Saturday 24 April 2010

DVD Reviews

Starring: Illya Allman, Barry Bishop and Sarah Frances Conkle
Director: Sam Drog

Available Now - £5.99 (DVD)
Review by Blake Harmer

On the darkest night of the year, when Satan is allowed to walk the earth, a group of Satanists kidnap a redneck waitress to be a given up as Lucifer’s bride and mother of the Antichrist. But when her friends stop the devil from taking over one of the devil-worshippers and completing the ritual, Satan is transferred into a sacrificed chicken (Yes, you heard me.). Now, the Satanists and Rednecks must try and stop the demonic fowl from passing on its seed so the antichrist can be born, whilst not having their souls eaten at the same time.

I would like to take this time to apologise to Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde for saying their plot was stupid. I was obviously unaware that such a terrible film existed that could have such a bizarre plot that it rivals One Eyed Monster on the ludicrous scale.

This film is a low budget affair with terrible acting, special effects and script, with any attempts at comedy failing because of one or more of these reasons. The sound is also terrible with most of the actors sounding dubbed even when they're not. It is almost as though they re-did the sound entirely after the film was shot, and even then it sounds muffled.

The only saving grace of the film is the star of the show, the Zombeak itself. Whilst it is a terrible puppet with a moving head and beak, it still manages to raise the most laughs in the whole film because of its sheer crappiness. How does the Zombeak leap off the stairs onto its prey? Simple, someone obviously pushes it off the stairs, and yes it does look as bad as that sounds.

The only other good thing that can be said for this film is that it is very short, running at just over an hour long including the credits, so the suffering is fairly brief. But seeing there is a lot of nothing and mucking about in the film, one can only think that it could have been a lot shorter.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Lots of eyes being gouged out by a demonic chicken and zombies being hacked to bits with axes - but nothing super gory, especially as the terrible CG blood ruins it anyway.
Sex/Nudity: With a film this terrible, I was actually disappointed that the female lead didn’t show her boobs in an attempt to save this weak shonk fest.
Swearing: Lots of over the top swearing as is the teenage horror norm.
Summary: A terrible horror movie that’s saving grace is that the chicken deaths are quite amusing, and that the whole film is quite brief. It is a good film to watch to take the piss out of with some friends, but apart from that, I’d avoid it as you would the actual Antichrist, chicken or not. 2/10
Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone
Director: Anno
Manga Entertainment

Available From 26th April - £17.99 (DVD), £19.99 (Collector's Edition DVD), £22.99 (Blu-ray) and £24.99 (Collector's Edition Blu-ray)
Review by Brad Harmer

The year is 2015, and half of the Earth's population is dead, victims of a disaster at the turn of the millennium dubbed the Second Impact and thought to have been the result of a cataclysmic meteor strike on Antarctica. In fact, the event was brought about by human interaction with a race of alien beings known only as Angels. To defend the earth against future attacks from the Angels, humans were forced to utilise the Angels’ alien technology in creating a new breed of bio-engineered vessels, the Evangelions, giant robot-like weapons piloted by human youths.

Answering a summons from his estranged, enigmatic, scientist father, 14-year-old Shinji Ikari arrives in the rebuilt city of Tokyo-3 just as another Angel attacks only to learn that he is next in line to pilot an Evangelion and defend the city, and ultimately the planet, from the rampaging alien force!

Mecha Vs Kaiju (Giant Fucking Robots Vs Giant Fucking Monsters, for all of you casual geeks), is always a good thing – in principle at least. Evangelion: You Are (Not) Alone has the potential to be a really good series, for the most part. To start with, the animation is simply superb. In fact, this might be one of the best looking animes I’ve seen. I’m not the biggest fan of merging CG and cel animation, but it actually works here, so that’s a real big score for them. There are some really good characters on offer, too.

What holds it back though, is a feeling that we’ve been here before. Giant Robots? Yeah. Child protagonist piloting a Mech? Yeah. Unexplained monsters? Yeah. Slightly creepy girl with virtuoso piloting skills? Yeah. If, at some point over the next few discs, we aren’t witness to several robots merging together to form a giant robot, then I’ll shit a Gundam.

Also, I know it’s early in the series, but there was simply no sense of danger. I don’t care how pretty the explosions are. If I’m certain that none of the major characters will get hurt in them, then there’s no impact.

Sure, it’s generic, but if you’re looking to scratch your giant robot itch, you could certainly do a lot worse than this impressive slice of animation.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Several explosions and some gunfire.
Sex/Nudity: Tentacle free.
Swearing: Some uses, but mild and infrequent.
Summary: Not the most original of mecha stories, but it’s well put together and pretty to look at. Worth keeping your eye on. 7/10
WWE - TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2009
Starring: John Cena, Randy Orton, The Undertaker
Clear Vision Ltd

Available Now - £17.99 (DVD)
Review by Omer Ibrahim

WWE presents Tables, Ladders and Chairs, the PPV based on furniture that probably wasn’t intended to be used as weaponry. It’s a chance for the company to push its “real” stars, be they talented or not.

