beloved character that didn’t really appear until one of the later movies. This one involves Lando Calrissian, having a friendly game of Klikklak interrupted by an Imperial officer and a handful of stormtroopers, and then witnessing a holovid of the Empire’s Death Star being blow’ed up with the help of his former ship, the Millennial Falcon…

“By Whatever Sun” (E. K. Johnson / Ashely Eckstein)
The penultimate story in the collection (I just wanted to write the word “penultimate”), and it’s another one featuring a periferal character that originated outside the movie proper: Captain Miara Larte, one of the few survivors of Alderaan, along with her crew are standing front-and-center of the celebration at the end of the movie. We get a glimpse of what’s going through her head as she witnesses Leia awarding medals to Luke and Han, totally snubbing the Wookiee…

“Whills” (Tom Angleberger)
And finally, we have a very brief, but utterly amusing story dedicated to the unseen Whills of Star Wars legend that watches and chronicles the epic sprawling story of Star Wars, explaining where we get the opening crawl, and also where we got the Star Wars Holiday Special…

Well, now. This was quite the trip. For the most part, the stories here managed to take something about the movie that didn’t seem important to the overall story, and make it far more interesting than it should have been. The handful of nit-picks that I have concern the stories that involved Greedo in one way shape or form, as they didn’t necessarily jive with the continuity with each other. With the ones that took place in Mos Eisley, I had to remember these weren’t part of the Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina book, and thus didn’t share the same explanation of who and what the characters’ motivations were. Some stories resonated more for me than others, but I’m not really going to go into detail about those, mainly because these are subjective, and I’ve already gone a bit long with the review of this.

Overall: I’ve only read a small handful of what you would call the “New Canon” of Star Wars books, From A Certain Point of View included. I liked this collection. It told entertaining bite-sized stories from a galaxy far, far away, as expected. Also, none of the authors got paid to do this; they all agreed to have the proceeds go to a reading charity. So, for those of you who like that warm fuzzy self-righteous feeling to go with your rank consumerism, there you go. Recommended.

Movie Review: GROUNDHOG DAY

1 Comment

groundhog day
Columbia
1993
PG

“You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction. It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.”

  • Teamed with a relentlessly cheery producer and a smart aleck cameraman, TV weatherman Phil Connors is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. But on his way out of town, Phil is caught in a giant blizzard–which he failed to predict–and finds himself stuck in small town hell. Just when things couldn’t get worse, they get worse. Phil wakes the next morning to find it’s Groundhog Day all over again…and again…and again…

Let me get right down to the point, here: I love this movie. Absolutely adore it. Ever since watching Groundhog Day in the theaters back in the winter of my discontent of 1993, it has held the Number 2 spot on my list of Favorite Non-Horror Movies. Which movie is Number 1, you may ask? UHF. Duh.

Everything about this movie works together perfectly: The cast is fantastic (Bill Murray is perfect as the curmudgeon-y, full-of-himself weatherman, Andie MacDowell is perfect as Murray’s eternally optimistic foil and love interest), the story is fantastic, and it strikes the right balance between dark comedy and light fantasy, without ever getting heavy-handed with the overall theme. The fact that they never even attempt to explain why and how Phil is going through the time loop like that works to the story’s benefit.

Look, I’m going to make this short and sweet: If you haven’t watched Groundhog Day, you need to rectify that. Especially if you somehow enjoy Happy Death Day, you need to witness the source in which that movie is ripping off.

Movie Review: HELLBOY: The Golden Army

Leave a comment

hellboy the golden army
Universal
2008
PG-13

“It is all the same to me, my heart is filled with dust and sand. But you should know, it is his destiny to bring about the destruction of the Earth. Not now, not tomorrow, but soon enough. Knowing that, you still want him to live?”

  • The mystical world starts a rebellion against humanity in order to rule the Earth, so as Hellboy, Liz and Abe return, they must save the world. Now…as the creatures who inhabit the spiritual realm gear up to unleash the legendary unstoppable Golden Army for an all out attack on the human plane, the only group capable of saving the Earth is a tough-talking hellspawn and his team…plus a new ally by the name of Johann Krauss.

