WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
If I’m being totally honest, after AE: Apocalypse Earth, I was feeling a little fragile. My inner sci-fi geek can take a lot, but that movie gave me a fair beating. Nevertheless, I’m not one to turn down an epic mockbuster, and Atlantic Rim was just too great an opportunity to pass up. So, with Tropical Mary, Stygian Mole, The Occult Specialist, and our new friend Ms Misery in attendance, we sat down to watch this movie. My my my my my. I don’t know anything about Pacific Rim, so this movie had to sell me with only what it had to offer. What might that be, you ask? Well, it has the usual terrible CGI, atrocious acting and cheap sets that one would expect from an Asylum production, but it also has some of the most ADD-ridden editing I’ve ever seen in a film. I know it’s sci-fi, but good God not everything can teleport that quickly! Needless to say, though, this movie is a ton of fun, although I would recommend watching it on the tail-end of a movie night so you have the benefit of mild delirium to cover up some of its not-so-great moments.
Deep at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean lurks one of mankind’s greatest threats: giant amphibious dinosaurs with backwards knees! No seriously, how these things can walk is a marvel in itself. No one knows where they’ve come from or how they’ve managed to survive down there for so long without any of us noticing, but they’re about to start wreaking all kinds of havoc. The first sign of their existence that we experience is when one of them, with no provocation and unknown intent, leaps up from the sea floor to destroy an oil rig. Apart from a quick and somewhat greasy lunch we don’t know why they are suddenly deciding to attack now, and no one back on land knows what happened to the oil rig / ate its crew, so it’s up to the military to fall back on some half-baked, untested battle plan to solve this maritime mystery.
The plan? Send 3 gigantic robots worth $500 billion down to the ocean floor to see where the hell the oil rig went and what the hell may have dragged it down there. These robots will be piloted by the best pilots the program’s remaining $15 worth of budget could find. Decked out in what appear to be wetsuits held together by pieces of coloured duct tape, White Douche, Token Black Guy (aka TYREESE!) and Generic Blonde descend to the bottom of the Atlantic to check things out. The mission is plagued with problems – the control room in the bots becomes sweltering after descending more than 3 feet into the ocean, they’re controlled using what appears to be joysticks from old arcade machines, and they tend to shut down at random (this, for some reason, also sucks all of the available oxygen out of the robot’s interior), so it’s all rather slow going. Oh yeah, and there’s that giant monster floating in the background trying to eat them.
The violence quickly escalates from this point – the monster appears on land, we’re treated to half-a-dozen shots of the monster looped and mirrored maybe 20 times, and suddenly there are dead people everywhere. Why? We’re not really sure. Now, it becomes obvious that the American Government can’t just allow these beasts to run around Manhattan, but the team’s divided. Admiral Hadley, the head of some-or-other division, throws his full support behind the robots. The opposing faction, headed up by a man with an eye-patch whose speech patterns clearly indicate that he has recently recovered from a stroke, proposes nuking the monsters (although the word, when he says it, ranges anywhere from ‘puke the monsters’ to ‘fluke the monsters’). With these two factions at war, Generic Blonde and TYREESE! being innately useless, White Douche being super douchey, and the robots themselves leaving a bit to be desired, does mankind really stand a chance against these backward-kneed behemoths? Watch and be completely whelmed by the whole experience!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- It is possible for oil rigs to become dislodged from their bases, float around in the ocean, and crash into Iraq.
- You should always wear self-tan to a review board meeting.
- The best mankind-protecting-robot is one that’s commanded by someone with a lot of experience in Tae Bo.
- Every secret military base should be equipped with at least 100 horns.
- The more squint the monster, the greater the threat it poses to us all.
- No matter what the emergency, a woman’s eye-shadow should always be unfaltering.
- Nothing says ‘time for a drink’ more than blowing up $500 billion worth of military equipment.
