Lunar Cycle #4 - 2010: Moby Dick (2010)/ Titanic II (2010)/ Doghouse (2009)/ Big Ass Spider! (2013)

This section of the blog is due to me being lazy, I mean swamped with watching so many films that I want to discuss on this blog. But I don't really have the time, so I decided to quickly [well as much as I can really] to review films I don't really want to focus too much time on. You'll be seeing these more often than not. Time for the reviews!

Trey Stokes

Barry Bostwick - Captain Ahab
Renee O'Connor - Dr. Michelle Herman
Jay Gillespie - Young Ahab
Michael B. Teh - Queequeg
Adam Grimes - Starbuck
Matt Lagan - Captain John "Boomer" Enderby

Genre - Action/Science Fiction/B-Movie/Bad Animals

Running Time - 87 Minutes

As a young crew member on a submarine, Ahab (Jay Gillespie) is traumatized after a giant whale attacks the submarine [more like bites it in half] and bites his leg off. Years later, Ahab (now played by Barry Bostwick) is a captain of another submarine, still focused on getting revenge on the giant whale that scarred him for life. To do this, Ahab decides to recruit [or kidnap, however one would look at it] a marine biologist named Dr. Michelle Herman (Renee O'Connor), who specializes in whales and has invented a whale song generator that lures whales.

As Ahab plans to use Dr. Herman to gain vengeance on the whale, the whale itself has been on a killing spree. Knowing Ahab's history, the Navy believe that Ahab is behind the attacks, sending Ahab's old friend Captain John "Boomer" Enderby (
Matt Lagan) to go after Ahab - who is going all out to kill the whale.

Obviously based on Herman Neville's novel "Moby Dick", this Asylum produced adaptation was much better than I had expected it to be. But let's not go crazy here - 2010: MOBY DICK isn't a good film either. But it could have been a lot worse.

Two things really save it. The first is the acting. Barry Bostwick is way over-the-top as Ahab, but it sort of works for this film. You kind of laugh at/with him as he performs, but the character is very messed up mentally and emotionally due to a giant whale attacking him. So I'm okay with the hammy performance, especially since he seems to be having fun with the role. The other good actor is Renee O'Connor as Dr. Herman. Best known as Gabrielle on Xena: Warrior Princess, O'Connor brings subtlety to her role that balances Bostwick out. I really enjoyed how these two played off each other. The other actors are decent as well, although not of them really stand out. But none of them are terrible, which is a plus.

The other thing is that 2010: MOBY DICK is a pretty failthful adaptation of the novel, just with cheap CGI and modern technology. While the characters aren't deep, and the story isn't exactly thrilling for the most part, at least it follows the template of the actual narrative pretty closely. It even takes some of the dialogue from the novel, which was surprising. For a studio that built itself by making mockbusters of popular films and making really cheesy B-movies, it was nice to see The Asylum give its source material a decent level of respect I wasn't expecting.

By the way, Ahab's line: "He took my leg. I don't intend to give him my ass..." is just amazing. Gold stars for that.

The negatives? For one, the CGI is pretty freakin' terrible. The Asylum used Mega Shark and digitally transformed him into a giant whale that looks faker than hell. It also changes size in each scene it's in, which is pretty funny if you notice it. Also, the explosions look ridiculous and the green screen effect is really obvious. For a film with a decent budget, it doesn't really look it. Did Bostwick and O'Connor cost that much? Maybe they should have showed less of the whale, which would have made the experience better.

The direction isn't all that great honestly. It's not an exciting film, which is surprising since the battle between a man and an animal can create tension and suspense. But it's really repetitive when Ahab fires torpedoes to kill the damn thing every 5 minutes. I got bored quickly. Also, I wish the film was more tongue-in-cheek. It takes itself way too seriously, which makes all the silly moments seem like a waste. There really should have been a bit more intentional humor to make the film more amusing to watch.

2010: MOBY DICK isn't the worst Asylum film I've seen, but it's not the best either. The acting is above average, and I like how the filmmakers took the time to respect the source material. But the direction is kind of bland and dull, and the special effects are terrible, even for The Asylum. I didn't feel like I wasted my time, but I didn't feel like I used it to my potential either. Could have been worse, I guess.

