The Predator – Teaser Trailer

What is it with the Alien and Predator franchises?

It almost feels like they’re being deliberately sabotaged (few other things can explain why Ridley Scott is so intent on undermining a series he himself helped to create) by some really bizarre decisions on the part of the people directing them, and it’s a pity.

In the case of the Predator, the problems started with 1990’s Predator 2 (the great idea of a Predator movie in the vein of Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop undermined by Stephen Hopkins paint-by-numbers direction and a weak script) and have pretty much continued to varying degrees since that time.

Though I had assumed that the Predator franchise had bottomed out with 2007’s Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem.

And apparently I was wrong because despite being co-written and directed by the undeniably talented Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) the upcoming The Predator looks to continue the time-honored idea of mixing lots of bad ideas with one or two half-decent ones.

For instance, the idea that the predators are using the DNA from the creatures on the planets they visit to make themselves even deadlier?  Great idea and probably the best addition to the franchise in many Hunter’s moons.

The idea that a little kid discovers a model (!?) of a Predator craft that somehow manages to (apparently) control an actual Predator spacecraft!?

Dumb beyond belief (on the face of it, at any rate).

Then there’s the idea of the movie taking place in Small Town, U.S.A., an idea that didn’t do AVPR ANY favors, so why not do it again?

As I said earlier, Shane Black is a damn talented writer and director, but I get the feeling he’s screwed the pooch on this one.

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Will the Nightbreed Rise Again?

Production company Morgan Creek recently announced that they’re changing their name to the Morgan Creek Entertainment Group.

And…why would anyone (who isn’t directly or indirectly involved with Morgan Creek) care?

The reason is because one of the movies in their catalogue is Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (based on the short story, Cabal from The Books of Blood). 

An almost legendarily troubled production, Nightbreed was an attempt by Barker to move away from the gore of his prior film, Hellraiser. 

And it might have worked, if it weren’t for the fact that at the time Morgan Creek wanted a slasher movie–it came out in 1990, when slasher movies were in vogue–and if they couldn’t get Clive Barker to make them one, they’d take control of his film and  do it themselves!

So somewhere in the ballpark of an hour of footage was cut from the movie, altering storylines in ways that Barker hadn’t intended; literally changing the structure, flow and intent of the movie.

And while various attempts have been made since the release of Nightbreed to restore it to an approximation of his vision, the damage had been done and Barker only directed one other movie, 1995’s The Lord of Illusions (from The Books of Blood, Vol. 6) since that time.

Fast-forwarding to today there’s no guarantee that Barker will have anything to do with Nightbreed, be it a television series or a feature film, but it’s logical that the relaunched Morgan Creek Entertainment would would at least seek to have Barker on in an executive producer capacity, if only go to satisfy the legions of fans of his work because I am comfortable saying that without Barker’s imprimatur, a reboot is DOA.

Discovering A Relic Within A Cabinet Of Curiosities

Peter Hyams’ 1997’s creature-feature, The Relic, was a pretty good movie.  It featured Tom Sizemore (despite his personal foibles, the man’s a damn good actor) as Lt. Vincent D’Agosta, who had to stop a mysterious killer who’s MO was beheading.

He follows the bodies to–if I recall–The Museum of Natural History, where something monstrous has returned home.

And it’s a good movie, but there’s one detail that’s a bit problematic.  And that is that  Agent Aloysius Pendergast was written out entirely.

Which is a shame because Agent Pendergast is one of the most interesting characters in the novels.  Visualize a thin man of average hight, who’s an albino.  This is an important detail because he’s a very natty dresser, and is occasionally described as a very well-dressed cadaver.

In terms of abilities, he’s what you might get if you crossed Sherlock Holmes (or maybe Solar Pons), with Indiana Jones and a ninja.

Luckily it appears this little oversight is about to be corrected because Gale Anne Hurd–of The Terminator, The Walking Dead, and many others–is developing a series based on the novels that will feature Pendergast for Spike TV, which is a very good thing indeed.

Colony, Ep. 1 – Review

Screenshot 2015-12-23 21.34.30.pngWhen we first meet Will Bowman (Josh Halloway) he’s preparing breakfast–or at least attempting to–for his family, that consists of his wife Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies, most recently of The Walking Dead) and three children, before he heads out to work.

Though one of his sons is missing, and Will is doing all he can to put on a brave face for his family.

