Author Archives: mistylayne
Opened on March 1st, 2050, which stars an ensemble cast that includes Dean Cain (Supergirl, Lois & Clark), has been playing on just one single screen (AMC Atlantic Times Square 14) in Los Angeles. By Sunday, the film’s ticket sales were rivaling studio releases and Oscar-nominated films including Tyler Perry’s Madea, Greta, and How to Train Your Dragon, and on Sunday, outside of the latter film, 2050 had outperformed them all. AMC wasted no time and immediately held the film over until at least the 14th of March. The film will open in Baltimore at AMC’s Owings Mills 17 on March 15th.
Said executive producer Henry Hewes, “By Sunday we beat all of the big guys. At one point, the theater told us we were neck and neck with How to Train Your Dragon on Sunday night. That’s just crazy.”
2050, is about a family man struggling to hold it all together who discovers a warehouse that may hold the solution…sexbots. Premiering at sci-fi film festivals around the world including Berlin, Austin, and Boston, the film has taken home over 11 awards.
2050, distributed theatrically by ANERKE, will expand into other major markets over the spring via theater chains that include AMC and others.
Hmmm…color me intrigued. Also, hello, Dean Cain – fancy meeting you here!
Let me preface this by saying that the only reason I watched this (the ONLY reason) was because of the title. 😂 I haven’t watched a Tremors movie since I saw the original with my parents way the hell back in 1990 (my mother loving Reba McEntire was the only reason we watched THAT one). I hated the original – the worms totally freaked me out as a kid, lol – but this title was just too great to resist. And, oh, it did not disappoint. So much badness, so much hilarity. *sighs*
There was so much going on – and having missed the majority of the series, so much I was confused about – that I took notes. Enjoy the stream of consciousness that is Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell.
- Oh, hey, Michael Gross! Watcha yelling at that IRS guy for? Oh, you are going to lose your country store for some reason. No worries, I’m sure that won’t be an issue in 10 minutes or so.
- Well, hello there, Jamie Kennedy! Where the hell have you been?
- Yikes. Worm thingies in the Arctic.
- Wait? Flying tremors thingies?? Called “ass blasters” -WTF?
- Pretty sure I would’ve had a reaction to going down in a plane with an alcoholic pilot, but sure, okay. Not an issue for Gross or Kennedy. They’re hardcore.
- “Arctic heatwave” – seems to be an oxymoron…
- Calls meeting an ass blaster whilst in the plane “a dogfight” when really they just let the thing run into them, lmao. Nice save.
- DARPA has trained dolphins to carry bombs & has created cyborg insects?? Jfc.
- Ass blasters breathe fire?? Why are there dragons? (Are these things SERIOUSLY called “ass blasters”??)
- Awwww, look at Jamie Kennedy macking on the Elizabeth Olson lookalike
- “trying to get sweet with me” are words I have never said nor will I ever say.
- “I have balls of steel. My balls are stainless steel. My balls are in the Guinness book of balls.”
- The ass blasters have sonic voices now too? The fuck happened to this series, lololol?
- Dude, they explode into fire when they die. Pretty. And kickass.
- And their sonic voice thing lasts after they die and causes visions? So confused.
- Gross has a tapeworm that’s causing the sonic voice headache/visions?
- Every woman working in the field of science/geology/wtf-scienceology is really pretty, but all the men in these fields are very much NOT.
- Aw, they did a JAWS tribute! Graboid in the water!
- Wait, he ALSO has a parasitic organism on top of the tapeworm they removed? And he’s infected with a toxin from a graboid?
- Graboid PTSD sucks
- Have to extract antibodies from a live graboid to save Gross. Because, of course.
- These people are so dumb. They’re not even carrying swords or knives to cut off the graboid tentacle thingies. Just guns. They could’ve saved that girl if they’d just had a freaking sword, for fucks’ sake. Or an ax. A sharp object is my point.
- Obviously, this truck will outrun the graboid/ass blasters!
- Did they just leave that guy out there on the water tower thingie by himself? Nice.
- Time to go on a worm hunt!
- Oh good, the guy they ditched on the tower is still alive. You go, guy!
- No, I’d rather die than go pantsless because I’m not wearing underwear!
- How is a guy pissing such a huge distraction for the worms?
