9.23.2021

Malignant Film Review: When Horror Goes Bonkers


by robotGEEK

And I mean that in the best possible way. Going into Malignant, I was worried that it would ultimately be the same old thing we've seen countless times from James Wan (and that's not a dig), or rather, it looked like another Insidious movie to me simply based on it's trailer. Boy I could not have been more wrong, and I'm so fucking thankful for that. 

Malignant is batshit insane. I mean that, and that's easily one of it's greatest strengths. Malignant is a hot mess, and legitimately one of the most unpredictable horror films I've ever seen. It constantly shifts tones so often that you simply cannot predict where it's heading at any given moment. While a lot of people love to claim they "figured out the big twist", regardless, I can guarantee you that they could not predict where this was heading from one scene to the next. Completely absurd, it will literally generate audible laughs and a whole lot of WTF comments throughout, yet that's what I found so much fun. It's not a "safe" horror film. It's as if James Wan decided "I've already gotten to the top, so where else can I go? Let me blow their minds and drive them wild". Kudos to you Mr. Wan. Thank you. 

Let's not forget, James Wan has created 3 of the most successful modern horror franchises in history with Saw, The Conjuring and Insidious films. Not to mention directing one of the Fast and Furious films, along with DC's Aquaman. It was somewhat of a relief to see him go back to his horror roots, but not only go back to it, but go absolutely nuts with it, kind of in the same way Sam Raimi did with Drag Me to Hell (2009) after directing everything from superhero films to dramas and thrillers. 

With that being said, people are either going to love it or hate it. It's split so far down the middle it's been a blast hearing everyone's reaction to it. And whether you love or hate it, whatever he did is working because we can't stop talking about it. My only regret is that I didn't go to the theater to see it. And that wasn't by choice. I just couldn't get to it, so I watched it on HBO at home. But it's a gorgeous looking film and with so much homage to Argento going on, I really wish I had seen it on the big screen. Personally I fucking loved the shit out of it and had such a blast with it. I honestly can't remember the last time I was this surprised and downright dumbstruck by what I was watching. Trust me, you'll have a very clear idea of what you're getting into in the very first 10 minutes of the movie. And I have no doubt that every creative decision in here was intentional. So if you laugh, it's because he wants you to laugh at the absurdity of it all. If you scream "What the fuck?!", it's because he wants you to. 

I think I'll just leave it at that for now. Saying anything else about the film could potentially spoil it for someone. Curious to hear your thoughts on it though. Please consider leaving a comment and lets discuss. Or comment on my Instagram post. 

9.22.2021

The Cult Corner: Golgo 13: The Professional (1983)


by robotGEEK

First off, I'll admit I'm not the biggest anime fan. I would say I'm a casual anime fan, but even then, I'm so far out of the loop when it comes to titles and franchises that I usually don't bother with them unless one is highly recommended to me. And that's exactly what happened here. Someone had posted about this on Instagram, so I took the advice and added it to my watchlist. It took me a few weeks to finally get around to it, but holy fuck I'm so glad I finally did. 

Golgo 13: The Professional is an absolute kickass and killer film, animated or not. It's as if John Woo (The Killer) and Luc Besson, (The Professional), in the height of their career's, collaborated on a film about a hitman and cast Ken Takakura (Black Rain, The Yakuza) or Sonny Chiba (The Street Fighter). It's hyper-violent, hip, slick, sexy and cool as all hell. Though released in 1983, it oozes late 70's aesthetics out of every pore; from the score, costume and art design, sound design and tone. So imagine my surprise to discover that both Takakura and Chiba both starred in live action adaptations in the 70's prior to this animated film's release. I had no idea, but holy shit it makes sense. Now to track those suckers down.

As a film, it's just so fucking cool. The cinematography alone is damn impressive. Each single frame is a work of art, and it blows my mind how it was basically shot and structured like a live action film and not an anime, where they could just go nuts with everything. And I think that's what I love most about it, which is why I kept thinking this could easily be a film by Woo or Besson starring Chiba or Takakura. It's essentially like watching a film with all that talent combined and it's blissfully insane. 

You don't have to be a fan of anime, or even have to know anything about this franchise going in. It's an incredible standalone feature that blows nearly every other anime or animated film out of the water, both current and classic. This, without a doubt, is going into my Top 5 Animated Films of All Time list. 

