5/27/17

Blood Capsule #73

MY MOM'S A WEREWOLF (1989)

I was dreading popping this puppy into my VCR (that's what I call my Blu-ray player).  I've been burned by many lightweight horror/comedy hybrids, but My Mom's a Werewolf - rated PG, no less - is a winsome grab bag of quirks and references to other b-movies.  The "best friend" character is a teenybopper obsessed with classic horror and issues of Famous Monsters magazine.  An early scene takes place at a sci-fi/horror convention, but Jennifer (the daughter) couldn't care less about that "crap."  Why are these two best friends again?  Anyway, the film centers around the nominal child-bearer.  John Saxon bites Leslie's toe, and unbeknownst to her, John Saxon is a werewolf.  Yes, in my mind, John Saxon is playing John Saxon.  At all times.

I had fun with this loaf of lycantainment.  It doesn't take itself seriously and it doesn't twiddle with a "girl cried wolf"' scenario where no one believes the protagonist.  That shit pisses me off.  The make-up effects are competent, although there is no transformation sequence.  My Mom's a Bitch moves within the framework of a parody through certain jokes.  Those are the most painful jokes. Thankfully, they are the exception.  Plenty doesn't add up (what's up with the dentist's office?), but on the whole, this flick is easy on the brain.  BTW, I don't remember fortune tellers defrauding fans at the conventions I attended (?).

5/25/17

NXT Round-Up


This is kind of a loose rehash of the episode, as I'll also be discussing the most recent Takeover event.  It took place in Chicago this time around.  I braced myself for pesky, insufferable "CM Punk" chants, but for the most part, the crowd was deferential.  You could tell that they didn't want to piss on anyone's popsicle.  'Twas a typical NXT crowd, but in my opinion, that isn't always a great thing.  The second match of the night, a show-stealing UK Championship bout, was nearly maladministered by oh-so-smart marks.  The fucking crowd was in love with itself.  I guarantee you that "fight forever" will be shouted during every main event until the end of mankind, whether the sentiment is genuine or not.

ALEISTER BLACK VS. CURT HAWKINS ~ Good squash.  Probably Black's best match yet, discounting his scrap with Neville at the UK tournament.  I'd say it's high time to insert the former Tommy End into significant programs.  His squash phase has more than served its purpose.

THE VELVETEEN DREAM DEBUTS...AGAIN ~ WWE has this weird habit of booking fresh acts and then "debuting" them a few weeks later.  They might even get vignettes, as was the case with Patrick Clark.  I'm still not clear on what his official moniker will be going forward.  At any rate, this was a decent jobber entombment. Clark has obviously tweaked the less conspicuous details of his gimmick.  But is he supposed to be a heel?  I don't know why, but I got the distinct impression that Mr. Velveteen was a fan favorite of sorts.  Pretty sure I'm wrong.

THE MAJOR TURN ~ Dipping back into Takeover: Chicago for a minute.  How about that tag team ladder match?  Ciampa's post-loss beatdown of his partner was certainly unexpected, but it didn't make much sense.  Why go through the tumult of feuding with The Authors of Pain and signing on for a dangerous encounter if you're just going to pummel the dude in your corner?  Eh, it's pro-wrestling.  At least we'll enjoy sweet matches between Gargano and The Psycho Killer.

DREW MCINTYRE VS. WESLEY BLAKE ~ Last night's main event. No complaints, although I'd like to see a heavier dose of Blake in the coming weeks.  The guy is polished in the ring.  And another thing; Drew needs a different finisher.  I've said this before, but NXT has a feeble assortment of finishers.  McIntyre has a kick.  Black has a kick.  The glistening, hot-off-the-press Patrick Clark has...an elbow drop.  An elbow drop!  Someone piledrive me.

5/23/17

Pulse ('88)


I felt it was necessary to include the year of release in the title.  As a quick trip down IMDb lane will substantiate, there are way too many scare flicks entitled Pulse.  Make no mistake; I'm reviewing the first one (at least I think it's the first).  This shocker (!) initiated a surge (!!) of appliance-based horror that continued well into the 90's.  Okay, maybe Maximum Overdrive is the malefactor to blame.  Pulse came before Shocker and Ghost in the Machine, so there.  I vividly remember seeing its box art on video shelves, but I never mustered up the nerve to rent it.  Honestly, I wasn't expecting much. My "quality radar" must be kerflooey (highly technical term).  Pulse rocks!

Now, it may not rock in the way most 80's genre films tend to rock. It's rated PG-13, so don't hold your breath for designs of gore, sex and matter-of-course lechery.  This is a movie that works far better than it should.  I was ready to despise David, our prepubescent main character.  He is played by none other than Joey Lawrence.  You could call that a curveball, but what really waylaid me was his grounded, authentic performance.  Little dude was a capable actor! His kid brother, Matthew, also appears in Pulse as a neighborhood sk8er boi.  Even the younger Lawrence is entertaining ("Isn't that baaaaad?").  What planet is this?

