4/30/11

Parts Unknown #51: Smackdown


Next week, the effects of the draft will take place. On this week's episode of Smackdown, superstars from both rosters performed for my viewing pleasure. And it was...alright.

PROS

~ Sheamus looked great as he stomped a mudhole into Kofi Kingston's karkass (see what I did there?). I would have preferred an actual match, but this segment served its purpose.

~ The Sin Cara/Jack Swagger match. Dig the mood lighting. I didn't notice any major botches, and the contrasting styles of both parties meshed with relative aptness. Even the trampoline entrance went off without a hitch. They should let The Big Show try it out sometime.

~ Hmm, a newbie. If you don't know what I'm referring to, a fresh face appeared backstage with The Great Khali and his insignificant manager. Apparently, this "mystery man" is Jinder Mahal, a product of FCW. He has the look. I'm curious to see if he has the talent. I'm listing this as a pro because new blood is always encouraging.

~ Mark Henry is a heel now, huh? I'll give him this much; he worked a decent match with Rey Mysterio. I don't see why Chris Masters couldn't have been afforded this spot, though. Hell, I'd settle for Tyler Reks. At least he has productive years ahead of him.

~ Kane. Big Show. Double chokeslams. I approve.

~ The main event. It was a solid wrestling match. Here again, there isn't much to say.

CONS

~ Vince! I have an idea. Put Randy Orton in the middle of the ring to kick off Smackdown every week. Send him one promising up-and-comer after another on a conveyor belt for him to squash. Make sure that he doesn't break a sweat (this is extremely important). Clearly, I didn't care for Randy's opening promo.

~ Why book a match between Layla and Michelle McCool before they butt heads at a PPV? The girls are trying to save this feud, and I don't blame them for the awful booking, but the crowd isn't buying it. At least Taker won't be denied pussy while he is recovering from his Wrestlemania bout.

Can they draft Michael Cole to TNA?

4/29/11

Jack the Giant Killer


Every few months, I tend to repeat myself. I know for a fact that I've said this before, but goddamn it, it bears repeating. Humans are boring! Monsters are cool! If that makes me sound uncultured, then so be it. When I was a kid, I loved monsters. When I was a teenager, I loved monsters. I'm 26, and I love monsters just as much as I did when I was a wee geek begging my father to buy a copy of Son of Godzilla. That's why I dig Jack the Giant Killer. It's chocked to the hem with gnarly goblins, stop-motion giants and the most sinister witches you'll ever see. It's almost as if this flick was made for me.

Before I go any further, I want to address this film's detractors. Yes, it was a heedless, desultory cash-in on The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Both sword-and-sorcery adventures are directed by Nathan Juran. The two pictures share actors Kerwin Mathews and Thorin Thatcher in roles that are similar to the characters they played in Sinbad. Hell, Jack even borrows set pieces from Sinbad. But I'm okay with the, shall we say, dubious intentions that impelled this project. Why? Because Jack entertained the shit out of me! This film is a textbook example of how to keep an audience glued to the screen and how to hit every mark in 90 crisp, effortless minutes.

The plot is achingly simple. An evil wizard named Pendragon (I've decided that my first-born will be named Pendragon, by the way...and no, the mother won't have any input) abducts a princess and forces her father to relinquish his throne. Obviously, a giant killer by the name of Jack saves the day. This film's appeal has nothing to do with a script or a character arc. This is a diverting creature feature, and it doesn't pretend to be anything else. Visually speaking, Jack is more stimulating than a nipple clamp. I watched it with my black light turned on, and it was like looking into a kaleidoscope.

The best scene sees Jack's ship being terrorized by floating witches. The sky turns purple. The ancient necromancers hover above the seafarers with pitchforks in hand. They are enveloped in blue rays. My jaw hits the floor. Seriously, how badass is that? It's something that every genre fan must witness. Fuck, I would give Jack the Giant Killer a perfect rating if it wasn't for a certain leprechaun trapped in a bottle. Talk about annoying. Plus, there are a couple of moments that wander off into Treasure Island territory. I'm not a fan of swashbuckling. Still, this flick is a keeper. I hear that a remake has been given the go-ahead. I'm rolling my eyes right now, just so you know.