- Wait, Gross is Kennedy’s father?? When did this happen?
- He named the worm “sally soul-smasher” after his ex. *giggles*
- Who’s gonna pay for all this damage?
- Oh, they’re making bombs now! Okay.
- Guys, now is not the time for family drama…
- Uh-oh, looks like tower guy is gonna get eaten.
- Ew, graboid goo.
- What does DARPA have to do with the IRS?
- How dare you try to save my life, you bastard!!
- So lost on what their great plan is.
- Huh, okay. I guess that plan to catch it didn’t suck.
- Thank fucking god someone used a freaking sharp object.
- Could’ve lived without old man butt…
- Aw, all that work to save that old cranky jerkface and he’s gonna die anyway?
- Wait, no, now he’s living?
- “How do you not die? You never die!”
- EW. Why are you kissing the guy covered in graboid goo? Save it for when he’s clean!
And there you have the gist of TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL, a delightfully terrible film about giant worm thingies that not only jump out of the ground but now also apparently fly and spit fire (because, of course, they do). There’s family drama and stupid situations and idiot people doing idiot things – pretty funny stuff! No clue how this one holds up to the rest of the TREMORS series, so feel free to fill me in, because I’m honestly kind of curious. Now excuse me while I go watch something good. 😉
So. I thought I was getting a ghost story with this one, but, uh, no…not quite. What I DID get was a super hot mess that was boring AF. When did Netflix become the home of terrible horror? On the one hand, I’m “yay!” because I’m pretty much always down for terrible horror. On the other, I’ve yet to find the GOOD kind of terrible horror so I am very sad about Netflix’s life choices. 😦 Anyway, back to the terrible terribleness of this.
This one involves an old slaughterhouse turned into lofts, a creepy kid, lots of former murders, and secrets (that aren’t exactly secrets, but the people in the movie seem to think so, so whatever). Welcome to the slaughterhouse, where the owner killed a bunch of employees or something? They weren’t super clear on this, but I think he just kidnapped and killed employees for 80 billion years before someone finally caught on. Then he threw himself out a window at the top of the building, trying to take his son with him. Fun stuff!
Years later, a couple with a kindergarten-age daughter turns the slaughterhouse into fancy-schmancy, state-of-the-art, high-tech lofts. It’s all very happy-making. Approximately 4 people move into these lofts – people who appear to have no jobs and spend most of their time either working out in the gym, making eyes at each other or researching old murders. Lucky bastards. The couple’s daughter is kind of a brat and gets kicked out of kindergarten (who knew that was a thing?), so ends up being at the lofts 24/7. She starts running around with an “imaginary” friend who likes to hang out in the TVs and destroy her artwork. What a jerk. Her father – one of the designers – has crazy migraines all the time and starts acting weird. Her mom is just, “WTF’ing?” all over the place. And then there’s a tenant whose father worked at the slaughterhouse back in the day; his father died when he was a kid, but the tenant doesn’t know if he was murdered there (I guess b/c the police really sucked at their jobs??).
It’s all very, very boring and very, very slow. Then comes the “twist”, which isn’t really a twist because they kinda told you in the first 5 minutes what happened – they just “explain” it – and it makes NO sense whatsoever, and frankly, I wanted to jump out the damn window myself by the end. Seriously. Murder & mayhem & imaginary asshole kids should be FUN. WTF, CHARNEL HOUSE? I am giving you my disappointed face.
If you like torture, you’ll love THE CHARNEL HOUSE. If you like fun & happiness, you’ll hate it (as you should). 0/10, do not recommend.
In this, the year of our lord 2019, I would really, really, really like for horror movies to be better. And from what I hear, some recent ones actually are better, but MALEVOLENT is not one of those horror movies. Nope, it is instead a literal paint-by-numbers, “ah, yes, I know what’s going to happen after 10 minutes”, “oh, right, I remember this from movie X” kind of flick. Which, admittedly, is sometimes what one is looking for, but dammit, I so was not and I am grrr-bunnies. *sad-face* MALEVOLENT is a Netflix film, so I knew the risks inherent going in, but gah. I know Netflix can do better than this ghost story/slasher/serial killer hybrid monster.
