Last Airbender, The

People often compare terrible experiences to root canals, saying they’d favor time in the dentist’s chair over one thing or another.  I found it fortuitous, then, that I actually had a root canal scheduled the same day that friends and I intended to see The Last Airbender.  Having heard how terrible the film was supposed to be, I had to find out for myself if there was any truth to the saying.

The film, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is based off of the hit Nickelodeon animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.  The show was a brilliant mix of playfulness and serious drama.  It was too much to hope that Shyalaman had actually understood what made the show great in the first place, because it really felt like dentistry gone awry.

The movie begins with the first of far too many voice overs by Katara (Nicola Peltz), who explains that everything was peaceful and awesome back in the day (of course).  In this world there are people, called benders, who can control an element (Fire, Water, Air, or Earth) using Tai Chi and special effects.  Katara herself is a novice Waterbender. Only one could control all four and thus keep the world balanced: the Avatar.  One day, the Avatar disappeared and everything went to Hell in a hand basket.  Now, the world is being slowly taken over by the brutal fire nation and their infernal machines. This opening narration is akin to the dentist sitting you down in the chair and explaining what’s going to happen while the anxiety of impending discomfort sets in.

Katara and her hapless brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), discover and free Aang (Noah Ringer), the titular hero, and his flying bison from an iceberg-an act that pushes the ramshackle plot into motion.  I’m not going to go into too much detail about the plot here.  It still hurts my brain trying to figure it out.  It involves a troubled father/son relationship for Prince Zuko (Dev Patel) and Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis ). Meanwhile, Zuko’s uncle, General Iroh (Shaun Toub), is trying to give lessons in tactical spiritualism while Commander Zhao (Aasif Mandvi) is being awesomely obnoxious. This of course, is the part of the visit where the dentist tries to distract you from the fact that you are actually paying him to inflict pain.

I have a sneaking suspicion that there was supposed to be more plot in the movie.  At least Katara’s never-ending narration told us so.  (Remember kids, the key to making a story not suck is to show, don’t tell.)  There was a wee bit of a romance between Sokka and the white-haired Princess Yue (Seychelle Gabrielle) of the Northern Water Tribe. There was even a large, climactic battle with a lot of Tai Chi and special effects. The battle and the romance, like the rest of the movie and its attempts at preaching about responsibility and spiritualism, were lost to terrible dialogue, awful editing, horrible acting, and even worse attempts at storytelling.  It was like hiring Steve Martin to do your dental work, Shyalaman liked watching us suffer.

On the plus side, where everything else failed in the movie, the music by composer James Newton Howard, was fantastic and the special effects weren’t half-bad. Though to be honest, it’s not like great music is going to really distract you the fact that there’s a dude drilling into your skull.  It’ll make it more pleasant, but the whole thing still sucks.

So, was seeing The Last Airbender better than getting a root canal? Just barely.  It only won because I snuck in a vodka flask (my attempt at Novocain), there was no drilling involved (just spiky hats for getting through some ice...don’t ask), and I liked the music better than the Muzak in my dentist’s office.

A-Team, The

It’s about goddamned time I had fun watching a movie. The Hollywood adaptation of 80s TV staple The A-Team is a laugh riot, and in a good way.

We start it off right, somewhere in Mexico, where we meet Hannibal (Liam Neeson), B.A. Baracus (Quinten Jackson), "Howling Mad" Murdock (Sharlto Copley) and Face (Bradley Cooper) in a completely silly but awesome sequence. We jump ahead 8 years (and 80 successful missions) to the final days of withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, meaning it takes place in the future, I suppose.

The boys are tricked by a barely competent, completely evil C.I.A. agent named Lynch (Patrick Wilson),  who dupes them into . . . standing too close while someone else blows up some counterfeit money and the team's commanding general. That someone else is, in fact, the ultra-competent military contractor Pike (Brian Bloom), the first villain since Ledger’s Joker to pose a credible threat to a protagonist. He’s just a great screen presence and actually presents a real menace.