4/28/11

Album Cover of the Week

4/27/11

The Junkyard #6

BOJANGLES' SEASONED FRIES

If you thought my addiction to Peanut M&M's was out of control, wait until you read this, the sixth edition of The Junkyard. This is an easy column to write. Movies, music and wrestling take precedence over food and beverages here at Random Reviews, but every once in awhile, it's fun to toy with my other favorite hobby - eating. To tell you the truth, I should probably go on a diet. I have gained a few pounds over the last year, but I don't see myself giving up fast food anytime soon. If you've ever dined at Bojangles', you would understand.

Most of my friends have never heard of Bojangles'. That's because most of my friends live up north, and this delectable chain of restaurants is tethered to the south. For those who aren't familiar with Bojangles', it's a fried chicken joint akin to KFC or Popeye's. In my not-so-humble opinion, it's the finest grease pit in the nation. The chicken is scrumptious, but there are two main reasons why this place rules, and they have nothing to do with dead birds. For starters, their sweet tea is heavenly. Kidney stones be damned, I order a large tea with every meal. And the second reason? Their seasoned fries.

Holy fucking shit. I don't know what goes into the seasoning, but I want it to be injected into my veins. No, I need it to be injected into my veins. It's a Cajun flavor that kisses your lips and hugs your tongue. There have been a couple of instances where they shortchanged me on the seasoning, but even without a smattering of delicious dust, these are great fries. "Natural" and "organic" are adjectives that come to mind. In other words, they taste like real food. Bojangles' does sell the seasoning on their website, but it would be difficult to recreate this kind of magic at home.

Perhaps the best thing about this synergetic side dish is the fact that it compliments every main course on the menu. It completes a chicken dinner. Heh, "chicken dinner." Does anyone say that? I'm getting ahead of myself. I was going to end this piece with Bojangles' slogan, but it's awfully corny. Aw, fuck it. It's Bo time!

4/26/11

Drain S.T.H. - HORROR WRESTLING


No, this review doesn't have anything to do with horror films or professional wrestling. The title of Drain S.T.H.'s debut album is merely coincidental. Known as Drain in their native Sweden, this band answers the question, "What if Alice in Chains was comprised of hot blonde chicks?" I don't know why it took me so long to discover these grunge goddesses, but I'm glad that I did. A brief history lesson...Horror Wrestling was released in 1996. The follow-up, 1999's pop-inclined Freaks of Nature, failed to make a splash in North America, and Drain S.T.H. would disband shortly thereafter. Damn.

I'm not crazy about Freaks of Nature. It's too sterile for my liking (drum loops don't belong on hard rock records). But this; this is meaty. Musically, Horror Wrestling rounds up the best elements of Crowbar, Gruntruck and of course, Alice in Chains. I say "of course" because it's apparent that the members of Drain S.T.H. listened to Dirt on repeat while they were in the studio. They utilize the same muddy harmonies and sludge-smutched riffs that Alice made famous. If you're like me, that's a good thing. I grew up with this kind of music, so I'm immune to the fact that songs such as "Smile" and "Unforgiving Hours" are somewhat derivative.

In my opinion, you don't have to be original if your tunes kick ass. Guess what? These tunes kick ass. The guitar tone is brutal, the vocal melodies are infectious (I hate that word, but it's undeniably apropos) and the production is...humid? It sounds like Horror Wrestling was recorded in a stuffy, claustrophobic room. That's a compliment, by the way. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that this album is (mother)fucking heavy. One could argue that the mixing is uneven, but that's a flaw that I'm willing to overlook.

The vocals are hard to describe. Maria Sjoholm - wife of Tony Iommi (lucky bastard) - isn't the most technically gifted singer in the world, but she has the perfect voice for this band. She doesn't need a multi-octave range. That's what I dig about her (well, that and her curves). Every other band from this time period has reunited, so I'm crossing my fingers for Drain S.T.H. to get back together. I mean, why not? These tracks are begging to be played live again. Watch the video below to see what I mean.



4/25/11

Parts Unknown #50: Raw


The time has come. This is the 50th edition of Parts Unknown. As you can see, it's a Raw review. But this isn't just any episode of Raw; it's the series premiere from 1993! Put your nostalgia caps on and sit back as I break down the very first episode of Monday Night Raw...hit the cheesy music!