My research afterwards provided a lot of insight. First, it's considered one of the longest running manga's ever since it's initial launch in 1968, and still running today. 2 live action films were made in the 70's, each starring Chiba and Takakura in the lead respectively, and produced an animated series (50 episodes) in 2008, along with another animated film in 1998 titled Queen Bee. Oh, and I hear it was a badass NES game as well here in the states. Definitely going to look for that soon for my collection. 

How To Watch It:

Streaming: It's currently streaming for free on Amazon (with commercials), so you don't need a Prime account, and it's also streaming for free in HD on the always reliable TubiTV

Physical Media: It has gotten a Blu-Ray release via Discotek Media, which you can pick up for generally around $30 on the seconhand market, and the old DVD for under $20, but I can't find any information that says if the DVD is in widescreen or not. You can find the full frame VHS for fairly cheap these days too. You can also find its incredibly funky score on vinyl for a pretty penny. 

9.21.2021

Transformers: The Movie Screens This Sunday in Theaters via Fathom Events

by robotGEEK

That's right! As part of it's 35th Anniversary, Fathom Events will be screening this legendary, and quite possibly one of the greatest animated films of all time, this coming Sunday, September 26th, and Tuesday, September 28th. 


Here are the details via Fathom Event's Website:

In celebration of the 35th anniversary of its release, the world-renowned 1986 animated feature film THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE returns to U.S. movie theaters for two days only, for an experience that's beyond good, beyond evil, and beyond your wildest imagination! In addition to the feature, audiences of this special event will be treated to brand-new exclusive content.

For millennia, the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), have been at war with the evil Decepticons, led by Megatron (Frank Welker). As the battle between the Autobots and Decepticons rages on Earth, an even greater threat looms. Unicron (Orson Welles,Citizen Kane), a colossal converting planet who consumes everything in his path, is heading for Cybertron to devour the Transformers homeworld and wipe the Autobots and Decepticons from existence. The only hope is the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. With new enemies hunting them down and dangers lurking in every corner of the galaxy, the Autobots take on a perilous mission to save their planet that will alter their destiny forever.

An all-star cast, including Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club), Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek), Eric Idle (the Monty Python films) and, Robert Stack (The Untouchables), brings this inimitable, explosively entertaining Autobot adventure to life.

While a box office bomb upon it's initial release, this landmark film has become a certified cult classic in every sense of the meaning, and has gained such a huge following that you seriously do not want to miss the chance to see this on the big screen. For me personally, it's my favorite animated film of all time and this will be my first time ever getting to see it in theaters as I never got the chance as a 10 year old back in 1986. So you can bet your ass I'll be there as a 45 years old this coming Sunday. 

You can purchase your tickets via Fathom Events website HERE.

While we're on the subject, be sure to check Toy Galaxy's excellent new video on YouTube titled Hasbro's Hubris: The Story of the Failed the Transformers: The Movie (1986) where they go deep into it's initial inception, release, backlash, negative reception and finally into it's much celebrated cult status. 

9.20.2021

Vintage 1990 Punisher Premiere Ad

by robotGEEK

Stumbled upon this excellent rare vintage ad promoting the Uncut U.S. premiere of Dolph Lundgren's The Punisher at an L.A. Comic Book & Science Fiction Convention back in 1990 via my buddy's Facebook page The Punisher 1989: The Untold Story of a Cult Classic. This ad scan comes courtesy of Greg Beville. 

According to Jeremie Damoiseau, author of the excellent French book Punisher: The Secret History (currently being translated to English for a U.S. release), the screening did not go as planned. Here are some details from Damoiseau himself:

"The screening did not go as planned since the print for WATCHERS II never arrived... Therefore it was LOBSTER MAN FROM MARS first, then HOWLING V and finally THE PUNISHER!
Although announced as a tentative guest, Lundgren did not attend, but director Mark Goldblatt was there and waved to the audience after the film got a standing ovation."

There you go. I thought it was some fascinating history regarding the release of one of my absolute favorite films ever. I wonder if those in attendance ever got those exclusive Punisher button's after all?