2 Howls Outta 4

Shane Van Dyke

Shane Van Dyke - Hayden Walsh
Marie Westbrook - Amy Maine
Bruce Davison - James Maine
Brooke Burns - Kim Patterson
Michelle Glavan - Kelly Wade
Dylan Vox - Dwayne Stevens
D.C. Douglas - Captain Will Howard

Genre - Action/Adventure/Drama/B-Movie

Running Time - 90 Minutes

For the 100th anniversary of the day that the ill-fated Titanic sailed to its doom, millionaire Hayden Walsh (Shane Van Dyke) thinks it's a fantastic idea to recreate the tragic event by building a new Titanic ship and setting it sail. Nothing can go wrong, right? Well, when global warming decides to melt the ice caps to the point where they start breaking off and causing a giant tsunami that's heading towards the direction of the ship, history may repeat itself. I guess Celine Dion could use a new hit...

I have three words for TITANIC II:


I really don't know who thought this film was a good idea. I'm not the biggest fan of James Cameron's mega successful love story about the Titanic, but I respect its artistic achievement and I love the last half hour of that film [the rest is hit-and-miss for me]. TITANIC II isn't a sequel to that film [the fact that this B-movie version exists is insult enough], but it could have been a fun time if it wasn't so damn boring with unlikeable characters. This ship deserves to sink to the bottom of the ocean.

I don't know where to start with this film. The story is just terrible. I think if there was a sense of pageantry or something on an epic scale, silly or not, TITANIC II would have made me feel something. Or at least a history lesson of the first Titanic, which this film never does. Yes, a lot of people know the story, or have seen the film. But if you're going to talk about the first voyage, TELL ME ABOUT THE FIRST VOYAGE! Instead, we just have stupid, annoying characters getting on this ship as if nothing bad is going to happen. We also have crew members who mention that the readings are the same as during the first voyage. Wouldn't that be fucking creepy to anyone else besides me? I don't get it!

The love story is here, but it's pretty lame and predictable. Characters who act like pricks at the beginning of the film quickly change their tune once the ship is in trouble, creating an unrealistic mood swing. Even the people on the ship, once they know they're in trouble, don't really react realistically. Sure, some of them scream and panic. Some of them even fight. But they're pretty calm for the most part. If these characters don't really care, why should we as an audience?

The special effects are pretty terrible as well. The ship changes from a replica of the Titanic to a replica of the Queen Mary every other scene [the film was actually shot inside the Queen Mary]. Both ships look bad, fit for a CGI cutscene on the PlayStation 1. There's also a hilarious death scene where an iceberg splits in half, and a dude standing over the crack falls right through. And it looks like the guy just falls out of frame instead of anything remotely natural. And the tsunami looks like a cartoon tsunami [which is 800 mph, faster than the speed of sound - although it takes a while before the ship is affected by it], but it was probably the best special effect of the movie. By the way, why would anyone surf near icebergs? Ugh.

The direction by actor Shane Van Dyke isn't great really. Van Dyke decided to film his own version of THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, but with less tension, suspense, or interesting action set pieces. When a guy can't direct the extras to fall towards the same direction the ship is leaning, I can't really take your work seriously. It was pretty funny though. The editing was kinda weird at times, and the film was nothing visually special. I also wish, like I did with 2010: MOBY DICK, that TITANIC II was more tongue-in-cheek. Do a parody of the James Cameron film or something. That film was three hours long, but it didn't bore me. A 90 minute film shouldn't bore me, which TITANIC II unfortunately does.

The acting was eh as well. Bruce Davison is probably the best actor. He's done a lot of stuff, most famously X-MEN
, and he tries to make the script work to his advantage. But the screenplay is dreadful, which brings him down along with it. Brooke Burns looks hot and that's about it. Shane Van Dyke is alright as the millionaire who creates this second Titanic, although I felt his character felt forced. The rest of the actors do the best they can, taking this film seriously. I wish they had more fun with the story because TITANIC II could have used it.

TITANIC II sinks before it can float. Sure, it's watchable as a background noise sort of thing. But it's so flawed, you wonder how anyone thought the film was fine to release as is. Boring action sequences, characters you'll feel indifferent to, bland direction, and okay acting - TITANIC II won't make Celine Dion sing anytime soon. I probably would have enjoyed this more if I was under the influence of something. But I shouldn't have to be high or drunk to enjoy trash. TITANIC II takes itself way too seriously, which makes you wonder why it was even made to begin with.

