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By-TorX-1

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30 reviews in total 
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Three Heads, But Could Have Had A Little More Bite, 23 July 2015
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Three-Headed Shark Attack is an entertainingly bad film, and as it's title is a thematic/quality giveaway no one is going to be expecting Citizen Kane 2 (Rosebud's Revenge). On the plus side, the shark is an effective CGI creation and there is enough chomping to keep the pizza-movie viewer happy. But, the film is often slack in terms of narrative with some padding in the first section. For example, one sequence has three characters slowly take turns swimming out to a boat with the same outcome each time, plus, there is an odd 'rescue' bit in which a group seek out the hapless Howard and save him from being buried alive under some chairs. More shark action would have been good in lieu of such time-wasting. However, there are also many marvellous plots turns and visual points that compensate and which will amaze viewers, like: a victim taken by the shark even though he is only in ankle-deep water; a bullet-proof shark; a group who reason that staying on an island is much riskier then setting back out onto the high seas in rickety boats; angst about reaching land when land is clearly visible on either side of a boat and looks about a mile away in either direction; machinegun-toting fishermen; a nice Danny Trejo self-film reference; shark-skiing, an ending that is pretty much the same as Mega Piranha (and equally illogical); many characters obsessed with engaging in swimming races with the titular multi-noggined beast, and, best of all, Rob Van Dam rocking the socks with sandals look.

Zombie Shark (2015) (TV)
Silly, but with a surprising emotional core, 21 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As the latest entry into the seemingly endless monster/supernatural/killer shark pantheon, Zombie Shark (AKA Shark Island) is suitably daft, but enjoyably so. The premise is pretty much The Walking Dead meets Jaws (with a side order of Moby Dick) and often has a knowing comedic tone and some fun gore. However, there is also an emotional element that is not usual in such films, principally the dynamic between Amber and Sophie which leads to a very unexpected ending, and the motivations and back-story of Dr. Palmer, and Laura Cayouette plays her effectively and with a strong degree of gravitas, again, a quality not often seen in films belonging to this mad subgenre. But, before I get too carried away, such depth is almost scuppered by the more inept aspects of the film: the less-than-convincing CGI sharks that either has sharks oddly bobbing about or moving with a mechanical tail-action that suggests that they are not so much zombies as mini-mecha sharks; an 'amazing' glove puppet shark head; the much-vaunted terrible storm that never actually arrives; dubious greenscreen backgrounds; some jerky editing that prematurely cuts some scenes, and the casual throwaway of the Bridgette character (as much a victim of vicious editing as, well, I won't spoil it). Also, the zombie shark himself, Bruce, needed more screen time and visual focus to fully establish his unique quality that sets him apart from his reanimated selachimorpha charges, and the addition of human zombies is an undeveloped tack-on. But, Lester and his beach pal's counter-attack against the undead sharks is amusing and Jason London provides solid military heroics. So, a bit more CGI/effects care (or less CGI and more prosthetics) and Zombie Shark could have led the killer fish pack, but it still has a human factor the others lack, and it needs to be commended for that.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Nuttily Brilliant, 18 July 2015
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Mega Shark series is fantastic! The films throw logic as high in the air as the Mega Shark leaps (and this film's shark leaps the highest of all!) but so what because therein lies the pleasure, and Mega Shark vs. Kolossus is no exception. As ever, the Mega Shark makes its entrance with the quickest of introductions before engaging in its national monument smashing ways, but this time must face an adversary who is a cross between a giant Ultra Man and Iron Maiden's lovable mascot, Eddie-the Head (and what is not to love in that pairing?). OK, so maybe the two titans pretty much act like they are in two separate films for most of the action, but it is still marvellous when they come together. Add a David Beckham look-alike tech-philanthropist, a mighty CIA agent, a ship's bridge that could be the interior of a bus, a game Illeana Douglas, and battleships being swatted hither and thither by the titular Mega Shark, and you have another perfect Saturday night schlock fest that is that is everything you could hope for from a Mega Shark that apparently has the ability to destroy all of humanity (I'm still not fully sure how sharks can do that, but these films assure us that they can so that is good enough for me).

