Film Review: C.H.U.D. (1984)

Also known as: C.H.U.D. (Caníbales Humanoides Ululantes Demoníacos) (Spain), C.H.U.D. – Panik in Manhattan (Germany)
Release Date: August 31st, 1984
Directed by: Douglas Cheek
Written by: Parnell Hall, Shepard Abbott
Music by: Martin Cooper, David A. Hughes
Cast: Daniel Stern, John Heard, Christopher Curry, John Goodman, Graham Beckel, Jon Polito

C.H.U.D. Productions, New World Pictures, 88 Minutes, 96 Minutes (Director’s Cut)

Review:

“Are you kidding? Your guy’s got a camera. Mine’s got a flamethrower.” – Captain Bosch

This was the first film featured on the full-time revival of Joe Bob Briggs on television. I’m talking about his show The Last Drive-In, which is now streaming weekly on Shudder.

But like Joe Bob, I’m apparently one of the few that isn’t too fond of this motion picture. It’s not really bad but it’s pretty damn dull for about 80 percent of its running time and there are so many better movies from the era. This is probably why I haven’t reviewed this yet, as I just didn’t have the urge to revisit this, even for review purposes.

In all honesty, I prefer the sequel more. Yes, it’s actually a worse movie but it’s batshit insane and pretty much a black comedy spunoff from the C.H.U.D. concept.

People have been asking me for my opinion on this movie for quite awhile, though. So I guess a review is overdue and if Joe Bob can sit through it again, I guess I can too.

It’s still dull as shit. But it does have several known stars in it to at least distract me from my boredom enough to get through this.

On the flip side of that though, I do like the scenes that feature the actual creature or some of the gore it’s responsible for. I also like the idea for the film, I just thought that this spent too much time boffining it up and not enough time spent on cool monsters eating dumb people.

The performances can be a bit over the top but not so much so that I’d call the acting bad. And at least the performances provide some energy where the story fails to do so.

It may sound like I’m a hater, I’m not. But I’m certainly not a lover of C.H.U.D. I understand that a lot of people have a nostalgic soft spot for the movie but it didn’t really resonate with me as a kid, even though I pretty much lived in ’80s video stores and loved the horror genre tremendously.

Rating: 5/10
Pairs well with: it’s really bizarre sequel, as well as Street Trash and Neon Maniacs.

Documentary Review: Spielberg (2017)

Release Date: October 5th, 2017 (New York Film Festival)
Directed by: Susan Lacy
Cast: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Richard Dreyfuss, John Williams, J.J. Abrams, James Brolin, Bob Balaban, Tom Hanks, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harrison Ford, Oprah Winfrey, Frank Marshall, Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Robert Zemeckis, Cate Blanchett, Holly Hunter, Dustin Hoffman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tom Cruise, Eric Bana, Daniel Craig

HBO Documentary Films, Pentimento Productions, 147 Minutes

Review:

This was a pretty stellar documentary for fans of not just Steven Spielberg but filmmaking and film history in general.

It reminded me a lot of the 2001 documentary Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures, in that this spent a lot of time breaking down most of the key movies in Spielberg’s oeuvre.

Every segment here was rich, detailed and featured interviews with some major directors, actors and producers. But the film also gets into Spielberg’s personal life and how real life experiences influenced his movies.

This was a lengthy documentary, just as the Kubrick one was and rightfully so. In fact, this could have been the length of a ten part, two hour apiece Ken Burns documentary and I still would have been fully engaged.

Spielberg’s career has been long and full of at least a dozen classic films that will be remembered forever. Each segment could’ve been it’s own documentary film and it actually kind of sucks that a few films were mentioned but not given as much detail, most notably A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, the Jurassic Park sequels and some of his production work like Back to the Future.

Still, this is pretty thorough and there is so much to unpack and take away from this. It is one of the best documentaries on a filmmaker’s life and career.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: other documentaries on specific directors but this reminded me a lot of Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures.

Comic Review: Lone Wolf

Published: March, 2019
Written by: Doug Garrett
Art by: Jeff Lasley, David AJ Berner, Eugen Betivu

Gravestone Press, 22 Pages

Review:

I backed this comic book on Indiegogo a few months ago and it’s creator Doug Garrett seems like a cool guy. So I was really excited to find this in my mail box, last week.

