[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.

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.

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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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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #7: Valley Of The Dragons (1961)

Stock footage. The quintessence of cheap filmaking since its very beginning, the saviour of many low budget productions for decades, constantly growing over time and often very fuckin free, etc.

It’s and always will be a constant for visual media, but there are case when you can take it too far, like the infamous Gamera Super Monster, the final Showa era Gamera film, composed almost entirely of stock footage from previous movies in the series. Sometimes you can indeed go even cheaper, but shouldn’t, unless you wanna risk destroying any goodwill, fanbase or prospects.

Though this isn’t the case, with Valley Of The Dragons we have instead the story of trying to adapt the Jules Verne novel Off Of A Comet/Career Of A Comet, which was actually not published in US territories at the time, due to it being very anti-semitic.

A very loose adaptation mostly made to chase the success of previous film adaptations of Verne’ stories…. and because producer Donald Zimbalist wanted to have it heavily based around the stock footage from One Billion BC, as he owned the rights to that.

In its own way, this is also pure cinema at heart.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #5: Claw (2021)

From Gerald Rascionato, mostly know as the director of Open Water 3: Cage Dive, this is the other dinosaur movie he made in 2021 that we mentioned in the review of Triassic Hunt, simply titled Claw.

The premise is fairly simple, with two friends forced to spend the night in a ghost town (after getting a flat tire), where they find themselves hunted by a prehistoric predator.

Almost immediatly i got Raptor Ranch vibes, since we also have a scientist creating dinosaurs via a ramshackle laboratory in a middle-of-nowhere town (here Southern California instead of the usual rural town of backwoods stereotypes), the dinosaur pen, the dinosaur outsmarting his creator, etc.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #3: Jurassic Expedition (2018)

I don’t know what it was with late 2010s and the small resurgence of “dinosaurs in space” movies, but yes, that off handed comment i made when reviewing Jurassic Galaxy wasn’t for naught, that movie had a “buddy” of sorts, released a year later as… Alien Expedition?

It’s amazing how that was actually the original title, which was quickly changed in most releases because dinosaurs bring all the boys to the yard, after all. “Jurassic” is a palatable adjective, it is.

Seriously, how the hell do you make a low budget sci-fi movie about dinosaur planets and NOT put a dinosaur relevant word in the title? You want people to eventually watch your movie, right?

Even more amazing is that the two movies also share the “dual brothers directors”… just pulling your leg, it’s a guy that just happens to be named Wallace Brothers, and only having made a single film before this one, David And Goliath from 2016, never heard of it before myself.

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12 Days Of Dino Dicember #2: King Dinosaur (1955)

Ah yes, time to slip back into the comfy territory of “featured on MST3K” old 50 movies about dinosaurs, and of course when talking about MST3K featured flicks, Bert I. Gordon (or Mister BIG, as he was nicknamed by good ol’ Forrest J. Ackerman) is bound to be involved somewhat.

This is actually his first directed movie, followed 2 years later by Beginning Of The End, aka the one about giant locusts and “mantises in pantises”.

Sorry, getting back on track. Yeah, King Dinosaur marks Mister BIG’ first feature length work, after some television commercials, and let’s just say that its first step it’s already a good indication of him being incredibly cheap and fast in making a movie. And i mean both, as the movie was shot in a week, and was indeed cheap, since it has only 4 actors and it uses stock footage, not only for the scene of the mammoth’s attack it’s lifted from 1940’s One Million BC, but the army and the atom bomb explosions are just military stock footage, and there’s no cheaper than free.

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Monster On The Campus (1958) [REVIEW] | Coelacanth Jekyll & Hyde

Since today it’s Coelacanth Day, it’s the only time of the year when it’s “proper” to review the only b-movie about the coelacanth, you know, that primitive/living fossile fish that was thought to be extinct for decades, most likely you know it because it’s also the basis for the pokemon Relicanth.

And even that it’s quite tenous, because this isn’t the late 50s version of Bloody Waters of Doctor Z you might expect, even though we’re still going into psychotronic territory and a coelacanth fish it’s involved, with a college professor that acquires a newly discovered specimen of said fish, and an accidental exposition to its blood, which of course it’s radioactive due to gamma rays and the 50s.

Though this is really a triviality, given that this detail comes very late in the movie, i guess it had to be made a radioactive thing by the studio for marketing reasons, maybe not, but it’s indeed very 50s.

This somehow results in the college professor mutating back into a monstruous hominid-troglodyte that wreaks havoc on the campus, like a inner city Eegah minus the Arch Hall Jr.

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Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008) [REVIEW] | Airport Outbreak

While not the first CG Resident Evil movie ever (that “honor” goes to the previously feautured “Biohazard 4D Executer”), Degeneration is arguably the first proper full lenght animated feature based on the Capcom series, intended as an opposite entity to the live action movie series, as those followed the plots of the game very, very loosely, but Degeneration clearly sets itself within the universe of the games, set sometimes after Resident Evil 4 and before Resident Evil 5.

Why it is this film (and the following sequels) kinda ignored, you may ask.

The answer i feel it’s pretty much as obvious as kinda inevitable, and can be really summed up with “motion capture based 3D CG animation”, which has never been too popular among either hardcore or casual fans of the franchise, or self-proclaimed “animation lovers” for that matter.

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The Spooktacular Eight #4: Big Tits Zombie / Big Tits Dragon (2010)

Based on the manga Big Tits Dragon from Rei Mikamoto (Satanister, Reiko The Zombie Shop, Bloody Deliquent Chainsaw Girl, A Girl of The Iron Ghost), directed and written by Takao Nakano, a famous japanese satirist, or so the Wikipedia page says, in any case i never heard of him before, but giving his background in the japanese adult video market and the cast made out of famous faces from the japanese porn industry (again, so says Wikipedia, i can’t know everything), and given how he did a parody of sorts of Cronenberg’s Shivers (called Sexual Parasite: Killer Pussy, which is up there with Killer Condom as titles you can give movies)….yes, he being involved makes total sense.

It was shot in 3D, which it won’t matter to me since i can’t access a 3D version, and of course there’s no european release of any kind, home video, streaming, nada. Actually, there is a german release and there was an UK release by Terracotta Productions (even had a limited UK theathrical run), but the latter is nowhere to be found, not on their store, site, or even on most ecommerce sites.

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