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Very Bizarre, 13 July 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For a series about aliens, being bizarre might well be a boon, but the In Search of Aliens title is something of a misnomer as this is simply more Ancient Aliens. Thus, our intrepid searcher, Giorgio Tsoukalos, ends up applying ancient astronaut theories to everything from the Loch Ness Monster to Bigfoot, with neither anomalies seemingly having a great deal to do with aliens. But, fear not, as good old Nessie and the Sasquatch are soon linked to alien activity. As such, we get a lot of 'what if Bigfoot is related to the Book of Enoch and the Epic of Gilgamesh?' or 'What if the Loch Ness Monster is a pan-dimensional creature?' but rarely a 'what if they are not, and why on earth would they be?' or, more specifically, a 'why am I even talking about such things as this show is about aliens?' Given that a number of anthropologists give plausible reasons as to how ape-like creatures might exist in the vast American forests, as do archaeologists to explain how monoliths in Malta could easily have been moved by humans, it's a shame that such views are then sidelined in favour of such left-left-left-left of field hypothesising in relation to aliens, and ancient ones, at that.

Needed to be Bigger on the Bigfoot Action, 8 July 2015
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The twist in this film is a twist that you really don't want (but can see coming within the first 10 minutes) as it negates the reason for watching the film - you want Bigfoot action, not stock Deliverance malarkey with a sub-Blair Witch sheen. Also, the video-footage angle is unconvincing as there is a point by which the brothers simply would not be filming anymore, but they do, and film everything, which makes no sense. But, not much in the film really does make sense so that is a moot point. For instance, when abandoned in the woods by an older fellow, it is unclear why the group don't just follow him, and when one character's girlfriend is taken in the night, he is bizarrely unconcerned and very casual about it the next day to the extent that he happily films him and his brother wandering along a road, complete with a "I love you, man" monologue (the show must go on, and all that - what pros!). With proper Bigfoot action this film could have been a very creative and creepy low-budget treat, but it doesn't have such action, so it isn't.

All At Sea, 15 June 2015
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Amphibious is a mess of a movie, but has some decent points, most notably a not-too-bad creature. However, little of the plot makes sense. The Tamal character seems to be a sorceress and apparently (it's never quite clear) summons the sea-based fiend to exact revenge on her tormentors, but she then kills the creature, only to have its babies. I didn't quite get it (could anyone?). The plot also meanders, with the Skylar character concocting bogus reasons to return to the fishing platform (that has no boat - not a very smart enterprise) to push the narrative along and she is not terribly convincing as a scientist, either. For example, the film opens with a couple's self-recorded video antics but who fall victim to the creature, but the video then is revealed as a YouTube-type 'Fact or Fake' feature, but given that the characters say their names and are missing US tourists, I doubt it would be hard to verify that they are indeed missing. For that matter, Skylar's actual research is fairly nebulous, too. Anyway, it's worth a Friday night viewing if there is nothing else on, but the Brian Yuzna label promises much more than it delivers.

