Wednesday, December 28, 2016

DVD Movie Review#203 Trouble Chocolate

There are a lot of anime series out there and this is one that the packaging just got my attention. I mean it is orange ant it looks like a Chocolate wrapper. It is also has a lot of shiny bits to it so it catches the eye. I got this series very cheaply at around the $15 mark for a 5 volume set and this was a great by around 10 years ago. Well the first disc came lose in the box when it got smashed during a move and I wanted to test it out to make sure it worked. I figured this series would be pretty fun so I decided to go ahead and try it out.

This series is about Cacao a rather rambunctious teenager and Hinano a tree spirit that was magically trapped in a wooden doll. They have plenty of adventures throughout their strange school and have a lot of dealings with magical creatures, robots and even vampires. Through it all we must hold hope for the love of a teenage glutton and his wooden doll.

This series is very colorful and it makes the series appealing to look at some of the time. The DVD series has very cool box art and it is right effective at drawing the eye as seen above. I also love the second ender it is energetic and enjoyable. There are a few jokes that even had me chuckle a bit when I watched the series and that was a good thing. I am also a fan of Ted Cole (English Kuno from Ranma 1/2 ) so his voice stylings are always entertaining to listen to I kind of miss him as the only positive part of the 4 kids One Piece Dub. One last fun part about this series is that it is only 20 episodes when it could have been 24 or 26.

I really didn’t like this show for many reasons. Lets start with the animation and color scheme. Though It brings you in it is waaaay to bright and is a tad garish. If you watch this moderate to low quality animation you can even get a headache. It is plain with some missing action scenes and jumps from point A to point C at times. The story was supposed to be a quirky romantic comedy but a lot of the time the jokes fall flat on their face and the strangeness involved leaves you scratching your head most of the time. The story, or lack thereof kind of takes a weird turn in the middle of the series and overall doesn’t make much sense to me. I mean what is it with the “evil organization” appearing half-way through the series. What are these “monster” cards that keep appearing  and is there a resolution? Why is one of the organizations hunting down all magic users?  On top of that I don’t even get the setting with all these odd monsters tech and wizards I don’t get the series premise at all. They do a flimsy half-hearted attempt to explain all of these things but it felt lazy and the development of the characters and villains especially was weak at best. Of course I feel like the series actually hoped to get a continuation…heh. Finally we talk about the characters. The main character is a Jerk, he’s a lazy glutton that has very little redeeming value with even Ataru from Urusei Yatsura being more likable as a protagonist. The main female interest in a source of extreme annoyance and the other characters are simply forgettable anime stereotypes. What about the voice acting and music you ask? Well I tend to like most English Dubs but I feel the actors liked this series about as much as I did for the quality of acting with the quality produced. The first ender is ok but the opener is catchy in an annoying way that makes you wish it was never heard in the first place.

This is not a super bad series in the end but it is so predictable and lazy that it falls totally flat of any potential it might have had.

Rating: 3/10

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Top 10 Horror Movies to watch on Christmas

With Christmas time comes a good time to sit in front of the fire and try and scare up a good time…ok I am just joking around a little. We do love our horror and it is the time of year to enjoy specific holiday oriented horror. This list will include a number of items seen elsewhere but I can guarantee I’ve seen all of these involved and will be able to make a case for all.

1. Jack Frost 1 & 2  
Who doesn’t like a good evil killer Snowman.  We start off with an executed serial killer and a vat of chemicles spilt into the snow. In the end we get an evil mutant snowman with a penchant for murder. This series had two entries and to me is a bellowed classic. It is cheesy and for a slasher it is nearly hilarious  in its obserdity which is then doubled down on for the sequel. If you want a good Christmas watch go for this one.  
2. Santas Slay 
“How about a little Yule Tide Fear?” When you take a wrestler a twisted myth about Santa Claus and a cast of kooky characters you get Santa’s Slay. This is one of the best B-Movie Christmas films of all time. I really enjoy this the most of all of them and hope that this continues to be a holiday Tradition, especially for the first scene.

3. Black Christmas/X’Mas
Who doesn’t like a little Christmas Killing as we go from B-Movie Horror/Comedy to straight slasher horror. Both movies are really good at displaying the derangement of a crazy killer going after co-eds on Christmas Eve. I feel that the major difference in the series is that the older one comes with more story and the remake has more violence and gore. Both are great films and both are good for a horror Christmas tradition.