The rest of the cast is serviceable.  An honorable mention goes out to Roxanne Hart.  Her performance as the sentimental stepmom is delightfully warm.  I want to say seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit, but I might be amiss a pinch.  Anyway, it could have easily been a throwaway role that blended into the background, but Hart gives it a bent of personality.  Pulse was the last film directed by Paul Golding. I can't figure out why, and no, he doesn't seem to be dead. Assuming it was his call, kudos on the snaky close-ups of gremlin-infested circuit boards and melting wires.  The whole shebang features fluid camera movements.  Indiana Jones is cool.

As I mentioned earlier, I was caught off guard by the sturdy acting.  I couldn't predict it, nor was I able to predict the tizzy-rigid suspense. The low-scale action is well-staged.  I'm telling you, Pulse is a good time at the multiplex.  I'm not claiming that it's flawless.  Ellen (the sentimental stepmom) is awfully quick to buy into David's story of evil electricity.  Oh, that's what Pulse is about, by the way.  So yeah. This is fun stuff, and it should be panegyrized alongside The Goonies, The Monster Squad, Fright Night...y'know, child-centric geek pictures.  Harrison Ford is awesome, right?

5/22/17

Geek Out #130



What's that?  You're an impossibly obsessive fan of Ghoulies?  You want to know if it was originally shot in 3D?  You have an adamantine cenotaph of an erection for Charles Band interviews?  Goddamn, today is your lucky day!

5/19/17

Now you're down on the upside...


I wanted to write an entry of remembrance for Chris Cornell.  I don't talk about it much, but he was a huge inspiration from a creative standpoint.  Even as a child, reading his lyrics (especially on Superunknown) reaffirmed my hopes of becoming a writer, and striking a deeper nerve, made it easier to compartmentalize my darkness.  I didn't begin to joust with depression until I was a teenager, but I think on a subconscious level, listening to Soundgarden (and bands of their ilk, of course) bestowed me with the ability to perform a mental biopsy on my anxiety and self-doubt.

Oh, and Chris had a great fucking voice.  I can sing his low-to-mid-range stuff, but those high notes?  My false chords (or vestibular folds...you're welcome) have never been strong enough to belt out "Birth Ritual" or "Jesus Christ Pose."  Fellow vocalists know exactly what I'm talking about.  Aside from his vocal dexterity, he had a fantastic ear for melodies that would drive a spear through your ribs. Huh, I must have Jesus on the brain.  And what a songwriter!  Chris, that is.  Not Jesus.  He penned some of Soundgarden's most memorable tunes, not to mention Audioslave and Temple of the Dog.

Law enforcement's official ruling of suicide is hard to reconcile.  His family wants a toxicology report, and I don't blame them.  This doesn't make sense.  I would never claim to know the man intimately, but the general impression is that drugs and demons were in his past.  Granted, chronic depression isn't curable (yet).  This tragedy is still a head-scratcher.  Scott Weiland's passing, while no less tragic, was nowhere near as shocking.

"Why doesn't anyone believe in loneliness?
Stand up
And everyone will see your holiness"

5/18/17

Cosmopolis

This week's NXT round-up has been rained out.  Apologies have been withheld by the cream of society.


Today has been a bummer.  I woke up to my mom telling me that Chris Cornell, an artistic inspiration to many (myself included), had passed away unexpectedly.  What the fuck?  This whole day has been marked with a murky haze, and then I remember that I have to review 2012's Cosmopolis, the last leg of my Cronenberg relay.  It wouldn't be so bad if this film was approachable.  I think I fucked up by ending with heady, highbrow stuff.  Of course, Croney's entire resume is heady and highbrow, but sheesh!  Crash and Cosmopolis take "aloof" to another level.  If you thought Dead Ringers was cold, this antifreeze will bind hoarfrost to your snow tires.  Or something.

The trailers were deceptive in that they hoodwinked you into believing that Cosmopolis had an actual storyline.  It does have a plot.  All movies have a plot, be they cadaverous or sophisticated.  Here, Eric (Robert Pattinson) has a series of serpentine conversations - with his employees, mainly - in a limousine.  Blammo, monkey puck!  There is your plot.  Please note that this differs from a storyline, as the term "storyline" suggests movement and things happening.  At least Crash disported some level of progression.  Lamentably, both pieces are about low stakes.  I don't have a dog in the fight.  Eric stands to lose a colossal fortune, but guess how many fucks I give.

