I’ve been looking forward to WolfCop since last year and I’m proud to say it wasn’t a cash grab. It was a loving parody of B-horror and the werewolf genre. The hard work of everyone who made WolfCop shows.
If you do, the very enjoyable Big Ass Spider! is not for you. Of all the B-Movies I’ve seen this is one of the top, up there with Never Cry Werewolf, Grabbers, Dinocroc, and C.H.U.D. It is a hilarious movie about well… I don’t actually have to explain this do I? Starring are a few familiar faces, like Greg Grunberg (the mind reader in Heroes) and Ray Wise (Leland Palmer in Twin Peaks or anything with a higher-up military guy).
Other principle roles include Lombardo Boyar and Clare Kramer.
The movie starts off with one of the greatest opening shots I’ve ever seen. Alex the exterminator (Greg) wakes up after a car accident. In slow motion he walks down the road. Fire is everywhere. Many are burning and grimy, and running from something (obviously a big ass spider). Soldiers are firing at it. He reaches the bottom of a skyscraper, looks up, and boom! Right there, a big ass spider blows up a helicopter, because what else is the helicopter supposed to do? Fly?
I had been waiting for this movie since the time I saw the eerie teaser trailer with Oppenheimer’s “Vishnu” speech. She takes three forms in this movie, and Earth will regret it. It starts off by introducing us to the Brody family after old-timey clips from the 1950s. Godzilla’s history is only briefly explained here before a M.U.T.O. destroys the nuclear plant Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) runs. Afterwards we meet Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and (Sally Hawkins) as they search for monsters in the Philippines.
This is when the movie takes a small break to introduce the principle character Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). His father pulls him back to Japan and there, things really heat up. There is a perfectly even pace between the military planning, suspenseful build ups with the people on the ground, and awe-inspiring monster attacks. If you’re wondering when Godzilla comes in, it isn’t long after the M.U.T.O leaves Japan, about a third into the movie.
Oh boy, when Godzilla caused a massive tsunami just by stepping out of the water in Honolulu, Hawaii… I was grinning like the fan-boy I am. I’m talking about the design. Godzilla looks like real monster, a huge 350 foot tall monster that can and does destroy everything in his path. He has the look and feel of the original designs, but this time with smooth movements. CGI is a beautiful future and is embraced fully here. However, the exploding cars and trains and trucks were real props, so not everything hinges on the computer.
It’s not just Godzilla; the M.U.T.O are bug-like, have glowing red limbs, and look astounding. The cinematography was beautiful for a kaiju film. Some of the earlier fights between Godzilla and the M.U.T.O are seen over television screens and still kick ass. The destruction is devastating and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey doesn’t hold back from showing what happens when Mother Nature is done with us.
At first the dialog will seem cliché but as the movie goes on and the plot changes to affect the public; the dialog takes a real interesting turn. The actors handle their lines well. Watanabe is always fun to see. I also give props to ATJ and David Strathairn (who portrays Admiral William Stenz), a reasonable authority figure. His role isn’t the typical domineering asshole that plagues monster movies. He actually has a brain.
The ending fight scene is a pop-corn addict’s field day. Godzilla’s roar is astounding and heart-thumping. As are the M.U.T.O, they have a clicking thing going on, like a cockroach and cricket.
***** out of *****: Fun, frightening, realistic, and beautiful; this is the monster movie of the century. Bow down to the King. Pray he doesn't stomp.
… And it’s glorious fun. From the get-go of the story it is a battle royale between Dracula, The Wolfman, and Frankenstein’s Monster. They kill each other. Lawrence Talbot (the Wolfman) survives and goes back to London. Mayra, Dracula’s daughter, views this and plots world domination- I think she has daddy issues. The three most famous monsters in movie history are then brought back for another battle.
I liked the heroes:
Steve Soto: an American gangster on business on the island of Magdalena. He’s strong and smart and once weird things begin to happen he takes the correct arms.
Dorian: a beautiful young woman who lives with her “uncle” in the high class society.
The Zombies: they aren’t particularly evil, they’re just doing their job (eating brains) and are featured in one of most chaotic- read, fun- sections of the story. Their role is larger than I had imagined when first reading it, but I’m not complaining.
