Men Behind the Sun is one of the most notorious exploitation films of all time. It dealt with Unit 731, a top-secret research facility where thousands of innocent people (men, women and children) were brutally killed in the sullied name of science during WWII. I won't get into a history lesson, but if you're ever bored, look up Unit 731 on the web. It's a fascinating, if not disturbing read. Horror buffs consider Men Behind the Sun to be a sickening endurance test, a promontory for the deranged, a landmark in shock cinema. But what does it have to do with Philosophy of a Knife?
Philosophy is a very similar film. The subject matter is the same, the concept is the same, and the target audience is the same. The only difference is that Philosophy is more gruesome. Oh, and it's over four hours long. No, that wasn't a typographical error. This flick delivers four hours of some of the most wicked, depraved violence ever captured in front of a camera. It's so gory, that it's mind-boggling. We see a graphic vivisection, a child exploding in a decompression chamber, a cockroach being forced inside of a woman's vagina, frostbitten skin falling off of bone and other various atrocities.
If that's not crazy enough for you, listen to this...I like this movie! It's a work of art. The jumpy editing, the warm B&W cinematography, and the clever inclusion of archival footage (I love the way that director Andrey Iskanov weaves it into the torture sequences) nudge Philosophy ahead of its competition. As a documentary, it's informative and educational. As a stylish genre film, it's fucking intense. Is it tough to watch? Yeah, but that's the whole point. I don't understand why it was made, though. It doesn't do anything that Men Behind the Sun didn't do. As a matter of fact, it's virtually a remake.
If you're going to sit down with Philosophy of a Knife, view it in two parts. Clearly, it's long-winded. The last 30 minutes are exceedingly dull. Couldn't they find more people to interview? This might have been more effective as a work of fiction that was based on actual events, as opposed to a documentary spliced with re-enactments of the experiments conducted at Unit 731. Still, I recommend this film to extreme gorehounds. It definitely lives up to the hype. I doubt that I'll be seeing it on The History Channel anytime soon.
This was the worst episode of Raw that I've seen since August. I didn't understand the point of most of the matches/segments. If it weren't for CM Punk, this would have been an irredeemable bungle of epic proportions.
~ The Randy Orton/Sheamus match. It doesn't seem like Sheamus has been on a losing streak because of how strong he has looked lately. That flying shoulder slingshot was sick. What I liked about this match (aside from its length) was the fact that there was no interference. Nice.
~ CM Punk becoming the new leader of Nexus. This is going to be good. Punk is the next Chris Jericho. Did you hear those cheers when he slid the black-and-yellow armband up his elbow? We finally have someone who can cut the kind of promo that is strong enough to counter Cena's jokey garbage.
~ Why is one half of the tag team champions involved in a singles feud? Are you fucking kidding me? Where is Koslov? Where are The Uso's? Where is the goddamn tag team division? Why even bother having tag titles???
~ The WWE Championship match is next week? This could have been a memorable feud, but from the looks of things, John Morrison will be out of the title picture before Royal Rumble. What is Vince thinking? Former tag team partners feud over the only prestigious title left in the company and we're not getting a PPV match out of it? I hope that I'm wrong. I really, really hope that I'm wrong.
~ Why is Jerry "The King" Lawler wrestling so much? His program with The Miz is taking precedence over Morrison's program with The Miz. Makes no sense.
~ Jackson Andrews being pwned by Mark Henry. Isn't this guy supposed to be intimidating? Why is he getting his ass kicked by a midcard jobber before he makes his in-ring debut? Can you imagine if The Undertaker or The Big Show started their WWE careers by being humiliated? Goodbye, credibility and intrigue!
~ Alicia Fox is still horrendous.
~ We come back from a commercial break to see a match between Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder already in progress...? We don't even get a glimpse at their ring entrances? Fuck off.
