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Hercules (2014) The one with Dwayne the Rock Johnson

Said action based poster mentioned below.

Said action based poster mentioned below.

The year 2014 could also go down in history as the year of Hercules, the demi-god known for his strength and his…. well let’s just say “amorous” father: Zeus. At the beginning of the year, screens were graced with a gritty, action drama; The Legend of Hercules, starring Kellan Lutz who you might remember as the beefy Emmit Cullen in Twilight or even the Greek Sea God, Poseidon, in 2011’s ImmortalsThe film overall tried far too hard, and left the audience feeling lack luster.

With not only the summer heating up, but the theater selection as well, in rolls Dwayne the Rock Johnson in 2014’s HerculesThe movie opens as a Grecian boy describes the most gruesome, famous labors of Hercules. The young narrator begins with the legend of the Lernaean hydra, moves onto the Erymanthian Boar, and gets interrupted during what is ironically Hercules’ first labor: Nemean lion.

Sorry for the low quality screen cap, best smirk I could find.

Sorry for the low quality screen cap, best smirk I could find.

As you watch Hercules take each monster down, you begin to wonder: “is this the same disastrous, overzealoused CGI film that Director Renny Harlin farted out earlier this year?” And then Dwayne struts into the camp of pillagers that kidnapped his nephew who happens to be our young narrator. The Rock is draped in the lion’s pride, the lion mane gloriously haloing around his head. As the camera slowly pans up to his face, we see him smirk and laugh, nearly right into the camera!

And you begin to wonder, is he being cheeky?

What type of movie is this going to be? (You especially wonder this, if you’ve kept your nose out of any trailers, commercials, or reviews for the film.)

Then something wonderful happens, Hercules takes out four men with one blow of his club with the lion’s teeth attached to the end. As his nephew, Iolaus, played by Reece Ritchie, continues to boast Hercules’ strength, we see him take down more and more men before he lures the enemy behind a wall so the leaders of the pillagers cannot see what’s happening. And that’s when you realize exactly what type of film this is.

3/5s of the band of misfits, and you can see how much of Atlanta's skin is vulnerable

3/5s of the band of misfits, and you can see how much of Atlanta’s skin is vulnerable

It is a campy, tongue in cheek, action film that delivers the type of fun that a summer flick should deliver. You meet the rest of Hercules’ crew of misfits, all of who hold their own genuinely interesting back-stories, along with a wonderful display of individual weaponry. Rufus Sewell (as the deviner, knife-wielding Autolycus, friends with Herc since they roamed the streets as orphans), Aksel Hennie (as the young wildling Hercules took under his wing when Tydeus’ entire town was massacred), the lovable Ian McShane (the seer who had “seen” his own death, therefor could go into any battle knowing he wasn’t going to die yet, Amphiaraus), and my personal favorite Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (as the badass “Amazonia” warrior, who inexplicably wears next to no armor Atalanta) all play their parts perfectly.

Just the right amount of seriousness and cheese; Hercules is one of those films where you can tell the cast had a load of fun while filming. It plays into all the stereotypes and tropes of action flicks while winking at the viewer, like “We know what you like, and we’re gonna ride it hard and long allllll night. Oh yeah.” It’s frustrating that they wouldn’t portray this elevated funness in the posters or advertisements, because the film is doing hella decent on Rotten Tomatoes (for a mid-summer action non-marvel flick) and only decently in the box office.

Director Brett Ratner’s Hercules is the best darn mythos-based movie I have seen since Disney’s 1997 Hercules. What writers Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos, and (Radical Comic writer) Steve Moore did was more than just stick to the myth, they made Hercules a man, a man with pain and anguish, a troubled past, but also, more importantly, a man with a friends, a man who is both loved and feared, a man who became a legend thanks to his cohorts. He was no seed of Zeus, but since he believed he was a hero, he was one. And that is by far the best message one could take away from not only any movie, but also Hercules’ Legend.

