Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Obama adviser Gruber admitted ObamaCare might not be affordable | Fox News

For the past year I have discussed and debated(the latter to a lesser extent to be sure) the true affordability of the Affordable Health care Act, aka "Obamacare". This law has had a polarizing effect on all working Americans, no doubt about it. But how affordable is health insurance with the ACA now existing law?

Before the ACA was passed into law I could have obtained very basic health insurance from Blue Cross-Blue Shield starting at $150 per month. Browsing the government website by which people can check out "Obamacare" health insurance plans and their accompanying monthly premiums, I found that the same basic plans start at $309 per month. I've talked with several people I know, all male, all over 50 years age(like me) and all non smokers. These guys came up with the same starting rate at the ACA's website, based on health insurance for a single, non smoking white male. Last I checked $309 per month is a good bit more cost than $150 per month. I have no doubt that the ACA law has helped many people. The thing is, I believe it's also screw a whoe hell of a lot more Americans over.

The ACA is a monstrosity borne from the minds of liberal Democrats and others whose share the idea that they know what's best for the American people and that working class Americans can't possibly know how to run their personal or professional lives, much less make day to day decisions that affect our health and finances in a positive way. It was difficult enough for me to afford basic health insurance before the ACA was passed into law. With "Obamacare" now law, I flat out cannot afford the lowest monthly health insurance premiums offered on ACA's government run website. My doctor tells me every year that more and more of his patients are also compelled to drop their insurance plans because of increased monthly premiums they can no longer afford to pay. The increases in these patient's premiums are the result of their insurance carriers coming into compliance with, you guessed it, the ACA and its veritable ocean of regulations and requirements.

For those who would argue that subsidies I could apply for and receive would help me pay my health insurance premiums, I say this: according to the ACA's health insurance website I'm not eligible for ANY subsidies. I don't make much money now but I still make too much for a subsidy or other financial assistance. My guess is that unless I'm on welfare I wouldn't get a subsidy, period. Liberal Democrats who helped our president pass the ACA into law are, I believe fully committed to making as many Americans poor(or poorer) and dependent on the federal government as much as possible. The more dependent Americans are on welfare and other entitlement programs, the more votes the Democrat Party gets come election time. One of my personal goals for 2015 is to obtain health insurance but at this point I'm not real confident I'll be able to afford it. For anyone else who has this problem(single or married), you can thank your liberal friends, business associates or other liberal acquaintances who voted Democrat in the 2008 and 2012 U.S. national presidential elections.

 Obama adviser Gruber admitted ObamaCare might not be affordable | Fox News

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Once bitten: COBRA (1986)

Every now and then I like to give a "shout out" to an action film I like. The "action" movie genre has provided me with a lot of thrils and fun over the decades and it's a film genre I like almost as much as horror and science fiction...almost.

The props in this post go out to the film Cobra, a co production of the Cannon Group, Warner Brothers and Golan-Globus which was originally theatrically released back in May, 1986. This action film is directed by George P. Cosmatos and has a final worldwide box office figure of about $160,000,000.

This movie's primary "star" is Sylvester Stallone. Stallone, who gained worldwide fame portraying boxer "Rocky Balboa" in the various Rocky films as well as ex Green Beret "John Rambo" in the First Blood films, was peaking in terms of his box office appeal by the mid 1980's. In Cobra(1986), Sylvester Stallone plays loner, tough guy Los Angeles Detective Lieutenant Marion Cobretti(nicknamed "Cobra"), a guy who relishes in taking on the cases that no other cop in the LA police department wants. Those cases typically involve tracking and stopping some of the city's most violent and psychotic criminals. As Cobretti declares to an armed criminal during the early part of this film: "You're the disease...and I'm the cure." You can be sure that Stallone's character "cures" a lot of people in this movie. The cast for Cobra(1986) includes Andrew Robinson, Reni Santoni, Brigitte Nielsen, Brian Thompson and Art LaFleur.

The film's story:

A lone figure clad in a dark overcoat walks in a Los Angeles supermarket and begins randomly firing off shotgun cartridges into any shoppers nearby. The L.A. police congregate outside the supermarket, contemplate a raid into the store but instead opt to call in their resident "cleaner", Lt. Marion Cobretti. Cobretti roars up in a vintage 1950 car. "Cobra" enters the supermarket and eventually dispatches the crazed shooter with his customzied 9mm Colt pistol.

Later, supermodel Ingrid Knudsen(played by Brigitte Nielsen) witnesses a brutal roadside murder committed by several masked assailants. Her problem: she sees one of them and these killers, who we learn are a radical group calling themselves the "New Order", make it their mission in life to hunt down and kill the supermodel who has witnessed their random attack on a motorist. Enter Lt. Marion Cobretti who, along with his partner Sgt Gonzalez(played by Reni Santoni), is tasked with protecting Ingrid Knudsen from the "New Order" killers. Actor Brian Thompson plays the leader of the "New Order" and is very effective in the role. Thompson's character is a worthy adversary for the "Cobra".

Lt. Cobretti, his partner Gonzalez and another female cop travel north of L.A. to try and better protect their witness, Ingrid Knudsen but the female cop with them is secretly in cahoots with the "New Order" and phones in their location(a motel along the northern California coast) to them. The "New Order" descends on Cobretti's location and all out war ensues. Cobretti and his "New Order" adversaries are all armed to the teeth. Cobretti employs grenades, his pistol and a machine gun as he battles it out with the killers. The body count definitely ramps up at this point in the film. Most of the deaths in this movie come courtesy of firearms but at least one individual(a bad guy) is incinerated alive and another "New Order" killer is doused in gasoline and torched.

A final showdown eventually ensues between "Night Slasher", the leader of the killers and Lt. Cobretti inside a giant foundry. (no other spoilers)

This movie has been put through a meat grinder by critics and I would be the first to admit the acting Cobra(1986) is rather pedestrian. Art LaFleur is fairly straightforward as Cobretti's boss "Captain Sears", a square jawed, no nonsense type who, while wary of Cobretti's "take no prisoners" method, also realizes that the "Cobra" is a needed resource for dealing with the criminal dregs of the city. Andrew Robinson plays smarmy, sarcastic "Detective Monte", a by the book cop who is more bureaucrat than police officer and who opposes Cobretti at every turn during the movie.

As average as the acting is in Cobra(1986) I don't watch this and other action films for the acting. I watch these movies for the action, fights and shootouts and in that regard this movie doesn't disappoint. Recommend any action movie fans who haven't seen this movie put it in your Netflix queue or rent it from your cable TV provider.

Cobra(1986) is available on single disc DVD and BD. To see them for sale at Amazon click the link: COBRA(1986) Blu Ray

A theatrical trailer:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Triple threat: fifty years of King Ghidorah

On this day(December 20th) way back in 1964 the kaiju "King Ghidorah" made his first cinematic appearance in Toho's Three Giant Monsters: The Greatest Battle On Earth. In the west we know this film by it's American(and international) title: Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster. King Ghidorah is an enormous, three headed and golden skinned space dragon who in this movie arrives to Earth inside a giant meteor. The monster escapes the confines of the meteorite in a giant fireball and begins an immediate rampage. Each of King Ghidorah's heads can discharge highly destructive, lightning like energy bolts and the space dragon uses these "gravity beams" to annihilate buildings while it's wings cause hurricane force winds as the creature flies overhead. Godzilla and Rodan, who have been fighting each other in this movie, eventually join forces with larval Mothra to fight the three headed space dragon. The combined might of Earth's three monsters succeeds in driving King Ghidorah away and back into space.

