Tag Archives: B Movie

Cinema-Maniac: Homicycle (2014) Review

When determining what films to see, and review I welcome taking a “risk” once in awhile. By “risk” I mean going blind into a film that is not discuss in professional reviewing outlets, or among bloggers. What makes these “risks” satisfying is discovering a great film, and giving it exposure no matter the size of your contribution, or readership. Every review on an obscure title praising a good unknown anything will give it a better opportunity to grow. This is one aspect of the internet I embrace than no matter how I end up feeling about a finish product I get expose to all sorts of media I probably wouldn’t have checked out my limited knowledge. Of course there are films like Homicycle that make me question if the word standards is like a myth to certain filmmakers. Sometime there are bad films I encourage seeing either for building standards, or to find entertainment in a way that wasn’t intended. However, Homicycle is filled with so much deadweight I advise you not to see it to save your time on something better. As of this very moment, this is the worst film I’ve seen that has cycle in its titled. Yes, it’s even worse than the time I saw I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle.

Homicycle is about the titled character who dispenses vigilante justice against a criminal organization. It sounds cool, but that didn’t translate into a product that resembles entertainment, or even competency by bad filmmaking standards. For starter, the film quality of writing along the line of one of those kind of films that just has a single thin idea stretched out. In Homicycle, if we removed the filler material of the film than the actual meat of the film is 50 minutes long. With the filler, it’s only 70 minutes, yet feels allot longer than it actually is. The film has little essence of substance even on a surface level as neither story, or characters are expanded on beyond the basics. Scenes just go into random scenes disconnected from any semblance of progress. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the film self aware tone is what kills the film. It knows the setup is right up a traditional 80s B movie throwing in a simple story, odd characters, and some occasionally awful dialogue. However, intentionally making a bad film does not translate into an unintentional comedy. Since it knows what kind of trashy film it is making it impossible to enjoy to enjoy from a so bad it’s good perspective.

As for the actual story itself it’s one of vengeance. The film never confirms the of identity of Homicycle, but the single clue the film gives to the audience leaves little to the imagination who it can be. A character connected to the vigilante spells it out to the viewers by saying his name. Removing any possible mysterious aura from him. Another aspect about Homicycle is the lack of confirmation of what exactly he is. In one scene, he punches through a guy guts in order to kill him, but within the same scene get beaten by a normal man. Then there’s the fact the film suggests a character in the story, Eddie (Mac Dale), came back from the dead to seek vengeance. Having already explained the film doesn’t go beyond the basics. What kind of force made him come back to life isn’t surrounded by concrete material. If it was something supernatural it wouldn’t fit since nothing otherworldly is mentioned in the film. However, it doesn’t work the in the “realistic” vein either since it means Eddie survives a shot to the head at point blank, his wife buried him in her backyard, and been buried for who knows how long in better condition than he was alive. A film can’t just assume it audience will accept anything at face value if they did nothing to earn that trust.

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Public Service Announcement: Don’t jerk

What follows Homicycle around is a string of bad jokes escalating to sheer boredom. It place randomly with toilet humor, or innuendos jokes. When jokes are used to pad out the running it’s quite sad. Characters relationship don’t go beyond the basics. You’ll have to assume what archetype characters fall into. For instance, the villain of the film Brock (Peter Whittaker) is the best developed character in the film. He dresses up as a pirate, has odd fetishes, and is a criminal lord. That’s it. Nothing about why he acts the way he does, dresses the way he does, or what his goals are is shown. Picture the rest of the film characters being less developed than Brock. Filling the screen with characters that just mesh with one another in a forgettable manner. Having no personality of any kind.

The filler material consist of a sleazy producer talking about how scary the film apparently is. This is your introduction into the film. So, this sleazy film producer claims the film is so scary there’s sexy nurses are in the lobby ready to dispatch to help if the film causes you health problems. If I was watching this introduction in a film theater it makes since, but at home it simply tells me the filmmakers were to lazy to write the exact same scene simply changing two words to make it work when viewing it at home. Also, if you happened to die during the viewing of the film your family will immediately inherit 1 million dollars according to the sleazy producer. If that wasn’t pointless than the film inclusion of a bikini contest certainly will be. Sometimes when filmmakers know they’re losing their audience they’ll throw in some sex appeal to keep viewers awake. This bikini contest adds nothing of value to the film. The contestants names are Candy, Mandy, Brandy, and Sandy. Why all the contestants have Andy in their names I can’t tell you. Probably it was meant to be a joke, but that would be giving the film too much credit if I acknowledge it had any idea of what comedy is.

