Sunday, November 08, 2009

Come what ye may, deplorable Fate. And bring your worst.

The thing about hitting rock bottom is nothing else can bring you down lower. People tell me to be more positive and I'm finaly giving in. The only nice thing I can think of is, it can't possibly get any worse.
I've told myself that before many times, only to be proven wrong. But if baseless optimism makes others around me feel better, I will try to kid myself some more.
My big future plans have crumbled apart (again) so I'm stuck in this miserable armpit of a city.
I am swamped at a dead end job with no money, oodles of debt and a disdain for people in general.
I'm on the wrong side of 35 years old, have no prospects and a certain lady stopped talking to me.
I'm supposed to find some positive in that. So others around me can feel better.
Okay, the positive things going on...

I went to the movies the other night. Saw The 4th Kind. It didn't suck. Think Blair Witch except creepier.
Sonny got a new best friend this week, a cat named Attila-

They ignore each other, which suits me fine.
Oh yeah, almost forgot- I get all the Mexican food I can eat at a 50% discount.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

At long last, here it is. Whoopee.

My lack of blogging suggests I am not the wordsmith I wish I was. They say, "a good writer is always writing" and my last post was over two months ago. Unless 2 plus 2 suddenly equals five, I don't like the message I send myself when I think about it.
Sadly, I still don't want to write. But dammit, I promised a critique of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and by golly, here it is...

Shark vs. Ock is exactly what you would expect from the douchebags in charge of The Asylum; a piece of crap with its best moments on display in the teaser/trailer. So don't waste your time with it.

I can offer some advice to its two stars. Lorenzo Lamas should keep doing exactly what he's doing because this is probably as good as it gets. Debbie Gibson should do porn. She leans toward pretty, and in porn her acting skills would almost be on par with her peers.

Now you may have noticed that this review is lacking a certain "something" compared to my critiques of the past. Yeah, it's called passion. I aint got it no more. But I assure you, Shark vs. Ock had illicited all the due attention it deserved. But in my defense, I did go above and beyond the call, as I have prepared for you, my intrepid readers, photo illustrations! Not screencaps. I have managed to encapsulate Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus using only my camera, an obscure GI JOE character, my MEG tooth and two unsuspecting Beanie Babies.

This is as good as the film's fx. The same cgi sequences repeated 3 and 4 times, which is sad considering during the film's 90-somewhad minute run time, the titular beasties are featured for only about eleven of those minutes. Pathetic.

This is a representation of Debbie Gibson's performance pinnacle in the film. It's the scene where she says something along the lines of, "Hey! Look at the size of this tooth fragment I found in a dead beached whale! I rule."

I rule too.
Until next time...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Netflix's First Faux Pau with me; and it's a doozy...

Hello, friends.

I got an itch that only Netflix can scratch, and I'm finding out Netflix has no nails.
I know I promised a critique for Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus a while back and I've done everything in my power to get the film, short of paying upwards of $20 for a film that will probably suck. But I did bump the film to the top of my queue days before its release.
Before I continue, I want to clarify that this isn't necessarily a bitch session about Netflix per se. I have never had a problem with them and have been very happy with their service. But they're toying with me now, and I'm frigging pissed.
I'm well aware that Shark vs. Ock is (God knows why) a very anticipated film. It's been the buzz of the Internet for the last month because of it's gloriously cheesy yet entertaining trailer...

So naturally, I wasn't annoyed to see the "very long wait" notification upon its release. But it's been over two weeks, and no title has ever made me wait this long. What's worse is, about three days after its release, the status changed to "available now." It just so happened I had two rentals returned that very day.
Imagine my surprise when I received not Shark vs. Ock, but rather a compilation from season 3 of Law & Order and the final disk from season 2 of The Odd Couple.
And yet, when I checked Netflix, Shark vs. Ock was still listed as available. The next day, it was changed back to "very long wait" and has not changed since.

What the hell, Netflix? What the frigging HELL?!?!?!?! Your list is writing checks that your service can't cash.
Now I'm not ready to pull the plug on Netflix just yet. It's been a convenient and (up until now) reliable service, but Netflix right now is definitely at the top of my Shit List Queue (HA!) and the only way they're getting off is when I see my frigging Mega Shark lock horns with a Giant Octopus.

This is your first and last warning, Netflix.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

El Oso y El Conejo

Un oso y un conejo fueron hacer del bano en el bosque.
El oso dice al conejo, "Perdoname pero tienes tu problema con caca atorada en tus pelos?"
El conejo dice, "No. No tengo problemas."

El oso hagarra el conejo y limpia su culo con el.

Translation available upon request.

