Monthly Archives: October 2012
Hey everyone! It’s Tom, your DVD Critics Corner pal. You’re looking well. Is that a new shirt? Fantastic.
Well, it’s Halloween. And if you’re like me, you’re stuffed to the gills with fun size snickers and watching countless horror movies on TV, and boy there are a lot of them!
But let’s face it, you watch a marathon of gory horror movies, and after a while they all start to look the same: some idiots are attacked by a knife wielding maniac, blood spurts, body parts fly, yadda yadda yadda, killer lives for the sequel, roll closing credits.
So how would you be able to distinguish any old horror film from the work of say rocker turned horror director Rob Zombie? Rob has a distinct style he’s used to very well in such films as House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, and two Halloweens.
Answer these questions and find out if you are watching a Rob Zombie movie!
1. Is the movie full of sadistic, repulsive, white trash male characters played by scary looking actors who look like they might have killed someone in real life?
2. Are the young female characters:
C) Having sex or preoccupied with having sex?
D) All of the above?
3. Is everyone dressed like its 1977 even though the movie is set in the present?
4. Does Sherry Moon Zombie (AKA Mrs. Rob Zombie) have a starring role in the film, even though her character died in the previous movie?
5. Does at least one character drive a van, complete with shag carpet and a bitchin mural painted on the side?
6. Are the young characters listening to Lynard Skynard, Blue Oyster Cult or some other band no teenager has listened to in over 30 years?
7. Is Michael Myers as big as Optimus Prime?
8. Is the film’s style a homage to the gritty low budget “grindhouse” movies that only Rob Zombie, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarrantino know about and have watched?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, you are watching a Rob Zombie horror movie.
Happy Halloween from DVD Critics Corner!
THE HUNGER GAMES (2012) Director: Gary Ross Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks Rating: PG-13 for violent things happening to attractive young people.
In 2008 the novel The Hunger Games was published, and the whole world read it.
Except me. In my defense, I was very busy that year.
The Hunger Games book was so popular that two sequels were published in 2009 and 2010; Catching Fire and The Hunger Games 3 – Dream Warriors, respectively.
I did not read those books either.
Look, I never learned how to read, okay? Now you know my secret shame! Happy?
So with everyone enjoying the heck out of The Hunger Games novels, it was only natural that the Hollywood people came along and did what they do best: turn a beloved book series into a huge blockbuster movie franchise because profit is good and reading is for lame-o poindexters!
In the distant future, the nation of Panem stands where the United States and Canada used to be. It’s not explained what happened to America, I’m guessing it was one of those darn doomsday things those prepper guys on Nat Geo always talk about. Which reminds me – I need to pick up another drum of freeze dried wheat.
Anyway, the twelve districts that make up Panem are under the thumb of a totalitarian government which forces each district to randomly choose two kids (one boy and one girl, aged 12-18) to participate in the annual Hunger Games contest, a hugely popular televised event which has the pageantry of The Miss America Pageant, the jungle setting of Survivor, and the rules of Lord Of The Flies.
In dirt poor District 12, hot girl Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) spends her days hunting wild game in the woods and flirting with her hunky friend Gale (played by hunky man Liam Helmsworth) and her nights trying to figure out how to keep from starving. When her little sister Primrose is chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place because Primrose is 12 and Katniss is the best sister ever.
Katniss and the male “tribute” Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are whisked away to the Capitol of Panem, a gleaming Oz like city where the foppish citizens dress like Elton John did in the 70’s. They meet the other contestants, many of whom have been training all of their lives to fight in the Hunger Games arena, and like contemporary “reality stars” were born with that special chromosome that makes them ten times more obnoxious than normal human beings.
Like the other tributes, Katniss and Peeta are set up in a kick-ass penthouse, given lots of food to eat, assigned a wardrobe designer (Lenny Kravitz, who needs to stick to music) and a mentor to instruct them on the intricacies of the game. Unfortunately, their mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) is a gigantic drunk who is still bitter from the time he killed everyone to win the Hunger Games when he was a kid. But as training continues, drunken Haymitch warms up to the young hot girl and the boy with a name that makes me think of falafel.