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For the last time. I’m not a Vampire. They suck.

 

The biggest waste of time in the film, besides the whole thing, is an intermission with ads for concession food. Homicycle, if we’re being generous, is 70 minutes long so an intermission is not needed. Besides being insulting that the filmmakers believe viewers can’t sit through a 70 minute long movie. This intermission is also pointless. Another pointless addition in the film is a concert that you might have guessed by now adds nothing of value to the film. These filler moments of the film break pacing as it brings things to a sudden stop. Another point of filler are repeating two scenes. A flashback showing Eddie death is shown twice in the film. Though, the biggest middle finger is the film opening sequence when is the same scene used to end the film. No variation as it plays the same opening sequence in its entirety for its ending. So when taking it all in, the film went in circles, and accomplished nothing pass the starting point.

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From a filmmaking point of view there’s also no passion shown in its production. The most amount of effort put into the film was copying the grainy image of a 80s B movie, and duplicating shots from that era. However, the visuals don’t improve the story, nor is able to hide the horrendous acting. Director Brett Kelly couldn’t be bother fixing easy mistakes. One of them was showing an actor firing a nail gun, and no nail being visually shown coming out of the nail gun. He lingers on special effect shots too long you can see the hose where fake blood is coming out when a person’s head is decapitated. Another trait of Brett Kelly is his sheer ability to add random things in post production. For instance, there’s a shot that last for a few seconds, and in the background the sky is purple. No reason why, it’s just there just because Brett Kelly can.

The one scene in the film that showcases Brett Kelly lack of understanding as a director is the film shootout in a warehouse. Brett Kelly made his fake gun muzzle effect, and fake splatter very noticeable in this sequence. The slow motion in the scene makes the poor special effect very noticeable. Apparently in the same scene, Kelly felt it was necessary to place render images of blood splatter in the background, yet whenever there’s a cut the blood splatter that was in the background is longer there. So Brett Kelly went out of his way to ensure there these special effects are in the film, but didn’t care enough to maintain continuity which defeats the purpose of adding special effects in the scene. He also forgets to place fake muzzle effects when a background actor is shown shooting at Homicycle. Another inconsistency are the CG bullets that come out of Homicycle automatic guns. Then for some reason Brett Kelly doesn’t bother placing CG bullets coming out the guns even though the rest of sequence he had them there before. Within the same sequence, Brett Kelly forget to show certain goons getting killed on screen, and absolutely forgets bullet holes despite the fact he chose to add fake blood splatter in post production. Also, the goon despite not being obstructed by anything all missed shooting Homicycle. This is the worst shootout I’ve seen in a homage film.

The acting much like everything else is awful. Only actor Peter Whittaker is noteworthy because of his over the top performance, and fake eyebrows. He puts effort into his performance attempting to make badly written scene funny. However, he’s unable to make jokes work because his co stars don’t bother putting effort into their performance. Peter Whittaker isn’t talented enough to make a joke work on his own. Brett Kelly not caring about producing anything of value spread to his actors which is why they phone it in. Special effects are cheap looking when they’re lingered on too much, and every single practical effect is badly executed. Music is forgettable, and the cinematography while good visually duplicating 80s B movie imagery is enough to hide the many issues of the film. If anything, I want to spotlight Trevor Payer, Jennifer Mulligan, and David A. Lloyd who are all given writing credits. Between three minds they couldn’t come with enough material to create a feature length film. That’s embarrassing.