ATLANTIC RIM TRAILER
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As of late, my inner sci-fi geek has been awakened with a vengeance since I started watching Syfy’s Defiance (if you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out). So, in the spirit of different worlds being invaded by extraterrestrials and technicalities that require physics PhDs in order to follow the plot, I decided I’d give The Asylum’s AE: After Earth a spin. The cover looked interesting, and for me that’s always a good start. Unfortunately, that’s also where all the good things that can be said about this movie come to a grinding halt. It’s a rare example in b-movie making: I thought I’d figured out the lame ending after watching about 15 minutes, only to be fooled later on by AN EVEN LAMER ending! Also, and this is the best part for me, they took soft science to an intergalactic extreme, which I always find tremendously amusing.
Earth is being invaded! Yeah, it’s only one tiny little spaceship with a few missiles attached to it, but we’re still being invaded. Since we’re thrown right into the action at the beginning of the movie we’re not really given any indication as to how long this nano-invasion has been going on for, but suffice to say that mankind has been on the losing end of the war. Somewhere in between the aliens’ arrival and us getting our asses thoroughly kicked, the world’s governments were able to build a series of ark ships to take a portion of humankind and send it off to the relative safety of some far-gone alien world. So, it the face of absolute danger, we do what we do best: we get the hell out of dodge. The arks are fully automated and contain stasis pods made entirely out of the insides of old Game Boys, so all the survivors have to do is lay back, sleep for a couple of decades, and wake up on their new home world.
Well, that was the plan at least, until the ark ships got blown out of the air and had to make an emergency crash landing on an alien world. Now of course you know it’s an alien world because it has a ring system! Clever people over at the Asylum… Anyway, if the crash didn’t sufficiently thin out the remaining number of humans left in the galaxy, the invisible and rather trigger happy natives will certainly take care of the rest. If it weren’t for Lt. Frank Baum the Good Lord only knows what would happen to the few remaining survivors. He manages to lead them all to the relative safety of a palm bush, before asking his robotic assistant TIM to try and figure out where they are and what exactly is going on.
Thankfully the invisible guys with guns aren’t the only creatures on the planet: our Lt also managed to find a green humanoid lady who switches between a completely alien accent to a thoroughly American one in a heart beat. She explains that the invisible things keep her people, and the crash-landed humans, as test subjects in zoos to be studied. Together, the survivors decide that this planet really isn’t for them, and they need to get back to Earth. Hell, it may have been invaded by malevolent beings from outer space, but it’s still home. It will involve a very un-daring mission of cowardly men, overly Hispanic women, the green lady, a midget Ricky Gervais, and an entire race of albino humanoids to ward off this planet’s strange lifeforms and the invisible hunting things if the group ever has a chance of making it to the spare ship just over the mountain and making a beeline back to Earth.
I don’t usually give away endings, but this one was just too stupid and left me far too enraged to not point it out. So, whilst we are told that it took 5 years for them to escape Earth and make it to this planet, when the group does eventually manage to get off the surface they can’t find out where in the galaxy they are. TIM the robot explains that the evacuation plan was EVEN DUMBER than I originally thought: rather than finding a planet that would be suitable for humans to settle on before they all took off, all of the arks were just sent off in random directions with everyone hoping for the best. 10 years into the flight TIM realised that the chances of finding a suitable planet were nanoscopic (again, shouldn’t we have thought about that BEFORE we left Earth?) and decided that the best option would be to return to Earth. Even if it had been invaded, at least it was habitable. So, the Arks make the 100-year return journey to Earth, but due to a glitch in the theory of relativity the 100-year flight actually equates to 325 000 years back on Earth. When the Arks crash and the survivors woke up, the invisible thingies were the descendants of the original invaders, whilst lady-in-green and the albino people are the descendants of the humans that didn’t form part of the evacuation fleet. The Earth is now green due to a runaway greenhouse effect, and its ring system is actually the remains of the Moon after the aliens blew it up. Take that NASA! That’s how you soft science the shit out of space travel!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- First rule of planetary evacuations: no weapons in the stasis pods.
- Intergalactic space arks can easily be built with nothing more than a little wood and chicken wire.