With all the future world watching, the fight begins as the tributes are dropped off in a massive forest that has hidden cameras everywhere to catch all of the drama. The “game” in the movie plays out like the reality shows we see today; battles are waged, alliances are formed, and annoying hosts comment on every stupid detail. But unlike current reality shows, the Hunger Games has no preening guidos, no annoying kids in tiaras, no two stepping C-list celebrities, and no yelling chefs or cupcake wars!
Just murder. Lots and lots of murder.
The Hunger Games has plenty of thrills as Katniss struggles to come out on top against the highly trained and bloodthirsty tributes and a game where there are no rules, no immunity challenges, and no stupid rose ceremony at the end.
Actually, I like the rose ceremony. It’s sweet.
I’m not going to give away the ending of the movie, but I could because you’ve probably read the books and seen the movie like everyone else on the planet so you already know how it ends. And you probably know what happens in the next one too.
Heck, you probably know more about The Hunger Games world than I do. So you had better not tell me anything about what happens in the next book, okay?
Hey! No spoilers!
LALALALALALALALALALA! Not listening!
Seriously, what happens in the next one? Are Katniss and Gale destined to be together?
NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (2012) Director: Joseph L. Lawson Starring: Jake Busey, Dominique Swain, Josh Allen, Christopher Karl Johnson Rating: NR, but there’s brief nudity, bad language, some gore, and Nazi guys doing that “Heil Hitler” thing.
If you’re a regular reader of DVD Critics Corner (and you have my deepest sympathies), you have probably figured out by now it takes a certain kind of movie to make it to the pages of this blog. Believe it or not, every movie I consider for review must meet a particular set of criteria to be deemed what I call “blog worthy.”
Here are some of the things I look for:
– Does the film have gratuitous amounts of violence which includes any or all of the following: gun play, sword play, close quarter hand to hand combat, kung fu fighting, and of course an inordinate amount of kicking?
– Will this movie feature space aliens, other worldly monsters, scary zombies, cool robots, or at the very least Ron Perlman?
– Are there plenty of explosions which destroy property and/or motor vehicles?
– Is there a complete lack of Katherine Heigl?
– Does the film have anything truly unique to offer, besides some nudity by a hot supporting character?
I am happy to report the direct-to-DVD spectacular Nazis at the Center of the Earth has many of the things on my meticulously crafted list and more. Much, much more. How much more? I’ll get back to you on that.
On the continent of Antarctica, a team of young attractive scientists are busy doing important genetic research that can only be done in a lab at the coldest place on the planet. When a couple of their people go missing while collecting genes out in the snow, the other scientists head out to rescue them and stumble upon a lost continent hidden deep beneath the ice that for some reason is warm enough for the female cast members to strip down to their tank tops.
Before the scientists can marvel at their amazing discovery and remove more clothing, they are captured by an army of Nazi soldiers who have been hiding in the center of the earth since the end of World War II, practicing their goosestepping and prepping a massive invasion of the modern world!
Unfortunately the Nazis were so busy building an underground city and a giant nazi spaceship (seriously) with laser weapons, they forgot to bring women with them to the center of the earth to keep repopulating their army. Now the ancient soldiers are starting to fall apart and turn into mad flesh eating zombies because that’s what people do when they get old.
The scientists are forced by the mad Nazi Doctor Josef Mengele (Christopher Karl Johnson) to help keep his army alive and kicking for the grand invasion, and to help him revive an “old friend” who has been waiting a long time for his big comeback.
And it is when Dr. Mengele reveals the culmination of his decades of experiments that Nazis at the Center of the Earth gave me the “more” I was looking for. Boys and girls, I give you:
Yes, Robot Hitler.
If there is only one thing you remember from watching Nazis at the Center of the Earth – aside from how much Jake Busey looks like his batshit crazy Dad – it’s Robot Hitler.
Will the Reich rise again? Can the sniveling scientists thwart the Nazi’s invasion plans?
It doesn’t really matter. Why? Robot Hitler.
