Saturday, June 23, 2007

Its a Motion Picture: Silent Predator

Well kids welcome back to the usual subject matter for the Diary, I promise there is more to the creative side of this little Pontiff to come but for now we turn back to the non fiction side of life, as I start up the chainsaw of intelligence and rip into the tree of idiocy that surrounds popular culture today. Recently I have found myself subjected to the best of the worst when it comes to cinema, the Australian version of Quizmainia is no longer picked and shown by the local broadcaster, so late at night instead of sitting in bed longing for the several leggy beauties that host it to as the kids say pop a ‘nang’ out, or watching bogans pick at there faces and gripe about each other on Big Brother, I find myself watching many lovely movies ranging from the deliciously cheesy Hammer Horrors of the seventies and eighties, to the down right deplorable modern straight to DVD, American trash pictures, starring Segal, Van Damme, Lundgren, or some other loser. And as there are really not enough adverts that annoy me at the moment to poke fun at, I am forced to continue down the road of reviewing these tripe-fests, for your benefit/warning. And this week is no different, yes kids its another instalment of ‘It’s a motion picture” so sit back take notice and get IMDB ready to find out whether the movie is just bad, or its so bad that you now cant sleep until you watch it.

A few years ago a show came on TV starring a rather attractive young lady, that show was Veronica Mars, though it didn’t have the same witty pop culture referencing as Buffy the Vampire Slayer did, it was still worth watching if only for the gorgeous starlet playing the main character. Now the movie in question does not star said young lady, it stars the actor that played the ‘Bad Guy’ in the second to last series, and no it wasn’t Eric Roberts though that would have been absolutely spiffy if you ask me. Harry Hamlin is the man in question, who plays the new fire chief in a town undergoing some serious upgrades by resident asshole and property developer played Jack Scalia. Notice how I used the word played instead of acted and the fact that the movie went straight to TV, should tell you all you need to know about the quality of the film. But let’s continue, ‘Silent Predator’ is that film and it is a brilliant example of how people with little to know talent can still be on TV, outside of a game show or some sort of house/island/pirate-ship situation. First lets just look at the premise, a super pissed off Rattle Snake escapes from a truck that crashed twenty years ago, it goes off and in a brilliant plot turn that would have Charles Darwin hitting his head and yelling ‘Rain man’ style, mates with the local Rattle Snakes, causing a new breed to emerge, angrier and bigger than ever before. The movie is called Silent Predator isn’t it……. Yes I thought so, ………….. (wait for it)……. RATTLE SNAKES….. The breed of snake that makes itself known by the large rattle on its tail, which rattles….. VERY loudly. Half the movie takes place under the hail of noise from the snakes rattle attachment. What the hell is so silent about a bloody Rattle Snake?

So the town is under going some upgrades, evil property developer man is building a new housing estate, he is using dynamite which wakes up the nasty snakes and makes them really angry, so people start to die, yes it’s a shame but it’s just a movie so it’s alright. One incident occurs where a young girl is playing with her dog, perfect suburban moment I know, she hears the rattle from the ‘silent’ predator and goes to see what it is, dog goes as well, hark a snake, terrible, dog attacks and kills snake, while young girl screams and goes and gets her mother. Now here’s where the genius bit comes into it, to propel the movie logic was obviously dealt a swift and brutal blow to the head, thus meaning any story could unfold, even that of Unicorns coming and eating all the snakes then the town having a seventies beach party Frankie Avalon style (which would of made as much sense). The mother doesn’t call the police, the fire department, animal control, even an exterminator, she picks up the phone and the first call is to the property developer. At this point I got a severe headache and considered turning off, but I stuck it out as I thought it might get better. Well you know dam well that it didn’t.

Now I think anyone that has a pulse and three working brain cells can figure out the rest of the movie, I won’t tell you in case you do want to watch it, something so bad should only be ruined by actually viewing it. But something else picked my fancy, obviously half way through the film leading lady Shannon Sturges, copped a blow to the face, hopefully from the director in the vain attempt to extract a decent performance from her, even if it took domestic violence. So for about the last half of the movie, I spent staring at her left eye, trying to work out how, and who from the rest of the movie had ‘popped’ the nice lady in the face. But in the end it doesn’t matter, does it as it really did distract me from the overall crappiness of the movie. Another small complaint is the use of Pythons as Rattle Snakes, now I may be a snake expert and not know it, but I’m pretty sure most people can tell the difference between a Rattle Snake and a Python.