So, the movie throws us into the action immediately, which is fun – no boring buildups or get to know the one-dimensional characters bullshit. This is something of which I def approve. We’ve got a brother & sister going to Uni in Glasgow in 1986 (I’m really not sure why the year was an important factor; this literally could have been any point in time. The only explanation I have for them making sure to tell us the year is so the characters won’t have cell phones to call for help.) Anyway, brother and sister – Jackson & Angela – and their friends/significant others, Beth & Elliot, run a fake paranormal investigation/ghostbusting service to make extra money (or in Jackson’s case to pay off scary mobster guys for reasons unknown). They go to people’s houses and Angela pretends to have the psychic touch while the others videotape the encounter, smooth-talk the people they’re conning, and fake voices, etc. with tape recorders. People praise them as heroic wonders, and they’re apparently making big bucks (but not enough to pay off the pimps or whoever Jackson owes). No harm, no foul, right? (Except for Jackson when the drug dealer dudes try to smash his face in.)
BUT apparently, Jackson & Angela’s mum actually was psychic. No one believed her, though, and it drove her crazy eventually, and she killed herself. Jackson is still super pissed about all that (understandable) but it’s turned him into an abusive dick to his sister (not understandable & totally not cool, and honestly, the entire movie I was waiting for her to punch him in the face. She never did though and I was very sad. Again.) After the first case we see them do at the beginning of the film, Angela suddenly finds herself…seeing things and hearing voices! *gasps* The fake psychic has become a real psychic (ghost-seer?). Clearly, Angela can’t tell anyone about this though because it would, like, totally ruin the fakeness of their con which would be tragic.
The next case they get is one Angela desperately does NOT want to do because it’s at some freaky murder house where a bunch of little girls were serial killed. If I could suddenly see dead people, I’d probably ixnay that one too. But Jackson is an asshole, and he & Beth are going to be dead people themselves if he doesn’t pay back the Scottish mafia or whatever, so he tells Angela to suck it up because they are so totes doing this. I really hate him. Soooo, it’s off to the murder house they go! Huzzah! And, surprise, surprise, there are a bunch of dead little girls trying to tell them something, everything goes horribly, and people die. The End.
Questions I have about this film:
- Why was the part with the loan shark/mafia/pimps necessary? It was pretty pointless as a way to get Jackson to take the job Angela didn’t want because Jackson is a little bitch and would’ve taken the job anyway, duh. Adding in that 2-minute scene where he gets bashed in the face with a pipe, while satisfying, was absolutely unneeded.
- Why exactly is Jackson an abusive bastard to his sister? Being devastated by the loss of his mom would be one thing but treating his sister like dirt, peppered with the “you know I love you, right? You’re so awesome” – like, literal textbook definition of abuse – is totally another. How are these things even correlated? Did mom like Angela better? Is it because he owes Gramps money so Gramps likes Angela better? So mystified…
- If ghosts are real and not in people’s minds, then how did these guys fake ghostbusting actually work? People were praising them as having saved them & stuff, which would make sense if the ghost activity was all in the people’s heads, but since it’s been ascertained that ghosts do indeed exist in this universe – how did they manage to achieve this?? They seemed to have not a single complaint.
- Do you think you could’ve made it less obvious who the killer was? Is there a reason you made it so obvious so early on?
- Why? Just why? *sighs*
If you need a movie on in the background while you work, this one will work in a pinch but otherwise, you might want to skip it. Formulaic + annoying AF characters + no mystery + no scares = not a very fun time. Def better ghost stories out there. Go watch them instead. Totes.
I grew up in a Southern evangelical household which means I’m not religious at all as an adult (trust me, if you’d had an attempted exorcism performed on you as a teen, you’d be wary of religion too). I DO love reading & learning about religions though; probably because I’ve always had a fascination with mythology and to me these are just more mythical tales. I’m quite familiar with the story of the angels’ Fall from heaven (am actually studying the Book of Enoch at the moment for something that I’m writing) and all that came after. There are different versions of the tale but John Milton’s Paradise Lost might be one of the more popular ones.