In the meantime, go burn your face. Talking Heads used to kick ass. What happened?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

JCVD is Van Damme's best.

starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
written by Frederic Benudis, Mabrouk El Mechri & Christophe Turpin
directed by Mabrouk El Mechri

Way back when I critiqued My Name is Bruce, I said it took the formula from Three Amigos! and Galaxy Quest and dropped the ball in the laugh department. Which is unfortunate because it was supposed to be a comedy. Although tagged as comedy, JCVD is not funny except in the few moments when it tries to be. This film is a drama and it's damn good.
Former mega-super celebrity Jean-Claude Van Damme (playing himself) has hit rock bottom. He got his ass kicked in a divorce, is about to lose custody of his daughter and has depleted his bank account to pay his lawyers.
Upon returning home to Belgium, he goes to a post office to collect a money-order loan from his agent in Los Angeles (post offices double as banks in some European countries). Van Damme's timing sucks as bad as his luck as he walks in, smack dab in the middle of a robbery. Witnesses outside recognized him, saw him enter and the local authorities believe he is the one robbing le poste when the doo doo hits the fan.
JCVD is not your typical Van Damme vehicle, as it is lacking in karate chops, high kicks, big explosions, fast action, wafer-thin supporting characters, an over the top villian, absurd plot devices and a predictable ending. Here, we have instead oodles of suspense & drama, a great performance from Van Damme and a deep excursion into the human condition. He shows us a side of himself that was probably deemed as "unmarketable" for his image, and strong acting chops (also unmarketable for big action cheese of the 90's, lol).
Although fictional the story of JCVD remains firmly planted within the realm of realty, giving the film the feel of a documentary. The characters never do anything stupid or unfeasable for the context and the viewer never has to suspend disbelief. The film effectively creates the "realism" effect that the recent rash of "camcorder pov" movies we have been subjected to lately failed miserably to achieve.
As to Van Damme's performance, it is remarkable, certainly the best of his career. It's a damn shame he waited this long to showcase his acting skills. One scene in particular when Van Damme makes a confession of sorts directly to the audience, is nothing short of tear-jerking. He actually breaks the fourth wall twice in the film. The first time is so subtle it can be easly missed, but serves as foreshadowing for the second time; an elongated scene (shot in one sequence sans editing) that starts with him asking the question, "Why did I do this? Why did I do this film?" What follows is about six minutes of exposition where Van Damme talks about his failed marriage, his daughter, an addiction to drugs, his celebrity, his fall from grace and how losing it all nearly drove him to the brink of self-destruction. Because it is spoken in his native French, it loses nothing in translation, and the viewer cannot help but be moved. Had it been spoken in English, it almost certainly would have been too hokey to illicit anything but laughs.
The scene is a cognizant pause from the story proper, but is delivered within the story's context, so we believe we are really watching a celebrity, in a dangerous situation reflecting upon himself. A life flashing before the eyes type of moment. By the end Van Damme is in tears, and as the scene falls back into the story proper, there is a moment where we almost expect the characters (both villains and hostages) to break out into applause. I'll go as far as to say this scene alone warranted an Oscar nomination.
Of all my Turzman Critiques, JCVD gets my strongest recommendation, if for nothing else, Van Damme's performance. Fans of the flexible Beligian may not appreciate JCVD as it is completely different from anything he's done. But people who have chastised and jeered the man in the past may want to view this and reconsider their opinions of Msr. Jean-Claude.

Seth McFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy: Uncensored.
starring Seth McFarlane, among others
written by Seth McFarlane, among others
directed by Greg Colton

If the word "uncensored" means nothing more than not bleeping out curse words, then you may consider that to be the only success of this unfunny, 90 minute drab-fest with topics ranging from sex to, well, sex. Viewers hoping for a disc that would make the foulest of potty-mouths blush are gonna have to look somewhere else.
The topics covered in Cavalcade are not nearly as raunchy as stuff one can watch on cable TV. Any unsuspecting episode of South Park or even The Simpons puts Cavalcade to shame, which is surprising considering McFarlane is responsible for the comedic gem Family Guy and the moderately funny American Dad. So surprising in fact, that it makes me wonder if Family Guy spinoff, The Cleveland Show will even be worth watching.
Who am I kidding? I'll watch Cleveland.

That's all for now. Next time I'll tackle Liam Neeson as he throws his hat into the Jason Bourne/James Bond ring with Taken.
Also, I'll critique the most anticipated direct to DVD, probably piece of crap the morons over at The Asylum have ever released, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. I know how that sounds, and you're probably right. But the trailer alone merits viewing...

Oh, HELL yes!

Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "I long for the days when Turz used words like 'shallow,' 'pedantic' and 'downtrodden' in his critiques. Can you please review a stinker in the near future? Thank you."

Amity Island Harbor Master Frank Silva says, "Shark versus octopus? That may be a good fight, but it's lousy eatin'. How 'bout swordfish versus tuna fish? Cod versus shrimp? Quahog clam versus lobster, with melted butter and iced Narragansett lager. Anyone? Hello?"

Internet addict PornoCat says, "Turz and I are still looking for some good quality Reverend Horton Heat videos, to no avail. HELP PLEASE!?!?!? Meow."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Meg: Hell's Aquarium" available NOW!

Book four of the MEGnificent MEG series had a surprise early release nd is available now. I got my advanced copy, read it, LURVED it.
Steve Alten scores again.
Here's the trailer-

If you don't read, you're an idiot. If you don't know how, LEARN, ASSHOLE!
And read the MEG series. Improve yourself, fer chrissakes.

