Monday, October 3, 2011

The Thing (2011)


Do you remake Citizen Kane?

Do you reboot The Godfather?

Do you reimagine Star Wars?

(okay if you're George Lucas,I guess my rant means nothing to you)

So how can anyone remake,reboot,reimagine, John Carpenter's iconic sci-fi/thriller,THE THING?!!!

It's Sacrilegious ,no?

Enter producers ,Marc Abraham ,Eric Newman and writer Eric Heisserer who wanted to stay true to the essence of Carpenter's masterpiece and hired accordingly,first time director Matthijs van Heijningen.

Primarily renowned as an award winning commercial director,Heijningen had two criteria before he accepted the job :1)Hire Norwegian actors and 2) Utilize practical effects.That alone shows you what kind of movie the filmmakers wanted to bring to the screen and how much they respected the original film's feel.

Here's a quick synopsis:

Taking place three days before the events of The John Carpenter film,paleontologist, Kate Lloyd(Mary Elizabeth Winstead)is recruited by scientist,Sander Halversen(Ulrich Thompson) and his assistant Adam Goodman(Eric Christian Olsen) to join a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across a crashed extraterrestrial spaceship buried beneath the ice of Antarctica.They discover a frozen corpse of a creature that has seem to have died in a crash eons ago.

After recovering the creature in a frozen block of ice,they transport it back to their base and conduct an experiment that frees the alien from its frozen prison.Kate joins the crew's pilot (Joel Edgerton) to keep it from killing and imitating them one at a time,using its uncanny ability to mimic any life form it absorbs through digestion,and potentially reaching civilization.

So that is pretty much the plot in a snowball.

What I LOVED about this prequel is that it pays homage to the vision that John Carpenter had back in 1982 while not bastardizing the original that is so often the case in today's reboots.Director,Heijningen said that remaking Carpenter's version would be like drawing a moustache on the MONA LISA .Heijningen creates a visual time capsule that transports the moviegoer back to '82 ...from the painstaking reproduction of The Norwegian "Station 31" set piece to using practical creature effects that would make original film's special effects legend,Rob Bottin beam with pride.Heijningen's direction is fast paced and energetic.His slow burn storytelling is king here.Building the tension without losing momentum.(Heijningen has said that he would love to take a swing at another Universal property"An American Werewolf in London",after this outing... he could totally do it justice.)

Joel Edgerton has been having a great time as of late with WARRIOR and now THE THING.Edgerton brings a familiar gruffness that may remind purists of Kurt Russell's "MacReady" in the original but Edgerton convincingly owns his role as "Braxton Carter" without aping Russell's legendary hero.

The star in this prequel IS Mary Elizabeth Winstead .While easily compared to Sigourney Weaver's "Ripley" in the ALIEN franchise,Winstead brings about a conviction and believability to the role of Kate Lloyd ,that Ripley would be honored to kick some alien tail with.Winstead,once crowned a scream queen can now take on the mantle of "Queen of Badassery"!!!

This film is a fun popcorn flick,filled good old fashioned scares that is reminiscent of a simpler time when films were meant to fill you with terror and horror and not numbingly shock you with buckets of puss and blood.

This film is not your Daddy's THE THING's this generations THE THING!!! Welcome it!Embrace it! Heck ,let it take over your body and happily do the crab walk across the cineplex floor!!!

THE THING opens Friday, October 14

'til next time Cabrones!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Insane for BRAIIIIINS!!!

If y'all are like me and are tired of the whole Vampire THIS, Zombie THAT, nonsense as of late...

Have got some good news for you.

Award-winning Writer,Artist,Critic,Editor,Filmmaker of the upcoming short film

The Captured Bird, and all around BAD A$$,

Vukovic is the perfect representative to be our tour guide through this awesome journey of Zombieville(I hear it's nice there in the fall but the over barring locals can sometimes make you want to run for the hills).

This book not only gives the us an interesting history of zombies,with its origins in Haiti,but takes the reader from early literature to it inception on the silver screen in the 1930's -to present day.

It was in the latter part of the 60's when a young filmmaker by the name of George Romero introduced audiences to a new renaissance of zombies. A chapter is dedicated to Romero and his everlasting influence on the zombie culture. Romero is and forever will be "The Godfather of Zombies".