The plot really isn’t worth mentioning, as it’s poorly done and more than a little silly. There’s actually a reveal that’s straight out of Scooby Doo . What is worth mentioning: this movie is freakin' hysterical. At it’s heart, The A-Team is a comedy, but unlike most comedies, things explode a lot. There are scenes that are just sublime in their humor, especially those devoted to making fun of the CIA and their legendary incompetence. Between Pike being a rather scary guy and Lynch being arrogant, yet incompetent in a way we haven't seen since Cobra Commander, their dynamic yields as many laughs as the heroes’ shenanigans.

Patrick Wilson does a fine job as Lynch. He’s the sort of guy you just want to punch in the throat. At one point, he says a video of a building actually being blown up looks just like Call of Duty, which is something a strawberry douche would say.

The action set pieces are absurdly awesome, as well. We’ve all seen the tank falling out of the sky via parachute in the preview, but how they get out of it is a site to behold.

Really, the best part of this movie, much like the Losers, is the characters just being goofy despite their lives being in constant danger. The real fun of this film is the endless string of great lines and the dynamic between the four main players. Even Quinton Jackson does a great job as Baracus, and well, I don’t expect much from MMA guys after the tragedy that was Universal Soldier: Regeneration.

Overall, this movie is worth the price of admission, but only if you approach it in the way it was intended. It is a comedy through and through. Although, unlike the original show, it does have a body count ...the 80’s were, of course more innocent times. Couple this with The Losers, and it's a recipe for a Cavalcade about people who just can’t take being shot at seriously.

Losers, The

Over the years, I’ve noticed there's often a pair of movies with essentially the same plot, premiering within a year of each other: Wyatt Earp (1994)/Tombstone (1993) and Deep Impact (1999)/Armageddon (1999) ,to name a few.  In the summer of 2010, movie-going audiences will be treated to three films about spec-ops teams (that "happen" to be the best of the best). Betrayed, the teams leave their government duties behind to take on a suicide mission with personal significance.  Director Sylvain White’s The Losers holds the distinction of being first out of the gate before The A-Team (2010) and The Expendables (2010).

Based on the DC Comics book of the same name, Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his unit have been betrayed by the evil CIA super handler Max (Jason Patric), and are believed to be dead.  With the help of mysterious femme brutale, Aisha (Zoe Saldana), Clay sets out on a plan to take down Max and reclaim their identities.  This is as complicated as the film ever gets.  Luckily, The Losers has more than enough colorful characters to distinguish itself from every other paramilitary action flick on the market.

Jason Patric’s Max is the type of villain we used to enjoy in the older Bond films.  He has plans for catastrophic destruction that will strengthen the U.S. while making him a sizable amount of money.  All the while, Patric brings a creepy, business executive quality that is never unentertaining.  Contrasting this is Idris Elba’s Roque, the standard tough guy.  It almost felt like a shame, since I know Elba has the ability to make the character much more interesting.  But I can’t complain because Elba playing a tough guy is still Elba playing a tough guy.

I hadn't seen or heard of Columbus Short or Oscar Jaenada before, and was pleasantly surprised with their ability to command attention.  Jaenada especially, since his character doesn't really speak. Chris Evans, however, totally steals the show as Jensen.  Between the outrageous t-shirts and inspired moments of nerdy awkwardness, I never got tired of him.

Action-wise, there are very few dull moments.  White paces the film well by interspersing explosions, gunfights, sex-fights, and accidental murders, with punchy Oceans Eleven-esque dialogue.  However, the movie does not provide any real surprises and follows the textbook action movie format, almost to a fault. But it’s still a fun time and holds up well.  It almost does a perfect job adapting the comic book, even covering what is essentially the first story arc collected in the trade paperback “Ante Up.” I appreciated the attention to detail in plotting and the arranging of specific shots from the comic.