Following the usual movie convention that you can’t kill cute animals or children, we get another massive black hole in the logic department, a baseball game, and some random extra pokes around for a ball under the stands surprise, surprise the snake lurking under there gives him a good going over. So everyone runs screaming leaving the mayors (who didn’t believe the snakes were a problem) son trapped under the stands with the snake. So the kid is lying there covered in the scaly bastards, yet manages to come out with out being bitten, after the fire chief our hero pulls him out. Over looking the fact that the reaction time of a snake is far greater than that of a human, how did he survive the previous mentioned snake blanket, honestly for once please, please just kill the kid, no ones watching anyway.

So in a movie where the highlight is the stupidity of the characters and the fact that there may have been domestic violence used to get a performance out of the female lead, there isn’t much to be happy about, it was filmed in Australia, so I guess it’s good that it gave some local talent some work, but I have to say I was surprised not to see the entire credits comprised of the name Alan Smithee. On the Pope Terry movie rating scale, I give this one a ‘once a year confession’ rating….. I really have to explain that one day.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Story time: The Last Trailer in the line. Parts one & two

Ok kids every now and then I'll indulge my creative side and give you a story, so enjoy it while it lasts, as my creativity may be limited to very short intervals.

Re: I know I only posted four days ago but I wanted to post this now. Okay this is part one and two, I just wrote part two so enjoy, I thought it would be easier reposting part one as well as I doubt no ones read it yet... I guess I should give a little background of this, I hope to one day have a book finished about a town called Buckwheat, each chapter being a short story following the lives of a few citizens of the town, this is the first story about Rhonda a large woman that lives in a trailer/caravan, any constructive criticism is very welcome.

The Last trailer in the line
Part one
Rhonda lived in a trailer park in Buckwheat Texas, she had done for about ten years now, it was a comfortable life but as with everyone she had always wanted more. She sat on the lawn furniture outside her trailer one Sunday evening wondering wether it was worth going to work the next day, the drugstore would still be there, and it wasn’t as if there was anyone who could replace her if Grant the chemist, her boss chose to fire her. She turned and looked over the trailer park, the trees to the left and the rest of the trailers to the right, and then the train lines that where right in front of her. Past them the town of Buckwheat itself, it was a small town noted for its lack of anything, in fact on the way into the town there was a sign saying "Buckwheat, what did you expect" it had a small population of about 300 people, most of them farmers or workers in the steel mill. They had a bar called Bensons that was right in the middle of town and on Friday night usually held most of its citizens. But business had dropped off recently since the cult of the Diamond Flowers had moved in at the old Haptens farm, a few miles from town.

Next to the Bar was the pharmacy where Rhonda worked, well she thought of it as work but really it was where she watched her shows in the daytime. On the other side of the bar was the market. It was the place where everyone shopped, for everything, absolutely everything, except of course for drugs, which Rhonda sold. Past that was the gas station which strangely had gone unattended for the past 12 years, deliveries where made every week but no one had owned it since Phil Doherty the old owner died on a fishing trip. The autopsy revealed that he had choked to death on burly after being dared by his friend Jason Smore to eat as much as he could; Phil was not a smart man so Jason was convicted of murder as everyone knew that Phil would do anything you told him. Jason Smore was put to death, in his home in Buckwheat, by firing squad whilst he sat in his favourite chair in the lounge room, the firing squad had done the usual thing of only one person having the real bullet in there gun but one that day deputy Smith was at home sick, so after half an hour of the firing squad shooting at Jason from point blank and not knowing wether they were just bad shots or none of them had the bullet the sheriff had to stand in and finish the job.

By now you may have guessed that Buckwheat was not a normal town, and was rarely inhabited by normal people, one of which was the sheriff, Stan Daley, who was also the mayor and the judge, so it was fitting that the bullet came from him. In fact most encounters with the law resulted in fairly harsh penalty being handed out, so there was actually very little crime in Buckwheat. Stan Daley had a saying "you like dogs until they sh*t on your lawn", what it meant the town didn’t really know but they took it to heart and kept there dogs on leashes just in case. But Rhonda had never really had any trouble with the sheriff she didn’t have a car so she couldn’t get a parking ticket, she kept out of most peoples way, she thought it best to just leave people be, if they wanted to talk they come and tell me she had always thought. She rose from her lime green lawn chair and went back into her trailer, she was hungry, or bored she never knew but as momma used to say idle hands are the devils play things, so like her momma used to do she made some food, perhaps that was why like her momma Rhonda was edging in at three hundred pounds. Before she knew it a pickle and turkey loaf sandwich had appeared in front of her, she turned and walked through her kitchen slash living room and then through her bedroom curtain to her bedroom, lying on the bed she crammed one half of the sandwich in her mouth and flicked the on switch on the TV remote with the other hand.

