The Soda Jerk #6


It was high time that I dusted this column off. What better way to rejuvenate The Soda Jerk than to discuss one of the first soft drinks ever fermented? Of course, I'm talking about root beer. Up until a week ago, I hadn't quaffed a frosty mug (no pun intended) of sassafras extract in quite some time. I just didn't have a taste for it. That all changed during a carefree stroll through the grocery store. An old favorite caught my eye. It beckoned me. It spoke to me. To be more specific, the bulldog on the label spoke to me. "Dom," he whispered. "Buy me." But I'm broke, you approachable mascot, you. "Use your food stamps, you crippled piece of white trash."

Did I mention that the bulldog on the label was a dick? That's not important. What's important is that Mug is my favorite brand of root beer. That's saying a lot because there is plenty of competition down any soda aisle. Off the top of my head, you've got Barq's, A&W, IBC, Dad's, Stewart's...that's a superfluity of options. What's so special about Mug, you ask? The answer lies in the name. It has a "frosted mug" flavor, the kind of flavor that you can only reproduce with a frosted mug. Don't get me wrong; I'll drink other brands. In fact, I can't think of a brand that I actively dislike. But in my opinion, Mug is the best root beer on the market.

In regards to the taste, it's not too syrupy and the carbonation dial is turned to "just right." The foamy head will make your mouth water before you take your first sip. Our freezer is bereft of vanilla ice cream, but believe me, a root beer float is in the cards. My head is foaming at the mere thought of a Mug float. Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. I'm talking about my penis.


ReGOREgitated Sacrifice

Ever heard of the Vomit Gore trilogy? It's a series of extreme films directed by Lucifer Valentine (a birth name, I'm sure) about an anorexic runaway who turns to drugs and eventually commits suicide. That pithy plot summary covers the entire trilogy. The narrative is as far from linear as you can be without tossing up a blank screen for 90 minutes. Speaking of "tossing up," Valentine's gimmick is that his actors puke on camera. He thinks that he has created a new subgenre called vomit gore, and no, I'm not kidding.

These are some of the most disgusting films that you can find, so why did I want to watch one of them? Morbid curiosity. But I'm not curious enough to sit through all three films. I chose to review the one with the worst reputation, if only to see if it's as shocking as people say it is. In truth, it's no worse than A Serbian Film or August Underground: Mordum. It's certainly objectionable, but it's nothing that your average gorehound can't handle. The excessive retching did make me a bit queasy. Hey, I didn't bat an eyelash during the 4-hour ordeal that was Philosophy of a Knife, so I'll be holding onto my hardcore credentials, thank you very much.

ReGOREgitated Sacrifice is 66 minutes (there is no doubt in my mind that Valentine would stretch it out to 666 minutes if he could) of sex, violence and vomiting. Aside from the obvious, is there any reason to view this flick? It seems to have a fanbase, but I'm saying no. It's vacuous, pretentious and a little too ambitious for its own good. You'll never be able to follow the visual metaphors. Valentine caches his "message" in senseless bloodletting and abstract dialogue. This is basically performance art masquerading as a splatter film. According to a making-of documentary on the DVD, ReGOREgitated Sacrifice deals with the death of Kurt Cobain. Really? Really???

In my opinion, Lucifer Valentine is a twat (read one of his interviews). For what it's worth, I dug Ameara LaVey's performance as the sickly Angela. She injected her scenes with genuine emotion. I never thought that I would say this, but ReGOREgitated Sacrifice might have benefited from a more conventional story structure. As it stands, convincing special effects were wasted on an aimless, self-indulgent fluff piece. I'll pass on the other two "vomit gore" pictures. In case you're wondering, their titles are Slaughtered Vomit Dolls and Slow Torture Puke Chamber. You can't accuse Mr. Valentine of false advertising, now can you?


Parts Unknown #44: Raw

I was going to post a movie review tonight, but that can wait until tomorrow (and by tomorrow, I mean later today...the clock has struck midnight, so it's officially Tuesday). I need to write about Raw while it's fresh in my memory. This was an amazing go-home show. Almost every match on Wrestlemania's card was given a shot in the arm. Let's break this bitch down...


~ The brightest stars in the WWE were slated to appear on Raw, but which one would open the telecast? Triple H? The Undertaker? John Cena? The Miz? The Rock? Wrong on all accounts. The most important episode of 2011 began with CM Punk sitting in the middle of the ring with a microphone in his hand. Excellent choice, Vince! It's obvious that creative has big plans for Punk, and I was glad to see him front and center on a night when he could have been overshadowed.

