Sunday, July 29, 2012


"If you are a fan of either Doctor Who or Star Trek: The Next Generation, I can guarantee that you’ll enjoy this series!"
This Comic Book of the Week post should more accurately be named Comic Book of the Month, because despite the fact that I’m reading more comic books every week than ever, I just can’t seem to find the time to write about my favorites. Be that as it may, I just had to share my excitement for this fantastic new eight issue mini-series being published by IDW - Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2.
I have been reading the monthly Star Trek comic which IDW began publishing in September of 2011, which is a new ongoing Star Trek series set in the continuity of the 2009 film. The artwork by Stephen Molnar, which so accurately depicts the actors from the new film, while also finely detailing the ships and other tech of this revamped Star Trek universe really pulled me in. The stories written by Mike Johnson, while serviceable, have not impressed me as much. One problem is that the first two stories were retellings of the classic Star Trek TV episodes and I already knew how they’d turn out, so they weren’t very suspenseful or interesting. The more recent issues have finally begun new stories dealing with the new Trek universe, so I’ve begun to enjoy it more.
I have not been reading the IDW Doctor Who comics, for the simple reason that the artists change constantly on the monthly book; many times right in the middle of storylines. Also most of the time the artwork is either too cartoony or just plain inappropriate for a sci-fi series like Doctor Who.
On May 30, IDW published the first issue of Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 and I picked it up on the basis of the beautiful full-painted artwork by J.K. Woodward alone. Fortunately, the story by Scott and David Tipton is also a lot of fun. The story teams up Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise and Doctor Who and his companions Amy and Rory in an epic adventure in which the entire galaxy is threatened by an unholy alliance between their respective greatest nemeses, the Borg and the Cybermen. This third issue is the best yet as it features a flash-back to the fourth Doctor’s meeting with the crew of the classic Enterprise. It is done in a more tradition ink drawing style, but is equally well rendered by The Sharp Brothers. If you are a fan of either Doctor Who or Star Trek: The Next Generation, I can guarantee that you’ll enjoy this series! While IDW comics are a little pricey at $3.99, you do get excellent reproduction on quality paper of fantastically detailed artwork. Check out the preview below.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


In the fourth part of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- which I've titled "Zombzesty the Chillin’ Chef’s Roadkill Café” -- Zombzany gives a brief introduction to the next zombie movie in the marathon and somehow manages to insult his zombie slaves Bill E. Bones and Sebastian as well.

Yet again, Zombzany shares another rare video tape from his Archives Vault. This video is another of his cable TV programs that featuring a character he called Zombzesty the Chillin’ Chef on a program entitled Zombzesty the Chillin’ Chef’s Roadkill Café. The Zombzesty character was apparently supposed to be a Cajun cook, as Zombzany uses a ridiculous French accent throughout the show. In this episode, Zombzesty is concocting a dish he called Bones a la Bisque, which is a type of soup that apparently requires nearly a half-gallon of brandy. Zombzesty intersperse many gags into the show, including having the crew of the show throw bon-bons at him. The show concludes with Zombzesy having to make a hasty retreat to avoid a confrontation with the “gendarmes.”

Enjoy Part Four of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- Zombzesty the Chillin’ Chef’s Roadkill Café!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


When the original Total Recall debuted in June of 1990, it was generally well-received by critics and made a sizable profit. Directed by Paul Verhoeven, with a script originally penned by Dan O'Bannon, Total Recall was a big budget sci-fi film with a satirical edge. Total Recall was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to science fiction after dabbling in comedy with Red Heat and Twins and it demonstrated that he could still carry a big science fiction action-drama. Being a fan of Schwarzenegger’s (and in the 80’s and 90's who wasn’t?) I enjoyed Total Recall for what it was, but felt that as a science fiction film it fell short of its premise’s potential. The ending of the film always bothered me in its unrealistic portrayal of a body exposed to a near-vacuum and the speed at which Mars’ atmosphere is replenished.

Twenty-two years later, a “remake” of Total Recall is being released. This film is scripted by Kurt Wimmer , Mark Bomback and James Vanderbilt did a "polish" on the script.  This version is directed by Len Wiseman, who is best known for writing and directing Underworld (2003) and Underworld: Evolution (2006), as well as directing Live Free or Die Hard (2007). Colin Farrell stars as Douglas Quaid; with Jessica Biel playing Melina a Resistance member and Kate Beckinsale playing Lori, Quaid's "wife". With a reported budget of $200 million, this film looks like a big-budget sci-fi film, but I’m also hoping that it has a bit more science fictional ideas in it as well. Being a fan of Wiseman’s previous films, I have no doubt I’ll enjoy the look and style of this new Total Recall. I’m not a huge fan of Colin Farrell’s total body of work, but I did enjoy his turn as the vampire in the recent remake of Fright Night (2011), so hopefully some of the energy that he brought to that role will translate well to his portrayal of the put-upon factory worker Douglas Quaid. The bigger of the two female roles falls to Jessica Biel, who’s work I’ve admired in such diverse films as Blade: Trinity (2004), The Illusionist (2006) and Next (2007). Also, any film with Kate Beckinsale in it is always worth watching!