It was 7.30 pm so the public access channel would be on; it was her favourite as it was frequently showing the Buckwheat conversation hour, hosted by Dorothy Mixer the local town gossip, which was odd because for the last three years she had been a complete shut in. For the purposes of the show she had set up a special TV studio in her basement, she had no idea what was going on in the town so she basically made everything up, or so the town thought, sometimes she did get things fairly close to the truth although no one would admit it.This night though the conversation hour was not on; some of the members of the Diamond Flowers cult had the station and were trying to recruit members, though not very enthusiastically. So Rhonda turned off not really in the mood for being brainwashed, well at the moment anyway, she had toyed with the idea of joining the cult as they had some fairly nice accommodation up at the farm, but she had always been afraid of the stigma that went along with being a cult member, plus every Friday at the bar normal town citizens got drinks at half price, and that was a perk that kept most of the town from joining. The TV got turned off and she got up from the bed and stood in front of the mirror gazing at her reflection in the glass. Where had it all gone wrong she wondered? She hadn’t always been this weight but her life before Buckwheat hadn’t been this easy, with out the everyday fight of life she had started to relax just a little too much.

Part two
But that was the life she had chosen she thought and it was too late to change. She returned to the door of her trailer that was still open and looked out, walking past was the resident hunk of the town Alessandro Rivalda, he lived in the last trailer in the line, down the far end of the park. He was tall dark skinned and mysterious, every woman he had ever talked to at some stage had dreamed of sleeping with him, and as a result of this he lost his virginity to his school headmistress when he was ten, he had often found this disturbing but only for a short while. He had moved out of his birthplace in California some years earlier and had moved around America teaching Salsa dancing and being a gigolo, both of which he found extremely pleasurable, though the later was always his favourite. How he had ended up in Buckwheat was strange, he was never quite sure why he had settled here but now he was there, quiet mundane country life had sapped his will to escape, plus there where countless hapless house wives to prey on whilst he lived out the rest of his ‘sexy’ existent. His trailer was bright pink and adorned with fake lattice work and plastic vines he had purchased from the market, along with pink flamingos all over the lawn, within a space of 5 square metres there were about thirty of them. On a whim he had bought all of them from the market, and decided to create some ‘artwork’. He had thought it was very lower class, but that was Buckwheat, and everyone wants to fit in, no matter where they are.

Rhonda watched the perfect Latino posterior of Alessandro as it swaggered it and its owner down the road to its trailer, she had always wanted to just run up and grab it and give it a bite, but that seemed a little desperate for a lady, she would have to wait till he got sick of all those ‘thin’ girls and wanted to step up to a real woman. It had been some years but what the hell he might get really drunk one night and she new where Grant kept the Rohypnol. She kept on staring at him until he entered his quaint little slice of the trailer park, again she was bored, what now what could she do, still nothing on the TV, the paper would offer nothing as it was usually just news about the steel mills softball team needing more players, or more reports of those strange lights appearing over the cemetery. Hmmmmm… get drunk, that was always an option, plus it was cheap, and would likely provide her with an excuse not to go to work the next morning, so that was it, the bar it was. She threw on something better looking and piled on some makeup so her face went from ‘little much’ to ‘outright whore’ on the scale, understatement was never the goal when she applied makeup, she always said to herself, if you want sex then look like a whore, if you just want to talk to someone, the go and buy a cat…. She had never said it to anyone but herself as it was quite a stupid phrase but what the hell she didn’t need to impress herself did she.