Hell ,you need another reason to get book..The Godfather himself,wrote the forward.

In my opinion Romero's words alone are well worth price of admission here.

Jovanka also delves into how the zombie culture has gone transmedia ...not only infecting novels,comics , movies,television,gaming ,mobile devices,social networks,flash mob/zombie walks's a epidemic that is indeed growing.

This book is written in a fashion that not only informs the reader but entertains us.

Jovanka's vast knowledge in horror truly flexes its meaty muscle here.

If Yale taught a class in Zombism 101...this would be the text book.

Not just filled with fact after colorful factoid...this book is splattered with deep,rich,almost delicious photos...not only a great resource but a beautiful edition to devour.

Thank You, Jovanka!!!

You have renewed my faith not only in all things scary and ghoulish...but have shown me that

the zombies genre is far from reaching its dead (or in this case undead) end.

'til next time Cabrones!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

CAL McDONALD:Detective Tales

Cal McDonald did some harm,ee-i-ee-i-OH!

and did some harm on a vamp and pig(that's police officer,you Justin Bieberians),ee-i-ee-i-OH!

with a gunshot here,pimpslap there,here a shot,there a slap ,everywhere a gunslap.

Cal McDonald did some harm,ee-i-ee-OH MY GAWD!


Tell us a story Grandpa...

So I've been a big fan of Steve Niles,waaay before 30 DAYS OF NIGHT was a 'member graphic novels, don't ya boys and ghouls?You know those books with pretty doodles that are turned into mediocre summer blockbuster moving pictures...yeah.
Steve is credited as bringing the horror genre back into comics and boy has he.

He has written for all the big comic companies,bringing his unique sci-fi /horror-centric writing style to the best of the aforementioned comic giants stable of characters.

But it is Niles' creator owned cast of creepies that showcase his awesome talent.

Cal McDonald is just one of those.

From the successful CRIMINAL MACABRE trade paperbacks and novels,comes an all new

Along with artist, Kelley Jones, Niles brings us two new short stories furthering the misadventures of our hard boiled,anti hero ,detective.

First off ,the stories are great.

An easy read that is meat and potatoes filler,just good old-fashioned storytelling.

The art by Jones is as gritty as the story that the illustrations enhance.

Cool stories?Check!

Cool Art? Check!
What more could you ask for?

Well what makes this collection even cooler are the little touches,These little bonuses that when given to you from the big companies seem gimmicky...are just plain cool here.

Each issue is inserted in a plastic bag marked "EVIDENCE" and is rubber stamped on the inside with a a smoking gun...Now are you gonna find this at Barnes & Nobles...probably not .You know why?...cuz there isn't an ISNB number .In fact inside the novel it even says " #$&* ISNB numbers"...I laughed when I read that and knew that I was in for something fun.This digest-sized collection feels very handmade .I envision Niles having paper cuts and red stamp ink all over his Cthulu shirt putting this book together...which is probably not the case...but it MY vision dagnabit!
Still not convinced?

Here's how the book opens..

"Hendricks was bleeding to death by the time I reached him near the intersection of sewer tunnel.He'd had his side ripped out like a bite out of a melon.His upper and lower intestines were splashed on the cement like vomited Udon noodles.

he didn't have long.

The thing had gotten him.

I was was on my own,in the sewers, against one of the freakiest things I'd ever encountered,and all I had was a Glock with a single cartridge and a shotgun with two shells."

Huh?...Huh! didn't I tell you.

If you are still not sold ,I think "The House of Big Ideas" is cloning Spiderman again.

So in short..this is a very cool book from some very cool folks.

ee-i-ee-i GO! buy this book already!

'til next time Cabrones!

Friday, April 22, 2011

LEGEND OF THE FIST: The Return of Chen Zhen


In 1920's China, the nation is divided by infighting,Japan has become the most powerful force in Asia,taking over Northern Shanghai. With the city torn in half ,the popular nightclub "Casablanca"becomes a hotbed for spies,mobsters,English officials and the Japanese military-all looking to gain control of the country,with little regard for its citizens.

Legendary Chinese folk hero Chen Zhen(Donnie Yen) returns to China pretending to be wealthy playboy "KU" during the day and masked avenger at night ,determined to stop the Japanese invasion.Zhen becomes entangled with sultry show girl Kiki(Shu Qi) who has a secret all her own.Zhen's secret past catches up to him and he is forced to face impossible odds .

