Friday, August 28, 2015

Frankenstein vs. The Mummy (2015)

       The best type of monster movies are the ones that pits one against the other. Like many monster-vs-monster films before it, who doesn't like a good battle royale? Frankenstein vs. The Mummy is horror's newest addition to these types of horror films. The film pits two classical characters, Frankenstein's Monster and the Mummy; in a whole new twisted way never before seen on screen. Unlike most of the negative criticism aimed toward this film, I for one enjoyed every second of it.  The main reason why I purchased Frankenstein vs. The Mummy was due to the involvement of the Mummy. Mummies in horror films are hard to come by since their popularity isn't as strong like werewolves or vampires. I for one look forward to mummy horror but, after watching this film; my mindset may have changed. Frankenstein vs. The Mummy features an all-new insane Victor Frankenstein (Max Rhyser) trying to find a way to create life. At the same time, an Egyptologist (Ashton Leigh) has just uncovered a cursed mummy. After the grotesque creation and the reawakening, they both go into a brutal brawl to the death.

     I actually enjoyed the casting in the film. Max Rhyser (Dr. Victor Frankenstein) was truly unique in his performance. As Frankenstein, he surely captured the doctor's descent into madness and dedication for bringing his creation to life. There are points in the film that you either felt sorry or you pitied him. Ashton Leigh (Naihla Khalil) on the other hand brings beauty and innocence into the story. She has to face many dangerous foes including her beloved Victor. The relationship between the two is like watching a Romeo and Juliet-type story but, with vicious monsters (both personal and actual) embedded within. Robert MacNaughton portrayed Victor's sleazy paid henchman, Carter, who goes around stealing (or killing for) body parts for Victor's experiments. While at the same time, Professor Walton (Boomer Tibbs) acted as the Mummy's personal servant, who picks out the victims for his cruel undead master. The mummy Userkara was portrayed by Brandon deSpain (Day of the Mummy), and the Monster was played by Constantin Tripes. Both were amazingly outdone in appearance and their acting proved that they're truly monstrous in nature. Secondary characters, limited but shouldn't be overlooked; were Stefanie Merola (first film role; Lenora), Rahul Rai (Detective Brynner), Daniel Rodas (William), Sean Rogers (Trevor), and Martin Pfefferkorn as the unfortunate homeless man murdered by Carter.

     The gore and blood was used superbly while at the same time making you sick to your stomach. There is a sex scene but, unlike other horror films; it wasn't blown out of proportions and was used properly in my opinion. Though the setting is strictly confined (either in a practice nursing room or a filthy laboratory), the atmosphere had an amazing effect on the storyline. Suspense was wisely used alongside gory fear tactics such as ripping a man's bottom jaw off or removing facial features. The acting was great alongside good character development throughout.

     The scenes that consisted the Monster were probably my favorite. The Mummy scared the living crud out of me the first I watched this film (and continues to do so). Most of the scenes with him laying on the table really gave me goosebumps. The reason why I go against the Mummy in the film is that new mummy horror involves them acting more like zombies (i.e. Userkara eats Lenora's heart). Older mummy films had these undead pharaohs/priests basically strangle their victims to death. I'm not saying that mummies eating hearts isn't monster-like but, I feel as though they got rid of the one key component that separates the factions of the undead. For example in Dawn of the Mummy, though clearly all were mummies; you could always tell apart the two types. The main one who came from the tomb was a prime example of a classical mummy from older films while the ones appearing from underneath the sand ate flesh. In Frankenstein vs. The Mummy I enjoyed the Mummy in the film but, my money went to the Monster. First off his voice was truly horrifying gold, and the appearance really went for the literature essence. His personality was greatly feared and admiring. If I had to choose one scene though, I would have to go with the fight scene starting with their aggressive meeting to the Monster's brutal victory.

     My rating for Frankenstein vs. The Mummy is a definite 5 out of 5. The film had a perfect balance between horror and suspense. It had an amazing flow to the storyline as well as great acting. The sex scene wasn't too graphic or out-of-place like today's new horror films. The atmosphere played true to the creepiness of the film while the gore/blood effects were quite believable. Characters, namely the monsters; were quite entertaining in their murderous moments. Even though the fight scene didn't last long, it was cleverly played out and the waiting surely was worth it. Overall a perfect monster-vs-monster horror film to start out 2015. I recommend Frankenstein vs. The Mummy to everybody. If you haven't seen it already, please watch it. You're missing out completely because it offers everything a horror film should have.