This film remains one of my all time favorite kaiju movies. King Ghidorah has gone on to appear in numerous other Toho kaiju films including Invasion Of The Astro Monsters(1965 -aka "Monster Zero"), Destroy All Monsters(1968), Godzilla vs Gigan(1972) and Godzilla Vs King Ghidorah(1991). The three headed space monster also squares off against adult Mothra in the 1998 Toho fantasy film Mothra 3 - Invasion Of King Ghidorah. King Ghidorah has long been considered, and I think justifiably, as one of Godzilla's greatest and most powerful on screen rivals. It's been reported that King Ghidorah will appear in the planned, 2018 sequel to Legendary Pictures' film Godzilla(2014).

Check out the Toho trailer below to see King Ghidorah's first appearance in movies:



I own the 2012 Classic Media DVD release(R1) of Ghidrah The Three Headed Monster, still my favorite kaiju film featuring this grand and menacing monster. This release offers the movie in its 2:35.1 Tohoscope widescreen aspect ratio and in both English audio as well as the Toho version in Japanese language with English subtitles. To see this DVD for sale at Amazon click the link: GHIDRAH THE THREE HEADED MONSTER Classic Media DVD

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Monsterland Forums - eight years on the web and still going

It's hard to believe that my internet message board, MONSTERLAND FORUMS, is over eight years old. In fact, this online community will be celebrating it's ninth(9th) year online on January 30th, 2015.

This message board community enjoyed a quick rise in posting activity between 2006-2009 with our peak activity in 2009. Since that year posting activity has been on the decline BUT the board itself has retained a core group of active members(including myself). I'm likely going to purchase a full domain for this online community in 2015.

As always anyone is welcome to check out and join Monsterland Forums. There are discussion forums for just about everything ranging from movies(all genres) to video games, music and sports. To access this message board click the link below:
 
Monsterland Forums

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bite this - Queen Of Blood(1966)

With the recent additions of the MGM (HD) Channel and the Sony Movie Channel(HD) from my cable TV provider I've managed to watch many movies I've heard about but have never seen...including QUEEN OF BLOOD(aka "Planet Of Blood"), written and directed by Curtis Harrington and theatrically released by American International Pictures(AIP) back in 1966. The cast includes Basil Rathbone, John Saxon, William Hopper, Judi Meredith and Florence Marly, the latter who plays a green skinned female alien with a hypnotic stare and decided taste for blood. Up until now I've considered 1967's MISSION STARDUST to be the most bizarre yet enjoyable outer space sci-fi movie. QUEEN OF BLOOD may be that film now for me. The visuals in this movie, said to have been made on a scant budget of $50,000, are actually appealing at times and the movie itself is very colorful. I'm planning on buying PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES(1965) on Blu Ray in a week(or two) and I'm going to also buy the MGM DVD of QUEEN OF BLOOD(1966). Recommend any fan of older sci-fi and sci-fi/horror films check this one out!


Queen Of Blood -1966- by dashgami_itto

QUEEN OF BLOOD(1966) can be purchased online at Amazon by clicking this link: Queen Of Blood MGM DVD

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Day thanks

On this and yet another Thanksgiving Day I always like to stop and interrupt my critical nature and curmudgeonly demeanor to express my thanks for things and people that, well I'm thankful for. Without further ado, what I am thankful for:

  1. that I have enough common sense NOT to participate in the "Black Friday" shopping insanity that takes place annually in the U.S. the day after every Thanksgiving day
  2.  that I can still, despite arthritis in my feet and knees and the periodic gout flare in my toes, ply my trade as a gardener/landscaper/lawn maintenance contractor with competence and consistency
  3. college football and the NFL: I have held a lifelong passion for football(collegiate and profesional)
  4. high definition televisions: they're lighter and provide a terrific picture which negates any need to put on my bifocals in order to watch television
  5. the core group of loyal and active members of my internet message board called MONSTERLAND FORUMS, all of who make running my message board fun and well worth doing
  6. sci-fi and horror movies, especially older films from the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's: these movies are for me not just entertaining but provide a welcome and fun glimpse back in time when films relied so much more on actors, acting and practical special effects
  7. coffee: I remain a daily coffee drinker and still rely on this beverage to help get me through work days, especially during the cold winter months
  8. my elderly landlord, a kind and great hearted woman who is like a grandmother to me
  9. the friendship of two men here in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia-I've known both of these guys for eighteen years and they're like brothers to me
  10. Facebook: this social media website permits me to keep in touch with people I would otherwise not be able to connect(and re-connect with)
  11. my foster parents(deceased since 1983 and 1999, respectively): I think about both every day and will always be thankful that they took me in and raised me as one of their own. 
  12. my dentist, who works at Buckhead Esthetic Dentistry here in Atlanta, GA. She has performed quite a bit of dental work on me(much needed work) since 2012 at a substantial discount and continues to help me keep my choppers clean and in good working order

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Behind closed doors: THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD(1971)

Every October my DVR gets a workout as I record horror movies off Turner Classic Movies. Most I've seen before(on DVD or on TV) but every year I watch a few for the first time. My October horror movie binge included numerous "haunted house" movies including House On Haunted Hill(1959), The Haunting(1963) and Burnt Offerings(1976). I also managed to watch THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD(1971), an "Amicus" horror film which is an anthology of four stories. The cast is terrific and includes Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Joss Ackland and Ingrid Pitt. This film is available on official DVD and can be purchased online at Amazon.


To see the Lions Gate R1 DVD release(in 2003) of this film for sale at Amazon click the link: THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD DVD

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Birthday Godzilla!

Godzilla celebrates his 60th birthday today! Back on November 3rd, 1954 the Toho Motion Picture Company released a film in Japanese theaters called GOJIRA. This film, a major financial success, introduced the monster "Godzilla" to the world. The monster was realized on screen through a man in a heavy, vulcanized rubber suit. The Godzilla suit actor for the 1954 movie was Haruo Nakajima who would also "suit" many other giant monsters in subsequent Toho kaiju movies. The film GOJIRA was also a great showcase for the talents of the studios' special effects department lead by (the late) Eiji Tsuburaya. Much of this work can be seen in the detailed, intricate miniatures and the frequently spectacular pyrotechnic effects featured in the 1954 film and subsequent Toho films featuring giant monsters like Rodan, Mothra and Ghidrah(a three headed space dragon).

Godzilla is now arguably the world's most recognized movie monster and has appeared in films from 1954 through 2014, most recently the Legendary Pictures film entitled GODZILLA which arrived in theaters back in May of this year. GODZILLA(2014 - Legendary Pictures) was a financial success due to $520 million in worldwide box office receipts.