Hercules (2014) is based off of Radical Comic’s character from The Thracian Wars and The knives of Kush. The film currently rates a 62% on Rotten Tomatoes and has grossed more than $56 million domestically as of August 6th, 2014.

The below trailer is the closest perfect description I could probably find online without spoilers, and without it being the actual perfection that is Hercules. Beware, the trailer contains many scenes that are not in the final theatrical cut, but I am very happy to report that Hercules’ wife in this adaption is Megara (seen above), and they dress her in purple. Like I said the most tongue in cheek mytho movie ever.

DEAD-BEFORE-DAWN-3D-BANNER

Dead Before Dawn: Zombies, Demons, and Curses, Oh my!

Dead Before Dawn poster

Dead Before Dawn poster

There is a gem out there, a movie that is beyond quirky, fun, clever, and laced with satire, I mean, really it is a “B movie” with backbone and brilliance. It will have your attention from the very first clumsy clip of our pitiful protagonist, and it will not let go of you. This bright and shiny new film based on tired, dopey tropes is Dead Before Dawn and can thankfully be viewed on Netflix, which is where I just so happen to find it while perusing the horror genre. It’s a Canadian Indie film that didn’t get much traction here in the U.S. because if it did, you know for a fact, this bitch would had been watching the overused 3D tricks in theaters.  April Mullen directs the 90 minute 2012 film with a freshness that pays constant tribute to a tired genre and brings  Tim Doiron‘s goofy yet clever screenplay to life.

The Comedy-Horror takes place on what one must assume is a community college in Canada, and although the protagonists of the movie are nearing graduation, these kids seem like freshman or sophomores in age. Our lead is Casper Galloway (Devon Bostick), and I’m not sure how popular the name “Casper” is in Canada, but from my perspective, it’s a nod to the friendliest ghost we all know. Anyways, Casper is a clumsy, doodling boy who lives at home with his widowed mother, and is deathly afraid of his granddad’s “Occult Antique Store” because he kinda, sorta accidentally killed his father there. So, Casper has to watch this spooky antique store for an evening while his awesome cooky granddad, played by Christopher Lloyd, goes to an awards ceremony and receives a lifetime achievement award in the occult community? The movie ends up having a constant gag with a trophy throughout it, but hey an excuse to get the ball rolling for the film is good as any. It’s not like I was expecting a lot with this movie.

The Rag Tag group of nonbelievers: Dazzle, Becky, Seth, Casper (a smart believer, considering he's the only one who prepares for the curse), Charlotte, Patrick, and Lucy

The Rag Tag group of nonbelievers: Dazzle, Becky, Seth, Casper (a smart believer, considering he’s the only one who prepares for the curse), Charlotte, Patrick, and Lucy

So, Casper decides to watch the shop for his granddad, and while he’s there his unattainable crush (Charlotte, played by that one girl from Superbad Martha MacIsaac) walks into the store as an apparent regular. She’s there with her best friend who happens to be a whorish cheerleader, Lucy (Brittany Allen), and who has no interest in the oddball hipster friend of Casper, Seth (Tim Doiron), who is desperately in love with her and mugs. Seth sells the crap out of mugs. After Charlotte and Lucy chit chat with Caspy for awhile, the rest of the gang arrives, including Seth, star football player and token black guy Dazzle (Brandon Jay McLaren), best chick friend Becky (April Mullen), and douchy bf of the unattainable; Patrick (Kyle Schmid). Now that the rest of the important cast has arrived, we can get into the hilarious manner in which the zombie demons, aka zemons, arrive.

The store has a creepy skull urn that no one should “ever come within spitting distance of,” but of course it is out on display on the highest shelf.

Said creepy urn. I mean it has a damn human skull on it.

Said creepy urn. I mean it has a damn human skull on it.