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, the ending takes a more typical “Hollywood” tract, and thus avoids the more interesting and thought-provoking commentary on the military-industrial complex that writer Andy Diggle infused throughout the comic series-but who needs thinking when there are sweet explosions!

G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

This film is not so much a movie as it's a series of vaguely related action set pieces with characters spewing catch-phrased references to the old cartoon and half remembered bits from the magazine article the writer snorted cocaine off of before the pitch meeting.

After a stupid flashback related to the main villain, but not related to rest of the film in terms of  tone, Duke (Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Wayans) are in Kyrgyzstan, try to transport a dangerous nanotech weapon made by James McCullen (Christopher Eccleston).  The bad guys try to steal it and get thwarted by Duke with assistance of Snake Eyes (Ray Park, blissfully silent) and several other super troopers.

The "Joes" ask Duke for the nanite super weapon, to which he says, and I quote: "I'm signed for them!" but Dennis Quaid insists they give up the weapon. They eventually do on the condition they get to join this wacky international club house of do-gooders.

Meanwhile, the villains are plotting to take over the world with nanotech, specifically the NanomitesTM and replacing the American president (played by a British guy, Jonathan Price ) with professional impostor Zartan (Arnold Vosloo). Nanotechnology, as we've said, is fast becoming to modern movie plots what ACME was to Wile E. Coyote. They even use it to enhance their shock troops, who all dress like the psychos from the god-awful video game Army of Two .

G.I. Joe, a top secret organization was assembled from the best military members in the world.  They train in a massive top secret facility in the Sahara Desert and you can't have a facility like that without a stupid training montage.

In addition to a ton of errors in continuity the dialogue is mostly just buzz word laden gobbledygook. At one point the bad guys go on a mission to "weaponize" a war head.

Let that sink in.

The final battle of this movie takes place deep beneath the North Pole, and after a special guest appearance from the Coke-A-Cola polar bear, the Joes lay the C.G.I. smack down on Cobra in what could be one of the dullest final battle sequences since the Gungans won the Battle of Naboo . Speaking of Cobra, you know who plays Cobra Commander in this movie? Joseph Gorden Levitt. Yes. The indie film super-star. I assume he approached it the same way a lot of us would have: "Hell yeah I'll do a G.I. Joe movie! I loved that show when I was a kid!" signed paperwork sight-unseen, and now here we are.

Unlike previous G.I. Joe features, this one has a body count. A big one. I like how the movie is terribly silly with it's Scottish stereotyping ("You tossed the caber out of the park!"), it's bad makeup on the females-especially Scarlet (Ladies pinch, whores use rouge.) But almost 400 people die during the course of this picture, and there is no gravitas what so ever. This movie deserves all the mockery you can throw it, and along side the Transformers movies you'd have a great cavalcade on your hands.  You could call it "Pillaging Our Childhood," if that didn't sound all kinds of wrong.

Repo Men

Repo Men deserves some kind of award, as it very nearly succeeds in making an entire movie by taking pieces from nearly every critical or commercial success from the past decade.

Opening with a radio broadcast about the economy crashing, the war going on, and how life generally sucks, the film establishes its dystopian setting cheaply. From there the film focuses on Remy (Jude Law), a "Repo man" (read: assassin) who, in a rather bloody opening collects a liver from an unfortunate guy who defaulted on his payments to the sinister megacorporation, Union.

Remy works with Jake (Forest Whitaker), his best friend from childhood, and has barbecues with his rough-tough-tattooed-blue-collar co-workers.  It's never really explained how Remy has a Cockney accent if he grew up in Anytown, U.S.A., but it certainly adds weight to the whole “I’m a working-class bloke” vibe, where the motto is, "a job's a job."

Their manager, Frank (Liev Schreiber), is as oily as they come. Part used car salesman, part sleazy home loan officer, Frank speaks in that generic movie ‘Merican businessman accent, and is an undemanding boss. He sells people new organs with meaningless buzzwords and platitudes, then coldly orders the "Repo" when the customer's can't pay.

