Monday, November 24, 2014

Space Truckers

Watched November 12, 2014

Starring: Dennis Hopper, Debi Mazar, Stephen Dorff.

Holy moly, this movie was so much more than I expected. The image on the VHS box makes it look like a serious space action movie, but it's much funnier and brighter than I expected.

John Canyon (Dennis Hopper) is a long haul space trucker with a load of pigs that he is taking to Interpork to sell. Keller (George Wendt) as the buyer from Interpork tries to gets the pigs for less than the agreed price. John won't sell, so he keeps the cargo and heads to find another job. He takes on a very strange job, supposedly it's a lot of sex dolls but the security surrounding the shipment is very high. The shipment is headed for Earth and needs to arrive on a specific date. John's pig cargo is suddenly stolen, so he's extra motivated to take on the new job. Before leaving he heads to the diner to check in with Cindy (Debi Mazar) his waitress friend. More than friends, he wants to marry her even though they have quite an age difference. While eating his diner and explaining what happening with his Interpork sale, Mike (Stephen Dorff) introduces himself to John. Out of the window they see that John's pig cargo is being stolen. A fight breaks out in the diner over the pig cargo, a window is shot creating a space vacuum that Keller is sucked into space through. John, Cindy and Mike all head to John's rig escape. Cindy wanted to come all along because her mom is back on Earth about to have an operation.

The cops keep following the crew, so they get off the space highway to escape. They run into black rock meteors that damage the ship/truck.  While stopped the ship gets super hot so Mike and Cindy take off all their clothes and make out while John goes to fix the ship. The ship is damaged near the cargo connection and the cargo is protected by lasers so Dennis can't fix it. Luckily a giant cargo ship shows up and takes them aboard. 

The group thinks that they've been rescued but they have been kidnapped. The captain of the pirate ship is half robot with a claw hand, peg leg, half a skull and one cyborg eye. He is immediately drawn to Cindy, but wants to kill John and Mike. Cindy volunteers to have sex with the Captain so he won't kill her friends. He tries to have sex with her with his robot penis even though he has a hard time getting it started. Before he can make the moves, she pulls out some of his fluid tubes and escapes. She finds John and Mike tied up and tries to free them but the robot Captain finds all of them.  The pirates try to steal the cargo, but this activates the cargo which aren't sex dolls instead they are killer cyborgs. The cyborgs kill a bunch of the pirates and in the frenzy John, Mike and Cindy escape in the rig. 

Somehow the ship got fixed, but the cargo cyborgs are still active. John and Mike put on space suits and go take care of them.  They are close enough to Earth that they head through the atmosphere which burns up the remaining cyborg killers. They all manage to make it to Earth alive in escape pods.

It turns out the president wanted the cyborg shipment to use as his army, it turns out he just took over from the previous president only a week ago. The President tries to pay John off at the hospital where Debi's very youthful mom is waking up from her operation. Instead Mike throws the suitcase of money out the window, it lands on the president's car and blows him up. Mike and Cindy are now in love and John is totally into Cindy's mom who has been frozen for twenty years so she looks great.

The effects are great, lots of miniatures and weird CGI. Since I'm a sucker for bright colors, everyone has crazy costumes that I love. Cindy wears some crazy high waisted pants with a clear plastic jacket and it looks great. Much more fun than I expected, I'm glad I picked up this fun straight to video movie. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

S. Darko

Watched November 3, 2014

Starring: Daveigh Chase, Briana Evigan, James Lafferty, Ed Westwick

I know we all were waiting for cult hit Donnie Darko to have a sequel. Especially since Donnie dies at the end of the movie, but time travel is involved so that open up for a lot of new stories. I'm always looking for more contemporary bad movies so I was excited to hear about S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale. We now get a story of Donnie's younger sister Samantha, who charmed us as a member of Sparkle Motion in the first film.

Sam (Daveigh Chase, reprising her role) is now 16 and her family was torn apart by Donnie's mysterious death. She and her friend Corey (Briana Evigan) run away and hit the road heading to California. Their car breaks down in Arizona, where they meet Randy (Ed Westwick) the local mechanic. It's a couple days before the 4th of July, 1995. Randy lets them know it will be a couple days to get the part that he needs to fix their car. The girls scrape together some money to stay at the local motel in the small town of Conejo Springs. 

Sam, like her deceased brother, is plagued by sleepwalking. She often wakes up in unpredictable locations like park benches or the middle of the road. As soon as the girls got into town, the local vet Iraq Jack was saved from being hit my a meteorite. He says that a vision told him to move from the windmill where he was sitting. There is also a child kidnapped stalking the area, as Randy's younger brother was taken only days ago. A local church burns down mysteriously, and Iraq Jack is blamed. Sam gets to know the young minister who had served some jail time but is now repentent and married to Trudy (Elizabeth Berkeley). Corey parties with the locals but Sam isn't into it, she wants to get out of town as soon as possible. 