4. Silent Night Deadly
 Night Series 1-5 
So we come to yet another Christmas Slasher Series in the vein of the Halloween movie series. We have a Michael Myers style killer going after people during the Christmas holidays dressed up as Santa Claus. Even though it may bear some similarities this is not Santa’s Slay and if you are looking for a laugh instead of a thriller then you need to keep away from this one.

5. A Christmas Horror Story 
This is a good alternative to those who love your traditional Horror story anthologies and much like Trick r’ Treat is for Halloween this is a good one for Christmas. This story also involves Krampus but isn’t a Krampus movie. The big plus is that William Shatner narrates.

6. Gremlins 
Who would do a Christmas Horror marathon without Gremlins.  This movie is a classic tale where you learn the lesson to not adopt strange pets and to feed them in a timely manner. This movie also spawned a Sequel but this one is the only one with a Christmas theme.

7. Krampus Series 
If you have read my series in the past you will know about my Krampus series of reviews. Krampus is the evil brother of Santa Claus that punishes mean kids. The most famous of these is the new one coming out in 2015 and the other movies have a varying degree of goodness. I suggest you at least check out the 2015 film or #5 in order to introduce yourself to the Krampus character.

8. The Children
This is probably the most disturbing film on the list. I mean you have killers and you have the horror of being stuck in the middle of nowhere but when the killers are your own children?! This is an exercise in terror and despair that you can’t leave alone.

9. Tales from the Crypt 
This was a great horror anthology movie (also reviewed here earlier) but here we only have one segment that falls around Christmas and a killer. I won’t give away the rest of this but the series will definitely come in handy.

10. Ceasar and Ottos Deadly X’Mas
This is probably the lowest point on the list. This is another slasher type of movie but this one is lower in budget. I have s soft spot in my heart for this film but it can be a tad boring at times. Please get off and enjoy this movie and the other movie that is Halloween fixated.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

DVD Movie Review #200 Krampus Unleashed

Well this is the end and we are back again with another tale of terror to end out our Krampus tales. This time we are going with Krampus Unleashed. I remember looking up all the Krampus films I could find and this one had not yet come out on video. I must admit I was a but cautious as I had seen the good and I have seen the bad and still don' tknow what that one had to offer.
So we go back in time where these prospectors dig of a hidden rock with the power to summon and evil demon (aka Krampus). Things don't go very well for them and we have to fast forward to the future where the rock is again found by a family visiting their cousins out in Krampus Country. A strange creature which could be bigfoot has been spotted and now it seems they may be dying before they are able to celebrate the new year.
Well this movie does do a few things right. I feel that it makes a pretty decent creature feature. In truth this is the only of its kind out of the three. Krampus is done very differently here and is more like a rabid monster that they summoned from a magic stone that now wants to kill all of our series protagonists. I felt that the acting was entertaining enough for the film and that Krampus himself was done well enough for a standard horror movie monster. For what this is I don't feel it was too terrible. This even had a few nods to other films in the genre I have reviewed if you look close enough So I give the people in this credit for their thought process. The pacing lastly is also very quick very good on the action so you don't have time getting bored. This Krampus is definitely different from your normal, Run of the Mill Krampus. Lastly I have to say the little snippet at the end is hilarious.
This is pretty much what it is summed up to be...a bad horror film. This is your typical monster kills people film you could just as easily call this creature Big Foot, drop the magic rock and have the same movie for the rest of the year. This is by far the only one that left me feel involved and that is a sad thing. Many of the characters are also annoying and those that are not annoying have very little development and you have very little attachment to them. you could tell the cheap budget behind this film much like the last review I did on Krmpus: the Reckoning and oddly enough my problem is not like Krampus, as a Matter of Fact they seemed to follow the advice I set out and they dropped the CG. It is in a lot of different things such as the slightly below par acting, the poor scene setup and finally the poor effects.
This movie was better than some but lesser than the others. If you like low budget "Monster Eats People" type films I think this is still a good film for you.

Rating: 6/10

Well this is the end. I hope that you have all enjoyed my Christmas Rantings about Krampus and his friendly batch of movies. Please stay tuned for our regularly scheduled programming :)

DVD Movie Review #202 Visions of Escaflowne

Once upon a time there was a magical kingdom called MovieStop. It was a good kingdom and they used to have a sale on anime. It was a great sale being as much as 50% off on all and a typical buy one get one too boot. Such a sale was the reason that I found this lovely series. I had watched the motion picture and was not impressed but at the same time this series had such a reputation that I had to check it out. Years went by and this continued to gather dust upon my shelf. I finally decided in the end that I needed to hunker down and watch this. So here we go I have finished it and I plan on reviewing Visions of Escaflowne.

