Thursday, June 28, 2012

VICKI (2012)



Directed by Bill Palmer

80’s horror films…oh how we miss them! Well, writer/director Bill Palmer really longs for them even more than we do as evident in his hilarious short film Vicki. Palmer takes us all on a trip down memory lane as he parodies some of the genre greats that were filmed during that decade.

When Leslie Waterhatch (Adam Conger) is assaulted by a trio of typical 80’s thugs and has his precious bicycle destroyed in the process, he decides to purchase a hot sports car that does a little more than change his disposition. He names his precious yellow hot rod Vicki and she makes sure he becomes the most bad ass dude in 80’s-ville, while stopping at nothing to make sure he inflicts just revenge on his cruel assailants. Once Leslie is able to hook up with the resident hottie, Vicki shows that she wants her owner all to himself and is not afraid to get her wheels dirty to do so.


Sounds exactly like Stephen King’s Christine, right? Well that’s the point. Palmer recreates many of the decade’s horror moments with tongue firmly in cheek. From a Michael Jackson’s Thriller jacket to gigantic cell phones, this short implements many subtleties that will take you back to a time when the typical cinematic formula of geek vs. villain reigned supreme. Another great addition to his film is its awesome and relevant soundtrack. See if you can spot songs most memorable from being in films such as The Lost Boys

The best thing about short films is their ability to make a flick enjoyable in a sprint rather than a marathon. If Vicki ran at a feature film length, it is unsure whether it would suffer from the “beating a dead horse” syndrome found in other throwback parodies like Not Another Teen Movie. Instead, it is a fun little romp whose 14 minutes fly by and will leave you wanting more.


If you are a child product of the 80’s and want to enjoy a film with the genuine heart and spirit of horror flicks from that time period, seek out Palmer’s Vicki. There’s more under the hood than meets the eye.


RATING:
3.5 OUT OF 5 CREEPER SANTAS









WATCH IT NOW ON VIMEO:


VICKI from Bill Palmer on Vimeo.



LINKS:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Elusive Man (2010)


Directed by Marc Roussel and Mark Sanders

From Mark Sanders and Marc Roussel, the mind behind the stellar horror short Remote in 2010, comes a tasty film noir piece with a bit of dark comedy. In the short film The Elusive Man, many members from Remote are reunited for a story that will make you appreciate classic artwork in a rather unusual way.  

George Sutherland, a brasher and deviant version of “Daddy Warbucks”, is kidnapped by a mysterious criminal unit led by sultry Senorita Peligro (Veronika London). They are determined to learn the location of “The Elusive Man” from George and will do whatever they can to track him down, especially with a skillful doctor (Ron Basch) at their disposal, even though poor George has no idea who they are talking about. Making matters worse is George’s trophy wife Angela (Samantha Farrow), along with her secret lover, who finally has a chance to cash out from their marriage and cash in for some profit by sacrificing her hubby in the process. But with film noir, you know things never transpire as planned, with more twists and turns than a roller coaster.


Who or what is The Elusive Man in this flick? Well in order to not spoil the fun and surprises, you are going to have to find out for yourself. At a little over 15 minutes long, you will be wishing that this film could have been more fleshed out. However, the filmmakers are able to use the most of their limited budget by using great cinematography, including some radical camera angles and neat split-screen usage. There is some fantastically deployed set design and costuming, which all adds to the excitement.

This is probably the best short film of 2010 that did not receive the shine it deserves. Perhaps it was due to being overshadowed by Remote, which became such an award-winning indie phenomenon around the same time frame. But it does not make this film any less worth your time to watch and enjoy it.


Make sure this little gem does not elude you and catch The Elusive Man now for FREE on Vimeo (see below)


RATING:
3.5 OUT OF 5 CREEPER SANTAS









WATCH IT NOW ON VIMEO:


THE ELUSIVE MAN from Marc Roussel on Vimeo.


LINKS:


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Search Of...Worthless Stuff: Masoyiyata/Titanic (2003)




This is Indiana Jonesing here on the hunt for another lost covenant in useless junk. In this second installment of the “In Search Of...Worthless Stuff”, I journey out to the land of Nigeria for my next wanted prize.

The other day I was in the theater seething as I saw a trailer for Titanic being re-released in 3D, no less. The film is one of the most successful pictures in cinematic history and is a mainstay on premium and basic cable as well. Even if you try every tactic in your power to avoid it, Titanic will pop up on your television screen and “find you” one way or the other. The reason I was seething was not that Hollywood marketed another way to make billions of dollars on a film they already made billions on already thus robbing consumers of their hard earned cash, but the fact that locating Titanic to watch is as common as white bread, yet its little known brother still has yet to see the light of day in the U.S. or anywhere for that matter. Yes Man-Cavers, Titanic has a 2003 Nigerian knockoff entitled...

Masoyiyata/Titanic 

...but creating world peace would be easier to do than tracking a copy of this down! 


If you remember my birthday post on The Man-Cave’s Facebook page in June, I posted the trailer for this film and asked anyone who needed last minute gift ideas for me to get me a copy. Of course that didn’t happen because either people really don’t like me that much or due to the fact that it is impossible to locate. There isn’t even an IMDB page for it. This sucker is more rare than a London Broil served at a legit steakhouse. 