Remy’s life goes completely south when he tries to repossess the heart of a music producer, TBone (RZA), and destroys his own heart with a malfunctioning defibrillator and then waking up in a hospital with a metaphor jammed into his chest. Naturally, with this new liberal heart, he can no longer do his job because he has new-found sympathy for the clients. Eventually he meets Beth (Alice Braga), a lounge singer with a  heart of gold (presumably her own), and more replacement parts than a NFL player retirement home. We'll let you guess if they do the Dirty Boogie at some point.

Following the rules of action thrillers, the other Repo Men are sent to hunt them down, leading to several fight sequences, one very much like the fight from Oldboy (hammer and all), followed by a scene where they each have to scan their robot parts to get themselves out of the system. It’s filmed like a sex scene, except that they're slicing each other open, so it's all kinds of wrong. This all culminates in an ending that, while it's the film's one saving grace, is still ripped straight from Brazil.

Overall, the movie is solid, but borrows too heavily on other films without bringing anything new. There are some nice twists, and the production is top notch. The soundtrack mixes six decades of pop culture, much like the visuals. The actors are giving it their all -especially Whitaker- and the jet black humor helps smooth things over. However,y derivative, it never finds a voice of it’s own. Finally, since we all know what's going to happen up to a point, the audience spends most of the time just waiting to get there.

Come to think of it, Gamer was ALSO really derivative and make for a  decent pairing with this movie. Sort of a, “we liked it better when they did it in 'X.'”

Fist of the North Star

How is it possible to make a movie this bad?

It has a who's who of B-Movie actors, from Malcolm McDowell , to "Downtown" Julie Brown and the the kid who played Rufio in Hook (Dante Basco).

This film is disappointing in nearly every way a movie can be. First of all, it's so slowly paced that, even at just 90 minutes, it's too long.  Secondly, the casting is just terribleCostas Mandylor-who was at his best in Picket Fences -is the main villain, Lord ShinHe mugs and grimaces at the camera and delivers his line in a way that a nine year old might find scary. Also it doesn't help he's wearing a ridiculous wig that he can't stop playing with. 

But probably the most grievous of all the miscues in this movie, is the casting of a kick boxer as the man who supposed to be the Fist of the NorthstarGary Daniels plays Kenshirô, the titular Fist-and he's aggressively unappealing in the role. He wanders his way through a Dystopian Landscape TM that is caused by an unknown event at an unspecified time, as Malcolm McDowell vaguely puts it an opening monologue that says "bad things happened" as we scroll past a demolished city.

Not that we need motivation for violence in a movie, but if you're going to have a flashback explaining everything, you might want to give it to us while we still care. You see, apparently Shin betrayed Kenshirô and poked a punch of holes in chest, one by one, with his index finger-as the lady they'd been feuding over looked on. We get to see this in a flashback that looks like it was filmed on the set of a high school production of MacBeth, and it takes far too long to get to it.

Before that, Lord Shin's Goon Squad-consisting of Chris Penn and Clint Howard -hassle and capture a bunch of rebels, the aforementioned Downtown Julie Brown, and Melvin Van Peebles. Yes, that Melvin Van Peebles. The movie is cut up between the goon squad doing bad things, and then Lord Shin saying how it's all part of his master plan, wash, rinse repeat.

After a bunch of vaguely related scenes and some very boring fight sequences with gratuitous slow-mo, we at last get to the final battle between Shin and Ken. Personally, I rooted for Ken, because Lord Shin dresses like he was at a fashion show for Super villains ("This fall, all the most stylish dystopian dictators will be going with the lace-up leather tank top.")

Can you Cavalcade this movie? Sure, but we don't recommend it. It's too dull. But if you just really had to, this movie could go well with Street Fighter: The Movie, just in terms of sheer badness.

Spirit, The

I'm not really sure how this movie even got made. In only his second film, Frank Miller fell into self-referential parody; exaggerating too much here and doing too little there. And by "there" I mean the characters in the film are so two-dimensional that it makes a Dennis Rodman film seem like Shakespeare.