~ The tag match between Edge/Christian and Alberto Del Rio/Brodus Clay. Were those double-team moves that I saw? Nice! I haven't seen those on Raw or Smackdown in ages.

~ I've been critical of the build-up for the match between Triple H and The Undertaker because...well, because it has sucked a zombie's scrotum. But tonight, that problem was rectified. The arrival of HBK was a welcomed addition to the promo. I can't put into words how well-written this segment was. I'm actually doubting whether or not the streak will remain in tact, and that's saying a lot. Great job, gentlemen.

~ The Jack Swagger/Jerry "The King" Lawler match. Here again, we have a feud that I've castigated in this very column. I'm not sure how it happened, but now, I'm looking forward to Michael Cole's in-ring debut at Wrestlemania. Maybe it was the fact that this particular segment didn't last 15 minutes. Maybe it was seeing Lawler chase Cole with a chair. Whatever the case may be, I'll bite. Kick his ass, King!

~ As expected, the match involving John Morrison, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler was a winner. I don't need to explain why.

~ Rock/Cena/Miz wasn't as captivating as Taker/HHH/HBK, but it was still good. I've asked this question before, but are we seeing the germination of a Cena heel turn? Let's hope so.

~ The Road Warriors for the fucking win! If I had it my way, they would be headlining the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.


~ The bar brawl. Who cares? I don't have a problem with celebrities being a part of Wrestlemania. It comes with the territory (Cyndi Lauper anyone?). I do have a problem with Ziggler and Morrison being hampered by Snooki. Those guys are on the precipice of becoming main event players, so they shouldn't be chained to a dopey marketing ploy.

All in all, this was the perfect lead-in to the Super Bowl of sports entertainment. I can't wait for Sunday!


Parts Unknown #43: Smackdown

I'm skipping straight to the ellipsis...


~ The CM Punk/Rey Mysterio match. I figured that Cody Rhodes would interfere (and he did), but at least we were treated to a solid match first.

~ I have mixed feelings on the Kofi Kingston/Wade Barrett match. On one hand, I'm glad that Wade can finally wear gold around his waist. The Corre is being booked better than The New Nexus. On the other hand, I'm worried about Kofi's future. Will he be elevated to "main event" status (again) or will he be future endeavored after Wrestlemania? It could go either way. I'm hoping for the former because the guy is extremely talented. I don't want to see him drift off to TNA.

~ The Edge/Drew McIntyre match. I didn't know which wrestler to swoon over...I mean, root for.

~ The rematch between Christian and Alberto Del Rio. It didn't outstrip their steel cage match, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Christian's involvement in the World Heavyweight Championship bout at Wrestlemania is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Yippee!


~ It pains me to scrawl this onto digital parchment, but The Undertaker's promo was boring. He didn't say anything. This program fucking sucks. Who are they fooling? Try as they might, this has been a lousy build-up to an encounter that doesn't feel as epic as Vince wants it to be. I'm sorry, but Triple H isn't on the same level as Shawn Michaels. Taker should be facing a young buck this year. Just my two cents.

~ The Diva's match came and went. It flew right under my radar. Wasn't LayCool on the verge of splitting up two weeks ago? What the hell happened?

That is all. For those interested, Chris Masters and Tyler Reks worked an incredible match on Superstars. Both men are on the Smackdown roster, and since they have cooked up a rivalry of sorts, I'm wondering if we'll see them feuding on the blue brand soon. Probably not. Such is life.


Is this random enough for you? Most people wouldn't peg me as a fan of The Darkness. Technically, I'm only a fan of their first album. 2003's Permission to Land caught the music press off guard, and for a fleeting moment, retro-rock sounded fresh. It wasn't cool to use dueling guitar harmonies in nearly every song, which is why I enjoyed hearing "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" on the radio. Inevitably, retro-rock wore out its welcome. I still don't see the appeal in bands such as Jet and The Strokes. In my opinion, The Darkness brought more to the table than just long hair and nostalgia; they brought memorable songs.

Permission to Land is teeming with busy riffs, bouncy melodies and ridiculous falsetto courtesy of Justin Hawkins. You've probably heard of these guys, but if you haven't, try to imagine AC/DC's matter-of-fact proto-metal lying athwart of Queen's flamboyance. The Darkness also borrows silky solos and intergalactic imagery from Boston. When you combine all of those influences, the end result is fun and highly energetic. This is a compact disc that needs to be played in a moving vehicle.

