Sunday, June 25, 2006

Here we go... Give me 10 bucks and a head start.

Hey all,

Sunday update!

Sorry to those looking for an update last Saturday. Didn't really have a whole lot to say this past week, and the whole "creativity rut" continues unabated, so i took the week off. This update was supposed to come yesterday, but time was against me.

Busy week over all. Had to borrow Dad's lawnmower so's i could take care of the Peruvian rainforest that used to be my back yard. Also did a little electrical work around the house, installed a dimmer switch on the chandolier in the dining room, yadda yadda yadda. I'm boring you, i know.

Happy Birthday greets go out to my man Johnny Zero, who celebrated yesterday with some paintball, which i was looking foreward to all week - but of course a trip to Wal Mart for things like Cat Food, milk, underwear for Abby and Gas killed my chances of going, which rots me so very much. Also made the attempt to stop by, but there weren't nobody home...

So i played some Call of Duty 2 and some Ghost Recon for the 360. Finally won that goddamn war. the Nazis lay battered n broken under our allied might. Those last two levels were extremely intense though. The Battle for hill 440 was very nearly a loss, as we had to take a lone radar station atop a hill, and then defend the bastard from an onslaught of troops until some P-51's showed up and gave us some air cover. Then there was crossing the Rhine, and some intense house to house fighting that involved dodging 2 tiger tanks! Fun times! I'll be on xbox live for the forseeable future, so if any of you clowns have an xbox 360 and want to get in some gaming, look for "SocialistSteve".

Caught a few flicks this week:

Undead

Berkeley, Australia is a sleepy little fishing town with a colorful assortment of characters. we meet some of them, the filmmakers give us a little backstory on each, and then alien meteorites fall from the sky. Some kind of virus infects the town, the dead walk the earth, our intrepid heroes are dropped into an abandoned farmhouse, much gore ensues.

Undead is another one of those "rags to riches" stories that seems to follow the horror genre like flies follow you-know-what. It joins the ranks of films like Raimi's The Evil Dead, or Eli Roth's Cabin Fever, and ultimately provides the same sort of experience. The Spierig Brothers, fresh out of Australia, manage to combine that nation's offbeat quirk with a love for the zombie classics of the likes of Romero, and some good old fashioned know-how, to provide one of the more auspicious debut films i've seen in this particular genre (It certainly blows Cabin Fever out of the water for sheer enjoyment). All is not perfect though, the film is definitely an overachiever. Everything was assembled from DV footage, and edited on a home PC using Adobe Premiere and entirely homebrewed special effects, but things look a little "too" good. At first glance the flick could very easily be mistaken for a low budget studio effort, and the absurdity of the plot and characters does lose something to the more polished look of the film. (truth told, the Aussie budget was estimated to be somewhere around one million, a far cry from the miniscule money behind flicks like The Evil Dead). It gives Undead less of a "grass roots" feel, and more of a "bottom of the shelf B-movie" vibe, that could lead people to percieve that it's more House of the Dead than Night of the Living Dead.

The aforementioned absurdity of the plot doesn't help either. The characters remain gritty and serious throughout, which works fine with Dirk Hunter's foul mouthed policeman, but falls terribly flat with Marion, UFO abductee and bad-ass gunslinger, who should come off like Father McGruder in Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, but instead comes off as a man who needs more fibre. Like in Roth's Cabin Fever, these actors (and i use the term lightly) play it a touch too straight, surrounded by such rediculous events (flying zombie fish anyone?). There are a ton of laughs to be had to be certain, but the tongue in cheek tone set before the opening sequence, and during the 50's-era titles, dissapears once the film gets rolling. I feel i should also mention, the post apocalyptic coolness of the DVD's cover appears no-where in the film, save for the closing moments, which gives me hope for a cool post-apocalyptic sequel (come on, don't call that a spoiler - we're talking about a zombie movie for chrissakes!). In all, Undead is a great way to spend an evening if you're looking for a bit of mindless fun. Rocket science it ain't, horror classic it ain't, but it's a solid first effort.

2 (out of 5)


Night Watch

The story goes thusly: A few thousand years ago, the armies of light and dark met on a bridge, neither would yield, conflict ensued. The leader of the Army of light, Gesser, made a pact with the leader of the evenly matched Army of Darkness, Zavulon, so that they wouldn't entirely annihilate one another. No "Other" (a human with special supernatural abilities, like a sort of Quija board-fueled X-man) could be forced to choose between good and evil, also, the light side would have a group of enforcers, used to patrol the streets at night to ensure the dark side held up theri end of the truce, called the Night Watch. The Dark side would get the same luxury, their enforcers would be called, (ready for it?) the Day Watch. The film follows one Other, named Anton, as he first hunts down some Vampires in search of a victim, and later gets involved in a prohphetic scheme which could result in the forces of Darkness gaining the foothold they need to start the war up again and conquer the forces of Light. There's also a whacked out witch with pet doll complete with spider limbs, a nitrous powered Gas company truck, the end of the world, and about a million ravens.