If the film is as good as this trailer looks, than I’m more than ready for this remake! Total Recall opens August 3, 2012.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


“For those of us who prefer entertaining or at least enlightening science fiction films, than avoid The Divide like the radioactive cloud that hangs over the doomed characters in this darkly depressing film.”

Science Fiction, Post-apocalyptic, Drama

Staring - Lauren German/Eva, , Milo Ventimiglia/Josh, Courtney B. Vance/Devlin, Ashton Holmes/Adrien, Rosanna Arquette/Marilyn, Iván González/Sam, Michael Eklund/Bobby and  Abbey Thickson/Wendi

Director - Xavier Gens

Writer(s) - Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean

Rated R - Disturbing strong violence, sexuality, and pervasive language

1 hr., 52 min.

I watch every genre film that comes out in any given year, with very few exceptions. I probably skip horror films more than any of my three favorite genres, because of my dislike for these sub-genres: slasher, torture-porn and found-footage. Fantasy films seldom contain elements that I find distasteful, so I seldom miss any of these films, except for the extremely cheap ones or films aimed at young children. Science fiction is my favorite type of film, so a film has to contain elements that I find very distasteful or just plain dull for me to pass over. Even so, I occasionally go out of my comfort zone and watch a science fiction film that I am fairly certain I will find difficult to watch. Sometimes I am rewarded with a film that surprises me (like Phase 7 did last year), but more often than not, I am sorry that I spent the time and effort to watch a film I could not appreciate even on a purely intellectual level (The Road – 2009 –immediately springs to mind). I have put off watching The Divide for some time, but I finally bolstered my courage and watched this post-apocalyptic drama.

The film opens with Eva and her boyfriend Sam looking out their apartment window and seeing missiles streaking across the New York skyline. When the first explosion hits, they immediately rush out of the apartment and down the emergency stairwell. Most of the residents of the building are already running down the stairs and there is much pushing and shoving as people begin to panic. They finally get to the ground floor and the exit, when another closer explosion rocks the building and forces them back into the apartment building. Desperate for shelter, they see an open door leading to the basement of the building, but a man is trying to close it. Eva, Sam and a few others push against the door and manage to force their way in.

Once inside the basement, Mickey, who is the building superintendent, tells the small group that he is in charge until it is safe to leave. Marilyn’s young daughter Wendi begins to complain and keeps repeating her need to go home. Mickey informs her and everyone that the radiation dust from the fallout of the nuclear explosion will kill everyone, so no one can leave until he says so. The rest of the group is made up of a yuppie gay man Josh, his younger artist brother Adrien, Josh’s friend Bobby and an African-American man Devlin, who no one seems to know. As the days pass into weeks, the group grows increasingly aware that Mickey is hiding something and they suspect that is the reason he will not allow them to enter his private room.

A loud banging is heard outside the steel door that separates them from the contaminated air and Mickey grabs an axe to hold off potential intruders. The invaders use a blow torch to cut the locked door and enter. What happens next is a complete right-turn in the film’s plot and when this portion of the film concludes, The Divide goes right back to where its plot was headed originally.

The Divide is the type of Post-apocalyptic story that shows humanity at its worst. As the film wears on and on, the characters in the film all begin to gradually decline both mentally and physically. One reason for the physical deterioration, which is only implied in the film, is that because the door was breached, they are all gradually dying of radiation contamination. Once this becomes obvious, not only do the characters begin to act more and more selfish and sadistic, but as a viewer I lost interest in their survival because I knew they were not going to do so. The only thing that could have made The Divide a compelling drama for me was seeing these characters struggle for survival. Once this hope was taken away, there was little to keep me interested; other than the perverse voyeuristic pleasure in watching these characters deteriorate to the point of near savagery. I do not find these type of scenes interesting, so the film lost me before it was even halfway over.

