Tag Archives: Incomprehensible

Crimson Throne (2013) aka Crimson Winter

Okay; so this cover is somewhat misleading.
Okay; so this cover is somewhat misleading.

“Princes and Vampires Rise Together… Now it’s Time for Blood.”

Directed by Brian Ferriter
Starring Brian Ferriter, Nick Milodragovic and Kailey Michael Portsmouth

Elric (Ferriter), a prince among vampires, chooses to fight alongside his fellow Frenchmen in the Crusades, and later in the Hundred Years War, seeking to fulfill an animal-based prophecy about a lion, a wolf and a falcon that will bring peace between vampires and humans… And then some students (primarily Milodragovic and Portsmouth as engaged couple Dylan and Roxanne) head into rural Montana to do some research into elk mortality.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: Dagon (2001)

Horror in Spanish!
Horror in Spanish!

Reviewed by Tim Deegan

Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Ezra Godden and Francisco Rabal

The Story

This film is based less loosely than many on ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’, in which a posh backpacker comes to the deserted town of Innsmouth, encounters the town drunk and hears a tale of dark trades and (gasp) miscegenation with fish people, then finds himself trapped overnight and pursued by shambling foes.

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The Summer of Lovecraft: The Dunwich Horror (2009)

Even most SyFy original movies have posters mocked up for them. Even Dragon Wasps.
Even most SyFy original movies have posters mocked up for them. Even Dragon Wasps.

“The devil’s spawn is about to open the gates to hell!”

Directed by Leigh Scott
Starring Dean Stockwell, Jeffrey Combs, Griff Furst and Sarah Leaving

The Story

Wilbur Whatley is the weird one in a family including a mad grandfather and an albino mother, a fast-growing freak who frightens animals and children with his odd smell. He studies sorcery with his grandpa and continually buys cattle for a herd that never increases.  He and his grandfather carry out constant conversion of the farmhouse in order to fit some thing connected to Wilbur’s mysterious father, named only as ‘Yog-Sothoth’. Grandfather and daughter disappear or die, and Wilbur is killed by dogs trying to steal an original Latin Necronomicon from Miskatonic University. When the thing in the house breaks loose, Miskatonic academics Henry Armitage, Warren Rice and Francis Morgan confront and destroy it. Wilbur is revealed to have been not quite human, and the thing to have been his twin, who looked more like the father.

The Film

Wilbur Whatley (Combs) is a serial killer, abducting tourists to feed to his monstrous brother (this fact is dropped in about a third of the way through the movie and never questioned.) Henry Armitage (erstwhile Whatley Stockwell) and his assistant, Fay Morgan (Leaving), are monster hunters and freelance exorcists.

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Bulletproof Monk (2003)

They love this image of Chow Yun-Fat with the guns, even though his character is a Buddhist and only fires two shots in a single scene of the movie. It's Chow Yun-Fat with guns, right!
They love this image of Chow Yun-Fat with the guns, even though his character is a Buddhist and only fires two shots in a single scene of the movie. It’s Chow Yun-Fat with guns, right!

“A Power Beyond Measure Requires a Protector Without Equal”

Directed by Paul Hunter
Starring Chow Yun-Fat, Seann William Scott, Jaime King, Karel Rodan and Victoria Smurfitt

A scroll containing the power to reshape the world is protected by a wandering and unaging Monk (Yun-Fat) until such time as humanity is enlightened enough to read it. After sixty years, the Monk is seeking for a successor, but he is relentlessly pursued by Strucker (Rodan) a Nazi hungry for that absolute power.

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Ultraviolet (2006)

Ultraviolet

“The Blood War is On”

Directed by Kurt Wimmer
Starring Milla Jovovich, Cameron Bright, Nick Chinlud and Michael Fichtner

In the wake of a plague which turns humans into superhuman ‘haemophages’, a Blood War rages between the vampires and the military medico-religious establishment known as the Arch-Ministry. When the Arch-ministry develops a new weapon to wipe out the remaining haemophages, they send their greatest fighter, Violet (Jovovich) to intercept it.

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Nazi Zombie Death Tales (2012)

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“Sex! Zombies! War!”

(aka Battlefield Death Tales, aka Angry Nazi Zombies)

Directed by James Eaves, pat Higgins and Alan Ronald

This film is actually an anthology of three short films. As a result, I’m going to deviate from our usual system in order to take on each film separately. This is especially important because the films are highly variable in terms of their quality.

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Metallica Through the Never (2013)

Metallica

“Experience Metallica Like Never Before”

Directed by Nimrod Antal
Starring Dane DeHaan and Metallica

As Metallica play a gig in Vancouver, one of their roadies, Trip (DeHaan), is sent to retrieve a vital item stranded in an out-of-gas tour van, but as the concert continues, Trip finds himself caught up in an escalating tide of urban violence.