PROS

~ First of all, I love the venue. A part of me wishes that they would take Raw back to the Manhattan Center. There is something to be said for intimate settings. Not to change the subject, but I don't consider the Impact Zone to be an intimate setting. The "brains" in charge of TNA try to pass it off as a spacious coliseum (or at least it seems like they do). I want to see a globe-spanning corporation entertain a modest crowd of 1,500 screaming fans for the sake of shaking things up and keeping the product fresh. Okay, back to the WWF (get the "f" in!).

~ The match between Koko B. Ware (I still don't understand his gimmick) and a then-undefeated Yokozuna. Guess who won? This is a fun squash match. I would have preferred to see Owen Hart in action (at the time, he was tagging with Koko in High Energy), but I won't nitpick.

~ Bobby Heenan building up the debut of The Narcissist (Lex Luger in front of a mirror) in an effective promo. It's too bad that the character was a flop.

~ The Steiner Brothers beating the living shit out of a jobber tag team called The Executioners. If you dig suplexes, then you'll dig this match. I laugh every time I spot Doink running around in the background.

~ Oh, mang (sic). What a Razor Ramon promo. It's cool, yet bittersweet. Cool because it's a Razor Ramon promo; bittersweet because we'll probably lose Scott Hall this year. Wait, did Tatanka just tell me to put a headlock on hunger?

~ The Intercontinental Championship match between Max Moon and a budding Shawn Michaels. Ten minutes of solid wrestling interwoven with more Doink chicanery. God, I'm in heaven. I can't believe that Max Moon didn't take off as a midcard babyface. Admit it; that's a badass costume.

~ The Royal Rumble report. Nothing to say really. It's amusing.

~ The Undertaker/Damien Demento match. I don't know if I've said this before, but whenever I watch an "old school" Undertaker match, I mutate into an annoying mark. So yeah, this match is awesome.

CONS

~ Nostalgia tends to cloud objectivity. Thus, there are no cons. I could watch this stuff 24/7.

The early episodes of Monday Night Raw are some of my favorite television shows of all time (no joke), especially the ones that were taped at the Manhattan Center. I can't get enough of the corny commentary, the ridiculous gimmicks or the melodramatic angles. If you haven't picked The Best of Raw: Seasons 1 & 2, I urge you to do so with a quickness. Hope you enjoyed the 50th edition of Parts Unknown. See ya tomorrow!

4/24/11

The Big 5-0

Just thought I'd let everyone know that I won't be reviewing this week's episode of Raw. I have a good reason, though! I have something super cool planned for the 50th edition of Parts Unknown. It should be up before Raw gets underway tomorrow night.

ohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboy

4/23/11

Parts Unknown #49: Smackdown


Hey, look! It's a Smackdown review!

PROS

~ The lengthy match between Rey Mysterio and Cody Rhodes. This has been a terrific feud. It doesn't even bother me that Rey picked up the win. I wasn't expecting him to be shut out anyway. Loved the post-match beatdown. Major props to the fans who proudly wore their paper bag masks throughout the entire show.

~ The demise of LayCool. It took fucking long enough!

~ Here are your winners and new tag team champions, Kane and The Big Show! If I can't have a presentable tag team division, then I want the belts to be in capable hands. That's the least they can do.

~ The Drew McIntyre/Chris Masters match. This was no epic, but it was actually my favorite match of the night. 'Twas highly competitive. These two gentlemen know how to milk the minutes that they are given. Also, is it just me or has The Chosen One been receiving atomic babyface pops lately? The WWE Universe has spoken, Vince. Drew's stint as a heel has run its course.

~ I can't tell you how much I enjoyed Alberto Del Rio's "retirement party." The diapers, the scooter, the "Christian" chants...I'm telling you, Christian is going to win at Extreme Rules. I'm 90% positive. Well, maybe 85%.

CONS

~ There were way too many recaps. You know what I'm talking about. "This just happened a few moments ago." "Here is what happened last month." "Let's take you back to Monday." Stop it. Now.

~ Put a couple of those paper bags on Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. Guys, you made it to the WWE. Learn how to cut a promo.

~ I realized something as I watched Trent Baretta job to Jack Swagger. I miss The Dudebusters.

That's all I got.