The opening action sequence that takes place in Europe ,where Chen Zhen and the allied forces fight against the Nazis ,is one of the best kinetic martial arts fights I've seen in a while....definitely well worth the price of admission.

Though director Andrew Lau(INFERNAL AFFAIRS) tries his best to mix martial arts and drama a la Ang Lee.

The attempt at a FISTS OF FURY / LUST/CAUTION mash-up,unfortunately falls short.

Now being a child of the 70's...1970's not 1870's,silly...

I was brought up on a healthy first run diet of classic martial arts cinema from the likes of Bruce Lee, Sonny Chiba, and Gordon Liu.

I was and am a fan of those legends as well as Jackie Chan ,Sammo Hung, and Jet Li.

Donnie Yen ,even though legend in his own right still hasn't been able to make it big here in the U.S.

Maybe with this film and the current release of "Ip Man",Yen just might crossover.

Yen is definitely the saving grace here..his charisma and martial arts prowess save this film every time he jumps into action.

Even though this film is far from perfect,the one/two punch of the fight sequences and Yen's Martial artistry well make up for it!

opens in limted release April 22nd

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Sucker Punch" Drunk

SUCKER PUNCH is a visual and audible KNOCKOUT!!!

....unfortunately, its plot and acting is merely a baby tap

Here's a quick synopsis:

Set in the 1950's,locked away in an asylum run by Madame Gorski(Carla Gugino) and orderly,Blue Jones(Oscar Issac) a young woman named Babydoll (Emily Browning) retreats to a fantasy world where she is free to go wherever her imagination takes her.Determined to fight for her real freedom ,she enlists four women--Rocket (Jena Malone),Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens),Amber (Jamie Chung),and Sweet Pea(Abbie Cornish)--to join her and escape the terrible fate that awaits them.With a virtual arsenal at their disposal,the allies battle everything from samurai to serpents,while trying to decide what price they will pay for survival.

I fell in love with this film last year at The San Diego Comic Con without seeing a single frame of footage.With the promo pics of the cast and the stunning maquettes produced by Gentle Giant Ltd., I. WAS. HOOKED. I knew back then that this movie would not disappoint.

And I was right.(kinda)

"Sucker Punch"'s director and co-writer Zack Snyder( "Dawn of The Dead","300","Watchmen", and the forthcoming Superman reboot"Man of Steel") describes the movie as "Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.

This movie is more scary tale than fairy tale.

There are two reasons that make this film entertaining.

Visually ,Snyder can frame shots like each one was a painting.

The color palette in the dream sequences are rich and delicious.

The computer generated images(and there are PLENTY) are breathtaking.

Each quest that our heroines embark upon looks more beautiful than the last.

Parts of the film were like a video game come to life.

Snyder's trademark slo-mo action sequences( seen as a one trick pony) are well utilized here.

I wished that it went even slower so that I could gaze at all the awesome images in the frame.

To steal a term from director Guillermo del Toro...the images are not merely "eye candy "they are "eye protein"...visually ,I wanted more of the fantasy sequences.Unfortunately, there were only four set pieces.

Another aspect that make this film entertaining was its soundtrack

At certain points during the movie ,I felt like it can almost be described as a two hour music video.

Supervised by composer, Tyler Bates ..the music that accompanies the film is as much a major player as the effects and the dialogue.Actually several songs are performed by Babydoll herself,Emily Browning.You get the obligatory heavy guitar riffs that were prominent in Snyder's "300" but the soundtrack on top of the great sound design and effects are well orchestrated here.

Bad Ass chicks ,with knives and guns fighting samurai,steam-punk Nazi zombies,orcs,dragons,and robots.All these elements equal to "Geek-Porn".

What more can a Fanboy ask for,right?

Well there's a little thing called plot and interesting dialogue(ouch).

The story lacked focus at points.Though the story jumped back from reality to fantasy to wasn't cohesive.It felt jumbled and jarring.Hot chicks in a hot mess,indeed.

