Posts Tagged ‘Jack

21
Dec
08

My Favorite Christmas Flicks

Christmas is a time of giving.  Unfortunately,  fans of darker, more alternative cinema usually get nothing in the way of movies geared towards there interests. So for all of you out there who think Santa should be more like this:

gothsantaOR THIS:

hailsanta

Here are my suggestions for a few holiday films that should satisfy both your desire to get into the “spirit” of the season, and your unquenchable lust to see blood split.

santasslaySanta’s Slay is every bit as silly and wild as it’s title and casting (Ex-Wrestler Bill Goldberg stars as Santa) suggests, but despite being a movie i laughed at when I first heard about it, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it was.  Plus, it starts off with one of the best scenes in cinematic history.

And if that’s not enough reason to watch this movie, I just don’t know what is.

batman_returns_ver41

Batman Returns, the last Batman movie to be directed by Tim Burton, is kind of like a superhero, Christmas themed acid trip.  Along with a lot of maiming, killing, and a terrific role by Christopher Walken, people often forget that Gotham city is heavily entrenched in the Winter season during the film, making it the perfect movie for all you comic books fans to turn on while remaining in the holiday spirit.

Samuel L. Jackson's Christmas Motherfuckin' Special Motherfuckers.

Samuel L. Jackson's Christmas Motherfuckin' Special Motherfuckers.

The Long Kiss Goodnight, directed by the criminally underrated Renny Harlin (who also directed Die hard 2, which pops up on this list as well) is a great little action movie taking place around Christmas.  The whole movie is full of winter scenes, and of course, the awesomeness that is any word Samuel Jackson speaks.  A great flick in it’s own right, made appropriate for this list by the time of year in which it takes place.

Fucking Terrible...but so much fun.

Fucking Terrible...but so much fun.

It had to be done.  A Killer, Mutant Snowman movie.  Words can’t describe how terrible this movie is.  But, if you have friends with a high tolerance for garbage, a great sense of humor, and lots of alcohol and/or illegal drugs, this movie can be really really fun.  Shannon Elizabeth is in it, and she is “raped” by the snowman.  How can you not watch?

Remember when Mel Gibson was the fucking man?  I do.

Remember when Mel Gibson was the fucking man? I do.

Another 80’s action classic, taking place mostly on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  This one really put the “buddy-cop” movies on the map, fusing intense, over the top action with quality, mostly conversational humor.  Add a Christmas theme to the proceedings and you got yourself another violent winter classic.

Poor Ol' John McClain can't even enjoy Christmas without having to waste some Jerkoffs and Scumbags.

Poor Ol' John McClain can't even enjoy Christmas without having to waste some Jerk offs and Scumbags.

John McClain has a second run in with some terrorists dirt bags in Die Hard 2, this time in the form of William Saddler, character actor extraordinaire.  Die Hard 2 is universally seen as the only weak link in the “quadrilogy”, but it’s still a perfectly serviceable late night Christmas action romp.  Plus Dennis Franz is in it, and he kind of looks like Santa anyway.

Holy shit.  That's so cute I just want to squeeze it.

Holy shit. That's so cute I just want to squeeze it.

Gremlins is one of the best, and only true, Christmas time creature feature movies.  Made back in the golden age of puppets and robot controlled dolls, Gremlins isn’t tainted by shoddy computer graphics or green screen trickery.  It’s an old fashioned mini-monster movie made the way they should all be made, with convincing puppets and prosthetic effects that give you something tangible to fear, or love in the case of Gizmo.  And like most 80’s movies, this one has some truly dark and scary moments, making it perfect for younger audiences and adults.  Long live the Mogwai.

yippee kiya mother fucker.  Merry Christmas.

yippee kiya mother fucker. Merry Christmas.

Die Hard is not only the holy grail of “one man army” action movies, it’s also one of the best Christmas movies ever made.  John McClain’s wise ass comments, the perfect “radio only” sidekick in Ellis, a tremendously devious villain in Gruber, and a supporting cast chock full of talent.  Add to the mix a phenomenal pace, some of the most impressive action scenes to date, and a not one, but two, finales and you have yourself the perfect action movie.  Oh yeah, and it all takes place around Christmas, complete with a Christmas music credit scene.  Truly a gift of a movie.