A beautiful Zemon

A beautiful Zemon

Even though Casper is told to never touch the urn, it becomes a topic of conversation with his friends and he wishes to impress Charlotte (above), and then he drops it all because she brushes his hand. As the urn shatters, Casper freaks the hell out and claims “We’re all cursed! Doomed!” And his friends take about 5 minutes to then ridicule him and said curse, and apparently, what ever the people whom broke the urn said as the last ash fell to the floor would then happen is the new curse. Because that’s how curses work right? Anyways, to make an already long story short, as they make fun of such a “silly” topic, they claim who ever makes direct eye contact with anyone after 10 pm that night (because midnight is too cliche) the person will commit suicide, come back to life as a Zemon and make their creators and other bystanders into fellow suicide committing zemons  by giving them hickies. BUT! You can totally make one of the zemons into your salve if you can seduce and french kiss them. Like I said, they discuss what the would be curse would be for about 5 minutes. It’s a wonderful 5 minutes though, and it turns out to be a hilarious curse.

GREAT SCOTT! (Also this is the 2nd time Lloyd has played a zombie, whoops, spoiler, he makes eye contact with everyone in the shop.)

GREAT SCOTT! (Also this is the 2nd time Lloyd has played a zombie, whoops, spoiler, he makes eye contact with everyone in the shop.)

Of course, the rest of the film contains shenanigans leading up to the rag-tag group fighting off the zemons and breaking the curse before dawn, which gives them 6 hours to fix what they so royally screwed up. Dead Before Dawn has loads of amazing atheistic and verbal jokes, and is one of the best Indie Horror movies I’ve seen in a long time. I was weary about watching the film, but the fact that Christopher Lloyd was in it really helped me push play because GREAT SCOTT! He’s fucking Doc man, and he even says it! He says “GREAT SCOTT” and I flipped my shit! It was amazeballs.

The first portion of the

The first portion of the “realization of how badly we fucked up” scene

I don’t want to spoil too much else about Dead Before Dawn but I highly recommend checking it out. The Zemons look pretty convincing and they have one really great panorama shot of Casper and Becky seeing the now Zemon covered football field, because remember, they set the curse time for 10 pm. The editors also use cut-to’s and montage scenes exceptionally well, and really add the funny edge while paying tribute to the overused tropes. And of course, we have a humorous nod to different weaponry that can be spotted in numerous zombie films, but oddly enough, no use of a religious symbol, a wasted opportunity, which leads me to believe that these Zemons are only zombies, the story writer must have really wanted to contribute to the horror lexicon.

All the characters are well developed and although the acting is sub-par, you’ll love the collaboration on screen. Each character really brings an individual feel to the film and there would be an emptiness without them. Very seldom can you say that each character is a key player in a film. No talent goes to waste. You can tell the cast and crew had a great time filming and writing the movie and you’re going to have just as much fun watching it.  Be sure to listen to the end credits as well, they wrote their own songs that tie into the film, and they’re just as great and super catchy.

If you’re looking for a fun, comedy horror movie to knock some time out, I highly recommend Dead Before Dawn, and if you’ve seen it, please comment below and tell me what you thought! I’ve read other, high class reviews, and I believe that those reviewers, were not the target demographic. Anyways, if my rave review doesn’t convince you, check out the trailer below and you’ll get just a taste of the wonderment I was talking about.

sexy-evil-genius

Sexy Evil Genius

Poster for Sexy Evil Genius

Poster for Sexy Evil Genius

I was strolling about Netflix the other night, looking for something new and original (after watching the dreadful Paranormal Activity 4, don’t judge me, I wanted something horror related, & we all know how shitty Netflix’s Horror picks can be). I was rolling through the recently added section and saw an attention grabbing title: Sexy Evil Genius. I read the synopsis: four strangers realize they’re all ex’s of a conniving, certifiably insane, seductive woman who gathers them at a seedy bar in the deep of L.A. It’s categorized as an Indie comedy, drama, mystery film. And it undoubtedly hits every category incredibly well. Continue reading