"What the f---?"

Interesting Thought:
                               I would like to see Damien Leone make spin-off sequels similar to this film. Why not have The Wolfman face off the Creature from the Black Lagoon, or Dracula fight the Invisible Man? 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)

      During the 1950's, monster movies had exploded onto the silver screen. Ranging from massive insects to radioactive beings, this was surely the age of creature features. Either it be in the genre of horror or science fiction, these black-and-white films had created a huge fandom over the years. Nothing beats the classics in the creature features game. Them!; The Killer Shrews, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and It Came from Outer Space are just a handful of these types of films that had influenced American culture and the future for the film industry. Even though monochrome (black-and-white) films tend to have a tendency for making me fall asleep (due to the lack of color); they shouldn't be put aside to make room for "new age horror". I enjoy these types of films because, even though some are really cheesy; they're a lot more entertaining to watch. It Came from Beneath the Sea is one of those films that is just enjoyable to watch. Either it be in color or black-and-white, the film has potential and has already inspired newer films especially with ones that involve giant 'octopi' (i.e. Mega Shark versus Giant Octopus, Tentacles, and Octopus). It Came from Beneath the Sea is solely about the Untied States Navy taking on an enormous, radioactive cephalopod, whom had to change its diet; after being driven out of its abyssal home in the Pacific.

     The three characters in the film weren't uncommon in 1950's monster flicks. Kenneth Tobey (whom also starred in The Thing from Another World) played Commander Pete Matthews, whom had his first run-in with the gigantic octopus while inside an atomic submarine. The attractive Faith Domergue (This Island Earth) portrayed marine biologist Professor Lesley Joyce; the love choice as well as the strong female type in the film. Last but not least, Donald Curtis (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers) played Dr. John Carter, a Harvard marine professor. These three did an amazing job not just in their acting but, keeping the flow of the film in check. Amazing cast alongside their secondary characters (which mainly were Naval personnel). The love triangle between the three was as entertaining as you have her like him but, he likes her. Eventually though, not to ruin the film; the Professor and Commander do fall in love. Though these three were the center pieces in this creature feature, the true star has to be the giant octopus portrayed by the sadly deceased Ray Harryhausen. Before moving on, I would like to say a few words about Harryhausen. His techniques will always be inspiring against today's computer generating software. He truly did amazing things throughout his career, ranging from his works on Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, The Valley of GwangiMighty Joe Young, and more. I was devastated to hear that we lost him in 2013 but, I always wanted to thank him for all his hard work for bringing stop motion monsters to life. Rest in Peace.

    Aside from that heartwarming speech, the octopus that Harryhausen used was quite unique. In the colored version of the film (which I'm basing this review on), it was green and had a total of six tentacles. Though octopuses have a total of eight in reality, the reason for It Came from Beneath the Sea's octopus having six was probably due to two possibilities: radiation probably caused the enormous sea monster to mutate into having six, or the creature ate its own arms to survive. Though these two are just theories on what happened in the film, the real reason why the octopus only had six was due to the prop's size since it didn't have enough room for eight. Aside from that observation, the scenes involving the octopus were, in my opinion, well done. CGI has either ruined or succeeded in films today but, stop motion animation proved to be more successful back then. Films that had used Ray Harryhausen's methods are ten times better than crappy done computer generation. Stop motion brings biological life into its films like how the original King Kong or The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms accomplished in so doing. The film's story has an easy flow to it and includes plenty of times for the audience to be at the edge of their seats.

    My favorite scenes primarily focused on the giant octopus. Even though it was quick-on-its-feet, well written, and had an amazing flow; the main focus in It Came from Beneath the Sea was the true star. Whenever you have a creature feature or a monster movie, the main character has to be the monster since its primarily about them. From its emergence to its explosive death, the octopus had some outstanding scenes that are highly memorable (i.e. when the giant octopus attack the Golden Gate Bridge which inspired both American Godzilla films). If I had to choose out of all the scenes in the film, I would have to go with the sinking of the ship, and when the radioactive octopus attacked Sans Francisco's Ferry Station. These scenes were the highlights in the film (besides the attack on the Golden Gate).

