Orgasm Ninja Germ Z Inc 2 – Electric Boogaloo

Germ Z, Orgasm Inc., and Ninja 2 are currently available on instant Netflix

Germ Z

 

Germ Z (2013) – Not rated

A meteor knocks a satellite to Earth near a small town, infecting military responders and residents with a germ that turns them into cannibals.

I hate to say it but there’s not much to say here. This is a competently done very low budget film. Unfortunately it apes George Romero’s The Crazies far more than The Crazies remake did. There is the problem. The Crazies remake is fantastic, updating the original and significantly improving on it. Germ Z not only does not improve on the Romero film, it doesn’t match it. Maybe you’ll enjoy it if you haven’t seen either version of The Crazies or any of the [REC] films or the American remake Quarantine…

Orgasm, Inc.

Orgasm Inc. (2009) – Not rated

Orgasm Inc. is a funny and sobering look inside “big pharma” and the marketing campaigns associated with a pill for female sexual dysfunction.”

As long as you aren’t offended by frank talk of female sexuality, I highly recommend this revealing look into horrific pharmaceutical practices. Orgasm has a lot of humor to offset its damning indictment of the pharma industry.

Ninja 2

 

Ninja 2 (2013) – Rated R

When his pregnant wife is savagely murdered, martial arts master Casey Bowman seeks retribution against the brutal drug lord behind the killing.”

Well I think you know whether you want to watch this movie or not. If you enjoyed Scott Adkins kicking, punching, and slicing his way through Ninja, then you will enjoy this movie. There is the usual rationale for the violence and there is plenty of martial arts on display here. Scott Adkins may not be a great thespian but he is a wonderful martial arts performer.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 4/15/14

Takeshi Kitano’s Yakuza drama, Beyond Outrage is now available. Watch it as a double feature with Outrage.

G.I. Joe Retaliation

Action: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

Comedy: D.L. Hughley: Reset, G.B.F., Peeples

Documentary: Milius

Drama: All Things to All Men, The Dirties, Short Term 12

Family: Khumba

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Iron Sky: Director’s Cut

Beyond Outrage

Foreign: Beyond Outrage, The Artist and the Model, Young detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

Insidious Chapter 2

Horror: Insidious: Chapter 2

Television: Legit, AFV: Best in Boneheads, AFV: Kid’s Favorites, The Bible

Thriller: Forgetting the Girl

The Last Days on Mars – Breaking the Red Planet Curse?

The Last Days on Mars is currently available on instant Netflix

The Last Days on Mars

 

The Last Days on Mars (2013) – Rated R

While a crew of astronauts on Mars waits for a ship that will return them to Earth, one discovers a strain of bacteria that turns humans into killers.”

“wearing a space suit is exactly the same as wearing a corset. It’s equally uncomfortable” – actress Romola Garai (Rebecca Lane)

I love science fiction.

Poor Mars. Our closest neighbor gets so little respect. Once the subject of the travelogue Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars, the red planet retaliated over the years with Invaders from Mars (1953 and 1986) and The War of the Worlds (1953) began, culminating in Tim Burton’s delightful yet uneven Mars Attacks! (1996). We even had a nice television adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles in 1980. Apparently Mars decided to retaliate after The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (1998), going after the movies themselves.

This century has not been kind to the red planet. Brian DePalma’s Mission to Mars (2000) cost 90 million dollars and returned 60 million domestic. Red Planet (also 2000) had a 70 million dollar budget and returned 17 million domestically. John Carpenter’s latecomer Ghosts of Mars (2001) was budgeted at 28 million and only returned 8 million domestically.

Mars movies remained off the plate for a decade until Disney decided to try a double shot. Disney’s Mars Needs Moms (2011) bombed so badly that the following year they released their movie adaptation of the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars novels as John Carter instead of John Carter of Mars. It too bombed at the box office.

The Last Days on Mars is much more modestly budgeted and partially funded by the British Film Institute and the Irish Film Board. The movie starts as hard science fiction but takes only a little over a quarter of an hour to turn into a horror movie. It is still good but those liking their science fiction without horror may be disappointed.

