Venomous/Venom (2001) [REVIEW] | #snakesofjunetoo

We’re out of Anaconda sequels at the moment (there’s a reboot in the works, confirmed 3 months ago with Tom Gormican, better known for The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent) , so let’s start digging into another barrel o’ snakes by rummaging – as we usually end up doing – through Fred Olen Ray filmography.

Not that i picked up the movie this way, it was another random find on Amazon Prime Video, but there’s no real surprise to see him listed as director… under one of his pseudonyms, Ed Raymond this time, why shouldn’t be his work?

Not to be confused with Silent Venom from 2009, also directed by Fred Olen Ray, in which he realized he could put snakes inside of submarines instead of planes.

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Bringing Out The Serpents again for #snakesofjunetoo

Last June we did feature a lot of serpent based movies (often b-movies, that much is true), so we’re doing it again this year too, though on a smaller scale due to an increase of work and other personal obligations. Plus a surprisingly full summer release schedule of films coming out here (united with a nationwide promotion on ticket prices), so there will be a lot of EXPRESSO reviews…. yes, we’ll also review that one with the lead actors that keeps constantly getting arrested, because while i abhor him, i did watch and review movies where he was in before, like the theatherical cut of Justice League or the recently released (and reviewed) Dalìland, where he plays a very minor role, so much i didn’t notice he was in before watching the thing.

So yeah, it wouldn’t be quite correct of me to stop now, especially since i seriously doubt The Flash will do much in terms of box office, i mean, it’s not one of the more popular superheroes, it’s very well known and documented even between the less devoted audiences that Erza Miller is basically assaulting people on a whim at a noticeable rate, both Black Adam and Shazam 2 weren’t well regarded or even that lucrative (though i did rate Fury Of The Gods higher than most, personally), and remember, this movie also exists to completely reset the mess of the DC Extended Universe, so they can start again with Gunn at the helm.

Plus, honestly the movie looks kinda ass, and it’s undeniable this is NOT a project the studios really believes in, otherwise they wouldn’t have advertised it by dangling the return of Michael Keaton as Batman in trailers, like bait. And that’s some good bait.

Again, i don’t blame people opting out of seeing The Flash because of Erza Miller, or regardless of him, you do you. I kinda have to, to a certain degree.

[EXPRESSO] The Boogeyman (2023) | Mid-Boogie

Apparently another Stephen King’s short story adaptation, which makes me kinda wish i did watch last year’s Firestarter remake, but then again, does it really matter?

I mean, we get a movie like this like every few months or so, and the title is apt even if it’s the most stock combo of laughable and generic.

It’s definitely “to the point”, because the plot concerns a therapist and his family, processing their grief after the death of the wife, only to be haunted-stalked by a supernatural entity that feeds on vulnerable people and feeds on their suffering, after a troubled man shows up at the therapist’s house out of the blue and is found hanged in a closed room.

Did i tell you the crux of the movie is about the sisters (a child and the older teenage daughter) bonding and managing to get over their mother’s death while they learn more about the entity and try to face it when it’s clear nobody else actually believes the thing to be more than a byproduct of their imagination? Well, you could have guessed that too.

What’s surprising is despite the movie being as stock, formulaic, derivative and uninspired as it seems… the execution saves it, almost shocking you that, despite the premise, there being no big twist to mix the formula, and – well -everything, ultimately the movie isn’t half bad.

Which it’s kind of a stupid way of putting it, it’s average so, yeah, it’s “half bad”, technically, but the characters aren’t detestable or too stupid, at all, the creature is shown fairly clearly, has an ok design and looks quite decent in terms of effects, plus the finale it’s satisfying enough.

For something called The Boogeyman, it’s a surprising enjoyable horror film, if generic, very average and throwaway.

[EXPRESSO] Renfield (2023) | Flies On The Windscreen

Robert is a man stuck in a toxic codepent relationship with his boss, and partecipates in group therapy sessions to get over it… while also find new abusive monsters to feed his own, Count Dracula itself, as Robert is actually Robert Renfield (Nicholas Hoult), the vampire’s infamous long time familiar, now living in modern New Orleans.