4/22/11

Foo Fighters - WASTING LIGHT


I have a love/hate relationship with the Foo Fighters. It's important for you to know where I stand on their past material so that this review doesn't seem like it was written out of context. As you might have guessed, I'm not big on Dave Grohl's pop experiments. I dig him as a person, but as a songwriter, I gave up hope a decade ago. I'm a grunge kid. I think that the eponymous debut is their best record, and yes, I know that I sound like one of "those fans." But I like what I like, and I happen to like the angular melodies and the guttural riffs of what was essentially a solo album.

Ah, 1995. Those were simpler times. I'll never hear a song as heavy as "I'll Stick Around" on the radio again. When I read that Wasting Light was produced by Butch Vig, I didn't want to get my hopes up. When I heard "Rope," I still didn't want to get my hopes up. It was a great song. There had to be a catch. Well, I've taken this CD for several spins now. Was there a catch? Um, I don't know. No, really...I don't know what to think. This album contradicts itself at every turn. Dave has ditched the glossy overproduction that has mired his most recent works, but he insists on cramping nearly every track with a major-key chorus, the kind you would hear in a trailer for a romantic comedy ("These Days" and "Back & Forth" being the worst offenders).

Despite predictable arrangements and radio-ready hooks, Wasting Light is the best Foo Fighters record since 1999's There is Nothing Left to Lose. I'll have to whip out a song-by-song breakdown to tell you why.
  1. "Burning Bridges" - High energy. The perfect album opener. Don't expect complete sentences, by the way (hey, at least I know howe two spelle).
  2. "Rope" - I knew that Taylor was a formidable drummer, but holy urethra, Batman! This tune is downright progressive. Extremely catchy. Bitchin' solo.
  3. "Dear Rosemary" - Nice dynamics. Clever lyrics. This will more than likely be a single at some point.
  4. "White Limo" - I know what you're getting at, Dave. This was your attempt at writing a modern day "Weenie Beenie." I appreciate the gesture, and I love the rabid shrieking, but it's just not heavy enough.
  5. "Arlandria" - My favorite ditty. In fact, this is one of my favorite Foo compositions of all time. It comes across as a more developed "Dear Rosemary." Instant live staple.
  6. "These Days" - Drab.
  7. "Back & Forth" - See above.
  8. "A Matter of Time" - See above. Yeah, this is where the album rolls over and dies. These three tracks are eerily similar to one another. Same tempo, same formula, same sameness...simply put, they are boring.
  9. "Miss the Misery" - A little better. The vocal melodies are more inspired, but we have reached the fifth straight mid-paced number. Mix it up, boys!
  10. "I Should Have Known" - Something different! Easily one of the stronger cuts. A slow burn featuring Krist Novoselic on bass (you heard me).
  11. "Walk" - Forgettable. God, this is a terrible review.
Take my rating with a grain of salt. I'm conflicted.

4/21/11

Geek Out #16

I couldn't help myself.

4/20/11

Album Cover of the Week

This feature will replace the Non-Horror Film of the Week, which I grew weary of. I'll be sticking to hard rock and heavy metal. Hope you like it!

Geek Out #15

Next to the opening credits of Tales From the Crypt, this is my favorite TV show intro/theme of all time.

4/19/11

Abby


Do you believe that things happen for a reason? I ask because I think that God wanted me to watch Abby. I was all set to sit down with The Green Slime, but the DVD was defective. "Fuck," I proclaimed. It dawned on me that I had a contingency plan. There was a sleazy blaxploitation flick sitting on my hard drive, and this was a good excuse to give it a swivel. Was this a sign? Was fate redirecting my path in life? Did God want me to learn from Abby, an illuminative parable about a Nigerian sex demon? Nah. It was just a dumb turn of events that allowed me to check out a film that I've been meaning to hit up for the longest time.

This 1974 Exorcist knock-off follows Bishop Williams, a vicar who excavates an African artifact that houses the spirit of Eshu. No, I don't need a moist towelette. Eshu is a Yorubian deity who personifies death and leads mortals to temptation. After Williams unknowingly releases this evil force, it possesses his daughter-in-law. Now that the synopsis is out of the way, there is something you need to know. Bishop Williams is played by William Marshall, the noble fellow who breathed fire into the role of Blacula in both Blacula and Scream, Blacula, Scream. He was trained in Shakespeare, and it shows in his stately performance. Abby would be a tough sell without his name on the bill.

