Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Picasso Trigger

I feel like when there's nudity required, it's there. Certainly some of it is gratuitous, I'm not going to lie to you, but hey, that's what we're here for. In the play 42nd Street, where he says 'You go on that stage an unknown, you come off that stage a star', I say 'You step into that hot tub an unknown, you step out that hot tub a star'.” - Andy Sidaris

Previously on Hard Ticket To Hawaii...

Andy Sidaris graced the world of cinema with a movie that feels like it was conceived by teenage boys, and yet was a billion times more intelligent and fun than any of the Fast and the Furious movies. We met Donna and Taryn, agents of the DEA whose hobbies include fighting crime, giving tours of Hawaii, hauling cancer infested snakes around, and talking to each other topless. They're back for another round in what is looking like a Cinematic Universe, so SUCK IT MARVEL.

Picasso Trigger is the third movie in the Andy Sidaris collection, released a year after Hard Ticket To Hawaii. This is among the more obscure Sidaris films, a lot of this is likely due to its bizarre and non-attention grabbing title. The Picasso Trigger is actually the state fish of Hawaii, a very beautiful and multi-coloured fish. That doesn't exactly scream a movie with hot babes and guns, so a lot of video stores probably didn't order the title heavily when its name popped up on their forms in 1988. WE however all know better, so let's see what awaits our identical heroines in A Ghoul Versus Picasso Trigger!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Hard Ticket To Hawaii (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Rowdy and his broseph Jade arrive in Honolulu, hopping in a jeep and driving down the road as they talk about how much Jade wants to bang Edy. They drive past a skateboarder doing handstands on his board, commenting he must be doing some “heavy doobies”. This turns out to be one of the thugs who killed the cops from the beginning, meeting up with one of his friends down the road and telling him about the agents. Skater hops in the back of their truck because the passenger seat is occupied by... a blow up doll. UMMM, random movie is random.

They chase after the agents, catching up to them and then... speeding right past them? This scene is made even more incomprehensible by Jade commenting that they're gone, even though the previous shot showed they were LITERALLY side-by-side! Then, the truck warps down the road and Skater gets out, armed with a gun AND THE BLOW UP DOLL. What in God's name is going on in this movie?! Skater heads back down the road, shooting at the jeep along and wounding Jade in the process. Why didn't he just shoot the agents when they DROVE PAST THEM? I bet Skater's wondering that too when Jade backs up the jeep and smashes into him, sending him airborne because Sidaris is ALSO a master student of physics.

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Hard Ticket To Hawaii (Part 1)

I can't do a script, turn it over to a studio, have a reader read it, and have some kid out of college come to me and say 'That doesn't work for me'. I'm gonna kill the fucker, and I'll be in jail. It serves me well, and is cheaper, to finance my own movies.” - Andy Sidaris

We got introduced to the Andy Sidaris film style: bullets, bombs, and boobs! Something was missing though, something that's associated with his work almost as much as naked women: it didn't take place in Hawaii! Sure at the very end Luciana said she fled to Hawaii, but she totally didn't as the entire thing was filmed in California.

Enter Hard Ticket to Hawaii, which is what I'd say is the most famous of the Sidaris Collection by a landslide. It's become THE “go-to” movie people often use to initiate others into the world of Andy Sidaris, and has become so famous Paste Magazine actually named it the greatest B-movie OF ALL TIME, even ahead of Tommy Wiseau's The Room and the 1989 epic Samurai Cop. If THAT'S not high praise, I don't know what is. So let's get ready to see why this film is so beloved amongst fans of the wonder that is B-movies with A Ghoul Versus Hard Ticket To Hawaii!

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Andy Sidaris Collection: Malibu Express

My wife Arlene uses all of these fancy words like 'motivation' and 'story'. Where the fuck did you learn those words? I couldn't spell 'story' if you spotted me the 's' and the 't', for Chrissakes.” - Andy Sidaris

The late, great Andy Sidaris had a dream, and that dream was to push the T and A barrier into the stratosphere. Sidaris originally worked as a television producer and director for the ABC television network where he oversaw their sports coverage. Calling himself “the best television director that ever lived”, he was a pioneer of sports broadcasting and helped to develop techniques such as slow motion replay and split screen angles. It's not these revolutionary ideas he's best known for however, as he also involved what is called “the honey shot”, something you've seen a million times if you've ever watched televised sports.