My favorite tracks are the explosive "Get Your Hands Off My Woman," the catchier-than-thou "Love is Only a Feeling" and the bottom-heavy "Love On the Rocks With No Ice." It wasn't my intention to write an unconditionally glowing review, though. Frankly, half of the tunes on Permission to Land strike me as stale. "Givin' Up" and "Stuck in a Rut" are interchangeable. "Black Shuck" rocks, but it's awfully generic for an opener. If I didn't love the other half of this album so much, I would be forced to give it a measly rating. But I do, so I won't.

On a related note, The Darkness reunited earlier this year and they plan on recording a follow-up to 2006's One Way Ticket to Hell and Back. I'm typing in falsetto, by the way.


Quick update. Tomorrow, I'll be posting my Smackdown review and a music review to make up for today's lack of a review. Yaaaaay!


Geek Out #13

A classic. Period.



As a self-proclaimed film critic, I should be choosing review subjects that are easy to describe. Writing is tedious, so why would I want to make it more difficult than it needs to be? I don't know. Call it masochism, if you must. For whatever reason, I have a propensity for saddling myself with the laborious task of outlining the singular minutia of oddball cinema. Perhaps I'm exaggerating. After all, how hard could it be to analyze a Takashi Miike film? Don't answer that. It's a rhetorical question, you boob. Do you realize how many subplots I have to sort through to give you an idea of what Zebraman tastes like without revealing the singular minutia that makes it a masterpiece?

Goddamn singular minutia. Miike is one of my favorite filmmakers, and I love the fact that his films are hard to describe. He has a distinct style, yet he is capable of harnessing the virginal efficacy of any genre. Horror, sci-fi, action, drama, comedy, animation...hell, my favorite Miike joyride is a musical! I'm referring to The Happiness of the Katakuris, a crown jewel that bears a certain warmth that you'll find in most of Miike's genre efforts (even his most violent works). Barring profanity, Zebraman is suitable for all ages. It's a superhero flick. Ichikawa is a middle-aged man with a disinterested family. His wife is cheating on him, and his children barely acknowledge his existence.

In his darkest hours, Ichikawa falls back on his hobbies to achieve modest contentment. It just so happens that he is a huge fan of "Zebraman," a fictional TV show that only ran for six episodes. He wants to be Zebraman. He dreams of becoming the striped sojourner, fashioning a costume and practicing "zebra strikes" in front of a mirror. It isn't long before his black-and-white duds give him special powers and superhuman strength. Along the way, we're introduced to gummy aliens and a handicapped boy who acts as the afflatus that propels Ichikawa into the skies. If you were confused by that sentence, don't be alarmed. I was, too.

That's all that I'll allow myself to type with regards to the plot. The characters are three-dimensional, the pace never lags and poignant stretches of tension are broken up by well-placed bits of humor. The script is engineered in such a way that it swells to an upsurge of emotion at precisely the right time. I'll regret admitting this, but the resultant crescendo thumped my heart so intently, that I was nearly driven to tears. That doesn't happen very often, folks. While Miike didn't pen the screenplay (he was probably too busy; the guy churns out movies like nobody's business), he was responsible for bringing it to life. Zebraman could have crumbled in the hands of a lesser auteur.

I would love to give this film a perfect rating, but I'm afraid that the special effects hinder the viewing experience. The CGI is dodgy. No, that's being too kind. It's fucking atrocious. The space goblins reminded me of the Zols from The Legend of Zelda. If you're not a Nintendo nerd, Zols are green blobs, and unfortunately, the digital "wizardry" on display in Zebraman didn't look much better than 8-bit graphics. Aside from those unsightly gaffes, I can't recommend this magnum opus with enough zeal. Add it to your Netflix queue today. Zebra screw! Zebra double kick! Zebranurse!


Antisocial Networking

I've had an exhausting day, so I chose not to be productive. I just started using Facebook again. Don't know why. If you'd like to add me, click HERE. I'm still waiting for someone to start a Random Reviews fan group (hey, it could happen).

My next review will be a Takashi Miike film that I haven't seen. I would have reviewed it sooner, but Netflix sent me a disc that was visibly scratched (I mean, I could see through it). Until then...