Nazis at the Center of the Earth was produced by The Asylum, a studio famous for their low budget direct-to-DVD films that rip off popular movies, and like every other Asylum flick, the acting is bad, the script is terrible, and the special effects are awful.
But their robot was Hitler!
In this continuing series, DVD Critics Corner looks at some really big things featured in some great (and not so great) movies. Once again, your opinion on what is “big” will probably differ, so feel free to make your own list and write about it in your blog. Copycat.
Part Two – All Creatures Great and Big!
The creatures that walk the earth and swim the sea are a wonder to behold. Some are strange and fearsome, some are noble and majestic, and some are absolutely delicious when served medium rare with a baked potato and your choice of soup or salad. But when some mad scientist starts messing with growth formulas or toxic waste is added to the local water supply, small things become big, and before you know it people are now part of an all you can eat salad bar that has those really tasty garlic croutons.
What I’m trying to say is, I skipped lunch.
So without further adieu, here are some little things that became big things thanks to the magic of movies!
As Seen in: Empire of the Ants (1977)
Made Big By: Illegally dumped toxic waste
The Deal: Remember when you were a kid and you poured lemonade on every anthill in your yard? The ants remember. Oh they remember. Long story short, now they’re big and they hate you! When Joan Collins and and a cast of 70’s movie and TV stars get lost in a swamp, they find themselves up against a terror unlike anything Florida has ever seen! Until the Tampa Bay Rays showed up.
Defeated By: Fire. Lucky for the survivors Joan Collins had that huge magnifying glass in her purse!
As Seen In: Mysterious Island (1961)
Made Big By: Captain Nemo’s bizarre experiments
The Deal: Mmmmm. The castaways who wash up on the mysterious island from the movie’s title don’t know how good they have it! Tasty, succulent crabs running around the beach – who could ask for anything more? Granted, the crabs are the size of a Winnebego, but with the right weapons and a few beers in you, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish! So warm up those cheddar bay biscuits, it’s time for a crabfest!
Defeated By: Boiling pool of water from nearby volcano. Sadly, there were no giant cows on the island, so the surf and turf buffet was canceled.
As Seen In: Alligator (1980)
Made Big By: Eating pet corpses laced with growth formula. Seriously.
The Deal: Alligators live in the sewers. It’s not an urban legend. It’s real. So don’t flush that baby alligator you bought at the pet store. You’ll be sorry. Also, never combine pop rocks and soda. Your head will blow up.
Defeated by: Explosives, because Paul Hogan was unavailable.
As Seen In: Hulk (2003)
Made Big By: A crazy-ass Nick Nolte
The Deal: I seriously doubt the Dog Whisperer guy would be able to teach these pooches to sit, stay, and stop eating people. It’s bad enough Bruce Banner (Eric Bana) transforms into a huge green monster when he gets cheesed off, but he also has to deal with his unhinged father (Nick Nolte) and his pack of mutated mutts! And you thought your Dad was a jerk when he erased your Fringe episodes from the DVR!
Defeated by: Hulk smash! What else?
As Seen In: The Giant Spider Invasion (1975)
Made Big By: Outer space
The Deal: The giant spiders in this movie weren’t mutated to monstrous size by an atomic bomb or a mad scientist’s formula, they came that way from space. Which means there’s probably a planet out there with really big people who can crush these spiders with their giant newspapers. Nah, that can be possible. Nobody reads newspapers.
Defeated By: The closing of an dimensional gateway which drains the spiders of their cosmic energy and… It was a giant newspaper!
As Seen In: Night of the Lepus (1972)
Made Big By: Yet another movie scientist who has no idea how to make a serum that does what it’s supposed to do!
The Deal: Awwwwww, so fluffy and lethal. If I had to pick what giant mutant animal would overrun my town and mercilessly slaughter everyone in it, it would be a rabbit hands down. They’re so darn cuddly, you almost don’t mind being trampled and eaten by one of them! I’m kidding of course, it would probably be a horrible way to die.
Defeated By: Angry townspeople with guns. And that’s why I can never return to Flagstaff…
Click here to read part one of Bigger Is Better!