Now the previous post was to satisfy the latin fire that slowly permeates my skin and invades my blood a little bit each day. Here is some American greatness...

Billy Joel fell for some broad named Leyna in the late 70's and wrote a song about it. "All For Leyna"

ZZ Top, when they had their New York Brims and their sideburns low, lol. "I'm Bad I'm Nationwide"

Motorhead's "No Voices in the Sky"

A history lesson from Social Distortion, "1945"

"Flat Earth Society" from Bad Religion

And Stevie Wonder performs "Superstition" LIVE on Sesame Street!

Top that bitches.

Coming soon to Turzman Central, my critique of the magnficent film, JCVD starring John Claude Van Damme as JCVD.

Until then, enjoy this parsel from the Women I really, really want to have sex with, but who wouldn't? files, Tawney Roberts and Alexa Rae.

"Senora. Digame donde esta el amor, senora."

Woman. Tell me where the love is, woman.

Yeah. What Tito Rojas said, bitch!

turz out

Friday, May 08, 2009

Three Quick Thoughts

Here are some quick thoughts on three films I have seen recently and promised critiques for. I’m behind in my reviews, so I will keep it quick until my full critique of JCVD.

For now I start with…

Quantum of Solace (2008)
starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko
written by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis & Robert Wade
directed by Marc Forster

The haters can say whatever they want, but Quantum of Solace is not the worst Bond film. Not by a damn sight. In fact, Solace is not only a good stand alone film, but a great direct sequel to Casino Royale, which is, a) exactly what it was supposed to be, and b) unprecedented in the franchise. A considerable feat considering the pressures the filmmakers were under by just attempting such a drastic change to a long standing formula and history reminds us of the jokes associated with “sequelitis.” Casino Royale made it perfectly clear that the World of Bond was going to be different. Daniel Craig plays a different 007 than his predecessors, and MI-6 is different than the M’s and Q’s from the last forty years.
I love Casino Royale. I love the changes.
Quantum of Solace begins within hours of Royale’s end and is chock full of action from start to finish without distracting the viewer from the plot. It’s a wonderful balance of action and story and successfully lays the groundwork for future sequels, direct or not.
The mysterious criminal organization that no one seems to know about can be a precursor to a revisited S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and the fortuitous Mr. White may be set up as this generation’s Blofield.
I, for one, cannot wait to see what the Broccoli Company has in store for us next.

The Petrified Forest (1936)
starring Leslie Howard, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart
written by Charles Kenyon & Delmer Daves, based on the play by Robert E. Sherwood
directed by Archie Mayo

Touted as Humphrey Bogart’s breakthrough performance, The Petrified Forest was a showcase for Leslie Howard and Bette Davis. In fact, Bogey’s character doesn’t even make an appearance until well after half of the film’s running time. Until then, Petrified Forest is a collection of talking heads while middle-of-nowhere diner waitress Gabrielle (Davis) bats eyes with drifter Alan (Howard) whilst jealous middle-of-nowhere gas station attendant Boze (Dick Foran) repeatedly attempts to assassinate Alan’s character.
The film suffers from some moments of tedium while trying to build up the suspense to the arrival of super-badass criminal Duke Mantee (Bogart). When Mantee and his gang finally show up, the film gets more interesting, and then the bullets start flying. The gunfight is fun to watch and leads to the film’s surprise ending.
Luckily for us, this boring film juggernauted Bogey’s popularity rather than kill his career.

The Wrestler (2008)
starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
written by Robert D. Seigel
directed by Darren Aronofsky

The rumors are true. Mickey Rourke is magnificent as the fictional, has-been wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson. The Wrestler is a slow paced film, but care for and interest in the character doesn’t allow the viewer to get bored. You can thank Rourke’s performance for that. The film’s only flaw as far as I can tell is that it is sorely depressing, by design no less. The viewer spends an hour and forty five minutes loving and feeling bad for The Ram, and not one good thing happens to the poor guy throughout without it seriously going wrong. Writer Robert D. Seigel could have had The Ram experience a little bit of good luck while keeping him sympathetic and tragic at the same time. Instead, we are left with absolutely nothing to feel good about when the ending rolls around, and we’re not sure whether The Ram lives or dies.
Marisa Tomei is wonderful as The Ram’s love interest, a has-been stripper named Cassidy, but it’s obvious Seigel hasn’t spent much time in gentlemen’s clubs. There is a line between strippers and their customers that a stripper would never cross. Cassidy finally does, at the end of the film, damaging The Wrestler’s realism credibility.
The ending, by the way, is an abrupt cop out, in my opinion, and the audience deserved better. The Ram deserves better, too.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Star Trek (2009) No spoilers.