Hitomi is a regular High School Girl who wants to enjoy her passion of running and get the handsome boy on the men’s team. Hitomi has a special power to produce oddly accurate fortunes through card readings. When she does one on herself a portal is opened between worlds that lead her to the magical Kingdom of Gaia. She is finally bound in the end to participate in a war that could shake the very foundations of all worlds and unlock the secrets of Atlantis.

The first thing I will address in the plus column here is the sound. I really did think that the composition was pretty powerful and reminded me a bit of how Skyrim had a great background that only enhanced the feelings and powerful nature of the plot. The Opener is a nice solid song and the Ender “Mystic Eyes” to me is at near legendary status if you are one to enjoy anime soundtracks. The Animation is pretty sound and has a unique style that tells me what I am seeing the minute I start watching. I feel that this is a pretty solid product overall when it comes to production value. The characters have a good depth to them and you can follow the political intrigue as you are lead down the rabbit hole with Hitomi. Of course there is plenty of action to be had with lots of mecha sword fighting and bitter rivalries.

Note that I didn’t mention the plot other than for character development. I felt it was a combination of Fushigi Yuugi and Evangeleon. This would if done right make this series very good and well renowned. I feel that it tried too hard in this department leaving me confused at times and over stressed the importance of dashing fate and making your own path. This also had a lot going on with so many minor stories and personal character issues that it made me understand why squeezing this all into a motion picture made me a little miffed. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the plot by any means but at the same time I feel the plot didn’t do this series any favors. It was juggling too many balls and in the process a few were dropped by the wayside.

Despite its weaknesses Escaflowne has a pretty solid overall feel that makes it a good series overall. I enjoyed my watch through of it and would recommend it to any who are able to get it cheaply.

Rating: 6/10 

DVD Movie Review #201 The Night Before

I am back again with another wonderful holiday time review. This time I am covering the movie “The Night Before”. This is one I feel was much needed as we watched it following the finale of the Walking Dead. I’ve had this film for almost a year now and have been looking forward to viewing it. A good deal for a potential enjoyable movie.

We start this with three friends who have been doing a New York Bar hopping Christmas Eve tradition for many years always hoping that they would be invited to that great party of parties called the Nutcracker Ball. Time has passed, one guy got married and the next got famous while the other is still living in the past. This time is the last time that they get to do this before moving on to their lives and they now have an invite to the big party. The question is, will they survive long enough to get there.

This movie was surprisingly very funny. I have mixed feelings about Seth Rogan but here he did a good job of being a team player and not either in the forefront or as a part of the background. I enjoyed this Harold and Kumar style comedy romp throughout they Christmas Eve New York. The three have good chemistry and produce a good variety of laughs. The star power in this film is also very respectable. The music is also very enjoyable for any Hollywood holiday piece. The plot is surprisingly solvent and works well with this film coming together as you would expect but not fully so.

In the end I don’t feel that this fully lived up to the standards of other films of this type. I feel that the antics were very tame as opposed to other films such as A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas or Dude, Where’s my Car. I normally wouldn’t say that a lack of over the top strangeness is a fault but here I feel it is. I also feel that another fault of these films is what they are and that is they are not great films nor do they try to be. I don’t have a lot of other things that are bad other than this is weaker than it could be. It seems lost potential is a big thing for me lately and that is something.

In the end this is a very pleasant movie and one I will enjoy watching again next holiday season.

Rating: 7/10     

DVD Movie Review #199 Jingle All the Way 2

Hello all and welcome to another cheery holiday season DVD movie review. While waiting on the next Krampus film I can concentrate on some other Holiday pieces…such as Jingle all the way 2. I have the original movie and kind of liked it but in my OCD nature I decided to procure this piece of crapola, but like my procurement of Kindergarten cop 2 I don’t believe that I am in store for anything but a loving Crap shoot. So lets take this $1.99 review and head forward.

Our hero Larry the Cable Guy is a good father who is unfortunately having to chare his daughter with his divorced wife. They are on good terms and doing well but now the Step-Father wants to step in and may even ruin any chance he has to have time with his daughter over Christmas. Now Larry needs to find the one item that can win his daughters heart but Step-Daddy is also on the prowl and may be too difficult for limited budget Larry to compete with.

You know as Crap shoots go this is a tolerable one. Larry the Cable Guy isn’t too bad as an actor when given his strong suit of playing a poor redneck. He did seem to be a likable character and I was impressed by this rooting for him by the end. The movie did have a few funny moments to it and had the feel of a nice feel good holiday film.

