Posts tagged "CGI trainwreck"

Flying Monkeys

Flying Monkeys

Written by Silvero Gouris
Directed by Robert Grasmere

Flying Monkeys
What did you say about my stinking paws???

Flying Monkeys is a perfect example of a SyFy flick. It’s got a swarm of ridiculous creatures, lots of bloody death, bad CGI, and random acting talent. Released to cash in on Oz: The Great and Powerful, Flying Monkeys wedges in two small Oz references, but then goes on its own direction in what may be one of the most liberal SyFy films ever.

Flying Monkeys
This monkey is a curse to all it touches…it was in Hangover 2!

Does Flying Monkeys promote exotic animals as pets, or is it a warning against them? Without being preachy, Flying Monkeys shows that exotic animals are smuggled into the US, are sold by a gun-packing jerk, and can cause horrible ecological damage and death when introduced to a new ecosystem. Also that they slaughter and devour entire towns full of random people, just like kudzu does!

Even more crazy, Flying Monkeys has a commentary on gun control! Flying Monkeys is anti-gun. If the flying monkeys (actually a Chinese mythological creature called a hsigo) are killed, they just turn into two hsigos. They can only be killed by special weapons blessed by the Emperor of China. Guns just make things worse, though they may cause a brief way to escape, they ultimately just increase the problem. Characters disparage how everyone in the US has a gun, because it makes the effort to kill the hsigos that much harder. Hsigos are like Gremlins, except they reproduce thanks to violent gun culture instead of water. Expand this out to how gun violence can create more gun violence, and Flying Monkeys is suddenly drawing a line in the sand.

Flying Monkeys
First we catch the monkey, then I argue with it about post-Baum Oz books and which should be considered canon, until it dies of boredom!

There is also a throwaway bit about how Skippy the flying monkey leader doesn’t kill Joan because she’s nice to him in monkey form. The hunters are shocked at this, stating because no one has ever been kind to a hsigo, ever. Then they go to kill him anyway, though this suggests that maybe, just maybe, the killer monkeys could be rehabilitated.

As we declared long ago, Type A SyFy films feature one (or a small number) of invincible creatures that slaughter everyone. Type B SyFy films (which Flying Monkeys is an example of) feature a whole swarm of creatures that slaughter everyone, but the creatures have a weakness in that they have a Queen-type creature that if killed, they all die. Type C SyFy films feature a whole swarm of killable creatures that slaughter everyone, with no leader creature. I’ve since added Type D SyFy flicks, which is when creatures battle each other, though those films can also fit in with any of the prior three types.

The hsigo of Chinese mythology (from what little I’ve found on them in English) are actually helper animals, winged monkeys with human faces. Their depiction in Flying Monkeys seems largely invented. The creatures are played by a mix of real monkeys, CGI, and gloved monster hands used for closeup shots. But let’s not forget the greatest thing of all, FLYING MONKEY VISION!

Flying Monkeys
Rainbow Heart: The sign of a true killer

Joan Palmer (Maika Monroe) – High school graduate and one day veterinarian who is getting over her mother’s death and her father’s lack of interest. Is gifted with a pet monkey, that turns out to be a killer flying monkey. It could happen to anyone! Maika Monroe is a famous kiteboarder turned movie star.
James Palmer (Vincent Ventresca) – Joan’s absentee dad who decided the best way to get over his wife’s death was to work himself to death and ignore his daughter. He begins to make up for it just in time for the flying monkeys attack! Interesting they made the Invisible Man into the Invisible Dad…
Sonya (Electra Avellan) – Joan’s friend who has the classic Kansan accent. She just wants to live life and party and shower without monkeys spying on her.
Yin (Boni Yanagisawa) – Female Hunter of hsigo whose clan has been doing so for centuries under order of the Emperor. Sure, the Emperor is long dead and China’s now run by a completely different government, but the hunt continues. Yin is very intense.
Chin-Lee (Lee Nguyen) – Hunter of the clan that was ordered to track down and destroy the rogue hsigos. Possibly the best actor in the entire movie.
Flying Monkeys (real monkeys, CGI, gloves) – These hsigo are cute monkeys by day, vicious winged killers by night. If you kill a hsigo, you only make it split in two and both of them mad! Joan names her monkey/hsigo Skippy, though later it is revealed the hsigo’s name is Nico (a traditional Chinese name??) and if he dies, all the hsigos die. Animated without hair, because CGI hair is expensive.
Wang (Alvin Chon) – Smuggler pilot and best character in the film!
Flying Monkeys