In the Shelton Benjamin/Christian hype, Christian states the ECW Title Match will “steal the show”. The Ladder Match that he and Shelton enter has a really good go. It’s a very good spotfest spoilt by WWE’s “no blood” rule. At one point Christian clips his head off of a ladder and bleeds from a small-ish cut on his temple. Within seconds a WWE cutsman is at ringside with an ice-iron, closing the cut whilst Benjamin is forced to stall for a horrendous amount of time. It’s a shame, because the rest of the match is great.

Drew McIntyre, John Morrison, Intercontinental Title, blah, blah, blah…

Mickie James’ shot at Michelle McCool’s Women’s Championship is better than I thought it would be. Apart from the ridiculous “Piggy James” jokes, (more on that another time...) both workers are crisp, and all of the bumps are sharp.

John Cena’s WWE Title defence in a Table Match against Sheamus is shocking from start to finish. It’s slow, boring and the finish makes both wrestlers look abysmal. It’s pretty much all Sheamus’ fault, and he really is an overpushed, pale, ginger turd of a grappler. Actually, a real pale, ginger haired turd would make you react...

Another slow, predictable match as Batista has a chance at Undertaker and his World Championship in a Chair Match. Bear in mind that Chair Match rules state that you can be disqualified, but not for using a chair, you just know that there will be shenanigans. A tedious and disappointing match with a twist in the finish about as exciting as a pale, ginger haired turd.

(The commentary here sucks. Batista’s daily protein intake will make chairs hurt less, and Undi’ has never competed in a match as dangerous as a Chair Match. Fuck fire, cages and being buried alive, there’s furniture to contend with!)

The match between Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston is an entertaining affair. Orton uses his usual match formula, but Kofi copes well, and is allowed to look equal to Orton throughout.

The main event is a TLC match for the Tag Team Championships between JeriShow (Chris Jericho and Big Show) and DX (Triple H and Shawn Michaels). All four men are on the top of their games in this one, and they enter a thrilling match featuring Big Show up a ladder, Y2J attempting to win by standing on Show’s shoulders, and HBK getting choke slammed through HHH. Yup, through HHH.

Recommended Matches:
Kofi Kingston VS Randy Orton
JeriShow VS DX

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Hard to say...weapons, but no blood.
Sex/Nudity: Does lycra count?
Swearing: Not here, kids!
Summary: A pretty poor PPV, saved by the main event. Don’t pay full price for it, but grab it if you can. 6/10

At last weekend’s C2E2 convention, Dark Horse Comics announced that it would continue telling the epic tale of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian with the return of legendary writer Roy Thomas. Thomas introduced the comic-reading public to Conan in 1970, when he began the highly successful Conan the Barbarian for Marvel Comics, a title he wrote for ten years. Conan and comics fans will also remember the former Marvel editor in chief’s classic tales from lauded runs as a writer and editor on The Savage Sword of Conan and as the writer of King Conan. Now, in 2010, Thomas returns to the character he helped ingrain into the consciousness of the comics community with Conan: Road of Kings.

“Conan the Cimmerian is one of the most important people in my life—even if he never really existed—and it was a genuine thrill to be asked by Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson to scribe a year’s worth of his darkly epic adventures,” Thomas said.

Continuing where Conan the Cimmerian #25 leaves off, Thomas’s Conan: Road of Kings will tell a twelve-issue epic about the next stage in the adventurous hero’s illustrious life, beginning with a new #1 issue. Featuring art by Mike Hawthorne (Fear Agent), Road of Kings begins this December.

Conan: Road of Kings picks up the barbarian on the Vilayet Sea, at nearly the easternmost edge of Robert E. Howard’s map of the Hyborian age, and has twelve breathless issues to deliver him—black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand—to the westernmost shores of that age undreamed of,” Thomas continued. “To reach his destination, he must travel the fabled Road of Kings that winds its way through the civilized kingdoms—but along his path lurk inhuman monstrosities, malevolent sorcerers and not a few power-crazed men and women who are determined to see to it that he doesn’t make it.

“Dynamic artist Mike Hawthorne and I intend to make Conan’s westward odyssey a chapter in the Cimmerian’s life that readers won’t soon forget,” Thomas explained. “This will be a quite different take on Conan’s life than the one I pioneered at Marvel in the seventies and the nineties, with new adventures, new antagonists, even new and alternative sides to characters you thought you’d met before.”

The current Conan creative team of writer Tim Truman and artist Tom├ís Giorello are set to continue their adventures with the Cimmerian, as well. Jumping ahead in Conan’s timeline, King Conan: The Scarlet Citadel features the adventurer years in the future — after he’s become the king of Aquilonia — and adapts one of Robert E. Howard’s original Conan tales. This four-issue miniseries will hit comic shops in early 2011.

Dark Horse Comics is also slated to continue its run of successful Conan reprints with King Conan Volume 1 on sale August 25, The Savage Sword of Conan Volume 8 on sale September 22, and Conan: The Newspaper Strips Volume 1 on sale September 8, all featuring the writing talents of Thomas alongside other greats, like Doug Moench, John Buscema, Gil Kane, Ernie Chan, and more!

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