While riding around with Randy, Corey gets in to a fight with Sam when they see her walking on the side of the road. Sam walks off as Randy's car is hit. Somehow Sam is killed but Randy and Corey are okay. Corey is devastated but she gets a chance to go back in time so that she dies instead of Sam. Now Sam is sad that Corey is dead and wants to go back, but she keeps moving forward to some extent. Iraq Jack is given the same vision of the Frank bunny mask that Donnie saw, but now Jack remakes it in metal. Sam is wooed by the local nerd Jeremy (Jackson Rathbone) who has developed a strange rash from the meteorite that almost killed Iraq Jack. While sleepwalking Sam is led to an abandoned mine which is locked up. She randomly finds the key and inside finds the dead bodies of the children that had disappeared in town. The clues lead back that is was Trudy but again Iraq Jack is blamed. Sam knows the truth but no one listens to her. That night is the 4th of July and Jeremy takes Sam up to hill for a fireworks picnic. Jeremy tries to kiss Sam, but she resists and falls down where she is impaled by a piece of the new Frank bunny mask. With Sam now dead, this kicks off a crazy meteor shower and times travels back again. We start completely over with Iraq Jack getting hit by the meteorite that he was mysteriously saved by. Corey and Sam end up Conejo Springs again but instead of any of them dying, Sam decides to take the bus home.

I loved Donnie Darko when it came out. I was living in New York and they had regular midnight showings that I would go to often. It's been a couple years since I saw it but it flows together even if all the time travel stuff isn't perfectly clear. It also has a sense of humor.  This one is just terrible, Samantha Darko doesn't have any motivation and her visions are just confusing. Plus she isn't necessarily the main character. I'm a Richard Kelly fan, I love Southland Tales so think about that. He had nothing to do with this project.

The 1995 styles are totally wrong. Sam mostly just walks around in wispy white camisoles and tiny shorts. At the beginning, Sam and Corey both look like they're headed for Coachella not Lollapalooza where they should have been going. It runs too long without a clear focus and it's already a confusing story since it involves time travel and visions of the future past. I would have preferred a feature length movie about Sparkle Motion. This movie is more art house weirdness than fun cult movie, nothing great happens, but there is magical feather if you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I, Frankenstein

Watched October 20, 2014

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Billy Nighy

What if Frankenstein's monster was just misunderstood and really had a soul after all? What if Gargoyles had something to do with it? What if Gargoyles were actually protectors that kept demons at bay? All these questions and more are presented in I, Frankenstein, but not thoroughly answered or made into a fun movie. 

When I saw the trailer for this movie I knew it was a bomb especially with its January release date, the month where movies go to die. I even wanted to make a special theater field trip, but it only lasted about a week and I missed the chance. My favorite bad movie period is the late '70s through the early '90s, probably because that's what was available to rent when I was a kid in the '90s, but I know that bad movie are made all the time so I'm always on the look out for a new one.

It begins with Frankenstein's monster explaining his existence, how he wasn't asked to be created so when he killed his creator's wife it was out of confusion. When Dr. Frankenstein tried to kill his creation, the creation outlasted him by being impervious to the cold. After that Frankenstein's monster kept a low profile and just slunk around the woods. In the mid 1800's he runs into some demons who try to kidnap him, but then he's saved by some Gargoyle warriors. The Gargoyle warriors take Frankenstein's monster to their Queen, Leonore and she explains the eternal battle between the Gargoyles and the demons. Leonore is curious why the demons would want to capture Frankenstein. She determines that he is a real being and gives him the name Adam. The Gargoyles recruit Adam to join their demons destroying cause but he decides to run away instead. He does take some demon bashing sticks with him though. 

Adam (Aaron Eckhart) keeps his loner status and wanders around for another hundred plus years killing the demons that he runs into. It is now modern day and Terra (Yvonne Strahovski) is a scientist who is working on reanimating a rat. She seems to be getting closer, but there is a long way to go. Her benefactor Naberius (Bill Nighy) is actually a demon who is very invested in reanimating corpses. The Gargoyles have been keeping an eye on him, but they have been losing a lot of their people in the ongoing battle. The Gargoyles have Dr. Frankenstein's diary that shows how to reanimated dead tissue. The demons kidnap Leonore and make a trade for the book. They are also trying to capture Adam this whole time. Luckily he meets up with Terra and he tries to convince her to stop her work. Adam uncovers as ridiculously large warehouse that is filled with an army of bodies waiting to be reanimated.

The Gargoyles do trade the book for the recovery of their Queen, which infuriates her. The demons are able to unlock the real secrets of reanimation and Terra is forced to perform them. This creates an army of Frankensteins that battle the Gargoyles. Most of the Gargoyles are killed but somehow Naberius and is army is destroyed. Adam heads off alone to keep battling the demons to save humanity.

There is not a bit of humor in this entire movie. There are so many terrible battle scenes that just get lost in blurs of CGI. No one seems to live in the city where this takes place except for the main characters, it's mostly filled with tons of giant warehouses. Which explains why it was the perfect breeding ground for the army of the undead. There are lots of sweeping shots of the CGI city, including the cathedral of the Gargoyles that has a million flying buttresses which reminding me of the terrible sweeping CGI shots in Dungeons & Dragons.

Since this movie posits that Frankenstein's monster is immortal it raised a lot of questions. Does he eat or go to the bathroom? How did he live 200+ years just being a demon hunter?

While I haven't actually seen an entire Underworld movie, the tone of this movie reminded me of that series. It turns out the one of the actors/co-writers on the third Underworld movie created the I, Frankenstein comic book and therefore make this movie possible. I can see where they would have loved to turn this into a new franchise but it's such a stretch. Werewolves and Vampires are things that people know about, multiple Frankenstein and Gargoyles that come to life is a totally unknown story is something that I'm not looking into exploring more.