Cosmopolis is a study, a visual essay.  It covers greed, impersonal relationships, the temporality of sex, the fine points of industrialism and symbolic rats.  What do the rats symbolize?  Goddamn everything.  On the topic of "killer rat" flicks, I recommend 1982's Deadly Eyes.  On the topic of Chris Cornell's solo works, I recommend 1999's Euphoria Morning.  It's gorgeous.  You know how certain celebrity deaths affect you more than others?  Man, this one is jumbling my wires.  He left behind a wife and three children.  I'll never judge him; I just have a tidy sum of questions that I won't be able to answer.  If it bothers me, imagine the consternation of his kids.

I didn't like Cosmopolis.  I don't mind admitting that it might be too smart for me.  It's fucking Cronenberg.  In my world, he's the jock who rides to school on his black motorcycle.  He's beyond badass, but every once in awhile, his pacing is apocryphally strangled and his characters are nondescript.  Look, if ice water is too cold, it can hurt your throat.  Cosmopolis shoved...wow, I stopped myself from diving into an obscene joke.  Has that ever happened before?  It concerned gagging.  Here is a better query.  Do I have anything positive to say in regards to Cosmokramer?  Yeah, the acting is incredible.

Robert Z'Dar says, "The part with the tits was okay."

5/15/17

Creamsicle


I'm listening to obscure death metal and masticating Orange Cream Pop Twizzlers.  Yeah, they're new.  They're filled with cream (don't look at me), and in my opinion, they're delicious!  So I have written my Twizzler review for the day.  In a couple of days, I'll post my final Cronenberg review.  It was a long weekend, man.

5/11/17

NXT Round-Up


ALEISTER BLACK VS. CEZAR BONONI ~ If this were 1991, Black would be The Undertaker and this show would be Superstars.  Here we see another squash where The...um, he doesn't have a nickname yet, does he?  Anyway, Black makes quick work of Bononi, but we continue to see new snippets of offense from The...goddamn it, he needs a nickname.

NIKKI CROSS FREAKS US OUT ~ This was a refreshing segment. Ruby Riot had her intro interview, and it was the typical "I've always wanted to wrestle" sales pitch we've heard a thousand times before. That's why I heart Cross.  She's batshit deranged.  Her intro interview consisted of playing with the boom mic, screaking at the reporter and stalking the camera until she was enveloped by her own shadow.  It ends with Cross whispering provocation in complete darkness.  Creepy?  Yep.  Badass?  You bet.

D.I.Y. VS. RIDDICK MOSS/TINO SABBATELLI ~ An established duo takes on an untrodden, high-reaching team in a strong debut. Moss and Sabbatelli are generic heels for right now, but they were afforded the opportunity to showcase some of their unique abuse. The tag division is booming.

HIDEO ITAMI VS. RODERICK STRONG ~ This bout determined the number one contender for Bobby Roode's NXT Championship. Should I spoil it?  I mean, it's been a little while (this round-up is gently, tenderly late), so caution must be fucked to the wind.  Itami scores the pinfall!  I dig the booking.  After being injured twice and missing a rift of ring time, winning a significant match is the best way to keep him relevant.  I'm looking forward to seeing how his style meshes with that of The Glorious One.  Man alive, the match itself was epic.  Charged back-and-forth action, stinging chops and finisher teases helped tear the house down.  Note that neither Strong nor Itami kicked out of a signature move.  Right.  On.

5/10/17

Album Cover of the Whatever


Stoner sludge.  The music is sketchy (by no means substandard), but I dig the cover.

POST-PUBLISH ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention the band's damn name!  It's Badr Vogu.  The album is Wroth.

5/9/17

Blood Capsule #72

CRASH (1996)

A female ass!  Don't report me to the authorities, whatever you do. Well, I have to say that I don't know how to gauge Crash.  Clearly, it's not meant to be a realistic film, and I get that, but how am I supposed to relate to these characters?  There is no touchstone of commonality, no intersection with verisimilitude.  I grasp why the movie goldbricks plausibility, but that doesn't help its case.  It needs an emotional anchor.  I use that term in a relative sense, as I know full well who installed this cylinder.  Car reference!  Sorry, I'm clueless when it comes to automobiles.  In other words, Crash is fucking aloof, even for a David Cronenberg picture.

If you're not up on the plot, James Spader develops a fetish for car crashes and car crash victims.  That's...it.  At certain junctures, he "makes love" to an open wound and Elias Koteas's anus.  Would you call those plot twists?  Croney is trying to say several things about our compulsion to feel and experience intense sensations, but in my opinion, most of those apothegms are lost under tiers of hazy metaphors.  Crash isn't necessarily bad.  It's certainly well-acted. I'm kind of glad that this is a blood capsule because I couldn't even begin to assess a Z'Dar rating.  There is plenty of sex to keep the dummies awake.  Calm down; I didn't claim that I wasn't a dummy.  A naked, panting Deborah Kara Unger will slacken anyone's IQ.