I'm willing to admit that in order for a Trek reboot to succeed, it would need a facelift. Maybe my fellow Trekkies are a dying breed, but the established magnificence just wasn't connecting with contemporary adolescent mouth-breathers. I thought that Enterprise would surely be the death blow of everything I knew as "Trek."
Well, J.J. Abrams and Roberto Orci did, in fact, completely re-arrange well-established canon, but did so (in the truest spirit of Trek-explanations) while keeping one foot firmly planted in the context of sci-fi writing.
To explain without giving away too much, a band of Romulans from the future (led by Eric Bana and his sidekick, Clifton Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez, Jr. lol) go back in time in an attempt to wipe out the Vulcan race because they're mad at Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy reprising the role). The Romulan actions create an alternate reality. So the events of Trek past still happened, but didn't, get it?
Oh well, the movie explains it well enough.
In short, I appreciate the efforts of the filmmakers to not completely ignore and forget past canon.
As for performances, Zachary Quinto is magnificent as the new Spock. Chris Pine is going to be a very interesting new Kirk, as he incorporates some not so subtle "shades of Shatner" at the end of the film. Karl Urban nails the role of Dr. McCoy, and Simon Pegg is twelve degrees of enjoyable as Scotty. Anton Yelchin and John Cho are commendable as the loveable helm tandem of Chekov and Sulu, but the most surprisingperformance comes from Zoe Saldana as Uhura. Interesting because Uhura is the character that undergoes the most changes, and she's much more prominenetly featured here than Nichelle Nichols ever was (no fault of her own, let me make that clear). Saldana's Uhura is very sexy and smart, but much stronger than Nichol's. If Nichelle Nichols was an inspiration to young women of her day, then Zoe Saldana takes the torch and runs with it most admirably.
Old school Trekkies like me will not be disappointed with all the homages to the original, believe me.
The only weakness of the new Trek, and it is a big deal, is Eric Bana is a very weak villian. He's not the best actor out there, and his attempts to bring any charisma to Nero fails miserably.
It was nice to see Clifton Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez Jr in a big budget film again. he's one of my fave supporting actors.

Live long and prosper, bitches.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Cinema Critique, Light.

Sweet knees! It's been almost a month to the day since my last post. Unfortunate because I promised reviews for no less than 3 films. Sad thing is, I've had nothing on my plate for the last 30 days, save for some self loathing, a busted cardiac muscle and a renewed addiction to online poker. You can find me at the tables on Facebook and mySpace, if you want to find me.
In the interest of saving time, I'm trying something new. Rather than give a full summary and analysis ("full" being what full is by my standards) I want to kill 2 birds with one stone with brief, diluted overviews and general thoughts on the films I promised for you.
So, pardon the experiment and the tardiness as I give you, "Turzman's Cinema Critique, Light."

Prophecy (1979)
starring Robert Foxworth, Talia Shire, Armand Assante
written by David Seltzer
directed by John Frankenheimer

This is a film I have wanted to watch since I saw the trailers on TV back in '79, but never did until just recently when it quietly made its way to the top of my Netflix queue. I can say with certainty I wish I had seen this film before now. This gem has been lost in the obscurity wake of the Jaws ripoffs, despite the clever marketing that failed to mention its monster was a killer, mutated bear. I can only surmise that once word of mouth leaked out the word, "bear" people thought Grizzly and, by extension, Jaws, whose clones had grown tiresome by 1979. People simply lost interest. It's a shame, too because Prophecy offers commendable performances from the principle actors, is executed well enough by the masterful director John Frankenheimer and tweaks its premise enough to separate itself from the flagrant ripoffs. Still, it's a Jaws cousin, once removed and has its share of flaws.
Inner city doctor Robert Verne (Foxworth) is sent to Maine to settle a land dispute between a tribe of Native Americans and lumberjacks working for a paper mill. Now, a medical doctor is hardly qualified to settle land disputes, so why would the American government send a physician to do so? The short answer is, they wouldn't, except it's necessary for the plot later on. Also, there is no way said doctor would drag along his wife (Talia Shire), who doesn't even want to go, on such an excursion but he does. Why? Because unbeknownst to the doctor, she's pregnant, and that's important for the plot later on.
Before the doctor can mediate, he is intrigued by the over-agressive behavior of a raccoon that breaks into their cabin and attacks him and his wife. So he starts to study the local animal and plant life. Instead of mediating the land dispute. Based on the behavior of one raccoon. "Focus, Doctor!"
Anyway, long story short- the doctor figures out that the local animalia and botanica are being mutated because the eeeeeeeviiiiiil paper mill is dumping toxic chamicals into the lake. Only a doctor could have figured this out, which is why a doctor was sent in the first place. Get it? He also determines that this particular mutation process is immediate, rather than taking generations, like a regular mutation. Mrs. Verne hears this, after eating tainted fish from the tainted lake and realizes it means her baby will be born a mutation. Which is why a pregnant woman had to be dragged along on the trip. To add drama to the story. Get it? Oh well...
The lapses in reason take a back seat to how much fun Prophecy is to watch. Also, the film has one of the most memorable and creative death scenes I've ever seen. For your enjoyment, "The Exploding Sleeping Bag."

Oh yeah, baby.

