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Society (1989)
Not much of a menace to anything, 16 June 2017

I remember seeing the trailer for this when I was about 9 and being freaked out. Nothing is shown, only implied, but a shot of Billy Warlock biting into an apple that is filled with worms stayed with me.

Originally hacked to shreds by the BBFC on it's cinema release in the UK (a shame as it performed much better here than in the US) you'll quickly wonder what all of the fuss is about. I know I'm somewhat desensitized in my adulthood (though cheap latex flesh wounds on Casuality still make me shudder and squirm) but you'll struggle to find anything in Society to justify the 18-rating. With barely a drop of blood to be had the film coasts as far as it can on themes and subtext. It doesn't get too far, maybe to the end of the street.

17-year-old Bill Whitney (played by 27-year-old Warlock) is a regular teenager in Beverly Hills who wants nothing more than a happy adolescence with his friends and to succeed at school. But his parents are weird, his sister is provoking unusual feelings from him, they appear to exclude him from their circle of privilege, and he begins to suspect that his well-to-do life is only surface deep and that something much, much sinister is lurking beneath the facade. His shrink suggests that he is merely feeling alienated and needlessly paranoid but when a nervous outcast reveals a secret recording he quickly realizes that it's not all in his head.

Nothing here really works. Brian Yuzna has great ideas but no clue of how to effectually execute them. The mystery is underdeveloped since there isn't much in the way of puzzle-solving or clue- hunting. The gore is almost non-existent, much to my immense dismay. I do realize that horror can be at its most effective when it is merely being suggestive or offensive but the big reveal at the end is so pedestrian and blunt that they might as well have just announced it right at the beginning of the movie (which kinda does happen thanks to the stupidly spoiler-iffic opening credits). Even during the "shocking" climax Yuzna shoots with that stupid pink lighting that Stuart Gordon used in abundance in From Beyond, which just makes the scene look dumb. Worst of all is the score, which honestly fits an episode of Chucklevision more than it does a hardcore 80s horror film with a reputation to uphold.

Crucify me if you want, but I say that Society really could do with a remake. If Cronenberg or Fincher were to redo this movie, contextually more timely and dynamic in our polarizing, and failing, society of 2017, then I have no doubt that the rotten core of Society can have more relevance now than it did in 1989. The ideas are intriguing, but Yuzna's amateurish direction and lack of focus spoil it.

The Mummy (2017)
8 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
The Dummy, 13 June 2017

What were Universal thinking putting out an exceptionally poor product such as this from an inexperienced director known mostly for mechanical scripts? This movie is a lesson in how NOT to do virtually everything.

Tom Cruise is a woefully miscast here. This is not a character that fits him and this is not a genre he belongs in at all. It seems that Universal just rushed this nonsense into production as soon as he signed up without painstakingly planning it in advance. If this is supposed to be the first of a shared universe they could not possibly have started it off with a worse movie than this.

The Brendan Fraser Mummy movies were fun adventures with mild horror and a sense of high escapism. They were tightly directed and attractively shot with scores by Goldsmith and Silvestri that even managed to generate their very own successful low-brow spin-off series. Universal already had their shared Mummy universe.

This one...ugh! Besides Cruise being miscast I will stick to just two huge problems we have to suffer with this 2017 reboot. First of all the script is one of THE absolute worst examples of modern movie writing. Even worse than anything Lindelof has done. The dialogue is so head-bangingly poor that it defies belief. In my review of Alien: Covenant I said that the dialogue was so bad that it made the earliest of Scooby-Doo episodes look like Masterpiece Theatre. I thought that Alien: Covenant might represent the worse of the dialogue that might offend my ear drums this year. Sadly, no. The Mummy is EVEN WORSE.

Many scenes are assembled with appalling voice-overs explaining what we are seeing. We don't need this. A competent director would use a visual narrative to guide the audience. Even Paul Anderson is capable of this. Not Kurtzman. He is so unable to bring this movie to life (pun intended) that he feels the need to turn the descriptive words into actual dialogue in case we are not smart enough to get it.

Newsflash! Audiences do not like being condescended to. If you treat us like we are stupid you will not get a favorable response.

There is also the possibility that the poor dialogue is an attempt to make this more appealing to foreign markets who can paste their own nonsensical interpretation of the story over the uninspiring images. If this didn't sound bad enough they repeat themselves over and over and over and over too. I swear we saw the same flashback happen about three times. If you actually go see this then pay attention to Tom Cruises lines. All he says for the entire movie is "Huh? Wha? Who? Where? Wha? Which? Huh? Buh? Wha? Who?" His character Nick Morton (a lame gag if you dissect it) comes across as a senior citizen suffering from Alzheimer's. Or maybe Cruise had no idea what movie he was in and was genuinely uttering these words of confusion.