Godzilla is sixty years young today and as a lifelong fan of Godzilla here's wishing this legendary monster another sixty years of fame and prosperity!

Here's a Toho trailer for GOJIRA(1954), the very first Godzilla film and still in my opinion one of the greatest giant monster movies ever produced!


Gojira (1954) Trailer by mytrailerdose_com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Getting misty: THE FOG(1980)

I watched a lot of movies as a teenager at the Omni Theater in downtown Atlanta(GA) while in high school. One of them was THE FOG(1980), directed by John Carpenter. I had to watch this movie a second time in the theater to fully appreciate it. Without posting a lot of plot spoilers the film is about a mysterious fog that rolls in off the ocean and across the coastal town of Antonio Bay. There's a menacing, supernatural force that accompanies the fog...and it definitely isn't friendly.

The cast includes Adrienne Barbeau, Hal Holbrook, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Atkins. I just ordered this film on Blu Ray( released by Shout! Factory in 2013) from Amazon. Horror movie fans who haven't seen this film should absolutely check it out! This movie is also available on DVD.

A trailer:

Click the link to see the Blu Ray for this film for sale at Amazon: THE FOG(1980) Blu Ray

Monday, October 20, 2014

Long in the tooth: BLACULA (1972)

I had some free time last Tuesday after getting rained out from work and sat down to watch both BLACULA(1972) and its sequel, SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM(1973). While I like both of these horror themed blaxploitation films I have a decided preference for the '72 movie. William Marshall is effective as the African prince "Mamuwalde" who, bitten by Count Dracula while visiting the infamous vampire, becomes a vampire himself, taking a bite out of numerous citizens of Los Angeles(CA). Marshall is a tall, broad shouldered and imposing man whose deep voice and physical features make him an intimidating presence...and that's not even including the two fangs he bares when his thirst for blood kicks in - and it kicks in a lot in these two movies. BLACULA(1972) is directed by William Crain. This movie isn't my favorite vampire film but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. It's definitely worth a look for horror movie fans who haven't seen it(or it's sequel). I will be buying the DVDs of these two films later this year. A trailer:

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Hammer time: THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY'S TOMB(1964)

As someone who has been a fan of horror movies for over forty years(yes...I'm that old) I have concluded that mummies in these films have been forgotten amidst all the slasher, zombie, mutant creature, vampire and werewolf movies that have been released by the major(and smaller) film studios over the past thirty years. The one exception to this is undoubtedly 1999's The Mummy, a movie I like(and own on Blu Ray) but that plays out more like a bigger budget action film.

For creepy, unsettling mummy movies there's nothing better than a classic Universal or Hammer Films feature. Hammer's The Mummy(1959) is my favorite with Christopher Lee. Coming in at a very close second: THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY'S TOMB(1964), produced and directed by Michael Carreras and released by Hammer Films.


This marvelous horror movie can be bought online at Amazon and is part of a four film DVD set called Icons Of Horror Collection-Hammer Films, released back in 2008. To buy this release click the link: ICONS OF HORROR COLLECTION - HAMMER FILMS

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cold day in hell: THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD(1951)

I'm not a wine drinker but I do know that wine generally gets better with age. I think the same thing could be said about a lot of old(er) films. In the genre of science fiction films few movies have in my opinion "aged" better than THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD(1951), directed by Christian Nyby and an uncredited Howard Hawks.

In the film an antarctic research team of scientists, after briefly tracking a descending object in the Earth's atmosphere, venture out into the harsh, wintry antarctic tundra where they discover a large object buried under the ice. The scientists, along with a group of military personnel, use thermite to melt the ice covering what they now suspect is a saucer shaped alien spaceship. The spaceship is damaged in the thermite explosion but not its alien occupant, also discovered buried in ice.

The team of scientists and military dig out the frozen alien and bring it back to their research facility. Of course the alien thaws out and escapes into the night outside the research station. From this point on a deadly game of "cat and mouse" ensues between the research station group and the hostile, malevolent alien. The scientists discover that the alien, while humanoid, also exhibits distinct plant like characteristics as well. The conclusion of this movie features one final showdown between the scientists/military officers and the alien creature. (no other spoilers)

Actor James Arness, who would later play legendary lawman Marshal Matt Dillon in the CBS TV series "Gunsmoke", plays the green skinned, humanoid, hulking alien creature. It's a non speaking role for Mr. Arness but he's terrific as the hostile alien. An audio effect is added, giving the alien antagonist a weird and creepy sounding roar. There are numerous shocks and violence between the human cast and their non-human adversary to keep anyone watching very interested. I've always liked veteran '50's sci-fi actor Kenneth Tobey best in this movie as the ranking military officer who must contend with not only the alien creature but also scientists who would rather study the alien than protect themselves from it.

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD(1951) makes the occasional(though not frequent) appearance on Turner Classic Movies. Sci-fi movie fans who haven't seen this film should absolutely check out this classic! Better yet buy the DVD which is sold online at Amazon.

A trailer:


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hell freezes over: THE THING(1982)

I haven't seen all of John Carpenter's films. I admit it. Still, John Carpenter remains in my top five all time favorite movie directors. Films like The Fog(1980), Halloween(1978) & Escape From New York(1981) all captured my interest in horror and sci-fi when I was a teenager and I still enjoy watching his work today on DVD/Blu Ray. My favorite movie directed by John Carpenter is also a top five favorite of mine including all film genres: The Thing(1982), a sci fi film theatrically released in 1982 by Universal which actually didn't fare too well at the box office but has definitely gained a large fan following since it hit theaters over thirty years ago. Carpenter's The Thing(1982) is often compared to another, much older sci-fi movie produced by Winchester Pictures Corporation called The Thing From Another World(1951). In the '51 film, directed by Christian Nyby and an uncredited Howard Hawks, a humanoid, hostile alien played by actor James Arness menaces a group of military and scientists at a remote Antarctic research station. The older "Thing" film employed a man in makeup, like most of the '50's sci-fi movies, to produce audience scares and shocks. John Carpenter went in another direction in order to scare movie audiences in The Thing(1982), deciding to create a shape shifting alien creature come to life through the effects work of Rob Bottin, then and up and coming makeup effects specialist who went on to become one of the best at it over the decades.

 The film's story: In a remote region of the Antarctic, a dog flees into the camp of a U.S. research station. The dog is pursued by an airborne, Norwegian helicopter whose passenger shoots at the dog with a high powered rifle. The helicopter lands, the passenger emerges and continues firing at the dog. A member of the American research station returns fire with his revolver and kills the rifle toting Norseman. The American research team dispatches their pilot and a scientist to the nearby Norwegian research facility where the Norse helo came from. There the pilot and scientist discover a burned out Norse station and charred human corpses that look disfigured. The burned corpse is brought back to the American research station for further inspection and investigation. What happened at the Norwegian facility? Why were the Norwegians in the helo shooting at the dog? The American research team also discovers a long buried and enormous, saucer shaped spacehip which was uncovered by the Norwegians who used thermite to melt the ice on top of it. In the meantime and back at the U.S. research station, the rescued dog from the Norse station has now been placed in a pen with service dogs belonging to the American research facility...and this sets in motion a terrifying and catastrophic series of events in which a shape shifting alien creature begins to "absorb" and mimic members of the American facility. The group of scientists begin to turn on each other as they race against time to isolate and destroy the hostile, shape shifting alien creature. (no other spoilers)

Thumbs up:
 > The practical effects created and employed by Rob Bottin are marvelous. Numerous scenes feature the alien creature erupting out of "hiding" as it imitates the service dog and then various research team members. Even with today's green screen technology and CGI I still think the practical effects used in The Thing are more effective at delivering shocks and "gross out" moments for those watching this movie.