Please take six minutes to watch the only blessed clips of the film available on YouTube by clicking on the following link…


Wasn’t that breathtaking? It just stimulates your taste buds for the five-course meal contained in the remaining running time, doesn’t it? Director Farouk Ashu Brown used pennies (or whatever the Nigerian equivalent is to pennies) and created what it took millions for esteemed filmmaker James Cameron to accomplish. Mind you, it appears that Brown heisted a lot of the big budget boat footage from Cameron’s picture…but still, I think there is something about foreign laws or something, so all’s fair in love and war and all that.

As much as I long for the day to see Masoyiyata’s female lead to sing a duet with Celine Dion, my heart goes on…in hopes of finally watching this epic film. I was able to find one report that explains the concept of the film, which states that it is basically a Nigerian version of Titanic using an all-Nigerian cast and a downer for an ending just like Cameron's version. Dude…sign me up!


This bad boy is listed right up there in importance with Dead End aka Zombietown from the first “In Search Of…Worthless Stuff” installment, so you know the drill…

If you own a copy of the film and want some great karma or maybe want to work out some kind of trade, please contact me. Help me collect this Ark of the Coven-not and become awarded Man-Caver of the Year…with an instant “It Award” dedicated to you in the upcoming “2012 Man-Cave It & S*** Awards”!

Do you own a copy? Have you seen it? Have you heard about it? I WANT TO HEAR YOUR ACCOUNTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!




Sunday, June 24, 2012

"The Wall" Live Delivers No Matter Which Seats You're In




The Man-Cave has recently entered into a partnership with SocialMonsters.org to provide music-related content for this site on a regular basis. Since its inception, this site has longed to cover more topics on music, but have never had the time or resources to do so. When Social Monsters asked if I would be willing to post content on music to share with my readers, it was a match made in heaven. 

Here is their first article, ironically on a member of my favorite band Pink Floyd, Roger Waters. I went to his concert in 2010, which it was nothing short of amazing, and now he is returning to Philly in the coming weeks. Read more from the SMonsters below....

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd is living up to the band's reputation by providing one of the most interesting concert experiences music-goers can choose to see. "The Wall" is based on one of the band's most popular albums and now fans are reliving their original experience with it in stadiums all over the world. Though The Wall Live is a concert, it is about more than just the music. It is full production that fans must watch and listen to simultaneously in order to fully experience it and understand the message. Roger Waters Tickets are available now, but all the hype makes it almost certain they'll be sold out soon.

About The Wall Live

Critics have said The Wall Live is one of the most complex and ambitious rock shows ever presented. The worldwide tour cost nearly $60 million to stage, and each show features dynamic visual effects and astounding sound quality. Audience members can sit in any seat in the stadium, even those farthest away, and enjoy the full effect of the show.

During the Show

Audiences will listen to poignant musical numbers and view imagery on a 35-foot-tall wall. The shows imagery includes video, still images and slogans. The message of the show are strongly anti-war in nature, and the display often features gun-wielding soldiers, tyrants, psychopaths and other disturbing images. At one point during the show, the wall becomes a memorial for people who died in the last century's wars, including Waters' father, who was killed during World War II.

The Wall Live includes elaborate set pieces, such as a plane crashing into a wall and bursting into flames. Waters also changes costumes several times during the concert so that he can play different roles during in each segment. The entire show is thrilling, and every song is accompanied by impressive visualizations designed by Waters himself.

Watching The Wall Live

Though the show is somewhat dark and even frightening at times, it takes a strong political stance, underscored by innovative audio and visual techniques. Though For example, during "The Happiest Days of Our Lives," Waters creates the sound of a helicopter that seems to come from behind the stadium, grow with intensity and finally settle near the wall in front.

Though The Wall Live may not be the ideal show for young children, most audience members will be impressed and even awed by this performance. Because the show is so popular, finding Roger Waters tickets can be somewhat difficult. Pink Floyd fans who plan to view this performance, or any other show featuring Roger Waters, should purchase their tickets well in advance. This show is not to be missed!







Friday, June 22, 2012

Kickstart the Heart: The Last Buck Hunt




I rarely support any Kickstarter campaigns unless I respect the people involved enough to do so. Back in March, I wrote about the hilarious Butler Brothers' quest to film a new web series on pervy superheroes, because I totally dig their humor and know I would enjoy another one of their projects that would once again garner many an award. Today, I am in support of two friends, Nick and Becky Sayers of The Horror Effect & Fistful of Awesome, who have a Kickstarter campaign for their second feature film, The Last Buck Hunt.

The Last Buck Hunt is a horror-comedy about a TV crew who head to Washington State in order to hunt down a legendary buck whose size reaches epic proportions. Of course things do not go well for the crew and have to overcome many obstacles to land their white whale. Inspired by The Last Exorcism and District 9, this film rides the thin line between a documentary and a true cinematic approach. As mentioned, it is a horror-comedy with an emphasis on the comedy. 

Their debut film, Break, had an ambitious plot with the Sayers' using many of their friends and family in the cast. This time around, they want to use professional actors and some cool creature designs for Buck Hunt to help deliver a more polished end product. Thus, they have initiated a Kickstarter campaign to hope they can get this project off the ground.

Not only are the Sayers my pals, but I respect their desire to chase their dream. And the film legitimately sounds like an absolute hoot. A giant killer deer? Please sign me up!

They do not have much time left to raise the scratch, so please check out their Kickstarter page when you get a chance.