Second - the cinematography. Oh my good's appalling. The darkness has been turned up in post-production (no one here had the ability to actually create an atmosphere in-camera) to the point where you have little orientation most of the time. Couple this with very bad editing and you'll struggle to find a sense of place or geography in most locations. There is a scene in a...thing, I'm not sure what it is, where Ahmanet is sucking the souls (or whatever) out of a couple of British bobbies. I have no idea where they were supposed to be. Was it a sewer, a pit, a dry dock, a graveyard, a river bank? No clue. I had absolutely no idea what I was looking at.

The clunky, cumbersome, clichéd components that are crudely clumped together to create this crapola are the most basic, childish fantasy tropes you can imagine. This is the kind of trash that barely passed for stories in 80s kid's cartoons. Universal are actually passing this off as a tentpole summer movie in 2017? They expect this to be acceptable for the start of an on-going franchise? It took SIX writers to come up with this?

If you are a fan of the Brendan Fraser series, worry not. It seems that Universal are not erasing those movies and are keeping it in continuity with this one since it features the book of Amun-Ra. However, its presence will just remind you that you could be watching a better movie.

Despite my complaints (and many others I won't torture you with) I didn't hate this movie. It could have been scary and exciting if a better director and better writer were pulling the strings. This should have been low-key, it should have attempted some kind of modesty instead of arrogantly declaring itself the start off a new franchise as it seems more like the 2003 bomb The League of Extraordinary Gentleman than it does its own self-contained movie.

A complete misfire and I can't recommend it at all. Skip it.

The Surge (2017) (VG)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Little originality but okay enough, 2 June 2017

I was reminded a lot of Vanquish and Dark Souls when playing The Surge (with perhaps a little bit of a Tom Cruise movie that apparently had multiple titles a few years back). Imagine a mash-up of all three and you'll get the idea.

Was it as fun as Vanquish? Almost. I never felt that the weaponry was all that powerful compared to the hoards I was fighting against nor did I feel like the armor was all that protective. This made tackling the enemies a little boring, honestly. There's weapon crafting though, which I enjoyed in Dead Space 3, so it was nice to see it here. Also, if you enjoy dismembering enemy limbs you'll have your bloodthirst satisfied, just don't expect this game to be easy. There are only five bosses in total, and it seems that they have taken a relatively short game and attempted to extend it by adding lots of grind and upping the difficulty.

The environments and graphics are all gorgeous to look at. I'd say that this is a great game for demonstrating the ability of your home theatre, and while the sound effects are good, the music...isn't. They really fumbled the ball there. I won't be rushing out to buy the soundtrack, which is filled with cheap, techno-noise and a few country-ish songs. It's sad to see any kind of scoring go in this direction. It's a trend that fills me with dread.

There's no multi-player (not that I care about that), so you need to keep that in mind if you are used to online co-op gaming.

With 47 achievements/trophies available there's a reason to come back after your first playthrough, but I found the game already too overly familiar and derivative of other games that I enjoyed more. It's still a decent timewaster, but sometimes I am looking for more than that.

52 out of 83 people found the following review useful:
Absolute, total pile of utter dog...ess, aitch, eye, tee, 22 May 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

Prometheus may have been a colossal clusterfudge and absolutely cursed to the marrow on every conceivable level, but at the very, very least it had the moxie to ask big questions even if no one and nothing within had the ability to answer back with anything remotely resembling logic or sense. Ridley Scott didn't seem to understand the logic and mythology of the universe he created and if you think he's going to retcon himself back on track with this pile of crap you'll be making the same mistake as me.

I knew that he had painted himself into a corner. If they followed the David/Shaw storyline and went to the Engineer homeworld (they are still the stupidest-looking creature design in film history) then every single part of the dialogue would have to be delivered by just two characters. So now we have a NEW ship with a NEW heavy- handed symbolic name filled with NEW fresh, disposable meat...I mean characters heading out into space under the banner of Weyland Corp.

After sustaining some damage from a solar flare or whatnot the crew pick up a transmission from a nearby planet and decide to go check it out. So far so very familiar. When they get down there they discover a crashed derelict ship. Okay, I've DEFINITELY seen this before. And then...all Alien hell breaks loose, but not before a long, seemingly endless succession of scenes where people loudly discuss the plot in a way that would make the earliest Scooby-Doo episodes look like masterpiece theatre.

This is complete garbage, kiddies.

There is a line of dialogue between David and Walter where Mad Dave actually says the words "You hold it and I'll do the fingering." Yes, he's talking about playing a flute but COME ON!!! How in heaven or hell did THAT go unnoticed? Was anyone paying attention to how terrible this is?

We don't even get the classic Xenomorph, but instead have to be content with a Neomorph/Protomorph/Morph/Sooty and Sweep/Howdy Doody placeholder. The Protomorph CGI is frequently terrible too and looks like something from a video game.

