[EXPRESSO] The Bubble (2022) | Comedy Out Of Time

Decided to dip my toes once again into the Netflix new releases, still not much luck.

The Bubble it’s honestly kinda sad as it has a nice idea, being a comedy happening on the set of the new movie in the fictional “Cliff Beasts” B-movie series, completely taking place in the hotel where the cast it’s quarantined in until the movie it’s finished.

The first problem is that The Bubble it’s a satirical comedy that not only loses all its edge as it dwells on the expected themes and almost comes off as hypocritical, poking fun at the movie industry when it was written in a rush in early 2021 in order to make itself relatable to the viewer, goes for a lot of comedy low-hanging fruits, and hopes the excellent cast of comedy actors would suffice.

The other problem is that it feels incredibly dated already and worse, it’s not really that funny, to be blunt.

It has its moments where it works, undeniably, so it’s not a completely laugh-free Netflix affair, and it’s not grating, but the straightforward approach and scattershot nature of the movie as a glorified series of improv sketches doesn’t help, and makes one wonder why the fuck it’s 2 hours long.

The self-awareness about content for content’s sake might have worked if it didn’t feel so depressingly leaning into the audience having compassion for it more than being entertained by, which gets extra depressing and ironic due to how incredibly ancient it feels out of the box.

It’s a shame because there could have been something to it, there’s an effort in making the premise work, but instead it comes off a depressing and kinda desperate comedy that even at peak freshness feel like it was imprisoned in a space capsule alongside Rita Repulsa.

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.

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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.

Giant Monster March 2022 is GO!

Some things come and go, but giant monsters are forever!

Yeah, while i’m still keeping the bi-daily posting rate, starting tomorrow for this month every posting day when there’s not a new movie EXPRESSO review there will be a full lenght giant monster movie review. Simple as that, so see ya tomorrow for the first one of this year, hoping this will become a yearly institution! 🙂

Jump Force PS4 [REVIEW- FUNERAL] | To The Digital Graveyard With You!

One might wonder why review Jump Force now, as it got “internet spanked” quite enough when it came out in 2019. Aside the fact i don’t need a reason to do so… Namco Bandai gave me a big one, by announcing they would remove the game from digital storefronts, alongside the 2 season passes, the DLCs characters and content by february 8th 2022, with online functionalities and features shutting down entirely by August 24th 2022, this on all platforms.

Now, i know this would be reason for joy to many, but i’m an archivist at heart, and while i won’t miss the microtransaction laden bullshit, i find it silly that they didn’t even managed to make a complete edition of it with all the content on disc, only the Deluxe Edition on Switch with the Season Pass 1 content baked in the cart.

So years in the future you won’t be able to play the Season Pass 2 characters at all, which isn’t exactly a loss given the game wasn’t good to begin with, but it’s even more soon-to-be legally lost content. The loss of the online functionalities was inevitable, to a point, but the rest not so much.

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Don’t expect a Pokemon Legend Arceus review in a timely manner

Yeah, one more from the beloved series of “Don’t Expect Anything”, i wouldn’t wanna spoil you too much least you forget the cold, disappointing and cruel embrace of reality.

Gloom aside, the reason for today “episode-ramble” is that i simply haven’t preordered Pokemon Legends Arceus, and so far i’m kinda glad i didn’t, since there are rumors and various leaks about the game’s performance being crap enough to noticeably affect the exploration of the full-on open world this Pokemon game goes for.

To be honest, it looks not worse than Sword and Shield from the official gameplay trailer released some days ago, but also not as good as you would expect since Game Freak didn’t do double duty on this and the Pearl/Diamond remake, i guess they really haven’t got the memo that they can/should make technically polished titles, since they’re not developing for handheld consoles anymore.

And they really can’t pull off “first proper new Pokemon gen game on the system” excuse.

Still, since the game comes out at the end of this month, a day one patch (and most likely more following that) could fix the issue… to some degree. I mean, the game launches in 2 week and 1/2, so it’s simply absurd to expect the situation to be easily dealt with via patches, regardless of how many they will be, for obvious reasons.

