Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dark Discussions Podcast: Edge of Tomorrow



     In this episode the gang and I check out the new Tom Cruise film with Emily Blunt based on the Japanese light novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.

Link
http://darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_143.html

Monday, July 7, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction



     Hello my followers and lovely visitors we need to have a little talk. So recently I had went to the theaters with Technology Caveman to see the new Transformers film. How was it? It was pretty much the same crap that Bay has put on the big screen just like he had done in the first three films minus a few little tweaks. But honestly at this point is it really that much of a surprise? While the previous Transformer films were reviled by many no one can deny that these were huge cash cows and Bay knows which is why no matter how much hate these films get he knows that millions of people will flock to the theater to see them.
       This is made more apparent considering its current reception. Rotten Tomatoes currently has shown that it has earned an 18% making the worst of the series and other critics have been slamming it hard. And yet despite this it has made almost 600 million dollars at the box office its budget being only 210 million. Bay may make crappy films but he can rake in the green just by shoveling out this sugar coated junk food time and time again because like every time before that the public will eat it up.
     Michael Bay is not a good director I dare say he is more of a business man than anything else because what he is essentially doing is selling the general audience a product with a popular brand name slapped on. To him and the big boys at Hollywood we are just walking piggy banks that they can shake to squeeze some cash out of. When people continue to go to these kinds of movies every time its telling directors out there that there is no need to change or to challenge their audiences.
      So what about the movies itself? Its not vey good although Technology Caveman and I consider it to be not as bad as Revenge of the Fallen but that isn't saying much. Age of Extinction has the same look and repeated trends like the previous film so much so that you can turn it(or the franchise itself) into a God damn drinking game. You have your explosions, a bunch of slow motion, American flags waving, military hardware, hot women, stereotypes, and dumb humor. Really there isn't a lot to say that hasn't been said about a Transformer film from Mr. Bay.
      Its certainly has the darkest tone but making something dark and gritty doesn't always make something better and often its attempts to be brooding or intense can come of as silly, forced, and melodramatic. Technology Caveman had said that he felt that maybe the writers had challenged Bay in the making of this film I seriously doubted it despite a few minor improvements.
     For example we actually get a good male lead for the main role played by Mark Wahlberg who is a definite improvement of Shia LaBeouf. I'm not saying LaBeouf was awful but the character he was playing was a terrible and was essentially the same dweeb who somehow manages to bag a smoking hot girl friend we have seen in many other films beforehand. Wahlberg is a good action star so I felt he could play such a part much better Shia although his character wasn't anything special but he was one of the stronger elements in the movie.
      Despite this we get an obnoxious daughter who just so happens to be smoking hot because God forbid that we put any unattractive people in Michael Bay film! I'm not exaggerating here because the first time we see her she is wearing short shorts showing off her legs and her ass for the horny teenage boys who have one hand in their popcorn and the other in their fucking pants. She even has a whiny hunky boyfriend whose only character trait is his ability to drive because....cars are cool I guess?
      Like the other films we get a comic relief character played by T.J. Miller who I thought was the most tolerable of the so-called "funny" characters in the past films and even got a chuckle and a giggle out of me. But after a overly long chase scene he is killed. Technology Caveman thought it was a smart move since he like the character and felt that there was some emotional impact but for me I thought that its was a bad move. I think that maybe Bay became self-aware that some folks were annoyed by these types of characters and attempted a sort of Take That or maybe he thought he could surprise his audiences by throwing them this curve ball. Who can say really?
     I wish Miller stuck around a little longer because this movie is just too damn serious at times with our heroic Autobots reduced to blood hungry jackasses especially Optimus Prime who just seems to be a bloody hungry nutjob at times I can come him some slack considering the situation that he and his comrades are but God damn dude....
     The interactions between the characters are as generic as they come. The two of us had drawn parallels between this and Armageddon when it came to the conflict between the over protective dad, his daughter, and the hapless boyfriend who cant seem to earn his approval. Also a lot of the dialogue sounds like phrases out of a trailer or something you would slap on to a poster and that's if its not some cheesy joke or one liner.
     The action sequences are long, loud, and chaotic with a number of scenes being utter rehashes of past scenes from a highway chase to a messy battle within a large and heavily populated city. These battle are just like every other fight with robots rolling around in a massive clusterfuck making it sometimes difficult to tell what is the hell is happening and Bay's hideous editing skills are back with a vengeance. If its any consolation he lets up a bit on the shaky camera bullshit.  
      The movie is very long(2 hours and 45 minutes) as well and can make the whole exhausting. More than one though the entirety of watching this movie Technology Caveman and I kept expecting that the film to end only for it go on to another plot point that drags it on further. Its doesn't help that the whole thing was BORING. There was nothing new and after seeing explosions and robots ripping each other apart again and again it loses its impact and become dull. While the other films angered me this one nearly put me to sleep and I don't know which of these is worst. It doesn't help that once again the human characters steal the spotlight from the Transformers.
      I don't want else I can say about this movie that others have probably said as well. In my opinion it is not the worst movie of the four but that doesn't make it a good film. It rehashes everything we have seen before with just a new paint job in places and a bunch of fan service. Its long, boring, and really you wont be missing much by skipping it and waiting for it to come to DVD or Netflix so seriously folks save you cash for something else. I was lucky enough to get a free ticket so it wasn't all bad and I have seen far worse.
     That's my two cents everyone I hope you all have a great rest of the day and I will see next time here on A Reeler Movie Reviewer!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Dark Discussions Podcast: Alien Abduction