The feeling that things aren’t quite right not only with the Bowman family, but the world they live in, permeates Colony.  People barter for the most basic goods and Los Angeles is under martial law, and is surrounded by a huge wall evocative of John Carpenter’s underrated Escape From L.A.

And if that weren’t bad enough, order is maintained by a mysterious black-suited military force of unknown origin.

The how’s and why’s are revealed grudgingly so, while there isn’t yet enough information to understand what’s happened and why things are as they are, it adds an extra level of interest beyond people making do the  best they can in what amounts to a police state.

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 21.25.16.png

Carlton Cuse, the prolific producer of The Strain and Lost, has created a future that visually resembles our own (though the technology in some instances is a bit more advanced) but with the addition of an unknown threat that has turned the place where dreams are made into a nightmare.

Colony premiers January 14 on USA.

Zombeavers – Review

Zombeavers movie poster

“Watch If Just So You Can Say You Do Did (Or You Really Like Bill Burr).  Other Than That, I’ve Got Nothin.'”

Bill Burr!  Bill Burr is one of the first people you see when Zombeavers starts, and maybe it’s just that he’s not too discriminating about the roles he chooses, but I was genuinely happy to see him.  That being said, I’m not too sure why because it’s not like he’s some sort of motion picture arbiter of quality (though he was in Breaking Bad, which was all sorts of awesome).

Though in this instance it’s his screw-up that sets events in motion (by not breaking for a deer).

By the way, under most conditions when deer are hit by vehicles they don’t explode like they’d swallowed a hand grenade or something.

Another surprise is that Chris Bender and JC Spink are listed as producers.  They’ve done some pretty interesting work, such as The Butterfly EffectFinal Destination and The Ruins, among many others).

Which still doesn’t mean that Zombeavers isn’t going to suck, though at least there’s a (admittedly slim) chance it won’t (And apropos of nothing, the origin of the zombified beavers is remarkably similar to that of Marvel’s Daredevil, also on Netflix. Coincidence?  Probably).

About midway the movie turns to ‘The Raft,’ from Creepshow 2, except dumber, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering that earlier, when three sunbathing women encounter a bear–the one who happened to be topless covered her breasts, as if the bear somehow cared how small they were.

It’s worth mentioning that the beavers were brought to life–so to speak–via animatronics and hand puppetry, which I appreciate.

There’s also little in the way to CGI to be found, which is good because it would have made the movie look cheaper than it probably was.

Zombeavers plays like a parody of horror movies in which a bunch of–in this instance sort-of-young–young people find themselves in a horrific  situation, which would be fine if it were as funny as the situation is absurd.

So when all is said and done, not even Bill Burr can save Zombeavers, though the theme song at the end comes awfully close.

Zombeavers aren’t resting easy on Netflix.

Power/Rangers – Short Movie

While this trailer has nothing to do with Haim Saban’s upcoming Power Rangers movie (in which Roberto Orci is playing a lead role, so magic blood is almost ensured to somehow play a role) they’re certainly taking it seriously enough to threaten legal action against its creators.

That being said, Power/Rangers is an interesting take on the characters because it takes the material deadly serious–which is interpreted in the trailer with a lot of cursing and head shots. Lots and lots of head shots–though it also shows how silly the Ranger’s costumes are, which is a direct result of the fact that that they were designed for children, not adults.

Thunderbirds Are Go! Goes Practical (Sort Of)

Gerry Anderson as a producer has always fascinated me.  Despite being behind some of the most innovative puppet (Supermarionation)-based television series, he was never entirely satisfied with working with them, and always wanted to work with flesh and blood actors.

That being said, he first time that he did so, in UFO, Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun (Doppelgänger), Space: 1999 and Space Precinct the characters tended to exhibit a range of expressions and emotions not too far distant from the puppets he wanted to move away from.

Though what I found telling was that in his The New Adventures Of Captain Scarlet, which created in Hypermarionation (CGI and image capture), the vehicles looked fantastic, characters moved with a fluidity absent from any of the Anderson puppet-based series.

Yet the obvious care that went into vehicle design and movement was absent from the characters faces, which looked as stony, as puppet-like, as ever.

I mention these things because ITV recently released a video of some of the props that WETA is using for their upcoming Thunderbirds Are Go! and what’s most interesting is that despite the characters–as far as I am aware–being entirely CGI they’re still creating physical props to work with.

It’s an interesting approach, which I wish that Anderson would have perhaps considered with his Captain Scarlet series.