Ok this is a rather large section but I will keep it mostly brief. The Step-Father was written pretty badly, at first I wanted to root for the guy then they made him so despicable that even his redemption didn’t suit me in the end. I feel that they really should have held back on the villainizing. Many of the jokes here also fell flat as I feel they know this was supposed to be a terrible film and had low expectations when making it. It is a sad day when you hope for Larry the Cable Guy to save your film.

In the end this is a low budget low brow sequel to a film that didn’t need one. Still this isn’t a terrible thing to watch and as it is a sequel to a pretty lame film there isn’t far for it to fall.

Rating: 5/10

Sunday, December 11, 2016

DVD Movie Review #198 Krampus: the Reckoning

Well here we are and my Krampus project is starting to come to a close (though a new movie is shipping out as we speak). This time around we have Krampus: The Reckoning. This is one that I thought was related to the other two Krampus films that I had seen previously but I could not have been more wrong. I am once again thrown into the breach for my next in the series of  Krampus Christmas Reviews.
Well we start out our tale with the legend of Krampus. We all know this and of course I will skip out on this as we should know this shit by now. Well we fast forward to a child psychiatrist that is seeing a small girl who's nasty foster parents got burned in some mysterious murder. The child swears up and down that this is Krampus's doing but our Psychiatrist, with the help of an alcoholic police officer are on the case to find out what is going on with this strange little girl and the murders that seem to follow her.
This Movie has a lot of potential (I would say even more than Krampus: The Christmas Devil) as this one nearly achieves true chilling horror. I will say that the portrayal by the little girl though seemingly wooden at first actually matches the character well by the time you get to the end. The plot is actually very well thought out as supernatural horror stories go and there is little camp reflected in the story or the acting. The Music in the background is chilling in its nature and is worth a listen even if it is only moderately good at best. Finally the characterizations are very well done with the psychiatrist and the little girl taking the lead in this thriller.
I wanted to show a picture of Krampus here as I feel that this was one of the short comings of this film. I feel that in these cases makeup and a costume would have been better than this CG animation that feel short more than a few times of hitting the mark. This made what should have otherwise been scary into something less than such. I also feel that the plot had a few other unnecessary things going on such as the obligatory sex scenes showing breasts to feed the audience and of course the detective character that seemingly is there to pad things over for us. This movie's biggest crime is falling just short of being a true horror. Lastly the music though creepy felt like they worked to shoehorn in a Krampus Carol when they could have just as easily sung the original carol and made it creepy.
This movie is at its base very solid but its crime is that of missed potential and this makes me a tad sad in the end. Still if you are ok with these shortcomings I would still recommend checking this film out.
Rating:  6/10

DVD Movie Review #197 Krampus: The Christmas Devil 2

We are back again for yet the sequel of the last film we watched...this one did have my attention more than the original as Coolduder is in this one. I must admit my expectations are low this time round but I figure when you make this go you are in this for the long haul.
 Santa is a Dick. I really believe this is the point that this movie and its predecessor are trying to get across. We are back with our heroes yet again as Santa and his brother go on yet another bloody rampage across town. Of course this movie wouldn't be what it is without our favorite self-hating police officer and the brother of our favorite killer going at it again. Our hero has been called back after his family was taken by the Krampster and he is charged with bringing him in once again. Will he win the fight this time or will this demon haunt him forever.
This time we've changed things up a little bit. The acting has gotten a tad better (with practice I guess). I feel that the team has gotten back into stride moving the plot along much more quickly this time. You know the feel of the movie and it doesn't take as long to get in. The complexity of the main character's backstory is entertaining to a point.
I actually feel that other than a few good points (listed above) this film actually managed to be worse than the original. I feel that the concept was really solid for the first one and if they had done it right they could have done it to the point where it would be easily the best of all of the Krampus movies. This was not even an attempt at that. They slapped an even cheaper looking costume on Krampus and then decided that they would slap together an rather lazy story that eventually results in a rather lack luster ending. I still don't understand why Krampus and Santa need his daughter and even taunt him with the idea that he is raping her. I...don't have words for the rest of this.
In the end the lesson is..Santa is a dick. I think that pretty much concludes everything about this film.