8.10.2021

Tubi Tuesday Presents: Robocop: The Series (1994)

 


by robotGEEK

Now this was as total surprise. This is a series I've been wanting to watch for ages, but from what I gather, this particular series has never gotten an official DVD release here in the states (but it is available on DVD in other regions), though the 2001 Mini-Series Prime Directives has. So just a heads up, be sure not to confuse the two. 

Released in 1994, Robocop: The Series has a very tumultuous relationship to the franchise fanbase. Let's be honest, most hate it. And believe me, I can understand why. It's a PG rated Robocop series. Did they learn nothing from the previous year's disastrous Robocop 3? Another failed PG attempt that still, despite some pretty cool ideas integrated into the film overall, can't seem to find an audience nearly 30 years later. I hate to admit it, but it will never become a cult classic the way Part 2 is. But I digress. 

This series ran for 21 episodes and didn't really find the audience it wanted. Primarily trying to appeal to kids and teenagers, the lack of violence and satire that really drove the first two films is lacking and it just feels...lacking. That's the general consensus because I personally have not watched them, but I'm excited to. But while the show itself wasn't a hit and didn't necessarily generate more fans, it was a pretty decent marketing machine in regards to toys. I will admit, the toys produced because of this series are pretty awesome. So it does have that going for it. 

I am one of the biggest Robocop fans there is. I still have vivid memories of going to the movie theater to see Dragnet in 1987 as an 11 year old and seeing the trailer for the first film and just having my mind blown. I hadn't even seen the film yet, but I was immediately obsessed. As I write this article, I am staring at my Robocop poster on the wall next to me, as well as my Robocop VCR Home Game sitting on my desk. I have a lot of Robocop memorabilia and collectibles and have been a die hard fan of the franchise for 34 years. I am one of the very few who genuinely love the 2001 mini-series Prime Directives. Yes its budget is obviously limited, but I'd be damned if that series wasn't badass, filled to the brim with action, violence and satire, it seemed to correct course and fix the issues that this particular series failed to get right. Don't get me wrong though, I am genuinely excited to watch this series. The PG rating doesn't turn me off, as long as it's entertaining. 

I watched about 30 minutes of the pilot episode this weekend with my breakfast, and I will say it's not quite HD quality. In fact, it's not really the best DVD quality either. It looks more like the quality of the beginning of the DVD era, and for some reason it's painfully obvious that the picture is "zoomed in" a bit. So just a warning, it's not the best quality. But for a show that is otherwise hard to get your hands on, it's here and it's FREE. 

Robocop: The Series (1994) is now streaming for FREE on TubiTV

8.09.2021

Documentary Spotlight: Val (2021)

by robotGEEK

First off, I would like to apologize for the lack of content lately. I always tend to forget how difficult my time management gets during the summer. I'm one of those people who needs a schedule, and when we have all this free time during the summer, I get thrown off considerably and it's hard for me to get things done. I definitely have way too many hobbies and juggle way too many things with work, responsibilities, life and art. But I think starting today, things will get back on track. I definitely have a lot to catch up on here, but in the meantime, if you haven't already, I encourage you to check out my Instagram page where I am my most active. Anyway, lets dig in. 

First up is this excellent documentary that I just watched yesterday afternoon on Amazon Prime. Funnily enough, I just finished his memoir and wasn't even aware his documentary was going to be hitting soon, until a few of my Instagram followers pointed out that it just hit Amazon Prime. 

Narrated by his son, who sounds shockingly just like his dad, it was every bit as entertaining as I’d hoped, and paints a much broader portrait of a very passionate man. Whereas I found his memoir to focus too much on his lost loves and heartache, I found this to be far more inclusive regarding his career.


One thing of special note is that Kilmer was an avid documentarian. He filmed so much of his life, beginning as a very young man in the early 80's to now, through various cameras and mediums as technology changed and it's really such a fascinating thing to watch. Whether it was just filming himself in a quiet moment talking to the camera in moments of reflection, filming behind the scenes of any of his more popular films, or recording typical family stuff with his kids and ex-wife, it's a lot. Decades worth of footage and it's what really drives this documentary in a way that you don't see very often, making it quite an intimate experience. 

Val is an absolute gem of a documentary. 

Now streaming on Amazon Prime. 