    My rating for It Came from Beneath the Sea (in color) is a 4.5 out of 5. My reasoning isn't because, like everyone; I'm spoiled due to CGI or that the slow parts in the films were boring. No, its mainly focuses around the true essence of 1950 monster movies for being in monochrome. Color was invented in film before this creature feature was ever produced yet, black-and-white was more popular during this time. Personally, I've never watched It Came from Beneath the Sea in monochrome so giving it a higher score is saying that "its better in color than in its original monochrome". To fully experience 1950 films (especially monster movies), watching in black-and-white is more beneficial than in color since you feel as though you're watching it during the time of its release. My score for the original is a true 5 out of 5. As a whole, It Came from Beneath the Sea is an outstanding monster movie and it should be viewed either in color or monochrome. Do not pass down an opportunity to watch this film. You are losing out on a great story and legendary special effects.

"The next time I cruise in these waters I'm going to have torpedoes with warheads on them." 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Van Helsing (2004)

     Universal Pictures has done an amazing job bringing literature horror to life either it be in the form of Frankenstein or Dracula. These two films scared you as kids and amazes you as adults today among other favorites such as The Wolfman, The Mummy, and The Invisible Man. Though these are just five of the most classical monsters in film, all can agree that their creation on the silver screen had now taken part of 21st century culture. Monsters have plagued our minds since our evolutionary birth and have evolved alongside us with the help of imagination. Back then, "monsters" were real, predatory animals while today they're just entities of fantasy. Unlike popular superheroes like Batman or Spider-man, my heroes were always the monsters like the Gill-man, or the Mole People. If you haven't already guessed it, I'm a monster fan (even if the monster themselves are cheesy looking). Any monster has potential but, it all depends on what makes them monsters and their main purpose? Usually alongside the monsters, there is always those whom are against them: monster hunters. The most famous hunter of all appeared in Bram Stoker's Dracula, and his name was Abraham Van Helsing. The '04 film Van Helsing was a homage toward Abraham but, with a different twist to the story. Focusing around mystery, Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) must team-up with unlikely allies (including Frankenstein's Monster) to defeat the villainous Count Vladislaus Dracula (Richard Roxburgh), and stop his plans to bring his undead children to life.

   I like the casting in this film. You have "Wolverine" (Hugh Jackman as a Van Helsing) alongside his friar sidekick Carl (David Wenham). They team-up with a sexy Transylvanian vampire hunter, Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale), and even Frankenstein's creation (Shuler Hensley). These three hunters and one monster were truly amazing as their roles. Though Wenham made most of the laughs as Carl, Jackman and Beckinsale beautifully played as the true heroes of the film. I personally though enjoyed Hensley's Frankenstein's Monster more than most of the actors who played the Monster's legendary role (Karloff is still the best out of all of them). On the other side though, the "monsters" did an excellent performance as well. I for one really enjoyed Roxburgh's take on Dracula. Evil yet charming, this Dracula had a great personality as being the true Prince of Darkness. Dracula's brides (portrayed by Elena Anaya, Silvia Colloca, and Josie Maran) brought both sexiness and fear back into these three Furies. Alongside these four, Will Kemp (as Anna's brother Velkan) did an outstanding job as his character especially when he transformed into his werewolf form. To add to this list, I have to also congratulate both Kevin J. O'Connor (Igor), Tom Fisher (Top Hat) and Robbie Coltrane/Stephen Fisher (Hyde and Jekyll) in their minor but, amazing performances as secondary characters.

   The monster roster was very big in Van Helsing; ranging from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to the Count himself. It was pretty upsetting that neither Imhotep or the Gill-man didn't made an appearance in the film. Probably wouldn't make sense if the Gill-man suddenly appeared in Dracula's frozen castle but, still would have been awesome to see. The acting in the film was alright in some parts while amazing in others but, the action was truly the focus point. Action mixed with horror, mystery, and adventure with a few sprinkles of comedy made this film truly great. From Hyde's arm being sawed off to Dracula's demise, most of the death scenes were truly brutal while others had emotion behind them (i.e. the deaths of the last two Valerious' or even Igor's death). I found the individualism between the three werewolves in the film pretty interesting since you had the first nameless one gray; Velkan being brown, and Van Helsing as black. Alongside that, I did enjoy the design of the Brides' winged forms as well as how they kept Dracula's form a secret till the final showdown. The only thing I have to complain was that Frankenstein's creation isn't named after his creator's last name. He never had a name in the novel, and that small mistake made me somewhat paranoid about accuracy.