Links








Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alpha Dog (2006)



Directed by Nick Cassavettes

Let’s turn the clock back six years in order to review a very underrated film by veteran director Nick Cassavetes, Alpha Dog, based on the true story of Jesse James Hollywood. Alpha Dog takes a look at a young California drug dealer who bites off more than he can chew then stops at nothing to save himself from jail time, only to become one of the youngest criminals ever present on the F.B.I.’s Most Wanted List. 

Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) is one of the biggest drug suppliers in the state of California. Surrounded by spoiled rich friends and a girlfriend way out of his league (Olivia Wilde) with no direction in their lives except to hang with him for a piece of the high life, Truelove puts on a tough guy front, yet hides behind his followers and guns when push comes to shove. When his friend Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), a crazy badass, cannot pay his debts to Johnny, they get into a scuffle in which Johnny's friends save from being drowned by the loose cannon. Johnny retaliates by getting the recently paroled Jake fired from his job, who then breaks into Johnny’s home and busts up the place. With gun in hand, Johnny cowardly hides in the bathroom from his three unarmed intruders as they trash his house, proving that his bark is way worse than his bite.


The next day when Johnny cannot find Jake to even the score, he and his friends happen to stumble along and then kidnap Jake's younger brother Zack (Anton Yelchin), who has a very tight relationship with Jake. Zack is your typical 15-year old, who wants to let loose and party like his older brother and has rebellious tendencies towards his well meaning parents, Olivia (Sharon Stone) and Butch (David Thorton). Unfortunately he is nabbed just as he leaves a potential fight with his folks after they find a marijuana pipe in his bedroom, so they believe that he just ran away to hang with his brother Jake. When Jake puts two and two together, he freaks out because he knows this is an act against him stemming from his current feud with Johnny.

Meanwhile, Johnny shows just how spineless he truly is by leaving his “mess” in the care of his bud Frankie (Justin Timberlake), who wants nothing to do with the kidnapping. While in his care, Frankie befriends Zack, who is pretty easy going about the matter and refuses to escape and causes problems for everyone even when he has ample time to flee. Zack hangs out and parties with Frankie along with Frankie’s girlfriend Sabrina (Charity Shea), Susan (Dominque Swain) and her little brother Keith (Chris Marquette). He even starts a romantic relationship with another one of Sabrina’s pals, Julie (Amanda Seyfried). Even though they learn he is a hostage, they all genuine become friends with him too. He’s funny, laid back and extremely nice, so it is hard to dislike the kid. 


After Johnny fails to lure Frankie into killing Zack, they agree that Johnny will smooth things out with Jake and be done with this matter. Then, they will give Zack some money while continuing to befriend him before letting him go home. In reality, Frankie and the gang have already taken a general liking to him and figure everything will be alright. But Jake is livid and threatens Johnny for what he has done, since now there is a Missing Persons report out on his little brother. Making matters worse is that Frankie’s dad, a lawyer, tells Johnny that a kidnapper is looking at life in jail. A master cerebral assassin, Johnny twists his problem into becoming his friends’ problem by putting the fear of a life sentence into their minds and suggests they may have to take more drastic matters into action. Of course, Johnny manipulates his crew into doing his dirty work for him, especially Elvis (Shawn Hatosy), who worships the ground he walks on.

Cassavetes definitely uses his creative license to alter some of the characters’ personalities and motives from the real life story for a more dramatic effect. But in respect to a genuinely disheartening tragedy, it is all done in good taste. Excellent direction aside, powerful performances are aplenty. Yelchin really makes you also feel like you are befriending Zack as well and that is due to his demeanor and dialogue delivery. Bruce Willis is wonderful as Johnny’s father and Sharon Stone gives an Oscar worthy performance as Olivia. In fact, it is truly mind boggling that she did not even receive a nomination because she is that moving in her best performance ever. The biggest surprise comes from Justin Timberlake, who makes you forget who he really is for two hours. It truly is amazing how well he portrays Frankie. Overall, equal credit should go to Cassavetes for directing the actors as much as it goes to his cast's output.

 

It is a horrible shame that such a strong film was born from a senseless tragedy and thoughts and prayers go out to the real life victims. In the cinematic world, this is a film that has been overlooked for too long and is probably one of the best films shot in the last decade. If you have not had the chance to do so yet, please seek out Alpha Dog and for more on the true story, please read My Stolen Son: The Nick Markovitz Story by Jenna Glazer and Susan Markovitz, Zack/Nick’s mother.


RATING:
4 out of 5 Creeper Santas








TRAILER:



LINKS:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Three Stooges (2012)


Directed by the Farrelly Brothers

Long in pre-production hell and after names like Jim Carrey, Sean Penn and Bencio del Toro’s names dropped off the casting list, the Farrelly Brothers have finally released their much anticipated remake dedicated to the original kings of comedy, The Three Stooges. While it has been 12 years since Mel Gibson’s produced ABC docu-drama on the real life tragedy of the troupe, the Farrelly Brothers bring us the Stooges as we remember them from the black and white shorts currently in rotation on AMC. 

After literally being dropped off at an orphanage by their parents, brothers Moe, Larry and Curly spend their childhood unable to be selected for adoption and remain at the orphanage into their 30’s into the figures as we know them best. News comes down that the orphanage owes $800K in 30 days or else it will be closed down, so the boys head out into the real world to come with the dough. It doesn’t take long for the boys to end up in the middle of murder scam with scheming lovers played by Sophia Vergara and Craig Bierko. Then, it is time for the Stooges to get down how they know best.