Parts Unknown #42: Superstars

This week, I'm taking a break from Raw. I'll still watch it, but I won't be reviewing it. Instead, I'm going to write my first review of WWE's Superstars. Why? Two reasons. For one thing, it's a fun wrestling show. It's a breezy hour of undercard matches (yay) and Raw recaps (nay). Out of the three shows that WWE currently airs, this one probably features the most in-ring action (Smackdown averages a few more minutes of wrestling per episode, but it's two hours long). The other reason why I'm reviewing Superstars is because it has just been canceled. The series finale airs next month. I want to review it before it disappears.

There are rumors that WWE will post this fine block of wrasslin' on WWE.com. Hopefully, those rumblings will hold true, as I would hate to see Superstars get the axe. In any event, I'm going to bypass the "pros/cons" format and comment on each of the three matches from this past week's edition of Jobbers to the Stars. Off we go...

JTG vs. Tyler Reks ~ I have no idea why Vince has kept Tyler around. He has been repackaged, pushed, demoted and completely forgotten about. I didn't like him at first, but I'm beginning to warm up to him. I think that I only resented him for inadvertently burying Kaval just before Bragging Rights. Anyway, this opening match had a lot going for it. There was plenty of back-and-forth one-upsmanship. I dug JTG's Spike DDT. Kudos to the commentators (Matt Striker and newcomer Jack Korpela) for putting over Tyler's finisher, The Burning Hammer. The Dreadlocked Demolition Man picks up the clean win.

Santino Marella and Vladimir Koslov vs. The Uso's ~ I thought that this match was going to be the main event. It should have been the main event. I've said this a billion times, but The Uso's rock. They deserve a title reign. Naturally, they lost to Skipper and Gilligan in what should have been a longer, more involved tag team skirmish.

Natalya, Gail Kim, Tamina and Eve Torres vs. Melina, Alica Fox and The Bella Twins ~ Shockingly, this was the main event. And you know what? It was a solid match. With the partial exception of The Bella Bitches, everyone performed well. I liked the fact that Tamina acted as an enforcer by keeping the heels at bay outside the ring. The babyfaces are victorious. While I would have shuffled the order of the matches, this 8-Diva engagement ended the show on a positive note.

I may or may not review other episodes of Superstars. It just depends. This was just an experiment of sorts. I'm looking to widen the scope of this column, so expect further experimentation.



Parts Unknown #41: Smackdown

I watched Impact this week. Yeah. After that debacle, I was ready to watch a good wrestling show ("wrestling" being the key word...TNA doesn't know what that is), and sure enough, Smackdown came through in a big way.


~ This episode didn't waste any time getting to the first match of the night. Edge and Brodus Clay worked well together. I dig Clay's modified belly-to-belly suplex, though he needs to add a few more moves to his repertoire.

~ The "champion versus champion" match between Sheamus and Kofi Kingston. It could have been longer, but I don't want to nitpick.

~ Cody Rhodes has officially become a modern day Mankind. He squashed an underutilized Trent Barreta with erratic fury. I like his new entrance music, even if it's just a remix of his usual theme.

~ Kelly Kelly was in rare form against Layla. She's not fit to polish Natalya's shoes and she's nowhere near the level of Beth Pheonix, but she's on the right track.

~ I don't give a shit about The Corre, but if Vince is setting up a handicap match between them and Kane/Big Show (talk about a one-two thunderclap), it may lead to fun times at Wrestlemania.

~ The Rey Mysterio/Ted DiBiase Jr. match. It was decent. That's all.

~ Yowzers! The steel cage main event between Christian and Alberto Del Rio was fucking gnarly. Plenty of cool spots, the best of which was the Samoan drop off the top rope. I love the fact that Christian went over. Is this foreshadowing? Will we see a three-way dance for the World Heavyweight Championship in Atlanta? Let's hope so.


~ Why is Maryse still serving as DiBiase's valet?

~ It was a strong match, but I wanted the Kofi/Sheamus bout to end in a no-contest. Poor Kofi. This is the worst Intercontinental Championship reign that I can recall.

And there you have it. This was a terrific Smackdown with a card full of in-ring action (eight matches total) and a fantastic main event. Goodnight, Internet!


Burn, Witch, Burn

1962's Burn, Witch, Burn is known in the United Kingdom as Night of the Eagle, but this is no "nature runs amok" flick. It has more in common with Night of the Demon than Night of the Lepus. Peter Wyngarde stars as Norman, a college professor in the fast lane. In relative terms, he's a newbie at his workplace, but his colleagues have noticed that his ascent to the top of the pecking order has been quick and painless. He has managed to climb the social ladder with temperate ease. Or at least that's how it seems to his jealous peers. Norman himself doesn't question it until he discovers that his wife, Tansy, has been hiding a proverbial treasure trove of amulets, trinkets and other phylacteries.

