Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Alien Outpost (2014) (NR)

Director: Jabbar Raisani
Starring: Brandon Auret, Adrian Paul, Douglas Tait, Riley McClendon, Rick Ravenello

Full disclosure, I thought the following trailer seemed interesting when I viewed it a while back in the wee hours of the morning on very little (no) sleep. Feeling frisky, I slapped it up on the blog.

Alien Outpost (2014) (NR)- Official Trailer 

Then, six months later, in wee hours of the morning, Alien Outpost (2014) graces my Netflix browser. It was kismet.

Alien Outpost at it’s core is a faux-documentary military film. Taking place after the human race has defeated an armada of alien invaders, the action follows a group of young soldiers being transferred to a remote outpost to eradicate the leftover aliens (Heavies in the film) who were abandoned on Earth.

Easy. Starship Troopers (1997) with a dab of District 9 (2009), right? Kinda. Minus a steady barrage of special effects, which some might see as boring, but don’t forget, it worked in Jaws (1975). Now, to compare this film to so many others may be excessive, but the reason is not without point. In feel, it has the earmarks of other alien/action flicks. Though the message may have been missed by the spectacle.

Sgt. Badass
Starship Troopers, for it’s pretty faces and big effects, was based on a book with a deeper plot, a warning of becoming too jingoistic. Prawns and lazer guns tend to shadow the apartheid allegory laced throughout District 9. Alien Outpost, underneath it all, becomes a look at our own military conflicts throughout the world (deftly pointed out to me by my neighbor). Enough political talk, let’s rate this thing.

I enjoyed Alien Outpost for what it was. The acting can be spotty at times and the effects sparse, but they were trying something on a budget. Would I give it a second viewing? Not right away, but maybe. Rainy Sunday,  take a break from your binge re-watch of X-Files and pop this on. The truth will still be out there when you go back.

Spectre- Official Trailer (2015) (UR)

007. Spectre. Christoph Waltz. Need I say Moore? (Get it? And, no, he’s not in this movie.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Babadook (2014) (R)

Director: Jennifer Kent
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall,  Barbara West

Every now and again we stumble across a new and innovative looking film trailer that pricks up our senses, giving us hope that there are still original ideas left in the over troped world of cinema. Trailers, which bring us that feeling which my lucky generation had during the Indie era of filmmaking. Where a story didn’t fit a mold that was set years before by the cookie cutter flicks which became the standard. New concepts tackling bigger issues than man saves damsel in distress or god forbid another B.S. horror villain that will spews out the next big franchise. Many moons ago I came across one such trailer (as many on the internet did) called The Babadook (2014). "What the hell is a Babdook?” was an utterance heard anytime I recommended it to family or friends. “Just watch,” was always my reply. And with that, let’s hop in the Wayback machine and check out a trailer posted many months ago: All caught up. Wonderful. Let’s get into it then.

The Babadook, directed by first time feature writer/director Jennifer Kent, tells the story of a single mother named Amelia (played disconcertingly perfect by Essie Davis) who is coming to grips with both the death of her husband as well as the trying needs of her only son Samuel (Noah Wiseman in an unnervingly strong performance), who, after finding a strange pop-up book, believes an evil entity named The Babadook has become more than just a character from the macabre bedtime tale. After strange occurrences around her home coupled with Samuel’s increasingly erratic behavior continue, Amelia begins to break.  Disturbed by her Samuel's obsession with protecting her from the (possibly) imaginary being, Amelia lapses into a mental state which questions whether there is something wrong with her weapon building son or have her own limit of stress driven her over the edge of sanity.

The Babadook takes the viewer on a ride through more than just the typical monster movie. Rather, the film is a deeper study of what a family goes through after a tragedy. The honesty of the writer in terms of how she deals the mother and her struggle to find some hold on such a tough situation is beautifully handled with both moments of sympathy as well as a sense of terror where one never knows what Amelia's true feelings are. Deftly built as well, is the role of Samuel. Again, the audience is never given a road map to these two psyches, keeping the viewer guessing to what’s real and what’s not.

Have fun sleeping.
I’m going to give The Babadook a strong recommend with that stipulation that this is not your typical Boogieman movie. The layers go deeper than the sum of it’s parts. To be honest, there aren’t enough female writer/directors in the genre of horror. The days of the virginal heroine who stops the "big bad” was mapped out in Scream (1996), pulling the curtain back on how to make a successful scare flick. That clich├ęd way of writing needs a kick in the ass and to see one come from a female point of view was a welcomed change. This is not the usual fair the general public may used to in it’s horror films, but just take the ride, if at least to try something new.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Ant-Man (2015) (PG-13)

Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Michael Pena, David Dastmalchian, T.I.

In the final stage of Phase 2, Marvel comes out swinging with the hero least likely: Ant-Man. This title made the general population not in the comics-know snicker at how silly a hero called Ant-Man (2015) sounded. But to the naysayers, I must protest. Least you forget the laughter bellowed through the internet as we were told that Vin Diesel would play a sentient tree or that Bradley Cooper would be voicing an anthropomorphized raccoon (which Rocket denies being, of course)? “Marvel has lost it!” we cried as our beloved heroes were becoming ridiculous. But in retrospect, it was a genius play by the filmmakers and our hearts were Marvel’s once more. And Ant-Man is no exception.

