2.05.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 85: "Put cho weight on it!"


This episode starts our 2nd annual Blaxploitation month and we're kicking it off with 2 Rudy Ray Moore films; PETEY WHEATSTRAW - THE DEVIL'S SON-IN-LAW (1977) and DISCO GODFATHER (1979). So put some glide in yo' slide and some hip in yo' dip and always remember to--PUT CHO WEIGHT ON IT! PUT CHO WEIGHT ON IT!!











 


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1.26.2016

[The Lair of the Unwanted] The Tournament of the Unwanted 4: THE BEST AROUND!


It's the end of January and that only means one thing!! Time to get ready for Valentine's Day!! 

Oh...ok so two things. It's time for The Tournament of the Unwanted! Jason and Nolahn welcome Bubbawheat, Dylan Fields and myself as we battle it out to see who'll reign supreme and become the Champion of 2015!











Upload Music Files - Audio Hosting - #122: The Tournament of the ...

1.24.2016

13 Sins (2014)

DIRECTED BY
Daniel Stamm

STARRING
Mark Webber - Elliot Brindle
Devon Graye - Michael Brindle
Tom Bower - Father Brindle
Rutina Wesley - Shelby
Ron Perlman - Detective Chilcoat
George Coe - Game Voice
Pruitt Taylor Vince - Vogler

Genre - Horror/Thriller

Running Time - 92 Minutes


PLOT
Elliot Brindle (Mark Webber) has had a rough day. Instead of getting the promotion he was expecting from his boss (Richard Burgi), he’s fired from his job. Without a job, Elliot can’t support himself, let alone his pregnant fiancee Shelby (Rutina Wesley) who is trying to plan their wedding. He also can’t afford to support his mentally handicapped brother Michael (Devon Graye), which will lead him to unwillingly be institutionalized. Adding to the crap pile is the eviction of Elliot’s father (Tom Bower) from his retirement home, which is a huge problem since he’s a racist and Shelby is African-American. 

Hitting rock bottom, Elliott receives a mysterious call (George Coe) that seems to know him and about his current situation. The caller tells him that all his problems will go away if he completes 13 tasks, all with increasing monetary value. The first few start off as playful and mildly mean to some, but as it continues, the tasks become more dangerous and a bit too extreme. A desperate Elliot plays the game, which makes him a target of Detective Chilcoat (Ron Perlman), leading to a conclusion that becomes way too personal and questions his morality.

REVIEW

HITS
  • I knew nothing of 13 SINS before realizing it was expiring from Netflix Instant and watching it. It’s a Blumhouse Productions’ Americanized remake of a Thai film from 2006, 13: GAME OF DEATH and directed by Daniel Stamm, who directed 2010’s THE LAST EXORCISM. I wasn’t expecting much out of this movie, but I came out of it pleasantly surprised. So surprised in fact, that I want to check out the original Thai film. I’ve heard it’s a bit different, even though it hits most of the same notes. Usually a bad remake or reimagining turns me off from watching the source film, but this one did the exact opposite. If that’s not a plus in my book, I don’t know what is.

  • I thought the premise, which is a mix of “The Most Dangerous Game” and SAW, was actually compelling and fun. Watching desperate people do really odd things for a certain goal, especially money or fame, tends to make an entertaining experience when mostly done right. Most of the games within the 13 tasks are pretty grounded in reality, each escalating in danger and questions ethics as they go along. I don’t want to give away what the tasks are, as it’s more fun to find out if/when you watch. But it’s a lot to fun to watch Elliot do the things he feels he has to do to support his family as the tasks get more malicious.

  • I also liked that the tasks actually mattered in terms of moving the narrative along towards the twist ending. Sometimes you get a premise that’s just there to shock people without it really mattering to the actual story other than it being superficial. And while the premise is pretty implausible if you think about it, at least it leads to a conclusion that made sense in context of the premise. It adds a certain gravitas to the game Elliot is playing, connecting certain threads brought up prior to the ending and bringing them home altogether. I thought it was kind of neat that this game was not only effecting those in the present, but it also haunted some for many years. I thought the script was pretty clever in terms of that, giving us more answers while creating some questions that could be answered in a later film if anyone had wanted to, without leaving you hanging.

  • The acting was very good in 13 SINS. Mark Webber was a strong lead, bringing a level of sympathy to Elliot while thinking he was a fool for thinking playing this game was a good idea. I enjoyed how he played the role, starting as playful and hopeful - but ending as a desperate and scared man. Ron Perlman isn’t in the film as much as one would like, but he’s always good in anything. This film is no exception. Pruitt Taylor Vince brings the creepy and mysterious, continuing his strong work as a character actor. Retina Wesley [Tara from True Blood] is good as Elliot’s confused fiancee. Devon Graye and Tom Bower were also very good as Elliot’s mentally challenged brother and angry father respectively. This was a really good cast that elevated the script.