The worst part of all of this is that you know this movie was going to be bad around seven minutes into it. When a fight between the The Spirit and his nemesis, the Octopus-played with the standard intensity of Samuel L. Jackson-goes on far too long, and then the Dad from The Wonder Years shows up to tell the Spirit he's a loose cannon, and were he on the force he would be off the case.

Unfortunately he's not on the force, and the explanation as to why comes far too late in a movie. Turns out the whole plot is like that, dividing between dull gratuitous action sequences, and exposition that actually does not explain anything. The Spirit was made invincible by the Octopus, for no damned reason, and now the Octopus views the The Spirit as a threat since, well, he's the only person on the planet with the same powers. So they actually can't hurt each other, but they can duel back and fourth for far too much of my time. The Octopus is also something of a mad scientist who makes clones, giving the Spirit the opportunity to kill the same man over and over again. He's also after the blood of Hercules, which will make him even more invincible, which like the rest of the film, comes across as completely gratuitous.

Peppered throughout this anti-plot is Miller obsessively displaying hot chicks in satin focus. Usually, I'd be all for these sorts of shenanigans, but when someone is using pretty girls to pull the wool over my eyes, I feel very insulted. The restaurant Hooters does more or less the same thing, hoping that the hot girls will get you to ignore the fact that their food is terrible.

If The Spirit were a Hooters hamburger, it would be made of sand, barbecue sauce, and finger nail clippings; brought to you on a plate by a naked Megan Fox.

The culmination of this movie's absurdity has Jackson randomly appearing in a Nazi uniform for no discernible reason.

Then he melts a kitten.

It turns into a pile of fur and eyeballs.

After that, he apparently has an assassin (Paz Vega ) try to cut the Spirit into tiny pieces, so he can't regenerate. Somehow the hero  convinces her not to for reasons I can't recall, because by that point some adolescent girls in my row were texting and chatting about homecoming, and their conversation was far more interesting than the cinematic travesty on the screen before me.

It takes skill to take a film and make it so terrible that neither Samuel L. Jackson being his usual self, or Scarlett Johansonn just being really hot, can save it. In a way, Frank Miller is some kind of genius. The kind of genius that no one wants to hang out with or talk to.

This movie begs for a Cavalcade. Paired off with either Captain America (the original REALLY BAD one), or the T.V. Nick Fury film, this movie would promise to be a romp. Alternately, you could just make what will certainly be Frank Miller's third film, a drunk man in a Batman cowl ranting about whores.


If there’s one thing that sets sci-fi/fantasy/horror/grindhouse movies apart from others, its their love of weaponry and creative applications for it. We here at the Cavalcade will now spend the next 4 wednesdays reviewing some of the best movies out there with uniquely bad-ass weapons.

It’s the summer of ‘83, and I’m 6 years old. My dad is taking his annual week off of work during the summer to spend time with his son. I wouldn’t know it until I’m older, but it’s one of those promises my dad made to himself to ensure he wasn’t like *his* dad. All I cared about at the time was that it was the time where dad and I did whatever **I** wanted. This particular summer, my dad is going to give me a particular treat that will inform my life for the rest of my days. I tell you this quick and smarmy story so you’ll understand my absolute love and adoration for all things **Krull**-the first movie I ever saw in a theater.

And what a weird little movie it is too! The story takes place on the world of Krull, a land of wizards and warriors, of barbarians and monsters, of Kings and Seers. Into this world of might and magic (or more specifically, Dungeons and Dragons in the early days of production), comes **The Beast**-an alien(!) invader who, with his army of minions is there to do-um…*beastly *things. To be honest, his motivation is never really explained as being more than he’s an extraterrestrial son of a bitch who rides around the stars in a giant mountain. Good enough for the writers, good enough for me.