In the wrong hands, rights to a Stooges film could have been a complete mess. Thankfully, the Farrelly Brothers are on the case with their film for true fans made by true fans and their passion is evident throughout. One easy example is how the film is broken down into three sections, each constructed as a Three Stooges short complete with the theme song, credits and all. So right from the beginning, you feel like you are being transported back to those days of watching the Stooges on TV when you were a kid. 

Just as important as it is to have the right creative minds behind the camera, it is equally as important to have the same output in front of it. Enough credit cannot be given to the Farrelly for their selections to imitate the legends, especially when the above mentioned names ignited the original hype in 2009, only to drop off after studio complications. Instead, we have walking clones of the boys – Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, Sean Hayes as Larry and Will Sasso as Curly. And each of these actors nail their characters on the head in facial expressions, vocal tones and dialogue delivery. It is evident that these three actors not only spent copious amounts of time learning all of the intricacies of their characters, but that they are also true fans at hear as well, because not just any actors could pull off what they are able to in this film.

  
Another beautiful thing about The Three Stooges is that it is “fish-out-of-water” film that does not emphasize too much on our characters being too bouncy of seafood and completely following that typical formula. It takes place in recent times, but our Stooges talk and act the same exact way they did in their early shorts. They might not be privy to modern technology, but these situations are only used to re-create the dry humor of Stoogemania. Don’t know if this was intended or not, but the film’s plot is very reminiscent of the 80’s Nintendo game, where the Stooges have to take on odd jobs, many of which re-enact their greatest shorts, to earn enough scratch in 30 days to save an orphanage. 


If you are a Stooges fan, you will be happy to know that the Farrellys’ re-creation of your favorite comedy geniuses is a triumphant tribute to their legacy and well worth the wait to enjoy. For those hardcore fans looking for something new to the Stooge universe, this is the next best thing you are going to get to the genuine article. And don't be turned off by those Jersey Shore scenes in the trailer because they are brief and surprisingly work well in the context of the film. You will be too busy be entertained with eyepokes, head hammers, face slaps, and other Stooge physical comedy. 


RATING:
4 OUT OF 5 NYUK-NYUKS











TRAILER:




Monday, June 18, 2012

Game Review: Dead Island (2011)


(the following review is based on the version available on PS3)

On the tropical island of Banoi, the Royal Palms Resort is an exclusive getaway destination for the rich and famous. The “who’s who” and wealthiest on our planet go there to get down and dirty. If you have the dime, the hosts of the Royal Palms will offer you the time. There are beautiful beaches, oceanfront bungalows, unlimited alcohol, and chicks in itty-bitty bikinis. Instead of working on their tans and drinking until dawn, the latest group to flock to Banoi has to fight for survival once a major outbreak has turned a majority of the guests into mindless, homicidal zombies. The only getaway you will experience, is running for life past hordes of the infected. As the old adage goes…eat the rich! Thanks, Aerosmith.


At first glance, Dead Island could very easily be passed off as a clone of many other genre games that have surfaced since the latest zombie craze. Reading the online synopsis could make Dead Island appear to be Left4Dead…on an island or Dead Rising 2…on an island. For starters, you have the option of selecting among four characters that you can play co-op online (L4D) and you also gain the ability to repair and create weaponry over time (DR2). As an experienced veteran of those previous titles and the one being reviewed, the verdict is that Dead Island is more RPG than shoot ‘em up and a totally different type of gaming experience.


As previously stated, you can select from four very different characters. Logan is an ex-American football player whose career ended too early when his penchant for street racing went bad. Purna was tossed off the police squad in Australia when she tried to kill a pedophile above the law and now works as a personal bodyguard for the type of clientele who resides at the Royal Palm. Xian Mei is a front desk person at the resort, who used the gig to flee China and see the world. Sam B. is a one –hit wonder rapper hired to perform at a private VIP party even though his career has quickly spirally downward since his chart-topping hit wore thin. More importantly than each character containing a different personality like in most games, they have unique skill sets that will decide how you need to engage your foes to be successful. For example, Sam B can throw hands with the best of them, where Purna is better using firearms from long range. 

After a bizarre opening cutscene, featuring Sam B. busting out his hit “Who Do You Voodoo?”, you begin your quest awakening in the hotel while the voice over the intercom instructs you to evacuate the building. From the second you get out of your room until the end of the game, you rarely have a chance to catch your breath, with your character in almost non-stop peril. This game is styled after RPG play, so your character will evolve into a more powerful force to be reckoned with as you complete tasks and do some zombie killing. That being said, you will meet up with other survivor groups outside of the resort, since the plague has overtaken all of Banoi, who you can perform side tasks for to “Level Up” parallel with your main quests to finish the game.


The control configuration is a bit awkward at first and takes about 30-45 minutes to become adapted. Once you do get the hang of the controls scheme, you will appreciate how it does not interrupt your gameplay’s flow. The weapons you obtain do not have a prominent use-life, so you will need to repair, upgrade and even create your own weapons or risk resorting to hand-to-hand combat. Therefore, it is important to always have access to the few workbenches scattered throughout the island. Another aspect to the game is the education you will gain on when to fight it out and when to run like Forrest Gump.    