LOST + FOUND, directed by Jeremiah Kipp, is a short shot entirely in black & white that retells Paradise Lost in a modern, elegant way. Jenn Plotzke is a delight as Satan – all holy fire (or unholy as the case may be) and sensuality, ready to destroy God’s favored creatures in revenge. Ari Rossen as Beelzebub makes a good sideman, silent but ready to do whatever his master asks of him (and looking oddly like the angel from SUPERNATURAL…). I felt like Carl Hendrick Louis as Adam wasn’t in this enough at all. There was only a glimpse or two of him; he was an afterthought. (Sorry, Adam. Not your story.) And our Eve, Pia Haddad, seemed less innocent and surer of herself than one might perhaps consider her as and very, very willing to go chill in the garden with a lovely lady. (Sorry again, Adam!)
The costumes were simple (angels as accountants – why is that the universal standard? Who started this thing? I demand to know.) and the dialogue is sparing (the first couple of minutes consist of Satan explaining her whole “let’s corrupt the world’ idea, then the rest is a voice over from Ari – also, excellent job, Ari). The acting and direction are really what made this film; and the use of black & white instead of color. You’d think that with the Garden of Eden, you’d need lots of bright colors to portray the “magicalness” of it all. Instead, Adam & Eve each have a shimmer of glitter over one of their cheekbones – between that and the b&w you get a dream-like quality that draws you in more than any vivid colors or magical realism could. It was an excellent choice to make.
Essentially, this is a cool retelling of Paradise Lost. Dreamy, sensual, and elegant, it’s a sight to behold. 10/10, would recommend. (I don’t really have a rating system. Just go watch it.)
The only thing I know for sure after watching the pilot to “Mystic” is that some woman died on a boat (Bridget Ashling, if that cool picture above is any indication). I have a sneaking suspicion that the entire town of Mystic has solemnly sworn that they are up to no good though and am guessing that the series will end with the town of Mystic mysteriously disappearing due to a catastrophic disaster. Or because Satan.
Really things could go any which way, it’s hard to tell because the pilot doesn’t give us very much to go on. Instead, the pilot focuses on introducing us to a shit ton of people, none of which I could keep up with – okay, I could keep up with the daughter of the woman who died on the boat and her holy-fucking-incestual aunt but that was it. There’s an Irish priest who says the word “aunt” two different ways in the same sentence. An artist who gets upset with his nude model then paints a picture of a burning boat. A cop who gets a blowjob from…some chick that may or may not have any importance? A grumpy police captain type. A (possible) brother and sister, one of whom runs a bar, who seem to have done something not good. And a mayor who seems to be corrupt. I don’t know what any of them have to do with the other or the woman who died on the boat. I only know that one or two seemed vaguely upset that the woman died.
The dead woman’s daughter’s aunt is weirdly happy that her niece sees her nude and the somewhat Irish priest is randomly creepy near the end but I honestly am not sure what is going to happen with this series. I would have preferred fewer people in the pilot and more actual story to get an idea of whether I wanted to keep watching because I honestly don’t know what the deal is with boat lady or why she’s important (or if she even is). “Mystic” is supposed to be a murder mystery, so I assume the series will focus on figuring out why boat lady died and who killed her (and considering most of the people in the pilot were pretty creepy and/or douchey, they’ll have a lot of mystery-ing to get through!). I’m just not sure that I really care to find out the who, what, when, and why’s of it all.
If the rest of the series focuses more on plot and less on introducing characters at breakneck speed (because it’s okay to space out character introductions when a cast is this big), then maybe I could be intrigued. With some back story, I could be intrigued. But for the moment, I’m happy with my theory that wicked auntie is really a demon in disguise who’s working with the creepy, somewhat Irish priest to take down the town.
Holy fuck! Who’s that creepy motherfucker and what is he doing here?? Something tells me he wants to strangle me with my own intestines…which is VERY unhygienic, so EW. Or he could just be that guy from VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES, the sequel to the kickawesome VOLUMES OF BLOOD. Remember that one? An anthology, but a super fun one with lots of gory good times? (Just click the link if you need a refresher!) But we all know that the killer always comes back, no matter what, and we also know how it tends to go with the art of the sequel. So does VOLUMES OF BLOOD II hold up to the first? Hmmm…let’s take a look….