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
starring Bradley Cooper, Vinnie Jones, Leslie Bibb
written by Jeff Buhler (screenplay), Clive Barker (short story)
directed by Ryuhei Kitamura

I don't know how often it's been done, but The Midnight Meat Train is an example of excellent execution of a very, very stupid idea. I must make it a point to someday read Clive Barker's source material just to see how much of the story's utter nonsense is actually his fault.
A secret society is over-seeing the slaughter of innocent, unsuspecting subway passengers for the purpose of feeding humanoid monsters dwelling beneath the unnamed metropolis in which this story takes place (My first guess would be New York, based on the surface scenery. But the film shows none of the familiar landmarks and I didn't recognize any of the station names). Their sole enforcer is a big, mysterious, brutish mute named Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) who spends the waning hours of each morning murdering and skinning people in preparation for the demon feast, all on the in-service subway car. Down on his luck photographer Leon (Bradley Cooper) makes it a point to take pictures of "real people" and crosses paths with Mahogany, stumbling upon his bloody secret. A crazy cat and mouse hunt ensues. Not a bad idea, but in order for it to work, someone should have explained some basic, general facts to the production team in order to avoid errors in both logic and physics. For example, knowing how a train works would have helped these people not come across as idiots.
Again, the city never gets named, but having spent a fair amount of time on the New York City subway system, I can make some general obervances about the titular choo-choo in TMMT. People who like this film may choose to ignore the following, but that says more about them than me for not ignoring it...

What Mahogany does requires an insane amount of privacy. Even in the middle of the night, big-city subways have too many commuters to make the events in TMMT even possible, never mind plausible. Even by Hollywood Logic standards. Strike one.

There is no such thing as an "abandoned station" on any rail system in any city in all the world. Yet TMMT features dozens, when convenient to the plot. Even stations that are not in commuter use are still used by transit authorities to house equipment, vehicles, tools, etc. There would be both employees and guards in and out at all times. Yes, even at night. Strike two.

It seems this train only stops to pick up one passenger at a time, and then speeds non stop while Mahogany does his work, bypassing station upon station. And that's fine, most communter rail systems offer an express line to ease passenger congestion. But if Mahogany's train isn't express, it would catch up to the car in front of it, causing nothing but headaches for the bad guys. If it is an express line, modern technology allows authorities to locate any car at any time. It is not possible for an anonymous car to speed along unnoticed. If the train deviated in any way from its route or timetable, it would raise red flags with the controller, and if smeone wanted to find this train, they would know exactly where to look and when. There is no way in hell these people could have gotten away with what they're doing for as long as the film purports. In a word, it's impossible. Strike three.

If a city has a transportation system, it has a police department with a transportation division. Every subway has police sub stations throughout the system. Cops patrol the subways. So even if someone from the general public like Leon were never to accidentally find out what's going on, the police would. You can believe what you want, but not every cop is dirty, and not every cop is a member of this secret society. They would have been busted at some point. Strike four.

Finally, and this is the biggest faux pau in TMMT's logic, the climax takes place in a cavernous sub section of the city that apparantly no one knows exists. This is where the beasties live and eat, and Mahogany's work sees fruition. It's supposed to be "off the grid," but that would mean there are no tracks. If there are no tracks, there can be no train and yet, there it is, in plain sight throughout the film's endgame. Strike five.

TMMT fails on so many levels it's insulting, but its merits are great. Visually, this film is very effective and is testament to director Ryuhei Kitamura. His style is so cool that when watching, the plot holes almost go unnoticed. Vinnie Jones' silent performance as Mahogany is creepy and scary and he is the film's stand out performer. Also, there are great performances from Brooke Shields and Peter Jacobson in supporting roles.
Watch this film for a lesson in film making, or to be creeped out. Just don't expect it to make much sense.

That's all for now. In my next review, I'll explain why Quantum of Solace is not the worst film in the James Bond franchise, and why JCVD is the best film of Jean Claude Van-Damme's career.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Coming Attractions...

Loyal readers drooling for another film critique need only wait a couple or three days. Coming soon to Turzman Dot Com, my reviews of Prophecy (1979) and 2008's Midnight Meat Train.
My notes are in shorthand and need only to be transposed to Microsoft Word.

Warming up in the bullpen is a stack of rentals from Netflix I haven't gotten around to watching yet, because I'm catching up on the early years of Law & Order and an old favorite, The Odd Couple. Down the road are The Petrified Forest (1936, supposedly Bogey's breakthrough performance), Let the Right One In because of a glowing endorsement from Captain Youngblood, aka Brendan Morrisey over at Karma Critic. and for all you 007 freaks, there will be Quantum of Solace, the Bond franchise's first direct sequel and a film I refuse to believe to be the worst 007, as long as any featuring Timothy Dalton and *gasp* Pierce Brosnan still exist.

In the interim I suggest you watch this performance of "Open" from Queensryche:

End transmission.

Monday, March 30, 2009

"I need to forget her face, I see it still."

I always love it when women complain about men. I've heard the same story told by dozens of different girls. "men are pigs," etc.
Well let the record show that women aren't exactly the most humanitarian of all the species. I've seen girls turn off their emotions like a light switch. It's amazing, actually; it's a sign that women are truly emotionally superior to men because they control theirs so much better.
Women think men are unreliable scum. Men think women are insane with irrepairable mental damage. They're both right. Allow me to simplify: we all suck, and when our end finally comes, it will be the most merciful of all acts our creator can do for us. Or to us, whatever.