Do i still look forward to eventually playing the game itself? Sure, but i’m not going down the mine this time, i’m still bummed by pre-ording Ultrasun/moon, so i will wait to see how the situation evolves over the months, i’m not offering myself as proverbial canary this time. Really tired of that.

That sure was a Pokemon ramble, see ya!

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #12: Journey To The Beginning Of Time (1955)

It’s the final day of the 12 Days Of Dino Dicember, so let’s end it with a proper obscure gem, the Czech movie Journey To The Beginning Of Time. As in the original, not the re-cut, re-filmed version that reached US territories in 1966 under the same name.

Today thankfully you can watch it as it was released on a region-free Blu Ray by Second Run, which also includes the English version, but i’m not gonna bother with that for now. Sorry, but i simply can’t afford the time to watch that as well and compare the two.

This comes from Karel Zeman (no, not the soccer manager), nicknamed the “Czech Melies”, famous for his fantasy films combining live action and animation, and hugely influential, not surprising to fellow czech Jan Svankmajer (you can’t imagine how happy i am by just having the occasion of nominating him in any of these reviews, retrospectives, but beloved by many american directors, like Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, and serving as inspiration to Jurassic Park itself.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #11: The Beast Of Hollow Mountain (1956)

I promised it time ago, i referenced it very recently when talking about Cowboys VS Dinosaurs, so this is a… relatively long time coming, but i did really want to cover what it’s arguably the original and most distinctive piece of the “weird west” subgenre, which includes the sub-subgenre of “dinosaur westerns”, with The Beast Of Hollow Mountain.

Thankfully this one shouldn’t be that hard to find, even for collectors, as it was included in collections and – luckily for me – received a HD restoration on DVD, one i didn’t even had to import, as it’s available in Italy thanks to Sinister Films ( even includes 1953’s full lenght feature The Neanderthal Man as an extra), though under its old and hilarious localized title, “La Valle Dei Disperati”, which translates to “Valley Of The Hopeless”. XD

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #10: Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds/Legends Of The Dinosaurs (1977)

We previously spotlighted the delights of live action tokutatsu monster and superhero anime hybrid with the Dinosaur War Izenborg 4 episodes-to-compilation film “Attack Of The Super Monsters” by Tsuburaya Productions, so let’s talk about an even more obscure kaiju film, this time by Toei, with Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds, also known as Legend Of The Dinosaurs.

Interestingly, this was a japanese kaiju movie spurred by the international success of Spielberg’s Jaws (release in 1976 in Japan) and a coincidental resurgence of reports of Nessie in Loch Ness, so Toho settled to make it about a geologist who start investing strange reports of fossilized eggs and odd events surrounding the Saiko Lake (one of the Five Fuji Lakes) community, including a headless horse carcass and mysterious disappearances of people in the lake area.

Eventually Takashi puts the clues together and surmises it must be a Plesiosaur doing this, which turns out to be true, as it attacks the lakeside attendants during an event (hi, Jaws parallel), but in japanese monster movie tradition, the creature it’s bound to fight with another monster, a “Rhamphorhynchus” (basically a type of pterosaur like the pteranodon), emerging from a hidden cave in the Aokigahara region (aka the tragically famous “Sea Of Trees”, subject of a very crap Gus Van Sant movie to make things even worse), as accidentally discovered by a young girl.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #8: Cowboys Vs Dinosaurs (2015)

It seems i have misplaced my UK DVD, so enjoy this US poster.

“Hinted” at this one in last year’s Dino Dicember, so here it is, the versus match of the millennia, to decide who’s better between gun junkies cattle herders and extinct-not extinct predators.

One i didn’t even had to search for online, as i already owned on DVD as “Jurassic Hunters”, bought alongside a pack of other UK DVD dinosaur movies imports years ago.

What luck!

And another one that people rating shlock on IMDB are being a bit too mean towards just to rake in the likes by fake pretending Jurassic Park quality and bitching how Cowboys VS Dinosaurs didn’t rock their socks off, that or people who genuinely haven’t seen REALLY bad b-movies.

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