But Renfield it’s tired of being second fiddle and wants out, trying to turn his life around for himself, even falling in love with a righteous police officer (Awkwafina) that feels offended of doing menial jobs instead of busting down the criminal gang that killed her father.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the premise of Renfield, but i fully support Universal’s bent for trying to do new things with their old legacy franchises, this time a comedy horror about Dracula’s iconic familiar/slave, bringing him out of the sanitarium in a modern setting and basically having him try to escape his life as Dracula’s servant, moonlighting as an anti-hero that just needs to feed on insects to gain their life force and rip out people limbs like they’re made of rotten weeks old tuna.

Plus we have Nicholas Cage as fuckin Dracula, hell yeah i was absolutely IN… and after watching the movie i can say this is NOT the case where i love the concept but not the movie as a whole, because the gamble paid off and makes for a light hearted, silly little horror comedy with surprising wit, lots of funny over the top gore effects of good quality and enjoyable action scenes.

Excellent casting too, especially Cage as Dracula is a delightful, brutal but also a manipulative, petty asshole of a monster.

The movie it’s also short, but honestly for the better as it avoids spreading the premise thin.

Pinocchi-O-Rama # 5: The Adventures Of Pinocchio AKA Un Burattino Di Nome Pinocchio (1972)

Don’t let the deceptive and common international title that’s often attached to many Pinocchio films, or the fact it came out in 1972, the same year as the popular italian TV miniseries of the same name (later edited as a compilation film) by acclaimed director Luigi Comencini.

This is actually a different adaptation, originally titled “Un Burattino Chiamato Pinocchio” ( lit. “ A Puppet Called Pinocchio”), that’s also the more recognized work of italian animator-director Giuliano Cenci, whom at the time was hailed as the “italian Walt Disney”, and he almost was if the distributors didn’t fuck him over, with a fuckin mess of indipendent regional releases that basically doomed financially the film.

It was so badly handled that at a time, in Florence, it was seen playing in a red-lights cinema called Arlecchino, which of course wasn’t where families went for a movie time with the kids.

To say nothing of how the movie managed to reach Egypt as an unauthorized bootleg they pilfered from the Italian Embassy. XD

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Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce PS3 [REVIEW]| #musoumay

As most Warriors fans know, once a main numbered entry in the Dynasty or Samurai series is released, Koei and Omega Force don’t follow up them up with another numbered either, no siree, but basically squeeze the foundations and assets of the newly made entry for many spin-offs, alongside the expected Xtreme Legends and Empires versions.

And Dynasty Warriors 6 was no exception (thought the poor reception had a lot less derivative titles spun from it, not even a proper XL expansion), so back in 2009 they made another one, Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce (Multi Raid in its japanese release) to also ride on the “online co op” frenzy the industry was pushing wish during the PS3/360 era…. on the PSP, initially.

Then HD ports on consoles that touched up the graphics, added full in game voice acting for battles and non-battle events. Though worry not, most of the cutscenes are outright recycled from DW 6, with just a slightly different hue overlaid to disguise the fact it’s stock footage.

The story is basically the same as always, there’s really not much to discuss, aside that this time magic, mystical beasts and the such plays a lot more into it, leading to some alternate or new events alongside the classic confrontations like Chi Bi, Wu Zhang Plain, Xia Pi, etc.

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12 Hours Into The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

I expected many things, but i wasn’t quite ready to get the sequel to Breath Of The Wild and see that the development team actually “pulled a Nuts & Bolts”, but actually do it in a way that doesn’t leave disappoiment and bewildered fans.

Mostly because Tears Of The Kingdom doesn’t completely goes away with almost everything from the previous movies (and its open worlds/spaces have actual shit to do in it, instead of meaningless wandering for few collectables in oversized dromes), retaining pretty much the same basic gameplay seen in Breath Of The Wild, from attacking, the stamina management for climbing, running, flying, item collecting, having to deal with freezing cold or scorching hot enviroments, Sacraries acting as both mini-dungeons and fast-travel locations where to collect orbs in order to power up life or stamina, tower that need to be actived to scan the area you’re in, etc.