     The fighting scenes were pretty cool but, after being bitten by werewolf Velken; Jackman's transforming steps to turn into a werewolf made things even better. Why have an action-packed monster movie without having the main character turn into a monster himself? Though most of the ridiculous scenes were computer generated, I have to say that they did an excellent job with the environments especially with Castle Dracula. If I had to choose a favorite scene though, I would have to go with the final showdown between werewolf Van Helsing and Dracula. That was the main memorable scene in the movie, and it showed that werewolves are a lot stronger than vampires (I like werewolves more than vampires; thanks Twilight for ruining vampires). I would like to also add the transformations into werewolves were also pretty admiring to watch since it took a somewhat different route in becoming the howling Wolfman. I may as well add the scene with the animated picture with the original werewolf poem read by Carl (I do not know about the vampire side of the poem, and it isn't in the original Dracula) "Even a man pure of heart and says his prays by night; may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright." Best reference to the original Wolfman.

    My rating for Van Helsing is a tough one but, I have to go with a 4 out of 5. I enjoyed the monsters and the new twist to the legacy of Abraham Van Helsing  but, the film didn't have a true homage to the original vampire hunter himself. The film felt somewhat empty without his presence. I enjoyed Hugh Jackman as Gabriel Van Helsing but, he isn't Abraham Van Helsing. I feel that not having at least a homage to Abraham other than the last name was pretty pointless in the film. Other than that, I enjoyed the cast (mainly Roxburgh) and the action in the film. I do have to also mention that I'm glad they haven't tried to reboot or make a sequel for this film since the time it was released (unless you count the animated film which basically told you about Van Helsing chasing Mr. Hyde throughout Europe). If you haven't seen this film (or the animated prequel), watch it because its worth the time. If you already watched it before then view it again with a new understanding for the film.

"Vampires, gargoyles, warlocks, they're all the same - best when cooked well."

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' (2015)

       Who remembers staying up late at night to watch anime especially on Toonami? I bet basically almost all 90's era kids did which includes myself and friends. One of the most popular shows that aired was Dragon Ball. Unlike most anime (or even cartoons in general), DB has become amazingly popular since its release in the United States alone. Now I'm not going to lie, Dragon Ball (including all its seasons) wasn't my favorite show but whenever it was the only thing on; I didn't complain. It was amazing but, the younger version of me didn't like the maturity in it so; I brushed it off. That was probably one of my biggest mistakes but now, since I'm more mature to fully understand; DB is coming back into my life (in small dosages). The first film I've ever seen was DBZ: Battle of Gods in theaters a year ago and it was the reason why I got back into the series. Recently I went to see this year's animated feature, DBZ: Resurrection 'F', after hearing about it on a Japanese Science Fiction blog ( I may not be a hardcore fan but, I do recognize most of the show's famous characters including Frieza; and that was the main reason why I wanted to watch it. Resurrection 'F' basically involved the return of Dragon Ball's most iconic villain after being brought back to "life" thanks to the magical dragon Shenron. Upon regaining his full strength (then some), Frieza and his army heads to Earth to have a vengeful rematch against Goku (whom also reached a new level in power).

    This film was outstanding to witness in theaters as it brought back childhood memories once more. The animation was quite beautifully outdone (even better than Battle of Gods). All old characters returned (either in cameos or joining the fight) which can include but not limited to: Hercule, classic Krillin, Piccolo, Gohan, and many more. I for one was happy to see Krillin again but, Piccolo is still my favorite character. Frieza's goons ranged from human-like beings to strange extraterrestrials (including a frog and a muppet) but, they never stood a chance against Earth's defenders. I enjoyed the comedy and the action in the film. The action was fast paced yet took up more than half of the film while the comedy broke serious tensions thanks to either Frieza's sarcastic blows or Goku's usual antics. They included the newest characters Whis and Beerus from the last animated movie; whom acted more as comedic relief. I was personally hoping for more involvement from Beerus but, beggars can't be choosers. Both Goku and Vegeta held their own throughout the film (either against Whis' training or both going Super Saiyan God) but, nothing really changed with their ally/enemy relationship. If I had to choose a favorite scene, I would like to say the short fight between Super Saiyan God Vegeta against Golden Frieza (literally a golden version of Frieza's final form). Even though that was the scene in which Frieza destroyed the planet, it was probably one of my most memorable mainly because of Vegeta's Super Saiyan God form.

