‘Starship Troopers: Invasion’ Review

Starship Troopers: Invasion

“Dead Eyes And All, “Starship Troopers: Invasion” Takes The Series In A Great New Direction.”

“Starship Troopers,” Paul Verhoeven’s version of Robert Heinlein’s novel, has spawned three sequels, “Starship Troopers: Hero of the Federation,” “Starship Troopers: Marauder,” and Starship Troopers: Invasion” as well as an CGI-based series, “Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles.”

It goes without saying that Verhoeven’s original remains unsurpassed, with the sequels being hobbled by humbler ambitions (probably) brought about by smaller budgets.

Though the last film, “Starship Troopers: Invasion” is a another matter.  It’s done entirely in CGI, like ‘Roughnecks, but racier in terms of language and nudity, probably to bring it in more in line with Verhoeven’s film.

Though there are places where it’s welcome, such as when used for rendering spaceships, armor and weaponry, which look as good as anything that appeared in the original. The ‘Bugs’ are also beneficiaries of the CGI largess as well, and they look great.

The humans…not so much.  They look like the producers had only two or three types of human figure, and used skin color, hair, body type and tattoos to differentiate them. The thing is, if you really look at people, you’ll notice that it’s the combination of little differences that combine to make us appear as individuals.

Continue reading

‘Bad Milo!’ Review

Bad Milo!

“”Bad Milo!” Is Disgustingly Hilarious!”

(Spoilers follow)

Imagine E.T., if instead of outer space, he came from inner space.

And by “inner” I mean your ass.

“Bad Milo!” is a film directed by Jacob Vaughan, and Executive Produced the Duplass Brothers (Jay and Mark).  Mark Duplass acts as well, and probably is most well-known as Pete Eckhart, from “The League.”

“Bad Milo!” is the story of Duncan (Ken Marino, who also played Donny “The Seed” Sedowsky on “The League”), a milquetoast who’s grown to accept how badly everyone treats him.  The problem is that his Id, his ego, isn’t quite so accepting.

His frustration, his anger manifest themselves as Milo, a horrific little monster (that’s actually pretty cute at times) that began life as a polyp somewhere on Duncan’s rectum.

Yep.  Milo is an ass monster.

Milo also happens to be the size of a small child, which makes the fact that Duncan has to crap him out every time he appears quite possibly one of the most painful experiences a person could have.

Continue reading

‘RoboCop’ Review

RoboCop

“RoboCop 2.0 is new, and not exactly improved, but it’s still worth the upgrade.”

I have an iPad 2, and I really liked iOS 6, and was perfectly content with it.  Soon enough, Apple came out with iOS 7, and when I upgraded I didn’t like it.  It was all shiny and colorful, but different than I was accustomed to.

That’s exactly the way felt about José Padlha’s “RoboCop” reboot:  Sure, you can do it, but why?  I like my old RoboCop just fine, thank you!

Like Apple, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer “upgraded” anyway.

Anyone who has read this blog before has probably noticed that I hate changes made just for the sake of change.

With iOS 7, once I got used to the changed appearance, I noticed that it offered certain benefits that iOS 6 didn’t.  The same thing applies to the new RoboCop.  It may not be the one that I remember, but for the most part it doesn’t feel like the changes were done just to change something (or as a cynical money grab, which is also popular with Hollywood).

You see, studio executives realize that if they reboot a popular franchise, name recognition is built-in, as is (they’d like to think) the audience.

But there’s a problem, especially when the film you’re rebooting a masterwork, which I honestly think the original film is.  It was a proudly R-rated stew of jingoism, bad taste and violence so extreme that the the original film was rated X before Paul Verhoeven cut it enough to warrant an R rating.

So when I learned of the reboot, directed by Brazilian director José Padilha (“Elite Squad”) was going to be rated PG-13, something stank.

The odor that aroused my attention must have been the laundry that’s sitting in the hamper next to my desk, because Padilha’s “RoboCop” differs from Verhoeven’s in ways that are mainly good, and the film was actually pretty enjoyable.

Continue reading

‘Stitches’ Review

Stitches

“Stitches” is worth seeing, but–other than the gore effects–there’s not much going on.”