What's so special about this drawer of innocuous charms? Well, they're not so innocuous. These particular charms are normally associated with voodoo and witchcraft. I would love to share more of the story with you, but I won't. Burn is the kind of film that keeps you guessing until the very end. I told myself that I wouldn't resort to using cliches in this review, but here goes...I was on the edge of my seat! The glorious black-and-white cinematography made the experience that much sweeter. Those of you with short attention spans might be put off by the methodical, dialogue-driven script, but I beseech you to dip your toes into the deep end of the pool just this once. Man, I sound like a complete jackass. Moving on!

The acting is superb on all fronts. Wyngarde wasn't the first choice for the lead role, but he nailed his emotional cues. His performance is believable to a fault. Janet Blair is just as convincing as the frantic, overwrought witchy-poo. The atmosphere is fraught with unrest. We get all of the fixtures of an old-fashioned spookshow...fog, tombstones, rickety houses, giant eagles. Wait, what? I wish that was a solecism on my part (a frightful faux pas, if you will), but I'm afraid that the reports are accurate. The climax of Burn sees our protagonist being chased by a man in an eagle suit. It's ridiculous. My readers know me well enough to know that I enjoyed this scene, but it sticks out like a sore thumb.

That's what I don't get. Why an eagle? I'm assuming that there is a reason for this film's fascination with eagles, but I'm not bright enough to figure it out. Granted, I haven't read the source material that Burn is based upon. Perhaps a more knowledgeable genre buff can clue me in. Either way, this is a dandy spine-chiller. If you dug Horror Hotel and Night of the Demon, do yourself a favor and hunt down Burn, Witch, Burn. It's not on DVD here in the states, but it's available on a Region 2 disc under its alternate title. Plus, you can always fork over a hundred clams for a VHS copy. MGM needs to wake up and resurrect the beloved Midnite Movies double features.


The Junkyard #5


If I chew gum, I'm going to chew Orbit gum. Since discovering this fine brand, a product of the Wrigley's subsidiary, I have very rarely strayed outside of Orbit and its colorful line of flavors. My personal favorites are Raspberry Mint, Lemon Mint (discontinued...insert sad emoticon here), Raspberry Lemon Dew, Mango Surf, Sweet Mint, Lime Melon and my latest obsession, Berry Red. I don't know how long this flavor has existed, but I just saw it for the first time last week. Orbit's official website hasn't been updated in eons, so I can't find any information on Berry Red. All I know is that it's delicious.

The packaging is as dull as dishwater. Solid pink? Really? The folks in charge of Orbit's cardboard casings are usually reliable in the design department, but Berry Red's wrapping paper is a letdown. I have to mention these things because I'm a thorough critic, but obviously, the packaging isn't as important as the gum itself. What does it taste like? It's hard to say. Put cherries, bubble gum and Hawaiian Punch in a blender. Press "blend," and you've got yourself Orbit Berry Red. It's a unique flavor, to be sure. As with all Orbit gum, the flavor lasts for quite some time.

Luckily, there are no hints of mint. One of the few failings of the Orbit brand is their tendency to force mint into flavors that don't need it, but Berry Red isn't weighed down by aromatic herbs. Aside from the packaging, this shit rocks! That should be Orbit's tagline instead of "A good clean feeling, no matter what."


Parts Unknown #40: Raw

This episode of Raw was scattershot. It was all over the place. When it was bad, it was really bad. When it was good, it was really good. Let's peek into this circus tent...


~ It looks like I'm in the minority, but I got a kick out of The Rock's heart-to-heart conversation with Mini Cena. Lighten up, smarks. I understand why fans are getting sick of this "via satellite" poppycock, but remember, patience is a virtue. The Great One will be back on Raw before you know it.

~ Michael Cole? Unbearable. The Cole Mine? Brilliant.

~ The Sheamus/Daniel Bryan match for the United States Championship. Everyone knew that Sheamus would win, but it was still a bright spot on a show that desperately needed a bright spot.

~ The Miz's impersonation of The Rock. Maybe it was the bald cap, but Miz came out of this segment looking great. He actually looked like a champion. Kudos to John Cena for selling the damage with aplomb.