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - March 25, 2013 at 5:51 am

Categories: Movie Reviews, Ugly   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aladdin and the Death Lamp (Review)

Aladdin and the Death Lamp

Written by Joe Morganella, Angela Mancuso, and Kevin Commins
Directed by Mario Azzopardi

Mister Aladdin Sir…BAAAAAAARRRRFFFF!!!

With the thematic elements of a heroic swashbuckling adventure in a faraway land, Aladdin and the Death Lamp swoops in and turns out to be an entertaining monster flick. Aladdin and the Death Lamp’s heroes are treasure hunters, the stakes are huge, and the evil monster runs around killing people regardless. Aladdin and the Death Lamp uses the plot to help keep the budget low, the treasure hunting lets them run around empty sets that don’t require a lot of extras running around to make it realistic. The quests keep you following along the story instead of questioning the plot direction. And everyone looks like they’re enjoying themselves, which is always fun.

Much as I liked how scenery chewing everyone was in Pegasus vs. Chimera, Aladdin and the Death Lamp has the opposite flavor, with all of the heroes playing their roles earnestly and seriously. This also works, and makes Aladdin and the Death Lamp a better film. And it helps that there is an evil guy being ridiculously evil as well. Aladdin is the most heroic man who ever lived, Khalil is the wisest man who ever lived, Shifa will deliver lines about nobility that would make you groan if they were delivered any less earnestly, Luca plays off his charmy and tempted halves well, and Sharira would threaten his own mother with death if she tried to ground him.

I’m a Death Eater! And now that Voldemort is back, we’re in charge!

The main problem is the unevenness of the monster. The Jinn is specifically stated to be trying to open a portal to let all the other Jinn into our world to cause trouble. But it’s also slaved to a lamp and must grant the wishes of the owner. And it also grants wishes to random people. And it is supposed to do so in an effort to kill the people by their own wishes, in a “careful what you wish for” type lesson. But the Jinn also just straight up murders people. All of these things sort of loose the focus of the monster’s motivation. And that is very important to me, a weirdo.

It’s an age of danger because it’s the age of Jinns!! Science and logic is ruled by magic. It’s the age of Insane Clown Posse??? Fucking magnets, I knew they’d cause trouble! Each of the heroes has a different element symbol: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire. But there is no Bruce Willis or Milla Jovovich running around. Only evil Genies!

You don’t want to know what word you say on You Can’t Do That on Television to make this happen!

Aladdin (Darren Shahlavi) – The heroic hero who is the best person on the planet. Aladdin robs graves for money for orphans. Darren Shahlavi plays him so amazingly heroic in a way that you rarely see outside of pulp novels. Which is sort of awesome, as these films are pulp cinema.
Luca (Noam Jenkins) – Luca is Aladdin’s best friend and fellow orphan brother. He’s sort of a lovable rogue, but he has high gambling debts and a greedy streak that leads to his downfall.
Shifa (Kandyse McClure) – The little sister of the orphan crew, Shifa is left behind, but returns with Khalil to save Aladdin and Luca when they get into trouble. She’s also crafty and thinks on her feet.
Khalil (Eugene Clark) – The wise old orphanage runner who knows the secret histories of the three main characters and what happened with the Jinn long ago. Plays the wise elder role.
Sharira (George Ghali) – Corrupt merchant trader who is also seeking ultimate power through controlling a Jinn. Uses debt leverage over Luca to worm his way into the adventure, but pays for his greed.
Jinn (CGI) – The evil Jinn looks like a smoke dinosaur alien. Trapped in a lamp for decade and now free to sucks on souls and turn into a tiger and unlock doors. This Jinn has some odd hobbies.
I’m not worthless! And I don’t have fleas!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - October 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

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The Little Panda Fighter – Discount Puppet Explosion 411 – Episode 111

It’s Discount Puppet Explosion 411! Two teams battle to review B-movies.