I don't want to make it sound like Marshall is the meridian of a standard b-movie. This is a fun motion picture. It has a reputation for being a shot-for-shot clone of The Exorcist, but apart from one or two scenes, Abby has its own flavor. Don't get me wrong; I called it a knock-off because it's a knock-off. But in my opinion, there is a big difference between a knock-off and a rip-off. I don't recall a scene in The Exorcist where Linda Blair fucks a random stranger in a limousine and eats his soul (by the way, what's with the fog machine?). And unless I'm mistaken, the climax of William Friedkin's classic didn't take place in a disco bar.

Yes, sir. Abby is archetypal blaxploitation through and through. I dug it, but it does have its pitfalls. The editing is choppy, the side characters are interchangeable and the kills are dry. It's blatantly obvious that director William Girdler didn't have resources available to support special effects. We do see subliminal frames of a Captain Howdy-esque figure. Eshu isn't quite as creepy as Pazuzu, but then again, I don't know of any creepy blaxploitation flicks ( maybe?). Hopefully, J.D.'s RevengeAbby will receive proper DVD treatment. It calls for copious extras and a polished transfer. Which company is going to step up to the plate?

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4/18/11

Parts Unknown #48: Raw


This was an odd show. Where do I begin? Let's try the beginning...

PROS

~ I've got to hand it to R-Truth. His pre-match promo was decent (it was a hell of a lot better than John Morrison's feeble mic work), and he executed a credible heel turn. It's funny; just the other day, I was thinking to myself that his character would be much more interesting as a heel. Look up one of his Ron Killings promos. He can pull off a mean streak. Was this segment too long? Yeah, but it had to be emphatic. Kudos to JoMo for playing his part with plausibility. He's still a dickhead, though.

~ The Evan Bourne/Dolph Ziggler match. It was fluid and well-paced. More on Vickie Guerrero's business associate later.

~ I enjoy anything involving Sin Cara, botches and all. Dig those Miz jerseys. I can't say much for the kooky, kid-friendly tandem of Cena and Cara, but the Riley/Mizanin dyad almost resembled a real tag team.

~ Eve Torres continues to impress. Give this girl a feud that she can sink her teeth into.

~ The main event. Once again, the wrong person wins, but that was a great match. It was their best bout to date, in my opinion.

CONS

~ Dolph, Dolph, Dolph...why did you cut your hair? It gave you personality. Now you're a generic bad guy. Ugh, remember when wrestlers looked different from one another?

~ Sir Michael Cole? His investiture was as repugnant as the pallid, stinking vesicle on his foot (did that sound British enough?). I hope to God that was a prosthetic. Seriously, I nearly lost my dinner.

~ No A.P.P.L.E.?

Okay, I can't get the image of Cole's foul foot out of my head, so that's a wrap.

Quick Update

Before I start writin' about wrasslin', I wanted to post a brief rundown of where I'm at. For one thing, I've got to stop taking days off because it's hard for me to get back into the swing of things. Clearly, I have some catching up to do, so expect an abundance of content this week. I actually have more music reviews planned than anything else. As for Parts Unknown, I'm just going to head straight for Raw. I hate to bypass Smackdown, but I don't see the point of reviewing it a whole week after it was taped.

The 50th edition of my ever-so-popular wrestling column is fast approaching. I have something very special up my sleeves. Be on the lookout. I'll also be tackling The Green Slime in the next couple of days. I promise you this, dear readers...the rest of April will be fun and busy. Prepare yourself!

4/17/11

I hate it when I can't meet my own deadlines...

Sorry for the delay, folks. The Smackdown review will be up tomorrow (if anyone still cares) and I'll also be posting a movie review. Hang in there!

4/15/11

Die So Fluid - ...A HAPPY ENDING


The full title of this album is Not Everybody Gets a Happy Ending. If you've never heard of Die So Fluid, I'm not surprised. They're an obscure hard rock band from the United Kingdom. In a perfect world, they would be just as popular as The Donnas were, but this isn't a perfect world, now is it? I bring up The Donnas because DSF is fronted by a chick, a raven-haired chick in a catsuit. This isn't a cheeky nostalgia act, though. I could cite Veruca Salt as a reference point, and it wouldn't be an unfair comparison, but this power trio has a distinct sound. It's a sound that erupts when you merge the gustative textures of Helmet, Deftones and...L7?