Our story starts with a heist. One that’s set in the middle of nowhere (maybe a farm?), which is the perfect place to die. It starts out well enough with three amigos heisting, shooting the shit, and telling spooky stories about the old place they’re stealing from (because one ALWAYS does that during a heist, duh). At least half of our opening story was filmed in apparent complete dark, however, so you’re going to have to rely on your ears big time here. BUT the kill scenes are nicely lit and so long as you get to see people die, I guess it’s all cool, right? (Huh. That last sentence doesn’t make me sound unbalanced at all. ;))
But WAIT, no, omg, guess what?? That whole time we were watching a movie!! I mean, obviously I was watching a movie but then I was watching people watching a movie! Ah, the old movie within a movie trick. (Thank you, CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI) Boy, did you get me. Then we’re off to…watch another movie? But first we need to time jump to the past? And then 20 minutes past the past? Then come back to here to watch the movie? (I think I got that order correct.) There were lots of random images being flashed about, so I wasn’t sure if we were going back to the library and following the immediate aftermath of the first film or if we were jumping into a, um, jumping into movies anthology. It turned out to be neither.
What happened next was an anthology wrapped around a house and the holidays – different holidays and a single house as the centerpiece. We get to experience Father’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, and so on and so forth. (We also get to experience the joys of house browsing!) As with most anthologies, certain pieces were better than others. My favorite story featured the girl above, a salesman, and Thanksgiving. It was incredibly atmospheric which helped lift it from the “oh yeah, I have a pretty good idea of how this ends” doldrums. The Christmas piece ended up being fairly good as well with its fun ending and an actress who was able to carry ~10 minutes of screentime alone (and mostly in silence). The downside was that this piece was much too long. I understand the time needed to build tension, to make the audience realize that something isn’t quite right, but it can be done in less time than this. (Also, my god, the freaking carols and Christmas music!!! BLEHCK. I hate this holiday so much.)
Overall though? First and foremost, VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES reminded me WAY too much of THE PERFECT HOUSE, which is also an anthology tied around a house in which a real estate agent is showing a young couple around. Secondly, it was much less cohesive than the first. This story didn’t flow as smoothly as the first did; didn’t tie together as well; didn’t make as much sense. Especially the ending. I still don’t know who the killer is or where he’s from or why he suddenly popped up and decided to kill every citizen of Owensboro. I also am unsure why there are now unseen forces (or people) seemingly commanding him to kill (not like voices in his head but legit “hey that’s an order!” commanding way). Maybe it’s all just meant to entice in case there’s a third film? I dunno, but I was not impressed. Thirdly, this sequel just wasn’t as much FUN as the first was. This film was really lacking the joy of the first (I know that sounds weird – joy in a horror flick? – but hear me out). The first film was clearly such a product of love and devotion and people were so obviously having a blast that it made the energy of the film into that too (despite the blood and gore ;)).
VOLUMES OF BLOOD II was definitely better LOOKING than the first – it looks like they had a larger budget this time around – but it was lacking. It was missing that joie de vivre and indie spirit, for whatever reason. It also didn’t stick together as well as the original – this one very much showed us that it had been stirred with several hands in the mixing bowl and it made for some lumpy spots.
Is it ultimately worth a watch? Yes. There are the couple of stories that are really enjoyable; there’s a nod to TRICK’R’TREAT (my favoritest anthology series EVER); and there are lots of gooey messes and intestinal effects that are all practical and not CGI. (Big props for the makeup team and fx guys! You guys are wicked awesome!) And, of course, if you’re a fan of the slasher genre, you may totally dig on this. Check out the trailer on the Facebook page and let me know what you think!
Ahh, September is such a crazy month! Pretty much EVERYONE I know has a birthday this month (including my beautiful and amazing niece, who turned 7!), so things get busy. And TODAY is actually MY b-day, so I’m here to ask any & all my lovely buds in the Portland area for a birthday gift (that honestly is more a gift to YOU!).
Remember the kickawesome, amazeballs, “OMG WTF?”, swoon-worthy, “everything is magical” movie NEIL STRYKER & THE TYRANT OF TIME from the Portland Film Fest? The one I fell in love with (and the one where I fell in love with Darrel Freeway ;))? WELL, guess what? Turns out, there is ONE MORE showing TOMORROW, Friday, September 23rd of NEIL STRYKER, in Portland, at Clinton Street Theater, at 8PM, with the Oregon Independent Film Festival! (That was A LOT of commas…) So if you love me – if you love movies – if you love yourself – you’ll get thee to the Clinton Street Theater tomorrow at 8PM, if you’re within, say…a 60 mile radius? 🙂 You WON’T regret it. (C’mon, I would never steer you guys wrong. Right, E?? ;)) Get your tickets HERE, then get your asses in those seats, and prepare to *giggle* said asses off.