     In this episode the gang and I take look at the 2014 found footage film from director Matty Beckerman titled Alien Abduction. Is this an out of this world flick or a green pile of crap that leaves its audience probed in their eye sockets?

Link to episode
http://darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_142.html


Enjoy the episode and stay tuned for future ones as well as all new reviews and article here on a Reeler Movie Reviewer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stephen King's Dreamcatcher




     Oh my Goddess...Yes its this film that we will be talking about today. Based on the novel of the same name 2003's Dreamcatcher is a very odd flick involving butt aliens, psychics, farting, infections, and one of the most confusing plots I have ever seen. This is gonna be good people so strap in!
      So the premise of the film follows four childhood friends all who have essentially moved on with their lives dealing with both its moments of joy and sorrow. Despite this they have an annual hunting trip in(You guessed it!) Maine. On the surface they seem like your average Joes but each of them is gifted with the "Line" which is just a fancy name for psychic abilities. For example Pete(played by Timothy Olyphant) can determine the location of an item or place by twirling his finger which creates a sort of trail of energy which he can follow and  Jonesy(Damian Lewis) is able organize, store, and delete his memories in a sort of library like realm in his head.
      After a day at work Jonesy spots Duddits, a young autistic boy who they had befriended in their youth who is calling him over from the other side of a busy street. Despite the danger Jonesy tries to cross the road but unlike the chicken doesn't get to the other side and ends up being rushed to the hospital. Before he loses consciousness he see Duddits standing over him telling him to "watch out for Mr. Gray".
      Apparently getting smashed by a speeding car is like tripping on a banana peel because Jonesy makes a rather swift recovery and is hanging around his friends at their cabin shooting the shit. We do get informed through both visuals and dialogue that he hadn't fully recovered since the incident left his with a bit of a gimp. Henry(Thomas Jane) and Jonesy discuss the matter outside where the latter believes that Duddits was trying to warn him about something. If that's the case then that guy has an odd ass way of doing it if I wanted someone to warn me about some approaching threat I would prefer it to be less painful just saying....
       So when Henry and Pete go into town for a bit one day Jonesy and "Beaver"(Played by Jason Lee) try to bag themselves some game but instead get an unexpected visitor when an exhausted man stumbles into Jonesy's sight. He helps the poor bastard get inside where it would be warmer and much more comfortable.
     The man(Eric Keenleyside) introduces himself as Rick and it turns out that he gotten separated from some of his friends and ended up lost in the woods for awhile. Whats more Rick has a rather peculiar rash and a nasty case of gas which they let you know with a resounding trumpet blare. It seems that the writers or the director thought this way absolutely hilarious and milked this "joke" for all it was worth because they do this a number of times during this scene. This got so tiresome and grating that I had to stop the movie just so I could collect my thought and sanity.
      So Jonesy and Beaver get the guy into bed so he could get some rest but as they are trying to get him under the cover he rewards them and the audience with one more loud fart. Now you maybe wondering what the point of all of these "fart jokes" is? Well just you wait because it building up to something pretty....shitty.
       While this going on Henry and Pete are having an odd day themselves when they nearly run over a woman who is sitting in the middle of the road. While they didn't reduce her to a red stain they unfortunately crash which trashes the car and injures Pete. When they try to speak with her the woman tells them that she is looking for Rick(WHAT A FUCKING COINCIDENCE!). Just like Rick this woman also has the same mysterious rash and tooting the fart spangle banner(Oh Joy). With the approaching storm getting closer and having two injured individuals unable to travel, Henry decides to go and get help leaving Pete to look after the stinky lass. This is a bad idea.