Marlon Brando said it best in Guys and Dolls- "Women are only good when you need them, like a cough drop."
Feel free to quote any random feminist with a deplorable opinion of men. It's probably accurate.

I Don't Believe in Love. I never have, I never will.

HBO is playing The Last Starfighter. I'm obligated to watch, so go away and hold all my calls.

Jedi Master Yoda says, "When eight hundred years old you become, understand women you will. Possibly."

Internet addict Pornocat says, "Aw, it sounds like Turz got stood up again."

Chicken-infatuated muppet Gonzo the Great says, "Have you ever considered humping chickens?"

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Inglorious Bastards (1978)

The Inglorious Bastards (1978)
starring: Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Peter Hooten, Michael Pergolani
written by: Sandro Continenza, Sergio Grieco, Franco Marotta, Romano Migliorini, & Laura Toscano (geeeeez!)
directed by: Enzo G. Castellari

It’s war-torn Europe during WWII and a group of American military prisoners are being shipped to prison for a variety of offences. En route, their convoy is attacked by German artillery, killing the MP’s and all but four of the transported (Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Peter Hooten and Michael Pergolani). They escape the attack and figure the best course of action is to get to neutral Switzerland to avoid both the fighting and prison. However, they end up joining a Commando mission to help the French Resistance steal a German warhead being transported on a train.

Okay, Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, John Cassavetes, Telly Savales, Jim Brown. Oh. Wait a minute...

I know I promised this review weeks ago, due largely to the fact that Quentin Tarantino’s next project is a remake of it. But after seeing this film, and after reading synopses on Tarantino’s version on IMDB, it’s looking like it’s a remake in title only. The mis-spelling not withstanding. Regardless, I offer apologies for my tardiness. Let me say that my enthusiasm was curbed after watching this Italian knock-off from director Enzo Castellari. Not that this is a bad movie, mind you. To the contrary, The Inglorious Bastards is a very ambitious production with commendable performances from Svenson and Williamson. No expense was spared as the props and costumes look very authentic, both American and German, and that includes the vehicles. Only the most stringent of military history enthusiasts will recognize the German Panzer tanks are actually American Pershings painted battle-grey, but other than that everything looks great. I could rave on how authentic the locations are, but the barest minimal of research shows that 70’s era Italy didn’t look unlike WWII era European countrysides. Nonetheless, the look and feel of Bastards is very authentic, for 70’s Italian exploitation film.

"Hi there. Exploit yourself much?"

The problem I have with The Inglorious Bastards is it’s too easy to see where the producers got their inspiration, and made no effort whatsoever to cover their tracks. And that’s all fine and dandy. This is, after all, an Italian knock off. But it’s frustrating to see that it could have been more. Ergo, a tangent, if I may…

1978 was the same year American International Pictures (AIP) and Columbia Pictures released Force Ten from Navarone, the eagerly anticipated sequel to the epic The Guns of Navarone, both of which were based on the acclaimed novels of the same titles by Alistair MacLean. Force Ten boasted big name talent in Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Carl Weathers, Barbara Bach, Richard Kiel and Franco Nero so it was obvious AIP was trying to replicate the success of The Dirty Dozen, whose popularity was still resonating a decade after its release.

"Shush, shush. Look over there. They're shooting 'Force Ten from Navarone.' Watch and learn..."

Films Concorde wanted to ride the wave AIP intended to make with Force Ten, so somebody read MacLean’s Force Ten novel, combined it with The Dirty Dozen, “borrowed” the motorcycle chase from The Great Escape and threw in the train sequence from the climax of Von Ryan’s Express for good measure. After that, it was only a matter of recruiting recognizable names to carry out the action onscreen. Enter Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson, two staples in exploitation cinema and Films Concorde had their military opus.

No, Steve McQueen did NOT do the stunts in this film.

Thus endeth the tangent. To end this review, I recommend The Inglorious Bastards to those who appreciate a good war picture because that’s what this is, a good war picture.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Daylight Savings Really Grinds My Gears

Except for the one where I gain an hour's sleep. But the one yesterday sucked ass. Not only was I stuck at the taco factory till after midnight, I had to be back at 11:30 in the am today. After losing an hour's sleep.
What is it with this changing of the time, anyway? Whose stupid idea was it? And has he since been punished by having his toenails removed one at a time with tweezers? Effing jagoff.
I remember hearing somewhere at sometime that it has something to do with farming. If that's true, why the hell are the rest of us subjected to this unnecessary pain in the arse?
All those farmers have to do is train their stupid roosters to cock a doddle doo an hour earlier for six months. Or, they can enter the 19th century and invest in an alarm clock. Then the rest of us can live life without this aggravation. Thanks a lot, farming cocksuckers.

Speaking of cocksuckers, this video is of a guy named Juanes. That's spanish for Johnny. His song is called "Camisa Negra." That's spanish for black shirt. Pay no mind to the fact that he's wearing a white shirt during the performance.
Anyway, I hear this song three times a day, every day, at a certain Mexican Food dispensary. Maybe if I share, it will fade away...

To help recover from your case of the Juanes, here's a concert clip from Flotsam and Jetsam, because as you know, there really is no place for disgrace...