And of course the weapons are made of biscuit crumbs, which is both worse and better, as now there’s is a real, honest-to-god story justification for Hyrule’s metal weapons having becoming corroded (which is fuckin hilarious in a way)… BUT at least now you can find more resistent variant of the weapons, the last strike that would seen the weapon break always deals a critical hit damage, and one of the new abilities is also there to help, as it lets you combine weapons with items to strenghten them or create weird ass weaponry.

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Earth Defense Force AKA Monster Attack PS2 [REVIEW] | Thus The EDF Fought

As we wait for the western release date of EDF 6 (which came out in Japan last August), let’s go all the way back to the beginning, with the original Earth Defense Force on PS2.

Unlike EDF 2 which got an enhanced port on PS Vita, the original Earth Defense Force still remains a PS2 only game, one that americans didn’t get, as the first EDF was only localized in PAL territories as Monster Attack and distributed by Agetec in… lets say limited numbers, since today finding an original copy can be fairly pricey, if you find a PAL copy to begin with, instead of the many cheaper japanese PS2 copies floating around the net.

I did manage to get a used PAL copy under 30 bucks, but one could suggest it’s better to just emulate the thing, if you’re really curious to see how EDF started as a fan of the series, otherwise there’s really no point to simply recommend you play EDF 4.1 or 5 nowadays.

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[EXPRESSO] Beau Is Afraid (2023) | Rightfully So

The new movie from Hereditary and Midsommar director Ari Aster, and what do you know, it’s indeed quite the intriguing piece of cinema.

Heck, i’d go further and say this one is quite the experience, and definitely something you’ve never seen before, not this way or with this imagery or themes, as Aster goes fuckin insane by delivering a surreal kafkian odyssey out of a very simple and – on its face – thin premise: a man named Beau (Joaquin Phoenix) with a troubled relationship with his mother is set to do his yearly visit home for the anniversary of his father’s death.

Then he learns of her dying in a horrible accident too and scrambles, shame he lives in what could be classified as “Kafkian suburban slums”, with naked murderers, tattooed man with black reptilian eyes, and crazied hobos.

Not that the world outside it’s better, as Beau is trapped in an eternal super short-circuit of grotesque weirdos accusing, manipulating or threatening him in ways meant to fuel the Kafkian uroborous, as Beau it’s guilt tripped into everything by everyone, while he stews in the “damned if i do, damned if i don’t” miserable state of existence, getting involved in weirder and increasingly surreal scenarios as his adventure unfolds from just him wanting to come back home.

It’s all so absurdly grotesque, preposterous and outlandish in the peak of weirds the movie reaches, definitely making you wanna see what the hell could ever happen next, but even with Joaquin Phoenix being incredible as usual, the deliberate slow pace and excess of…. well, everything, those take a toll on the movie, which ends up feeling too long and repetitive.

But still, even flawed as it is, Beau Is Afraid remains a movie that has to be seen to be believed.

Touken Ranbu Warriors NSWITCH [REVIEW] | #musoumay

As i previously said while discussing the demo for it, i eventually did get the pricey ass retail North American version, since i wasn’t paying full price for digital, or 100 bucks for the game and one of the most desperate and worthless example of season pass content ever devised by a publisher.

Due to import taxes i paid the same anyway, but we’ll talk about that later in the review.

FIY the game is also available worlwide digitally on Steam.

Touken Ranbu Warriors story is set in 2205, about a group of Touken Danshi sent back in the Sengoku period in order to avoid timeline alterations by the History Retrograde Army.

What are Touken Danshi? But beatiful boys with the souls of legendary japanese swords (often as iconic and famed as their possessors/wielders) bestowed upon them, because nothing else aside “bishounen sword boys” would strike fear in those dastardly time travelling history revisionists.

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