Yeah, L7. Minus the butch vocals and the tampon chucking. Redcoats may recognize the emotive stylings of Grog, the leather-clad harpy clutching the microphone and abusing a bass guitar. She was in a few noteworthy bands in the 90's, the most accomplished of which was Feline. They were a curious cross between Angelfish and The Cure. DSF is a much heavier outfit, but having said that, I wouldn't stock this CD in the metal section of a record store. This is just a prime slab of hard rock. How hard? Listen to the driving riffs of "Existential Baby." This is stuff that you can headbang to.

My favorite tracks include the catchy-as-hell "Test Confessional," the diabolical "Happy Halloween," the cheerless "Vorvoloka," the purposeful "Pigsy" and the temperamental title track. The songs that didn't jump out at me when I first took this disc for a spin eventually attached themselves to my brain, especially "Gang of One." Oddly enough, this is the only Die So Fluid album that I care to own. Their latest album, 2010's The World is Too Big For One Lifetime, seems sedated. The bulk of 2004's Spawn of Dysfunction rubs me the wrong way, too (I can't quite put my finger on it). But I'm picky. Ignore everything that I say.

4/14/11

In Memory of Peter Steele

One year ago today, we lost one of the best rock/metal vocalists/songwriters of the 90's. Of course, I'm talking about Peter Steele. It seems like it was just yesterday that I heard the news. That's a timeworn platitude, I know, but it's true. I thought that I'd post a Type O Negative song in remembrance of the "Man of Steele." I didn't want to go with an obvious choice, so I picked a deeper cut, a track that is only available on the alternate version of Bloody Kisses. This is one called "Suspended in Dusk." Enjoy.

4/13/11

Tokyo Gore Police


What's wrong with Japanese people? Have they discovered a new hallucinogenic that we don't know about yet? Seriously, what would drive someone to write a script that contains a scene where a prostitute's vagina mutates into an alligator's mouth? At least Tokyo Gore Police doesn't dabble in "tentacle rape." And unlike ReGOREgitated Sacrifice, a film that strained to be shocking, this bizarro bazaar (yay for word play) is actually entertaining. Creatures called Engineers are terrorizing Japan, and it's up to a privatized police force to exterminate them. We follow Ruka, a hot cop with a sword, as she tracks down a certain Engineer who may or may not be responsible for her father's death.

There is so much more to the plot, but it's hard to put into words. Yep, it's one of those movies. Let me put it this way. If you want to see a human chair with breasts and a clitoris piss on a crowd of patrons at an underground auction, then rent Tokyo Gore Police. Hmm, where do I go from here? I'll try to stick to the basics. The acting...it's passable. I watched the dubbed version because I was too lazy to go back through the root menu, so I wasn't able to quantify the value of the performances with scientific accuracy. That said, Eihi Shiina is believable as our ass-kicking lead. Most of her co-stars ham it up. The only other cast member who shows restraint is Ikuko Sawada as Ruka's bartender buddy.

Oh, the gore. Honestly, I was let down by the bloodshed. Is this one of the goriest films that I've ever seen? Yeah, but the effects are so crude, that it was hard to get excited about any of the violence. Every time a character would lose a limb, a perfect stream of plasma would dart skyward like a thermal spring. There were several moments where the film veered off into Kill Bill territory. You can't say that about Dead Alive, which is why I consider it to be the best splatter flick of all time. To be clear, I'm not bashing Tokyo Gore Police. I had fun with it. I just wish that every kill didn't rely on the same technical tricks.

On a positive note, the cinematography is breathtaking. Kudos to director Yoshihiro Nishimura for infusing his gore epic with vivid lighting, striking still shots and well-edited action sequences. He found a million different ways to keep the pace rolling. I was never bored, and I didn't feel compelled to check the clock every ten minutes. In spite of those high points, I'm of the mind that Tokyo Gore Police is not the quintessential splatter freakout that it's cracked up to be. Recommended for fans of Machine Girl and Battlefield Baseball.

4/12/11

Parts Unknown #47: Raw


Now that was two hours of entertaining television. I won't say that this episode of Raw was a homerun (because it wasn't), but I feel comfortable in saying that it was a stand-up double. Let's dive into the melee...

PROS

~ The opening segment. I'm glad that Morrison crashed the party. Unfortunately, he's a dickhead, so you can expect to see him slide down the card. Triple H was able to rebound from backstage heat during the 90's, so maybe JoMo will work his way into the main event. The talent is there.