This is just a little update. I'll be posting my Raw review later tonight, and tomorrow, I'll be posting a review of one of the most shocking films of all time. Can you guess what it is? I doubt it. It's not as well-known amongst exploitation nuts as Cannibal Holocaust or even A Serbian Film. Speaking of which, I'll be turning my attention to extreme gore flicks over the next couple of months. I haven't seen a lot of these titles, so I'm looking forward to diving into a cesspool of blood, vomit and shit.
By the end of the week, I'll be posting my first ever book review. It's related to wrestling. If you're a real wresting fan, you should be able to identify the tome - an autobiography - by glancing at the name of this blog.
Money may not buy happiness, but it does buy special effects. Wishmaster benefited from a decent budget that allowed for insane death sequences and detailed sets. The creative team behind Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies didn't have that luxury. It doesn't have a clever script to fall back on either. This sequel is everything its predecessor it wasn't. On the bright side, Andrew Divoff returns as The Djinn. He gives another compelling performance as everyone's favorite evil genie, but it's never explained why The Djinn's human guise looks like Andrew Divoff.
That's what pisses me off more than anything else. I can deal with tacky effects, but this movie just doesn't make sense. Hell, half of the wishes aren't wishes. At one point, a cop yells "freeze." He doesn't ask to be encased in a block of ice, but guess what? That's what happens! Plus, it only takes our heroine a few hours to assume that her friend's death was somehow related to Arabian folklore. Huh??? And why does The Djinn spend so much time hanging out with a repellent sot? Is he that bored? Admittedly, the scenes of Divoff being a complete asshole in prison were pretty funny.
Is Wishmaster 2 gory, you ask? Well, yeah, but not in a "holy shit" kind of way. There are several amusing kills, but this film doesn't rival the original in the bloodshed department. On the casting front, Holly Fields isn't nearly as endearing as Tammy Lauren. None of the characters are developed. If I wasn't so enamored with the first Wishmaster entry, I might be a little more forgiving with the sequels. Before you ask, no! I'm not reviewing the rest of this series. I need to move on with my life.
The live edition of Smackdown started off with a bang. The midsection was bland, but things picked up in the second hour. The ending didn't work. So this episode was all about peaks and valleys. Let's grab our forks and dig in, shall we?
~ The opening bout between The Miz and Randy Orton. I liked the fact that the show began with a solid match. The Miz pulled off a few exacting moves that impressed the hell out of me. I have no doubt that thousands of fans detested Orton's dominance after the match, but if you read yesterday's column, you know where I stand on this issue.
~ The Big Santa cracked me up. I could be alone, but I can appreciate a well-timed dose of levity. "Dashing" Cody Rhodes's violent assault on Hornswoggle was awesome.
~ Santino flirting with his Glamazonian ex-girlfriend. Don't hate the player; hate the game!
~ I don't know why they're delaying Ezekiel Jackson's return to Smackdown, but I'm glad that he was traded from Raw. He'll have more success on the blue brand, as its midcard talent is more pronounced.
~ Drew McIntyre's 30-second squash match. Will The Chosen One be receiving a concentrated push? It certainly seems that way. He hasn't done much since his feud with Matt Hardy, so I hope that he climbs back up the card. This guy has all of the tools he needs to become a major player. On a related note, his backstage segment was promising in spite of Kelly Kelly's dumbass facial expressions (try not to look at the camera, honey). I wouldn't mind seeing him turn face.
~ The tag team match between Rey Mysterio/Kofi Kingston and Jack Swaggeer/Alberto Del Rio. I don't care for Mysterio, but he executed a sick tornado DDT.
~ CM Punk saves the day!
~ A Raw Rewind in the first hour? Fuck that.
~ The handic(r)ap match. It was too slow. Cena's moveset is too limited to keep up with a wrestler like Dolph Ziggler.
Wow, only two cons? That surprises me because this wasn't a first-class episode of Smackdown. It wasn't bad, though. Parts Unknown will be back next week. I've got a ton of random movies to sift through.
Last night's Raw pissed off Internet fans because of how The Miz was booked, and while I get where they're coming from, I have to say that I'm okay with how this title reign is being handled. Allow me to explain...