One thing that stood out to me – and not in a good way – was the soundtrack. There are many sequences in the film where the camera pans slowly across all the characters in various stages of depression to show passage of time and every single time this long repetitive piano music plays incessantly over these shots. It was maddening to the point where I finally had to fast forward through these merciless montages!

The only highlight of the film is Michael Biehn as Mickey, who starts out being an unlikeable totalitarian bastard, but grows into a stronger and more compassionate character, whose hidden motives are cleverly and expertly revealed by Biehn’s subtle acting. The rest of the cast are written so poorly that you have to feel sorry for the actors and actresses playing the roles; particularly Rosanna Arquette who’s character suffers the worst indignities in the film.

I honestly don’t understand how a film like The Divide gets made. The three million dollar budget was spent I’m assuming on the mostly talented cast. How anyone reading the screenplay would consider this worth investing in is beyond me, as even if the story made sense – which because of the previously mentioned “right turn” in the plot – it doesn’t, it portrays such a negative view on humanity that only someone who has a similar pessimistic viewpoint would find this story worth filming. If you are of a similar mental bent, than by all means “enjoy” The Divide. For those of us who prefer entertaining or at least enlightening science fiction films, than avoid The Divide like the radioactive cloud that hangs over the doomed characters in this darkly depressing film.

TECHNICAL: Acting – 8 Directing – 7 Cinematography – 7 Script – 5 Special Effects – 7
VISCERAL: Visual – 7 Auditory – 5 Intellectual – 6 Emotional – 6 Involvement – 5
TOTAL - 63

Sunday, July 8, 2012


In the third part of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- which I've titled "Casting Call of the Undead” -- Zombzany gives a brief introduction to the next zombie movie in the marathon.

For the second time, Zombzany shares another rare video tape from his Archives Vault. This video is a comedic sketch, the origins of which I can’t even begin to guess at. The segment is titled “Casting Call of the Undead” and it presents Zombzany as a casting director. Zombzany is apparently using his necromantic skills to bring back famous dead actors as zombie slaves, so they can act in films or plays which director Zombzany is producing. In this segment, Zombzany uses his necromancy to not only bring his actor back to undead life, but to also enhance his acting abilities – which unfortunately dose not turn out quite as well as Zombzany might have liked.

Enjoy Part Three of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- Casting Call of the Undead!

Saturday, July 7, 2012


For the films of 2010, I posted a best and worst list for all the films I had seen at that time [see: THE BEST AND WORST GENRE MOVIES OF2010]. This year I decided to wait until I had a chance to see almost all the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror films from 2011, which meant waiting to watch the films I missed seeing at the theater and watching them on Blu-ray video disc at home.  I have finally watched all the genre films I had planned on watching and have only not watched those that I never intended to watch at all. I counted sixty genre films released to theaters or direct to video/on demand last year. Of those, I watched forty-three of them; eleven at the theater and thirty-two on Blu-ray video disc at home. The remaining seventeen genre films that I did not see were for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I knew I would not like them or just had no interest in the subject matter.

I will not be breaking them down into sub-genre categories as I did for the films of 2010, but instead I will just divide them up into three separate categories based on quality: THE PARAMOUNT (films that I rated from 100 to 85), THE PEDESTRIAN (films that I rated from 84 to 70) and THE PUTRID (films that I rated from 69 to 50). By my grading system, which I incorporated this year, a film can do no worse than a 50 – which I regard as a complete failure. Whereas a film can do no better than a 100, which would be a perfect film – something I doubt I will ever see. My grading system is dived into ten categories, which I then assign a grade of 5 (poorest) to 10 (best) for each. The categories are divided into two sub headings: Technical – which I use to intellectualize a film purely on its merits based on technique and Visceral – which are my emotional responses to a film based on its artistic merits. I break down the Technical heading into five subheadings: Acting, Directing, Cinematography, Script and Special Effects. I break down the Visceral heading into five subheadings: Visual, Auditory, Intellectual, Emotional and Involvement. I’ve been using this system for some time for my own purposes, because I find it keeps me from reacting to a film too viscerally on initial viewings of films I really like, and over-intellectualizing films on initial viewings that I don’t enjoy. I will list the overall grade for each film and give a brief explanation of the films that I have not reviewed previously on this blog.


Sherlock Holmes: Game of Thrones – 93  SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS (2011)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – 93
A very satisfying conclusion to a consistently excellent fantasy series!

Midnight In Paris – 92
Difficult to rate as a fantasy film – which it is – but a deeply rooted time-fixated film that pulls you in.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 89  PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES - 2011 - A VOYAGE WORTH TAKING!