Columbo is always a class act, but this episode lacks something, 8 June 2015
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Old Fashioned Murder is a solid 1970s investigation for our crumpled hero (although a trip to a hair stylist changes that for a while, which is an amusing touch), and Joyce Van Patten's Ruth Lytton is certainly a cold killer, but there is a curious lack of suspense as Columbo has clearly solved the crime within five minutes of attending the crime scene, and he knows that Ms Lytton is the killer. This, you might cry, is the standard structure of Columbo, but in this episode there is a sluggishness to the action. Even the critical evidence is, by Columbo's own admission, slender, again adding to a odd sense of going-through-the-motions and it therefore lacks that "gotcha!" moment. This is a shame as Ruth Lytton is actually (no pun intended) really ruthless in her actions and her treatment of her adoring niece. Still, worth a viewing on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Could Have Been Great, But Chooses to Narratively Sail Away Into The Ether, 20 May 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Never to return. The look of Berberian Sound Studio is gorgeous and the sound is marvellous, but the script goes nowhere. If the film had kept things simple, a man overcome by his immersion into the horror of exploitative giallo, then the film would have been a marvel, but the plot unravels (yes, reflecting the central character's state of mind, etc.) to the point that you regret the time investment you have made in watching it. Indeed, while probably very deep and surreal, the last quarter of the film just seems as if the script wasn't finished when production was greenlit and no ending was conjured before the final day of shooting. I have no problem with oblique endings (Lost Highway is fabulous), but this just dwindles away, which is a shame given the earlier promise. Sometimes just telling a story is all that is required, and Berberian Sound Studio just needed to do that.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Holy Fromage, Batman! A Swiss Cheese Smorgasbord of Plot Holes, 20 May 2015
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hailed by some as the best film ever, I found The Dark Knight Rises to be a shambles and a poor end to a supposed 'epic' trilogy as, at its mighty climax, the viewer is left with so many hows and whys, such as: If Batman has been off the scene for years, how come Bruce Wayne is so battered and maimed? Who has he been fighting? And if so, how does one leg brace cure him? How does Bruce Wayne get from the desert prison back to Gotham City? How does he shrug off a deep knife wound and jump out of the flying typewriter (that's what the 'plane' looks like to me - the design in the film is horribly clunky and visually indistinct) over the Gotham river unobserved and unscathed so he can then jet off with Selina? Who indeed is 'Catwoman' (she is never called that)? What is her story and how does she have such incredible fighting skills? I would like to have seen that as Anne Hathaway shines in the role and is the only bright spot in the entire film. Also, would EVERY single Gotham cop go into the sewers? Really, ALL of them? And then they all just languish underground (quite happily, by the looks of it) for three months before being freed to engage in an A-Team-style battle with Bane's mob (loads of gunfire, but hardly any hits). Indeed, where are the illustrious denizens of Arkham Asylum during Bane's reign? (Oh, yes, we briefly see Scarecrow, so that's that sorted, then). Meanwhile, in the sunny hellhole prison of darkness, Bruce was either lounging in bed or suspended from a rope during his tenure there, so, bar some pressups, where does he suddenly find the power to knock out the seemingly unstoppable Bane? And then, finally, we have 'Robin' who is just an average-sized cop (who knows Batman's true identity thanks to 'Orphan Telepathy') with no specialist skills or knowledge, so what is he supposed to do with the Batcave? It took Bruce Wayne a lifetime to become the Dark Knight, what is a cop going to do with the cave and its technology? Or perhaps Bruce Wayne left a helpful note, who knows? As an ending to the trilogy, TDKR is deeply unsatisfying and has a script that closely resembles swiss cheese. To be honest, I didn't think that Batman Begins was much cop, either, but that had Liam Neeson and The Dark Knight had the tour-de-force presence of Heath Ledger, but TDKR only has the charisma-free Tom Hardy mumbling unintelligibly and hardly any Batman. Oh, and the plot is pretty much the same as the Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough.

This Film Was Diced Rather Than Cubed, 18 May 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The original Cube was an innovative exercise in how to tell an engaging and original story with a limited budget and an even more limited set. Cube 2: Hyphercube, alas, fails to capitalise on such established promise and becomes boxed in by banality. Without any puzzles for the protagonists to solve, Cube 2 is pretty much a number of random individuals climbing in and out of the same room for one and a half hours until it all just ends. The actual end 'twist' doesn't really make much sense and the use of early CGI is ill-advised as it takes away the claustrophobic and visceral element of the first movie and replaces it with 'Crystal Castles'-like shapes that seem super-imposed on victims rather than actually impaling them. As such, in place of enigmas we get repetitive routines, although the zero-gravity love scene is something novel, I suppose. The murder of numerous parallel copies of characters is an amusing motif, too, but the film needed more of such touches to really make its mark. Not terrible, then, but not innovative like its predecessor, and it is a shame that such promise imploded.


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