~ Why on Satan's black earth was The Great Khali scheduled to face The Miz? Of all people, they selected the one man in the locker room who is guaranteed to botch at least once? If I was a wrestler on the undercard, I would be insulted. The fact that Khali appears on Raw more than Zack Ryder and The Uso's is an affront to anyone who toils away on the indy scene in the hopes of making it to the major leagues.

~ The promo brigade involving Michael Cole, Jack Swagger, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher (???) went on for way too long. It wouldn't call it an utter failure (J.R. always delivers on the mic), but I considered turning the channel. The crowd's silence spoke volumes.

~ I'm going to call up a public access evangelist and ask him to pray for Randy Orton to lose at Wrestlemania. The writers refuse to give CM Punk the upper hand. He had to deal with the same bullshit when he was the leader of the Straight Edge Society. Oh, and can someone tell Orton to knock it off with the spastic seizures? It's almost as if he's simultaneously climaxing and stifling a sneeze.

~ The Trish Stratus/Vickie Guerrero match. No comment.

~ I thought we were past the "guest host" era. Snooki belongs in a wrestling ring about as much as Drew Carey belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame.

That's all I have. Daffney is no longer employed by Dixie Carter. Sign her, Vince!



How do I describe this fucking movie? If you're interested in seeing Antichrist and you want to go in fresh, have no worries. I couldn't summarize the plot if I wanted to. I knew that this was a controversial film, but I wasn't prepared for the lunacy that unfolded before my eyes. It's not that I was shocked or horrified. I've seen more extreme stuff than this. I certainly wasn't offended. Let me put it this way; watching Antichrist was like being awakened from a reposed, unruffled nap by the bracing contents of a fire extinguisher. As the end credits rolled, I felt like I had been bludgeoned with the same fire extinguisher.

Prior to production, writer/director Lars Von Trier spent two months in a mental institution. That should give you some idea of how bizarre this film is. I don't even know how I feel about it. I do know that I couldn't look away from the screen during the 108-minute running time. The narrative is divided into four chapters plus a prologue and an epilogue. Oscar-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle deserves another Oscar for his work on the prologue alone. I've never seen hardcore penetration look so pristine. There aren't many special effects, which ensured that the majority of the budget was allocated for world-class film stock. Either that or Willem Dafoe's price tag (how much is that method actor in the window?).

I can't confirm that they shot their wad on Dafoe, but if they did, it was money well spent. Surprisingly, his performance is restrained in comparison to that of Charlotte Gainsbourg. She steals the show with her topsy-turvy turn as an unhinged, grief-stricken woman mourning the loss of her son. She runs the emotional gamut from crestfallen all the way to schizophrenic. If I was one of those critics whose quotes always pop up in TV spots, I would say something to the effect of, "Charlotte Gainsbourg is fearless!" But she didn't play a struggling country musician, so no Oscar nod for her. I guess she'll have to cry harder next time.

Antichrist reminded me of Audition. If you've seen both films, you know why. Honestly, Lars Von Trier's ode to misogyny strikes me as the more disconcerting film. It goes so many places that other horror pictures wouldn't go to. Unlike A Serbian Film or The Human Centipede, two exploitation flicks that raised eyebrows due to their taboo subject matter, Antichrist predicates its over-the-top symbolism on human emotion. Perhaps that's why it held my attention. A few of the visual metaphors are laughable (the talking fox was too much), and the crux of the story won't appeal to everyone, but I'm going to go ahead and give Antichrist my coveted seal of approval. It's different. You can't deny that.


Non-Horror Film of the Week

Just giving props to the guy who is currently banging Scarlett Johansson. For those wondering, the "Willem Dafoe movie" review will be up tomorrow night. I had to attend a funeral today, and I didn't feel like writing.


Parts Unknown #39: Smackdown

There wasn't much storyline advancement on this week's Smackdown. Ergo, there isn't much to talk about. Here are three dots...


~ I liked the opening brawl. May I disrupt the chronological order of this column? Wait, why am I asking you? I'll do whatever the hell I want! Anyway, I want to go ahead and talk about the E&C reunion. I hope that it's not a "one night only" deal. This might be just what the tag team division needs. Of course, the main event was awesome. I would have liked to see more double-team maneuvers, but the finish made up for it (a tornado DDT into a flying elbow drop...sweet!).

~ Will Cody Rhodes be wrestling in a suit from now on? He better! He looked like a fucking maniac during his squash match against JTG. Genius.