- Yo mama jokes are a pan-galactic form of insult.
- If you don’t train your dragon from when it’s a baby, you’ll never teach it not to sleep on your spaceship.
- There is no intergalactic emergency so great that you can’t stop for a moment to bang one of the natives.
- There is no reason to think that English syntax differs in any meaningful way from that of innumerable alien languages.
AE: APOCALYPSE EARTH TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
“When a colossal tectonic shift causes the sea level to start rising, a microbiologist gathers the DNA of as many species as she can, while the military creates an “ark” in a desperate attempt to preserve life on Earth.”
The Asylum and I have really got to stop meeting like this. Seriously, how many of the movies in my collection have their sneaky little paws behind it? Now, I was in the mood for a decent cheesy disaster flick, but this was too much. Above is the blurb for this movie taken directly from the Asylum’s website, which I feel needs to be addressed. Firstly, there was no tectonic shift, not on any of the 40 days this movie purportedly spans. Secondly, sea levels did not rise; at best we had a few isolated inland tidal waves. Thirdly, there is no way on God’s green Earth that that woman was a microbiologist. Fourthly, surely samples of 3 bees and a few moths doesn’t count as ‘DNA of as many species as she can’? Fifthly, no country has a military made up of 7 people. Sixthly, that wasn’t an ark, it was a strange train that floated. Seventhly, the DNA of 3 bees cannot preserve life on earth if you didn’t take any life with you onto the ark. So yeah, that about sums up how I felt about this movie, but I’m gonna do my usual review now to drive home just how daft it really was.
Jon and Tessa are such a lovely couple – you’ve never seen a 50-year-old man and a 19-year-old girl so madly in love. They’ve got a pretty good life too – they work for the super-secretive black-ops illuminati division of the US military, which means they’re very clever, very wealthy, and very well looked after. All that and as many rooftop picnics as they could ever dream of! What could possibly go wrong for a couple as spritely as this? Oh right, the world’s about to come to an end. How’s the world going to come to an end? Be damned if I know; all I saw were four drunken kids driving around the Sahara desert when a few thunder clouds appeared over head. Next thing they (and I) knew, there’s an enormous tsunami coming over the mountains and the whole desert’s submerged by an ocean of CGI water.
In what turns out to be the Asylum’s answer to 2012, a massive super storm is developing over Africa, and within the next few days it will cover THE ENTIRE PLANET. How this super storm started to develop we’re never going to know, but said super-secretive black-ops illuminati division of the US military has to come up with some way of saving at least a nominal portion of the American public (mainly the smart ones though). To do this they’ve decided to build an ark. The ark will be the world’s first live-saving sea vessel shaped like a dildo, and despite the fact they have to cram in 3 years work into a week to get the thing built, everyone’s fairly convinced that it can be done with relatively few screw ups. Oh, how they underestimated Mr Murphy on that one…
Turns out there are a few hiccoughs to overcome before the ark can sail. Firstly, it’s powered by turbines built on completely theoretical technology that, despite being the size of a small cat, will harness the power of the waves and wind to generate enough electricity to keep it sailing for as long as they need. Surprisingly, there are a few problems getting these turbines working. Now, that’s Jon’s job. Tessa’s job is to collect DNA samples so that they can rebuild nature once the flood waters recede. Unfortunately a rock slide took out the train carrying all her samples, and now she has to go out into the wild to collect more before everything’s under water. And this is only the beginning of their troubles: once the ark sets out, who knows how long they’ll all be at sea? Who knows if the ark will be able to hold its own against the power of nature gone utterly berserk? In the end, none of it will really matter, since you’ll have been bored to tears long before the flood waters even cover your baby toe.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- If it means a quickie on a roof, saving humanity can just wait 15 minutes.
- If it means a quick tussle under the sheets, then escaping the rising Biblical flood will also just have to wait.
- There’s a lot more rain and wind in the eye of a super storm.
- You can safely transport DNA samples in an empty Evian bottle.
- The secret of human evolution, life, and all philosophical pursuits, ultimately lies with the humble moth.