Ridley Scott succeeds, again, at making this look like a genuine, lived-in universe, but the characters are never anything more than fodder and even at 122 minutes you can tell a LOT was cut out of this. They clearly struggle to find a workable pacing in this theatrical cut and it feels sloppily edited throughout. The final 20 minutes seems like a completely different movie and lowers itself to the tone of a Friday the 13th film. Nothing against Jason Voorhees, but the Alien series is supposed to be more cerebral and Covenant is so lame that you'll actually be longing for the comfort of Alien: Resurrection or AVP: Requiem.

Alien didn't need a prequel. A huge part of the lure was the darkness, the mystery, the coincidence, the infinite unknown. To have it all explained by Prometheus was a bad idea, but that movie completely failed to even come anywhere close to that. Covenant should have spent its running time answering questions Prometheus dumped on us when it confused the audience. It should have spent 122 minutes getting this series back on track after the staggeringly bad choices of the 2012 debacle.

It doesn't. There is simply no way a third prequel can logically tie into the Nostromo crew finding a thousands-year-long dead Space Jockey fossilized in the derelict on LV426. Ridley Scott has gone insane and doesn't know what he's doing.

The original quadrilogy had the tangible DNA of four different directors upfront and visible in every frame, for better or worse. Scott has had too much creative control (two words I use with massive doses of irony) and it's time to either kill this series for good, forever, or let someone else rewrite whatever unworkable direction the Covenant is lumbering in.

To the Moon (2011) (VG)
Why is this not a movie?, 27 March 2017

Is this the saddest video game ever made? Maybe.

The concept and story behind To the Moon is amazing. This really ought to be a movie. The imagination and characters here really involve you as a gamer in a way you've probably never been before. Set in the future, you play as Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts who work for a company that enters into the memories of a dying person to grant them an artificial wish by manipulating their flashbacks in an attempt to give them complete happiness. Their newest case involves a widowed old man who always wished to go to the moon. As you dig deeper and deeper into his memories a haunted, lonely life of tragedy is revealed and the doctors have to make some tough choices.

I didn't expect the game to have this much affect on me, it's quite profound. I am holding back from a perfect review as the controls were a little stiff when moving the characters around the screen and it often frustrated me. Though if you want a unique gaming experience I highly recommend To the Moon. It's a fine, if emotional, way to spend 4-5 hours.

Seriously though...a movie of this needs to be made.

It lives up to its title, 3 March 2017

Now that it's almost 23 years later can we have a level-headed point of view on this movie? The hype machine in 1994 went into maximum overdrive with Pulp Fiction in a way that has rarely been repeated, even in a world over-saturated with easily accessible and multiple forms of media. For years people have regarded Pulp Fiction as if it is somehow far beyond any kind of criticism. It's time for scrutiny.

As a 150-minute series of vignettes within vignettes it makes for good entertainment the first few viewings, but I've seen Pulp Fiction from beginning to end about 10 times now and I can honestly say I am done with it.

The trashy nature of the stories and the wider world that the characters inhabit is a nice homage to the dime novels of the 1950s and other trash cinema of the era. And I mean trash. Pulp Fiction takes virtually no inspiration from anything with an ounce of class. Don't be fooled by the all-star cast and the larger- than-life characters.

For years people have been quoting the screenplay as if it were a breathtaking breakthrough in movie dialogue. It's not. If anything it is far too wordy. The editor should have been a little more liberal in cutting down the talking. There is an utterly pointless interaction between Travolta, Thurman, and Buscemi about a $5 shake that seems to go on forever. It adds absolutely nothing to scene at all and I cringe whenever I hear it. I can't believe I am even wasting my time bringing it up in this review, but it's a good example of frequent nothingness that should have been excised. Tarantino also seems to have an inability to reign in his actors here, leaving them to ham their way over the boundaries which gives many characters an unfocused, disconnected, and confusing riff. Travolta in particular seems off and alienating. He was probably just happy to get work at the time but there's no reason for why the rest of the cast didn't question the overwritten material.

It's also very dull to look at. Jack Rabbit Slims appears to be the only set specifically designed for the movie, which is why there is a colorful vibrancy to this scene that is found nowhere else. Almost every other shot takes place at street level in the most mundane parts of Los Angeles without any sense of location. The lazy Panavision photography just plonks the camera down at standard angles and indulges in far too much steadicam for its own good, all while never giving us much in the way of geography. It's very frustrating.