Homicycle is the worst kind of film that doesn’t offer anything worth of value. When negatively dissecting the film, the self aware tone tells you the filmmakers made an intentionally bad movie so there’s not much to learn from it. There’s not much to dissect either as it’s dead air through it 70 minutes run, and 20 of those minutes are filler material that could have been out. In the end, you’re left with a film that is worthless. If the filmmakers didn’t put any effort to create a film of any value viewers shouldn’t put any effort themselves in seeing this garbage either.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014) Review

The first Sharknado was a welcome surprise from The Asylum thanks to it understanding of B-movies turned out to be stupid, and fun entertainment. It knew it was stupid, but took itself seriously in its treatment that if done with meta humor wouldn’t have taken off the same way it did. With the sequel it follows tradition of going bigger where the main issue arises from. By going bigger the action is no longer focused and supplied in smaller doses unable to top its own opening sequence or its predecessor as desperately as it tries too.

Sharknado 2: The Second One follows Fin and company attempting to save New York from multiple deadly Sharknados. The opening sequence sets the bar high paying homage to the classic “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” episode of “The Twilight Zone”. This time with sharknado colliding with airplane. It’s a stellar opening sequence quickly providing a dose of the implausible action to come making good use of the setting. I dare say the opening sequence is a work of genius. However, past that opening sequence the remainder of the film is unable to top it until it reaches the climax. This time instead following a single group allowing the shark action to be focused and supplied at a steady stream. We follow three groups in the sequel often cutting back to them over time which also means shorter screen time for B-movie badass Fin Shepard (who gives Martin Brody a run for his money in shark slaying). The action is more scattered and smaller in scale unable to top the opening sequence in its scope until it final stretches. Despite how goofy the series is and will become the writers know what they’re doing. Like the previous film, it’s self-aware of how silly the idea is, but the treatment for it is taken seriously adding to the humor. Though this treatment does go overboard with all the needless news broadcast thrown at the viewer face. These news broadcast are silly at first and flesh out a bit of the fictional world, but the seventh time logic is attempted to be apply to the disaster known as Sharknado it’s worse than beating a dead horse. World building has some success fleshing out the characters. It’s nice knowing that once a movie ends the character lives are still worthwhile beyond the closing credits. One of the characters, April Wexler, wrote a bestselling book called “How To Survive Sharknado” off screen. Surprisingly you don’t need to be drunk to get through it. Characters are given some sort of development and conflict, but is too thin to carry the film from beginning to end. Because of thin conflict and characterization it’s unable to maintain the same level interest as when sharks (plus one sewer gator, don’t question the logic it’s Sharknado) on screen which time is less.

Ian Ziering returns to play Fin Shepard and does another decent job in the starring role. He’s into his character giving a serious performance in the not so serious scenarios. Never once does he ever indicate he’s in on the joke keeping in root with the character experiencing it making him the best actor in the cast. Tara Reid performance in the opening sequence is pretty bad especially in a segment that requires her to scream which gets grating. Thankfully pass that opening sequence she does okay. Vivica A. Fox receives plenty of screen time and her performance is also okay. Any actor who plays a large part are okay which involves them running around allot. Compared to Ian Ziering the supporting cast aren’t allow to jump the shark as much. There’s more attention put into casting unlikely stars in cameos. From the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus, Will Wheaton, Kurt Angle, Kelly Osborne, Andy Dick, D.C. Douglas, Perez Hilton, Al Roker, Jared Fogle (yes, the Subway guy), Judd Hirsch, and so many more get more attention given to them than the actual sharks. The CG is acceptable, though creatively there isn’t as many many moments that make full use of the concept. With the opening sequence and climax providing the only highlights there’s everything else in between that is not able to live up to its goofy promise. These sharks favorite method of attack is going for the head. How the sharks are used doesn’t take full advantage of the possibilities for a majority of its run time. Not even the sight of a flaming shark is enough to forgive the lack of creativity. Though the soundtrack is surprisingly strong getting across that epic feel. Ironic that the music is used for this film given it’s better than the film actually needs, but further add positives to its production values.

Sharknado 2: The Second One understands its audience and gives its concept the proper treatment to be entertaining, but provides less sharks in less creative usage focusing more on cameos and is unable to maintain interest due it jumping between three groups of weak characters. While the opening sequence itself is a classic B-movie scene and homage it’s also sadly where it peaks declining afterward. And the saddest truth to this sequel is the filmmakers are in on the joke. They just don’t know how to keep it afloat in an ironic good way as the first time they told it.