~ A couple of weeks ago, I was appalled by how weak The Miz was made to look. I'm changing my position. This guy needs all of the heat that he can get. The fact that he is making a mockery of the WWE Championship fits rights in with his character. Yes, he was pinned by Jerry Lawler, but hear me out. When was the last time that we saw a champion like this? Sheamus and Batista were heel champions who should have picked up clean victories. They're typical "tough guy" characters, but The Miz is a different kind of heel. He shouldn't be booked the way that Sheamus would be booked.
~ We finally have fresh faces in the main event. Lawler and Alex Riley stick out like sore thumbs, but this was the first main event in a long time that didn't bore me. It was a great match.
~ Melina's heel turn. The matches between her and Natalya are going to kick ass.
~ The Daniel Bryan/William Regal match. These two need to feud over the United States Championship before Regal retires.
~ The backstage segment featuring Santino, a pig-tailed Tamina and Maryse. Funny stuff.
~ It was good to see Dolph Ziggler getting massive exposure. He should have talked more than Vickie, though.
~ CM Punk's chair shot to Cena's back! This should be entertaining.
~ The "Christmas ghost" bullshit was ridiculous. I want to rape Michael Cole's mother.
~ Where were The Uso's during the mixed tag match? C'mon, Vince! This is the only credible tag team that can contend for the titles! Shouldn't they feel betrayed by Tamina? Get them off of Superstars, for Christ's sake.
This was a decent episode. There were several things that I liked about it. Being the tag team mark that I am, the inexplicable absence of The Uso's bothered me more than anything else did. Smackdown is shaping up to be a curious watch.
Okay, that's a terrible TLC joke. Get over it. I thought I'd post a few thoughts on last night's PPV. I think I'll make this a regular feature, but don't expect a clever title or full-length reviews. I just want to jot down whatever comes to mind about the PPV's that I don't pay for (which is all of them). If I'm being honest, I only checked out half of the matches. I mean, we all knew that The Miz was going to retain and that John Cena was going to flatten Nexus. From what I hear, those two bouts weren't particularly enthralling anyway.
The John Morrison/Sheamus match was fucking amazing. That might have been the best ladder match I've ever seen. No joke. The four-way Intercontinental match was decent, but shockingly, it wasn't as good (or as long) as the Diva's match. All four girls worked their asses off. I loved the finish. It seemed improvised, but according to Wrestlezone, the table wasn't supposed to break when LayCool landed on it.
This week, WWE is rearranging their schedule due to Christmas, so I'll be posting Parts Unknown tomorrow and on Wednesday. Laters!
I'm short on time and long on thoughts. What does that mean? It means that it's time for a bulleted list!
Wishmaster is one of my favorite movies of all time, regardless of genre. It's an old-school monster mash that was made during the slasher boom of the late 90's. I love it because it's not that old, yet it's so far removed from what's happening in the horror genre today. It has a sense of humor without poking fun at itself. The characters are actually likable. There are no teenagers! But this is just the first bullet.
When I first saw this flick, I was blown away by the gruesome special effects. Are you a gorehound? If so, you'll heart Wishmaster. In the opening sequence alone, we see a skeleton crawl out of its host. It seems like there is a creative kill every five minutes. Since this is a supernatural film, we're not limited to boneheaded stabbings and decapitations, although there is one nifty beheading by piano wire. Man, violence is cool.
Tammy Lauren gives one of the best heroine performances of the 90's as the beleaguered Alex. Better than Neve Campbell in Scream. Better than Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween: H20 (yes, I'm that bold). You can tell that she thought about how each line should be spoken. She was given terrific dialogue to work with, not that she needs a good script to sell a performance. Of course, Andrew Divoff rocks as The Djinn. Why didn't this film turn him into the next Bela Lugosi or the next Robert Englund? It's not his fault that Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies was less than stellar (review coming soon).
