Saturday, April 29, 2017


COLOSSAL is a 2017 film written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo. It stars Anne Hathaway as Gloria, a single woman who just can't seem to get her act together. Early on Gloria gets dumped by her boyfriend Tim because no effort is taken on her part to better herself and also stop drinking. She leaves New York and heads to her hometown to figure it all out.

Clearly hitting rock bottom Gloria is at a loss with her new chapter returning home. Things start to change though when she crosses paths with Oscar, a childhood friend. To help her get back on her feet Oscar hires Gloria to work at his bar. The two get reacquainted and become somewhat friends.

Gloria is adjusting a little bit but still can't help but get black out drunk. One morning the news is flooded with reports of a giant monster attack in Seoul, South Korea. Gloria starts to notice something strange about the monster and it's movements, they strangely mimic her own?

After some research and some experiments at playground/park, Gloria is convinced she is the monster!

Okay, that's all I can say about COLOSSAL. If you want to know more about the film you'll just have to go see it. In fact go see immediately! If you're a fan of genre movies and are tired of reboots, sequels, comic book movies, and movies based on intellectual properties then this is the film for you. Finally something original!

COLOSSAL isn't my favorite film of the year, but as things are going right now it'll probably be in my Top 10 of 2017.

As I mentioned earlier I don't wanna give anything away about the movie, but I will talk about a few things that I liked about COLOSSAL.

While the Kaiju movie is far from anything original, Vigalondo does manage to make a monster movie nobody's ever seen before. There is some deep deep emotional stuff going on in COLOSSAL that is disguised as a kaiju film. I haven't seen a monster movie this emotional sense THE HOST. Anne Hathaway gives a knockout performance that will be one of my favorites this year.

Speaking of great performances, I was really impressed with Jason Sudeikis who played Oscar. He is really branching out from his typical material. He has a couple of great monologues in the film, one of them being about buying a giant firecracker in Mexico. I was quite impressed.

And lastly, I was just impressed with how imaginative COLOSSAL was. It just wasn't another monster movie about smashing skyscrapers, or some big CGI disaster show. No, COLOSSAL is a kaiju movie where the real monsters are resentment, anger, surppresed feelings, and other ugly personal issues.

If COLOSSAL is playing at a theater near you do yourself a favor and see it immediately.


There are some things I liked about KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD but those things are nothing to make me recommend seeing the film. As I was watching the movie I entertained the idea of it working well as a double feature with THE FORCE AWAKENS, and everybody slowly leaving (or falling asleep) before KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD ended. I'm sad to report that this film is garbage. It's disappointing really, because I am a big fan of director Guy Ritchie. I loved his last film MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

This isn't going to be an angry post about how much I thought the movie sucked, because I kinda figured as such anyways. I knew something wasn't quite right about KING ARTHUR: LOTS from the very first trailer. For me the Guy Ritchie style just didn't seem to fit with medieval stuff. (I'm not a fan of the A KNIGHT'S TALE treatment.) The second indication that the movie was probably a disaster was because there was a release delay and they changed the title too. LEGEND OF THE SWORD was a late addition.

The decision was final, I was going to pass on the film when it hit theaters this May.

But, a week or two ago I receive an email from AMC Theaters inviting me to a special sneak preview so of course I went. This was the first time our AMC Theater hosted a sneak preview like this. I hope there is more in the future because the staff at Springfield 11 need the experience. The event was chaos. I barely got in with only 4 seats remaining.

I cannot believe KING ARTHUR: LOTS is being released as a summer movie? It's more like a January release to be honest.

Here's the IMDB synopsis:

Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.

Arthur "coming up the hard way" and raised in a brothel really feels like the Guy Ritchie contribution, mostly everything else certainly seems like studio meddling. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if KING ARTHUR: LOTS was more the studios idea than Ritchie's? Meaning, Guy maybe wanted to do a sequel to ROCKNROLLA and Warner Bros agreed only on the condition that he direct their King Arthur movie that has been in development hell? I know that's probably a stretch, but that's what I'm going with.

I've seen lots of movies and I think I know a film taken from the director's hands when I see one. The story of King Arthur meets SNATCH doesn't need giant elephants with armor or heavy CGI action involving the sword Excalibur? Seriously, every time Arthur uses the sword we're treated to a X-Men movie or Zack Snyder effect extravaganza!

Yes, I know Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films had slo-mo and CGI, but nothing like this my friend! It's as if WB said we need this to look like our HOBBIT films or something?

Time to say something nice. I liked the costume design, the bad guys had this Kylo Ren thing going on. Hence me saying the whole double feature with THE FORCE AWAKENS. I've always found similarities with Excalibur and Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber.

