Kraa! The Sea Monster (1998) [REVIEW] | Pizza Sentai Aliens To The Rescue!!!

Last year we ended Giant Monster March with Zarkorr!! The Invader, so it’s only right to end this year’s run with the other direct-to-video giant monster movie produced by Full Moon Entertaiment (under their Monster Island Entertaiment label) and directed by Aaron Osborne, Kraa! The Sea Monster.

Always gotta scream your title, to be sure.

The plot sees the intergalactic overlord Lord Doom, master of the Dark Planet, Proyas (likely still salty over Gods of Egypt’s reception), send the giant monster known as Kraa on Earth in order to destroy and conquer it. A squad of the intergalactic teen guardians known as Planet Patrol tries to intervene, but it’s attacked by Lord Doom and so they enlist the only available agent, Mogyar, to reach Earth and destroy Kraa at all cost, even with the help of the planet’s inhabitants if need be.

Continua a leggere “Kraa! The Sea Monster (1998) [REVIEW] | Pizza Sentai Aliens To The Rescue!!!”

Shikari (1963) [REVIEW] | Circus Cyclops Bollywood

Meant to get around this one last year, but this time i did manage to find a way to watch it with subtitle, as i don’t speak hindi, and what could be called “the Indian King Kong” – to no one’s surprise – was never dubbed or re-released westward. Still easier to find than the dreaded Bacalhau.

Yep, among the many King Kong knock-off, there’s an old Bollywood (kinda) version from 1963.

Gotta love the shit-not giving use of stock footage “ice skating ballet girls, chimps & clown” that a crowd in India it’s supposedly watching, sure it has a dissonant color that makes it more even obvious, but who cares. And it’s not just 1 minute or two of stock footage from a non-indian ice skating show, when the head of the circus and the sponsor set down to see it in order to understand why it’s supposedly taking away business from them… you’re gonna see a good chunk of the show.

Well, at least we start the movie with some ape action, but not of that kind.

Continua a leggere “Shikari (1963) [REVIEW] | Circus Cyclops Bollywood”

[EXPRESSO] Belle (2021) | Every Me And Every U

You know what, i did have some expectations from Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle, as i did quite like Mirai, and i hoped the streak would continue… and it kinda did.

That it, when i wasn’t baffled by the script “skipping” to the main scenes but forgetting to introduce actually crucial information that would lead to said scenes, as Hosoda’s ambition it’s sadly overreaching, and the final result really lacks cohesion, coming off as both overwrought and undeveloped in some aspects. Which is a goddamn shame because the premise, the themes and the overall concept are pretty damn good, but are elaborated on in a way where there’s too much to it.

Belle it’s about the 17 yo Suzu, a very timid and shy girl who has lost her mother and lives with her father in a rural small town. One day she receives an invite to “U”, an advanced and immersive social network with millions of users, receives the avatar of “Belle” and – with the help of her tech savvy friend – becomes a sensational hit singer. But soon she meets with a reviled user with the avatar of a dragon-like beast, hunted by U’s “police force”.

The animation is pretty good, the visuals are quite nice and sometimes pretty dazzling, the music – a big part of the movie – it’s also good, some scenes are quite good, so it’s frustrating how it’s dragged down by the oversprawling script, which makes some questionable choices and really could have used more than a trimming to flesh out the characters betters… and to explain how the hell some characters – out of the blue – know plot crucial information, among other things.

Overall, it’s a decent movie, but it’s too all over the place for its own good and ambition.

Where the on-rail shooter compilations at?

(A review of Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle is coming VERY soon, btw)

As the remake of the first House Of The Dead game is set to release soon on Switch (as a retail packaged release too), i’ve just realized how incredibly really no company before Sega with this remake has tried to bring on-rail shooters to the only current-gen (kinda) popular console that still retains Wii style pointers controls via the Joycons.

Given how the nostalgia market will only grow even larger in time, i’m surprised Namco didn’t dig from its huge backcatalog and pushed out a Point Blank or Time Crisis collection, or made compilations of some of the many others games of this kind that only existed as arcade cabinets.

I named Namco, but heck, even Konami and Sega were quite prolific back in the day, though Konami nowadays it’s better when they just licensed compilations-ports of their older titles to people who care (like Digital Eclipse, also handling the recently announced TMNT Cowabunga Collection), and Sega quite likely simply doesn’t care.

Continua a leggere “Where the on-rail shooter compilations at?”