Wilfred Glendon III: he takes the role of the Wolfman from his grandfather after Lawrence Talbot is shot and killed. He’s a good man, a scientist, finally introduced in the second half with a powerful psychological role and history that was thrilling to read.
The villains were fun too.
Countess Mayra Zaleska: woo-boy, this lady is evil in its purest form. The scenes revolving around her are usually always bloody or frightening in some sense of the word. Her madness starts slow in the beginning. As it goes on…
Major Quantez: asshole, asshole, asshole all the way. There is nothing good about this ruthless warlord who rules the Magdalena islands with a harder-than-iron fist.
Dracula: oh man is he back alright; fun all the way. His dialog needed work but he doesn’t speak much. He just kills, and kills some more. I’ll get to him later.
Frankenstein’s Monster: he’s only there for a short period (like Dracula and Glendon) but his scenes are impactful. Don’t think he’s the sympathetic beast of Mary Shelley’s story. He plays out more like something Bram Stoker would have created.
Frankenstein’s Bride: forthcoming, soon-to-be-revived, but she has a part in one of the most thrilling scenes in the book.
I get to Dracula again because of what he turns into. After dying he turns into a cloud of dust and drinks the blood of Frankenstein, recently gutted by wolves. He becomes an insatiable bloodworm which eats every living thing in its path. David Jacobs (the author) calls it the Drakon which is quite fitting. It is a completely unstoppable creature which sucks people up and digests them. The Drakon is transparent, so you can see everything going on as flesh dissolves and clothes are ruined…
David Jacob’s writing style can be a bit repetitive. Words (like blood, or table, or room, for some examples) would be used more than once in the same sentence. He’s devilishly good at setting a scene though. The violence is clear and drew me in. It wasn't obscenely gory but Marya definitely has the dirtiest job. There is some nudity and a little sex, but nothing too graphic. If made into a movie this would still be a very heavy R.
Midway through there a few chapters dedicated to Steve and Marya's characterizations. She’s a bit more sympathetic than she first appears. She does care about the people working for her but she offsets it by ruling them like a dictator- she’ll kill them without hesitation or warning. And whatever you do, do not try to explain science to her! Steve is a likable guy who just wants to get back home until a deal even he can’t resist is made. I cared about Glendon as much as I did the original Wolfman Lawrence Talbot. He didn’t ask for the curse; he just to live with it as best he can.
The pace is quick and the dialog- while a bit stunted around Dracula and Mayra (jeez guys, come on, it’s the 21st Century) witty. The Devil's Brood reads off like a pulp novel from the forties and fifties. I can’t really describe it. At only 316 pages long it goes into a lot of detail and history but I never got bored.
Again, the pacing and violence is great. The writing itself needs some work. The story had mystery, thrills, genuine characters, and horror. This is the first time a story has really spooked me. That freaking Drakon… The dialog for the more human characters is good but the monsters can’t seem to get out of their respective ages. They dress like they’re in the 1800s too, which in Mayra’s case, is pretty hot. I enjoyed this. I’m moving on to the sequel, The Devil’s Night.
**** of *****
I’m actually more of a spice guy, but cookies are going to kill me one day. So would the Candyman if I said his name five times while looking in the mirror. The movie is based off of the short story The Forbidden by horror master Clive Barker. The plot is simple. A woman (Helen Lyle) and her classmate (Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Walsh) are writing a thesis on urban legends for their final paper. Helen learns about The Candyman from multiple sources and decides to do more research on him. The Candyman appears through word of mouth and (hint, hint) storytelling. Helen doesn't believe he exists and has a series of problems in varying forms throughout.
First, I want to give you one of my favorite lines provided by http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103919/quotes. Candyman says, “They will say that I have shed innocent blood. What's blood for, if not for shedding?” Do you know how creepy that is for the movie to start with? It’s especially frightening coming from the brilliant (more on that later) Tony Todd, who’s naturally deep voice is villain-esque on its own.
