Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My swine flu movie festival

*koff, koff*

Ooh, am I sick as a mutt. Without going into unnecessary detail, my MD has blocked me out from work for the rest of the week in case my symptoms worsen (paraphrasing him, now). So I'm out of work today, definitely tomorrow, and I'll go stir crazy if I have to isolate myself through Friday.

As it stands now, I'm lining up a day's worth of movies to watch for tomorrow, so I can veg out on the couch and melt my brain.

In no particular order of viewing:

1) Dead Space: Downfall (2008)

"Meet Your Maker

For the crew of the USG Ishimura, this is how the horror begins: On a deep space mining mission to a remote planet, an ancient religious relic - thought to be proof of the existence of God - is unearthed and brought aboard. It is worshipped by some, scorned by others. But when the unholy artifact unleashes a long-dormant alien race, its glimpse of Heaven transforms the ship into a living hell. The chaos is immediate. The carnage is uncontrollable. And an onslaught unlike anything ever witnessed by mankind has now been set free to rip this world apart. Prepare yourself for the disturbing opening chapters of the new EA game that takes adult animation to graphic new levels of bloodshed and terror. This is Dead Space: Downfall.

I approach this one cautiously, because it's based on a video game for PC (Dead Space, of course). It's a prequel, at that, so I don't know if it will end up in a drastic cliffhanger into the game, which would suck, or if it might stand successfully on its own, a la "Resident Evil: Degeneration." I have read some good reviews of it, and I snagged it for $6.99 last weekend, so I won't be too hurt if it sucks.

2) The Executioner (1994)

"A royal executioner famed for beheading 998 convicts with a solid gold axe is stalked by the lone survivor of the notorious 'Eight Devilish Mortals,' claiming the life of his wife and beginning a perilous game of cat-and-mouse packed with sword-swinging, high-flying action that will dazzle the most hardened martial arts fan!"

There's all kinds of crazy ass stuff to be enjoyed here, not just kung-fu fighting; there's early-90s' video effects that put gigantic spiders against our heroes, and there's some evil, "Big Trouble in Little China" style foreign menace special effects.

3) Gladiator (1992)

"One fought to win. The other fought to survive. Two friends are pitted against each other by a corrupt boxing promoter in a brutal battle that threatens to destroy their friendship and lives.

Cuba Gooding, Jr. and James Marshall star as the talent amateurs who are exploited by the ruthless promoter Horn (Brian Dennehy) and his scout (Robert Loggia) in the fight of their lives.

Thanks to Patton Oswalt, I'm always going to hear "Character actors, huh? Who gives a fuck if we're fat!" when Brian Dennehy comes up. But yeah, Gladiator ... whew. I saw this movie in the theater when it came out, and it predates this rash of new pseudo-UFC films, and actually does them better. Plus, it's got a swank title track by 3rd Bass.

And don't get too jazzed up; that's James MARSHALL, not James MARSDEN, despite the fact that he resembles the would-be Cyclops.

4) Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

"The Most Highly Acclaimed Horror Phantasy Of Our Time.

Paul Williams wrote the acclaimed rock and roll score for this musical horror classic, and stars as an evil record tycoon haunted and taunted by a disfigured composer once wronged. Cheered by Los Angeles Times as a 'delightful outrageous... visual triumph,' this hilarious send-up of the glam rock era is pure entertainment from beginning to end!

A total rip on the "Phantom of the Opera" tale ... obviously. The protagonist dons a costume from a super-villain straight out of the pages of those good 70s' comic books. The feel of this movie, what bits I've watched of it over the course of my days, is that Brian DePalma might have wanted this film to come across as a serious rock opera. And, wow, does it fail at that; but, as a campy horror film - the Phantom's metal teeth; the Faustian set-up; the songs that narrate the actions in such subtle methods - the film succeeds.

5) Spider-man 3 (2007)

"Every Hero Has A Choice.

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) finally has the girl of his dreams, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), and New York City is in the throes of Spider-mania! But when a strange alien symbiote turns Spider-Man's suit black, his darkest demons come to light - changing Spider-Man inside as well as out. Spider-Man is in for the fight of his life against a lethal mix of villains - the deadly Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Venom (Topher Grace), and the New Goblin (James Franco) - as well as the enemy within himself.

By far the weakest film in the series, Spider-Man 3 still has some charm; I know I gave it some shit in an earlier post, but it's really not a bad film. There's bad dancing, bad acting, bad singing, bad logic, bad dialogue, bad CG, homely actresses ... but these come together in a way that is not too offensive; Grace is pretty good as an anti-Peter Parker, the Sandman stuff is pretty solid, and ... um ... well, that's kinda it. But damn it, it's still pretty fun to watch.

So, here's hoping my meds kick in at some point today, tonight, tomorrow ... dunno when. Better to have meds working their way through my symptoms, instead of being, I don't know, dead. There's that.

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