    My rating for this film is a golden 5 out of 5. It was an outstanding animated film since it had a quick pace to it from beginning to end, and great comedy between the fighting sequences. Frieza was a total badass and I enjoyed his character. The beginning of the film though kind of surprised me since the audience was introduced to Frieza's personal hell (i.e. dancing stuffed animals) but, I felt afterwards that it was the best (and creepy) way to start the movie. I enjoyed watching Vegeta and Goku fighting again alongside other great characters. If you're already too late to watch Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' in theaters then you must at least watch it either on DVD/Blu-Ray; Youtube, Netflix, or whatever because you're missing a truly epic animated film. A great fight to end all fights with good laughs, amazing animation, toe-to-toe destructive fights; and memorable characters. Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' is worth the time and/or money.

"Let me show you my further transformation!"

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Creature (2011)

      The Creature from the Black Lagoon had a wonderful legacy to its name. From the Gill-man himself to the two sequels that spawned from this unforgettable Universal masterpiece; you could say that it was one of the most memorable 1950's monsters of all time. I'm a huge fan of this horror icon next to the classics such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman. I've always been open minded about an updated or remake of the film (even though it probably wouldn't be as inspiring as the original). When I heard about this Creature film coming out, the way it sounded like was a remake of the classic Black Lagoon's Gill-man. I was extremely excited about it, and I even made plans to see it in theaters (only if it arrived in one). The only problem though, as soon as the trailer was released; I was somewhat disappointed that I was tricked. The film had nothing to do with the Gill-man but, had something more terrifying in store. So eager to get my hands on a copy since it wasn't released in theaters nearby me; I bought Creature in hopes that it was good. I was terribly wrong on that subject for the most part. The film centers around a group of six friends heading through Louisiana's backwoods swamps where they stumble upon a legend. This legend centers around a man named Grimley Boutine whom becomes an alligator hybrid known as Lockjaw, a small town's very own Bigfoot-like monster. The only problem is that these six friends must fight for their lives not only with the townspeople or the monster but, with each other.

     The casting for Creature was alright to say the least. Three out six of the main characters were attractive women (Serinda Swan as beautiful Emily Parker; Lauren Schneider as Oscar's crazy sister Karen; and Amanda Fuller as hot but controlling Beth) while the other three were very masculine men (Mehcad Brooks as Emily's boyfriend Niles; Dillon Casey as hyperactive brother Oscar; and Aaron Hill as Randy Parker and Beth's boyfriend). Niles and Randy were portrayed to have military background while Oscar did not.  In addition to this list, the main four locals were played by David Jensen (Jimmy), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Grover), Wayne Pere (Bud), and Sid Haig (Chopper). Grimley/Lockjaw was played by Daniel Bernhardt whom did an excellent job playing as both the man and the monster in the film. 

    This film was a hard thing to watch because it took me a total of two times to watch it. I couldn't stomach it, not because of any gore or blood; but the story line was very terrible. By the end of the film, I was somewhat disappointed on the way things turned out. Don't get me wrong, the movie was okay for a one time deal but it was terrible (and I've seen way worst). Think of Creature as The Hills Have Eyes, Albino Farm, or The Wrong Turn series. First off, the film had lots of nudity and sexual situations in it. It had basically everything: full body, topless, incest, rape, interracial, and lesbian/bisexual. Also not to mention it consisted during the first half hour of the film for most of this stuff. That's a horrible way for grabbing your audience's attention in my opinion. The film does have a feeling of creepiness and gruesomeness in it but, you get use to it real quick. The blood and gore effects are really good (i.e. Grimley becomes cannibalistic after devouring an entire abnormally large albino alligator) but, some of the acting that goes alongside with it was terrible. There's a point in the film that Niles gets shot in the knee but, he moves around without any limping. Another thing about the acting, most of the things that happened to Niles could have cause serious damage or even killed a normal human being (i.e. being shot, being smashed by a swamp monster, or going into a water filled sinkhole in the mud). I don't know if the director wanted to show the willingness or his military training but, most of the stuff seemed impossible to accomplish in real life.

    The few things I did liked about this film was the atmosphere, filming location, and Lockjaw's design. With a feeling of mystery and creepiness; Creature did succeed on the horror aspect. Not to mention filming in the Louisiana swamps had some beautiful landscape shots. Even alligators and snakes were apart of the film (most likely stock footage and the snake seemed computer generated). The funniest part though was that the spiders, before the group finds Grimley's old shack; were in fact Pinktoe Tarantulas which aren't native to the United States. Now onto Lockjaw, a beautiful monster if you're into cannibalistic hybrids. With a mixture of the Gill-man with some alligator-like traits, Lockjaw looked pretty badass. My only complaint though was the face but, it gave off a human type emotion to it which was alright to say the least. Creature had a total weirdness to it as you go from one scene to the next. Lockjaw seemed like he was everywhere: with one moment he's killing Grover to the next that he's spying on the group. I don't know if there were more of his kind, or that it represented the feeling of being watched; but it gave off a huge misunderstanding to me personally. My only guess is that he had used the cave system underneath the swamp to move around quicker (which was explained earlier in the film by Chopper). Most of the major and minor characters, if you haven't already guessed; do die in this film but, the ending will shock you. If I had to choose a scene or two, I would go with the shocking ending and the first half of the final fight before Niles rescues Emily.