Acting is quite good across the board with everyone taking the proceedings quite seriously. Liev Schreiber and Elias Koteas are the bigger names in the cast but Romola Garai, Johnny Harris, and Olivia Williams hold their own.

Special effects are utilitarian and not flashy but are executed well. Makeup of the infected is nicely done. Sets and cinematography are simplified and functional. The script keeps things moving at a fairly brisk pace.

First time director Ruairi Robinson did a nice job putting all of these elements together. The Last Days on Mars is a good, but not great, independent science fiction horror movie.

More Regal Classic Movies – Spartacus, Titanic, Gladiator

Regal Cinemas

 

Bravo to Regal for continuing their Classic Film Series. Now if they would just advertise it a bit more – for example on their Facebook page, through their Regal app, or anything other than a tiny banner at the bottom of their emails. Still it means that I have a mostly empty theater to enjoy.

This go round they have chosen historical epics for their focus. All shows are at 2 p.m. on Sunday and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Participating theaters can be found here.

April 13th & 16th – And the Oscar Goes to… (an insider look at the Academy Awards)

April 20th & 23rd – Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments

April 27th & 30th – Gladiator

May 4th & 7th – Ben Hur

May 11th & 14th – Titanic

Spartacus

May 18th & 21st – Spartacus

Regal Crown Club members get an extra 50 points for seeing any three films or 100 extra points for seeing all six.

Amazing Spider-Man 2

* Regal is also offering their Superticket program on the new Amazing Spider-Man 2. For $20 over the price of your ticket, you get a copy The Amazing Spider-Man in HD for your Ultraviolet account (Vudu, Target Ticket, Flixster, etc.). You also get an HD copy of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a couple weeks before it comes out on DVD.

 

Sabotage & Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

 

Conan the Barbarian

 

I like Arnold Schwarzenegger as a star. I grew up with him as Conan the Barbarian, one of the best fantasy movies we had in the pre-Peter Jackson era. He was so iconic as Conan that he revisited it two years later in Conan the Destroyer. This version was toned down for the kiddies and mixed with a fair amount of Dungeons & Dragons but still very Arnold. He essentially reprised the role the following year as Kalidor in Red Sonja.

The Terminator

He IS the Terminator. Another iconic role that played to his strengths, the first two are in my favorite films list and the third is at least fun. Predator is another of my favorite films and Schwarzenegger leads a testosterone-heavy cast being stalked by an alien predator. True Lies reteamed him with James Cameron to great effect.

In the 90s, his films became very hit or miss and gradually began to decline in quality and box office receipts. I was looking forward to his return to movies after his detour into politics.

He did nice cameos in the first two Expendables movies. I really looked forward to his return to a starring role in The Last Stand. It was directed by Kim Jee-woon, whose The Good, The Bad, The Weird was a wonderful homage to American Westerns. Sadly while it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t very good either.

His next shot was co-starring with Expendables star Sylvester Stallone in Escape Plan. If you thought The Last Stand was ludicrous, Escape Plan takes it to another level. This brings us to his latest film, Sabotage.

Sabotage

 

Sabotage (2014) – Rated R

Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.”

One Line Review: A world of no or, as they would say, “#%$# my $@%#, #%$^*&^%^$#@”

This time Arnold turned to writer/director David Ayer for a comeback role. David Ayer penned U-571 which, apart from the grievous insult of changing the British heroes who pulled off the actual mission into Americans, was a pretty entertaining World War II saga. He went on to write Training Day which was a gritty and wonderful tale of police corruption. Ayer apparently found that to be his niche and wrote Dark Blue and S.W.A.T. before wiritng and directing Harsh Times and End of Watch.

David Ayer writes, directs, and produces Sabotage so the ummm sabotage to this movie must be laid at his feet. I remember when dropping the F bomb was shocking. Apparently it is so commonplace now that David Ayer replaced the epithet indicating sexual congress with several indicating the act of fellatio. He was so enamored of this that I think at least a half dozen characters in Sabotage use it. I felt like it was on an audio loop.