In this episode, Team Jawesome gets animated in their discussion of The Little Panda Fighter (Ursinho da Pesada), which just happens to be better animated than the film itself! See this Brazilian animation imitation that strives to be Kung Fu Panda but without everything ever that made Kung Fu Panda a good film. Vídeo Brinquedo (Toyland Video) brings the thunder (the Teddy Thunders!) of their Pixar knockoffs and now will reap the lightning of Team Jawesome. Watch the video that survived two hard drive explosions to get edited months later! Be a survivor and watch Pancada dance his way into your brains, slowly driving you mad as the untextured animation becomes worse and worse. But will Johnny Mustache accept Sleestack Jones and Mongo’s choice? Or will Team Jawesome be one step closer to being blasted to the Moon?

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - June 18, 2012 at 11:43 pm

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Morlocks (Review)


Written by Adam J. Karp and Royal McGraw
“Based” on The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Directed by Matt Codd

Welcome to Florida!

SciFi Channel (now known as SyFy for years despite that name sucking) goes all H.G. Wells on us again to give us Morlocks, a SciFi Original Movie version of the classic time travel tale, that dumps the entire story in favor of having people trapped in time with crazy killer Morlocks. Though I applaud them taking familiar elements and doing something original with them, the original thing they do is just the same old basic creature feature plot where a team of people are killed off bit by bit until they kill all the monsters. And if you stop to think about it, little that happens makes any sense. But there are a few moments of goofy WTF that will get some praise.

The Budweiser Frogs, 2020 A.D.

Director Matt Codd also helmed the SciFi classic Dragon Dynasty. The keyboard theme blaring out reminds me of the Space Mutiny theme, which is always great.

Sure we’re untextured enough that you can’t tell what we look like, but you can’t see our cool CGI shading until THE FUTURE!

Dr. James Radnor (David Hewlett) – Former time travel project head, who quit his top secret job and wrote a book called Time Travels’s Strife that is pretty much a description of what he did in the top secret lab. No one cares. David Hewlett is also in the SciFi Channel classic Boa vs. Python
Dr. Angela Kelley (Christina Cole) – Angela still works for the secret government project, and is James’s exwife. Figures out what Colonel Wichita is up too, but a bit too late to not get tossed into THE FUTURE!
Colonel Wichita (Robert Picardo) – Military man in charge of the time travel project, his son John has cancer so he goes nuts in pursuit of Morlock DNA in the belief that it will cure his son. The time travel works sort of like Stargate, which is good that Stargate alums Picardo and Hewlett are starring.
Tyrell (???) – Thanks to squashed credits and an awful IMDB page, I have no clue who played Tyrell, one of the main soldiers sent with Radnor into THE FUTURE. Starts out as a stereotype but becomes a full-fledged character kicking Morlock butt.
Vera Cortez (Marem Hassler) – One of the prior team members who was lost in THE FUTURE, she helps Radnor and his team get back to the present. My favorite character.
Dr. Felix Watkins (Jim Fyfe) – Holy crap, Jim Fyfe from Encyclopedia! That show was awesome, Jim Fyfe is awesome, and I hope he pops up in more SyFy films! This time, he’s the rival scientist to Radnor who takes over after he quit, and every time the two are on the screen together they argue argue argue. Which is pretty funny.
Morlocks (CGI) – Green jerks from the future who are almost invincible unless the plot demands they be easily killed by a slight breeze.
Dinobirds (CGI) – For some reason there are dinobirds in THE FUTURE. Why? They never explain why. It makes no damn sense. It’s completely crazy. Just go with it, dudes! Dinobirds! I guess the CG house had an extra model lying around.
The most unreal tournament of them all!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm

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Sector 7 (Review)

Sector 7

aka 7 gwanggu aka 7광구

Written by Yun Je-gyun
Directed by Kim Ji-hun

Sector 7
Okay, team, we’re going to get to the bottom of the question “Does this film have phallic and vaginal symbolisms, or is it just stupid?”