That’s it for this years edition of my personal Christmas movie favorites.  Hopefully some of these selections will help ease the pain of having to see another Hallmark Christmas special starring Tony Danza on your TV.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to share this gift.  It’s some power metal band who wrote a Christmas song about how Frosty and Rudolph never liked each other.  It’s really funny, and actually pretty well done.




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24
Sep
08

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer directed by Jon Knautz

I really hope this is the first of many Jack Brooks adventures.

I really hope this is the first of many Jack Brooks adventures.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer is, to date, the toughest review I’ve written.  Of course, I’ve only done a few on this blog so far, but I’ve made my opinion heard on the Internet for years now, just in different places and with little to no regularity.  Monster Slayer has me perplexed beyond belief though.  So I’m going to be winging this one a little bit, formulating my ultimate decision as I go along.  Here we go.

We start off with a cyclops monster encounter in a jungle in a undisclosed foreign country.  The natives are getting there asses handed to them, but they seem to have a hero in a small hut, that they are waiting to emerge and save them.  We now jump all over the time line, to Jack Brooks teenage years, to his childhood in a somewhat disturbing but effective scene showing how he lost his family to a monster in the woods one night, and how that changed him forever.

Jack Brooks confusing (because of the illogical and random jumps in time showing him at different ages) background story was important to tell though, because that night his family bit the dust, was the night he got his power, which is his uncontrollable temper and raging anger.

Now we are at *almost* present day, (the first sequence in the jungle, with the natives, turns out to be present day, as Jack is the hero in the hut) and Jack Brooks is attending a night class with his girlfriend.  Science to be exact.  His teacher?  Robert Englund.  Freddy himself.  And then the movie slows down the pace to an almost unbelievably slow crawl.

Long (and confusing) story short, Professor Crowley (yeah, the movie went there) finds a heart buried in his yard after Jack, a plumber, does some work for him and disrupts a pipe and some dirt.  It takes him over,and for a few nights of the class, he begins to look sicker and sicker and act very strange.

There’s comedy spots in the movie, although the tone of the movie, which is a lot more serious than I was prepared for, muffles the funny bits down.  If the jokes were played more upbeat, more like Evil Dead 2, they might of been funnier, but director Jon Knautz just doesn’t seem to want to give up to making the story of his hero laugh out loud funny.  The exception being Howard in the hardware store, who is downright hysterical, mainly because of his superb role as the “wise-ass,old story-teller guy” that you have to have in these kind monster mash movies.

On that note, the cast should be commended on their work, especially since we go almost an entire hour where we the audience rely heavily on their acting to get us through to what we are assured will be a delightful beat down once we get to into the third and last stanza.  Trevor Matthews is convincing as our tormented hero, Rachel Skarsten is perfect as the bitchy, annoying, “has to go” girlfriend, and Englund plays the quirky science teacher to a T, who falls victim to this demonic heart and becomes an unwilling carrier of its evil.

The make-up and special effects are all stellar, and you will find no CGI in this film.  Unfortunately, besides the heavy amount of full body suits and make up in the very beginning of the movie and in the last 20 minutes, we don’t get to see those special effects enough.  The gore level also begged to upped substantially.  More monsters popping up throughout the film would’ve have made that brutal middle piece where thing seems to be moving in slow motion much more bearable.

The finale is satisfying though.  Actually, it ties things up so nicely that it almost makes up for every other grievance I have with the flick.  Lets just say that Jack does indeed find the perfect use for his anger, and that the door is not only left wide open for this to turn into the next big horror series, the door is propped open with a brick.  The character transforms in the final act, and I for one wanted to see more of this version of Jack.  In him, I saw a lot of “Ash” from the evil dead series, if Ash were to ever take his penchant for killing monsters and make a life calling out of it.

So where do I stand?  Should you or shouldn’t you?  Yes, you should, if only for the fact that you want to be there at ground zero for what could be the next big thing in horror.  The acting is above-par for direct to dvd horror releases like this.  The special effects and great climax make up for a slow build and a confusing beginning, but just barely.  Knautz has to work on his pacing, but his directing of action and monster scenes is already pretty spot on.

Hunt this one down for a retro creature feature fix, and keeps your eyes peeled to be hearing from Jack Brooks again sometime in the near future.