- Most ships can be rendered utterly useless with a simple power drill.
- It’s easier to pistol whip someone than to answer a stupid question.
- The lesser-spotted cave bee is a key player in upholding the planet’s various ecosystems.
40 DAYS AND NIGHTS TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As someone with siblings, I know how important it is that all children should be dealt with fairly and equally. Because of that, I knew I couldn’t watch 12/12/12 and just ignore its slightly older sibling, hence me suffering through 11/11/11. I will say that this movie isn’t as ludicrously put together as 12/12/12, but oddly enough that isn’t actually a saving grace for this film. Whilst 12/12/12 was so bad that I was reduced to laughing like a crazy person, 11/11/11 is nothing more than an hour-and-a-half of tedium that makes you want to bash your head against the wall. As the Asylum’s answer to 11-11-11 (see how clever they were in making sure the name of the movie was different), this movie combines elements of The Shining, The Omen, Misery, and any number of possessed children films, but sadly does not have the budget or the people with the technical know-how to pull any of it off. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who may be prone to throwing things at TV sets when a movie becomes frustrating.
The Vales are just the most wonderfully dull family you’ve ever met. Jack, the dad, is a professor of something and is moving his family to a new town to take up a job at the local university. Melissa, the mom, is decidedly bland and doesn’t really contribute much to the film outside of her ability to run to things, look shocked, and then run back. Nat, their son, is (partially) mute and doesn’t do an awful lot of talking. Why? I don’t know, but apparently it adds to the suspense and the DOOM! that’s about to rain down on all of us. What the name of the town they’ve moved to is I don’t know either, but as a general warning just don’t go there. Everyone’s a Stepford Paedophile and, somehow, Nat’s the only kid in town, so you can imagine how they’re all flocking to see him…
After the family’s moved in it quickly becomes apparent that they have a little problem: along with the Stepford Paedophiles, they also have a run-of-the-mill Crazy Cat Lady living next door who seems more than a little interested in the fact that Nat will be 11 on the 11th of November 2011. She also seems to be quite free in handing out poisoned lemonade. Then there’s Nat’s Nanny, the poor man’s Megan Fox, who seems to be quite comfortable showing Nat the best way to set a butterfly on fire and how to do malicious damage to private property. Not that Jack notices any of this: he’s too busy hiring nurses to look after his pregnant with pre-eclampsia wife and working at the town’s one-room university. And then there’s all the townsfolk who keep staring through the windows and getting together in the back of the minivan…
So what has all of this got to do with the price of eggs? The Lord alone knows, but therein seems to lie the problem. It would appear that the entire town’s population of 7 are Satanists, and due to his birth date and some bizarre prophecy I wasn’t paying attention to back in 2011 Nat is going to be Satan’s ticket into our world. Whilst the towns people represent the forces of evil, the Crazy Cat Lady represents the forces of good: if she manages to kill Nat before his birthday, the apparently not so omnipotent Devil can’t take over the world, but if she fails to kill him its all going to get a bit hairy for us down here. It’s all up to Jack to try and save the world and his son, which to be quite frank means that we’re probably all boned. Melissa will contribute to this battle by moaning a lot and occasionally slapping her nurse, but ultimately it all comes down to Nat. Can an 11-year-old partially mute kid with clear anger issues ward off the Devil himself? Which and be underwhelmed to find out!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Families bond best when they run down an opossum/cat hybrid.
- Little orange tabby cats can freely change their sex at will.
- Demon spawn are far more accurate than any pregnancy test on the market.
- Painting gutters is always easier when you use a hammer.
- It’s quite common for doctors to drug a woman in early pregnancy up to the eye balls.
- In their attempts to get new jobs, prospective nannies are more than willing to kill off the competition.
- Butterflies are highly flammable creatures.
- Apocalyptic prophecies are now being distributed as children’s books – because it’s never too early to know when the world’s gonna end.
- Giving a child cereal is a decent punishment for walking around the house with a butcher’s knife.
- Small-town cults usually hold their meetings in mini vans.