Quite simply he'd zoom in one attractive cheerleaders on the sidelines or beautiful women in the stands, and was completely unapologetic about it despite his style earning much criticism from his peers. His justification was that not only hardcore sports fans watched games, and he wanted to reward the people who weren't obsessed with every single detail of a huddle. Lascivious? Yes, but it's virtually unheard of to hear that kind of honesty in sports.

After nearly three decades on television, Sidaris decided the medium wasn't meeting his creative needs so he decided to branch out into the world of film. He famously described it as “after three million kickoffs, every game is not the end of the world”, which should be transcribed on plaques in every arena across the world. Having already worked on television dramas such as Kojak and Gemini Man, Sidaris tried his hand at action movies. What followed is the legendary “Bullets, Bombs, and Boobs (or Babes, when in polite company)” series of films, twelve action movies that make up the Andy Sidaris Collection.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Cube Zero

"Cube Zero: Real Cube taste and zero calories!  Enjoy (almost) everything!"

Let's see if I can figure this out. The United States government, working with the shadowy Izor corporation, built a giant complex to help them master quantum mechanics, presumably for military applications. They enlisted the help of notorious cyber-terrorist Alex Trusk, a blind teenage girl, to help them with construct it because she's an expert on tesseracts somehow. When Alex learned they were putting people inside of the cube to be tested, she tried to expose them only to have them come after her.

She fled into the cube itself, as she knew they wouldn't risk their lives to pursue her there. Even though she knew the entire time entering the cube was a death sentence, so I'm not sure what she had to gain trapping herself in a place where she had no food or water. Not to mention if Izor caught her, they likely would have stuck her in the cube anyway. There's also the question of how a blind girl was able to enter the cube, as one would have to think the entrance would be heavily guarded but WHATEVER.

Apparently she had some kind of super important device with her, so Izor sent Kate, one of their operatives, into the cube to retrieve it. Kate quickly finds Alex, only SHE DOESN'T KNOW IT'S HER. WHAT?! Izor, who has the power of the entire American government behind them, didn't know what Alex looked like or that she was even female? At the very least, they don't have video surveillance around their precious cube? Oh my God, that movie just gets worse the more you think about it. So a bunch of random bullshit happens, Kate's able to retrieve the device and escape the cube, only to get shot in the back of the head by her supervisors. Yay... and stuff.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Cube 2: Hypercube

Welcome to How Not To Do A Sequel To A Popular Film 101, starring the Cube 2: Hypercube.”

Previously on The Cube...

Five extremely unlikeable people woke up in a deadly complex called the Cube and ended up being more dangerous to themselves than the trap filled rooms. Hey, I just realized how important Rennes' advice about saving themselves from themselves was!

1997's the Cube is a great example of a sleeper hit, although this one had to wait until home video to really find its audience since it had an extremely limited theatrical run. Producers saw potential to make more money with a sequel, so in 2001 they got the cameras rolling on a new one. Cinematographer Andrzej Sekula was tapped to direct it, based on his legendary camera work in all time classics such as Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. The fairly new to Hollywood writer Sean Hood wrote the script, a name you might recognize if you're heavily into the horror genre as he's the man who helped bring us the screenplay for the wretched Halloween: Resurrection, a movie so bad it killed the franchise dead until Rob Zombie dug it up to kill it deaderer.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Cube (1997)

Don't look for a reason, look for a way out.”

You know what the Maze Runner reminded me of with its premise of strangers waking up in a deadly maze with no idea how they got there, forced to work together to escape? The Cube, that nearly forgotten cult classic that is nearly twenty years old already. How forgotten is it? So lost to the sands of time that I forget to mention it when doing my Saw reviews, since the franchises had a lot in common... well, at least in the beginning.

Co-written and directed by the excellent Vincenzo Natali, the Cube was filmed in less than a month on a micro budget of $350,000 dollars and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 1997. It's highly unique plot attracted a lot of attention, especially with fans of the horror genre which was floundering at the time. It would go on to spawn a sequel and a prequel, but neither ever hit the popularity of the film film and kind of relegated the series into the background as Saw stepped onto the stage and spent the next decade changing the face of the genre.