  • The gore effects were pretty good here. 13 SINS isn’t a gory film or anything, but I thought the handle of blood and violence was well done.


MISSES

  • One of the games involves Elliot having to steal an ostrich from a homeless man. There’s implausible, and then there’s WHAT THE HELL?? An ostrich? A homeless man? A homeless man with an ostrich? Is this a millennial thing? What does that even have to do with anything? It’s worse when we never even see how Elliot accomplishes this task. I guess it was supposed to be funny, but I just found it weird. It threw me off honestly.

  • The direction by THE LAST EXORCISM director, Daniel Stamm, isn’t terrible or anything. But it’s not exactly fantastic either. It’s just there, never really bringing any tension or energy to the story. It’s a good looking film and it moves well, but there’s nothing really memorable about it. At times, Stamm seems confused as to whether he’s directing a horror film or a psychological thriller. Stamm is also ambitious at times, which is a good trait to have - but not if the budget or story doesn’t really allow it. The visual presentation is neither good or bad. But I thought a bit more energy and tension could have gone a long way to making 13 SINS stand out more.

  • Seriously, where did that homeless guy get an ostrich and no one not notice?? What the fuck, really? I can’t even…

THE FINAL HOWL
13 SINS surprised me with how good it was. Never having seen the original Thai film that inspired this American remake, I came in with low expectations and came out enjoying the film for the most part. Solid acting, a clever premise, and a well told narrative with a twist ending that works make 13 SINS a psychological thriller worth looking for. Some of the plot points made no sense, or couldn’t even possibly happen regardless of the out-there premise. And the direction was uninspiring at times, but not totally terrible. So yeah, 13 SINS isn’t perfect, but it won’t make you go to cinema confession either to wash it all away.


SCORE
3 Howls Outta 4


1.22.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 84: "Doin' that Thing we do"


This episode, the MC crew are taking a deep look at John Carpenter's THE THING (1982). Plus we also discuss the 1951 original and the 2011 prequel. Grab a bottle of J&B and enjoy!











 


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1.18.2016

The Midnight Confessions Movie Show #15: "The Devil Master (1977)"


Join Rev. Phantom, Moronic Mark and myself as we talk over THE DEVIL MASTER (aka THE DEMON LOVER). This movie has it all: Blood, boobs, sacrifices, a karate dojo, a Sasquatch/demon hybrid, lots of mundane talking, Leatherface with a perm, donuts, a rubber band, a curvy man in a dress, loud talking, LOUD NOISES, Paul from Cheers, Frank Zappa’s dimwitted clone, people with incredibly annoying voices and much, much more!




What IMDb says it's about: A group of teenagers hanging around a cemetery get involved with a satanic priest who calls up a demon from hell. (Ok...sure.)







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1.08.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 83: "Come play with us...forever...and ever..."


We're back from our winter hiatus and this episode we're dedicating a whole show to Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING. We talk about the book by Stephen King, the mini-series and the recent doc' ROOM 237. So grab an axe and your favorite dog costume and enjoy!











 


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When Wrestlers Act & The WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza Presents - The Condemned 2: Desert Prey (2015)

DIRECTED BY
Roel Reiné

STARRING
Randy Orton - Will Tanner
Eric Roberts - Frank Tanner
Wes Studi - Cryus
Steven Michael Quezada - Raul
Bill Stinchcomb - Harrigan
Alex Knight - Cooper
Dylan Kenin - Travis
Michael Sheets - Lange

Genre - Action/Thriller

Running Time - 90 Minutes


PLOT
Will Tanner (Randy Orton) is the leader of bounty hunters tracking down a fugitive that Will accidentally kills while bringing in. Will receives a two-year probation/suspension sentence after being charged with involuntary manslaughter, making Will rethink his bounty hunter life for a better, and less violent, professional future. Now wanting to live a life without violence, Will is an ordinary tow truck driver. However, his former teammates start popping up one by one, all attempting to murder him. Apparently, the entire team has a bounty on their heads, set up by Raul (Steven Michael Quezada) - former right hand man of the criminal Will had previously murdered. Creating an underground gambling den, Raul has been broadcasting this “game” of Will’s survival for profit, condemning him for the sins of the past.


REVIEW
I have three words for THE CONDEMNED 2: DESERT PREY

WHAT THE FUCK!?

Even though it’s considered to be WWE Studios’ biggest financial flop, I felt 2007’s Steve Austin led vehicle, THE CONDEMNED, was one of the company’s better cinematic efforts. No one asked for a sequel, even in name only. But here it is - THE CONDEMNED 2: DEADLY PREY - a direct-to-video sequel starring Randy Orton that has nothing to do with the first film besides its premise. No charismatic actors. No entertaining action. Nothing but boredom, just like the current WWE product these days.