Pulp Fiction is competent with unique inspirations, but the movie has almost no original ideas and it has been massively over-regarded for far too long.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Utter trash, 24 February 2017

It's insane that the sublime and the substandard can coexist like this. For anyone who has seen the wonderful Lego Batman Movie currently out in theatres you will literally be jaw-dropped at how bad Gotham City Breakout is. The Lego DC series started off so well but gradually got worse and worse. I have no interest left in this series. It was a mistake to shift the focus away from Batman and bring in the rest of the Justice League, especially Superman, who just doesn't work as a character, in any capacity, in 2017.

There is no plot here, just a mess of scenes, but I will try to put it in something resembling a sense-making order. Batman goes away on vacation for his crime-fighting anniversary while Superman does a pretty poor job of watching over Gotham City. Sounds simple enough but they both go off on so many tangents that nothing at all seems to be the focus. The characters are aggravating, the writing so juvenile and cringe-worthy it would make CBeebies blush, and the musical score, as expect, is too loud and intrusive.

No child is going to be entertained by this. Despite what the producers might think, children actually want challenging and stimulating entertainment. This is neither. Even at 78 minutes this long outstays its welcome. Skip it.

The hunt is off, 13 February 2017

The concept of this story could have worked as a dialogue-free Fantasia piece, but Disney's attempt to mold it into a "family movie" spoils whatever credibility it might have had. Tod (short for toddler) is a newly-orphaned baby Fox adopted by Big Mama, who lives out in the wilderness. He soon meets his neighbor Copper, a bloodhound owned by a cantankerous old codger who mistreats and kills animals for fun. Tod and Copper are supposed to hate each other, not as much as I hated suffering through this.

There are some lovely forest backdrops and occasional atmosphere in its favor, though this ranks close to the very bottom of Disney's animated movies. Why on Earth was 147-year-old Mickey Rooney cast as the voice of Tod? Who in their right mind thought that this was a good idea? Kurt Russell also has very recognizable vocal chords but casting him as Copper simply doesn't work. The score by Buddy Baker (who?) is obnoxious, loud, intrusive, and does the film no favors. Several character concepts are obviously Shanghaied straight from Winnie the Pooh. Strange to think that this is the first Disney movie to utilize CGI animation though, if only very briefly.

I just didn't feel that there was much at stake to give a damn about any of this. The Fox and the Hound really is one of Disney's laziest "efforts". As I said, a Fantasia segment that sticks close to Daniel Mannix's novel or even a Silly Symphonies short would have been better than this tedious bore. I can't believe it took EIGHT writers to adapt this into such a weak screenplay. Most certainly the kind of movie you watch on a grey Sunday afternoon in February.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Two "ofs" in the title?, 12 February 2017

I did quite enjoy the first entry in the LEGO DC series but the subsequent movies have let me down. Perhaps it was because the first one was based around Batman instead of sharing the time between multiple heroes and because the Gotham City setting was far more atmospheric than the bland Metropolis. There's very little atmosphere to be had here, the backgrounds look like something from Paw Patrol. It would be foolish to expect this to have the same quality as the Lego Movie but it's annoying because I know that they can do better.

The story has Lex Luthor break into a government installation (Area 52, a joke already done in Looney Tunes: Back in Action) to free a seemingly hostile alien and recruit him to their newly-formed Legion of Doom. Hi-jinks follow. The action is bombastic, chaotic, and hard to follow but the overall interplay between the characters is amusing enough to keep it tolerable. However, the casting of Mark Hamill as Sinestro AND the Trickster (the latter being a role he has now played across three incarnations of the Flash) doesn't fit well with John DiMaggio playing the Joker. Why even have the Joker in there at all if Hamill isn't voicing him? Why is his voice for Sinestro the EXACT same voice he does for the Joker. It's quite confusing.

Despite getting off to a decent start I am becoming quite indifferent to these movies, we'll see how the next one goes before I checkout completely.

0 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
The most boring thing I have ever suffered through in my life, 2 February 2017

This is not Lupin III.

If you came here expecting hijinks, hilarity, high energy, and happiness in a cheerful caper comedy you are most certainly NOT going to find it. This series is dour, depressing, downbeat and, honestly, really freakin' ugly to look at. Shadow detail is achieved by the animators rudely pencilling in charcoal lines across the characters and backgrounds and it looks HORRIBLE as well as frequently not matching the lighting of the scene. It also reboots the history of the characters and has them meeting and learning about each other so don't expect Lupin, Jigen, Goemon, and Fujiko to pull off a big, happy heist as a team while Inspector Zenigata bumbles after them in this 13-episode bore. The plot is a confusing, senseless mess, the characters are all wrong, the dialogue is stiff, grim darkness is's the complete opposite of what you want from a Lupin III series.

Not even the popular theme tune made it. I realize that Yuji Ohno is getting very old these days but the music they use in this show is wrist-slittingly dull. The show's opening number even begins with Fujiko ordering "Cease what you are doing!" Take that advice and switch it off. This series is an insult to Lupin III. Absolutely horrible.

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