0.5 Howls Outta 4

Jake West

Danny Dyer - Neil
Noel Clarke - Mikey
Emil Marwa - Graham
Lee Ingleby - Matt
Stephen Graham - Vince
Keith-Lee Castle - Patrick
Christina Cole - Candy
Terry Stone - Sergeant Gavin Wright
Neil Maskell - Banksy

Genre - Horror/Comedy/Zombies/Virus

Running Time - 89 Minutes

Vince (Stephen Graham) is going through a divorce and has been down on himself. His buddies Neil (Danny Dyer), Mikey (Noel Clarke), Graham (Emil Marwa), Matt (Lee Ingleby), and Patrick (Keith-Lee Castle) decide to cheer Vince up by taking him on a weekend retreat full of booze and sex. When they make it to their destination, a small village named Moodley, they start to realize that all the men in the village have been eaten by the women - who have been infected by a virus that has turned them into flesh-eating zombies.

Inspired by EVIL DEAD II, DEAD ALIVE, and SHAUN OF THE DEAD, DOGHOUSE is a British horror-comedy that seems to have a theme of misogyny against women, which is greatly turned around on the men. The sexism is done in a funny way rather than offensively, making DOGHOUSE a pretty fun watch. However, it doesn't come close to being as good as the three films I mentioned above.

The narrative is pretty much your standard zombie-comedy, but with lead characters who revel in debauchery and saying pretty sexist things about women. The men, having issues with the female sex and not having any sort of understanding of them, tend to fear them and use that to justify their thoughts and actions towards women. Vince, who is going through a divorce, doesn't understand why his marriage failed when he did everything right and treated his wife like a queen. It's the opposite of the other characters, who treat women like objects, and seem quite content in doing so. But they do it in humorous ways that you can't really hate the men too much. They're just misguided, which makes their exchange with the zombie women somewhat amusing. They continue to treat these zombies like objects, but these objects fight back and torture the men almost as if karma is returning the favor. Plus, all the women are different archetypes. One's a teacher. Another is dressed like a dominatrix. There's also a nurse and a fat housewife who loves fingers. It'll probably insult some female audience members, but I found the whole thing to be tongue-in-cheek.

My main issue with DOGHOUSE is that I get the feeling the film believes it's actually funnier than it really is. Sure, you'll laugh at certain scenes or at certain pieces of dialogue. But more often than not, the joke will miss its target. Or the joke will be so cliche and corny, that it sort of brings the "feel good" feeling down a notch. Maybe it's the British comedy and some of it doesn't translate across the ocean. But it's goofy enough for things to stay afloat, even if you'll laugh more at some other horror-comedies that follow a similiar template.

Also, there's no real character development for any of the characters. And with them being "sexist pigs", it's kind of hard to be sympathetic for them when they get attached. The dialogue is mostly fine, but the characters aren't deep enough to the point of caring about their fates too much.

The special effects and make up of the female infected zombies are really well done. The women do look dead, and the gore effects are very credible. Even some of the death scenes are pretty gory, which raised the entertainment and watchability value for me.

The direction by Jake West is good. The tone and mood stay consistent throughout, and the pacing is very well done. The picture quality looks great, and visually the film is quite fun to look at. I wish the film was a bit more tense and scarier. And I thought the ending was very lame. But other than that, West directs a tight ship.

The acting is probably the best part of DOGHOUSE. Danny Dyer, likely known for SEVERANCE, plays the same womanizing role. But Dyer does it so well, it didn't bother me. Stephen Graham was very good as Vince [whose character had the only real arc in the film], and Lee Ingleby was amusing as the nerdy Matt. The actresses, which included Emily Booth as a scissor wielding hairdresser, were great in their respective roles. It helped that each were given a different personality and look, which made the acting more interesting and fun to watch.


DOGHOUSE tries too hard to be a horror-comedy in the vein of EVIL DEAD II and SHAUN OF THE DEAD, falling on its face at times due to lame jokes and characters who may offend the female audience at times. But the looks, personalities, and special effects when it came to the zombie women are really well done. The acting works with the tone of the film. And Jake West's direction is more positive than negative. DOGHOUSE is a decent time waster and a fun time for the boys, especially if you have some friends, beer, and popcorn nearby. It doesn't reach its full potential, but there's enough of it for at least a one-time recommendation.