> The human cast in this movie, a collection of interesting and often conflicting personalities. My favorites are the pilot "MacCready"(played by Kurt Russell), a likable character despite his obvious boredom and disdain at being stationed at the isolated Antarctic facility who, in frustation at losing a game of "Chess Wizard" to his computer responds by pouring a glass of whiskey into the device.  I also liked the mercurial, no nonsense "Childs"(played by Keith David) and the pot smoking "Palmer" who in one scene begins toking from a Cuban cigar sized joint.

> The overall pacing of the film is excellent -the tension and hostility that develops between the American research team members erupts after the "alien dog" incident and these human cast conflicts perfectly compliment the menace of the shape shifting alien creature in their midst. In particular "MacCready" and "Childs", both "alpha" male personalities who clash as they both try to lead the group against the alien

> The audio effects used to render the alien are terrific. The alien creature frequently emits a blood curdling sound that is half wail and half roar with a human element to the sound which sounds unique and creepy as hell all at once. loco2 -the ending of the film is ambiguous...but this IMO works best here given the events that transpired throughout

 Thumbs down:
> I would have liked seeing the director explore the origins of the alien's spaceship a little more in this movie.

 THE THING(1982) is available on both DVD and Blu Ray: either can be purchased online at Amazon. Anyone who hasn't seen The Thing(1982), whether they are a sci-fi/horror fan or not, should absolutely check out this film!

A trailer:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

God complex: GODZILLA(2014)

I can remember when I first saw the news that Legendary Pictures was going to produce a "Godzilla" film: my first thought was concern that their movie would end up being like the 1998 Centropolis film Godzilla, a movie directed by Roland Emmerich that makes for a solid giant monster flick but also features a rendering of Godzilla that makes the monster look like an oversized iguana. I was fairly enthusiastic after watching the intial trailer for the Legendary Pictures Godzilla film and I finally watched it last on Blu Ray. I enjoyed this movie a lot, feeling relief and satisfaction that we Godzilla fans FINALLY have a terrific AND American made Godzilla film!

There has been some fan criticism of GODZILLA(2014) because the legendary monster doesn't appear in the movie until about halfway through it. Was I annoyed by this? Perhaps somewhat but in no way does this detract from my overall enjoyment of the movie itself. Godzilla(2014) is an "origin" story if you will and it takes some time during this movie to introduce and move forward events(past and present) that gradually lead up to the first full reveal of Godzilla in this movie. I think it works fairly well, a credit to director Gareth Edwards, himself a self described Godzilla fan.

Godzilla(2014) fared quite well in worldwide box office receipts, particularly in the United States and China. The movie had a budget of $160 million and generated over $500 million in worldwide box office receipts. Hopefully Blu Ray, DVD and general merchandise sales associated with this film will increase that number. A sequel has already been announced by Legendary Pictures, tentatively scheduled for a 2018 theatrical release...and with the inclusion of other classic Toho monsters King Ghidorah, Rodan and Mothra!

More than anything Godzilla(2014) brings the legendary monster back to his roots and is, like most of the Toho Godzilla films, a movie that presents Godzilla as a force of nature.

Without further ado some observations about this film, directed by Gareth Edwards, mostly positive:

Thumbs up:

-Godzilla is well rendered in this film. There were some gripes from G fans about the monster looking "fat". I would use the word "bulky" which is still an understatement. The monster is a lumbering, 350 foot tall juggernaut, even larger than any of the 100 meter Toho variations of the creature. Godzilla's length is even greater and the monster is longer than many of the U.S. Navy frigates(about 450 feet long) he swims underneath as he approaches San Francisco.
I liked the attention made by those tasked with rendering the monster to make Godzilla look old. The creature's face looks weathered and old but that coincides with Dr. Serizawa's description of the monster in the movie as being a creature that's been around, well a long time.

-Bryan Cranston's performance as nuclear engineer "Joe Brody" is terrific. The actor brings emotion and distress to the film as events occur that build the suspense in this film. Cranston is one the human cast member of Godzilla(2014) who I thought actually contributed to the overall quality of this film.

-the M.U.T.O's - I went into this movie unsure as to whether I would like the designs of these monsters or not. I found the MUTOs to be creepy and a worthy adversary for Godzilla. The male MUTO is winged and smaller than the larger female(the male is around 60 meters tall and the female is 300 feet tall). Both MUTOs are mutations and I found it hard to find anything in nature to compare them with. They possess both insectoid and bat like qualities...if that makes any sense.
Both creatures give Godzilla a hard fight as the creatures all converge in San Francisco and battle it out, demolishing the city.

-the choreography of the final monster battle: Godzilla and the two MUTOs engage in a brutal battle in SF. The fight is mostly physical battling. Godzilla also employs his trademark oral beam to lethal effect.

-the overall special effects are stellar. CGI has come a long way since movies like The Lawnmower Man(1992) and the CGI in Godzilla(2014) is totally top notch!

Thumbs down

-the performance of Aaron Taylor Johnson as "LT Ford Brody". First off I admired this character in the movie, a brave young man who is clearly a good guy with heroic tendencies. I did have a problem with how Aaron Johnson portrayed the character. He was, for me half comatose from a personality perspective throughout the movie.

In summary, I'd say Godzilla(2014) is easily a terrific Godzilla movie and should satisfy die hard G fans with bad memories of the '98 Centropolis G movie.

Highly recommend G fans and more casual fans of Godzilla buy this movie on Blu Ray and/or DVD!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Anchors aweigh : JUGGERNAUT(1974)

Seems like the older I get the more often I come across a movie I've seen before...and completely forgotten all about. This is most definitely the case with the 1974 British suspense thriller JUGGERNAUT. The title of this film is also what the villain in this movie calls himself, a madman who has planted seven bombs on the luxury cruise ocean liner "Britannica". The owner of the company that owns the liner, in conjunction with the British government, dispatches a team of bomb experts to the ship to try and disarm the bombs.

I actually saw this movie in a theater as a kid. Not sure what drew me to this film as a youngster but it was probably due to my fascination with ships and because I was still suffering from a personal "Poseidon Adventure" hangover. Highly recommend JUGGERNAUT(1974) to anyone who hasn't seen it!