The cameos...ah, the cameos. Nowadays, it's commonplace for a b-flick to have a docket of cult actors associated with it, but in 1997, it was a novel idea to have this many cameos in one film. Robert Englund, Reggie Bannister, the voice of Angus Scrimm, Tony Todd, Ted Raimi, Buck Flowers, Kane Hodder and several other genre staples appear before the camera (or in Scrimm's case, behind the camera).
I might as well use this bullet to say that everything I haven't mentioned (lighting, pacing, score, etc.) is also up to snuff. The whole fucking production is a home run.
Yes, the image I used is the Spanish poster. I just like the way it looks.
Is Wishmaster perfect? No, but I don't care. I'm giving it a perfect rating anyway. I watched it fifty times in Middle/High School, and it brings back a lot of warm memories. If I was granted three wishes, I would wish for three decent sequels instead of the ones that we're stuck with.
NOTE: I was literally busy all day yesterday, so I won't be reviewing Smackdown this week. Please enjoy this review instead. Please???
Who Can Kill a Child? is an intense thriller about a couple vacationing on a remote island. Upon arriving at the peaceful enclave, they notice that there are no adults to be found. The stores are empty. The hotel is abandoned. Our main character's pregnant wife spots a little girl, but that's it as far as human interaction goes. Eventually, it becomes apparent that this patch of sand has been terrorized by a group of evil kids. Why? I don't know, but I'll bet you anything that He Who Walks Behind the Rows had something to do with it.
All kidding aside, it's never explained why these brats are so fucking demented. The film begins with harrowing footage of children starving and/or dying in concentration camps. Thanks, movie, but what does Auschwitz have to do with your plot? It doesn't make sense. That's the only complaint that I can level at this Spanish spine-tingler. It's quite effective. We get to know the couple before they are caught off guard by Jerry's Kids (or maybe they are Bebe's Kids). The chase scenes are suspenseful, and the last 30 minutes are masterfully composed. Actually, the ending reminded me of Night of the Living Dead, although I wouldn't want to spoil it for you.
Who Can Kill a Child? is a foreign horror film from the 70's, so the dialogue is silly in spots. For die-hards like me, that just adds to the charm. If you're patient enough to wait out the methodical first half, you'll be rewarded when the shit hits the fan. Highly recommended. Watch it as part of a triple feature with Children of the Corn and Beware! Children at Play.
This week's Raw was the 2010 edition of the Slammy Awards. I had never seen the Slammy's since I just rediscovered my love for wrestling this year. What did I think of it? To put it vaguely, my reaction was lukewarm at best and disinterested at worst.
~ Former WCW Champion David Arquette! I liked the fact that he worked as a heel, and from a business standpoint, it was a wise idea to have him present an award.
~ The Wade Barrett/Big Show match. Yes, it made the leader of Nexus look weak, but something about his refusal to finish the match rubbed me the right way. In my opinion, it was solid booking. I'm sure that many of you will disagree.
~ I dig how they are keeping CM Punk relevant as a wrestler. I was awfully intrigued by his promo. Who will he feud with next?
~ The tag team match between Daniel Bryan/Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler/Ted DiBiase Jr. Ziggler is quickly becoming one of my favorite superstars on either roster. The guy is always on point. With a little more practice on his mic work, he'll be the total package (not unlike Daniel Bryan).
~ Angry Miz girl! I didn't care for how her segment was handled (c'mon, let the poor girl get the upper hand), but her mere presence was a nice touch.
~ The Miz/Rey Mysterio match was decent. Honestly, none of the matches stood out, as this episode was centered around comedy and "sports entertainment." I probably won't comment on the other matches, but again, Miz and Mysterio had a strong back-and-forth.
~ It was great to see Edge and Christian together again as faces. Vince, please give them one more run as a tag team. Pleeeeeeease!
~ HBK! I'm not his biggest fan, but as with Christian, his appearance made the show feel extra special.
~ David Arquette being powerbombed through a table.
~ We all knew it was going to happen, but the "re-hiring" of John Cena was fucking stupid. This whole angle was so poorly executed, that I'm genuinely surprised that it made it past the drawing board.