7.06.2021

90's Thriller Throwback: Timebomb (1991) Video Review

From the director of Mercenary comes this surprisingly solid little early 90's sci-fi/thriller starring the always great Michael Beihn in a rare starring role, with a pretty stellar supporting cast that includes Billy Blanks, Patsy Kinset and Richard Jordan to name a few. Please give it a watch, and be sure to "like" the video and subscribe to my channel if you're so inclined. Your support means so much to me. Enjoy!

6.30.2021

SideKicks is Streaming on Amazon Prime!

 


by robotGEEK

ATTENTION!! This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill. The ever elusive and nostalgic 90's masterpiece is finally streaming for the first time ever in the U.S. And not only is it streaming, it's also, for the first time ever, in glorious Widescreen and in HD! 

For those of you who may not be aware, this little gem has a really strange history here in the states. It's only ever been released officially on VHS and Laserdisc. We never even got a DVD, let along a Blu Ray or anything on that level. And in both of those releases, it was released in the dreaded full frame cropped aspect ratio, which is a shame because Chuck Norris' frequent collaborator and director brother Aaron Norris really shot the hell out of this. It's a great looking film, especially with the recreated fantasy sequences of Chuck's other popular films like Missing in Action and The Hitman. So since we STILL have no plans or release of this classic in the foreseeable future, this is literally the best we're going to get. The fact that it's in both HD and Widescreen is still completely mind-blowing to me.

While I do know it has gotten an official DVD release in the past in a few regions, like France I believe, it's still a very difficult film to find on that format, even on eBay. I had actually purchased one on eBay that I believed to be a legit Australian DVD release that claimed to be digitally remastered, only to sadly discover it was just a rip off of a VHS. It was terrible. BUT, there is some decent news regarding this film on physical media here in the U.S.. I was just recently made aware of a new 5-DVD set featuring a few of Chuck Norris' films, and this film is included in that set. It's not in Widescreen or HD, but it is a decent DVD quality and far better than the shitty bootleg I got. It's called the "Chuck Norris 5 Movie Collection", and contains Braddock: Missing in Action II, The President's Man, Forest Warrior, The Hitman (also never officially released on DVD before), and of course Sidekicks. You can purchase the set for $29.99 on Amazon HERE

Just in case you've never seen it, and are wondering what to expect, it's kind of like Schwarzenegger's Last Action Hero before Last Action Hero. And Joe Piscopo as the villain is pure gold 100%. You can check out my review from November of last year HERE

Sidekicks is currently streaming for free with an Amazon Prime account HERE, with options to purchase it digitally as well. 

6.29.2021

Tubi Tuesday Presents: Into the Night (1985)

 


A Brilliant, Dark, Twisted Odyssey Through The Streets of L.A.

by robotGEEK

If you're ever in the mood for a bizarre, surreal and highly entertaining under-the-radar gem, then this film is for you. Brilliantly directed by John Landis, the same year he directed Spies Like Us, Into the Night is like the L.A. version of Martin Scorsese's After Hours. It's a surreal, sometimes nightmarish, sometimes odd and sometimes hilarious odyssey through the streets of L.A. via 1985 as an insomniac (Jeff Goldblum), meets and tries to help a beautiful young woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) as she's being chased by a random assortment of people over the course of a single night. 

As you'd expect with any Landis film, it's filled to the brim with amazing cameo's, some more subtle than others, and an insanely eclectic cast, including the late-great David Bowie as a hitman. I'm telling you, it's fucking great. I happened upon this film by accident a few years ago. One day I was casually browsing the Laserdisc section on eBay, and stumbled upon this. I was immediately drawn to it because it was a John Landis and Jeff Goldblum film I had never heard of before, so that Laserdisc was a blind-buy for me. When we threw it on one lazy Sunday afternoon, we were floored by not only how entertaining it was, but how good it was too. Make no mistake, it's not your conventional film. It's so strange, but in the most delightful way possible. It takes huge risks in both it's approach to its story and structure, and John Landis shoots the hell out of this thing. It's a gorgeous film to look at. It's a shame he's kind of a terrible person in real life, an egomaniac and well, we know the rest. But he sure was one helluva director in his prime, even through his legal and personal troubles in the 80's. 

Streaming for FREE (with commercials) in HD on TubiTV