And from the "Girls I really, really wanna have sex with, but who wouldn't?" files, Ms. Briana Banks.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"My Name is Bruce"

My Name is Bruce
starring Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Taylor Sharpe
written by Mark Verheiden
directed by Bruce Campbell

With nothing better to do in the small town of Goldlick, Oregon, four teens decide to vandalize the local cemetery for kicks. As they traipse around smashing wooden headstones, Jeff (Taylor Sharpe) notices a gold medallion on one of the crypts. He steals it and accidentally releases a demon named Guan-Di (James J. Peck), the Chinese god of death. Jeff barely escapes with his life as Guan-Di slaughters his three friends.

Meanwhile in Tinseltown, Jeff’s favorite actor Bruce Campbell (himself) is on the set of his latest straight to DVD, low budget, B action cheese, Cave Alien 2. All is not well for our titular thespian, as his co-stars can’t stand him, the director is less than enthusiastic about the project, and the set runner likes to pee in Bruce’s water. To make matters worse, Bruce is still recovering from a recent divorce, and his agent (Ted Raimi) insists there is no credible work in the near future for him. But he does promise a big birthday surprise is on the way. By the way, Bruce’s agent is sleeping with his ex, unbeknownst to Bruce.

So Bruce retires to his run down trailer to drink himself into a lonely stupor (like me on my last birthday) when Jeff shows up. (Is it this easy to find any actor’s home address? I’d like to drop in on Gabrielle Anwar.) In Bruce’s drunken state, Jeff has little trouble subduing him, locking him in the trunk of his car and driving all the way to Goldlick. The denizens welcome the actor with open arms in anticipation that he can help fight the demon that now terrorizes their town.

Bruce sees this as a set up; the birthday surprise from his agent. A live action, personal appearance that promises some money and a different sort of publicity, so he takes full advantage of the town’s hospitality. He scarfs down pounds of barbeque ribs at the buffet in his honor, drinks a king’s ransom in beer, and helps himself to all weapons offered by the local sporting goods store. So Bruce leads the ragtag volunteer army of townsfolk to the cemetery for the climax of what he still believes is a show. Once he realizes Guan-Di is in fact, a real, vengeful demon, Bruce flees in cowardice, leaving his brethren behind to be slaughtered.

This was not Bruce Campbell’s first time directing, producing and certainly not acting. I assume he has a better feel for a good script or even a funny joke than me. So my biggest surprise while viewing My Name is Bruce was how Campbell signed off on this script. Obviously it’s not an original idea. We all remember 1986’s Three Amigos! which was moderately humorous and, at least in my memory, the first story that put fictional actors in a position where they had to portray their fictional, fictional characters in a fictional, real-life dangerous situation.

The concept reached funnier heights in 1999 with Galaxy Quest and has been revisited again by Jean-Claude Van Damme in JCVD. The only original tangent Bruce and JCVD took are, Campbell and Van Damme are portraying themselves, rather than fictional celebrities. I don’t know if JCVD is intended to be a comedy, my instincts tell me no, based on what I’ve read. My Name is Bruce tries to be funny, but fails badly. So I’ll ask again: why did Bruce Campbell look at this script and say “Let’s do it, baby.”?

Campbell’s career should supply enough source material to fill the gaps in this particular formula, but writer Mark Verheiden limits his pickings to Campbell’s trademark one-liners and makes the point to mention the title of every film Campbell has starred in. The one-liners were funny once, in a certain context when spoken by Campbell. But here, they are lazily peppered throughout the film without discernable rhyme or reason and are spoken by whichever random supporting character happens to be onscreen at the time.

I’m also disappointed in how Campbell portrays himself. The man is an icon in this wacky business and has a strong cult following. He has no trouble getting work, and is actually currently doing a great job on TV’s Burn Notice, one of TV’s most popular shows on air. But to imagine a world (albeit fictional) where he lives in a run down trailer, is hated by his peers and is a sloppy, downtrodden drunk is very depressing. So right from the start, there is a “feel-bad” feel to the film whether you like Bruce Campbell or not. Add to the fact that he’s supposedly gullible enough to believe the rubes of Goldlick see him as a savior doesn’t exactly paint a flattering picture of our hero, either.

The townsfolk aren’t exactly a gaggle of brain surgeons, although they do understand that this is not really the “Ash” from the Evil Dead movies (and this is the only other point that makes Bruce different from Three Amigos! and Galaxy Quest). They recognize and understand Campbell is not really a demon fighting super hero, but rather plays one in the movies. But yet they still believe him qualified to do exactly that? Stupid rubes.

Which brings me to the demon, Guan-Di. Visually he’s neither menacing nor even impressive. It’s obvious he’s a Chinese god, as he’s dressed in ceremonial Chinese warrior armor, sports a big sword, and has a fu-manchu mustache (thus making the musical back-story of Guan-Di from the balladeering mayor [Ben McCain] and sheriff [Tim Quill, I think] as completely unnecessary as it is unentertaining). The costume is not scary despite the red glowing eyes. In short, Guan-Di looks like a doofus. He also loses scary points when we discover that the Chinese god of death moonlights as the Chinese god of bean curd (!). Yes, bean curd. A stupid plot device dumped on us early to facilitate a quick resolution during the end game later on. Means to an end, as it were.