I also liked a couple of the action scenes. The best one is probably the failed assassination attempt on the evil king.

In conclusion, I wouldn't recommend KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD to my worst enemy. Save your time and money and seek out EXCALIBUR (1981) instead, or just watch LORD OF THE RINGS for the umpteenth time.

I'm glad I saw this movie for free; otherwise, I would be really mad.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

GRINDHOUSE: 10th Anniversary

I remember the release of GRINDHOUSE like it was yesterday. For good reason too, I followed the progress of the film since conception! Hot off the success of SIN CITY and KILL BILL, filmmakers Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino were kings. They could do any film project they wanted! Rodriguez had several offers from major studios, I think a BARBARELLA and CONAN THE BARBARIAN remake were offered to him? Tarantino kept quiet (per usual) but let it be known that whatever he did next was going to be small compared to KILL BILL.

After a night of watching movies at Tarantino's home theater, the two decided that their next films would be a collaboration. But instead of one movie, like FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, they would both each make their own and play them back to back as a double feature!

The day I first heard about this, I read every movie news post with information on the progress of GRINDHOUSE. It was fun, but something I never really want to do again. GRINDHOUSE wasn't ruined for me because of this, but I felt like I had learned too much going in. And it's best not to know much when seeing a Tarantino film.

Has it already been 10 years since the release of GRINDHOUSE? It sure doesn't feel like it! What the heck is GRINDHOUSE you say? Well, it was a film directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Both filmmakers set out to create a double-feature experience with coming attractions and retro theater advertisements. You probably don’t remember it because the film bombed at the box office. Because of this the films were released separately on home video.

You're probably better acquainted with the separate titles PLANET TERROR and DEATH PROOF, directed by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino respectively. There are numerous reasons as to why the film bombed at the box office; released on Easter Sunday, poor advertisement, or a confusing title?

In this day and age GRINDHOUSE does sound a little bit like a porno title. But the title is a homage to the theaters on 42nd Street that would play movies all day. I think from midnight to 8:00am was a popular time? Some of the movie houses would show blockbuster films, but you had to sit through some trash first. But the lot of them would show exploitation films.

My early judgement of exploitation films was that they all must be XXX porno films? Yes they showed those on 42nd Street, but there was so much more. The famous New York City stretch (not anymore) had plenty to offer in terms of genre; Kung-Fu, Horror, Action, and Sexploitation. If not for Quentin Tarantino and his film KILL BILL, I probably would have never been interested in exploitation cinema?

After KILL BILL I tried to watch anything I could get my hands on, primarily Spaghetti Westerns, Blacksploitation, and Italian Horror. Because of this I now have a few "new" favorite films of all time!

So April 6th, 2007 GRINDHOUSE opens in theaters and I go see the first showing of the day. There were no midnight showings for it, back then that only happened with Summer Blockbusters. You're probably thinking that GRINDHOUSE doesn't really sound like a matinee type of film; you're right it's not, but I'm a fan, so first showing it is! Thus began a new tradition with watching a new Tarantino film, I'd see it first by myself then go to the prime-time show with friends. That first showing is all me!

Watching GRINDHOUSE that first showing I really felt like Rodriguez/Tarantino made the film for me!

With PLANET TERROR I got this "lost film" of John Carpenter vibe mixed with Italian Horror. The film is a roller coster ride! I love watching it still because I kinda get what's going on in Robert's head when I watch it. That being said, PLANET TERROR is the weak link in GRINDHOUSE. It's fun, but at the end of the day it feels like a cross between a experiment and glorified trailer.

Both PLANET TERROR and DEATH PROOF have a 'Missing Reel' gag. The joke is hilarious in both films, but you look at script for TERROR and the gag is written into the script. So what, right? Well, in DEATH PROOF it isn't written in. They shot the scene and removed it latter. The International version of DEATH PROOF (a.k.a. the non-GRINDHOUSE version) has the lap dance scene intact. Now it's just my opinion, but Tarantino's "gag" is way more clever.

Despite all my criticism, I still enjoy watching PLANET TERROR. It sets the mood for 3 hours of exploitation fun. After a experimental bio-weapon is released, turning hundreds if not thousands into zombie-like creatures, it's up to a rag tag bunch to make is safely to Mexico with their backs to the ocean.

My favorite thing about PLANET TERROR is the 80's style gore effects. As I said earlier the movie has a John Carpenter meets Italian Horror vibe to it. I always wanna watch ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK or CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD next!