The map for this game is a beast, so doing some free roaming zombie bashing can be fun too. This is not a pick up and play then put down for months type of game, so trust me that you will get sucked in almost immediately. Be aware that you also could be playing for 50 total hours if you try to complete all of the side plus main missions. So if you split that total game time over several weeks, this title will give you your hard earned money’s worth. Well it would be worth your money unless...

Final Verdict: ...I cannot recommend any of my readers to buy this game. Do Not Do It! This sucker was flawless until my save game became corrupted after 26 hours of gameplay, no exaggeration. I believed this to be an isolated incident until I researched online and Google searched for “Dead Island corrupted save” and read the thousands and thousands of people affected by the same thing for every system. This is not just for PS3 users but XBOX 360 users as well. From what I read, the developers rushed this out and knowingly did not fix or warn potential buyers about the issue. They released a patch for this to help in the future, but if you already had a corrupted game save, you had to restart all the way from the beginning. I even read that people were still having these issues after they installed the patch as well. Had this problem not reared its ugly head, my review would have been ending with me stating how this would have been Game of the Year on my Best of 2011 if I had played it sooner. Sorry guys…presentation and gameplay is flawless, but losing hours of your life due to bugs that were overlooked is a no buy from me. AVOID!   




Sunday, June 17, 2012

WWE No Way Out 2012 Recap & Results



Hailing from IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ, it is time for WWE's next PPV! For many wrestlers, there is no way out of the path of destruction that sees many angles play out after last month's Over the Limit. There will be title matches and revenge bouts, but no Brock Lesnar in the foreseeable future. Without further adieu, let's head to ringside for all the action...






YouTube Pre-Show: The Funkasaurus vs. David Otunga

This match was added this past week on Raw. There was really no build to this one, so it seems that The Funk will rock NJ. This will not be a usual Funk-a-squash match, but he will probably be victorious over everyone's least liked part-time lawyer.

RESULT: 
Funkasaurus wins via a countout.

After the big suplex, Otunga rolled to the outside and refused to come back in for a countout loss. This was by far the worst pre-show match with Otunga on the offensive for most of the match until the anti-climatic finish.




Now on to the matches you needed to pay for...





WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match 
Sheamus (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Due to Del Rio's real life concussion injury, Ziggler won an elimination Fatal 4-Way on Raw to earn a shot at Sheamus. Ziggler will probably face the same fate as Del Rio would have at NWO, with a Sheamus Brogue Kick victory, but maybe the WWE will shake things up and give Dolph a must deserved title run. He needs the title to establish credibility a lot more than Sheamus needs to right now and would set up a great chase for Sheamus leading to Summerslam. But since this was a last minute decision, that will likely not happen. At least it seems that the long building split between Ziggler and Swagger will finally transpire.

RESULT:  
Sheamus pinned Ziggler after the Brogue Kick

What a way to kick off the show. Really entertaining match with some great spots from both Sheamus and Ziggler. Both men really wrung each other through the ringer, but it was a lot better than expected especially on short notice.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: Johnny Lauriniatis treis to suck up to Vince McMahon, but Vince isn't having any of it. 


Tuxedo Match 
Santino Marella vs. Ricardo Rodriquez

Time for a gimmick comedy match. Usually frown on something like this, but considering the participants are so likeable, it is worth a watch...for free on Raw, not for $60.

RESULT:  
Santino wins after hitting Ricardo with a "foot" Cobra.

"BORING!" chants throughout from the NJ crowd. Again, this would have been great for free, not on a $60 PPV or for those who paid to be in the IZOD.



BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: CM Punk talks up his opponent and the fact that he loves crazy chicks like AJ, who kisses him and wishes him good luck.



  Intercontinental Championship Match
Cody Rhodes vs. Christian (c)


This has the potential to be the second best match on the card and one worth watching for some serious wrestling action. Ever since Christian's surprise return challenge and winning the IC strap from Cody Rhodes, Rhodes invokes his rematch clause wiht the promise of taking his title back now that he has time to properly prepare for his opponent this time around. Christian is back for the peeps since his months-long injury and inducting Edge at the Hall of Fame before Wrestlemania has made him think twice about remaining the crybaby he was for the latter part of 2011.

RESULT: 
Christian retains the title after hitting the Spear.

Great match from two great in-ring performers, who told a great story tonight. This one was just as good if not better than their last title match at Over The Limit. This is the type if match that will continue to build back credibility to the Intercontinental Championship and make the title worth fighting for, according to story lines. Excellent spots, reversals and well done false finishes. Now is it time for a world title program for one Cody Rhodes? Of course seeing them one more time would not be a bad thing either.





 Surprise Match: 4-Way Tag Match to Determine #1 Contenders
Epico/Primo vs. Prime Time Players vs. Tyosn Kidd/Justin Gabriel vs. The Usos

A tag match as the fourth match of the PPV, and a 4-way to boot? Is the WWE really trying to up the tag team division for real this time? Epico and Primo have been great for some time, The Usos are capabale of some good scrapping, the Prime Time Players have been a pleasant surprise since their debut a few months back, and a Gabriel-Kidd union sounds like some good high-flyin' fun. Now, how much time will the match get and is the 'E ready to make tag team wrestling interesting again?

RESULT: 
The Primetime Players won after Titus pinned Primo. AW turned on Epico/Primo and is now the manager for the PTP.