5/10

Cinema-Maniac: Airplane vs. Volcano (2014) Review

The Asylum is a brand I can trust when it comes to viewing something out of the norm of sensibility and logic. Sure nearly every knock off the studio makes can’t compete with the actual film it’s ripping off, but even those have their own highlights of mediocrity. Earlier this year I witnessed the uneventful and shallow “Apocalypse Pompeii” which was a volcanic disaster movie based around Mount Vesuvius. It was a typical disaster film without a bone of creativity or interesting idea to overcome technical limitations like horrid acting. I bring up “Apocalypse Pompeii” because it takes place in the same universe as “Airplane vs. Volcano” as made clear in news broadcast in the film. As pointless as that bit of trivia might be what is not pointless is knowing that “Airplane vs. Volcano” is not a good general movie, but it is an entertaining B-movie.

Airplane Vs. Volcano is about a commercial airliner trapped within a ring of erupting volcanoes, the passengers and crew must find a way to survive – without landing. It doesn’t take long for the action to get started literally opening with a scientifically goofy explanation on the sudden rises of volcano follow by an instant death of a scientist. What makes it difficult to discuss this film is how much of its own stupidity should I bring up. Part of the fun is in seeing the dumb premise unfold with it even stupider characters we follow. Every single thing these characters do is counter productive losing most of their oil in single a mistake which also almost caused them to blow up in mid air, but also gets passengers and military soldiers killed with every plan hatched. All the characters in the film are one dimensional cliches; the air marshall, the geek, the average joe who lost everything, disaster expert, the unneeded middle eastern attempted hijacker who’s absent most of the duration, the single parent with a child, reluctant military general, but all are all idiots. Like a usual disaster movie it has no time to develop of any of its characters. Jumping between the dire situation on the plane and military command post that examine the disaster and attempt to minimize casualty. It has no time focus on the human element of the story which later undermines the characters plead for help in the third act from resonating. While I would love to poke fun the military solution to save the passengers in detail doing so will ruined any fun to be had in its third act. Although I will say it involves bombs, jet fighters, a military general, and tons of fireballs. The script is plagued with cliches and bad science, but makes up for it with a fast pace and host of creative ideas. It’s setting might be limited, but always keeps it plot moving. Set pieces are guarantee to deliver a laugh and along the way the enjoyably implausible climax. Melodrama is wonderfully cheesy and the conflict is forced to the point that the most illogical path might be the right way to survive the disaster. All doing so with it tongue firmly implanted in it cheeks being a part of the fun that knows when to push itself into absurdity and come in control with cheesy melodrama.

Dean Cain is the leading man filled with a committed cast of hammy actor. Cain, like the rest of the cast, are in on the joke. While Cain doesn’t change his facial impression much looking more like he’s having fun than in actual peril has charisma. He’s fun to be around with his goofy character allowing him to say stuff no one would utter. Not only that, but his arc is one of the few story threads that is decent enough to pull have a small payoff, even if it’s undone seconds later in the climax. Plus I appreciate an in joke on the actor who also played Superman. The only other actor worth a positive mention is Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs who inspite of the material gives a good performance. He’s the closest the cast has to a good actor showing range in his abilities swiftly changing from a tough guy to fun loving air marshall. Jacobs commits putting some emotions in his more dramatic scenes. The two worst actors in the film are easily Morgan West and Mike Jerome Putnam. These two have no chemistry with each other uttering their lines without conviction. They hardly show any emotion with their expression and vocally deliver every line with the same tone of voice through out. Finally Robin Givens is bad in her role. She’s does not seemed to understand what kind of movie she is delivering all her expository line very seriously. Givens always appears upset about volcanoes. The special effects are the usual cheap looking CG Asylum standard. Here it’s they do repeat the same shots of the airplane in peril surrounded by volcanoes for two acts. However, what the filmmakers do with the special effects is varied in its set pieces makes up for the plastic look of it CG.