In order to combat this menacing menace, heroic Prince Colwyn and the lovely Princess Lyssa choose to get married in order to foster and alliance between their father’s warring kingdoms. But wouldn’t you know it? The Beast sends his men to crash the party-resulting in a kidnapping of the Princess, and the impetus behind the movie.

But, really-who cares? This movie is all about one thing: The Glaive.
Roughly a third of the way through the picture, the Prince completes a trial to get a weapon prophesied to help him clean up this mess, because on this medieval fantasy world, alien invasions are the *predictable* threat.

Sadly, once he actually *has* the weapon, he doesn’t use it nearly as often as he should. Hell, if it were me, I’d be using it to cut up my steaks at dinner, or open my can of beans at dinner during the long trek to the Beast’s space-mountain-ship-lair-thingy. Even worse, the Prince manages to *lose* the glaive, getting it stuck where the sun don’t shine, and has to end up using the “fire of love” given to him by his, up until that point, damsel in distress . Seriously, this Prince simply wasn’t cool enough to wield this object of weaponized awesome. How else do you explain having to be rescued by the very person he came to rescue?

All in all, this is a great-if silly-little adventure flick, and one of the few “family friendly” movies covered here on the Cavalcade. The Glaive alone elevates this deep into the realm of watchable, so we highly recommend it for any Event themed around cool weapons, high fantasy, or (strangely enough) alien invaders.


In another live-stream twitter event, I decided to move up a few tiers in budget and name recognition, mostly to scrub the filth we've sat through the last two weeks out of our skull (my skull's still ringing from The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai). Instead we're going to go for a B movie that actually saw some screentime state-side.

Bloodrayne is based (albiet, loosely) on the video game of the same name.  It's main protagonist is a Half-Vampire/Half-Human on a quest to find her Vampire father and seek bloody vengeance against him. During the course of the video game, she takes out Nazi's, monsters, and other vamps while working for the Brimstone society, a secret organization that fights the forces of darkness.  Think Blade, but with more boobs...and Nazis.

But this is all beside the point. This is a Uwe Boll flick! Silly things like "story", "plotting", or any semblance of adhereing to the licensed property go out the window when dealing this German-born directoral equivalent of Ed Wood's used underwear. This man has made a career out of destroying video game properties. The worst part is that a lot of the properties he destroys could have decent movies made about them, like Alone in the DarkHouse of the Dead, and yes-Bloodrayne.  Granted, Hollywood's not exactly faring much better. Look at Doom. But to borrow a phrase from the Godfather, it's not-fer-nothin' that the three Uwe movies I just mentioned are all consistently listed on the IMDB Bottom 100.

Finally, the film stars Kristanna Loken and Ben Kingsley: or the T-X from Terminator 3 and Ghandi respectively. While I get why Michael Madsen and Billy Zane appeared in the movie (they seem to just say "yes" to everything), at the time this movie came out, KL's star was on the rise. Granted, it never really went anywhere, but still.  As far as Sir Kingsley, he's a knight for goddsakes! Lord knows, he only needs to work when he wants to, so I have no idea why he agreed to appear. Maybe it looked better on paper?