Transformers: the Dark of the Moon – 89
The ultimate guiltily pleasure film that makes the twelve-year-old in me jump up and shout, “Wicked cool!”

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn – 89
Beautiful, yet sometimes disturbing, animation that perfectly captures the magic of Hergé’s comics.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol – 88
Just a great escapist adventure, shot in a fantastic dizzying style!

Source Code – 87
The premise is fascinating and the characters draw you in enough not to question the logic too much.

X-Men: First Class – 86
A beautiful looking, well-acted take on the first X-Men, but ultimately it stills feels a little too familiar.
Hugo – 86
An amazing visual achievement that is somewhat hampered by a convoluted and sentimental story.

Scream 4 – 85
I still think Wes Craven is one of the best horror directors alive and this is his best film franchise. Scream still works as a satire of the slasher and horror genre in general.


The Green Lantern – 84
A wonderful visual presentation of space-operatic super-heroics marred by underdeveloped characters.

The Adjustment Bureau – 83
An unrealistic premise that is well executed, but is unfortunately still mostly a muddled mess.

Limitless – 83 
An interesting idea that is taken to an illogical and somewhat pedestrian conclusion.

The Skin I Live In – 83
Gorgeous cinema photography hides the hideous misdeeds of the main character, until the conclusion that I found too predictable.

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World - 82  SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD IN 4D (2011)

I Am Number Four – 80
A fun film overall, but just lacking in any real depth of character or emotion.

The Ward  - 80
I love John Carpenter’s style of filmmaking, but the story of this one just isn’t complex enough to carry a feature film; plus the horror element felt forced at best.

Trollhunter – 79  Fantastic special effects, wonderfully added to the handheld-footage cannot make up for a lack of interesting characters or story; it also could have benefited from some more humor.

Super – 76
A very disturbing take on super-heroics that pushes the boundaries of dark satire into poor taste.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil – 73
A funny idea for a short subject film; unfortunately the wonderful performances of the leads cannot carry it to a feature-length film.


Insidious – 69
Vissualy stunning traditional effects cannot make up for a silly premise and a horror film that lacks any true horror.

Piranha – 69
As dumb as it looks and it doesn’t deliver enough guiltily giggles as it should have.

Immortals – 69
A stunning painting come to life. The story and characters are unfortunately uninteresting and unimaginative.

Priest – 68
A fun mess, that should have worked out a better story, but unfortunately spent more effort on cool looking effects and fight scenes.

Conan the Barbarian – 68
This is not Howard’s Conan and actually makes the pervious film look competent. What a waste of a great character and fantasy setting.

The Green Hornet – 55
Whoever gave Seth Rogan the money to write and star in this dumb-comedic twist on a classic pulp/radio character should have their miniscule brains removed!

The following genre films from 2011 are ones that I may eventually watch, but will most likely not enjoy anyway, but I’ll list them here for completion sake: Suing the Devil, Paul, Final Destination 5, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark and Creature. These films I will not be watching under any circumstance: The Rite, Red Riding Hood, Beastly, Your Highness, The Tree of Life, Another Earth, Dream House, The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence, Contagion, Paranormal Activity 3 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. If anyone can make a convincing argument as to why I should see any of these films, leave your comments as to why and I’ll at least listen.

Overall I think 2011 was a better year for entertaining genre films, if not quality films. The quantity was also bigger, so that no doubt helped push up the averages of quality. Let me know what you think of my list – I’m sure many will shake their heads in disbelief at some of my marks for some films – and I’ll be glad to discuss with you in a civil manner why you think I’m right or wrong in my choices.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


In the second part of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac -- which I've titled "Zombzany Introduces the Zombie-thon" -- Zombzany returns to his throne to find Bill E. Bones sitting of it. Zombzany swats Bill off the throne and then introduces the coming marathon.

In a rare instance of magnanimousness, Zombzany shares a rare video tape from his Archives Vault. The first video is from a pilot to an unsuccessful detective series from the 1960’s called Zombdumbo – the Dead Beat Detective. This initial story, entitled “Finial Round, Sudden Death”, finds Zombdumbo at the golf course, where of course he finds a dead body.

