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Showing posts from October, 2011

Darker Than Black

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Title: Darker Than Black
Rating: 3.5/5 (Kuro no Keiyakusha – 3.5/5 / Ryūsei no Gemini – 4/5)
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Starring: Hidenobu Kiuchi, Christopher Sabat, Jason Liebrecht
Director: Tensai Okamura
Language: Japanese
Duration: (25mins; Season 1: 25 Episodes; Season 2: 12 Episodes; OVA: 5 Episodes)

Looking over this in passing it looked a little like an anime version of the hit US TV show “Heroes,” probably not helped by the fact that it emerged just a year after its first season. The thing is, even though both dealt with the mysterious appearance of people with extraordinary abilities; flight, possession, control over the elements and so on; following a large number of characters coming to terms with their abilities and the ensuing reactions from the public, often kept in the dark as much as possible – though in this case little is known about them anyway – this is about as far from such a show as is possible. Rather than dealing with an overarching continuous story, dri…

Death Kappa

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Title: Death Kappa
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi (Comedy)
Starring: Daniel Aguilar Gutiérrez, Hideaki Anno, Shinji Higuchi
Director: Tomo'o Haraguchi
Language: Japanese

Someday, we'll be together, you and me
I'm wearing panties again today
The stars above are all lucky, happy
I'm going to end up putting our secret inside a treasure chest


Sometimes I wonder just how they manage to sell films like this to potential producers; whether they simply say 'It's about a Kappa that destroys stuff' and hope they don't ask for any further details, or if they have to ask them sit down and brace themselves whilst they explain exactly what they want this film to do. At least here they sold it to the right people; the producers who gave us 'Tokyo Gore Police' and 'Machine Girl' are on board, and that for me automatically seals the deal, I'm on board for the ride too. And this is one hell of a ride; this is the sort of B-Movie that makes Troma look…

Inseminoid

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Title: Inseminoid
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror
Starring: Robin Clarke, Jennifer Ashley, Stephanie Beacham
Director: Norman J. Warren

One of those classic films lost to the depths of time, 'Inseminoid' is one that has travelled to me through word of mouth; my old flat-mate having heard his friend talk of it after watching it late on the 'Horror Channel,' proceeding to buy it, watch it, and then tell me of it. With a name like this how could it be bad? Combining “Insemination” with the '-oid' prefix to denote precisely what this film is about. Let's be perfectly blunt about all this, Alien – a film about an alien pregnancy – came out in 1979. This – a film about an alien pregnancy – came out in 1981. A team travelling to an alien planet to discover what happened to their previous expedition ends in some mysterious events, like people going nuts and dying from being stabbed in the hand. And it isn't long before one of their number finds their way to …

Jennifer's Body

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Title: Jennifer's Body
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror (Comedy)
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox
Director: Karyn Kusama

A film I've meant to look into for a while, Jennifer's Body is undoubtedly a bad film, but it's a special kind of bad film. It's not just a “B-Movie with a budget,” it's one designed to exploit a young starlet – in this case Megan Fox – and laugh at her endlessly as they ask her to actually act and not just stand next to something and bend over whilst a CGI explosion happens in the background. It's an exploitation piece of a different variety; a cruel and elaborate practical joke to be played on her for the whole world to see, the likes of which I haven't seen since someone asked Paris Hilton to make a slasher flick (I am of course referring to “House of Wax,” which got publicity just because people got to see her die). Unfortunately I really should have looked at this a little closer, because whilst the writer seems to realise what a jo…

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

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Title: Starship Troopers 3: Marauder
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action
Starring: Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Stephen Hogan
Director: Edward Neumeier

And so we come to the last film in my marathon, spurred on by the news of a fourth film in the making, and the one that most will have never seen after the atrocities committed by the first sequel, when in truth this is a budget offering that feels like an actual sequel as opposed to a film with only some vague connection to the original. In fact, you could skip over the second in this trilogy and not suffer for it; no information is gleaned there that is required here. But of course as a straight-to-DVD budget offering, expectations shouldn't be kept too high; the CGI still at times looks fairly atrocious – though certainly nothing on the scale of the last – and the acting is nothing to be impressed by, but it's commendable that despite all the limitations imposed upon the director (also the writer for the trilogy) he still …

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation

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Title: Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation
Rating: 1.5/5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Horror
Starring: Billy Brown, Richard Burgi, Kelly Carlson
Director: Phil Tippett

Just as monumental as the debut was, this is a sequel that too should go in the history books for it is no less worthy of being remembered. Never before has such a film managed to be so successful; so incredibly capable of demonstrating the value of a director in a piece of cinema, as I struggle to think of a single sequel that traverses between 'masterpiece' and 'foetid pile of shit' with such speed. There is always the usual problem of 'sequel syndrome,' very few actually living up to their originals but made anyway as a cheap cash in, but here they've really outdone themselves. The director has jumped ship, the funding has been slashed horrifically, and of the original cast we are left with precisely nobody. About the only person who didn't take one look at this project and tell the…

Starship Troopers

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Title: Starship Troopers
Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Starring: Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer
Director: Paul Verhoeven

There's a joke amongst Neil Patrick-Harris fans that everything he touches turns to gold, and having only seen him with prominent roles in “Dr. Horrible” and “How I Met Your Mother” - the best part of a show often referred to as 'the next “Friends”' - I can't say that it's entirely unfounded. And years since the first time I was mesmerised by this classic tale of bugsploitation, I realise that here too, has had a touch of the man's ability, and even though his role is trivial at best, it again manages to find itself as being an achievement of incredible proportions. There aren't many sci-fi films that manage to find themselves with a half decent budget, and this isn't a director exactly known for this genre of film, yet he never seems to be one to rush into things. There are many faces you'll recognise from la…

Free Jimmy

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Title: Free Jimmy
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Animation, Comedy
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Simon Pegg
Director: Christopher Nielsen

Four stoners, five vegans, three mobsters, four hunters and a million reasons to free one junkie elephant.

Sometimes, even when a film succeeds in getting on board a whole host of stars, a film just doesn't seem able to get it's foot in the door; Free Jimmy tells the tragic tale filled with heartache, tragedy, hope, and a whole lot of drugs. This is one animated film that won't be accepted by the family friendly Pixar or Dreamworks industry; in fact they had to travel all the way to Norway to find a company with a sense of humour strong enough to tackle this material. When three stoners agree to join their old buddy in working at a dodgy Russian circus, what they didn't expect was Jimmy; an elephant addicted to crack, who in true style soon escapes from his incompetent captors. Onwards ensues their quest to save Jimmy, but they aren't the onl…