I’m not going to make this review all that long, only because there’s nothing really to say about this movie. Other than it sucks and you’d be wasting your precious time and money with this “sequel”. The “Most Dangerous Game” has been done to death and done way better than this film attempts to. TURKEY SHOOT did it better. BATTLE ROYALE did it better. THE RUNNING MAN did it better. Even THE HUNGER GAMES did it better. THE CONDEMNED 2 is just generic, predictable, and boring all at once. The premise may be there, but there’s no meat or imagination to it whatsoever. 

It doesn’t help that all the characters are just bland and one-dimensional. Our hero, Will Tanner, isn’t given much to do but evade attacks and fight back. Even when he’s sentenced for murdering someone during bounty hunting and losing his job due to probation, Will barely reacts to it. No guilt. No remorse. Not even a hint of satisfaction or feeling of justice. It was like an everyday occurrence. And that was within the first 10 minutes of the film. The fact that he just goes on with his life without really reacting or showing how this incident changed him made me care for the character less. It doesn’t get better for him, or anyone else in this movie, after that. Even the villain, Raul, is just bland. He’s a D-level James Bond villain, and that’s being generous. Alan B. McElroy, who wrote HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS, a few of the WRONG TURN films, and THE MARINE simply wrote this for a quick paycheck. I hope he bought something good with that money and our waste of time.

Roel Reiné is a decent enough action film director, but it barely works here. Sure, some of the action scenes and visuals of explosions are cool before they wear out their welcome. But other than that, it’s a pretty pedestrian and blah looking movie that’s unmemorable for the most part. Even the fight choreography felt like it went through the motions. Figuring that most of the film takes place within the desert, Reiné could have done more with the locale. But it’s your typical low-budget direct-to-DVD feature. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. It’s only wrong when you don’t try to hide it and make the film feel bigger than it actually is. Reiné doesn’t bother.

Not much to say about the acting either. Randy Orton is a good wrestler, but he’s not much of an actor. He has a quiet charisma and presence about him that works inside of the squared circle, but not in a leading role for 90 minutes. He recites his lines in the same monotone way he recites wrestling promos, which subtracts rather than adds to the performance. Steven Michael Quezada tried to ham it up as Raul, the villain. But he felt like he belonged in a different film - a comedy to be more specific. Sorry, but seeing Orton actually have a fist fight with Agent Gomez and struggle was just laughable to me. The only one having fun was Eric Roberts as Orton’s dad. I guess there were a lot of zeroes on that paycheck.


THE FINAL HOWL
While the first film was actually a decent film, THE CONDEMNED 2 is a waste of everyone’s time - even if you’re a fan of Randy Orton and/or Eric Roberts [probably the best part of the film]. Everything is just bland - the narrative, the direction, the terrible acting, and even some of the action doesn’t pump the viewer up. If you want to be bored for 90 minutes, you’ll be condemned for watching this piece of crap. 90 minutes of an RKO meme loop would provide more entertainment than this. Nothing to see here. 


SCORE
0.5 Howls Outta 4



12.23.2015

The Midnight Confessions Movie Show #14: "The 2015 Christmas Craptacular!"


Join the Midnight Confessions Crew as we talk over a clusterfuck of Christmas crap! Happy Holidays! 






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12.17.2015

When Wrestlers Act: 12 Rounds 3 - Lockdown (2015)

DIRECTED BY
Stephen Reynolds

STARRING
Jon “Dean Ambrose” Good - John Shaw
Roger Cross - Tyler Burke
Daniel Cudmore -Gideon
Lochlyn Munro - Darrow Smith
Ty Olsson - Harris
Sarah Smyth - Officer Jenny Taylor
Rebecca Marshall - Captain Matthews
Matthew Harrison - George Freemont

Genre - Action

Running Time - 90 Minutes


PLOT
Months after his rookie partner was killed, Detective John Shaw (Dean Ambrose) returns to work. While his fellow officers treat him with disrespect out of blame, they worship his former partner Tyler Burke (Roger Cross), who just took down a criminal who tried to kill him. In reality though, Burke is the leader of a ring of dirty cops who murdered the criminal to stop him from incriminating him. Shaw discovers a flash drive with evidence that reveals every dirty thing Burke has done, making him Burke’s next target. With only 12 rounds in his pistol, Shaw must face Burke and his gang in order to clean up his unit and become the hero he’s meant to be.