  • Ladies and Gentlemen, we are minutes away from starting Bloodrayne.
  • First ominous sign: “A Uwe Boll Film”
  • Meatloaf’s in this too! Now my day’s complete!
  • Well, it’s already better than The Source. It has tracking shots without camera shadows.
  • Aww…Michael Madsen with a long-haired ringlet do. He’s fallen so far from Reservoir Dogs
  • Woop. There goes the sheep! Hey, a movie that kills a sheep in the first 5 minutes can’t be all bad, can it?
  • Why is the Camera making “swooshing” noises when it moves?
  • Wait? What? She escaped from her cage? How? When?
  • Ok. Mental note. You keep a superhuman, vampiric creature prisoner, and you try to Rape her? Not only is that vile, it’s stupid!
  • I mean, if she’s capable of ripping your arm off with her bare hands, do you think it might be a good idea to keep bars between you?
  • Yup, it’s a sword and sorcery flick. Here come the Mullets!
  • People just stand around when strangers come to town and start beheading corpses? Rough neighborhood.
  • Then they kill innocent civilians and set them on fire? MY KIND OF HEROES!
  • Yay! Billy Zane in a “special appearance”! Also known as a REALLY bad Wig!
  • Uh oh…he got holes in his neck. That can’t be good.
  • Wow. That’s SOME fight choreography. in the way, know, BAD. But hey, she talks!
  • I like it when the person can be seen to be CAREFULLY placing the blade at the right point in someone’s chin.
  • Ooooh, lesbian vamp action…TWICE!
  • Wait, she can REMEMBER HER CONCEPTION????
  • You know, I’ve been watching some seriously bad movies…This movie is almost professionally made by comparison.
  • I’m gonna guess that it’s a BAD thing when the preternaturally strong woman keeps hearing voices.
  • You know, this movie is really calling to attention the fact that the weapons of Bloodrayne are really impractical
  • As is the outfit….
  • Why yes, LET’S just go wandering into the room guarded by the ugly troll. It can’t POSSIBLY be a trap!
  • Wait? Her weakness is just plain water??? And why does it burn through clothes?
  • Um… looks like you lost a contact, there.
  • It must really suck for her when it rains.
  • Wait, your order was guarding it for centuries? With 1 dude, and a booby-trapped room? Against freaking MONSTERS?
  • Oh hey, I just noticed that she’s trying for an English accent. How cute!
  • So all vamps are susceptible to rain. Wow. Worst. Weakness. Ever.
  • Watching Michael Madsen with a sword is about the funniest thing I’ve seen all week.
  • So, she has these tonfa sword-knife-thingies, and is instantly able to fight with them better than a master swordsman?
  • Uwe is distracting us from the movie with cleavage shots of Michelle Rodriguez without a bra. Smartest thing he’s done thus far.
  • Wait? Vamps can go out in daylight? But are afraid of WATER? UWE, WHAT?
  • Oh hey, Meatloaf with a bunch of Naked chicks. Movie’s looking up…
  • Worst. Guards. Ever. Let the vampire hunters walk on by!
  • Ok. Worst Vampires Ever! They just let the hunters right on by too!
  • You have a sword, but punch him in the face? WHAT KIND OF VAMPIRE HUNTER ARE YOU?
  • Hey, Mister Vampire Man, do you think it might have been a bad idea to design your secret lair with stained glass windows all around?
  • Wait, you said he raped and murdered your mother right in front of you. Then you flashed back to the event, he just killed her.
  • I’m not saying I wanted to see the assault. Far from it. But…He didn’t rape anybody. Hate the dude for what he did, you know?
  • Oh hey, Michelle Rodriguez is trying for an English accent too. Why is it only the women are trying for it?
  • Um…Uwe, wouldn’t it have made more sense to show the training montage, you know, BEFORE she was whuppin’ ass with the weapons?
  • Uh oh…the movie’s pausing for character beats. They’re now trying to 1-up each other over childhood tragedies. Not a good way to start a relationship.
  • Random sex time! They talk about their parents dying and it makes them HORNY???
  • I mean, bodice ripping, humpy-pumping, and all that is good and all..but…
  • I like how they keep cutting back to Kagen, being all menacing…by not moving from his throne at all
  • Those are the dullest swords I’ve ever seen! They have rounded edges!
  • Ok. Billy Zane is awesome in the fact that he’s just havin’ a good time.
  • Wait! I thought Vamps couldn’t cross water?
  • And if vamps are all weak against water, why do you need to have HOLY water at all?
  • uh oh, she’s hearin’ voices again!
  • Wait, you can hear the heart…and it sounds like…voices???
  • Wait, the “unfindable lost relic” was in their freakin’ BASEMENT???
  • For a secret society, they’re pretty dumb.
  • Uwe’s got some fetish issues to work through. He surely digs the lesbian vampire action…
  • Is it me, or are all the varied dungeons in this movie exactly the same?
  • I guess once you’ve seen one dungeon, you’ve seen them all
  • You know, breaking into an impenetrable fortress through the front door. Not the smartest plan.
  • Ok. This movie really falls apart the second people open their mouths. If nobody spoke, it might not suck as much.
  • Wow, Sir Ben, you are bored stiff, aren’t you?
  • Ok, the hero getting all out of breath climbing the stairs. Funny. Specially since it was just Madsen being out of shape.
  • Wait, if the heart wasn’t in the box, why was it talking to people???
  • Oh hey, they do have black vampires! One ran in to have its head cut off!
  • Grabbing your own sword by the blade in order to use it….not. Smart.
  • She REALLY should stop getting stabbed in the stomach.
  • Mental note: Don’t befriend Rayne. It means death.
  • Oh damn…they’re “Acting” again.
  • Wait, she was stabbed, but it didn’t cut the clothes?
  • And uh…what’s with the throne?
  • They’re really gonna go all Conan the Barbarian? REALLY?
  • Heh, the montage sequence is very clearly showing how inconsistent they were with her hair color during the movie.
  • And uh…she’s remembering things that didn’t actually happen during the movie.
  • Is this flashback sequence really going to go through the entire movie again? Why, yes!
  • Well…THAT made no sense.
  • But it’s over. So thanks for joining us for the screening of Bloodrayne. I’m going to find a stiff drink now.