This is the first issue of what is to be a bigger story arc. I’m not sure if this is a miniseries or if Garrett has a lengthier run in mind.

For a first issue, it does its job pretty effectively. We meet the main character, learn and understand his backstory and we get to see what sort of world he lives in. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, as I believe you can still order this and it’s definitely worth the price tag when compared to other crowd funding indie comic campaigns out there.

I really dug the art style and it does wonders setting the tone for the narrative. It has a raw, gritty look to it but it is done with skill and certainly doesn’t look amateur, rushed or below the typical indie standard.

I have to be pretty discriminatory, as new crowd funded comics pop up on Indiegogo and Kickstarter, daily. But for the price point and for how Garrett interacts with his potential customers, I wanted to support this. I have no buyer’s remorse and if anything, I look forward to what Garrett releases next.

Really, there isn’t much I can pick apart about this comic and usually with crowd funded stuff, there’s a lot that I can critique. All I can say, which isn’t really even negative, is that this looks really good for a first effort, much better than a lot of first effort indie books, and Garrett and his creative team are only going to improve from here.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: other recent crowd funded releases.

Film Review: Solomon Kane (2009)

Release Date: September 16th, 2009 (TIFF)
Directed by: Michael J. Bassett
Written by: Michael J. Bassett
Based on: characters by Robert E. Howard
Music by: Klaus Badelt
Cast: James Purefoy, Max von Sydow, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Pete Postlethwaite, Mackenzie Crook, Alice Krige

Davis Films, Czech Anglo Productions , Wandering Star Pictures, Metropolitan Filmexport, Optimum Releasing, 104 Minutes

Review:

“If I kill you, I am bound for hell. It is a price I shall gladly pay.” – Solomon Kane

At times, this felt like two different films. I liked a lot of the stuff in this movie but it had issues with pacing and tonal shifts.

Still, this had some real badass moments and I loved the character design between Solomon Kane and the two big villains, Malachi and the Masked Rider.

The opening ten minutes or so of this film were great and got me excited for what was to come. However, after the intense and fantastic opening, things slowed to a crawl for quite awhile. The energy didn’t really pick back up until the Masked Rider appeared and started doing some evil shit. Man, he just looked sinister and cool as hell, almost like a powerful Sith thrown into a Robert E. Howard story.

Malachi also added a lot to the picture and was a nice antagonist for Solomon Kane, a hero that walks the line with one foot in Hell and the other on the side of God.

The ghouls were also pretty cool and provided a lot of intense moments, as did the ghosts in the mirrors and the big demon beast in the big finale.

I thought that the cinematography was good and the film is very well shot. It looks great, even in the moments were CGI is very prevalent.

I just wish that the film wasn’t bogged down by some of its inconsistencies.

Every part in the picture was well acted, though and that certainly boosted the overall quality of the film. James Purefoy was perfection as Solomon Kane and even if he’s not a widely known star, I can’t think of a bigger one that would’ve pulled off the character as well as he did. Frankly, I wish this had done better because I would’ve liked to have seen him return to the role for other movies. And maybe it’s not too late but it’s been almost a decade since this came out and I haven’t heard anything about a follow up. It’ll probably be rebooted sometime in the future.

I wasn’t sure what to expect before watching this. On one hand I was pleasantly surprised and on the other, I was bored for half the film. But the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other films featuring Robert E. Howard heroes: all the Conan movies, Kull the ConquerorRed Sonja and other sword and sorcery films.

The McDonald’s Double Drive-Thru Is Bullshit

*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.

*Written in 2015.

The McDonald’s double drive-thru is bullshit. It is a clusterfuck of biblical proportions. Seriously, whose idea was this? I’d like to meet them.

Okay, let us look at this objectively and in theory. In theory, in a perfect world, this is probably a fairly decent idea. It allows McDonald’s to process orders more quickly because obviously they are struggling financially and need more money. But really that is only the real benefit I see.