I'll be buying the Blu Ray of this film and it gets released on September 9th. Click the link to purchase JUGGERNAUT on Blu Ray at Amazon: JUGGERNAUT(1974) Blu Ray

JUGGERNAUT(1974) is also available on DVD(MGM) and can be purchased online at Amazon as well: JUGGERNAUT DVD(MGM release) 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Feds release immigrants convicted of murder in metro Atlanta

Feds release immigrants convicted of murder in metro Atlanta



Nothing the federal government of the United States does surprises me anymore. If anyone needs proof that the Obama administration's policy on illegal immigration is seriously screwed up, look no further than this story(click the above link). Atlanta isn't the only large city this is occuring in either. It's going on in other American cities as well. If these undocumented immigrants murder again then the blood of their victims is on the hands of our federal government!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ghosts: DeAnna Simpson’s home in Hanover, Pennsylvania is very haunted

I've always been on the proverbial fence about the existence of ghosts and other spirit entities...but every now and then a story comes along which gives me pause about it:
This story obviously isn't proof that ghosts exist but I think there's something definitely going in this Pennsylvania home.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Godzilla sequel: How will Mothra make sense?

Anyone who knows Donny Winter, founder of the internet message board Kaiju Galaxy, also knows that he's a HUGE fan of MOTHRA, the winged monster arguably the most famous Toho kaiju(giant mysterious beast) after, well Godzilla of course! Take a listen by clicking on the below video as Donny offers his thoughts on the announcement that Mothra will be a featured monster in the sequel to the recently released Godzilla(2014) which was produced by Legendary Pictures:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

They might be giants: ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN(1958)

As I've gotten older I've found, and to my chagrin, that my interest in low(er) budget, 1950's sci-fi and "monsters on the loose" movies has waned somewhat. Still, I like to dive into one of these films every once in a while. I just watched one of them on TCM(Turner Classic Movies) this past week: Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman, directed by Nathan Juran and starring Allison Hayes, William Hudson and Yvette Vickers. This movie has been lampooned over the decades for its cheap special effects and high "cheese" factor. I still think it's a fun way to blow off an hour and a half(actually a little less) every year or two.

In this movie a young female socialite named Nancy Archer(played by Allison Hayes) who has been ignored by her cheating husband(played by William Hudson), encounters a beeping spaceship with blinking lights while driving along a countryside road. The occupant of the spaceship, a bald, radioactive extraterrestrial alien giant, appears.  The alien giant is radioactive(what a shocker) and Nancy's exposure to the alien causes her to grow into a giant herself, topping out at fifty feet tall!

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Nancy Archer, now an angry 50 foot tall giant, erupts out of a house she's been sequestered in by a local doctor and immediately goes looking for her philandering husband. The giantess terrorizes the town's locals as she finally gets her hands(literally) on her husband...(no other spoilers)

Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman(1958) can be viewed on YouTube but is also available on DVD(released back in 2007). Click the link to see this movie for sale on DVD(part of the "Warner Archives" collection) at WBShop.com: ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN DVD

This film is also part of a three movie, 2007 DVD set released by Warner Brothers called Cult Camp Classics I-Sci Fi Thrillers, paired with "The Giant Behemoth(1959)" and "Queen Of Outer Space(1958)". Click this link to see it for sale at Amazon: CULT CAMP CLASSICS I - SCI FI THRILLERS

A trailer:


Monday, June 30, 2014

How long could you last without your mobile phone?

How long could you last without your mobile phone?

Click the link above and find out. If you believe the article(and poll) 47% of Americans say they are addicted to their cell phones. 24% say they would feel "naked" if they were without their mobile devices for 24 hours or longer.

And me? I've been using a Samsung Freeform III cell phone for the past two years and before that a Samsung Freeform. These are very basic phones with a camera, texting and the local and long distance calling capabilities as well as having alarms and other nice(but basic features).

These Samsung Freeform cell phones are now widely considered antiquated dinosaurs in the mobile communications industry which is just fine by me since, at age fifty two, I'm something of a dinosaur now myself (an allosaurus or dodo bird depending on who you ask). I've found my cell phone to be convenient and a very useful tool of my trade(gardening/landscaping work). I am planning to upgrade to an "android" style cell phone before year's end but I won't be spending any large amount of money for one either. Am I addicted to my cell phone? Nope. I never will be either!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Street tough: DREDD(2012)

I watched Dredd(2012) again on Blu Ray a few nights ago. This movie, directed by Pete Travis, has quickly become a favorite of mine. Karl Urban stars in the title role as Judge Dredd, one of a cadre of judges who, working for the Hall Of Justice, serve as the law on the streets of Megacity One, a colossal city industrial complex of 8 million people that stretches from New York City to Boston, MA. These judges serve as both judge, jury and executioner for those criminals unfortunate enough to cross them. This comic book character first came to the big screen back in 1995 in "Judge Dredd", a movie I think is decent but hardly did the title character any justice. While Sylvester Stallone, who played the character in the '95 film, managed to convey the rugged, no nonsense physicality of Judge Dredd the campiness of the movie and the comic relief element courtesy of Rob Schneider IMO detracted from the film. In Dredd(2012) there is no camp and no efforts by the director to inject humor of any kind into this movie. The film is a straight forward, full force R rated and gritty action affair that for me much more effectively captures the essence of Judge Dredd, especially his intimidating presence and the manner in which he dispenses "justice" to criminals.

The title character never removes his helmet in this movie, a major plus for me and I also like the performance of Lena Headey as the ruthless, brutal villain in this movie, ex prostitute turned crime(and drug) lord "Madeleine Madrigal" aka "Ma Ma". For Dredd(2012) to work the title character needs a truly evil villain and "Ma Ma" is absolutely that.

 The special effects are marvelous as Judge Dredd, accompanied by a rookie, probationary "Judge" named Cassandra Anderson(who's also telepathic), takes on the "Ma Ma clan", a small army of thugs inside a two hundred story apartment structure. Dredd and his rookie partner systematically eradicate Ma Ma's thugs, punching and blasting their way through them as well as a trio of corrupt judges hired by "Ma Ma" to kill Dredd and his partner. Fans of this character and action movie fans who haven't seen this movie should do so. You won't be disappointed!

So far there has been no official word on whether there will be a sequel to this film. Actor Karl Urban has stated he would be willing to reprise the role of the mercurial, no nonsense Dredd. There is, as far as I know, at least one fan petition online in support of a sequel. I absolutely hope one gets made!

A trailer:

This movie looks terrific on Blu Ray and can be purchased on BD at Amazon by clicking the link: DREDD(2012) Blu Ray

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Herculoids(1967) - complete animated series/WBShop.com

One of my fondest childhood memories growing up as a pre-teen was watching Saturday morning cartoons. Space Ghost(1966), Frankenstein Jr.(1966), Galaxy Trio(1967) & Birdman(1967). I have purchased nearly all of them on DVD from WBShop.com(Warner bros). My favorite of these '60's Hanna Barbera cartoon series is without a doubt THE HERCULOIDS, which originally aired on CBS in 1967. In this series a group of unique and powerful creatures live peacefully on their home planet of "Quasar", constantly forced to defend their home planet from hostile alien invaders and other mutant monstrosities. The creatures known as "The Herculoids" are:  1) Gloop and Gleep, a pair of living, shapeshifting, blob like creatures - 2) Tundro who resembles a rhinocerous-triceratops(dinosaur) hybrid and fires exploding energy rocks from its horn- 3) Igoo who is a giant ape possessing a body made of rock-Igoo is sheer brute force and finally 4) Zok, a winged dragon who can fire laser beams from its crystalline eyes.