Mummy, The

I have a serious fondness for the classic Universal horror movies of the 30's and 40's. Creepy atmosphere, sexual subtext, and vaudevillian silliness oozes out of every pore of these movies who were telling such sordid tales while simultaneously fighting the censorship boards of the studios, with the conflicts resulting in some great movies (and some really bad ones, to be fair). For my 13th birthday, my present from my parents was a dozen blank VHS tapes so that I could record a classic horror movie marathon running on one of the pay channels over my b-day weekend. As I got older, I must have burned out more than half of those tapes, watching the movies over and over.

By the time I was graduating from high school, the studios were resurrecting these classic B-movie franchises with lush productions such as Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and I was in hog heaven. Sure, some of the movies were pretentious forays that weren't nearly as fun as the originals (I'm looking at youWolf ), but at least my monstrous childhood companions were getting some serious attention once again. So when, in 1999, the studios finally got around to The Mummy, I took my 9 dollars to the theater and settled in to be taken back to the first time I saw the bandaged undead-corpse shamble across the museum floor in Karloff's 1931 Original.

What I saw instead was a film that owed more to Indiana Jones and the pulp serials of the 30's than the classic Universal films. But it was made with such a sense of glee that I didn't mind, especially since I was too busy being blown away by some of the more astonishing computer special effects of the day. The story is laughable, the characters sketched thin, and the scenarios are absured, but when the DVD came out, I eagerly snatched it up, and started the much more difficult process of burning that out by watching it over and over. Sure it wasn't atmospheric and creepy, but it was one hell of an adventure romp that paid homage to all of its sources... eventually (near the end, I finally got my shambling bandaged corpses in a scene that also makes great reference to Jason and the Argonauts).

Fast forward almost a decade and the Mummy theme finally makes its way out of the voting block for the Cavalcade. This was the first picture I thought of, so I ran out to the store, picked up the shiny new Blu-Ray. The night of the event came and I threw it in the player, eagerly anticipating a great experience and....well... the years haven't been all that kind to it.

Being from the early years of photo-real CGI, the effects aren't nearly as impressive as they once were, and the overall flow of the movie just doesn't work as well as it once did. That said, we had a good time watching the picture, even if it wasn't the thrill-a-minute it was back in '99. Additionally, there really aren't that many better choices for mummy movies easily available. The sequels got progressively worse (with Tomb of the Dragon Emperor being a total waste of time on any level), and there isn't exactly a glut of Mummy pictures otherwise. Pull it out for a Cavalcade, and you won't be disappointed... But you won't be blown away either.