     My rating for Creature is a 2.5 out of 5. It was a horrible horror movie but, it had a few good points. First off, it broke the stereotype that the 'black guy always dies first'. Niles survived the entire experience with his girlfriend. The only other horror film I can think of that breaks the stereotype is Return of the Living Dead (not counting the nuke but, the zombies). Not to mention, he withstood a lot of pain and ended up walking away with Lockjaw's jaw. Second, Lockjaw was an unique monster even though he wasn't what I expected the film to be about. Finally, the shock at the end was pretty clever and filled in one of the many questions left behind. Creature is a monster movie that you should see once if you're up for a bad movie night or to cure boredom but don't expected a three or five star movie. Watch it if you want but, don't be surprised if you can't finish.

"If y'all going out there, you better watch your step. There's worst things than gators you know."

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Zombeavers (2014)

       The zombie. The horror genre's most popular monster next to vampires and ghosts. These animated corpses have gorged themselves in both revenue and flesh over the past years that now it is common to find new films coming out each year. Either it be in comedy like Fido and Zombieland; or gory horror like Fulci's Zombie films. Zombies have truly taken over the world not by an apocalypse but, by entertainment media. Zombeavers may be different from any "ordinary" zombie flick but, it isn't the first of its kind. There have been multiple films that featured zombie animals (i.e. the Resident Evil series or Return of the Living Dead). The most famous of the zoological undead films must be credited to Black Sheep, a New Zealand zombie comedy about flesh-eating sheep. Zombeavers isn't different from New Zealand's film since they use the same concepts (will be explained later in my review). Zombeavers centers around six co-eds taking a vacation in the country for a weekend but, are unaware of a contamination problem at a local beaver dam. Over the past couple weeks (or so), all the resident beavers have became unstoppable undead critters bent on devouring everything in their path. Will they all survive this outbreak, or are they zombeaver chow?

      The film has brand new faces but, their characters are quite stereotypical in the realm of horror movies. Three sexy sorority college students (Rachel Melvin as the nerdy Mary; Cortney Palm as the slutty Zoe; and Lexi Atkins as the just-got-dumped Jenn) are the main focused characters. The other three (Hutch Dano as Jenn's ex-boyfriend Sam; Jake Weary as Mary's boyfriend Tommy; and Peter Gilroy as Zoe's boyfriend Butch) had the basic three friend types: the loser, the winner, and the clown. The last character to be mentioned is Smyth (portrayed by Rex Linn), the local hunter whom had been noticing the strange beaver behavior. As a whole, these seven were amazingly good as their characters and were entertaining to watch.

    Like all zombie films before it, you are at least guaranteed that somebody (or something) is going to get eaten or killed. There is a lot of deaths in this film. Ranging from funny to completely brutal (i.e. Sam gets bitten in the worst area and Zoe's dog gets destroyed while swimming); Zombeavers delivers gore and blood to its audiences. Unlike most zombie films though, Zombeavers followed in the footsteps of Black Sheep. Both are great zoological undead films because they offer a new twist to the zombie film mythos: werewolves. Imagine being bitten by a zombie beaver or sheep then after you die, you become this grotesque creature that resembles the infected animal that bit you. Zombeavers continued this legacy by turning most of the characters (both primary and secondary) into half-human/half-zombeaver hybrids. Now here's something that most people would love about this film: nudity. That's right, most of the film offers topless nudity or even sexual situations. Though most of the audiences who see this movie may view this as a treat but, in my opinion; I feel as though the nudity aspect in horror films has gotten old over the years. Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Return of the Living Dead are just a small handful of examples that nudity and sex played a huge role in film but, when it comes down to Zombeavers; it feels as though its used too often than normal.