Living with these fabulous creatures is Zandor, his wife Tara and their son Dorno. When 'The Herculoids" fight together they are essentially unbeatable in combat. This series is marvelous and is filled with imaginative and menacing alien villains as well as destructive and malevolent monsters all of who square off against our hero Herculoids. The character of "Zandor" is voiced by Mike Road, who also provided the audio of "Igoo" in this series.

Click the link below to buy this classic animated TV series from WBShop.com:

Herculoids, The: Complete Original Animated Series-Movies & TV: On Sale-WBshop Savings  WBshop.com | Warner Bros.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Evolution of Godzilla (1954 - 2014)


I haven't seen Godzilla(2014), the new G film from Legendary Pictures yet because of a very busy work schedule right now. No matter as I'll buy it on Blu Ray later this year. Godzilla has undergone many changes to his appearance during his sixty year cinematic career. The iconic movie monster, created by the Toho Motion Picture Company(located in Japan), has provided me with a lot of thrills(and laughs) over the years. I've been a fan of this monster since I was a kid. Now, at age fifty two, I'm still a huge fan of Godzilla and probably will be into my senior years.

My favorite Godzilla rendering is 'Kingoji", the Godzilla design used in 1962's King Kong Vs Godzilla. I'm also a great fan of the "Mosugoji" design from 1964's Mothra Vs Godzilla and the "Soshingeki" G design which Toho used from 1968-1972. The only Godzilla "suit" design I actually dislike is the "Musukogoji" design from 1967's Son Of Godzilla.

To date Godzilla(2014), directed by Gareth Edwards, has generated $477.5 million in worldwide box office receipts and has yet to be theatrically released in Japan(it will be on July 25th). Hopefully this new American made Godzilla movie will be well received in Japan.

The new Godzilla movie is, according to many sources, part of a planned trilogy of Godzilla films, all being produced by Legendary Pictures.

Go Godzilla!

Styx - "Superstars"

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Myth Busters: Jason And The Argonauts(1963)

I don't usually buy Blu Rays of movies when I already own the specific movie on DVD but I do make the exception now and then, especially when it's a film I like to watch annually. Jason And The Argonauts(1963) is one such movie. It's a Columbia Pictures action-fantasy film originally theatrically released in 1963, directed by Don Chaffey and produced by Charles Schneer. The movie itself is based on Greek mythology.

In this movie "Jason", a Thessalonian trying to reclaim his rightful crown as king of his country, recruits a group of soldiers and athletes in Greece to embark on a journey to find and bring back a golden ram's head and fleece which Jason believes will bring peace and prosperity back to his home country which has been plagued by famine and civil war. Local shipbuilder "Argo" builds a ship for Jason and soon these men have set sail, the goddess Hera(played by Honor Blackman) literally watching their backs as a wooden figure of the goddess sits on the stern of the vessel. Jason, despite his general disdain for Zeus and the rest of the gods, grudgingly accepts the offer of assistance from Hera...and he'll be glad he did later in the movie.

In their search for the "golden fleece" Jason and his crew of "Argonauts" encounter various spectacular and deadly characters along the way including: a 150 foot tall bronze, sword wielding statue come to life called Talos, two winged, gargoyle like creatures called "harpys", a seven headed, serpentine monster called the "Hydra" and a horde of sword wielding skeletons borne from the slain Hydra's teeth. There's also a scene in which a giant sized Poseidon(god of the sea) appears to help the Argonauts navigate through a bottleneck of dangerous, moving rocks which employs miniatures and trick photography.

To bring all of these fantastic creatures to life in this movie (the late) Ray Harryhausen employs his special "stop motion" effects. Harryhausen's effects can be seen in many other movies but I've always liked them best in Jason And The Argonauts(1963). The Blu Ray of this movie cleans up the film noticeably although in many scenes I couldn't tell much difference between the BD and the DVD. Extras include a trailer, various audio commentaries and a terrific featurette on the influence of Ray Harryhausen on movie special effects. 

For anyone who enjoys the various "Sinbad" films and other sword & sorcery and/or fantasy films I'd recommend Jason And The Argonauts(1963)!

A trailer:
 
The Sony Home Entertainment Blu Ray release(2010) for sale at Amazon: JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS(1963) Blu Ray

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bunny Auditions - Cadbury Eggs TV Commercial



I don't generally like television commercials but there are some exceptions including the GEICO advertisments featuring "Max" the pig and this timeless classic promoting Cadbury's tasty chocolate candied eggs. The audio effects at 0:03 and 0:09 are funny. For reasons that will likely forever escape me the image of the lion wearing those bunny "ears" always makes me laugh.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

American taxpayers foot bill for $400k camel statue in Pakistan

American taxpayers foot bill for $400k camel statue in Pakistan



For those Americans who willfully ignore the fraud and wasteful spending of YOUR tax dollars by the U.S. federal government, I present this article to you for your inspection. This IS wasteful government spending at its absolute worst! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Obamacare Causes 5.6 Million Cancelled Insurance Plans | MacIver Institute

Obamacare Causes 5.6 Million Cancelled Insurance Plans | MacIver Institute



Today President Obama announced that 7.1 million Americans have signed up for a health insurance plan offered on the federal government's official health insurance exchange website. Forgetting for a moment that that number cannot be positively confirmed by the president's own administration, there's another statistic that President Obama conveniently left out of his announcement earlier today: that nearly 6 million Americans had their insurance policies canceled by their insurance carriers because these plans didn't conform to the ACA's(Affordable Care Act) stringent requirements. There's no way to know exactly how many Americans who had their existing health insurance plans cancelled were able to choose a plan listed at the official health care exchange. That will likely not stop the Obama adminstration from coming up with phony numbers to serve up to the American public as the liberal Democrat spin machine continues in full force to mislead the American people.



The ultimate goal of liberal Democrats in Washington is a bigger federal government, based on the assumption the vast majority of Americans cannot take care of themselves or think for themselves. Imagine a federal government controlled health care system in America and consider the billions of taxpayer generated dollars wasted by our government annually through fraud and poor accounting. How many government run agencies end up in the news for the taxpayer revenue they squander every year? The EPA, the U.S. Postal Service, FEMA, I could go on and on. Imagine what our health care system will be like with the federal government running it. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

String theory: THE RED VIOLIN(1998)

Every now and then I manage to sit down in my recliner and watch a truly beautiful movie, a film that looks and sounds simply marvelous. The Red Violin(1998), a Canadian drama directed by Francois Girard, is a masterfully crafted tale about a very special violin created in the year 1681 and this instrument's journey from the past to present. Presented in flashback sequences, the "red violin" passes from one owner to another through the centuries and set amidst various geographic locations including Italy, England, China and finally to present day Montreal(Canada) where it sits on display in a prestigious auction house.This movie is available on both DVD and Blu Ray. I am definitely going to buy the Blu Ray for this engaging film!