     Then it happens...I can begin to describe what I was thinking when I first saw this in the theaters amongst a number of poor unfortunate souls who paid good money to watch this on the big screen. Jonesy and Beaver go to check on Rick only to find him missing but he did leave a huge blood stain on the bed. Following a trail of bodily fluids which stops at the bathroom the two knock on the door trying to get ahold of the man fearing for his health not knowing what was wrong with him. Despite their pleas for him to open the door Rick refuses prompting Beaver and Jonesy to break down the door. They succeed only to be greeted by a grizzly sight. And boy howdy it certaintly a sight to see...
     Rick is sitting on the toilet wearing his stupid fur hat. His face has been completely taken over by the rash as it much of the room along with plenty of blood. He is unresponsive although he does drop a "duce" into the bowl. The guys try to give him a shake but instead end up spending him spilling into the bath tub dead while giving us all a nice shot of his blood soaked ass(Thanks movie!). But the fun is just getting started as while Rick is dead as a door nail the turd he dropped is pretty active. Not wanting to know what is stirring in the bowel Beaver closes the lid and puts his weight on it to trap the thing inside. Jonesy runs out to grab some duck tape to seal it while Beaver mans the can.
     The plan seems to be going well but its flipped ass over tits when a bad habit takes over. You see its established early on the film that Beaver has a habit of chewing on toothpicks(hence his nickname) but while the creature in toilet is struggling to get out it causes Beaver to spill his box of picks all over the floor. While most of them are cover in blood and fecal matter his spots a single toothpick that just so happened to fall on the one clean spot. You can probably guess what's going to happen here.
     Beaver gets knocked over and is attacked by the creature which reveals its self to what I can only describe as a cross between the chestburster from Alien and a demonic lamprey and yes Rick had essentially shat out an alien and before you ask yes this was in the book.
     The creature begins to tear Beaver a new one as Jonesy stumbles upon the scene after finally finding the duck tape(A little too late for that dumbass). The monster turns its attention to him but Beaver grabs it and tries to hold it off only to get his face munched on for his trouble. Things only get worse as a big ass Grey alien appears behind him and possess him by turning into a cloud of evil chili powder.
     The being that took over Jonesy is not only evil as all fuck by has a silly British accent and loves to make some downright comical facial expressions which I guess were suppose to be creepy but instead come off as goofy. So Jonesy and the alien talk back and forth with each other when it is revealed to us by Jones that the entity inside him is in fact Mr. Gray who Duddits had warned him about. Mr. Gray is shocked that this human knows his identity and wants to know who told him about him. Although Jonesy plays it smart and doesn't tell the bastard a thing, Mr. Gray is confident that he will find out in time.
     Before we continue and check on Pete and Henry I just want to make a couple of things clear. So I had read quite a bit of the book but my copy mysterious vanished without a trace either it was accidently thrown out or it was abducted by God damn Martians. Regardless I never had a chance to get to the end by from what I read much of what occurred in its page has happened so far in the film. However there is a lot of expository dialogue trying desperately to explain things to the audience that I'm pretty sure the novel does a hell of a lot better because the final product is a jumbled up mess.
      Pete is chilling(pun intended) with the rash covered woman as he chugs down some alcohol to pass the time while giving us more exposition on how Duddits gave him and his buddies the powers they now have as if he was preparing them for something. He also makes an offhand comment on how Duddits is such a good person that its like he is not from this world...geez I wonder if that going to come up later in the film it was just so fucking subtle.
      Pete gets up to take a quick piss blissfully unaware that her lady friend is quite dead and that a nasty little alien has vacated out of her backdoor. If his injured leg and the awful weather wasn't bad enough things get a lot worse for poor Pete when the alien pops it's ugly head out of the snow and tries to take a bit out of his sausage. After a quick scuffle Pete manages to roast the creature but not without get a bit chewed up.
     Meanwhile Henry is continuing his search for help when he suddenly senses Jonesy approaching. But his joy turns into horror when he realizes that its not Jonesy that's coming towards him(at least not completely). Henry hides in the snow which seems to be enough to fool this hyper intelligent entity who just drives by him due to being unable to detect him. Pete on the other hand isn't so lucky and forces him to act as a guide using Pete's twirly finger power.