    The scenes in Zombeavers is basically what you expect from any zombie film. You have a team that stays put while another team tries to find help. The zombeaver puppets used in this film are so lifelike in which you feel as though they're real. Barely no CGI with actual props is an old trick in horror films because its a truly effective way of bringing out fear. There were a few times that I actually got scared because you don't know if the beaver will be popping out, or my friend is about to turn. Zombeavers emits fear in the most fun but, scary ways. For example, most of the beavers pop up out of nowhere which can give anybody a jolt (I for one do not enjoy pop-up horror because I like to see it coming first before a random attack). There is a really good mixture of comedy and horror in this film that made me either smirk or laugh half way through. Though most of the dialogue had very good crude humor, there is a lot of seriousness as well. From the reasoning behind Jenn's hatred against Sam to fighting for your life against the most unlikeness of monsters, Zombeavers brings horror to a personal level. If I had to chose a favorite scene; I have to say when Mary and Zoe are trying to escape with Smyth's truck but, are forced to smash into a tree. My reasoning behind it you may ask. There's a freaking zombeaver-grizzly bear that aids in the surrounding of the truck with most of the hybrids. That part was extremely strange to witness even though it was foreshadowed earlier on.

   My rating for Zombeavers is a hard one but, I have to go with a 4 out of 5. The film was interesting to watch since it somewhat follows in the footsteps of Black Sheep but, I felt as though it had a lot of predictable stereotypes that most horror films share already. I enjoyed Zombeavers since it brought you laughter, fear, and "action" but, it felt like I was just watching another American horror film. Nothing new expect for the fact of zombie beavers. The characters were amazing and their backstories made it interesting but, it wasn't really surprising. If you get the chance to see this film, please watch it. Its something new yet familiar and it has all what you're looking for in zombie horror. Zombeavers was uniquely well done and is following in the shambling footsteps of new zombie films. Not to mention the film has its own catchy theme song.

"Filthy, hairy beavers..."

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pixels (2015)

      Adam Sandler's Pixels was a good, fun movie. Probably not a summer blockbuster but, a great film to watch while hanging out with your friends, or to waste time. Though there is a huge negative reaction from moviegoers, Pixels does offer a lot from different film genres. Since its a Happy Madison Production, comedy is used throughout the film alongside science fiction and action. Sandler plays Sam Brenner, a use-to-be arcade gamer, whom used mathematics skills to win classic games such as Pac-Man or Centipede. Unfortunately, he lost a chance to be world champion to his nemesis-turned-ally Eddie Plant (Dinklage). As a bonus for the children playing in the championship, recordings of their performances were sent to NASA to be included for an intergalactic time capsule to be sent into space to find extraterrestrials. Now years later, him and his friends must help him win a real life threat against their favorite, classical arcade game characters.  

    The casting in an Sandler film is usually predictable. You have Kevin James playing the chubby friend of Brenner whom later becomes the President of the United States. Then you have the lead female role, Michelle Monaghan, as the predictable love choice. Finally, you have the crazy friend (Josh Gad) whom is just plain weird, awkward, and had been idolizing a fictional female character throughout most of his life to the point that it just gets creepy. Now the film does offer a lot of good cameos such as Dan Aykroyd, Martha Stewart, Serena Williams, and Nick Swardson.

   Most of the comedy in the film was basically Sandler's comeback attitude with a few good jokes here and there. I personally did find myself laughing throughout and I must say that the comedic tone in the film was actually pretty good: quick'n'witty. The thing I didn't enjoy most was Q-Bert's involvement in the film. He took a mascot-like role in Pixels similar to that of Slimer in Ghostbusters. The thing I didn't like about him after his introduction was that they gave him a stupid comedic sense of humor, an annoying voice (barely trying to stay true to the original classic arcade character), and an unnecessary PG-13-type personality. Though he is a lovable mascot in the film, I feel that they should have stayed true to him including the hard-to-understand language he spoke similar to that in Wreck-It Ralph

   My favorite scene throughout the film was probably when the team had to play a real-life Pac-Man game in New York City. Most films are most memorable for different scenes such as Sharknado's chainsaw bit, or  Channing Tatum's reaction in 22 Jump Street but, I personally feel as though Pac-Man's appearance and defeat was truly memorable. From the heart-warming speech about Pac-Man's creation to the ghost-like Mini Coopers; this scene will be known throughout movie history as something truly epic and unforgettable. The worst scene in my opinion was Q-Bert's transformation and the aftermath. This was probably the most stupidest part of the film, and it was a lame way for ending a film like this. 