Ayer assembled a good action cast to back up Schwarzenegger. Sam Worthington (whose leading man career never took off in spite of Avatar, Terminator Salvation, and Clash of the Titans), Josh Holloway (Lost), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Terrence Howard (Iron Man), and Max Martini (Pacific Rim) all try to out-macho each other as DEA agents. They are out-machoed by Mireille Enos (The Killing) as Lizzy and Olivia Williams (Dollhouse) as Caroline.

The characters are all cardboard cutouts. Poor Mireille Enos must have been told to act something the opposite of her character in the killing. Her portrayal of an addicted DEA agent is so over the top, it doesn’t just verge on parody, it revels in it. Still at least she seems to be having fun, Terrence Howard just seems embarrassed to be in the movie.

I have heard this movie described as an action version of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians (aka And Then There Were None). The truth is that it is more like a bad slasher film until the killer is revealed. The movie is filled with an unreal amount of nonsense and just about the worst dialogue I have ever had to sit through.

There is a big climactic fight/chase scene that should end the movie. Unfortunately Ayer wants to wrap up the loose ends so Sabotage limps on for another quarter hour or so after the end for another action scene and ending. This final ending is just awful and I don’t mean full of awe. No spoilers but this is the most disappointing ending I have seen since Return of the King decided to have about seven different endings.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 4/8/14

Well not a whole lot considering we had a huge influx on the first but here you go:

Rapture-Palooza

Comedy: Rapture-Palooza, 35 and Ticking, Bedrooms and Hallways

Documentary: Earth Made of Glass, Let the Fire Burn, Nazi Medicine, Pablo, Sherman’s March, When Jews Were Funny

Drama: Home Run, 24-Hour Love, Everyday

Family: The Perfect Game

The Last Days on Mars

Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Last Days on Mars

Foreign: Aurangzeb, Bastards, A Touch of Sin

Turbo Fast

Television: Best of TEDx, Turbo FAST, Short Poppies and new episodes of Lost Girl

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark vs Frankenstein’s Army

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark and Frankenstein’s Army are currently available on instant Netflix

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark

 

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (2014) – Not rated

When a new Mega Shark threatens mankind, the government unleashes the top-secret Mecha Shark to defeat the monster in a pitched battle.”

Quick what do Christopher Judge (Teal’Q from the various Stargate series), Elisabeth Rohm (Angel, Heroes, Law & Order), and 80s pop star Deborah Gibson have in common?

Is it:

A: a desperate need for money?

B: a complete lack of shame?

C: a knowledge that their glory days are behind them?

D: appearing in the third of Asylum’s Mega Shark movies?

E: All of the above?

Okay the movie does begin hilariously with a ship towing an iceberg into the port of Alexandria to fight drought. We cut to a member of the crew playing chess with himself while he quotes Bukowski. The Megalodon clearly buried within soon frees itself, again to hysterical effect. In spite of the bad CGI, the humor involved made me think that perhaps this wasn’t an Asylum movie.

I love how our Mecha Shark commander pilots the Shark by herself with freshly manicured and long red painted nails. She also wears a Google glass clone eyepiece that does nothing, not surprising since she has a trio of large computer screens in front of her. They also give her an earpiece for communications which seems rather unnecessary as well.

Sadly, after the first few minutes this devolves into the usual Asylum mess. Poor plotting, woeful writing, acrid acting, directionless directing, and crummy CGI allow this movie to quickly jump the shark. This should not be surprising as Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009) and Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (2010) were both fun as trailers but nothing more.

Flee this sinking ship while you can!

Ugh! I also just found out that The Asylum is doing a television show for Syfy called Z Nation, about – you guessed it – a zombie apocalypse. I guess Asylum was overdue for ripping off The Walking Dead.

Frankenstein's Army

 

Frankenstein’s Army (2013) – Rated R

Russian troops pushing into Germany discover that the Nazis have created monstrous new soldiers pieced together from body parts of the dead.”

My father said, men will be more efficient if they have hammers and screwdrivers instead of fingers.”