3 Howls Outta 4

Mike Mendez


Greg Grunberg - Alex Mathis
Ray Wise - Major Braxton Tanner
Clare Kramer - Lieutenant Karly Brant
Lombardo Boyar - Jose Ramos
Patrick Bauchau - Lucas

Genre - Science Fiction/Comedy/B-Movie/Bad Animals

Running Time - 80 Minutes

Alex (Greg Grunberg) is a bug exterminator who is bitten by a spider during an assignment. He's taken to the local hospital for treatment, unsuccessfully flirting with nurses, adding to his bad day. As he's being treated, he notices a dead body being taken in a body bag. Unfortunately, Alex doesn't know that this corpse is hiding a very hungry and violent spider - a spider that will exponentially grow due to scientists having messed with it in a lab.

As people start being attacked and getting killed, the military led by Major Braxton Tanner (
Ray Wise) march into the hospital and lock it down in order to find this vicious spider. With Alex's help, Major Tanner decide to find the spider and stop it from turning Los Angeles into a giant web of food.

I have a certain fondness to films that are shown on the SyFy Channel, especially when they're titled BIG ASS SPIDER!. I was really expected a corny, cheesy, cheaply made B-movie with a fake looking spider and bad acting. Imagine my surprise as BIG ASS SPIDER! was a really fun time with good acting, humor that works, and better than expected special effects. Why was this film shown on SyFy again?

BIG ASS SPIDER! is greatly helped by a witty and fun script that knows what it is and is not ashamed of it. The story takes itself seriously, but in a tongue-in-cheek way, which creates a level of genuine and intended enjoyment most films like this attempt but fail at. It's pretty standard stuff with an unlikely hero caught in a situation created by the military, who may have created something they have no idea how to fight without hurting other people. But the characters are written well, with even the military characters becoming likeable by the film's end. The narrative is greatly helped by the formed friendship between hero Alex and unlikely hero/security guard Jose, who have great banter and witty dialogue that just makes them enjoyable to watch from the moment they interact. Plus, you have a giant spider terrorizing public parks, hospitals, and even giant buildings in Los Angeles, creating amusing set pieces and charming interactions between the main characters and this villain. I was really surprised how well written this B-movie was. Usually these kind of films only care about the cheesy special effects, or hiring some former A-lister to get an audience. But someone actually cared about the script, which made me enjoy this film more than I thought I would.

The special effects are pretty damn good as well. Sure, sometimes the spider looks like cheaply done and a bit too computer animated. And a scene where a face is melted by acid looks pretty silly. But most of the time, the spider looks pretty great. Considering the film's low budget, I was expecting the film to look a lot worse.

The direction by Mike Mendez is really well done. Probably best known for his work on THE GRAVEDANCERS, Mendez really captures the fun, campy vibe of BIG ASS SPIDER!. The 80-minute run time goes by extremely fast, due to the charming script and fun action sequences. Mendez also doesn't settle for your general cheap SyFy look, using his limited budget to his advantage to create a visually pleasing film - almost looking like DRAGON WARS from a few years ago. I really dug the film's look.

The acting is really great. Greg Grunberg, best known for Felicity and Heroes, is perfectly cast as the unlikely hero, Alex. His chemistry with sidekick Lombardo Boyar makes the film, as the two seem to be improvising their dialogue and just having fun with the story. Ray Wise is cool as the deadpanning military superior, making his role feel much campier than it actually is. Clare Kramer looks great and has great chemistry with Grunberg. And we get some great cameos by both Lin Shaye and Troma's Lloyd Kaufman.

BIG ASS SPIDER! won't be as remembered or cherished like KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, ARACHNOPHOBIA, or even EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS. But this B-movie was highly entertaining and definitely worth any B-movie lover's 80 minutes. The cast is great, the direction is energetic, the special effects are better than expected, and the script is well written and charming. If you want a good laugh and enjoy giant bugs killing and destroying cities, BIG ASS SPIDER! is definitely your movie.

3.5 Howls Outta 4

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