Well I’ll start with the worst of the bunch I’ve recently watched.
The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. Well what can I say folks, I’m losing faith in Rob Zombie. Back in the mid 90′s living in Mason City with my two best pals Jay and Rob I fell in love with a band called White Zombie. I sought out every thing I could by these guys including the EP Nightcrawlers with remixes by KMFDM. I was a man hooked. Then I heard that Rob was going to start making movies and I got hit upside the head with House of 1,000 Corpses. I like that movie, I even like The Devil’s Rejects but then it’s all down hill after that. I’m not even going to talk about his Halloween remake and I still haven’t seen his sequel yet. I have a real fear in my heart and I’m not even that big of a fan of the original Halloween. But I thought to myself, “Self, Rob does a great job with his comic books and can you imagine what he could do with a cartoon?” Needless to say that self was really looking forward to this movie. Alas that self was completely let down. Don’t waste your time with this one folks, especially if you are easily offended. There is tons of cartoon nudity, lots of blood and gore, homophobia abounds, the cartoon steals from both Fritz the Cat and Ren & Stimpy but it doesn’t steal the good parts. It’s a potty mouthed homage to Rob’s favorite things and I was bored to tears with it. Even the music fell flat for me. So unless you want to punch holes through your fingernails, I’d skip this completely. ** out of *****
Monsters vs. Aliens was next on my list here. Again I think my hopes were too high for this one. Dreamworks set the bar really high with their first Shrek film and they haven’t been able to really capture that magic since. As I’ve mentioned before I have a total man crush on Seth Rogen so I guess I just wanted him to be used more effectively here. I think it can be done, I laughed like crazy at Rogen’s voice work in Horton Hears a Who but this one, he just wasn’t used well. I also felt the story fell flat and was too one dimensional. We’ve all seen this movie already and there wasn’t a whole lot of other redeeming qualities about it. Your children probably aren’t going to learn a moral lesson from this one, and while that’s OK, I also don’t want to feel guilty as a parent letting my child watch an hour and twenty-five minutes of mindless animation. The one bright spot on this DVD though was the animation. It’s really really good, so good that when the camera zooms into the face of our opening sky watchers, you can actually see each hair on his beard. Well done animation team, well done. Each year we get closer and closer to eliminating the need for actual actors on camera… now that’s a scary proposition for those that make $20 million a picture isn’t it? *** out of *****
Another man that I have a total man crush on is Clive Barker, here his wrap around stories from his anthology book The Books of Blood is brought to the small screen with a large amount of success. I met Clive once when I was but a wee twenty something and his films Hellraiser (and it’s sequels) and Nightbreed are perennial favorites of mine, so perhaps I’m more biased than not but I thought the director did a great job with this. A common theme with Barker, especially his early fiction, was sexuality and tension. Book of Blood does a great job with that theme again (those same kind of themes are echoed in both Hellraiser and Nightbreed but definitely more so in Hellraiser) and stays very true to Barker’s original work of fiction. The direction is very good in this, it’s a crawler here and you’re not going to be getting a lot of quick cuts and fancy edits. It’s deliberate and extremely well paced. The director and editor give you time to build the tension, to build the horror hiding at the crossroads of the dead. I was impressed with the acting as well, this isn’t Oscar worthy performances here, but I’m used to watching a lot of low budget stuff and the acting here was far beyond that. The three main characters all did a good job with what they were given and all three turned in believable performances. There was some heavy use of CGI in this as well, but it wasn’t over the top or too fake looking. We’ve all seen that shot in movies that just looks ridiculous, see Will Smith’s I Am Legend for a perfect example of ridiculous use of CGI, but this far surpasses that crap and looks great. It’s not over done and is quite believable itself. All in all I thought that Book of Blood was a good film and a great addition to any one’s library who likes horror movies. There is a good amount of gore and a couple of good scare moments as well as some nudity so keep that in mind. But if you’re up for trying something that may have been underneath the radar you can’t go wrong with this one. **** out of *****
I’m planning a special event for the month of October since it’s my favorite time of year and my favorite time for movies! Also I’m working on a review for local Des Moines Indie act why make clocks.
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