I hate the found footage/handicam subgenre. It was imaginative a half century ago when it was called cinema verite. It was still creative when it was used in The Blair Witch Project. After that it just became a lazy way to tell a story without having to bother with expensive special effects, complicated stunts, or competent cinematography. Occasionally it works ([REC]) but most often it does not.

Frankenstein’s Army is not an exception. The conceit that a Russian filmmaker is attached to a squad and films everything in color, complete with sound, is more than a bit of a stretch. The first quarter hour is hard to get through. A saving grace is the use of actual WWII era weaponry.

It is also unfortunate that the film is named Frankenstein’s Army as it gives away a central plot point much earlier than necessary. Obviously the name is a selling point as is the evil of the Nazis, a personal weakness of mine.

I love Nazi horror films. Well many of them anyway. I love the trashy Shock Waves, the ham-fisted Boys from Brazil, the mysterious The Keep, the low budget The Outpost, the completely wacky Dead Snow, even the inept Madmen of Mandragoras (recut as They Saved Hitler’s Brain). Yet for every Shock Waves there are several Oasis of the Zombies, for every The Keep, a Blood Creek, and even The Outpost’s sequel, Black Sun, paled in comparison to the original.

Having stated all of that, Frankenstein’s Army is wildly inventive. The makeup and special effects are simply wonderful. Creature design makes up for all the other deficits of this movie. Frankenstein’s Army is not a very good movie but marveling at the creature design certainly makes it a worthwhile one.

R.I.P. Mickey Rooney, John Pinette, Kate O’Mara

Mickey Rooney

All around entertainer Mickey Rooney passed away at his home on April 6th. He was 93 years old. In spite of his amazing 340 credits on imdb, Netflix only has five of them available for streaming. None of them are from the 30s and 40s when he was a box office king so I’d recommend either his work as a convict in The Last Mile (1959) or his voice work in Disney’s The Fox and the Hound (1981).

John Pinette

Comedian John Pinette died in a hotel room in Pittsburgh on April 6th. While he had 23 acting roles in various movies (The Punisher) and television (the finale of Seinfeld), he is best remembered for his stand up comedy. His “I Say Nay Nay” routine always made me laugh. Streaming Netflix has the less enjoyable but still amusing special, “Still Hungry” available.

Kate O'Mara

Actress Kate O’Mara passed away March 30th at the age of 74. She was best known for her role as Cassandra ‘Caress’ Morrell on Dynasty. I remember her from the Hammer horror movies, The Vampire Lovers and Horror of Frankenstein. None of her roles are currently available on streaming Netflix.

Rest in Peace Mickey, John, and Kate – you will be missed.

Off to the Movies I Will Go…

…where I learned everything that I know. (paraphrasing)

No news here today – just a rambling train of thought as I head out for a day at the movies.

I love going to the movies.

Unfinished Mural

I keep trying to make my movie room like a theater. There are movie posters plastering the walls, including some prized ones like an original Last Man on Earth, several Etsy Hammer posters, several signed posters, and one from Mister White, the movie one of my daughters worked on. We’re in the process of having a mural done based on an old poster of Quatermass and the Pit. I love my movie room.

I have the largest television we could afford, a 60″ plasma. We sit just a few feet away from it. Of course everyone wants larger but mine is a good size and does the job well (insert your own joke here). We have comfortable seating for three and can squeeze a couple more in but it is not a very large room.

Popcorn

The latest addition was the popcorn machine and, properly utilized, the popcorn tastes better than theater popcorn and is much better for you. For those of you with a machine at home, use the Great Northern portion packs, available from Amazon. We also bought a case of 500 popcorn bags which we are not quite out of.

Captain America: Winter Soldier

Still even though I love my room, I still love going TO the movies. Once a month or so, I run off for a day at the movies. As I write this I’m about to go to Subway for lunch. followed by Noah, Sabotage, and ‘capped off’ by a Captain America double feature. I was lucky enough to find out that my local theater, Epic, was doing a double feature as I hadn’t seen any advertising for it. Also thank goodness that they have unlimited refills on their, admittedly overpriced, plastic tubs of soda and popcorn. Dare I say that today will be Epic?