Not bad, but the crowd wasn't into it. There was no build up to this so that is to be expected. Epico/Primo put it all on the line again as usual. Oh WWE, please give Tyson Kidd a push. He is literally the most talented and under-utilized talent on the roster. The hurracanrana to the outside from him was absolutely amazing and finally got the crowd into the match! The addition of tag team angle between AW/PTP and Epico/Primo stemming from this match is a good sign for things to come in the future for the division.




In-Ring Interview: HHH 

Wow...people are paying good money with time spent during a PPV...on an interview. Oh but it is HHH, so that's ok. Pfft! Lots of boos from the IZOD because they feel the same way. This could have and should have waited until tomorrow night for free, but HHH's ego knows no boundaries. Don't worry, Trips, if Austin came back you'd be forced into second place again by the fans no matter who you are married to. Listen to the fans doing the "What?!" and "No-No-No!" to you and booing you to hurry off the stage.

HHH talked about having a real corporate job now, dealing with lawsuits, how he is a fighter, and how he wants to fight Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Yeah, huge shocker. The SummerSlam match has already lost its appeal because there is no way HHH's ego can handle a loss to Lesnar. So that was 10+ down the tubes and the fans' reactions are the proof.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: AJ has a conversation with Daniel Bryan before wishing him luck.


WWE Divas Championship Match
Beth Phoenix vs. Layla (c)

As much as the Divas division has been considered a "who cares?", Layla has made the women's division even more of a bore while being on top. Probably time for Layla to drop the strap to Beth and finally, finally set up the inevitable Phoenix-Kharma showdown fans have been drooling about for months.

RESULT: 
Layla retains Divas Title when she neckbreakered Beth Phoenix.

Very little excitement from the crowd for this matchup. Layla can wrestle, as can Phoenix, but she has generated little interest as champ. Status quo 2012 Diva's match and more forcing Layla down our throats.  


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: AJ wishes Kane good luck. As she leaves, Kane pulls her back in for a make-out session.


Surprise Match:
Sin Cara vs. Hunico

Time for a surprise good Sin Cara vs. dark Sin Cara PPV match to fill some time and help keep boosting the Faceless one to the top again. These guys always have great matches as they contain similar styles and know each other's tendencies very well.


RESULT: 
Sin Cara defeats Hunico after hitting his funky finisher.

No real botches and a fun little Mexican style matchup. Glad to see they made Hunico look string even in defeat. The "We Want Ryder! WOO-WOO-WOO!" chants were the only pop-esque things coming from the crowd throughout no matter the high-flying action happening in the ring.


BACKSTAGE SEGMENT: AJ wishes Kane good luck. As she leaves, Kane pulls her back in for a make-out session.




  WWE Title Match 3-Way Match
Kane vs. CM Punk (c) vs. Daniel Bryan


No offense to Kane, but did they really need to add him into this feud? Bryan and Punk could very easily be in line for pulling off another 5-Star match, but Kane somehow ended up in the middle. Add in AJ moving away from CM Punk to stalk Kane and this angle is one giant WTF?! That being said, unless the WWE wants to build toward something for Punk at Summerslam, odds are that Cult of Personality will be playing in the arena when all is said and done.

RESULT:
Punk retains title after hitting Kane with the GTS after he was distracted by accidentally running into AJ.

The pop for Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were literally like Hogan and Savage as faces in the 80's. It felt like my TV speakers were going to blow out. These two were seriously over tonight. As expected, Bryan and Punk carried Kane throughout in his highest "Star" match ever. By Kane carrying AJ to the back, it looks like we will be treated to another installment of a "beauty and the beast" angle or another ruse by her to help Punk keep the title. We will learn more on Raw tomorrow.



 Handicap Match
Ryback vs. two jobbers
Ryback is in another squash match that follows the WWE title match and precedes the main event in a surprise handicap match for the second consecutive PPV. Ryback SMASH once again, but can he actually work a real match against real talent? This has already gotten extremely old and is wasting more of paying fans' cash. Shame on you, Vince.

RESULT:
Ryback once again, of course.

 NJ did the "Goldberg" chant for the entire match and then relentlessly booed him (not in a good heat way) out of the ring.  Waste of time and the fans were vocal about that fact. You listening, WWE?





Steel Cage Match
John Cena vs. Big Show


Not really sure why the WWE thought that Big Show's umpteenth heel turn would be a ratings boost, but they should have scrapped this one due to fans' reaction week after week. In response, Vince has his Mr. McMahon character return and put himself at ringside where he will fire John Laurinaitis if Show loses. Once again, titleless Cena is in the main event which continues to devalue the World Titles and we are treated to yet another Cena-Show showdown? Maybe this has something to do with the rumored troubles backstage with Lesnar. Hopefully this will be the end of the feud so Cena and Show can move on to fresh territory.

RESULT: 
John Cena wins by escaping the cage before Big Show. McMahon fired John Laurinaitis before he is given an Attitude Adjustment through the table.


This one was the slow, boring retread that was expected until the ending with run-ins of many of Big Show's victims like Funkasaurus, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, Santino Marella, and Alex Riley. Considering the reaction from the fans, this one would have been better as the runner-up match instead of the go-home match. Thankfully, there was no McMahon "swerve" and that People Power has finally come to an end with a major pop from hearing Vince yell, "Youuuu'rrreee....Fffiiiiiirrrrreeedddd!"