I have never quite understood why people find clowns particularly threatening (though I perfectly understand why mimes, their evil cousins, might makes some uneasy), which isn’t the same as the phobia known as coulrophobia.

I mean they’re hardly subtle, and wearing those humongous shoes it’s not like they can run particularly fast (though what they lack in speed they makeup for by the number of them that can fit in a compact car).  They also seem to make all sorts of odd sounds, so stealth isn’t an option.

So why are some (other than the phobic) bothered by them?  I think it comes down to trust.  They make many, including myself, a bit uneasy.  Part of that is due to, I think, the way the person underneath the greasepaint and garish clothing is obscured.

And speaking of clowns, in movies they occupy an interesting niche that is richer than one would think at first glance.  From everything to dramedy, “Shakes The Clown,” to the demonic–think ‘Pennywise’ from Stephen King’s “IT” and even the alien, as in “Killer Clowns From Outer Space” clowns play a role.

There are other examples, though those most easily come to mind.  The antagonist of “Stitches” is an epynonomously-named clown, who’s undead, raised by mysterious magics.  Ross Noble plays the title character, a not-very-good-clown who’s next job is at a children’s birthday party, which goes horrifically wrong.

Continue reading

The Marvel Televised Universe Is Born!

Marvel Studios has done it again.  With movies they were the first to create a united universe of characters that began with Iron Man, and continued with “The Incredible Hulk,” “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Thor,” culminating with the blockbuster, “The Avengers.”

Now they’re bringing the same approach of a unified universe to Netflix, with individual series based upon Luke Cage (also known as ‘Power Man), Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil, to culminate in a mini-series event, The Defenders.

Though based upon the news, I have to ask:  Where’s Misty Knight?

Netflix has been looking for ways to differentiate itself from other networks, such as HBO and other cable networks for awhile now, though I never suspected that they would take such a bold approach.

X-File A Day – “Born Again”

X-Files Opening Logo‘Born Again’ is the 22nd episode of “The X-Files” and is a clever twist on evil children (which is apt, considering we’re coming up on Halloween) in that the child, Michelle Bishop (Andrea Libman) isn’t evil, but is somehow attached to the spirit of a police officer, Detective Charlie Morris, that had been wronged by those that should have protected him.

Which is why the episode is so interesting:  Michelle never actually does anything bad – though the hang-dog expression on her face is at times unnerving – but since Morris’ spirit is attached to her, she’s always present when someone is killed.

Det. Charlie Morris also had a thing for origami, as does Michelle.  Scully, as usual is very skeptical, but I have tried to make origami figures before and if an eight-year-old child had discovered the patience to do so, there must be something otherworldly going on.

Mulder believes that it is a case of reincarnation, but that doesn’t quite make sense to me, if only because once he makes peace (kills the people that killed him) he leaves, though as far as I am aware idea of reincarnation doesn’t quite work that way.

This episode also starred Maggie Wheeler as Det. Sharon Lazard.  If she looks at all familiar, it’s perhaps because she played Janice Litman,  Chandler Bing‘s girlfriend in the NBC series “Friends,” which ran from 1994 to 2004.

‘Halloween’ (2007) Review

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 12.53.53 PM

“Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s classic horror film makes some bold choices, but cannot escape the long shadow of the original.”

I get what Rob Zombie is trying to do with his remake of John Carpenter’s groundbreaking 1978 film, Halloween,” but it fails for me primarily because it gives so much information.  The first half-hour or so is spent laying the groundwork for the existence of Carpenter’s monstrous creation, something Carpenter himself didn’t do (quite deliberately, in fact).  Zombie’s film is admittedly more grounded in a reality (of sorts) than Carpenter’s original.

What’s most interesting is that it’s that same realism that not only separates it from John Carpenter’s original, but by contrast shows you how much more effective it was, as well.

The Shape, the demonic charter created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, was most interesting BECAUSE you had no idea why he did what he did.  The character was essentially a violent force of nature, more akin to a tornado or hurricane than a human being.

Under Zombie’s reinterpretation, he’s a psychotic kid, who grows up to be a psychotic adult.

Continue reading