Friday, January 4, 2013

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)

Number Rolled: 22
Movie Name/Year: Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)
Genre: Horror
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Richard Schenkman
Writer: Karl T. Hirsch, J. Lauren Proctor, Richard Schenkman
Actors: Bill Oberst Jr., Kent Igleheart, Rhianna Van Helton, Brennen Harper, Josh Sinyard, Debra Crittenden, Bernie Ask, Chris Hlozek, Richard Schenkman, Jason Hughley, Christopher Marrone, Don McGraw, Canon Kuipers, David Alexander

No, that is not a typo. No, I do not mean vampires. Just about every zombie movie on Netflix is sitting on my instant queue. I enjoy the general zombie apocalypse dynamic. Usually, anyway.

The movie comes in at Abraham Lincoln’s childhood. Zombies are just popping up and his parents are turned. A very gruesome scene of this child killing his parents with a scythe follows then we jump into the actual storyline. Bolstered by this violent past, President Lincoln knows exactly what to do when the dead begin to reanimate on the battlefield. He goes on a mission to contain the zombie outbreak and must team up with General Stonewall Jackson and his confederates in order to survive.

This is a very B-movie, I also hear that it is meant to be the “bargain store brand” of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” Where I can believe it might be true, I can’t confirm or deny it because I have not seen “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” yet.  Regardless of the truth behind that possibility, there’s nothing recipe about this movie and the actors with speaking parts were actually pretty good. I thought Bill Oberst Jr. pulled off a very believable Abraham Lincoln in a not so believable world. The script wasn’t that bad either, yeah it had its corny moments, but you expect that from a movie like this. What you don’t expect is for the script to have some really valid and capturing moments.

The sets and props were pretty good considering the very B nature of this movie. In fact, the scythe President Lincoln gets is really cool and I kind of want one to hang on my wall.

Needless to say, there are zombies involved, so if you’re looking for historical accuracy, this probably isn’t the movie for you. Even the non-zombie portions shouldn’t be looked at as accurate. I do, however, like what they did with recreation of history.

That’s where the good news ends. The zombies were… horrible. Both the actors and the concept used for them. The weaknesses they gave these creatures were mind bogglingly stupid. I mean, you wouldn’t believe it. Also, story line-wise, there were some scene that made very little sense and others that made less than that.

In the end, it’s not bad. I thought it would be pretty horrible, but it really wasn’t. I enjoyed it to a point.

Overall Opinion – 3/5

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008)

Number Rolled: 29
Movie Name/Year: Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008)
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 104 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Edward Neumeier
Writer: Edward Neumeier
Actors: Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Stephen Hogan, Boris Kodjoe, Amanda Donohoe, Marnette Patterson, Danny Keogh, Stelio Savante, Cecile Breccia, Garth Breytenbach

Starship Troopers, the first one (made in 1997), is one of my favorite campy movies. The graphics aren’t great and the acting is a little B-movie, but the storyline is pretty damn good and so is the script. In fact, I like the first movie so much that I’ve been terrified to watch the two that followed (if there are more, I just plain don’t want to know about it). I’ve heard the second one is pretty much soft-core porn, but I haven’t seen it – so take that with a grain of salt. Doesn’t matter, Netflix currently only streams the third one.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Starship Troopers storyline, it is based around an intergalactic war of humans vs. super alien bugs. That makes it sound like a creature feature, but it really isn’t. The first and third movies in the series follow the life and career of the main character, Johnny Rico, played by Casper Van Dien. The first movie manages to catch a balance between the action, drama and even romance that occurs. In this movie, however, that is not the case.

I think I just sat through 104 minutes of the actors trying to play out a script that had mostly writer-vomit on it. It was forced. The first forty-five minutes or so, there was a lot of action, with no base or reason or storyline to it. This was followed by some very, VERY, forced romance and the entire movie ended with a trip to the church to hear some preaching. I don’t mind religion in a movie, but in this one it was seemingly from out of nowhere and completely forced; even though the religion didn’t come in until the last half hour, I also find myself thinking it was supposed to be the main object of the film. Also, though they attempted to make the graphics of the bugs better in this movie, I found the effort actually made it seem less realistic.

The one interesting part was the utter morbidity of the deaths. I found myself not caring about any of the characters. Instead I was just hoping for, and even looking forward to, their very gruesome deaths…. and the end of the movie. No joke, I checked how long I had left about nine times. It was brutal. Save yourself.

Overall Opinion – 1.5/5

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Home at the End of the World (2004)

Number Rolled: 16
Movie Name/Year: A Home at the End of the World (2004)
Genre: Drama
Length: 96 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Michael Mayer
Writer: Michael Cunningham
Actors: Andrew Chalmers, Ryan Donowho, Asia Vieira, Erik Smith, Harris Allan, Matt Frewer, Sissy Spacek, Colin Farrell, Dallas Roberts, Robin Wright

This movie is a little confusing to start off with. Though, that could just be my brain coming down off the super busy holidays and trying to immediately understand an indy film.

Based on a book by Michael Cunningham, this movie follows the life of a boy named Bobby Morrow. Bobby (played by three different actors during the movie – since it takes place over two decades) is raised alongside a brother that introduces him to drugs and sex then, later on, alongside a friend he develops feelings for and his friends family. The two friends become inseparable and eventually move in together with a woman in New York. From there, the movie begins to go into a very unconventional relationship. (No, I don’t consider gay relationships unconventional, so I don’t count the first part of the movie in that description.)

To be honest, it took me a little while to get into it. Colin Farrell kind of looked like he was wearing a bad wig for the first twenty minutes or so that he was on screen. Erik Smith and Harris Allan probably did the best they could with their roles, but their characters felt like serious versions of characters right out of Napoleon Dynamite, which is a movie I feel is a waste of film reel.

Even with those issues, the movie was quirky and engrossing. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was sincere. It felt real. I got attached to the characters. I enjoyed the story line. It didn’t follow any particular recipe that I can think of at the moment, and I never really knew what was coming over the next five minutes.

I felt like the ending was a little abrupt, but just as bitter sweet and thought provoking as the rest of the movie. It also allowed for the viewer to use a little imagination toward figuring out what happened.

I’m very much for gay rights. Pro-gay marriage. Pro-gay everything, pretty much. However, I know that there are many people who are not. If gay themes make you uncomfortable, you’re not going to enjoy this movie at all.

Overall Opinion – 4/5