And thank you in advance for making me a very, very happy birthday girl. 🙂 (If you do go watch, come back and share your review because I really wanna *squee* with people over this one!)
You guys rock. ❤
mid·dle·man: /ˈmidlˌman/ – a person who arranges business or political deals between other people.
Also known as the go-between, or the manipulator, or the “wait, what did I just really agree to, asshole??” guy. And in Lenny Freeman’s case, it refers to a hitchhiker named Hitch (yes, I know), who may or may not have roped him into a deal with the devil himself. Oops.
Lenny Freeman’s dream of being a famous comedian is about to become a nightmare. Not only is he stuck in a dead end accounting job, Lenny has a bigger problem — Lenny is not funny. When his mother suddenly dies, he quits his job and heads to Vegas in search of fame. But along the way, a mysterious hitchhiker lures him into a desert-town killing spree with a dark and twisted result – as the bodies pile up, Lenny actually becomes funnier and funnier.
Another Portland Film Fest selection, MIDDLE MAN definitely shows us that the devil is in the details (sometimes literally) and you should, perhaps, be careful what you wish for. Personally, I don’t know what the big deal is to Lenny – couple of dead people vs. guaranteed stardom…?? (Kidding, kidding! #totes) And to think it all starts with one jerkface heckler (don’t be jerkfaces, people. It leads nowhere good!). And everyone, just don’t pick up hitchhikers, especially ones named Hitch, because C’MON! And if a person you just met starts trying to convince you that they can absolutely be your manager and help make you famous, etc. etc., just NO. And for fucks’ sake, if you wake up after a night of drinking with a new friend and there’s a dead person in front of you that you don’t remember killing but your new friends says, yep, you must’ve – RUN. AWAY.
I guess it’s not entirely Lenny’s fault. He was stuck living somewhere in the 50s and didn’t seem entirely aware of the dangers of now. (And by that I mean, kind of how my parents like to pretend that we all live in an episode of THE ANDY GRIFFITH show). No, Lenny seemed to be a very kind, but VERY oblivious to anything not related to him, sorta guy. Hence why his stand-up act wasn’t very good. He grew up listening to comedians from the Ed Asner/Milton Berle era(s) and never moved past their comedy into his own style (a style which should’ve apparently included a lot of misogynistic sex “jokes” according to his competition at the club). BUT when people started dying, Lenny kept getting funnier and funnier.(Maybe he got their funny as it left their bodies?)
I liked the style of this film – where it was set in contemporary times but with Lenny’s car, attitude and certain styles of clothing, etc. seemed to be a throw-back to the 50s. The nostalgia was definitely strong with this one! And the desert landscapes were absolutely GORGEOUS. (Desert = scary because desert has sunshine, but desert is also so so pretty.)
Jim O’Heir could NOT have been anymore perfect as “Lenny”. Oblivious, slightly charming, freaked the fuck out, happy, panicked, slightly crazy…his portrayal of Lenny’s rise to “stardom” and subsequent downfall before the fact was A+. Andrew J. West as “Hitch” was an endearing ball of sunshine…no, wait. I meant to say, one crazy motherfucker. We, the audience, know something’s off with him early on, but he manages to keep his homicidal tendencies on the down low from Lenny for at least…I dunno, like 15 hours? West plays “Hitch” as constantly on edge, walking a fine line between “will I fuck you up?” and “oops, that was totes an accident! Kinda…”, a line that another actor well might have stepped over early on in the film. West kept it all tightly reined in till needed though and was magnificent. He was definitely my favorite thing about MIDDLE MAN.
Unfortunately, overall, despite it’s dark comedic overtones and West’s fabulous performance, I wasn’t a huge fan of MIDDLE MAN. While I understood the point of all the death, I also got bored watching essentially the exact same thing happen 3 or 4 times. The ending – the very last scene – was so fucking kickass that I’m still thinking about it, but otherwise, I found the film kind of “meh”. It was in no way bad and was actually quite well done, so I think it was just the length and repetition that soured me on it. Still, I definitely think it’s worth watching, especially if dark comedy is your thing, so check out the trailer and then tell me your thoughts!