~ The Kong vignette! I marked out like a madman. For a character introduction, it hit all of the right notes and told us everything we need to know about this Barbie doll destroyer. On a sidenote, I like the fact that there is dissension in the Diva's locker room. They're setting this division up for a major shakedown, which means that they're actually taking an interest in the females on their roster.

~ The Primo/Sin Cara match. Yeah, they botched the finisher, but it's a cool move. On the whole, this was an enjoyable match. The crowd was into it, and it wasn't just a lopsided blowout.

~ A.P.P.L.E.? Okay, I'll give it a chance. I did laugh out loud. Daniel Bryan should have been involved in the gauntlet match, but at least they're doing something with him.

~ The Jack Swagger/Jerry Lawler match was one of those "whatever" moments, but it was salvaged by Jim Ross. He acted as The King's manager at ringside, cheering on his colleague and compensating for Michael Cole's flat performance. I'm dead serious when I profess that Cole is unfit to assume the role of WWE's top heel. He lacks the ability to think on his feet. The next time he tries to adlib, count how many times he repeats himself. On the bright side, Swagger may be turning face at Extreme Rules.

~ Edge's retirement speech. Wow. That came out of nowhere. I'm man enough to admit that I had tears in my eyes by the time The Rated-R Superstar walked back up the entrance ramp. His character has gotten stale in recent years, but I've always respected his work (he gets extra brownie points for name-dropping Demolition). Smackdown isn't going to be the same without him.

CONS

~ And your new Diva's Champion is...Brie Bella? What? I don't understand any of this.

~ Gail Kim, Natalya, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel need to take acting lessons in the worst way imaginable.

~ If you're going to punish John Morrison, then you'll need to elevate someone else. Fine. But don't choose R-Truth! Oh my fucking God. Why not Dolph Ziggler? He was right there! This show was on its way to becoming a contender for "Best Raw of 2011," but the ending killed it.

I'm done. Do you have anything for a headache?

4/11/11

Undeadbeat

I've been out of town for a couple of days, and I'm sapped, but I thought that I'd let everyone know some of the movies that I plan on reviewing in the next month. Normally, I try to surprise you people, but I wanted to share the cool shit that I just bought. I picked up The Green Slime and Jack the Giant Killer (via Amazon.com). Tomorrow, I'll be sitting down to absorb Tokyo Gore Police (via Netflix). Finally, and this one isn't set in stone, but I hope to review Pin in the near future (via Netflix Instant Viewing). See? I told you that it was cool shit!

Until then...

4/10/11

4/9/11

Parts Unknown #46: Smackdown


I can't promise that this will be a diligent, in-depth look at last night's Smackdown, but I didn't want to skip it two weeks in a row. The things I do for you!

PROS

~ The two-out-of-three-falls match between The Corre and The Random Babyfaces (you might as well call it a faction). It was given plenty of time, and each guy chipped in with offense. This will be the first match ever to appear in both sections of Parts Unknown. I told you why it's a "pro;" scroll down to find out why it's also a "con."

~ Cody Rhodes scores another victory! It looks like we'll be seeing a rematch between Captain Mexico and The American Nightmare. Sounds good to me.

~ I loved the backstage segment with Edge and Christian. It was well-acted, well-written and well-timed.

~ We finally saw more of Beth Pheonix's ring prowess. When the hell are they going to pair her up with Awesome Kong?

~ Sin Cara strikes again! I appreciate the fact that Vince is trying to get him over as a fan favorite before tossing him into a program.

~ The main event. Of course, I wanted Christian to win, but this plan of action will pay off in the long run.

CONS

~ The two-out-of-three-falls match between The Corre and The Random Babyfaces. Once again, the young champions lose for no reason. Whatever happened to the youth movement? And why did the referee disqualify The Corre? The match had already broken down. There was no outside interference. What a messy finish.

~ Marriage counseling for LayCool? I don't like where this is heading.

Overall, this was a strong episode. Smackdown is still the most consistent wrestling series on television.

4/8/11

Slayer - HELL AWAITS


I'm a metalhead, so I must worship the ground that each member of Slayer walks on, right? Eh, not exactly. A militant, unflagging love for all things Slayer has almost become a metalhead stereotype of sorts. Every up-and-coming thrash band cites Slayer as an influence. You'll see at least twenty Slayer shirts at every gig, regardless of attendance. They are the only band whose underground credibility has never been in jeopardy. That's no small feat, considering that Kerry King has played with Sum 41 and Beastie Boys. If you're a metalhead, it's practically a given that you're a Slayer fan. So why am I not a Slayer fan?