My rating for Pixels is a solid 3.5 out of 5. The reason mainly centers around the Pac-Man scene and the soul of the story. What if video game characters were real, or what if life was like a video game? The reason its not any higher is because, like most Sandler films; they get either stupid half way through, or the comedy overcomes the true essence it has on the viewer. The music included in the film was alright and the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World-like sense shown in the beginning got kinda old later on during the centipede attack scene. The whole Q-Bert's use as a mascot is truly saddening. I'm not hating on Q-Bert but, I wished they took him seriously instead of them turning him into a joke like Yogi Bear or the Chipmunks. For Pixels, critical thinking shouldn't be introduced into the film but, having fun should be instead. Watch this film as a fun film, not a summer blockbuster.       

"Don't tell anyone I killed a smurf" 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Marvel's Ant-Man (2015)

      Marvel Studios has done an amazing job connecting films and television series into its very own cinematic universe lately. From Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. to The Avengers, Marvel has truly outdone themselves over the past years. Now Marvel's newest summer blockbuster, Ant-Man, has surely showed moviegoers that every superhero; no matter how small or dumb, has a chance to be apart of this universe. Guardians of the Galaxy showed us that Marvel can do even the most impossible by bringing unlikely characters into the mix for this expanding cinematic franchise. Ant-Man, a man whom can shrink to the size of an ant and can communicate to them; isn't farfetched then a talking raccoon or a humanoid tree in the superhero realm of film. Ant-Man centers around criminal-turned-hero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a man who just wants the best for his daughter, who turns into a shrinking superhero after pulling off a burglary heist at Hank Pym's (Michael Douglas; originally Ant-Man) home. From there, Pym and Lang have to team-up with unlikely allies to defeat a madman (Stoll) whose trying to replicate the Pym Particle for his own gain.

     Whomever did the casting for Ant-Man, I'm incredibly thankful that they gave Michael Douglas the role as Hank Pym. Douglas is an amazing actor, and his trademark voice is truly gripping for his character. Paul Rudd did an amazing job as Scott Lang as well but, my eye was mainly focused on Douglas' performance. Back to Rudd, his performance did an amazing balance between his humor and remarkable heroics. He was a perfect choice plus the connection you feel with Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson) was truly admiring and heartwarming. Pym's daughter (portrayed by Evangeline Lilly) was also a perfect match for Rudd's character. A strong female type whom has a sense of duty and redemption (not to mention her Wasp trademark bobbed hair which made it even better). The supporting characters ranging from The Falcon (Mackie) to Luis (Pena) and friends were also great. Correy Stoll's performance as the main villain, Darren Cross, was also truly remarkable as well with his mad scientist like attitude.

    The special effects in Ant-Man were truly remarkable and breathtaking. Though most of it was likely a green screen, the film had a type of flow to it that made the effects seemed gradually lifelike. The ants for one had a sense of life added to their characters even though they were obviously computer generated. Not to mention that the environments that Lang soon discovered were detailed to even the smallest dust mite. The first time Scott shrunk in the bathtub was amazingly well done that you could even see dust particles flying around on screen. The Ant-Man suit for one was truly unique. I enjoy this real life version over the comics any day including the weirdness vibe the suit gave off. As well as the Ant-Man suit, the Yellowjacket was also pretty cool (even though it was mostly computer generated in). I for one enjoyed this film mainly because it was different than your everyday superhero movie.

      I really had no one favorite scene for Ant-Man since the entire film had you literally on the edge of your seat. As a whole, I felt that the film was equally balanced enough that it really didn't matter which scene was your favorite. The comedy was extremely funny (mainly because of Luis) while the action was quite entertaining. Fighting sequences between either good guys or bad guys had pretty astonishing moments added to them as well (i.e. the fight between Lang and Cross inside a falling briefcase). Though the death scene of Antony, the flying ant, was probably the saddest part of the movie; I did cried once during the film. Believe it or not, it wasn't the death of Antony. It was when Scott went sub-atomic and all you could hear was his daughter's voice. That right there gave me the feels since you realize that he may never see her again.

    My rating for Ant-Man is a bold 5 out of 5. I love this film because it took a hero that nobody liked, and made him even more popular then what he was. Paul Rudd did an amazing job as Scott Lang and Evangeline Lilly (the new confirmed Wasp) did a terrific job for replacing Janet Pym. If you haven't already seen this movie, go see it now. Either see it in theaters, buy the DVD or Blu-Ray; or watch it on Netflix. You need to see this film. Ant-Man was astonishing and was truly 2015's summer blockbuster film.        

"It's not a key chain."