Let's get ready to take a trip down memory lane as we step into the world of the Cube with A Ghoul Versus The Cube! And don't touch ANYTHING without making sure it's safe first!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Maze Runner

Who wants to watch a movie about teens in a post-apocalyptic dystopian future taken away from their families and placed into a life or death situation where they divide up into factions? No, this isn't Divergent, they're placed into an arena where they face death. No, this isn't the Hunger Games...”

The Maze Runner was one of the most unexpected hits of 2014: it had very little promotion, featured a cast of unknowns, was made from a first time director, had a miniscule budget, and was based on a series of books that didn't necessarily light the young adult world on fire. Despite all of this, it was able to make TEN TIMES its 34 million dollar budget AND earn critical acclaim in the process. That's quite the accomplishment in this day and age, as that's a LOT of barriers to overcome on your way to box office success.

It's based on the first book of the Maze Runner trilogy, written by James Dashner. Once again I have no idea what they're about, as I am so behind in reading it has officially become pathetic. Wes Ball, the films' director, earned the gig on the strength of a CGI film called Ruin he submitted to 20th Century Fox, who was impressed and offered him Maze Runner since it shared a similar premise. This was after Fox's original choice, Catherine Hardwicke of Twilight fame, dropped out to pursue other projects. That's a shame, I REALLY would have loved to see her spin the camera around the maze runners every five minutes in-between takes of everyone walking in pointless slow motion. Ball promised fans he'd be loyal to the books, but honestly who DOESN'T vow that anymore? A quick search of fan reviews online seem to confirm that he kept his promise, but I won't be able to judge that for a very long time. Just wait until I get to the Harry Potter series though, those are going to be some twenty page reviews where I'll nitpick EVERYTHING TO DEATH!

Keep your hand on the same wall the entire time as we get ready to enter a maze and presumably run at some point, because it's now time for A Ghoul Versus The Maze Runner!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Ghoul Versus The Divergent Series: Divergent (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

After this ends, they talk about fears and the movie FINALLY remembers its intended audience so Tris asks Four what his tattoo is of, seeing as how we've only ever seen a tiny part of it poking out of the back of his shirt. Four takes off said shirt to display his ink, but more importantly shows us his chiseled physique so all the women in the theaters can finally hoot and holler because you know they SO did. That's enough build up so he finally kisses Tris, who is more than happy to kiss back but says she doesn't want to go any further because she wants to take things slow. As far as young adult romances go this is a pretty typical one, as it's based way more off of physical attraction than anything else. Until the last couple, almost every conversation they've had has involved talking about beating up people. Maybe that's a huge turn on for Tris though, who knows? Also a young woman falling in love with her older battle instructor, where have I seen THAT before?

The next morning Four takes Tris outside to show her the Erudite loading many large crates into the Dauntless base containing supplies and computers. He also shows her a vial of serum they've been delivering as well, which is a neuro-chemical of some sort that'll turn whoever is injected with it into a mindless slave that'll follow instructions. Really? THAT'S what we're going with? That sounds like the plot from a 1950s science fiction movie. But I guess it's nice to get another hint of a plot at almost one hour forty minutes, so cheers for that. And just like before Tris doesn't have a chance to process this revelation, because an announcement over the speakers announces it's time for the final test.

A Ghoul Versus The Divergent Series: Divergent (Part 1)

What Makes You Different, Makes You Dangerous... THAT'S a great message for tween girls!”

After the past few months of reviewing horror movies of wildly varying quality, I thought it was time I get back to the other major focus of this blog: young adult fantasy movies. With the Hunger Games saga nearly done for, it seems clear Divergent is primed to take its place as the Next Big Thing. All of the elements are there: a much beloved book series with legions of rabid fans, a superstar actress in the making in the form of Shailene Woodley, resident hunk Theo James, and a production value that seems to treat the property with respect.