[EXPRESSO] Moonfall (2022) | Moon Machine Tentacles

Roland Emmerich is back again to deliver the kind of movie he’s definitely good at: the popcorn munching big dumb ass disaster flick. And i kinda mean that as a compliment, as he specializes in this type of cinema cheese, definitely its wheelhouse, and this is pristine Roland Emmerich all the way through.

It’s that special type of dumb and insane that i find hard to dislike, i mean, this is a movie that opens with astronauts debating the lyrics of Africa by Toto, that really sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the plot, which is fairly insane, as it concerns the moon…. randomly getting out of its orbit, then moving faster towards Earth.

Not to give away the rest of the plot (and there plenty of insane shit that happens in the last act), but basically the Moon it’s not the satellite we always though it was, but a kind of mega-structure of sorts built for some purpose by someone. We know that because there’s a conspiracy theorist dude (of course there is one, it’s an Emmerich movie) that figures out the orbital displacement will happen before the NASA does, and he ends up helping an astronaut that was defamed a decade ago for an “incident” that happened near the Moon’s orbit.

And i mean it when i say it’s definitely more insane than you think it would be, Emmerich really outdid himself, while also delivering a lovable kind of so bad it’s good type of writing, it’s nonsensincal and not good but honestly i was hugely entertained all the way through, the plot wasn’t really predictable as you would think, and the disaster spectacle was on point and abundant.

A lot of stupid, lovable, sincere insane fun that undeniably accomplishes all it sets out to do/be.

[EXPRESSO] Licorice Pizza (2021) | Arcadia Of Our Youth

About damn time.

I wondered if it was even worth making this review, as i’m not here to be contrarian for the sake of it, i love P.T. Anderson works, and this one it’s no exception.

What are you reading now it’s essentially just to tally up the word count, not that you can give a well deserved anylisis of a movie like Licorice Pizza in 300 word or less.

The short version: absolutely recommended, without a doubt in my heart, excellent work, might even be a new masterpiece. GO SEE IT NOW.

Soldiering on with the “facade”, it’s very typical in many ways for the director: the San Fernando Valley circa mid-1970s’ scenario, the ensemble cast, etc.

And compared to his previous movie, The Phantom Thread, Licorice Pizza goes for a much simpler set up, as in a coming of age love story, girls meets boy, but aside from the shared trait of the notable age gap between the two, this stands as a complete opposite, as love it’s not sweet poison laced prison of the desire, but it’s the youthful, energic love of life itself.

Of course there is more to the plot than “girl meets boy, they fall in love”, as the high school aged boy, Gary Valentine, it’s actually a very young actor meet this far older girl, Alana Kane, with the two forming a strong friendship, to the point she becomes involved with Gary’s new water bed selling business, among other odd adventures.

It also confirms P.T. Anderson ability to craft a very different movie than its usual output, going for a very energetic, loving, positive tale of youth and love that packs a lot of laughs, incredible writing, excellent performances, while also not compromising on the director’s vision, style or substance for that matter.

King Of The Lost World (2005) [REVIEW] | Simians & Dragons

If there’s a big blockbuster movie coming and somehow involving monsters or aliens (among others) or elements that also relate to “B-movies”, you can bet The Asylum has already launched a mockbuster of it one week earlier or after, because they’re the Zoidberg of the film industry…. well, not quite, because they have actual budgets that don’t involve papermaciè monsters and so on.

BUT WAIT, this time we have a rare example of a “mockbuster double combo”, one that ironically did better to skirt around copyright lawsuits than what the later did with mockbuster of first The Hobbit movie from 2012, where they got themselves a lawsuit as they were stupid enough to use the word “hobbit” in the title of their mockbuster movie, resulting in the movie itself being delayed.

Obviously it was released to cash into the Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake (literally released 1 day before the Peter Jackson’s movie hit theathers, classic), but cleverly didn’t use the word “kong” in the title or marketing (which got 1976’s A*P*E in trouble), which also has the benefit of making this one sneak by quietly as you won’t find it by simply searching for “king kong films”, and also attaching itself to The Lost World, as in the original novel by Conan Doyle, not “Jurassic Park 2”. But did – because it was legally fair – put on the cover of the DVD this phrase “the epic story that inspired King Kong and Jurassic Park”. Which is technically true. 🙂

So is this the mash up of both King Kong and The Lost World the title promises?

Basically, yes. Kinda. By that i mean that the basic premise it’s The Lost World, and ultimately the plot follows more the beats of that instead of King Kong’s, but eventually we have natives… not facing other more primitive ape-men, but making ritual human sacrifices to appease the creatures of the jungle. Yep, you’d think it would make sense to have them making tributes/sacrifices to their giant ape god, but i guess that way the company would seem begging to be sued again, so nope, the giant ape in question doesn’t actually have anything to do with anything else besides just existing and being feared by all creatures, he just shows up fighting some giant dragon-flying lizards and accidentally ruins the ritual.

