May 2, 2018

May's Mystery Move: Third Clue

Clue #3: This month's movie was produced by a production company based in that same "particular region", and are the gold standard in a different over-the-top genre. (Oh man, that "particular region" is hard to talk about without using it's name... not a country, not a state, it's status is different then than it is now... how am I supposed to vaguely make reference to it?!)

Tape Freaks Presents: May's Mystery Movie at the Trylon CinemaWednesday, May 2nd @ 7:00pm, only $5!

April 30, 2018

May's Mystery Move: Second Clue

Clue #2: This movie was the first superhero movie filmed (and set) in this particular foreign region.

Tape Freaks Presents: May's Mystery Movie at the Trylon CinemaWednesday, May 2nd @ 7:00pm, only $5!

April 27, 2018

Superhero Movies: The Trial of the Incredible Hulk

This one gets some surprising things right, and has a dash of diverse representation as well. But don't let me over sell this hamfisted nonsense, I may have gotten punch drunk from the Captain America made for TV movie we watched right before this, and be giving it too much credit...

The plot unfolds something like this: Not long after arriving in New York City, David Banner crosses paths with some jewel thieves riding high from their successful heist. They (of course) anger Banner, causing him to unleash the green beast. But this time, cracking criminal heads lands Banner in police custody. Luckily a certain lawyer catches wind of Banner's case and offers his services pro bono. But Banner refuses to fight the charges, being cross-examined in a courtroom is a sure way to make Banner angry!! But without the help of a lawyer, how will Banner ever bust out of jail?...

"David" Banner?: Apparently the TV version gave Banner a different first name.

Stan Lee cameo: This is the very first time Lee makes an appearance in a cameo, he appears as a juror in Banner's court room dream.

The director: Bill. Bixby. That's right, Bixby directed and stared in the first Marvel movie to feature a Stan Lee cameo!

"Stared in" might be misleading: Most of the story of this one revolves around Daredevil trying to take down Wilson Fisk, which is fine, but makes the title a stretch. (But what also makes the title a stretch is that there's no trial outside of a dream sequence.)

How does Daredevil stand up?: There are weird echoes of the first season of the Netflix show: Murdock says "Wilson Fisk" eleven hundred times, he only wears the iconic black hood costume, and he's pretty dark and moody as well. I mean, as "dark and moody" as you can get in a hamfisted 80s TV movie...

Mildly more diverse: The Marvel TV movies up to this point are pretty white and very bad a representing women. But in this one we're treated to Christa (Nancy Everhard) who takes the place of Foggy Nelson, and a their assistant (Richard Cummings Jr.) a Black man who's nerdy, soft spoken, and a war veteran. Neither of these characters show up a ton, but they do share a scene together where no other character comes in. It's surprisingly refreshing for such a tiny sip of diversity!

Actually kind of comic book like: Fisk and his head quarters are actually more comic book-like than most live action iterations of comics from the same period. I mean, one of the major fight scenes happens in an abandon warehouse that was last used to film a B movie involving giant spiders! It's almost like Bixby was sick of putting the Green Guy in everyday situations and wanted to unleash him in a surrounding that rose to the level of absurdity that is Lou Ferrigno airbrushed green. And he kind of pulled it off!

But was it good?: Yes, but also no. If you're looking for some nostalgia from this era of Marvel on screen this is the one to reach for, but set your bar accordingly.

April 24, 2018

Superhero Movies: Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

This movie was amazing but probably not in the way the film makers were hoping. If you watched the second season of Bay Watch Nights and enjoyed it, you'll likely love this. (If you have not watched the second season of Bay Watch Nights, you are missing out big time.)

Yes, that Batman Begins.

The plot unfolds something like this: Agent Nick Fury is a free agent, but not for much longer. He's been tapped to return to S.H.I.E.L.D. and help save Manhattan from a terrorist attack orchestrated by Hydra. Along the way, he'll rekindle an old flame, shoot an elevator to get it "working", complain about having to sign forms, and kick a fair amount of ass!

The best part of the movie IMHO.
Wait, he complains about signing forms?: Basically. Fury runs up against having to sign standard tax withholding documents and he "sticks it to the man" by ignoring the peons sent to collect his signature. His superior officer quips "things have changed Nick, bean counters have taken over the world" as if to lament the "glory days" of government agencies not having employees sign standard employment documents. What would be so glorious about those days? "Remember the good old days when we worked for the government and were never sure if we'd get paid or not? Man, times sure do change."

The jokes: There are so may "jokes" in this movie, and every single one is relentlessly blunt in it's delivery. For instance, Fury meets an agent who has ESP, she shakes Fury's hand and reads his mind, causing him alarm. She try to reassure him by letting him know her abilities have been enhanced with implants. This of course causes Fury to look directly at her boobs. She clarifies "neuro-implants" and points at her brain. Rimshot.

Other ridiculousness: At one point a cyborg that looks exactly like the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. walks into their headquarters and plays a prerecorded message from the head of Hydra, and promptly explodes. That's right, Hydra successfully sends an exact replica of the directer of S.H.I.E.L.D. into their headquarters, and all it does is play a recording and self destruct.