To be honest, their most revered album - 1986's Reign in Blood - doesn't appeal to me. It's bland. In my opinion, most of their catalogue is bland. And I've listened to all of their albums. Ironically, the only Slayer records that I dig are the ones that don't get much attention. A prime example would be 1998's Diabolus in Musica. Die-hards threw a hissy fit over the album's emphasis on groove, as it seemed like a reaction to the success of bands such as Sepultura and Machine Head. Whatever. The riffs were heavier than fuck. That's all I cared about. Check out "Bitter Peace," and tell me you don't want to commit murder.

I'm also quite fond of Hell Awaits, the subject of this review. It's regarded as a watershed release, but if you were to corner a metal journalist and ask him to name the essential albums of the 80's, I guarantee that he would gloss over this furious clod of death metal (yes, death metal) in favor of Reign in Blood. To each his own. Still, I feel that this album is just as important as its successor, if not more so. First of all, this is one of the earliest death metal recordings in history. Don't believe me? "Kill Again" is basically a Cannibal Corpse song. Guttural growls didn't exist in 1985, but if you pay attention to the music, you'll realize that this track could have been written for CC's Eaten Back to Life.

That's one of the things that I fancy about Hell Awaits. It combines the urgency of Bay Area thrash with the demented chord progressions of New York-style death metal. "At Dawn They Sleep" fits that description to a tee, as does "Necrophiliac." The second half of this disc isn't as memorable as the first. If you're working on something while the last few tracks play in the background, you won't notice when they begin or end. To be fair, that probably wasn't a problem in 1985. This shit was lethal back in the day.

So yeah. I think that Hell Awaits is better than Reign in Blood. Do you have a problem with that? It's not my fault that it's the more energetic album. It's not my fault that the production is superior (you can actually hear the bass). It's not my fault that I've heard "Angel of Death" way too many times. It's not my fault that I have nothing else to write about. On second thought, that might be my fault, but I'm going to find a way to pin the blame on someone else. The devil made me do it?

4/7/11

Invasion of the Saucer Men


Ah, Invasion of the Saucer Men...I've been wanting to see this film for the longest time. At one point, I ordered it off of eBay. I distinctly remember the sense of defeat that washed over me as I discovered that they had sent the wrong tape. They sent the right box, though. Some consolation prize. Eventually, I caved in and resorted to downloading a torrent. Normally, I wouldn't even consider forgoing the time-honored tradition of hunting down a tangible copy of a rare movie. I'm a collector. In my opinion, there is nothing special about gaining access to a cult classic with a few clicks of a mouse.

But hey, times change. It's no different than perusing the Instant Viewing section on Netflix. That's what I'm telling myself to justify breaking the law. Anyway, did this elusive b-flick live up to my expectations? Well, I wasn't expecting much, so yes, it lived up to my expectations. Saucer Men is a droll, sprightly "alien invasion" romp about a spaceship that crash lands near Lover's Lane, a make-out spot that is tucked away in the paunch of a forest. I'm beginning to think that these secluded necking destinations only exist in Hollywood. The plot runs parallel with that of Killer Klowns From Outer Space. The framework is identical.

You know the drill. The adults don't believe the teenagers, the teenagers decide to take matters into their own hands, the aliens inject alcohol into the veins of their victims...wait, hold the phone. The aliens attack humans by getting them drunk? Oops, I spoiled the twist ending. That's not a joke, by the way. Saucer Men is about lettuce-headed midgets from the cosmos who fluster earthlings with an inebriant elixir that is jabbed into the bloodstream via retractable claws. This probably sounds like a parody, but for the most part, the script is played straight. I swear.

There are scenes that could have been lifted from a screwball comedy, but that has more to do with the cartoonish score than the acting or the dialogue. The bulk of Invasion of the Saucer Men is your typical 50's cheese. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because I adore 50's cheese; bad because it's nothing new. The characters are nondescript, the plot holes are enormous and the narration is dispensable. I'm being generous with my rating. I would have enjoyed it more if I had watched it with a fellow nerd. Hell, the poster alone is worth a Z'Dar all by itself.