Four years after the first Hellboy movie graced cinemas with a live-action version of Mike Mignola’s comic book creation, writer/director Guillermo del Toro brought us a sequel. It wasn’t supposed to take that long to make the sequel–the sequel itself was green-lit about a month after the first Hellboy was released. But, because of, shall we say, snafus, Columbia dropped the distribution rights, and was finally picked back up by Universal Studios, which, let’s face it, doesn’t always have the best interests in mind when it comes to their horror properties. But, at least it finally got made, and then released in 2008, a bit later than the projected 2006 date. Better late than never.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army, instead of featuring Nazis and mad scientists like the previous film, focuses the story on the dark roots of folklore and fairy tales, featuring some truly nightmarish yet utterly sympathetic enemies drawn from folk tales for the our heroes at the B.P.R.D. to go up against. Here, an elf prince is planning on breaking a Millennia-old truce between the humans and the magical creatures of myth and legend by reassembling the crown that controls the fabled Golden Army, something explained during the opening exposition dump flashback scene. He’s opposed by his twin sister, who escapes and seeks protection within the B.P.R.D. Meanwhile, Hellboy is having troubles of his own, both in his personal and professional life: His relationship with Liz is going through a rocky period, and due to some showboating during a recent incident involving tooth fairies, the Bureau’s brought in a specialist to keep him in check.

Personally, I enjoyed Hellboy II more than the first movie. Instead of just rehashing the plot of the first one, this one delved more into folklore and its horror roots, which I totally dig. The relationships between the main characters has advanced, further deepening the development. There’s a rather hilarious scene where Hellboy and Abe Sapien get drunk and bond over their individual relationship issues while playing cheesy love ballads. The movie also manages to make the antagonist a sympathetic character as well, providing depth and pathos to someone you know is doing something consider evil, but you can’t help but understand things from his perspective. The creature effects–and there are many–are top notch. But the best character of this movie happens to be the atmosphere and tone of the movie, which manages to attain that balance of horrorific yet whimsical that only del Toro seems to manage. Considering the film he made before Hellboy II was Pan’s Labyrinth, this seems the logical step for him to follow up.

Overall: If you’ve seen the first Hellboy, and haven’t seen this sequel yet, I am dumbfounded as to why not. Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a better sequel to an already great movie. If anything, rewatching this as much as I have, this just makes the fact that del Toro was never able to make the proper third movie in his Hellboy trilogy all the more tragic. Especially given what we got in its place. Highly recommended, this.

Movie Review: The TRUMAN SHOW

Leave a comment

The Truman Show movie poster
Paramount
1998
PG

“Somebody help me, I’m being spontaneous!”

  • Truman Burbank is a man whose life is a nonstop TV show. Truman doesn’t realize that his quaint hometown is a giant studio set run by visionary producer/director/creator, that folks living ans working there are Hollywood actors, that even his incessantly bubbly wife is a contract player. Gradually, Truman gets wise. And what he does about his discovery will have you laughing, crying and cheering like few film stories ever have.

Looking at Jim Carrey’s filmography list on Wikipedia, it looks like 1998’s The Truman Show was perhaps his first staring role in a movie that wasn’t a wacky comedy or a superhero franchise. Considering the previous film he was in at the time was the woefully underrated The Cable Guy bombed pretty hard in the theaters and made a considerable amount of his fan base go, “wha…huh?”, you would think he would have played it safe and went back to the tried-and-true formula. Instead, his follow-u to The Cable Guy was the dramady The Truman Show.

The concept of a reality show where we derived entertainment by watching someone’s life being filmed constantly is nothing new. There was the 1973 PBS series An American Family, showing a nuclear family going through a divorce in 12 episodes. A UK version called The Family aired in 1974. Of course, the most famous ones would have been Cops and MTV’s The Real World. Which is to say, back when The Truman Show was released, reality television like this wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now.

Even then, the stars of those reality shows are very much aware their entire lives are being broadcast. The concept with The Truman Show has the titular character’s entire life–from the moment of birth–being broadcast for all to see, when everyone he has ever known in his life–his family, friends, coworkers, the citizens in the town he has lived in all of his life–merely actors in the grand ongoing televised saga that is Truman’s life. Even the town of Seahaven Island is an enormous Hollywood set, with technological special effects to simulate day-to-day existence within Truman’s simulated reality. Then one day, a spotlight falls from the sky. From there, it’s a domino effect that leads to the Mother of all Existential Crisis-es as Truman slowly discovers the truth of his *ahem* reality.

I have to admit that The Truman Show is a rather thought-provoking movie. It is one of those rare movies that seems to fire on all cylinders, and manages to offer many things to chew on. A pointed commentary on American television culture, an exploration of existentialism, a lighthearted science fiction fantasy that may have taken its inspiration from a 1980s Twilight Zone episode. There’s a psychological syndrome named after the movie, not to mention the fact that you could argue that The Truman Show was eerily prophetic in nature, due to the explosion of reality television in the Aughts.

But, is The Truman Show a good movie? I would say, yes. Yes, it is. I would say that it’s probably one of my favorite Top Ten non-Horror movies of all time. You talk about a list that’s in constant quantum flux. But, yeah, if you haven’t seen The Truman Show as of yet, do yourself a favor and give it a watch. And try not to get too paranoid the next time you’re brushing your teeth in the morning.