So why can’t I stay home and buy the movies when they come out? Honestly, you don’t have to wait that long any more – usually about three months. Purchasing a brand new movie on Blu-Ray is usually about $20 on release week so that’s less than two evening tickets.

I think part of it is the enforced setting. At home, we all watch movies but our electronic devices run non-stop. Interruptions are constant from conversations and phone calls to knocks on the door. We pause the movies to do various things, which is normally a plus but pulls you out of the story. I’m getting up every fifteen minutes or so to refill drinks, provide meals/snacks, use the restroom, help four-year-old, et cetera.

At the theater, the lights go down and the magic begins. If one is lucky, no one ruins the movie by being on their phone or otherwise rude. Two hours later, you return to your normal, drab life (which is probably why I schedule marathon sessions).

So I have the best of both worlds. I can watch movies in the comfort of my home with a fabulous meal and periodically I can go to the theater. My life is pretty blessed.

 

New April Netflix Offerings

Another month, another slew of catalog titles on streaming Netflix

Death Wish

Action & Adventure: Ambush at Dark Canyon, Bad Company, Braveheart, Cotton Comes to Harlem, Death Wish, Death Wish 2, Death Wish 3, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, No Holds Barred, Point Blank (1998), The River’s Edge

Classic: The Bells of St. Mary’s, Cheaper by the Dozen, For a Few Dollars More, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Graduate, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, Jane Eyre (1944), Les Miserables (1935), Man Hunt, The Odd Couple, The Robe, There’s No Business Like Show Business

Comedy: Act Like You Love Me, Amanda, Ass Backwards, Barton Fink, Bending the Rules, Click, Comic Book Villains, Coneheads, Going Ape!, Lars and the Real Girl, A League of Their Own, The Man with One Red Shoe, Mean Girls, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, Pumpkin, The Queens of Comedy, Scary Movie 3, Sommore: Chandelier Status, Spanglish, Steel Magnolias (2012), Stuart Saves His Family, Women Who Kill

Documentary: After Porn Ends, Berkeley in the Sixties, Commune, Craigslist Joe, Decoding Deepak, A Fierce Green Fire, The Goebbels Experiment, The Heart of the Game, Jake Blauvelt: Naturally, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, Mortified Nation, Moto 5, NotBad, Orgasm Inc., Shenandoah, This Ain’t California

Drama: Ali, Amistad, The Brooke Ellison Story, The English Patient, E.T.X.R., In the Hive, Inside Out, Inventing the Abbotts, A Man Called Peter, My Bodyguard, No Way Home, Now is Good, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Rocky 1-5, Roger Dodger, Secret Things, Sense and Sensibility, Strangers in Good Company, The Thomas Crown Affair, Titanic, The Turning Point, The Yards

Faith: The UnderShepherd

Family: Jumanji, The Little Prince (1974), The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Princess Twins of Legendale, Baby Genius: Mozart and Friends, Baby Genius: Animal Adventures, Baby Genius: Favorite Children’s Songs, Baby Genius: Favorite Nursery Rhymes, Baby Genius: A Trip to the San Francisco Zoo

The Terminator

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dragonslayer, The Fifth Element, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Running Man, The Terminator

Foreign: Alice, Amores Perros, The Black Tulip, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Midnight F.M., That Splendid November

Frankenstein's Army

Horror: Axed, Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, Frankenstein’s Army, Germ Z, The Legend of Hell House, My Bloody Valentine (1981), Stephen King’s Thinner, Survival of the Dead, Tentacles

Television: The Great Train Robbery, Care Bears: Welcome to Care-A-Lot, The Hive, House M.D., The Inexplicable Universe with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Last Tango in Halifax, League of Super Evil, Mumfie, The Paradise, The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale, Royal Pains, The Wotwots,The Writers’ Room, and a new season of Bob’s Burgers

Thriller: Angel Heart, Chinatown, Murder at the Presidio