     Henry goes back to the cabin to find Beaver's dead body along with the worm that killed him which has now laid a batch of fresh eggs. He kills the creature and burns the cabin to the ground to destroy the fungus which is slowly overtaking the whole building. With the task complete Henry departs to continue his desperate search for help. 
     Things are far worse than they already seem as it turns out that this thing has spread throughout the state causing the U.S military to quarantine the area to contain what they calling the "Ripley" which is an obvious shout out to the popular Alien franchise. This operation is led by Morgan Holy-Fucking-Shit-Look-At-Those-Eyebrows Freeman who playing the dedicated, ruthless, and obvious villain Curtis with Tom Sizemore playing his loyal subordinate Owen who wants to lead the charge against the alien who have crashed(why are extraterrestrials such bad drivers?). Its also revealed that those afflicted with the spores are kept in camps where they are kept under surveliance.
     Mr.Gray/Jonesy and Pete continue they're way as the alien tries to get the later to talk to him about Duddits but Pete refuses to tell him anything. Fed up with the human's lack of cooperation Mr. Gray assumes his true monstrous form and chomps down on Pete killing him. Jonesy while not being ale to regain control of his body or help his friends isn't taking this mind rape laying down as he does everything in his power to seal away and even destroy some of his memories of Duddits to keep Mr. Gray from getting them.
     The military initiates its attack on the alien ship with a small squadron of helicopters which in my opinion is a bit foolish but in the end they kill a numbers of the creatures and force them to self destruct their ship which unfortunately take two copters with it. This was small action sequence and for what it is it's...okay I wasn't on the edge of my seat but it was interesting but in a mild sense of the word.
     Despite the decisive victory Curtis is still confident that they are not out of the woods yet believing that the infected still pose a threat.  Henry is captured by some soldiers who think he might be carrying this virus and soon discovers the camp as well as Cutis's intent on having them all executed despite the fact that the alien cold is devastating to the aliens and the fungus so those infected will eventually recover.
     Knowing that Mr. Gray might escape and that its only a matter of time before everyone at the game is butchered he convinces Owen to help him escape and assist him in stopping Mr. Gray. Owen agrees and the two escape. However Curtis tracks them through a chip he had a implanted in a pistol that he gave to Owen in an earlier scene and steals a chopper to chase them.
     Henry tells Owen that they need Duddits to help them stop Mr. Gray and travel to his home. Although she is reluctant to let him go Duddits' mother decides she wants her son to be happy even if it means he may die and allows Henry to take him. Together the two of them determine Mr. Gray's destination which is Quabbin Reservoir and that he planning on infecting the water supply by making a dog eat contaminated meat afflicted with the fungus in hopes of gestating a worm that will be pregnant like the worm at the cabin.
     While Mr. Gray beats them there the trio is not far behind but they are stopped dead in their tracks by Curtis who gets the drop on them. Owen fights his Colonel in a brutal gun battle and while he manages to shoot Curtis down he doesn't live long to enjoy his victory. Leaving Duddits in the safety of the vehicle Henry grabs Owen's weapon and goes to stop the ass stinking alien from achieving his goal.
     Henry kills the worm and corners Mr. Gray who tries to fool him into sparing him. Henry isn't certain what he can do. Does he shoot Mr. Gray and kill his only living friend Jonesy or lower his weapon and in effect give his enemy? The stand off is ended when Duddits arrives and calls out Mr. Gray who reveals his true form. This is big moment of the film which really pissed a lot of folks off especially fans of the novel. The monster impales Duddits with it's tail but instead uses the last of his strength to transform into an alien and takes the both of them out in a explosion. But its not over yet as an egg still remains as the larvae hatches and tries to inch its way to the water supply only to get squashed by Jonesy who has finally regained control of his body.