Also, the natives aren’t actually natives (more on that later) oddly brainwash the survivors to join them, those they don’t choose as sacrifices, and since there’s no Empire State Building for “Ding King” to fall over (there are planes and jets, interestingly enough), the giant monster will have to be dealt with the only sensible solution available: nuking his ass to oblivion.

Yep, this is exactly how they dealth with the “dinosaur” in “King Dinosaur”, because when in doubt, ask yourself how Bert I. Gordon would have written the finale for your film. Then at least make your own footage for the rushed resolution.

Speaking of the monkey, it show ups early….. but it’s also hidden at the same time, because the effects are so bad and it’s shown in such quick cuts you can’t even screenshot the darn thing to see any detail of this “vague blurry giant monkey” thing that showed up on screen for a second. Even when it’s finally shown properly (in the last 10 minutes)…it still looks quite blurry.

Here’s the part where i would try to mount a legit, proper critique of the special effects… to just take the piss on them, but to be honest it’s exactly what i expected from an Asylum movie (especially a pre-2010s one), any further elaboration it’s really pointless and devoid of value for anyone.

BUT i didn’t expect them to pull off shit like “mummy mannequin” that’s supposed to be one of the guys being attacked, immediatly encased in giant spider’s webbing and dropped as a decaying mummified corpse 2 seconds later. It’s not that it looks bad, surprisingly, but its the way it’s presented that sucks, you could at least try to make the damn thing look as big as the person it’s supposed to be, or to make it look like it has some weight to it. Come on.

If nothing else, it starts pretty fast with a plane crash… as in, no pussyfooting around with establishing any of the characters or even spending some time on the plane ride itself, there’s no time or money for that, let’s get to the disaster already, we’ll figure everything else (like characters or motivations) later. Maybe.

As you could have guessed, the movie at its heart it’s a very loose adaptation of The Lost World, it’s no period piece of sorts (as it’s not set in the early 20th centhury like the original novel was), to be honest though i really didn’t expect it to be, since even their later 2009’s adaptation of The Land That Time Forgot wasn’t… totally, they at least found a way to kinda do both with the sci-fi twist of a portal/rift… but then again they did went with the Bermuda Triangle angle for that.

Here we don’t have any sci-fi elements, but we have a strange subplot that the tribal people you expect to be natives from the island (as they were in King Kong).. aren’t actually natives, but people that also crash landed there, kinda reverted back to a tribal lifestyle, and also brainwashed other survivors of plane crashes into joining them.

Well, maybe some were natives, but i’m just guessing, it’s never properly explained, and the entire subplot makes very little sense, to the point it would be better to have it cut entirely and just have the tribal people in the “lost world” just being prehistoric humans native to the island, instead of this convoluted non-sense.

But i’m inclined to believe it’s written this way to avoid the script having too many similarities to King Kong (or The Lost Word), deliberately put there to differentiate it enough so to avoid any risk of being properly sued. Or maybe i’m wrong, i could be.

acting is the kind i would like to write off as “ok” for this kind of hokum, with the bigger names delivering the best performances (and they’re names a more general audiences might actually recognize, with Boxleitner and Steves Railsback)…and i will, the bigger actors do a decent enough job to even out the moments where other actors either way over or under act their parts in a noticeable way.

The acting overall leans more to the “decent” side than most Asylum flicks, same for the characters, and you also get giant scorpions, dragons, giant spiders, some of which were not in either King Kong nor The Lost World, but yeah, more monsters it’s a good trade off, all things considered. I’ll take this instead of no monsters or a lot of padding.

So overall, King Of The Lost World….it’s alright, things happen at a decent pace, it’s not overly long, honestly it’s kinda one of the best mockbusters the Asylum spunked out over time, as it’s in itself an entertaining jungle romp, aside from being a double bootleg of two classic tales (leaning definitely more on side of The Lost World than King Kong), despite the very little on-screen presence of “Ding King”.

It doesn’t mean it’s good, it’s not, but it’s NOWHERE as bad as the reception and metascore on IDMB would lead you to believe, there’s definitely some effort, and it’s not a bad effort, considerin the tiny budget it has, i mean, even the aforementioned The Land That Time Forgot -also from the Asylum – had a noticeably bigger budget put to it.