Movie Review: I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS (J’ai rencontre’ le P’ere Noel)

Leave a comment

I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS
New World Pictures
1984
G

From the dustbins of Obscure Christmas Movies Past comes the French holiday fantasy flick J’ai rencontre’ le P’ere Noel. Released in 1984, and known in English reissues as either Here Comes Santa Claus and I Believe In Santa Claus, the version I was tortured with is titled I Believe In Santa Claus, and thus the heading I’m going with for this review.

So, here we have a youngster named Simon, who’s bullied constantly by not only his fellow students, but also the janitor. Also, just as an extra kick in the chestnuts, Simon’s parents were kidnapped by an African warlord while on a trip there to provide aide. What part of Africa, you ask? Shhhhh, no need to worry about such trivial details, silly billy. So, wanting to get his wish to Santa–the safe return of his parents–he and an unwitting school chum hop a plane to the North Pole Lapland to visit Santa’s home. There, Santa and his Fairy Princess magically travel to Africa (just Africa) and manage to save Simon’s parents with the help of gun-toting children. Meanwhile, the kids are kidnapped by an ogre, who is planning on eating them, but not until they clean his house first. Fortunately, Santa and the Fairy Princess arrive back in time to save the two from the ogre, and the kids are rushed back to their homes just in time for Christmas Mass, where no one seems all that surprised that they’ve been gone for so long and then reappears. The end.

I Believe In Santa Claus was…bizarre. First off, this was French, so there’s not really a lot of a surprise there. In an attempt to add a bit of whimsy to the mix, this stars one Karen Cheryl, who, I’m told, was a French pop star at the time. She played both Simon’s schoolteacher, and the Fairy Princess. That song that she sings during the introduction to Santa’s workshop is something like audio herpes; long after the end credits rolled, it was that particular song that was stuck in my head for days. I can’t for the life of me tell you what that song title was, as they all seem to be all titled in French on the IMDB page. Also, I don’t care.

As Christmas movies go, I can honestly say that I’ve seen worse. I Believe In Santa Claus may be a bit more avant gard than most would expect from a Santa Claus movie, which in a way kind of makes me watch this every year now as my go-to Yuletide tradition. It’s no The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, But Then Was and lacks any Christmas Hobgoblins, but obscure Europop singers and a completely bonkers premise is a good trade-off. Worth a look-see, especially the Rifftrax edition.

Movies+Beer: ENS RATIONIS + Top 5 Favorite Horror Movies Talk

Leave a comment

ens rationis movie banner

James is joined by Kari once again to discuss the new short film Ens Rationis, as well as chat a bit about their Top Five favorite horror movies. It’s in the title, there. What makes the list? Are there some hidden gems to check out? Only one way to find out, tender listener…

ENS RATIONIS on Amazon Prime

Movie Review: The CURSE OF BIGFOOT

Leave a comment

curse of bigfootUniversal Entertainment
1975
NR

A group of high school students on an archaeological dig discover a centuries old mummified body in a sealed cave. Removing the mummy, it soon comes back to life, revealing itself to be an inhuman beast that terrorizes a small California town.

Again with the movies from the +++ movie pack that I got a few years ago. Slowly working my way through. And this was one I knew I had to just suck it up and watch, otherwise it would never get watched.

I’m not that much of a fan of movies based on the legend of Bigfoot. And in the 60s and 70s, there have been many exploitation flicks made involving the big, hairy Northwest critter of lore. Of course, there’s been a handful of movies and television shows from the 80s and 90s, and let’s not forget about that “reality” show on the SyFy Channel. Hilarious, that. But, for the most part, I’ve never really had much of an interest in that area of cryptozoology. But, Curse Of Bigfoot was on that movie pack, thus I had to watch the thing.

The first thing I want to point out is that, Curse Of Bigfoot is less a cohesive movie, and more of a cobbling together of a failed attempt at making a movie with extra footage shot years later just to use up what they had. Oh, and for the record, Bigfoot is hardly in this movie. Seriously, how do you have a movie titled Curse Of Bigfoot, and not have the most obvious thing in there?

No, mostly this movie is told in flashbacks. We have a professor of crytpozoology giving a lecture to a bunch of college kids cracking amazingly lame jokes, when a friend of the professor arrives to talk about his experience running into an actual monster of legend…and to berate the kids for not believing him. Then we get the previously shot film of archeologist students digging around, then stumbling upon a mummy, unleashing a cursed mummy…which turns out to be the titular Bigfoot, I guess?
Look, this movie is just about as forgettable as it is bizarre in its low-budget execution. It’s a hack-n-slash kind of exploitation flick that does nothing to whet any kind of interest in the subject of Bigfoot, or makes me want to solder on with watching the rest of the movies on this pack. Pass…

Older Entries