Once PLANET TERROR finishes we are shown 3 previews of Coming Attractions; WEREWOLF WOMEN OF THE S.S, DON'T, and THANKSGIVING. I'm picking THANKSGIVING to talk about. The preview is a fake trailer directed by horror master Eli Roth. Love him or hate him, the guy can deliver the gore/scares. His film HOSTEL: PART 2 was my favorite horror film of 2007, beating out GRINDHOUSE.

THANKSGIVING is a parody of slasher films that are set during the holidays. When you think about it every holiday has been done except for Thanksgiving. Recently I found a slasher set during Thanksgiving but I cannot for the life of me remember the title. Regardless, the concept is still hilarious! Spoiler alert, my favorite part is when the 'trailer voice' says the film is coming out "This February". It's funny because it's true, horror fans know what I'm talking about!

It's time for DEATH PROOF and I'm immediately transported to the 70's. The film is set during modern times (same with PLANET TERROR) but Tarantino nails the Seventies exploitation flick! There is plenty of homage going on in DEATH PROOF but this second feature doesn't feel like like an extended trailer or cool experiment; no, DEATH PROOF feels like a movie.

I've already reviewed the International version, so I'll try my best to stick with DEATH PROOF's 87 minute GRINDHOUSE cut.

Just like with PLANET TERROR, DEATH PROOF has all the snaps, crackles, and pops that make the film look like it's traveled all over the U.S. But, there is a middle part that is pristine? My guess as to why is that Tarantino is playing around with the idea that GRINDHOUSE has a "Frankenstein" copy of DEATH PROOF. The other day I read a pretty good theory on the scratched up first half, that the first half is Stuntman Mike's personal copy. It's an artsy opinion, but I like it!

He's also toying with the idea that this version of DEATH PROOF is the successful one. I remember hearing Tarantino talk about the exploitation film SWITCHBLADE SISTERS. At one point in his DVD introduction he tells the story on how the film was originally titled THE JEZEBELS. The film flopped during it's first run. So the studio changed the name to SWITCHBLADE SISTERS and it became a smash!

You see, DEATH PROOF is actually the films second title, the original title was THUNDER BOLT.

In Austin, Texas, the girlfriends Julia, Arlene and Shanna meet in a bar to drink, smoke and make out with their boyfriends before traveling alone to Lake LBJ to spend the weekend together. They meet the former Hollywood stuntman Mike, who takes Pam out in his "death-proof" stunt car. Fourteen months later, Mike turns up in Lebanon, Tennessee and chase Abernathy, Zoƫ and Kim, but these girls are tough and decide to pay-back the attack.

My favorite thing about DEATH PROOF while watching GRINDHOUSE is that at the once the car chase moves onto the highway, the audience is treated to somewhat of a triple feature with an amazing car chase finale! I really believe this is a trick Tarantino learned from legendary movie producer Roger Corman, give the audience more bang for their buck.

In conclusion, I wish GRINDHOUSE didn't bomb at the box office, but at the same time maybe I am a little bit? Because I really think it was due to the films poor reception that made Tarantino finally make INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, his 3rd masterpiece!

If you've never seen/experienced GRINDHOUSE and you're a fan of these filmmakers, I'm pretty sure the movie is available On Demand with STARZ!

Sunday, April 2, 2017



After a intimate moment with Buffy, Angel looses his soul and becomes evil. Thus begins the cat and mouse sparing that ultimately leads to the two-part season finale BECOMING. And what a finale it is! First a little back story.

Centries ago Angel was sired by a vampire named Darla ( more on her later), and about a century after that a band of Gypsy's put a curse on Angel. The curse would give him back his soul and Angel would remember every victim he ever killed. Living like a bum feeding off of rats and who knows what else, Angel gets help from a demon to get back on track.

It is now present day and Angel is watching from afar the Slayer from Los Angeles, Buffy. He immediately falls in love and wants to help her. Kicked out of school, Buffy relocates to Sunnydale and lives with her mother. Angel follows in the shadows. The two finally meet in Season One and the rest is history.

Now evil, Angel wants to send the world to hell, literally. With the odds stacked up against her Buffy and her friends once again try and save the world.

A lot happens in BECOMING. We see the origin of Angel, Willow and Buffy discover a spell that can restore Angel's soul, Angel toutures Giles, and Buffy forms an alliance with Spike!

Like I said in my last post I knew Buffy and her friends saved Angel at the end of Season 2 because I had been watching Season 3. What I didn't know was just how nail bitting BECOMING turned out to be!

A few highlights:

I absolutely loved the truce Buffy and Spike made! Some great character moments/writing when Spike offers the deal to Buffy all while sitting on the hood of a cop car. Joss is a genius!