The performances were adequate at best ,Cornish and Malone are stand outs here.Malone seems to be the only actually trying "act" here.One might think that Browning would be the acting anchor.On the contrary,her performance is apropos of her namesake...artificial ,wooden, plastic,not unlike a... babydoll. Hudgens and Chung are merely background scenery.Casting Snookie from" Jersey Shore" and The Geico Geeko would have been more entertaining,but maybe not as sexy.

As much as I knew this film was gonna be a feast for the eyes...I also knew that the storyline and performances were going to leave a lot to be desired.

This movie is much like a sexy ,stunning,supermodel who can sing her a$$ off...but when you sit down and want to talk to her,everything that comes out of her mouth is utter nonsense and laughable.

If you can overlook the less than stellar plot and performances...this is popcorn escapism at its best.

Catch this flick on the big'll lose a lot if you wait to see it in the comfort of you own living room.

'til next time,Cabrones!!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


...Aliens invade earth and through insurmountable odds the humans triumph over the invaders...

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Well I wish someone would've stopped me form seeing "BATTLE:LA"

Normally at this juncture,I give you a brief synopsis....but I think I've spoiled it enough for y'all already.

Well my mother always said ,if you have nothing good to say ,don't say anything at all...............................................................

Actually ,the film isn't THAT bad .

Our hero in this two hour commercial for the USMC is Aaron Eckhart.

Eckhart plays Staff Sgt.Michael Nantz, a career soldier with demons that taint his reputation and haunt his soul.

Eckhart is actually the saving grace of this film.

His performance was a highlight for me.

A modern day John Wayne.

As Captain America ,as Captain America can be.

(in fact he would've made a great Cap)

Eckhart saved humanity from the aliens..but his performance could not save this movie.

Unfortunately the rest of the cast is a waste too.

It was great to see Latinos dominate the cast..but ALL of them wasted their talent here.

Ramon Rodriguiez does a decent job here as Lt. Martinez.

(fun fact:IMDB has Rodriguez tapped to play Bosley in the TV reboot of Charlie's Angels...interesting)

Michelle Rodriguez as Tech Sgt.Santos was waaaaaay better in AVATAR.

and shamefully ,Michael Pena as Joe Rincon has moments..I just wish there was more.

The draw here is the "realism" of how the film feels.

Director ,Jonathan Liebsman(Texas Chainsaw Massacre:The Beginning)

was inspired by real world battle footage.

I wish Liebsman would have used a chainsaw to shave about 30 minutes off this movie.

The way it was shot along with the special effects make this a film that will work only on the big screen...the viewer will lose a lot on their TV when this is released next week on DVD(just kidding).

Bottom line...I would have rather sat at home and watched a double feature of "Independence Day" and "War of The Worlds" than have sat through this movies.

Columbia /Sony greenlit this approx. $100 Million movie and

Universal said "NO" to Guillermo del Toro's "At The Mountain of Madness" ?

...really Hollywood?

maybe del Toro should shop ATMOM over at Columbia.

'til next time Cabrones!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Biutiful"-ly Honest





These are only a few words that describe Alejandro Gonzalez Inarraitu's latest cinematic masterpiece,"Biutiful"

"Biutiful" is a love story between a father and his children.This is a journey of Uxbal(Javier Bardem), a conflicted man who struggles to reconcile fatherhood ,spirituality,crime,guilt and mortality admidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona.

"Biutiful" is a film filled with raw emotion.

Not only was I invested in this film ...I was immersed into this world.

The underbelly of Barcelona is not only the setting, it is itself a major character in the film.

One feels the electricity,the grit,the almost stifling atomosphere that surrounds this world.It is so real ,by the third act I was emotionally spent.

Bardem's recent Oscar nomination is so well deserved.

His performance is one filled with truth and realism.

Inarraitu has a way of taking the movergoer on a a emotional bumper car ride.

A true testement to his masterful filmmaking.

I had the pleasure of attending a very special screening and Q&A with Inarraitu,where he discussed the various aspects of making this very personal film.

Personal in the sense that there is a outpouring love that went into weaving this tale.

Before filming commenced on his last film ,"Babel" he suffered the loss of one of his children.

He channels that grief in to "Biutiful" that adds to this cathartic journey.

If you are a fan of his previous films "Amores Perros","21 grams" and the aforementioned "Babel"..."Biutiful" continues in the vein of masterful storytelling.