Virginia Madsen has a great turn as Helen; blending smarts with looks and an investigative nature which keeps her both in and out of trouble. She’s not all that defenseless; but she is pretty close. Kasi Lemmons clearly had fun with her role of Bernadette; protective and a quite smarter in logic than Helen. Xander Berkeley (really, how awesome is that name?) has a smaller but still important role as Helens husband Professor Trevor Lyle. Now for the icing on this beautiful cake of a movie, Tony Todd as Candyman is iconic for many reasons.
Tony Todd is definitely up there with horror icons Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees), and Doug Bradley (Pinhead). The man is 6’5” and has an extraordinarily deep voice and overall menacing composure. His character is fleshed out long before he appears (which isn’t really until halfway through) through the stories and legends told by the locals of one of Cabrini-Greene; Vanessa Williams in a brilliant portrayal as a happy, protective, mother, and DeJuan Guy as a little brave boy. The infamous hook is coated in blood and gore whenever he appears. In the daytime too, because you know you’re in trouble when the monster isn’t afraid of some Vitamin D.
The violence is quite graphic and actually creepy under the tension director Bernard Rose keeps on screen before each killing. Don’t think this is an overly violent movie though. It has plenty of mystery and history but every scene is engaging. As I keep saying, the environment does help in a creep factor. This film doesn’t fail at it. The projects aren’t exactly the prettiest place to live and made worse by everyone’s suspicion of a white girl walking in. Candyman lore and symbols are easy to spot in the graffiti.
Finally, Phillip Glass gives us a haunted, gothic score which fits perfectly with the visuals. Overall, this is definitely a five star film. Go watch it, and try to say his name. I dare you.
***** of *****
Whatever you want out of a superhero/comic movie is in here. And I don’t mean comic in just one since of the word either. It’s absolutely hilarious through the whole thing. I’ve never seen Joss Whedon’s Firefly series or Serenity (although it crossed my mind to do so). Soon I hope to see The Cabin in the Woods. I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer… What, it was a good show! What I really know is; he is a great writer.
First off, I want to briefly discuss Thor. I was okay with the first movie but there was something… Not likeable. After seeing The Avengers I’ve grown to like his character more. Thor just seemed a little generic and bland to me in some parts of Thor. His brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was infinitely more entertaining. It could have been the emotional depth they put to his character.
They have a lot of character depth for all of the folk in here. Black Widow portrayed by dangerously beautiful actress Scarlett Johansson is one example. In Iron Man 2 she was interesting but nothing was known about her background. Here though, viewers can actually care about her. I had fun knowing who she was (particularly in a brutal psychological assault when face to face with Loki) and seeing her kick way more ass than in her debut.
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is the same way; he’s in there a little more. Even though it isn’t as much as the others, he’s still brutally efficient. Where do I start on Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury? We all know he’s already a bad-ass and holy crap, he shows it here. Don’t mess with him. And the Hulk, portrayed by a subtle and versatile Mark Ruffalo was great. If you look closely you can see the giant green monster has a five o’ clock shadow. That was funny to me.
Everyone is brilliant. All of them have hilarious lines (especially Captain America trying to get culture references). Even during the action scenes humor is shuffled in to keep you- and I- amazed and in a constant adrenaline rush. The thing is; this action is clear. You can actually see everything happening. It isn’t the stupid close ups where you see a few flying body parts (attached mostly) in blurry movements.
Suspense is also riddled in there to foot-bouncing amounts. Joss doesn’t use music to let you know when the suspense is ratcheting. There is a paced burn to allow his actors room to breathe. Loki is the pure embodiment of evil. His army is vast and completely uncaring to the human species. The heroes are naturally easy to spot, no matter how shady they may be.
This is two and a half hours of fun, excitement, crisp dialog too boot. I also loved the setting and special effects.
PS: For gods, Loki and Thor get their asses kicked a lot. Secondly, avoid the 3D version like bubonic plague. I don’t believe in post-production conversions because they never work. Cool? Cool, now go assemble at the theaters as soon as possible.