~ The Holy Shit Moment of the Year should have gone to either John Morrison or Kofi Kingston.
~ The 35-second match between John Morrison and Sheamus. I realize that it served a purpose (congrats to JoMo for landing a number one contender's match), but they could have hyped their PPV bout without teasing a match. I mean, 35 seconds? And why was it stopped anyway? Give me a fucking break.
~ Um, JTG? Pay attention.
~ The Diva battle royale was a misfire. That might have been the worst battle royale I've ever seen.
~ Cena wins Superstar of the Year? Insert a condescending smiley here.
That's all I've got. From where I sat, the 2010 Slammy Awards were half and half. If I used my Z'Dar rating scale for this column, it would receive a 2.5, the quintessential non-rating.
Considering that real estate is a cadaverous field to be in, it's totally believable that some unstable soul would flip out and hack up a bunch of real estate agents. Foreclosures continue to vitiate the economy, and millions of families across America have been affected by this disturbing trend. So it doesn't surprise me that someone made a horror film that comments on the current state of landholdings. It does surprise me that Open House, a slasher that tackles such topics, was released in 1987.
Don't worry; I'm not going to write a boring thesis on the economy. This is a movie review, and the movie I'm reviewing is a "body count" flick starring Adrienne Barbeau. No one ever talks about it, but it's no worse than any other late-80's slasher. In fact, it's pretty good. The cast is mostly competent. Naturally, Barbeau gives the best performance of the film. We get to see her boobies! Ahem. The production values are sleek, the baddie is intimidating, and the side characters are given a little bit of depth before they are dispatched.
On the downside, the running time is slightly turgid. There are several scenes that putter too long, especially the over-the-top kills. Also, the ending is a letdown. The killer's monologue doesn't reveal any revelations and there isn't even a fight or a struggle to cap the climax off. I kept waiting for the script to connect the nutjob's identity to the intriguing prologue, but that never happened. The first five minutes of Open House are rendered meaningless. Still, I recommend this film to slasher buffs. If you see a VHS copy at a thrift store or a garage sale, you might as well pick it up, if only to see Adrienne Barbeau's delectable cans.
Welcome to my new snack food column where I write up brief reviews of fattening junk. Here's how it works - I see something that I don't need at the store, I eat it and I construct a poorly-worded description of it. Soup's on!
Fuck, I love Wonka candy. The first time that I had a kazoozle, I flarped in my kreenish jib. What is a kazoozle? Well, it resembles licorice. The pink lemonade variety (which is the only variety that I've tasted) is a lemon rope full of sour paste. There is sugary glitter sprinkled on top. I love the texture of the exterior and the flavor of the interior. This stuff is kind of expensive, but you need to buy it anyway. I mean, if I had the opportunity to buy heaven, I wouldn't complain about the price.
You know what these taste like? Cheeseburgers. These motherfuckers taste exactly like cheeseburgers. You can taste the ketchup, the mustard, the pickles and the meat. You're looking at me funny. I don't think you understand. These chips don't taste like cheeseburger-flavored doritos; they taste like cheeseburgers! At first, they're pretty good, but after a few bites, they make you want to puke. They fucking suck. If I want something that tastes like a cheeseburger, I'll eat a cheeseburger.
The Smackdown writers have been on the receiving end of Vince McMahon's axe as of late. It's rumored that head writer Michael Hayes is in danger of losing his job, and while watching this week's episode, I could sense that the creative team was, shall we say, distracted.
~ The Kaval/Jack Swagger match. I almost listed it as a con, but it's not their fault that it was a mess. Kaval was legitimately injured early on in the contest, and as a result, he could barely move for the duration of the match. He couldn't even climb the ropes. I have to hand it to him; he gave everything he had, but it was all for naught.
~ The match between Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Championship. I wasn't too thrilled with the DQ finish. Jack Swagger deserves a title shot, but they should wait until the belt is put on a face to bring him into the picture. This one is half-con/half-pro.
~ Chris Masters wins? Holy shit. It looks like he's going to start a program with "Dashing" Cody Rhodes. Good for him. I wish that the crowd was more enthused (they were dead all night).