Night Watch is, at its core, a straight up thriller. It borrows from the horror and sci-fi genres and builds onto it's surface, and what's left is a dazzlingly filmed, if a tad incomprehensible tale of good vs. evil with the fate of the world at stake. While it's not a slow crawl, it doesn't play out as quickly as many of it's Hollywood equivalents, the story unfolds at a delibertae pace. Where the film truely differs is in the surroundings. The film is an entirely Russian production, set in Moscow, a place that is about as fictitious to many of us as the dystopian Los Angeles of Blade Runner, or the Anytown portrayed in The Matrix. The film is saturated with fantastic special effects, and the production values are on par with anything Hollywood could churn out. It's actually the first film in what is being called an epic horror trilogy. Quentin Tarantino compares it to Lord of the Rings (which pretty much indicates how coked out of his little mind QT actually is), but a more apt comparison would definitely be The Matrix. Performances were all fine and good, and i must say, the dub job on Fox's new DVD was actually pretty awesome. It's a damn good film, something a little different, and yet strangely familiar - i can understand how it was targeted by the russian filmsnobs as being a sellout to American culture. Either way, it's a damn entertaining way to spend a few hours, and i can't wait to see what happens in the sequel.

3 (out of 5)

That's all there is.



The rundown:

Watching: Undead / Night Watch /

Listening to: Kerbdog - Self titled / Kerbdog - On The Turn / Helmet - Meantime / Helmet - Betty / Alice in Chains - Dirt / Oasis - don't Believe The Truth / Muse - Absolution / Corrosion of Conformity - In The Arms of God

Reading: The Hedge Night by George R.R. Martin

Playing: Ghost Recon: advanced Warfighter (xbox360) / Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (xbox360)/ Doom 3 (xbox) / Call of Cuthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth (xbox) / Call of Duty 2 (xbox360)

Eating: Spaghetti - O's

Wishing: I could find something to spend my Blockbuster credit on!

...time is short. So you gotta ask yourself: Are you a fighter, Fish Queen, or are you zombie food?


Cheers,
Steve
"Where there's smoke... There's an Aussie fisherman hopped up on goofballs."

14 comments:

Mitch said...

I finally got to watch Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Damn, that's a great flick! We gotta find a thread to hijack and start quoting it.

Nice to see Johnny Z's finally hitting puberty.

Tony said...

Man. Thats Hill 400 mission was freaking intense, I think I was yelling the whole time I played that. Thats the way a game should be....I wasn't playing an american soldier in World War 2. I was there dude! It was freaking sweet!

Saw "Night Watch" yesterday evening, I gotta say I loved it. It was like underworld but without all the over-the-top gothiness! Im gonna have to buy it tonight. Damn you and your making me spend money!

As for the old XBOX 360, I have to find you online sometime, but you go to bed to damn early!

Later Bud.

kevin said...

been wanting to see Night Watch since the first online trailer..have to convince Catherine to rent it though.

nice to see the update..i was getting sick of seeing Jeff Buckley's mug. :)

btw..did you get the email?

SteveTP said...

Mitch - Indeed we do, but things have been suprisingly docile lately. go figure.

Two-Tone - Dude, that level was madness - i did get something like an extra 200 points on my score for killing the game on hard... WOO

Night Watch at Wal Mart = 28.something
Rogers - 26.99.

Kev - I got it, and i used it... Alexandretta!


You'd really dig the Night Watch, i'm sure of it.

bmwracer said...

STP:

Discs are in the mail, homey. :)

SteveTP said...

Beamer - that is awesome - i have your address here somewhere - i'm sending you a little something too! :)

Anonymous said...

Ya Dark Watch was really cool i loved it ... Im gonna pick it up sometime down the road and UnDead wasnt terriable it was ok i guess


Dont have a 360 yet so ...



--Larry

kevin said...

Steve-o, just "aquired" rips of the Star Wars trilogy(the THX Laser Disc versions!). Sweet to have em without all the bells and whistles. Especially since Catherine hasn't seen any of them yet. woo hoo!

bmwracer said...

Beamer - that is awesome - i have your address here somewhere - i'm sending you a little something too! :)

Is she pretty??? :P

SteveTP said...

Kev - You know those are coming on DVD in September right? Though i think they're the same as what you just downloaded ;)

Beamer -Eva Green is pretty smokin' ;)

kevin said...

yeah i heard that...i also heard that they'll be packaged with the new flicks..so it'll probably cost an arm and a leg. ah well...at least i can get a star wars fix now whenever i need it..regarless of my malfuctioning dvd-rom. :)

SteveTP said...

I'm hearing something like 23 bucks Canadian each.

not too bad.

kevin said...

hmm..that's not bad at all actually. I was reading the reviews last night on IGN, sound like they turned out real good.

SteveTP said...

Reviews this early???

Have to go take a look.