***** out of *****
I first saw this movie- or the end of it- on SciFi a few years ago. My mom liked it while I was still frightened of werewolves then. After ninety minutes of howling, ripped limbs, and gutted humans I finally got over my fear. Do you really want to ask why I didn’t fear this? Well, I was sitting next to my mom. Mamma Bear can kill any werewolf just by slapping it in the face. Werewolves don’t exist, but this movie almost put my fear back into them.
In the Scottish highlands a squad of British soldiers is on a training mission- or so I gathered. Unbeknownst to them a team of someone(s) was there to trap a werewolf and… I’ve said too much. Let’s just say they all grossly underestimated how many beasts were stalking them. After a lone survivor (Liam Cunningham) of the second group is found, all start hauling ass to get out of there. The werewolves have arrived. More saviors- a pretty woman (Megan Cleasby) and her dog Sam take them to a cottage.
After this the initial shock response is handled very well under the circumstances. The military men can’t grasp the concept of werewolves until a second attack. Between the increasing number of strikes and rapidly depleting soldiers there is talk of werewolves, werewolves, conspiracy, and more werewolves. Dark comedy is strewn about- such as the dog gnawing on one of the soldiers’ exposed intestines during an attack… What? I told you it was dark…
Every event in this movie has purpose. It moves the plot along and nothing is tedious, as some horror movies tend to be. For a bunch of tough guys they are either sissies- well look at their situation, I’d be pissing my pants all over the place-, funny, or even enigmatic at points but we care about all of them before they die… Werewolves are used as men in suits (with stilts for height) and animatronic features (such as moving the muzzle and ears for realism). Director Neil Marshall was brilliant in his use of lighting, giving enough for the violence to set in.
What I’m trying to say is he doesn’t shy away from showing the audience what they’re up against with the soldiers. These werewolves are just so downright scary, brutal, and smart. Instead of going all out each werewolf goes out in waves, hiding in the dark, or other things I don’t want to ruin. Door handles aren’t a problem either. Megan reveals a neat little history for the werewolves and an unexpected event lets the wolves in.
Did I mention they're (werewolves) smart? Warning, gore and language. And an explosion, I mustn't forget the explosions.
The gore isn’t glorified even when it is in droves. This is realistic for a low budget. Like my writing, the movie just shows in an objective manner what happens in certain situations. Under the right conditions this movie is just creepy with the atmosphere too. You’ll hear the werewolves grumbling about in the dark. The constant fog and moonlight leaving the werewolves in silhouettes; which leads to terrifying jump scares.
You’ll never be bored in this movie. It simply isn’t possible. Oh and before I forget, the acting is phenomenal. Bad-ass veterans (sorta-kinda) Liam Cunningham as Captain Ryan and Sean Pertwee (holding his intestines in) as Sergeant Harry Wells are unforgettable in their roles; both men can clearly lead an entire army based off of their stern looks alone. Sam the Dog is adorable and no one would or should want that little fuzzy guy to die.
Overall this is an astounding movie which deserves far more credit. It has spirit, it has heart thudding action, and suspense. To add in there are special effects which rival CGI and blow it out of the water. The dialog is tight and realistic. Dog Soldiers is just fun-a-moment movie for adults who don’t want the experience ruined by kiddies.
***** out of *****
Have you seen one of these little scaly guys?
It was the prime character of a story I reviewed on writing.com entitled The Jesus Lizard. A mother buys her family a pet lizard which causes some issues in the food department. Here's the review:
Pinkies? Your writing style suggests a knowledge of (many) things pets, very humorous situations, and unsavory characters- who shouldn't really be hanging around animals. I remember my pets (I still have them, four cats and a dog.) Readers who own these little fuzzballs or scaly ones know your pain. Feeding them is such a hassle! I myself am a male, but I totally saw where the poor mother's fear came from.
So if you put "horror" as a genre it would work. Baby mice, much less frozen? Some Jesus lizard... Ha-ha-ha, I'm kidding. But seriously, five stars for a highly enjoyable story!
Now, you can read the story yourself. It is funny and highly realistic. Oh and if you are a member of PETA it might not be your thing. http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1830538-The-Jesus-Lizard
I am an author. I am a fan of horror, thrillers, and comedy.