The movies are based on the Divergent trilogy, written by Veronica Roth. I haven't read them yet, but I know they concern a rebellious teen girl rising up to fight the power in a standard post-apocalyptic dystopian future where people are divided into different groups. That is, of course, a very broad summary as I've read they focus on character issues and societal aspect much more than anything else, but that hasn't stopped with it being CONSTANTLY compared to the Hunger Games. A quick online search will yield just as many articles saying how it's a Hunger Games ripoff to ones saying it totally isn't.

The film rights to the novels were bought by Summit Entertainment, who was VERY eager to strike gold again after their Twilight Saga films made them a couple of bucks. They had a rather lackluster 2013, as their previous attempts at recapturing the young adult market with Warm Bodies and Ender's Game didn't exactly set the box office on fire. They recruited writer/director Neil Burger to helm the first film, a wise choice as he's yet to make a bad movie in his career. You mileage may vary on that, but I've personally enjoyed everything of his I've seen, ESPECIALLY the amazing 2006 film the Illusionist. How good was that movie? He got a good performance out of JESSICA BIEL in it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Ghoul Versus Alexandre Aja's Horns

"I'm not making a 'horny' joke because the film already did that for me."

I'm back! After a pretty brutal start to the new year, I decided to take a week off to recoup and get my zombie brain back into order. How was your new year? Uh huh... oh really? Right into the punch bowl, eh? Yikes! Well, let's watch a movie to get our minds off things, that ALWAYS makes things better. Today's film is the just released on blu-ray Horns, directed by Alexandre Aja. Aja exploded onto the film scene with his 2003 tour de force High Tension, a film that TRULY earned the title of “visceral”. There's a lot to say about that film but it'll have to wait for another day, main because I've had a hell of a time finding a copy of it.

Aja's career since High Tension has been disappointing to say the least, as he has almost exclusively done underwhelming remakes of much better films such as the Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors. Even High Tension itself wasn't an original idea, as it does appear a fair amount of it was “inspired” by a novel written by Dean Koonz called Intensity. And by inspired, I pretty much mean ripped off. This time Aja has the actual rights to Joe Hill's novel Horns, ensuring everything will be on the up and up from a legal aspect. With a fantastically unique premise and a talented actor in the form of Daniel Radcliffe, was Aja able to recapture some of his old magic? Time to find out with A Ghoul Versus Alexandre Aja's Horns!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Ghoul Versus New Year's Evil

"Happy 2015!  Let's ring in the new year with... oh, another slasher."

The best way to ring in 2015 is with an appropriately themed movie, but unfortunately I wasn't able to get my hands on a copy of the one I really wanted to review: Kathryn's Bigelow's INSANELY underrated sci-fi film Strange Days. Because some bastard movie studio hasn't felt it necessary to release on blu-ray yet, COUGH COUGH Fox COUGH COUGH, that leaves me stuck looking for another New Year's Eve film.

Let's see what our options are here... we have Love Actually 2: New Year's Eve, which is one of those EVER so delightful vignette-style movies about 300 different people falling in love with each other while at the same time making you PRAY it turns into a slasher movie at some point. Directed by Schmaltz Master himself Garry Marshall, the film did win numerous awards as the worst film of 2011, so that certainly makes it a contender for me to review. Then there's 1999's End of Days, an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie made when his career was rapidly on the decline. It's a truly awful movie, but then again it does feature a scene where Satan himself has a threesome with a mother and her DAUGHTER set to the docile tones of Limp Bizkit, so perhaps we'll save that one for another day.

Or how about another low budget 1980s slasher film made by and starring almost no one you've ever heard of? I mean, seeing as how that's fast becoming a tradition on this corner of the Intrawebs, I think that'd be a GREAT idea! Stepping up to the plate is 1980's New Year's Evil, which I just bet is going to be about a serial killer cutting up people on New Year's Eve. That's just a wild guess, though. I am pretty excited for this one though because it stars Roz Kelly, who is best known for playing the badass Pinky Tuscadero on the television show Happy Days. I am freaking IN LOVE with Pinky and have always been disappointed that Kelly never had a bigger run in Hollywood, so let's see how she did in one of her rare starring performances. Put on your finest party clothes, pop a bottle of bubbly, and get ready for A Ghoul Versus New Year's Evil!