FINAL VERDICT:


You tell 'em, Lex! Easily the worst PPV of 2012. The opener with Sheamus-Ziggler, Edge vs. Christian for the IC strap, the 4-way tag team battle and the 3-way WWE title matches were the only matches worth watching.  Having another Cara-Hunico match, the out of place HHH interview, the tuxedo match, and the Ryback squash invoked a serious case of buyer's remorse. The negatives definitely outweighed the positives here with tons of filler matches, as the focus of this PPV was geared more towards the two future PPVs: Money in the Bank and SummerSlam. This one was definitely not worth your time and cash, friends, and Vince has a lot of cojones doing a wasteful PPV like this in front of a smart NJ crowd. Plus, we were not given the full 3 hours. 

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Unintentionally Funny Films: The Fan (1996)



Director Tony Scott has many blockbuster hits on his CV. From Top Gun to True Romance to Crimson Tide to Beverly Hills Cop II, Scott has also kept his films’ content on the straight side, but what about his venture into the comedy genre? What, you didn’t know that he filmed a comedy with Roberto DeNiro back in 1996, in between Bobby’s own venture into comedic performances during the span of King of Comedy and Meet the Parents? Scott’s film The Fan was not planned on being funny, but the result is unintentionally laughable. Sit back, relax and let us take a look on the hilarity that is The Fan

The plot is about a deranged knife collector in his 40’s or 50’s, named Gil Renard, played completely deadpanned by Robert DeNiro. Renard is also a divorced father with an unhealthy obsession for baseball, in particular the San Francisco Giants and their newly acquired star player Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes) from the Atlanta Braves (yes, I am as shocked as you that the MLB sold their license to this masterpiece). Instead of putting his energy into his home life, he uses it for to mark out over the Giants. Renard makes those potbellied, facepainted diehards look like casual fans. Rayburn heavily struggles at the place during his first weeks as a Giant and looks to be a bust. That is until Renard interferes in his personal life and he goes on a tear. Things are good in Renard-land until he learns that Rayburn does not take the “game” as serious as he does…and chaos ensues. Sounds like a standard creepy stalker flick, right? Not on your life. Let’s dissect this sucker and see why it will leave you hysterically laughing instead of feeling hysterically terrified.
First, we have the opening credits which has the titles superimposed over shots of the many (and many) of Renard’s baseball bobbleheads and memorabilia pieces. As those weird looking bobbleheads’ faces fill the screen, you can’t help but start snickering.

“Now I’m going to show you how to throw a real Cutter!”

Things really start the bellybusting once Renard takes his young son to the Giants Opening Day game to see Rayburn’s debut for the team. DeNiro makes his boy repeat baseball mantras as they relate to reality, such as “…that’s why baseball is better than life…it’s fair.” L-O-L! Wow…we realize we are in for a real treat here. Renard constantly stands during the game at inappropriate times, obstructing the view for the people seated behind. Of course this angers the people, but that does not stop Gil from screaming obscene remarks to them in front of his impressionable son. He even yells at an old lady, who is watching his behavior in horror. Does Gil realize he needs to act more mature? Well, no…he screams at her, “What the F*** are you looking at…you old busybody?!” Classy. Then he heckles his team when they struggle. What a supporter, huh? Is he from Philly or New York and not the Bay Area? Let it also be noted that Renard is WAY more into the whole deal than his son, as seen when Renard is having an orgasm over Rayburn hitting in batting practice while the son yawns, “Can I have a hot dog?” Renard also berates his son for looking at the team mascot dancing around instead of the action on the field. When Renard freaks out after missing grabbing a foul ball, he leaves his son (who is all of about 6) in the stands by himself to go make some phone calls when in actuality, he leaves him alone at the game while he tries to do business with a customer downtown! Father of the year he is not. He finally goes back to the stadium but the game is long over and the kid is gone. Frantic, he heads back to his ex-wife’s house…where the boy is safe at home thanks to the old Busybody from earlier who gave him a left home. Yes, the character is actually credited Busybody in the closing credits of the theater release, but the DVD and cable airings changed this to “Stanford Woman”, which is a real shame. Anyway, the ex-wife decides that he is more off his rocker than usual, so she ends custody rights for him to see the kid. Is this a wake up call for Renard? No…he just becomes even more crazily obsessed with baseball than he already is. The entire scene would have been better served with a laugh track in all seriousness. Just take a look and be the judge for yourself…



Next, we have Rayburn replacing the spot Renard's son had deep within his blackened heart and starts to become a more “active” team supporter. As Rayburn struggles, he states that it might be due to him not having his #11 jersey number that he had back in Atlanta, which has a special meaning between him and his late father. The reason he does not have that number is because fellow team star Juan Primo (Benicio Del Toro), who is an egotistical jerk regardless, refused to give it up for him since that is his number as well and was on the team first. Gil does what any normal fan would do by stalking then killing Primo in a spa. Yup…that is what really happens. The next day, Rayburn gets #11, goes on a tear, and Gil feels that they are now kindred spirits. That is until…

During one of Gil’s creeper stalking adventures at Rayburn’s beachfront home, he causes Rayburn’s son to begin drowning in the ocean and saves his life, looking like a hero. Rayburn insists on paying him back in some way, but Gil refuses…until a Three Stooges “Niagara Falls” moment occurs. Gil mentions that Rayburn has turned his season around because he finally got his #11, but Rayburn states that after Primo died, he stopped caring because there are things more important in life than baseball. He says that he “stopped caring” and a switch is flipped in Renard's head. Bad move, Rayburn. Renard ditches his good guy cover and starts acting like DeNiro, when he says in his usual DeNiro delivery, “You don’t care? What do you mean you stopped caring?” In turn, this leads to Renard accepting Rayburn’s gift of gratitude by asking him to pitch to Rayburn. When he accepts, Renard strips off his own jacket to reveal that he has been wearing an authentic Rayburn Braves jersey the entire time. He begins to throw at Rayburn’s head over and over again until Rayburn realizes that Renard is nuts and runs inside. Not one to take hints very well, Renard shows up the next day to trick the son into thinking that he and his dad are now friends and kidnaps him.