And what good is processing orders, or really just taking orders, at a faster rate considered more efficient when the split line has to merge back together?

Okay, the idea is actually crap in theory.

Here’s the real problem. McDonald’s really overestimates the logic and patience of human beings. They also overestimate their acceptance of change and learning new things.

One, people are generally morons. Two, people resist change. Put both of those things together and you get the mess that I have to deal with every time I just want to grab a Sausage McMuffin and a shitty iced coffee because I am too lazy to make my own breakfast.

What I usually deal with is people who aren’t sure where to split the line because the arrows are just suggestions and not a law punishable by Mayor McCheese and Officer Big Mac.

So we get impatient dickheads who swerve out of the long line violently and cut several cars to get to the second lane before the suggested traffic split. It creates tension and road rage. People who try to follow the rules and be orderly are fucked over by self-absorbed pricks who can’t wait an extra few seconds for a McFlurry.

Then when the cars are supposed to merge back together, people don’t seem to understand how this works. I constantly see people yelling and beeping their bitch horns because they are already pissed off and think that the other person is trying to cut in front of them again. People don’t understand that the line should merge back together in the sequence of completed orders. If you finish your order, you are in front of the other person still talking into the monitor. It is pretty simple but it is still over many people’s heads.

Also, McDonald’s is squeezing this concept into every location possible. The two McDonald’s locations closest to me don’t really have room for it. It is really hard to navigate in limited space, especially when other people trying to just move around the drive-thru, who aren’t in it, can’t get through or have to enter the drive-thru traffic because they are stuck just trying to get out of the parking lot.

A double drive-thru doesn’t need to be rocket science but it is because people don’t know how to use it, even after a few years.

And the worst are the assholes who aren’t paying attention and hold up their half of the line, allowing people to cut in and screw up the sequence of orders to be picked up.

This article doesn’t need to be long, the point has been made. But apparently there are “studies” that claim McDonald’s bullshit drive-thru experiment works. They are probably the same “scientists” that claim that clowns aren’t terrifying. Hence, they are on McDonald’s clown-loving payroll.

I could just park and order inside but then again, people don’t know how to form a line there either.

I think line forming was the first thing I learned in school.

Fast food should be convenient. McDonald’s has now made it the equivalent of trying to board an overbooked flight.

Comic Review: The Eternals by Jack Kirby, Vol. 1

Published: 1976-1978
Written by: Jack Kirby
Art by: Jack Kirby

Marvel Comics, 199 Pages

Review:

I have never read The Eternals. However, with it getting a movie adaptation in a few years and because I Iove when Jack Kirby does cosmic stories, I thought that delving into this was long overdue.

This was a hell of a lot of fun. I loved this first volume in the series, which serves to setup the Eternals pocket of the larger Marvel universe. Like all cosmic things by Kirby, this series has an incredibly rich mythos that just showcases how great Kirby’s imagination was.

The Eternals reads like a comic book that is truly written with love. Reading through every single panel, I could tell that Kirby was committed to this project and loving every second that he spent creating this vivid and dynamic world.

The art is so detailed and ornate. I have no idea how the man was able to put books like this out monthly, while also working on multiple projects. Everything looks pristine and perfect and this is one of the most “Kirby” creations of all-time.

In a lot of ways, this is like Marvel’s version of the Fourth World stuff that Kirby did at DC Comics just a few years earlier. However, Kirby seems to have taken what he learned from his experience on his DC books and refined that knowledge, giving The Eternals an edge over most of that stuff. Sure, there’s no Darkseid or Mister Miracle here but the overall experience of reading this just feels more fleshed out and written with greater purpose.

This reminds me a lot of what Jack Kirby did with his ten issue 2001: A Space Odyssey series. It has a lot of similarities to that but this seems less experimental and like it is building towards a real defined purpose. Maybe that’s because 2001 was essentially an anthology but I feel like this is where everything for Kirby just clicked in the right way.

I really dig this universe, I was especially blown away by the Celestials. Frankly, I can’t wait to read the second volume.

Rating: 9.5/10
Pairs well with: the second volume of this series, as well as any of Jack Kirby’s cosmic stuff at Marvel or DC.