When a newly paroled burglar Scott Lang (Rudd being unknowingly charming as hell) needs money to gain visitation rights to see his daughter, reclusive scientist Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas, having
a blast on screen) hires Scott for a heist that could save the world. Given a top secret suit, capable of shrinking the wearer to the size of an insect while retaining the strength of a full grown person. Oh yeah, and he controls ants. Ok. It’s a bit much to take in.

Like most all Marvel releases, Ant-Man keeps that tradition of page to screen sharpness and awe with both it’s brilliant cast and tight link to the rest of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe. You’re welcome.). Paul Rudd brings a lightness to the character that is hard not to like. Evangeline Lilly (Lost) does a nice job bringing the tough female lead front and center even in a boys club. And Michael Douglas, need I say more. He is playing the role whole hog and going with it. The supporting cast is strong. Corey Stoll (The Strain) as Yellow Jacket was not the best written antagonist, I’ll admit. Though Stoll creates a character that shows an inner hurt with his relationship to Pym that is peppered subtly amongst the blatant atrocities he commits. Scott’s sidekicks (Pena, Dastmalchian, and T.I.) brought a goofy charm that’s become a callback of the MCU. Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn't credit little Abby Ryder Fortson who played Cassie Lang, Rudd’s daughter in the film. She has the strongest timing I’ve seen from a child actor in a while. She held her own with the adults.

The look of the picture is brilliant. Mixing the real world with shrunken POV of the titular hero brought back memories of watching Honey I Shrunk The Kids (1989) as a youth. With the advantage of modern effects, the big to small transitions are smooth, blending lightning fast fight choreography with well rendered CGI. One of the more tough plot devices to work out, had to have been the ants. They were handled perfectly, making their time on screen worth while and important to the story. Peyton Reed's (Bring It On (2000)) direction is everything an audience would want in a hero movie. Although, I still imagine where Edgar Wright might have taken the project if he had stayed on (he did get a writing credit, however. Best not to dwell.) But again, praise to Reed for created a great film.

Best. Ant Farm. Ever.
Ant-Man rides that tightrope of serious and silly which keeps the viewer entertained until the final scene after the credits (now you know to wait around). The action is inventive, the characters are memorable and the movie as a whole works on all levels. As summer blockbusters go, Ant-Man succeeds. Is it weird, implausible and straight out of left field? Yes! Of course it is. That’s what we keep getting in line for. Go beat the heat Pay to be A/C’ed and be entertained. That’s what the summer’s about. Just remember, it’s only a (comic book) movie.

This Kid = Comedy Gold

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice- Official Trailer (2016) (NR)

Before we begin, may we address the cowled elephant in the room and put a stop to the “Bat-Fleck” monicker. It was funny once, I think. Maybe twice. But so far he seems like the one shining star in this sequel to a shaky first installment (Man Of Steel (2013)). So let’s be adults and put that overdone uncle joke to rest. For those of you still reading (bless you), I have watched the new “Super-Bat” trailer. Kidding! Forget I wrote it. I don’t want that to be a thing (copyright Mock Films Blog).

Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016) felt better with a second view to be honest. I think Superman needs to lighten up a tad (as well as Ma Kent with her Emo advice). Leave the brooding to your costar.

Batman works. With light homages to Frank Miller's graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, Affleck looks the role, both in and out of the suit. The rest of the film is up for debate. You never know until it’s done. So, peel your eyes at the next big franchise. Here is Batman V Superm… (I refuse to keep writing this long ass title). Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Suicide Squad- Official Trailer (2016) (NR)

Upon hearing that Warner Bros. had green lit a Suicide Squad movie I was on board. Now, I’ll admit that I’m not as in the know about the team comic-wise as I am with the DC animation iterations of the crew, but in concept we can all agree it works. That said, the casting took a period of adjustment. Will Smith (yeah, I guess), Margot Robbie (too soon to say, seems right), Jared Leto (insert record scratch). Listen, I dig Leto. The man is solid and brings everything to what he’s cast in. But I yern for the more zoot-suited clown. Not a Nicholson or Remaro per say (Hammel, untouchable in the role so let’s not bring him into this). But not far off. Maybe class the character up a bit. Bring the subtle dark charm back to Joker which makes you question what that lunatic has up his sleeve. 

Not to say that Leto’s Joker will be a bad (although the grills and ink are a bit much), rather I’m throwing out a request to the next actor bestowed the mantle of the Clown Prince of Crime. For now, I won’t jump to conclusions until needs be. We’ve all been wrong before. Rant complete. Here’s is the first Official Trailer for Suicide Squad (p.s.- I liked the trailer. Address all e-mails to

Monday, July 6, 2015

Creep- Official Trailer (2015) (R)

I recently watched the trailer for the upcoming film written and starring Mark Duplass (Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)) and Patrick Brice (in his first feature as director/writer/actor) entitled Creep (2015). The title says it all.

When a videographer answers an ad to chronicle an eccentric, terminally ill man’s final days for his unborn son, the cameraman soon finds his new employer may have more sinister motives.

Found footage has has it’s ups and downs. but in the right hands even the most hardened of critics can find some interesting uses for the genre. With the likes of Mark Duplass behind the film we might just get lucky. Have a look for yourself.