But Guan-Di’s dopiness gives Campbell the director a chance to shine, and he shows some prowess. Guan-Di’s onscreen moments are shot in a way that almost fully negates the unimpressive costume through varying angles, creative lighting and use of fog machine. Still, one can’t help but laugh out loud at first glimpse of the bad guy. Honestly, he’s not scary at all, but the gore in his killings effectively demonstrate how eeeeviiiilll Guan-Di is, so mission accomplished. The overall look of the film is tight and the production designers deserve props for the cool-looking cemetery and quaint-looking town of Goldlick.

As far as performances go, let’s just say that whoever did the casting should be hung. The only shining star is Ted Raimi (!) as he takes three different roles, all of which are implemented admirably by the “other” Raimi, and of course, Campbell is Campbell. After that nobody is memorable.

We all owe something to Bruce Campbell for the oodles of entertainment he’s provided. So if renting My Name is Bruce puts a little extra coin in his pocket, do it. Just don’t expect a lot of entertainment value, or even laughs for your buck.

Coming soon to Turzman central:
my critique of The Inglorious Bastards (1978).

NOT coming soon to Turzman Central:
My critique of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

I watched it for the first time last night and I wondered, "What the f*ck's the big deal about this sh*tty movie?"

Can someone explain it to me?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Post Birthday Sobriety

The haze has lifted, and although I am still bitter about my birthday and Valentines Day, etc, I am obligated to publicly thank two wonderful ladies.
First, my good friend Tams who, of all the people I know was the only one to contact me for b-day greetings, save the Facebook and MySpace comments. So on that dreary night when, through a scotch induced fog of self pity, Tams appeared to me via e-mail and we chatted for about an hour. She brought me up out of the dumps.
The other lady dear to my heart is the lovely KT, who would have called me on my birthday had she not had to work all night that night. But we have been chatting almost nightly and if not for her, I don't think I would believe it were possible for women to have souls.

The most important lesson I learned last weekend?
Some people actually care.

So in honor of Tams & KT, I post this picture of a P-51C Mustang that I built all by myself...

While I'm at it, here is a picture of my magnificent Carcaradon Megalodon tooth...

And my non store-bought, home made birthday cake...

Internet addict PornoCat says, "I chat with women every night so I don't get what the big deal is. And at only $2.99 a minute, it's still cheaper than dinner and a movie."

Amity Island Harbor Master Frank Silva says, "I'm not interested in a woman unless she has fins, gills and a belly full of roe that can get me at least $7.00 a pound at the fish market."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I've got a date with the Odd Couple

First of all, I'd like to wish everyone a belated Happy Friday the 13th. As for Valentine's Day, everyone can f*ck off!
That's right, f*ck off and kiss my ass while you're at it.
You see, V-day is also my B-day, and as cool as that may sound to you feeble minds, let me enlighten you to the fact that it is, in reality a curse.

It's my birthday, I just got off work, and instead of having passionate sex with someone of the female pursuasion, I will be watching disc 2 of The Odd Couple, season one.

That's right kids, my Valentine / Birthday booty call is Oscar, Felix and a bottle of Dewar's White Label.

Studly, no?

Face it, you don't want to hear my theory of women, Valentine's Day, and men whose birthday falls on said Hallmark creation. It's quite negative, but let's just say I have every right to be bitter.

It's time to get my buzz on. Actually I started already. It's time to hurt myself.
Allow me to share some badd-ass vids...

Bad Religion performing Broken.

This is the only live performance from Los Infernos I could find on the Net-

This super-awesome Star Trek trailer-

And just for the hell of it, some more Bad Religion, LIVE.

"Eternity, my friends, is a long f*cking time."



Friday, January 30, 2009

I was murdered last night...

...onscreen that is. The big screen.
On a Dark and Stormy Night premiered to a sold out audience last night at the Krikorian Premiere Theater in Redlands, Ca. It was well recieved. Overall, last night was, in a word, triumphant.

Rather than bore you with with a blow by blow account of the evening, check out these pix of the after party at Mikan Teppan House and the after-after party at Denny's at 2 in the morning.

Guardian of the Universe, Gamera says, "Big deal. Did you beat down on any giant monsters in defense of the Universe last night? I didn't think so. You want to impress me? Defeat Guiron or the Gyaos'. Then get back to me for your medal, tough guy."

Amity Island Harbor Master Frank Silva says, "I know it was your big night, Turz. And I know this is your website, but did you have to post pictures of yourself? There seemed to be a lot of pretty women there, and you post pictures of yourself. Selfish vanity, Mr. Turz."

Internet addict PornoCat says, "Were there any pretty cats at the premiere? If not, can I find pictures of the girls who were there topless on the Net?"

Gold digging hussie REDSEXGODDESS says, "You didn't send me an invitation. Could you at least send me some money?"

The impatient ghost of Robert Shaw says, "Why the bloody hell am I here?"