To buy The Red Violin(1998) on Blu Ray at Amazon click on the link: THE RED VIOLIN Blu Ray


imagebam.com

Monday, March 3, 2014

What is GODZILLA? - commentary from Donny Winter

Donny Winter, founder of the kaiju themed internet message board KAIJU GALAXY, has a YouTube "channel" and posted a recent video featuring his thoughts on the recently released (and much talked about) trailer for the Legendary Pictures film GODZILLA(2014). Donny, who goes by the username "EternalMothra" at KAIJU GALAXY, is a super nice guy and a great fan of kaiju, especially Godzilla and Mothra. Check out his comments on Godzilla, both the monster itself and the upcoming film featuring the world's most iconic cinematic monster by clicking on the below video:


To access Donny Winter's terrific message board KAIJU GALAXY click the link: KAIJU GALAXY (forums)

Legendary Pictures's GODZILLA(2014) arrives in theaters on May 16th, 2014!

Friday, February 28, 2014

The heat is on: THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE(1961)

One of the best things I ever did as a person who watched movies almost solely based on monsters and special effects was to expand my proverbial movie watching horizons. It took me a while and it wasn't until I was in my forties that I decided to give sci-fi and horror movies without the top heavy special effects a try. I'm sure glad I did! One movie that I find very entertaining despite its lack of big budget special effects is 1961's The Day The Earth Caught Fire, directed by Val Guest. This film has a great cast including Edward Judd, Janet Munro and Leo McKern.

In The Day The Earth Caught Fire(1961) a determined reporter encounters a vast government cover up while learning that atomic bomb testing by the United States and Soviet Union at the Earth's poles has altered the axis of the planet with the Earth now moving towards the sun! The Earth will literally be scorched by our sun unless world leaders and the scientific community can get the planet back on its normal axis. Ultimately a solution is reached by scientists: detonate more atomic bombs to move the Earth back to a normal rotation around the sun. Will this plan work? Or is Earth doomed to obliteration as it moves closer to the sun! (no other spoilers)

This film is all about the story and is a gripping, suspenseful tale of how the impending end of our planet effects a small group of people struggling to come to terms with the potential calamity.

The Day The Earth Caught Fire has no Blu Ray release (I wish it did) but can be purchased on DVD from Amazon by clicking the link: THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE on DVD

Here's a trailer:


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Godzilla - Official Main Trailer [HD]


The official second trailer for Legendary Pictures' Godzilla(2014) looks marvelous!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Armand's Rancho Del Cielo: Government Lays Groundwork To Confiscate Your 401k...

I managed to catch this important article posted by Armand Vaquer on his blog this morning. How important? For anyone with a 401K retirement plan or IRA(Individual Retirement Account), you may find yours taken away in the future by a broke and bankrupt U.S. federal government. How can this happen? Click the below link to see how our cash strapped government, always looking to generate revenue, may target IRA's and 401K plans of American workers. I would imagine Democrats in Congress and our current President would like nothing more than getting their hands on the hard earned retirement savings of all tax paying Americans.



 Armand's Rancho Del Cielo: Government Lays Groundwork To Confiscate Your 401k...: A friend emailed this article. If you have a 401k or IRA, you'd better read it! by Mac Slavo February 14, 2014 This morning Reuter...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Classic Horror Film Board Forums

Due to constraints on my time I cannot participate in topics at the Classic Horror Film Board as much as I would like but I would highly recommend this internet message board for any fan of horror/sci-fi movies as well as kaiju(giant monster) and fantasy films! It's the best board of its kind on the internet. Check out CHFB by clicking the below link!



Classic Horror Film Board Forums

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kaiju Galaxy

Every now and then I like to give a "shout out" for an internet message board. This one is for KAIJU GALAXY, founded back in November, 2004 by Michigan resident and Central Michigan University graduate Donny Winter. Like my own board, Donny's online community features discussion heavy on Toho and other kaiju(giant monster) films. Infamous Toho movie monsters Godzilla and Mothra are always being talked about at Donny's board along with so much more. Check out Donny Winter's KAIJU GALAXY by clicking the link: KAIJU GALAXY

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bottom feeder: DeepStar Six(1989)

Just last night I managed to watch DeepStar Six(1989) on IFC(Independent Film Channel), nothing admittedly remarkable about this BUT the movie was presented in its original 2:35.1 widescreen aspect ratio.

I like a lot of sci-fi and horror movies which are made on a budget. Even a movie buff like me gets tired of watching the large(er) budget, special effects laden extravaganzas. One way I get my "budget" movie fix is by watching sci-fi movies from the 70's and 80's that were made with smaller budgets but also with directors who clearly put every effort possible into creating an entertaining film. DeepStar Six is one of those films, for me anyway. I can remember first watching this movie when it released to theaters way back in January, 1989. I saw it at the "Midtown 8" theater in midtown Atlanta(just north of the downtown area). The year 1989 saw two other underwater sci-fi movies of note: The Abyss, directed by James Cameron as well as Leviathan, directed by George P. Cosmatos. I like all three.

In DeepStar Six, directed by Sean S. Cunningham(who also directed 1980's Friday The 13th), a team of scientists and other technicians working on a U.S. Navy funded ballistic missile site on the sea floor discover a huge cavern under what is the planned installation site for the nuclear missiles. The lead scientist orders the use of explosives to blow up the sea floor above the large cavern, believing the cave in and resulting debris caused by the controlled blast will sufficiently "fill in" the cavern enough to make the missile sled install site stable. The explosion, however causes a large rupture in the sea floor, releasing a large and hostile arthropod which attacks the "DeepStar" facilities, forcing those working in these underwater structures to fight for their lives a mile below the surface of the ocean.

The "arthropod" is, as best I can describe, a creature that looks to be a mutant crab with large claws and pincers and an enormous jaw that is, I think the most menacing quality of the hostile marine monster. The creature has the ability to roar, obviously meant to add more menace to the monster despite the absurdity of any kind of crustacean or marine arthropod being able to roar like a land animal of some kind.

The score, by Harry Manfredini, is quite good and I like the cast overall which includes Greg Evigan, Taurean Blacque, Thom Bray, Nia Peeples, Elya Baskin, Cindy Pickett, Matt McCoy and Miguel Ferrer. Ferrer's character "Schneider" is the most interesting character in this movie: a nervous, jittery, humorless and generally insecure fellow who manages to get under everyone's elses skin.

The monster isn't revealed until after about an hour into this movie which I like. As to the overall design of the monster I'm not exactly overwhelmed by it but the creature overall serves adequately as an antagonist and main threat in this movie.

Much of DeepStar Six is fairly predictable action and acting but also should keep any sci-fi fan's attention for an hour and a half. Movies like this from the 70's and 80's have an admittedly distinct charm for me and for that reason I enjoy watching them on DVD from time to time.

I own the Artisan Home Video R1 DVD release of DeepStar Six(1989) but it's a disappointing DVD release as the movie is presented in a cropped, "pan 'n scan" 1:33.1 full frame picture. No extras either. There is a German, R2 DVD that features this movie in its original widescreen aspect ratio(w/extras) but it's in German langguage with an English subtitle option. Hopefully this film gets a Blu Ray release or at the very least a better R1 DVD release.