5/7/17

Geek Out #129



Yeah, I still do these.  Remember Saban's Masked Rider?  It was inspired by Kamen Rider, a television show that debuted in the early 70's.  Naturally, it had a squillion spin-offs, and to be perfectly honest, I don't know which derivative this clip is from.  Totally not the point! It's a superhero fucking with kids and being an all-around asshole. It's hysterical!

5/4/17

NXT Round-Up


New format!  Because!  A few days after last week's NXT write-up, I realized that the Roderick Strong retrospective had completely slipped my mind.  Thankfully, there was a second part this week.  I don't know why WWE doesn't cut more of these pieces together for embryonic hayseeds (Strong isn't new to the game, but he's new to The Game), especially talents who struggle to get over.  I'll be honest; before viewing both halves of Strong's segment, I felt as if he needed something.  He doesn't exactly excrete personality, y'know? Turns out, this is what he needed, as it makes him a sympathetic figure with a reason to flourish.

KILLIAN DAIN VS. DANNY BURCH ~ Squash.  I dig both gentleman, but David/Goliath matches fatigue me.

HEAVY MACHINERY VS. JOBBERS ~ Another squash.  I concede that this particular team needs the exposure.  Future contenders, I reckon.

HIDEO ITAMI VS. KONA REEVES ~ Integrating Itami back into the title picture is a swell idea, and it was smart to feature the champ backstage.  I don't have much of an opinion about Kona, though we've seen him several times now.  The jury is still out.

WOMEN'S BATTLE ROYAL ~ I.  Loved.  This.  The stars of the division were counted for, but we also got a look at wrasslers on the climb, including a debut (the repackaged Rosie Lottalove...her name escapes me) or two (Candice!).  The finish was logical and in keeping with Asuka's hubristic character.  I love (there is that word again) the fact that she's essentially a full-blown heel and gets more cheers than most of the ladies on the main roster.  With almost anyone else, it would bother me, but it's Asuka.  That's my justification.  It's Asuka!

5/2/17

Eastern Promises


We have a rarity here, folks.  This is a review of a non-horror film (*gasp*).  Fret not; I won't make a habit out of dissecting dramas, but obviously, an exception has been made for David Cronenberg.  If you're just joining us, I'm in the middle of a tract where I take a look at, let's say, five of the catawampus Canadian's films.  2007's Eastern Promises couldn't be any further from my wheelhouse. Naomi Watts plays Anna, a nurse who comes into the possession of a diary.  The journal belonged to a pregnant teenager who had been admitted because of blood between her legs.  Get your vagina out of the gutter.  She went into labor, you petulant debauchee.

The baby survived.  The teenager died.  Christ everlasting, I better expedite this plot summary.  I'll write a novel if I'm not careful.  In any event, through a tragic set of circumstances, Anna becomes embroiled with the Russian mafia.  Despite being one-fourth Italian, I've never been interested in mobster movies.  You know me.  I'm all about monster movies, son!  Yeah!  Most nights, I cry myself to sleep!  Sarcasm?!?!?  Dom cleared his throat and stared at the wall for thirteen muted minutes.  "I have to finish this goddamn review," he muttered.  After a quaff of Vanilla Coke, he returned to typing. Alone.

First thing's first.  The cast is authentic and infallible.  Viggo Mortensen (the handsome bastard) gives a cool, reserved performance as a "driver."  At one point, we see his schmeckel. Y'know, his bald-headed yogurt slinger.  "Move on," he pressured himself.  It goes without saying that Naomi Watts is tone-attentive. She's just excellent in, like, everything.  Vincent Cassel is convincing as an unfeeling prig, not that I'm implying he's a jerk in real life.  His character, Kirill, does have layers and turns into a three-dimensional person as Promises progresses.  Steven Knight's script is brilliant in the way it dilates each player's role in the grand scheme of shit.

The narrative is rather complex, but it's easy to follow.  Again, the script...it's so well-structured, that at times, you don't realize how much is happening (it's worth noting that A LOT is happening). Eastern Promises would certainly appeal to genre fans on the power of its violence, which is grisly and bestial.  There is no gore in the traditional sense.  Well, I take that back.  You will notice a couple of slit throats as graphic as a user interface.  I haven't recounted the social commentary because that's typically not my style, but trust me, it exists.  This is a very weighty, emotional picture. He lost his nerve for a breath, not knowing how to bring the review to a close.

"C'mon, dumbass.  Just get out of there.  Get the hell out of there!"