~ Santino and Koslov paid a visit to Smackdown! They had a fun match with Drew McIntyre and Chavo Guerrero. Look for Chavo to turn face in the coming weeks.
~ The Diva's match was actually decent. Layla was limber.
~ Kane's opening promo. Didn't he deliver the exact same promo around Thanksgiving? This angle is so run down. Edge has been pulling the same pranks on Kane for three weeks now. Drop it. No one gives a shit.
~ A leprechaun beat up an eagle in one of the most surreal matches in WWE history. Jesus Christ.
Blegh. I'm done. Vince, hire new writers for Smackdown pronto!
Meh. That's how I feel about Predators. I'm a huge fan of the first two films, and I'm a fan of the predator itself. It's my second favorite Stan Winston design behind the titular demon in Pumpkinhead. This film, a direct sequel to the 1987 original (why Predator 2 was ignored is anyone's best guess; it's underrated, in my opinion), has a lot going for it. I wanted to love it, but a couple of impediments mucked up my viewing experience.
Whenever I review a mediocre movie, I try to start with the things I liked about it. What can I say? I'm a nice guy. But not today! Director Nimrod Antal (his first name should have been a warning) didn't make the most of his gaffer. Was there even a lighting rig on set? I couldn't see anything during the nighttime sequences, so basically, I couldn't see half of the fucking film. From what I could tell, the fight between one of the predators and the yakuza assassin looked badass, but I could barely make out what was happening. I didn't know that the Japanese guy was wounded until he fell over! What an impactful death. Oh, well. His character wasn't developed anyway.
The script for this film was written in 1994. I wish it was made then because I would have been able to watch it without squinting. It seemed as though the cameras were immersed in oil before each shot. I also didn't care for the ending. Since the bad guy's voice was heavily distorted, I couldn't understand what he was saying. I did read spoilers beforehand, but I was still confused by the twist ending. Bear in mind, I could hardly see anything, so the predator-on-predator altercation was lost on me. I couldn't tell who was winning and who was losing. There is supposed to be a blood feud between alien tribes. Apparently, some predators are larger than others, but they were basically the same size. That didn't help.
It sounds like I hated this flick, but I only hated certain aspects of it. Adrien Brody is believable as the duplicitous Royce and I dug Alice Braga as the lone filly who knows a thing or two about the aliens. The cinematography is clean, the pace is sturdy, and the plot is unique. I like the idea of taking this series to a different planet. I can't say that I was ever bored. Predators is decent, but it could have been so much better. I don't feel like my expectations were unfair either. I didn't need this to be a sci-fi/horror epic; I just needed it to be a cool, violent creature feature. I must say, I prefer Predator 2.
Bravo! Last night's Raw succeeded in making each segment seem important. That never happens. I did get pissed off at John Cena, but I'll get to that later.
~ The opening promo was pure gold. I was actually...excited. I know, I know; I'm just as shocked. Believe me. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for either Jerry Lawler or Randy Orton to clobber Michael Cole. This bit did an excellent job setting up the rest of the show. And I laughed my ass off when CM Punk stood up to read the GM's e-mail.
~ DiBiase and Maryse have parted ways. Good.
~ The debut of Jackson Andrews. This kid has a ton of potential. I (and every other old school wrestling fan) was reminded of Shawn Michaels and his imposing bodyguard, a cool 7-footer by the name of Diesel. Outside of his ring work, I don't see Tyson Kidd's appeal, so pairing him with a giant was a smart move. But where was Natalya? Isn't she supposed to be tight with The Hart Dynasty?
~ For me, the four-way tag team elimination match was the apex of this particular Raw. It ran for 12 minutes (!). When the bell sounded, new champions were crowned in Santino Morella and Vladimir Kozlov. I love it! They'll probably feud with The Uso's over the belts, and I'm glad because those slick Samoans are the only real tag team in the WWE. By the way, did you happen to catch their new finisher? It was a back body drop parlayed into a fierce Samoan drop. Badass!