What madcap, steampunk, nonsensical adventure was this?? NEIL STRYKER & THE TYRANT OF TIME is like DOCTOR WHO on crack (and we all know that DOCTOR WHO is already on something, so hot damn!) and the result is absolutely GLORIOUS. Like, hi, move over Indiana Jones, a new action hero has stolen my heart – and he’s ridiculously emotionless, gravelly voiced and entirely capable of handling himself around robots (because YES, THERE ARE ROBOTS IN THIS MOVIE!!!). (And yes, I WILL apparently be using my caps lock key a lot.)
So Neil Stryker is a dude, on suspension from his job as…okay, I never really understood exactly what he did but kind of like the military + secret government operation + spies thing? Unfortunately for the world, Neil’s ex-mentor, the MAD scientist – complete with white lab coat, crazy sticky-uppy hair and crazy goggle glasses – has finally set in motion his dastardly plan to go back in time through the time portal he created to…steal a bunch of toys on Christmas Eve and have THE SEX (as E. would say) with Mrs. Claus! NOOOOO!!! Along the way, the mad scientist also kidnaps Neil’s son, so there’s that. Also the mad scientist is MAAADDDDD, which just leads to all sorts of shenanigans and tom-foolery. Oh, and he has a sidekick (of course) named Darrel who’s robotically challenged, musically inclined, and sneaky planning his own…uh, sneaky plan. 😉 Darrel is actually my favorite character of the whole piece (sorry, Neil! I love you but I love Darrel more because he sings!), which makes sense, because his vibe is the epitome of “bad boy”, which media and society has conditioned women to view as totally normal and moreso, absolutely romantic (“omg, he got so mad he punched a wall? That’s soooo romantic – look how passionate he is about you! *sighs*” *rolls eyes so hard they fall out of head*). Anyway, despite his bad boy vibe, Darrel is more cartoon villain than romantic villain (think Dr. Horrible), so whatever, I dig him.
In fact, the whole movie is a cartoon come to life, with over-the-top…well, EVERYTHING. It’s a complete and total farce, and it’s AMAZING. Guys, there’s cars that fly! Robots! Goblins!! (I honestly have no idea WHY there were goblins, got totally lost there, but dudes – goblins!!- and they were adorable and evil and so cute, and then there was the Russian guy and the vodka…like The Fireys in LABYRINTH! Kinda…). There’s time travel! Souvenirs! Explosions! HEADS exploding! This movie has it ALL. It’s an 80s throwback that hits its mark perfectly.
In fact, those super kickawesome, evil, adorable goblins? Looked like they were right out of the Henson labs. They were brilliant. This film was shot entirely in Oregon and parts of Washington over the course of 9 years, and every single set, effect, every puppet was created by a Portland artist. Now THAT is what I like to see in homegrown cinema. Especially when the result is something as laugh out loud funny and enjoyable as this.
The sets were kick ass. The small amount of CGI was almost perfect (the explosions were a little off and fake looking, but they also might have been that way on purpose to fit the 80s theme, I’m not sure). The costumes were fabulous. The actors – ugh, I don’t think there was anyone in this films that I DIDN’T like and that rarely happens. Nic Costa (Darrel) captures the “sidekick craving more” trope perfectly. Rob Taylor as Neil Stryker is hilariously apathetic as the hero (anti-hero?) of the piece. And Rob Taylor as the Mad Scientist is ridiculously funny at being woefully inept. Oh yes, you did read that correctly – Neil and MS were played by the same guy – and I had NO freaking clue till the end of the movie when the credits came around! Not one inkling. Holy fuck, I loved this movie.
Currently playing at the Portland Film Fest, NEIL STRYKER & THE TYRANT OF TIME is a side-splittingly funny piece of comedy that had me alternately shaking my head at the melodrama, then giggling uncontrollably. With a bit of everything, it’s a madcap adventure of the very best kind – and there damn well better be a sequel in the making. I’m willing to follow Neil Stryker through the universe and time, so c’mon guys, let’s get to more adventuring!
Oh yeah, and watch the trailer below to get a taste of the wacky wildness that is Neil Stryker!