Enjoy Part Two of Zombzany and the Missing Maniac – Zombzany Introduces the Zombie-thon!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Podcast of the Month for July 2012 is:
Screen Rant Underground

Screen Rant Underground has quickly become my “go to” movie review podcast! It is the weekly podcast of the web site Screen Rant, an excellent TV and movie news web site in its own right.
Here is what they have to say about their Screen Rant web site:
Screen Rant had a humble start back in 2003 as a place to rant about some of the dumber stuff related to the movie industry. Although there was absolutely no plan to do anything beyond venting to a few online friends about movies, over the years the site has grown to cover more and more TV and movie news (and not just the dumb stuff) along with sometimes controversial movie reviews.
The goal here at Screen Rant is to cover stories and review movies from a middle ground/average person perspective. We try to take a common sense approach to movie and TV news: stepping back and looking at the big picture to determine whether something is a good idea… or an idiotic one.
Movie reviews are written from the point of view of “was it a fun/exciting/scary/compelling movie” instead of from some high-brow, esoteric level that only other movie critics will relate to. On the other hand a movie has to have more than just big stars and fantastic special effects to be considered great by the folks at Screen Rant.
The reason that I like their podcast so much is that their weekly schedule allows them to keep very current with all the movies that are released each week. While they don’t review every movie that comes out every week, they do review every genre movie that is released, which is what is important to me. There are four regular podcasters on every cast, which gives you a nice blend of various viewpoints on each film. While Screen Rant Underground does veer off the topic of films occasionally, they spend the vast majority of their casts on films and most importantly reviewing the movie of the week.
Their format opens with the latest movie news. They are very opinionated about their genre films and TV programs. They once spent twenty minutes talking about the photograph of the new CW Green Arrow TV show and look of The Arrow’s costume. Their second segment is Rants and Raves in which each of the podcasters talks about the films and TV shows that each of the casters has watched in the week since the last podcast. This segment allows each caster to “rave” on their favorite TV shows and movies that they may have missed on its initial theatrical release and “rant” on the ones that they didn’t like. The third segment is Box Office Battle in which each of casters must pick the Box Office results for the top five films of following weekend, with the tenth film as the tie breaker. The winner of each week is allowed to be the last person to talk about the film reviewed for that week. The final segment is the film that is reviewed for that week. Each podcaster gives his opinion of the film, without spoiling specifics of the film. The spoiler segment follows this and the casters delve deeply into the details of the film reviewed. These segments can be quite heated – especially when the casters’ opinions differ on a film – and it is these segments that usually earn their explicit tag on iTunes.
The regular casters include:
Kofi Outlaw who is originally from Philadelphia, PA but now lives in New York City. Addiction to comic books, movies and a love of writing sent Kofi to the University of Pittsburgh where he received a dual B.A. in Writing and Literature with a minor in Film Studies. More recently, Kofi received his graduate MFA in Writing from The New School. Kofi loves all kinds of films from brainless blockbusters to fancy art-house pleasers. He says that nothing really specific makes him geek out all that much.
Robert Keyes (Screen Rant‘s only Canadian writer), started writing for the site in September 2008. He was offered a writing position based on his participation on the site as a long-time commenter and story-submitter. Not long later, Rob became an Editor for the site where he helps publish the growing number of articles we write. Rob is also the Editor-in-Chief of the newly launched sister site for Screen Rant, which keeping in the style of the flagship site, covers video game news/previews/reviews (without the sugar coating of course). Rob is 24 years old with a Master’s Degree in Economics. He wishes to eventually mesh his business, computer, economics and finance backgrounds with his love of the media entertainment industry with hopes of a career in one of the fields down the road. (So if you work for a major studio and have an open position – contact him!). Rob is an avid viewer of all kinds of film and television and is also a big video gamer. Much of his spare time is spent with friends playing and/or watching sports and all of the entertainment forms listed above. That is, when he’s not working at his day job or the two sites.
Ben Kendrick is a graduate of the New School’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, with an emphasis in fiction. Currently, he’s nearing completion on his novel: How I Saw Myself on America’s Most Wanted and serves as an editor-at-large for the literary magazine LIT. Ben has been passionate about movies ever since standing in line for a midnight showing of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when he was eight. As a result of his background in creative writing, Ben is drawn to films that make story and character a priority; however, that never stops him from enjoying a range of Hollywood offerings – from blockbuster action flicks to campy so-bad-they’re-good B-movies. He’s also an avid gamer and is a regular contributor at Screen Rant’s sister site, Game Rant. Visit Ben’s website if for no other reason than to get a better sense of the conditions under which he was conceived.
Anthony Ocasio is Screen Rant’s television editor, and gets yelled at by fans of every television show on the air. It’s not his fault that “your favorite show is terrible.”

Between the great personalities and their passionate opinions, Screen Rant Underground makes for a fun and exciting listen. If you are a movie fan and a genre movie fan in particular, you should definitely give Screen Rant Underground a listen.
You can find out more about Screen Rant Underground at: