Archive for the '2000’s b-movies' Category

May

Comments Off on Spectral (2016)

Welcome to another review, folks! You ever watch a movie, and hope that it’s good, like really wish it turns into a knockout, but then falls JUST short of it? That’s what you’ll get with this movie. Massive potential, a nice drive, but, in the end, it just can’t click that last gear to make it good. So, let’s dive into “Spectral,” a Netflix original.

If cliches make you groan, look away, now. There’s a lone soldier, marching through an unknown wasteland, to fight an unknown foe. Of course, he’s the only survivor of a group that came up against a new kind of enemy. Which begs the question: Why did the rest of his unit die at the hands of this adversary, but he was left alive, and alone? Did his unit hate him that much? Did he miss the ‘move out’ command while in the bathroom? I’m all for setting the scene, but this is stretching it. Oh, look, dead guys.

We should go that way, while ignoring the voice on the radio that’s almost yelling to wait for back up. Cliche number two, in almost as many minutes: He ain’t got time to bleed….er….wait for backup. And you, like me, will be wondering why. Spooky alley filled with war-torn debris and more dead people, not to mention a ghastly apparition? That’s the correct path, right there. Yup. He’s dead. Who saw that coming? Please raise your hands. Exactly.

Cut to a science lab where they will talk a lot of mumbo-jumbo that is completely pointless, as it has nothing to do with the main story. All it tells us is that it’s the future, which we kinda guessed, and they’re searching for a rare element. It’s so rare, in fact, that it used to be used in ink cartridges. Like people, scientists, in the past were just throwing away rare, and valuable, elements to make office toner cartridges. After a failed experiment, a proof of concept, really, the now main character is trying to get a government contract, but doesn’t land it.

Apparently the people in the uniforms instantly think of murder, and weaponizing the tech on display. If you think it’s another stretch, you’re right. After what results in a ‘I would never!’ the story moves on, having a hard pause for this piece of info that lead nowhere. This scene could’ve been skipped over, just to get to the next scene, and introduce the main character with half the dialogue, and none of the plot holes. And guess what? The movie does JUST THAT! Science McScruffyGuy gets sent to the unit that experienced all the death at the apparitions. Why? He invented the tech they use.

Science McScruffyGuy lands overseas with new tech, having been told about the ghost thing, which leads to the military unit trying to bust his chops. Of course, can’t have the military involved in a movie without that scene, can we? Fill in pointless exposition, old buddy syndrome, and then begin to take bets on who’s going to die in the next encounter with the ghosty ghosts. Let’s head into a war-torn city with a scientist who’s never been in combat, wielding tech that’s never been tested! That count you had on who’s going to die? Double it. ‘Cause even the cliché gods throw their hands up.

The scene in the building, as they ascend, looking for evidence of…something, is actually a pretty cool scene. This is where you start to see the influences of the movie begin to emerge, “Ghostbusters,” “Aliens,” and even some “Predator.” The homage is thick, but still BARELY original enough, so you don’t choke on your drink while they nudge you in the ribs with a ‘Huh? Huh? Did ya get it?’ We finally meet the enemy, and also recover the lone survivor of the last squad that went in to fight. So, what are we up against? Evil specters? Demons? Wrathful ghosts? Nope! Blue…mist….ish.

These blue mist creature things descend upon the new soldiers like locusts on a newly grown corn field. And, wouldn’t you know it? These things can only be seen with that exact, specific, one-of-a-kind camera that McScruffyGuy brought along. Now begins the second act: Survival in a war-torn country that looks a lot like the back lot to “Band of Brothers.” We run, scream, and flail our way through the next couple of scenes, only to end up in an iron factory. Because, you know, Third World countries still have those in abundance. Plus, they’re really convenient when you need a plot point.

We find out the invisible ghost-a-ma-things can’t touch, or cross, iron. So we spend the night with the soldiers, and their new orphan wards: Newt 2.0 and other kid. The exposition sleepover ends with the ghost-a-ma-things figuring out a way around the iron defenses, and going full zombie horde on the survivors, and their new dead weights. The next scene, however, is actually pretty cool, I cannot deny it. We begin the run for safety, the ghost-a-ma-things hot on their heels.

The pick up occurs in a town square-type setting, and honestly, this is the beginning of that ‘I didn’t think they’d kill them’ feeling. This scene is AWESOME! Tanks! Helicopters! Guns! Ghost-a-ma-things! Explosions! And all of this at once! This is the kind of scene that people that love the ’80s and all the glorious ridiculousness live for. The slow-motion shots are simply breathtaking, and the intensity can be felt with every second of what’s happening. So: Kudos on an epic scene, movie. However, all things must come to an end.

That moment, no matter how bad we wanted it to stay, is gone. We arrive at the bunker with the rest of the people that are left from the ghost-a-ma-things and all the war, too. During this scene is where lines are drawn, loyalties divided, and shouts get shoutier. So, remember how it took Science McScruffyGuy years to perfect the tech that he used in the camera that allows them to see the ghost-a-ma-things? Well, it takes him hours to weaponize it, and make it part of the standard kit that they hand out to the soldiers, ready to go and fight the ghosty-ghosts.

Here’s where we bring the review to an end, because we enter the final act, and, as you know, no spoilers in a Deadman review. The direction of this movie is great, taking huge cues, and notes from other movies, and all the greats. Acting ranges from pretty dang good to ‘Is that the read we’re going with on that line?’ There are some really cool shots, and some actual scares, but this movie, I feel, collapses under its own weight at a certain point. I still, however, will highly recommend watching it. Until next time, folks! Stay Tuned!

 

roadside attractions

  • Now those are some neat uniforms
  • Ain’t got time to bleed cliche
  • Ain’t got time for backup cliche
  • Ain’t got time for cliches cliche
  • If it’s such a rare substance why is it in printer cartridges?
  • Proof of concept equals murder
  • Have they never seen a horror film?
totals

2

blood  

BLOOD

Almost no gore, but there’s those effects.

1

blood  

BREASTS

None. Well. Ghost ones.

10

beast BEASTS

Awesome designs, and well executed.

 

6.0 OVERALL
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Dec

posted by Doktor | December 30, 2016 | 2000's b-movies, Feature, Holiday films, Horror movies, Review by Doktor

Comments Off on The Twelve Slays of Xmas: The Sixth Slay

Season’s Grievings from your friends here at The Lost Highway. 2016 has been a difficult year. We lost Professor Snape, Admiral Ackbar, and even Alf. We watched as the United States of Earth was divided down the middle in a vicious election which still threatens to end in a nasty divorce. There were devastating natural disasters and Russians hacking. It’s been a real bummer.

And now to compound things it’s the holiday season, the worst wonderful time of the year. “While everybody else is opening up their presents, (others are) opening up their wrists” because “the suicide rate is always the highest around the holidays.” (Kate Beringer, Gremlins). In light of this year’s events, and the weight of the holiday season, what’s a mutant to do?

VLC for Android is a full audio player, with a complete database, an equalizer and filters, playing all weird audio formats. VLC player for Android is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player that plays most multimedia files as well as discs, devices, and network streaming protocols.

This Xmas we decided to put together a little gift to answer that question, a list of advice gleaned from the reel world of b-movies. We watched twelve Xmas themed movies and learned twelve valuable lessons to help navigate life.

The Lost Highway proudly presents: The Twelve Slays of Xmas.

The Sixth Slay of Xmas: Santa’s Slay

If you ever see Santa’s sleigh being pulled by a reinbison: RUN! Get as far away as fast as you can. This Santa is pissed off and everyone is on his naughty list. Naughty list = dead. Think Robot Santa Claus from Futurama but played by a much angrier Goldberg.

To all our Jewish friends out there, Hanukkah doesn’t exempt you. In Santa’s hands the menorah is a terrible weapon.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for The Seventh Slay of Xmas: Don’t Open Till Christmas

Watch the trailer for “Santa’s Slay”

trailers

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About the Highway

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