Rating: 4/10

Saturday, December 10, 2016

DVD Movie Review #196 Krampus: The Christmas Devil

Well we are well into the holiday season and here comes my next installment of my Krampus reviews. This time I am reviewing another low budget fun fest called Krampus: The Christmas Devil. This was discovered in my Krampus Search and oddly enough the movie trailer is easier to find than the one for the new movie released last year. 
So we start with a flashback to a time when a naughty little kid nearly gets killed by Krampus as is like for all naughty children. Flash forward, there are more killings going on and our former problem child is now a do gooder police officer dedicated to hunting the evil Krampus down. Unfortunately another criminal just got out of prison and he wants revenge on the Cop that put him in jail. Will Krampus complete is Christmas list? 
We have to look at this for what it is: a low Budget B-Movie that wants to be taken seriously. Now with this in mind they didn't do too bad a job. I thought that the acting was actually about medium grade level not your typical tripping over yourself acting that I am used to in these type of films (cough "Night of the Krampus" cough). The story itself has a lot of promise to it. You have two killers around but both with very different motives in mind. I would say how this movie turned out in the end is how I would expect it to be. The music is well done for the budget and I always enjoy the carol of the bells done by electric guitar this allowed me to rock out to the credits even as I write this review. 
So...where do I get started...well I did say this was a good premise and story but I would say that in execution this film...fell flat a piece. I mean one of the joys of B movies is that they are funny or on occasion they shoot high and manage to pull off a good serious thriller or drama. I feel in this case they shot for the stars and barely cleared the back yard. I mean the acting was passable but you really didn't feel what the characters were feeling. I also wasn't as impressed with the Krampus man himself the costume was interesting but he really wasn't all that scary as he was in Krampus or in A Christmas Horror Story. Oddly enough I don't consider him as scary as the one in Night of the Krampus. I also have to wonder about putting a topless woman in this. I really feel this was a way to try and grab the audience and make up for the other inequities of the film. I don't even get why this half naked woman was there. I mean is Krampus a dirty sex maniac? I really feel made me lose some respect for the film makers a bit...sigh
The Best thing I can say about this film is that it is a lot of missed potential. There was a lot there and with a bit more effort and maybe a little more money I feel that they could have taken a so-so thriller attempt and turn it into something really good. God help me but I will be watching the sequel to this in the near future. Let's just hope that we do better this time. 
Rating:  5/10

Sunday, December 4, 2016

DVD Movie Review #195 A Christmas Horror Story

Hello all to the Third Installment of our Krampus run of holiday cheer. Out of the films on this list this is the one I most wanted to see as it appeared to be good and CoolDuder gave his thumbs up to it. I didn't have super high expectations but had hopes for a lovely expression of kamp that would make me laugh through the holiday season. After a well placed order I have this Krampus film in hand and am ready once again to review my heart out :p
We start out yet again before Christmas to the dulcet tones of William Shatner on the radio. We cover four interesting storylines during this holiday season. First we have our nice loving family visiting a rich relative for love during this Chistmas. Second we see two parents trying to reconnect and both noticing something strange is going on with their child. Third a group of college students is investigating a murder that had occurred one year ago that was never fully solved. Finally we are with Santa in his workshop and we find that the elves are infected with some kind of evil Zombie virus. To tie them all together we have Krampus working his Christmas magic. 
So one of the things I like about this is that it is far more than what it seemed at first. This does not try to be Kampy like my previous entry it actually works well as a horror tale much in the vein of Trick r' Treat. I love how the story intersect with one another and it builds suspense throughout the feature. For being what it is the effects are very viable and are nothing to laugh at. The acting is done fairly well, though not perfect by any measure. Of course my favorite moment is the fight between Krampus and Santa Clause which since seeing the cover I had been eager for. Plot wise the ending is also something worth writing home about. Of course the Carol of the Bells adaptation is a fun take on the musical end which like "Krampus" makes a point to punctuate the various movie scenes and scares (though not as good as "Krampus"). Finally the twist ending left me feeling good about this in the end even if it was a tad confusing. I would say this is a good movie overall. 
This movie has a few detractors for me. Though I like the scary feel there are parts of this movie that drag from time to time. It is odd that the story about the teens investigating a possibly haunted building could be a tad boring. The ending, while a good point is also a tad confusing as it does make since with the hints dropped throughout I don't feel it connects as well to the other tales. This is really the biggest shortcoming overall from this that makes Trick r' Treat a better film and that is that the stories don't connect as well. 
Lastly to close I will say that this film was a pleasant surprise in what I expected to be "Krampus Light". I hope that this Krampus viewing only continues to improve upon my expectations, though I am doubting it :) 

Rating: 7/10