- Nothing is more powerful than a mother’s drug-addled, demented frenzy.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Right, it’s official: I’m giving up my dream of gradually taking over the planet by being the world’s most efficient paper-pusher and applying for a job at The Asylum. I want to earn my living by spending my days high on crack and writing stories, because I’m pretty sure that’s what happened before the cameras started rolling on 12/12/12. Even by Asylum standards this was horrid, and whoever was behind it doesn’t seems to have even the foggiest idea about how anything in the world actually works. That being said, I watched this alone, and if I’d seen it with my elite squad of movie watchers I think it could’ve been a lot of fun. So, dear reader, grab a seat, grab a beer, grab your crack pipe, and let’s get this review on the road.
Everyone gather round and meet Veronica. Veronica’s in terrible pain – she’s about to have her first child delivered by the country’s most inept team of doctors. I guess this is what one should expect when you decide to have your baby in an emergency ward that has a park bench outside it and an entrance that looks like some dingy club’s back alley. Not that Veronica notices; she’s too busy screaming out in pain / orgasming in her vain attempts to give birth. The doctors can’t decide what to do, and baby daddy Carlos seems to think that the best plan of action is to lunge violently at every nurse that comes his way. After a lot of comings and goings the very independent baby climbs out of Veronica’s womb and promptly attacks, strangles, nibbles and kills the entire surgical team. One might think that this would be cause for alarm, but mommy’s tired and doesn’t seem to think much of it.
Things seem to be going OK until Veronica and Carlos bring little Sebastian home. Sebastian looks a bit like Baby Sinclair from Dinosaurs, but this again raises no concerns from his parents. Despite only being 6 days old he also tends to bite a lot with his razor-sharp little teeth, is quite capable of crawling on his own, and has this bad habit of compelling people to do terrible things via telepathy. Things like making his dad drink water from a kettle that’s just boiled, or making the delivery boy slit his own throat open. Sebastian’s taken into child protection after the death of Carlos and Veronica goes to stay with her sister, vowing revenge upon the government for trying to protect the country’s children from harm.
At some point our characters make the transition from blind confusion to blinding insight so far as Sebastian’s demonic origins are concerned. By now Sebastian looks like Baby Sinclair after he was involved in a tragic cooking oil incident, and his blood lust (and his desire to throw his nappies everywhere) has become insatiable. Couple this with the group of satanic doomsday prophets who are looking for Sebastian to use him in some rite or other, dear Veronica really has her work cut out for her. She’s aided by a policeman who’s constantly sucking on a lollipop, and her sister who has some serious issues that are never really explained to us. Will Sebastian spare his mother when the devil arrives to take over the world? Will Veronica ever stop running around the city and causing teen suicides? Will 20-somethings ever stop taking night hikes along deserted highways? All this and much less will be revealed when you watch 12/12/12.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- No one ever talks about Satanic monks.
- You can still give a woman an epidural even if the baby’s crowning… and then again when the baby’s half way out.
- You can still perform a caesarean section even if the baby’s half-way through the birth canal.
- IV equipment can be manually set to ‘murder’.
- You don’t need to provide any kind of anaesthetic before performing a C-section.
- An umbilical cord isn’t a weapon you should underestimate.
- Any woman can lose all her pregnancy weight by the time the hospital discharges her.
- It’s perfectly normal for a 1-week-old baby to have teeth like a piranha.
- Police protocol dictates that 1-week-old babies should be considered suspects in murder trials.
- Vaginal baby suffocation is still a serious problem in modern society.
- The custody of a child can just be thrown from person to person, willy nilly.
- 6 Vicodin will usually take care of the pain from a small cut on your thumb.
- Police always use their sirens to let people know they’ve arrived.
- You should always be on the lookout for perverted babies – you never know when one’s watching you in the shower.
- Strangulations are always more fun when your hands make whooshing noises.
- Police these days are almost always psychic – you don’t need to tell them where you when you call.
- Priests and homeless people are equally adept at spotting the Anti-Christ.
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