Might be worth a look if you’re up for some low budget jungle adventure mish mash from the infamous company or having a mockbuster marathon.

Not that bad, surprisingly so.

Agon The Atomic Dragon AKA Giant Phantom Monster Agon (1968-1990s) [REVIEW] Uranium Chorogon

Digging deeper into the kaiju crevices, we find a lot of minor monster flicks from the “monster factory of Nippon”, Toho, in this case being a mini-series made of 4 episodes and with a confusing release history, as it was completed in 1964, but wasn’t broadcasted on Fuji TV until 1968, after Toho realized the project involved two of their own talents, with Fuminori Ohashi (Tsuburaya’s special effects apprentice) and writer Shinichi Sekizawa, already proven for penning other kaiju classics such as Mothra, Mothra Vs Godzilla and Godzilla VS Mechagodzilla (the 1974 one), and the company was convinced that Agon didn’t directly step on the nuclear toes of their monster star.

I said a confusing release history because in mid 90s the episodes were recompiled into a feature lenght film and distributed internationally onn VHS as Agon: Atomic Dragon… and i can’t find any source that actually pinpoints when exactly it was released in the 90s, Letterboxd instead says it was in the 80s, and there’s also a japanese DVD release in 2005 by King Records.

Thankfully is not hard to find in any form, as the english subbed episodes can be found on Youtube, and you might stumble upon fansubbed releases of the feature lenght compilation version.

Continua a leggere “Agon The Atomic Dragon AKA Giant Phantom Monster Agon (1968-1990s) [REVIEW] Uranium Chorogon”

Babylon’s Fall PS4 [DEMO] [HANDS-ON] | Ungolden Grease

I was almost gonna ignore this all the way since it’s another “live service” thingie…. by a Platinum Games that pretty much announced they were done making good games you can play and finish, and ready to invest into the “games as service” garbage, so in a way i’m ready to see Bayonetta 3 come out and then basically ignore what the company does with itself, unless they come to their senses and stuff.

Also, the full game came and was reviewed in the time i took to play the demo and write about it, and i barely even managed to knew there was a demo out for the game at all. But I’m still posting it because i feel it’s “deserved”, come on Platinum Games, you can’t put out shit like this and expect people to NOT point out the telltale smell of a sneaky release bereft of fanfare, for what turned out to be fairly obvious reasons.

Of course it’s a joint effort with Square Enix, because the shitshow of their Marvel Avengers game didn’t teach anyone anything, not that the industry ever wants to learn.

But then again, Square Enix is the company of the “below expectations” that will never consider the expectations might have been not realistic, but will cry about its western division output failing to meet sale expectations and being criticized, you know, the same company who released stuff like Left Alive, The Quiet Man, and Balan Wonderworld. Just to say the more recent ones.

So, in a way, Babylon’s Fall fits perfectly. But sure as hell wasn’t marketed at all, i wanna stress didnt’ see a single ad anywhere and was remember by an email telling me a demo was out… that the game actually wasn’t quietly canned, but releasing soon at full price.

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[EXPRESSO] The Cuphead Show (Season One) (2022) | Ragtime Round

Unlike many videogames to animated series adaptations, Cuphead having his own Netflix show makes some sense, given its aesthetic molded after the style of 1930s cartoons, why not make a cartoon using the characters and the retro-aesthetic?

I’m gonna say this now so we can move on from it, but yes, i really wanted the team to opt for a full proper rubberhose style animation, but that would have required a fuckton more time and money, and honestly the animation is pretty good, with some episodes even mixing live-action sets, and overall i gotta say it delivers on the presentation.

The voice acting is on spot in terms of accents and lingo too, the character designs and mannerism are perfect but in terms of content it’s a bit uneven because it doesn’t really go all the way to imitate the source material, i mean, you expect a lot more in terms of guns, cigars and gambling, but nope, it’s kinda mild and forgettable.

It also basically ignores the plot of the videogame it’s based off, instead going for mostly episodical…. mundane adventures. Yeah, Cuphead owns the Devil its soul… but that goes ultimately nowhere, and the writing it’s uneven, as some episodes do manage to work in a musical number, some good jokes and a good rhytm to the slapstick, others feel like they exist to waste time and deliver cheapo jokes that come off as too modern.

The Cuphead Show it’s an odd case of a series stuck in between a cheapish low effort animated comedy and a tribute to 30s style cartoons, so ultimately it’s just kinda there, inoffensive, fairly short and easy to binge, cute but just with not much of substance going on under its “borrowed” aesthetic.

A second season has already been greenlit, regardless. Mh.