~ Alex Riley being powerbombed through a table. Fuck that guy.
~ Cena's current angle hasn't bothered me as much as it has bothered most die-hards, but every man has his limits. Why is Wade Barrett the only person who can rehire Cena? Where the fuck is Vince McMahon? Doesn't he have some say since, y'know, it's his fucking company? What about the anonymous GM? Oh, and a big "fuck you" to Cena for downplaying the tag match. I'm blaming him for that line because it seemed like an adlib. That was the best match of the night. It actually made the tag titles feel relevant, and he makes it look like a complete joke in two seconds flat. "How does it feel losing to Santino?" You tell me, John. Santino has been showing off his wrestling skills in recent weeks (especially in this match), and let's not forget about Koslov. Thanks for diminishing what little credibility the tag team division has, you twat. I didn't mean to ramble, but goddamn.
~ John Morrison's promo was embarrassing. Dude, I like you, but that's why you didn't win King of the Ring. Work on your mic skills or you'll never be in the title picture.
~ LayCool on commentary? No. Don't. It took away from a decent match between Melina and Natalya, two ladies who can wrestle circles around LayCool.
Okay, I'm done. I ranted more than I thought I would, but the pros outweighed the cons. Next week, we get another 3-hour special...the Slammy Awards!
For over a decade, Floor Jansen fronted After Forever. They were one of the first bands to popularize female-fronted Gothic metal. I never got into them. Aside from Lacuna Coil, I wasn't a fan of the genre as a whole. When After Forever split, Floor started a new band. That band is Revamp, and this is a review of their self-titled debut album. I knew that I would be floored by the vocals (that's the last time I'll use that pun, I promise), but I didn't think that I would take to the music. Well, I was wrong. This CD rocks!
How does it compare to After Forever's discography? For one thing, it's heavier. There is more double bass, and there are only two ballads to speak of. You could argue that most of the songs are commercialized, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If Revamp was played on modern rock radio, I would listen to the radio more often. The main thing that I admire about this record is Floor's sense of melody. Her vocal lines are ineluctably catchy. Listen to the chorus of "All Goodbyes" and the subtle way that she twists the refrain of "I Lost Myself." If you don't hit repeat, I'll shave my balls. Actually, I won't.
This chick can do anything with her voice. She's an accomplished opera singer, she can handle pop or rock, and while she was on the road promoting this disc, she even learned how to growl. I told you she could do anything! My favorite tracks are the possessed "Head Up High," the dramatic "Million," the metal-as-fuck "Disdain," the decorous "Disgrace," the affecting "Sweet Curse" and the aforementioned "All Goodbyes." An honorable mention goes out to the drummer. He pounds a cannonade of intricate rhythms out of his kit. A professional writer would look his name up, but I never claimed to be a professional.
I'm probably making this album sound like it's perfect, but it's not. Tracks 9-12 are almost interchangeable. I keep listening to them in the hopes that they'll grab me, but they never do. Also, a couple of songs have an Evanescence feel to them. The formulaic arrangements don't help. Revamp destroys Evanescence, though. Unlike Amy Lee, Floor Jansen doesn't need a studio and a team of producers to smooth out her inadequacies with Pro Tools. She can reproduce her incredible repertoire in a live setting.
Revamp's debut is very good, but there is still room for improvement. I can only imagine how much ass they are capable of kicking. If you're into bands like Epica and Octavia Sperati, you're bound to enjoy this record. Check it out!
This week's Smackdown was weird. I can't quite put my finger on it. Let's see what happened...
~ The tag team match between MVP/Kaval and Drew McIntyre/Dolph Ziggler. There weren't as many double-team maneuvers as there could have been, but how could there be? These guys were built to be single competitors, so neither team had any chemistry. Still, this was a long, intense fight. This will mark MVP's last appearance on WWE television. He requested his release and Vince McMahon complied. MVP has been working solid matches as of late, but I've always found him to be bland. I'm glad that he's gone. With another babyface expunged from the roster, maybe Chris Masters will finally get the midcard push that he deserves.