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In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007)

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“Rise and Fight”

Directed by Uwe Boll
Starring Jason Statham, John Rhys Davies, Ron Perlman, Clare Forlani and Burt Reynolds

When his community is destroyed by rampaging Krugs – beast-like primates who have somehow acquired weapons and organisation, Farmer the Farmer (Statham) sets out to rescue his captured wife (Forlani) and avenge his murdered son. Meanwhile, the King (Burt Reynolds, I shit you not) and his magus Merick (Rhys Davies) must content with dual power grabs by the weasely Duke Fallow (Matthew Lillard) and the malevolent magus Gallian (Ray Liotta).

Hijinks ensue, featuring as many Lord of the Rings knock-offs as they could muster and no fewer than three sets of tree ninjas.

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Hitman (2007)

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Apparently, this film did not deserve a tagline.

Directed by Xavier Gens
Starring Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott and Olga Kurylenko

Agent 47, an assassin trained from childhood to become the ultimate killing machine, is set up by his own organisation in order to replace the Russian President with a hardline body-double, leading 47 to seeking vengeance. Meanwhile, an Interpol Inspector (who would be the hero of this film if it had any sense of shame) is closing in on 47.

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Gabriel (2007)

Gabriel-2

“Far From Grace”

Directed by Shane Abbess
Starring Andy Whitfield and Dwaine Stevenson

The souls of the dead go either to Heaven, or to Hell, or to Purgatory, here depicted as Gotham City with the shine buffed off, locked in perpetual darkness because the Light is losing the eternal battle over the fate of the city’s souls. The last Arc Angel (sic), Gabriel, is sent down in human form to restore light to Purgatory with a pure heart, dauntless faith, and a pair of silenced .45s, but the Fallen are waiting for him.

What’s wrong with it?

Gabriel is one of those films that take elements from successful movies and emulates them badly. The film lifts from The ProphecyThe MatrixSin City and Blade, among others, but lacks the money or the talent to pull it off. It’s moody lighting is merely dark, its dramatic music overwhelming and laden with bathos, and its attempted mix of philosophical dialectic and hard-edged profanity comes out swinging wildly from childish potty mouth to dull and incomprehensible rambling. On the rare occasions when the film actually makes a point, it doesn’t seem to know what it is.

There is also an unpleasant aftertaste of misogyny in the fact that the one female Fallen is a pseudo-sapphic bondage queen and the only female Arc, having been beaten by Sammael, is reportedly raped and then forced into prostitution, and survives the slaughter of the other Arcs through pointless apathy.

What’s right with it?

Sadly, the handful of occasions where the film is actually saying something or getting a shot right are quickly spoiled by incompetent handling.

How bad is it really?

Oh my, it’s bad. It’s also, despite its level best efforts to be dramatic, dull as paste.

Best bit (if such there is)?

Perhaps the most memorable scene, in a somewhat horrifying way, is the reveal of Asmodeus’ whore, altered by plastic surgery to look like him.

What’s up with…?

  • The baffled and baffling denouement? ‘Sammael’ is revealed to be the fallen ‘Arc’ Michael, chafing under the authority of the Light. Rallying to defeat him, Gabriel declares ‘the Light isn’t control, it’s choice’, but then inexplicably decides that if he goes back to the Light then an unavoidable cycle will begin again and apparently kills himself. I guess the filmmakers suddenly felt bad that they weren’t sticking it to the man.
  • The terminology? Light instead of Heaven, okay, but ‘Arc’ instead of archangel? What’s up with that? Did they not realise that it has an actual etymology?
  • Everyone warning Gabriel that indulging human passions is how the Arcs lose their strength, then him having redemptive sex with the wingless Amitiel/Jade to save him from his own Fall? Actually, I’d be okay with this if I thought it was about being sex positive, rather than just getting some sex in the movie.
  • The conflicting messages that the Arcs are supposed to provide an example, then when anyone takes hope from Gabriel’s presence they get slaughtered like chumps?

Ratings

Production values – Much in the vein of the great Albert Pyun, bad movie superstar, Shane Abbess appears to know how to make a good film, he just can’t actually manage to do it. On a limited budget he tries to make something memorable and distinctive, but everything is actually derivative, and by failing to recognise his constraints, he produces something ill-lit, mumbling and confused. 16
Dialogue and performances –  Aside from the odd shouty bit, there isn’t much of note in any of the performances, with lines like ‘hello; how’ve you been’ getting the same level of emotion as ‘you were my brother and you betrayed me’. Still; any more effort would have been wasted on the lines. 18
Plot and execution – A mad jumble of ideas and ideologies, plus some stock bad guy nastiness and misogyny. 17
Randomness – The mishmash of philosophies; the sudden reversals; the redemption sex. 16
Waste of potential – It’s hardly an original or the most promising of concepts, but there is a lot of room to have done this better. 14

Overall 81%