~ Kaitlyn is a useless, yet scrumptious "superstar." She was almost impressive in the ring, but then again, she got a few assists from Layla. Eh, it could have been worse. It could have been a Velvet Sky match.

~ As expected, Drew McIntyre kicked ass in his match with Rey Mysterio, world-renowned luchabore (I put a lot of effort into that joke).


~ When did Kane become a babyface? It vexes me to no end when a wrestler turns for no apparent reason. The crowd didn't care. Who needs an explanation, right? Maybe he jerked his brother off during a commercial break. I can hear Michael Cole now. "That's a vintage handjob!"

~ Do the writers plan on utilizing Ezekiel Jackson? It's no wonder why so many mid-carders request their release from the WWE.

I know that I didn't recount Triple H's promo, but I didn't forget it. I'm just indifferent towards it. There was nothing wrong with it, but like I said earlier, none of the storylines were taken to new places. Apart from a couple of fun matches, this was an off week. Goodnight, moon!


Predator 2

One of the things that bothered me about Predators was the fact that it ignored the events of Predator 2. It's not like this is a straight-to-video clunker with a no-name cast. Sure, some sequels deserve to be skipped over (take Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, for example), but most genre fans will tell you that Predator 2 is a respectable follow-up to a classic creature feature that could never be topped anyway. In my opinion, this is an underrated flick that combines two indubitably rich eras of rubric filmmaking. I'm talking about horror movies from the 80's and action movies from the 90's. Predator 2 gives us the best of both worlds!

Danny Glover stars as Sergeant Murtaugh...I mean, Lieutenant Harrigan, a ballsy cop who defies orders and lands himself betwixt and between drug-fueled gang violence. In one corner, we have coked-up Colombians. In the other corner, we have Jamaican voodoo priests. Yep, Jamaican voodoo priests. I almost expected one of the drug lords to be managed by Mr. Fuji (sorry, I can't pass up an opportunity to squeeze in a wrestling reference). The opposing forces are so overwhelmed by the ballistics on deck, they don't notice that there is an extraterrestrial hunter trespassing on their property until it's too late. Where is Dutch when you need him?

I don't know about you, but I like action movies that contain...action. Predator 2 actually contains more action than its predecessor. The opening scene is a raging, volatile succession of gunfire, explosions, dead bodies, vehicular demolition and coarse language. This is a film that earns its restricted rating. It was originally slapped with an NC-17 rating, and unfortunately, the studio shredded the "director's cut" to pieces. Two decades later, we still don't have access to the uncut version of Predator 2. That pisses me the fuck off because this hulking juggernaut suffers from sloppy, thoughtless editing.

How thoughtless? We're missing twenty minutes worth of footage! And it's so obvious. Predator 2 should be a carnal gorefest, but there are significant kills that happen off-screen. Fuck. The film still looks good thanks to director Stephen Hopkins. If his name doesn't ring a bell, he also helmed Blown Away, The Ghost & the Darkness and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child. I've always admired his style. He has a keen eye for swank visuals, and he can hold his own when it comes to capturing in-camera effects. Dig that shot of the titular brute haughtily grandstanding on top of a building with the skull of his latest victim in hand (er, claw). Add a bolt of lightning for theatrics, and you've got yourself one kickass Polaroid.

I shouldn't have to remind you that Glover is a dependable actor, but I might as well mention that he gives a strong performance in a somewhat cramped role. It would have been easy for him to sleepwalk through familiar territory. I mean, this is basically Lethal Weapon with a more persistent antagonist. He seems to be having fun, though. So do Bill Paxton and Gary Busey. Holy shit. I just realized that The Pax has crossed paths with a predator, a xenomorph and a terminator. Hey, who do you think would win in a fight? Bill Paxton or the werewolf from Silver Bullet? Nevermind. I'm getting sidetracked. Go watch Predator 2.


Geek Out #12

There are no words. Only cheese.



Where has this album been all my life? It's a good thing that I scour the Internet for new music to explore on a regular basis. I leave no stone unturned in my quest to discover cool bands that have been condemned to dwell in obscurity. I fancy myself as a musical pathfinder of sorts. If I wasn't so inquisitive, I wouldn't be familiar with Ghost. God knows I won't be hearing songs like "Satan Prayer" and "Death Knell" on the radio anytime soon. Speaking of omnipotent deities, Ghost is a Satanic band. I can't tell if they're serious about it or not, but it matters none. To me, the infernal overtones of Opus Eponymous add flavor to an already potent body of work.