Not the only cyborg clone: (Very mild spoilers in this one.) Early on in this flick there's a scene where Fury runs into a skinless cyborg that's being outfitted to be his double. There's an ADR line that didn't register with me (but thankfully Tim heard it) that mentions that the cyborg gets really small for "easy transport". Fast forward to the end of this movie; the hero crew flies to Manhattan, hikes through the city and infiltrates the Hydra hideout. Fury eventually finds himself in an impossible-to-escape situation. But wait a second, that's not Fury, that's his cyborg replica!! You know, the one that was barely mentioned once at the beginning of the film and was never ever mentioned again? Thank goodness it was completely undetectable (and never once mentioned) during transport!

Is the cyborg inside his false eye?
Written by: David Goyer. Who's that? Click that link and prepare to be confused.

Characters that pop-up later in the MCU: Arnim Zola and Baron von Strucker.

Legitimately impressive: Whoever was in charge of set design actually did pretty well despite their likely tiny budget. Everything looks like it came from a very comic book and nothing looks like it's recycled from another set. It was a pleasant surprise.

Biggest fail: The main Hydra villain was supposed to be... foreign I guess? Her accent shifted from word to word like nothing I've ever heard before. Was she trying for German? Russian? French? Korean? I don't think we'll ever know for sure.

But was it good: This one would be fun with a group, but there's a bit too much boring, clunky melodrama for us to recommend this one too enthusiastically. 

April 23, 2018

May's Mystery Move: First Clue

Clue #1: This month's movie is a wild, action packed 70s superhero movie!

Tape Freaks Presents: May's Mystery Movie at the Trylon CinemaWednesday, May 2nd @ 7:00pm, only $5!

April 4, 2018

Made for TV Movies: Dr. Strange

Nothing says "strange" like a straight forward drama about a doctor and his comatose patient...

 I like this poster, but the photos to the right more accurately
reflect the majority of the scenes in this one.

The plot unfolds something like this: The world is in peril, but hardly a soul knows it. A shadowy-interdimensional-nameless overlord who's hell bent on taking over the world has given his flunky minion, Morgan Le Fay, one more chance to prove herself. He needs her to take down Earth's Sorcerer Supreme and turn his chosen successor to their side, or kill him as well. Sorcerer Supreme is suddenly forced to rush his new apprentice's training, but first he has to find him and let him know that he's the chosen one...

On paper, it sounds familiar: An interstellar being trying to destroy/subjugate the world for a shadowy figure sounds like a few of the modern Marvel movie plots, but all of those are more interesting than this dull flick. (I might watch the first Thor 20 times before I'd watch this one again.)

Problematic to boot: Nothing's really changed for women in Marvel movies in 40 years. In this movie, Le Fay is thwarted in her task to kill Strange because she finds him so irresistibly attractive. When the shadowy-interdimensional-nameless overlord finds out she's attracted to strange, Le Fay is punished by being made to appear old and “ugly”. She begs for mercy (because apparently her only two interest are being evil and staying a hottie) and the overlord gives her one shot to turn Strange to their side and baring that, she must kill him, no matter how much she lusts for him.

The other woman in this movie: She only shows up when someone needs to be in peril. She's also the aforementioned coma patient and spends most of the first half of this flick in bed. Once she wakes up, she falls for Strange as well because of course she does.

First on screen Marvel villain: Morgan Le Fey is the first villain from the comics to appear on screen. All the other adaptations up to this point (that we could find) had generic criminals as villains, or featured villains that were made up for the adaptation they appeared in. You'd think being the first on screen Marvel villain would earn Jessica Walter a cameo in the latest Dr Strange, but honestly, who's surprised she did get one?
I mean look at this guy, who wouldn't want to throw themselves at his feet?

Yup, that's: The lovely Jessica Walter, Oscar winner John Mills, and Clyde Kusatsu as Wong.

Could have been so much worse: In the comics, Wong is very problematic. But in this movie, he sports a three piece suits (rather than robes or religious garb), speaks with  Kusatu's native accent (he's American), works with the Sorcerer to get Strange ready to take over as Supreme Sorcerer (rather than spending any part of the movie jealous that Strange is "the chosen one"). It's pretty refreshing to watch a movie like this (especially from the time period) and see an Asian man just be a regular American-family man rather than a mystical guru who is begrudgingly compelled to bestow his wisdom on some white dude for reasons that don't exist. Especially because people lean on these stereotypes as though they're not totally and blatantly racist.

Speaking of "the chosen one": Strange in this movie reminds me of Danny Rand in the Netflix Iron Fist. Strange is so unlikeable and bland it's impossible to see why he's the one the Sorcerer chose to be his successor. But he (like the women in this movie) must make Stephen realize his true potential so he can take his rightful place as protector of the entire planet, I guess.

The effects: There are some interesting effects intermittently throughout this film, and at the time, they were so cutting edge that shooting them set back production considerably. Unfortunately those effects scenes aren't utilized enough to outweigh the boring straight-forward drama that is the rest of this dull movie.

Be warned: This movie would be nothing without Walter, Kusatsu, and the cheesy effects, so if you attempt to watch this one, drink some coffee first.

April 3, 2018

April's Mystery Movie: Third Clue

Clue #3: The director of photography for this month's movie also shot a TV movie that became one of our favorite Syfy channel episodes of MST3K!

Tape Freaks Presents: April's Mystery Movie at the Trylon CinemaWednesday, April 4th @ 7:00pm, only $5!