     Despite having covered the entirety of the film we are not exactly finished here. You see there are a number of things here that make the film feel incomplete with several questions left unanswered. Lets look at the following...

1) What is the significance of the title?

     One thing that confused me was why the film and the novel were titled "Dreamcatcher". Now I'm certain that the novel most likely has some explanation as to it's importance but the movie never makes that clear to the viewer. We see the dreamcatcher in several shots like the flash back when they first made it as well as the ending but why is it so special and how does it connect to the rest of the narrative? Of course some folks will say "read the book" but this is an adaptation and an adaptation needs to be able stand on its own. You cant just leave things like that out its just lazy!

2) Mr. Gray's interest in Duddits.

     After taking control of Jonesy, the alien Mr. Gray becomes curious about Duddits and tries to find out more about him considering that this friend of Jonesy told him about him before he even arrived. The question here is why does Mr. Gray want to find Duddits so badly? Does he see him as a threat? Does he want his powers? Or is there another reason left out of the film that is in the pages of the novel?

3) Why changes Duddits into an alien?

      As I had stated before it was the climax of the film that had pissed off a number of fans. Why did the script writers deem this as a necessary change? Did they think that it would be a cool twist or something? I myself cannot say but while I never finished the book I had heard good things about the original ending.

4) What were the aliens?

     Their arrival almost feels sudden although given how far the infection had spread it almost seemed that they were there for awhile. How did they crash? Did they really crash? Why come to Earth? Was it simply to conquer the planet? To reproduce? Have they invaded other planets before or was this a first? Why does Mr. Gray seem so different than his brethren in both his personality and individuality? I don't need an entire history of their species but an explanation would have been nice.


      These are my biggest questions although there were a few minor ones that got me scratching my head.

      Overall Dreamcatcher is a flick that seriously fell short of its potential. It has a solid cast although Morgan Freeman feels horribly miscasts considering when one thinks of a bad mutha-fucker I think of Samual L. Jackson not Freeman plus those mutant eyebrows(*shudders*). The effects are decent and I like the look it has but it may feel a bit dated to some. The plot starts off strong but then falls flat on its face in the second half especially during the climax and its going to really hurt to watch if you enjoyed King's novel. Not the worst movie(although can be silly at times) I have seen in my years running this blog but its one I would give a word of caution to. If I were to give it a score it would probably get a 4.5/5 out of 10.

       Well that ends this article I know it was a bit long but I hoped you enjoyed it nonetheless. Join me next time for future reviews as well as all new episodes of the Dark Discussions Podcast. Until next time everyone!