~ The bout between Kofi Kingston and Jack Swagger to decide the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Match of the night! It went for over 15 minutes. Kofi botched a couple of spots, but he also did things that I've never seen him do before. I loved how he jumped over the ring steps to send Swagger crashing into them. My prediction is that he'll be the one to take the IC strap from Ziggler.
~ The "Dashing" Cody Rhodes/Chris Masters match. Unfortunately, Masters lost (again), but needless to say, the match was enjoyable. This is Smackdown, after all.
~ More of Edge wheeling Paul Bearer around the arena? This is getting old. The storyline didn't progress, unless you count the fact that Edge picked the stipulation for his match with Kane at TLC. What's the stipulation, you ask? It's going to be a TLC match. What a shocker!
~ The Diva's match, which did not include Beth Pheonix. What the fuckety-fuck? Is she still injured? Oh, and the face-off between Hornswoggle and the eagle (that he supposedly killed last week) was fucking stupid. By the way, I read that Layla is dating Cody Rhodes. Interesting.
~ Rey Mysterio's opening promo was awkward and stilted. I was hoping that he would fall off of the ladder. Don't ever give this guy a goddamn microphone.
The matches were great this week, but I didn't like anything else. I guess that's what I meant when I said that this episode felt weird. It was just...weird.
Brains. They have a place in the horror genre, and I'm not just talking about zombie catering. Not only are they a savory source of protein (so says Tar Man), they also serve as the basis for several sci-fi pictures. The Brain, Fiend Without a Face, The Brain From Planet Arous, Head of the Family...for whatever reason, there are a slew of genre nuggets that center around gray matter. Last night, I took in Donovan's Brain, a film that will disappoint those looking for the unintentional laughs and shopworn special effects of most brain-themed b-movies.
Donovan's Brain is surprisingly character-driven. The plot follows Dr. Cory, a scientist who is asked to save a survivor from a plane crash. There isn't much that he can do, so the unlucky passenger dies on the operating table. Cory sees this tragedy as an opportunity to continue his experiments on the vestal abilities of disembodied brains. Can he keep this man's brain alive in a tank? Of course! Does this brain belong to a ruthless mobster? D'uh! Does Cory form a telepathic link to the brain? Does the brain control the thoughts of our mad doctor and force him to break the law? Yes and yes! Would this be a good spot to insert a paragraph break? Absolutely!
The cast is strong. Lew Ayres embraces the knavish duality of his character. His facial expressions turn on a dime as he switches from the well-meaning Dr. Cory to the scheming Donovan. This is essentially a modern retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A young Nancy Davis plays the concerned wifey-poo. If that name sounds familiar, it's because Nancy Davis would later become Nancy Reagan. I wonder if scenes from Donovan's Brain were ever used in a smear campaign against her husband. "My opponent will brainwash you!"
Like I said earlier, you won't be able to enjoy this film on a z-grade level. Well, you can, but Donovan's Brain isn't nearly as campy as The Brain From Planet Arous. It's just as entertaining, though. The pacing is crisp, the storyline is intriguing, and the titular vital organ looks cool pulsating in milky fluid. Hmm, that sounded erotic. Anyway, give this golden oldie a shot. I would give it four Z'Dar's, but there are a few instances of "b-movie logic" that really pissed me off. I know that it's called science fiction, but couldn't they at least try to make the script believable? I mean, aside from the telepathy and stuff?
My name is Dom Coccaro. I'm an established freelance writer. I like to write reviews, but I find that it's hard to find review-writing gigs on the Internet that pay more than $0.00. I don't like being boxed in and I don't like to constantly give my writing away for free, especially if it's not on my own website. So I created this blog. I'm free to review anything I want to, though I'll be mainly focusing on horror, metal and wrestling. Often times, my review selections will seem incredibly random. Randomness is underrated. Thus, Random Reviews has been birthed from my cavernous vagina.
PS-This blog is rated R for profane language.