“Wow…this is…awkward.”

Now throughout the film, Renard constantly mentions how good of a pitcher he was when he was younger and also refers to his old catcher named “Coop”. In fact, a good deal of those mantras he has been spouting actually came from good ol' Coop. You are meant to think that they were a longtime pitcher-catcher combo and that Coop was some great baseball player who went onto the MLB or something along those lines. Well, Renard takes Rayburn’s son to meet Coop and truly see how truly batshit crazy Gil really has been for a long time, if we haven’t gotten the gist already. Coop is just an old, out of shape night security guard at some yard. Time for the laugh track to start going again. Not only does Coop not recognize Gil at first, showing that he and Gil are not as close as they are in Gil’s mind, but Coop also says something along the lines of “We haven’t played baseball since little league!” HAHAHA! Yeah Coop did not grow up into Yogi Berra as we were led to believe. Coop also realizes that Renard is well off his rocker too, so he helps the kid escape once it is revealed to him that the kid Gil has is Rayburn’s! So, Gil kills him. Guess it is an end of baseball era?

Now another funny aspect of this film is Scott’s heavily use of Nine Inch Nails’ song “Closer” and its many remixes. The reason it is so humorous is when the song is used and its placement in certain sequences. For example, there is a scene when Renard, with a bizarre look on his face, is thinking about Rayburn while the song clip of “I WANNA F*** YOU!” plays. Hmm. Sometimes you get the whole line of “I wanna f*** you like an animal” during the same situations throughout the film which make you chuckle and wonder how Gil really feels about the ballplayer. Scott is obviously a fan of Trent Reznor, but his use of that song should have either been omitted or used in another way.

“The Personal Bodyguard Security…don’t steal home without it.”

Finally, there is the ending…the utterly ridiculous predictable ending. It has to be seen to be believed…even though it is unbelievable even for the limits of this ridiculous motion picture. 

The Fan is just too hard to take as serious subject matter no matter how hard it tries. It is just too over the top for its own good and seeing DeNiro in this type of role is too distracting that it becomes laughable. As sick and deranged as the film wants to be, it would have served better as a comedy or a parody of stalker flicks. Better yet, Snipes should have reprised his role as Willie “Mayes” Hayes from Major League just to make it official. This flick comes off more as a spoof of the “obsessed fan” subgenre than another entry into it, and for that, The Fan stands as an unintentionally comedy flick that you should seek out just to enjoy the humor of it all.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Piranha 3DD (2012)


Directed by John Gulager

Less than a year after the little fish with razor teeth showed up in a gratuitous popcorn flick last summer, they return for more flesh nibbling in Piranha 3DD. Feast’s John Gulager replaces Alexandre Aja in the director’s chair this time around for a film that is even more over the top than its predecessor, but that is not necessarily a good thing.

Twelve months have passed since the tragedy from end of the Piranha remake as our story shifts to the opening of a new water park run by sleazy Chet (David Koechner). Chet has decided to make the water park geared more towards the mature crowd by installing the first strip club ever at a water attraction, allowing an anything goes policy. His straight and narrow daughter Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) is against the park's new direction, but has no choice but to yield to Chet’s 51% ownership opposed to her 49%. Meanwhile, our killer fish have adapted to high levels of chlorinated water after surviving in cave-like environments for many years, so they can breathe in regular chlorinated water. Of course they make their way into the park for a buffet of humans and the absurdity begins.


Overall, the film is a completely unnecessary sequel filled with an even larger amount of T&A and gory as seen in last year’s installment. It does not pick up the story from the shocking final moments of its original with the giant piranha breed and instead is more of a rehash than anything else.

The film ties into the 2011 offering simply by heavily mentioning the lake massacre and bringing back some of the cast in cameos. Christopher Lloyd returns as the nutty professor who discovers the piranha’s new evolution to adapt to highly chlorinated environments. The hilarious Paul Scheer, Jerry O’Connell’s sidekick, visits the park for a therapeutic session along with Ving Rhames, whose character but not legs survived the slaughter from part one. 


Some new characters help to make the film somewhat watchable, with Chris Zylka from last year’s Shark Night 3D, trying to survive in another aqua villain-based adventure. Katrina Bowden is usual eye candy and Matt Bush is the classic dork who yearns for Maddy’s affection. Then there is the only worth watching element of the film, David Hasselhoff parodying himself as the water park’s guest celebrity lifeguard. Hoff is hilarious and we can only hope his in-film television show gets a comedic spin-off. 

Too bad Piranha 3DD is not worthy of a trip back into the water. While the comedic elements of Hoff and returning cast members make for some brief fun, the movie lacks any bite that last year’s film provided.
 
If you are a fan of the fish eat human film type then why not check out LOVEFiLM who have so many survival movies including the original piranha which is available in Blu-ray 3D. 


RATING:
2.5 OUT OF 5 HOFF PUPPIES












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