Sector 7 is so by-the-numbers that if you squint really hard, you’ll learn how to count in Korean! Sector 7 decided that it wanted to take all the goodwill that The Host generated for Korean monster movies and throw it all away into the pit of despair, instead giving us a grab bag of scenes ganked from some of the most famous alien monster films of all time. Each scene is a roulette wheel spin random landing on what film they’re stealing from this time. Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Predator, Leviathan, Lethal Weapon 3, probably other films I just didn’t care enough to remember. Oddly enough, I don’t recall any scene ripped directly from Alien 4. It’s almost as if Alien 4 is so bad no one should copy it…

Sector 7
Wait, am I a penis or a vagina? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON??

But enough of what this films steals from, let’s go over what this film is. Sector 7 is Korea’s first 3D film, and was obviously filmed on a soundstage with the outside backgrounds CGIed in, giving it a weird visual nature. That combined with me watching a 2D transfer of the 3D film probably caused it to look less visually stunning than it is supposed to. But since there wasn’t really any iconic cinematography in the first place, it’s no big deal.

Sector 7
Shoot to kill any and all phallic references!

We get a prologue that is set in the long distant year of 1985, where a man investigating troubles with an underwater drill at the uncharted Sector 7 finds tiny floating jelly things, then horrible disaster strikes. But that horrible disaster factors nothing at all to the rest of the film, so ignore all that and let’s jump to 2011, where there is still an oil rig in Sector 7 and it is still uncharted despite the 16 years and the freaking oil rig that probably cost millions of dollars to build in the middle of nowhere. That logic continues into the rest of the film, but before that, let’s get to the cast…

Sector 7
You don’t look like my vagina to me!

Cha Hae-joon (Ha Ji-won) – A very driven oil hunter lady who searches Sector 7 desperately for oil because her father was the guy in the prologue and he died looking for oil. Sector 7 is desperate to let you know that Cha is driven and tough, between the scenes of her running around an averting oil rig disasters and the scenes of her running off to keep looking for oil after they’re ordered out, we learn that she’s driven to look for oil. She’s the Ripley of the film. Ha Ji-won can also be seen in Sex is Zero and Love So Divine.
Kim Dong-soo (Oh Ji-ho) – Cha’s boyfriend who is the handsome guy on the oil platform. He’s better than her in motorcycling, but not in surviving monster attacks. SPOILERS!
Lee Jeong-man (Ahn Seong-gi) – Lee Jeong-man is the Division Captain and also Cha’s uncle. He’s totally not involved in a conspiracy….
Hwang In-hyeok (Park Jeong-hak) – The oil rig captain who is a jerk, and will do jerkish things. Because he’s a jerk. So jerkish.
Park Hyeon-jeong (Cha Ye-ryeon) – The oil rig’s genetic researcher, because we need genetic researches on oil rigs. For some reason. Definitely not conspiracy reasons! Why do you keep thinking there is a conspiracy going on?
Jang Chi-soon (Park Yeong-soo) – a creepy guy who gets infected by one of the tiny underwater floating creatures when he tries to eat it. Also he does creepy stuff like perv on Park Heyon-jeong.
Monster (CGI) – The nameless monster is like a generic generic version of the Host monster, but with less distinguishing characteristics and a bunch of goofy tentacle things for extra grossness. And that’s not to mention the prehensile tongue. Is set on fire more often than Beavis’s bedroom.
Sector 7
I bet there are phallic references here!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm

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Almighty Thor – Discount Puppet Explosion 411 – Episode 110

It’s Discount Puppet Explosion 411! Two teams battle to review B-movies.

In this episode, Team Bastards deals with Thor. Not the big budget Thor that was boring and bland, but the low-rent Thor that has guns and whines all the time. But there’s dinosaurs! And giant dogs! And Richard Grieco! And some chick! Will Whiny Thor make Team Bastards declare war against Thursdays? Find out!

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - November 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm

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