Buffy tells her mom she is the Slayer. Smart move. You're typical show would have Buffy still making up excuses why she sneaks out at night in Season 7.

Willow starts to grow as a character with having a nack for magic.

Angel getting his soul back at the last minute but Buffy still killing him was an emotional wallop!

Okay, now on to Season 3.

Season 3 of BUFFY is my favorite season! It's the season that I started watching in real time/broadcast, episode 9 till the finale. Every week me and my friend would try to watch it together. Great times! My friend was a bigger fan than I was, he would fill me in on all the stuff I missed. It was like hearing legends of the Slayer. I had never liked an hour long television show this much before. It was a show made for folks like us!

One of the things my friend helped me catch up on was the origin of Faith, my favorite (human) character of the series. In a nutshell I like her because she's Buffy unfiltered. They both have attitude but Buffy is more the Girl Scout compared to Faith. Faith is like the Darth Vader of the Buffyverse, and I love nothing more than troubled souls.

Without further ado here are some of my favorite episodes!

Episode 1:Anne

What a strong season opener! At the end of Season 2 Buffy saved the world but killed her boyfriend, got expelled, and her mom kicked her out of the house. Putting the past behind her she shacks up in L.A. working as a waitress in some greasy spoon diner. Back in Sunnydale her friends try and fight vampires waiting for their friend to return. Trouble always seems to find the Slayer as Buffy decides to help find a missing person.

Written and Directed by Joss Whedon, ANNE is top notch! One thing I notice to is the budget seems to be a tad bit higher. In it's own right Season 2 is amazing, but for me Season 3 is highest peak of the series.

Episode 3:Faith, Hope, and Trick

Every fan is different. I'm sure the majority consider Buffy Summers their favorite character, after all she is the main character. Don't get me wrong I adore Buffy, but rarely has she been my favorite character. That wouldn't happen until Season 6 and Season 7. Early on my favorites were Willow, Xander, Oz, and Spike. But Season 3 introduced my favorite Slayer, Faith!

What can I say, I have a thing for brunettes! As a character I was drawn to Faith's anti-hero bad girl attitude. Yes, Buffy is also a anti-hero, but Faith always had more finesse.

Episode 6:Band Candy

A school fundraiser where the chocolate candy bars turn the adults into teenagers. Some extremely funny moments in this episode. And Giles acting like a teenager is mandatory viewing!

Episode 9:The Wish & Episode 16Doppelgangland

This episode blew my mind! In the early years of my comic book collecting I always loved the Marvel Comics tile WHAT IF..., more for the concept rather than the stories themselves.

I'm sure I've already said this about another episode but THE WISH was a fan for life episode for me. A jealous (rightfully so) Cordelia tells her new friend Anya that the wishes Buffy Summers never came to Sunnydale. Turns out that Anya is a demon and grants Cordelia her wish. As you can imagine because of this Sunnydale becomes hell on earth, and we are introduced to Vamp Willow and Vamp Xander. Probably my favorite special guest villains of the series. You could tell the actors were having fun playing 'Monsters of the Week'.

They were so good that Joss brought Vamp Willow back for DOPPELGANGLAND, maybe my favorite Willow episode ever! Sorry, I'm going to say favorite a lot. My favorite moment from the episode is Willow pretending to be Dark Willow. Great episode!

Episode 13:The Zeppo

This episode is for all the nice guys who finish last. To prove himself "cool", Xander sets out and joins a gang and even fools around with Faith. After playing second fiddle to a Slayer, Witch, and a Werewolf it was nice to see Xander have center stage.

Episode 22:Graduation Day - Part 2

I picked PART 2 not because I like it better but because I liked how it ended the season. Not only is school is out for summer, but school's out forever! Yeah! The students blow up the school! With the Mayor defeated it marks a end to the chapter of Sunnydale's "Scooby Gang". It also marked a end for Angel and Buffy. I cannot remember if his spinoff show was announced yet or not? I'm thinking it was? And the big cliffhanger for me was that my favorite Slayer was still in her coma! Will Faith return?

With Season 3 over I was so excited for what was to come next. Never had I been this excited for a show during it's broadcast run! With the college years on the horizon, I like how the characters were transitioning into adult hood. I'd miss the high school library, but more excited for the future.

So the day of the Season 4 season premiere had arrived. We watched it at my best friends house with McDonalds in hand. The ANGEL season premiere followed after. Life was good! But the party was cut short. Next week Springfield, MO my hometown would loose The WB network, and I never watched BUFFY again until the seasons became available on DVD.

As of writing these blog post on BUFFY I am actually watching the series again. Season 4 is coming soon, but I think I wanna watch the rest of it before my next BUFFY blog. Thanks for reading!