Airplane Vs. Volcano is an entertaining b-movie. It has hammy acting, a goofy story, and hilarious stupid moments. If you’re part of the audience that enjoys a B-movie “Airplane Vs. Volcano” has you cover getting to the action immediately and keeps itself afloat with creativity. It’s in on the fun and knows how to deliver entertainment as well as a good laugh. While it won’t ever surpass the legendary Sharknado (I recommend if you like b-movies) it’s in the same ball park in being one of “The Asylum” better films.

6/10

Note:

On the DVD box of “Airplane Vs. Volcano” it says “Based on the true story”. Out of curiosity I looked into it and it turns out “The Asylum” has done a film based on a true story before. For instance, “Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies” is based on the biography titled “Emancipate This!” by someone with the initial JWB. If that’s not historically accurate I don’t know what is.

Cinema-Maniac: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) Review

“You can’t judge a book by it cover” phrase more often than not doesn’t equally apply to films. A film with a ridiculous premise or title tends to fall into the pitfall of just being bad without much of a creative thought process behind it. Sometimes dying before even reaching the credits. As proven with “Killer Klowns From Outer Space” you just never know what to expect to be entertaining.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space is about extraterrestrial klowns terrorizing a small town. Going more towards comedy, horror is far away from it focus as possible. It sets up a scene from a horror perspective playing the scene out as a comedy. One example being the heroes entering the circus tent spaceship where one would expect seeing what horrific things the extraterrestrial are doing to the humans. Instead of revealing anything resembling horror it’s reveal the klowns are turning the townspeople to cotton candy. Why that is the film never explains along with the so called “happy” ending it attempts to sell despite what it presents to us. Despite the goofy premise it has a number of creative ideas that work because of how straightforward the film plays up the concept. The characters in the film are genuinely terrified by the killer klowns that can make balloon dogs that can track their scent to having heat seeking popcorn in their weaponry. This level of goofiness also applies to the death scenes all of which are zany in their creation. Unfortunately the film doesn’t focus solely on the klowns occasionally dealing with bland characters. Where as the klowns provide campy antics the humans mostly take in the ensuring invasions one sidedly. While it’s nice the script attempts to give its central characters development that’s quickly forgotten by the halfway mark. Their dialogue most of the times is typical of a current boyfriend teaming up an his girlfriend ex to save a girl they both have feeling for, but have some terrible lines that even in context sound bad (“Is this place great or what? It looks like it was decorated by Klowns R Us.”). As a whole the script is vapid; aliens arrive on Earth, terrorize a small town, the small town lacks police force, no one believes the heroes sighting of extraterrestrial life, and the heroes face against the queen or king alien in the climax. While the creatures are replace with a something goofy the plot bears many similarity to a setup for an alien invasion film for better and worse.

The only standout performance has to be John Vernon as Officer Mooney with a delightfully over the top performance as a paranoid cop. Vernon screen time is small compared to the rest of the cast, but easily the one that best gets into his role. Leads Grant Cramer, John Allen Nelson, an Suzanne Snyder are adequate in their roles. They can carry the movie, but don’t have much as Cramer always appears whimsical about the extraterrestrial klowns, Nelson constantly looking pissed off at Cramer character, and Snyder going through the motions. Supporting cast are one note delivering some over the top reaction. With the exception of John Vernon none of the supporting cast stand out. Special effects are decent with some glaring mistakes on screen. Klowns costumes reveal several times a visible zipper whenever the camera faces their back. However, the facial animatronics that move their faces fare much better with the silly dark comedy tone. Spaceships are designed to look like a bizarre fun house which technical wise stand out. Varied in color and atmosphere it presents a spaceship unlike any other in the sci-fi genre. Soundtrack is relatively good with the opening “Killer Klowns” by “The Dickies” makes a solid rock ballad out of stock circus music.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space premise loses momentum as it goes on, but not long enough to wear out its welcome. It plays out around with the typical alien invasion film with a sense humor that hits when the klown are on screen, but fails whenever they’re not. It’s a goofy film that uses a traditional alien invasion story and does something that’s not generally done for better and worse.

6/10