A trailer:

To buy the R1 DVD of DeepStar Six(1989) at Amazon click the link: DEEPSTAR SIX R1 DVD

Friday, January 17, 2014

A star is born: GORATH(1962)

For fans of kaiju(giant monster), Godzilla and other sci-fi movies produced by TOHO, we have been repeatedly rewarded (since 2006) with Region 1 DVD releases of all the GODZILLA films( 1950's/1960's classic era through 2004). Other non Godzilla Toho sci-fi films have been released to Region 1 DVD including Mothra(1961), Matango(1963), Battle In Outer Space(1959), Space Amoeba(1970), The H-Man(1958), Latitude Zero(1969), The Mysterians(1957), Frankenstein Vs Baragon(1965), Atragon(1963), Giant Monster Varan(1958), War Of The Gargantuas(1966), Dogora The Space Monster(1964) & Rodan(1956). 

Still, there are two Toho films I'd love to see get a Region 1 DVD release so I can ditch my Region 0 DVD-Rs(bootleg copies of the Region 2 Toho DVDs). They are THE HUMAN VAPOR(1960) and GORATH(1962).

GORATH(1962) is a Toho science fiction film and probably generally unknown among the majority of American fans who like sci-fi disaster flicks, a shame I think because Gorath is, for its time, a marvelous "space opera" and disaster film by Toho.

In this movie a mysterious, red colored and burning star named "Gorath" is on a collision course with Earth. The star itself isn't large but enormously dense and generating an enormous gravitational pull. Scientists from all the over the world congregate together to formulate a plan to save Earth from collision with the menacing star "Gorath". Once a plan is devised (no spoilers) it's put into effect, a colossal undertaking at the South Pole in the Antarctic. Even if the plan works the menacing star will still pass close to Earth ... causing all kinds of calamities here on our planet.

In the original Toho version of this movie a giant walrus named "Magma" briefly menaces the South Pole base of operations tasked with saving the planet. In the Americanized version of GORATH, originally released to American theaters in 1964(by Brenco Pictures...I think), the scenes with the giant walrus are not in the movie.

I own a VHS copy of GORATH mostly for reasons of nostalgia. I have the "Congress Video Group" 1985 VHS release. I first saw Gorath (the American version) in the late 1980's as a video rental. Here's hoping we see a Region 1 DVD release of this entertaining sci-fi film from Toho in the not too distant future.

An international trailer for this movie, courtesy of Cody Himes:



The Toho Region 2 DVD(Japanese language but NO English subtitles) can be purchased online at CD Japan for about $45. Click the link to see the R2 DVD for sale: GORATH Region 2 DVD-CD JAPAN

To see the Americanized version of Gorath on VHS(Congress Video and Prism Video releases) at Amazon click the link: GORATH on VHS @ Amazon

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Run with the pack: WOLFEN(1981)

One of my fondest memories as a teenager remains my frequent trips to downtown Atlanta(GA) to watch movies at the Omni theater. This theater was part of the Omni, which included a sports arena, restaurants and gift shops. Afternoon movies cost only .99 cents and among the films I watched at the Omni theater were Alien(1979), Scanners(1981), The Thing(1982), Prophecy(1979), Halloween(1978), Jaws 2(1978) and the first three Friday The 13th movies. I also managed to watch another movie for the first time there: Wolfen, a film directed by Michael Wadleigh and based on a 1978 novel penned by Wesley Strieber entitled The Wolfen.

The film's story: veteran New York police detective Captain Dewey Wilson(played by Albert Finney) is tasked with solving the brutal murders of a wealthy business tycoon and his wife in a NYC park, the wounds on the victims consistent with those resulting from an animal attack. Wilson works with a police profiler and medical examiner in trying to identify the killers. Initially suspecting terrorists, Dewey Wilson soon realizes terrorists have nothing to do with the murders, the methodical detective subsequently turning his attention to a group of native American(Indian) laborers. Dewey Wilson's investigation leads him to the doorsteps of an old, abandoned and dilapidated church where the police detective encounters a seemingly invincible, ages old supernatural force of incredible power and ferocity. (no other spoilers)

Observations: Wolfen, because of its title, has often and understandably been labelled as a "werewolf" movie. In fact, the ancient and malevolent force in this movie and the cause of the mayhem and murder is not a werewolf(or werevolves) although it is connected to wolves. The DVD cover for this film, which features a snarling wolf, is certainly evidence of that.

The cast in this movie is quite good. Albert Finney is effective as the world weary, hard boiled, gruff but dedicated police detective "Dewey Wilson". I also liked Gregory Hines as the quirky but equally dedicated medical examiner pal of Dewey Wilson who helps convince the dour police captain that there's something more to the murders than meets the eye.

Director Michael Wadleigh uses very engaging  "POV"(point of view) camera shots to depict what the "wolfen" creatures see as they prowl the streets of New York city's slums while stalking their prey. The POV shots are very similar to the thermography POV effects used later to depict the alien predator's POV in Predator(1987) and Predator 2(1990).

The full reveal of the "wolfen" doesn't take place until near the end of the movie which is also a major plus for me. The score by James Horner is deliberate, melancholy and often majestic, a fitting component to a movie which not only touches on the origins of these mysterious creatures but also goes into great and often gory detail to showcase their savage attacks on their victims.

The gore in Wolfen(1981) is moderate and just enough to remind those watching this movie that the 'wolfen" are much more complex and dangerous than a collection of roving wild dogs.

I haven't seen this movie for sale anywhere on Blu Ray yet. It will in all likelhood get a BD release sooner than later. Wolfen(1981) was first released to R1 DVD back in 2002. I own the 2002 Warner Home Video R1 DVD which features this movie in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio.

I highly recommend this horror movie for fans of this genre!

The film's trailer:



Click the link to see the Wolfen(1981) R1 DVD(Warner Home Video) for sale at Amazon: WOLFEN(1981) R1 DVD

Friday, January 10, 2014

All Smoke and Mirrors: Labor Force Dropouts Solely Responsible for Drop in Official Unemployment Rate

The Obama administration would like Americans to believe that the decreasing unemployment rate in the United States is the result of President Obama's economic policies. In truth it's because millions of Americans are no longer in the work force, most simply giving up looking for any kind of job. Blacks and women, two groups who voted to re-elect the President last year, are both experiencing significant INCREASES in unemployment. To date the unemployment rate for adult blacks in America is around 13.5%!

 All Smoke and Mirrors: Labor Force Dropouts Solely Responsible for Drop in Official Unemployment Rate

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Poll: Americans have little faith in government - CBS Atlanta News

It's no surprise that 70% of Americans recently polled expressed ZERO faith in the U.S. government. Truthfully, I'm amazed that 30% of Americans feel that the federal government is worth ANY positive sentiment. My guess is those 30% represent extreme liberals who would support President Obama and the Democrat political party no matter what.

Until there is full accountability placed on those in Congress and others working in presidential administrations as well as full transparency with and within the process of federal government itself I think most Americans will continue to view their government, and justifiably, as "do nothing".

Poll: Americans have little faith in government - CBS Atlanta News