REVIEW
I don’t know who was clamoring for more 12 ROUNDS films, but WWE Studios provided another one for us anyway. The first 12 ROUNDS was a pretty lame over-the-top flick with John Cena phoning it in before showing us real chops recently in this year’s TRAINWRECK. The sequel, 12 ROUNDS 2: RELOADED, with Randy Orton, was slightly better due to it being more grounded due to its lower budget. While really a sequel in name only, since it doesn’t follow the 12 round premise of the previous two films, 12 ROUNDS 3: LOCKDOWN still manages to be a decent action flick that tries to rip off DIE HARD but with a lower budget and less personality and charisma. It also happens to be the best 12 ROUNDS film, mainly due to Dean Ambrose being the best lead of the three wrestlers in this franchise.

Like I mentioned, LOCKDOWN is a DIE HARD/ UNDER SIEGE rip-off, but without much of the thrills or surprises those two films had that made them memorable. The script is pretty generic. Jon Shaw is a flawed, troubled hero who just wants to do his job well, but is caught up in a situation he didn’t plan on being involved with. The bad guys, besides Burke, are extremely one-dimensional goons who want to kill the hero in order to remain incognito. It’s pretty ridiculous that they are able to shut down the entire police department, with no one really batting an eye as to why. But I guess I wasn’t supposed to use my brain about that. At least Shaw and Burke are fleshed out enough to make the story work some of the time and make you care about the situation. Especially Burke, who should have been a one-note villain, but manages to present a lot of charisma and personality to carry the film on his shoulders. He’s no Hans Gruber, but he’s kind of an interesting character with easy-to-see motivations.

And compared to the other 12 ROUNDS films, not copying the DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE premise actually helps elevate the story a bit. The first two films felt a bit over-the-top and trapped by the “hero must play a game with the villain” deal. The third film is a bit more grounded due to its low budget, mainly taking place inside of a police station and having the hero spare his bullets (or 12 rounds) as he takes down the villains. The story makes a bit more sense here, even though there are several plot holes if you really look deep into it. Like Shaw getting pretty injured halfway, but pretty much no selling it by the end. Or why wouldn’t Shaw just upload whatever info was on the hard drive before the place was locked down? Sure we get a cool, tense scene later on about that, but it’s still kind of dumb. And that ending was really lame, I gotta say. I like twists and turns, but this film was trying to make a roller coaster jealous. But at least LOCKDOWN seems to want to be a good movie, unlike the previous two films that were more style than substance.

The direction by Stephen Reynolds has its moments, but it’s mainly a bland visual presentation. The action scenes are decently shot at times, but mainly focus on editing tricks and shaky cam that tend to take away from them rather than highlight them. There was maybe one scene that I felt Reynolds captured genuine tension, where Shaw is trying to upload the incriminating files into the internet cloud while he’s being chased. Other than that, the film looks good but there’s nothing really memorable about how it’s structured or visualized. I wish there was more energy in terms of the genre this film is a part of, but it’s not a bad looking film.

The acting is what you would expect out of a WWE Studios flick. Dean Ambrose doesn’t really get to show the acting chops he potentially has, as seen on WWE television. But he does well in his first acting, and lead, role handling the material well and being a more grounded persona compared to the bombastic John Cena and pretty bland and stoic Randy Orton. I would like to see Ambrose in a meatier role in his second go-around. The actor who really carries the film is Roger Cross as the villainous Burke. Probably best known for his role on 24, Cross fleshes out a one-note character and makes Burke interesting in a subtle way that I wasn’t expecting. He never hams it up, or portrays the role in a typical Bond villain fashion. He and Ambrose have some good chemistry with each other, and I bought the tension between them. Without Cross, I don’t think LOCKDOWN would have worked as surprisingly well as it does. It’s nice to see Daniel Cudmore [X-MEN’s Colossus] and genre actor Lochlyn Munro in decent roles. The acting is fine, but it won’t blow anyone away or anything.

THE FINAL HOWL
While no one asked for a third 12 ROUNDS movie, at least LOCKDOWN manages to be a surprisingly decent time for 90 minutes. While the story is a generic DIE HARD and UNDER SIEGE rip-off, it does the tropes as well as one would expect without insulting ones intelligence. I liked that it was a more grounded film compared to the over-the-top films that came before it. I liked that Dean Ambrose was a more interesting actor than John Cena and definitely Randy Orton. I thought Roger Cross carried the film well. And the 12 ROUNDS reference felt more realistic than the “let’s play a game” deal of the previous films. It’s not a film I would recommend in the slightest. But if you liked the other films in this franchise, or just a fan of the Lunatic Fringe, it may be worth a look. Probably one of the better WWE Studios films, but that’s not saying a whole lot.


SCORE
2 Howls Outta 4



11.06.2015

Midnight Confessions Ep. 82: "Astron-6: Making exploitation fun again"


This week the MC Crew discuss two Astron-6 movies: MANBORG (2011) and THE EDITOR (2014).

WARNING: Due to the amounting of fan-boy gushing in this episode, protective clothing is recommended.











 


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