What do these ghouls sound like? Well, they sound like Mercyful Fate copulating with Blue Oyster Cult. This is music to sacrifice a virgin to. As nefarious as the melodies are, you won't find any death growls or blackened howls here. The vocalist, a chap who chooses to remain nameless, sings in a clean voice that brings King Diamond to mind (sans high notes). If you read other reviews of Opus Eponymous, you'll see the same adjectives being used over and over again. The one that stands out is "catchy." I didn't think that this album would be nearly as catchy as metal journalists proclaim it to be, but guess what? It's fucking catchy!

I hummed the chorus of "Elizabeth" for the better part of an afternoon after hearing it twice. That's what makes Ghost such a deceiving outfit. Sure, they worship goats, but they write accessible pop ditties that you'll never be able to get out of your head. Maybe "pop" isn't the right word. I don't want to scare too many "tr00" metalheads away. This is doomy, riff-driven occult rock that your parents wouldn't be opposed to listening to, provided that they don't have a lyric sheet handy. Hell, just tell them that Ghost is an ironic Christian band.

If I could change one thing about Opus Eponymous, I would make it longer. There are only nine tracks, two of which are instrumentals. The first instrumental is merely a curt piece of pipe organ polyphony, though I do have a weakness for pipe organs (I can see that statement being taken out of context). But that's a minor complaint. This is a badass record. I can't wait to see what Ghost does in the future. If you get a chance to see them live, I would advise buying a ticket or two. The vocalist dresses up as the Catholic zombie that adorns the cover of Opus Eponymous. Hey, I have an idea for a nifty Halloween costume!


No, the movies aren't Operation Dumbo Drop and Speed 2: Cruise Control...

If you don't give a shit about wrestling, don't worry. This will be a productive week here at Random Reviews. Tomorrow, I have a music review lined up. After that, I'll be covering a Danny Glover movie and a Willem Dafoe movie. The plot thickens!

Parts Unknown #38: Raw

The road to Wrestlemania is proving to be a curvy one. Lots of stuff to talk about.


~ This is both a pro and a con. The Undertaker's promo was solid, but apart from announcing a stipulation for his match with Triple H (no holds barred, motherfucker!), it wasn't that much different from his promo on Smackdown. At this point, I'd like to see The Game and The Phenom converse face to face. That said, I enjoyed hearing Taker verbally wallop his opponent. I find it funny that they're ignoring the previous encounter between these two capable veterans at Wrestlemania XVII. They might be able to convince a few unlettered rednecks that Mr. Levesque stands a chance, but the die-hards know better.

~ The Christian/Brodus Clay match was stiff, but I dug it for two reasons. A) It was good to see Edge's former brother back in action. B) I don't watch NXT (and honestly, why would anyone?), but I liked Clay from the first moment that I saw him. He has a great look and it's clear that he has loads of potential.

~ I felt bad for Eve Torres. She was working her ass off to make a Bella twin look talented. That's a daunting task, folks. A tip of my hat and a stroke of my penis to the Diva's champ. More on this match later.

~ Every year, it gets increasingly harder for the WWE to surprise its fanbase, and it's even harder to surprise smart marks, but I sure as hell did not expect to see JBL on Raw last night. To sweeten the pot, Stone Cold Steve Austin came out and sent this segment's entertainment value through the roof. Now that's great television.

~ CM Punk applying the anaconda vice to certified fuckstain R-Truth.

~ The ending. The Miz upstaged John Cena with ease.


~ I have completely lost interest in Randy Orton. I played a video game during his scenes, and I didn't feel like I missed anything important. I could hear everything, but I didn't really pay attention to what was happening. The guy is just boring. Next!

~ Was I seeing things or did Michael Cole grab a microphone in the middle of a championship match and bury an entire division in less than fifteen seconds? I don't care whose idea it was. If they're trying to piss all over a craft that was mastered by people like Bobby Heenan and Jim Ross, then they have fucking succeeded. I would elaborate, but if I do, this edition of Parts Unknown will never arrive at a conclusion.

~ Another match where a wrestler vows to retire if they lose? I'm sure that the United States Championship bout between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus will be stellar, but someone needs to put a moratorium on this particular stipulation. How derivative can you be?

~ Weren't Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero fired? I give up.

This episode was half-and-half. I'm going to start a petition imploring Vince McMahon to have Michael Cole drawn and quartered.