It was a reasonably short walk to the bar but it was still long enough for a woman edging 300 pounds to need to stop for a slight rest, the sun was still circling the rim of the horizon and it made for a beautiful scene over the cemetery as she stopped to regain her composure and breath. Some kids on the bikes road past, she noticed in the bag there where carrying were several items that kids of that age shouldn’t really have, but what the hell, kids will be kids and if they die, she didn’t know them. As usual when she got to the train tracks she didn’t check either way, there were never any trains coming or going so it didn’t matter. Across the road and to the bar doors she straightened her dress and entered the establishment. As usual the place was fairly busy, it had dropped off since the Diamond Flowers had set up shop, but tonight was there pool night and there were about 25 members standing around the snooker tables and the surrounding area. They all wore black silk robes with what looked to be a cross between a sun wheel and a flower on the front. All but one of course, the leader David Diamond wore a bright neon green tracksuit made out of polyester, it had the same design but he was casual and wanted to convey that to his followers. He had inherited the cult from his father, and only really kept it going because it was easier than getting a real job. Rhonda walked past the pool players and sidled up to the bar, behind the bar was a short woman of no discernable ethnic descent, there had been a bet going for years as to where she was from, no one had won it yet and it was highly unlikely anyone was ever going to. Rhonda made eye contact and waited for the bar maid to respond
“What can I get you love” she said in a quite puzzling accent
“I’ll have a Greystones” Rhonda replied, it was a local beer, nothing special but everyone was proud of it even if it did taste like beef. The short woman disappeared behind the bar and returned with a bottle of Greystones
“$4 thanks, or do you want it on the tab” she pointed to the Cultists as she said this, it was common practice at the bar to place everything on the Diamond Flower Cults tab, they always paid it at the end of the month so she didn’t mind as long as it got paid.
Rhonda nodded and wandered off to the jukebox that sat in the corner. It was strange though the town was completely isolated from the outside world the jukebox had the weirdest mix of music possible, from Secret Chiefs 3, to Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, to Dimmu Borgir and other random assortments of death metal and avant guarde expressionism, it wasn’t the regular mix of country and soft rock anyone would expect, it was regularly updated to which made the mystery of the woman behind the bar even more intriguing.

As there was something already playing Rhonda left the jukebox alone and walked to her usual table, she sat and stared at the door…..

To be continued......

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Its a Motion Picture: Storm Catcher

Well kids in a week of the most riveting news ever, the incarceration of Paris, the release of Paris, and the subsequent re incarceration of Paris, something else momentous occurs, yes kids the 25th installment of the diary hits the screens of web junkies everywhere.... and when i say everywhere, I really mean a select few locations. Not since Mandela has someones freedom been so important, for this incident involving the poor defenseless hotel heiress will set the standard for every coked out starlet and celebrity to come that chooses to take the I'm rich and there for more important view on life and thus decide that she will in fact not follow the law. It will give them and the courts a precedent to follow, future human rights cases will be decided with this case, just imagine every single inmate in Guantanamo Bay rejoicing at the fact they can now be released because they have a rash. Inmates on death row getting ankle bracelets and being released back to their 40 acre Bellair mansions to live in squalor.... OK so its the most pitiful piece of news to ever grace the airwaves, but I at least had to mention it, because if I didn't I would likely be the only blogger on earth not to. In the end will it make a difference to anyone, maybe to the rather butch Latino lesbian that shanks her in the shower, but likely no. The best advice is to just ignore it and to go back to grieving for Anna Nicole, or being angry at Lindsay Lohan for say she is the new princess Diana.

But as you may have cleverly devised from the title of the entry this is not about Paris or about anyone going to jail this is another dive into the movie archive to have a mess around in the lower end of the cinema scale. This week its another blinder of an effort from the lesser of the movie makers around the world, 'Storm Catcher' is the title of the film in question, and if any of you are lucky enough to have ever fallen over in your local video shop you may of seen it in the straight to DVD section on the bottom shelf as you lifted your newly injured carcass from the floor. Starring a faded Dolph Lundgren, it revolves around a similar story to several other movies also not worth mentioning. But anyway good old Dolph puts in his usual performance of monotone talking and fight scenes that could only have been choreographed by a mentally handicapped Ferret. That little girl that was in every film involving a female child being annoying.... you know the one, and two yes that's right two Australians, Kimberly Davies and Kylie Bax.... plus her nipples, who actually put in quite a performance I thought, so much so I never really noticed her ever talking.

Now Kimberly Davies stars as agent Lock apparently, I just checked IMDB to see who was actually in the movie, which isn't really a problem until you get to the name of the agent she is teamed up with, whose name was agent Load.... I'll pause for the collective groan at such a hideous pun. Lock and Load..... brilliant, you can just imagine the laugh out loud conversation between the screen writers when the came up with that little gem.

Writer one: "Hey dude I just came up with the best names for the two CIA agents"
Writer two: "Whoa hold on let me compose myself, I know how comically talented you are"
Writer one: "Agent Lock...... and wait get this....... Agent ................. Load"
Writer two: "................................... my god that is so funny my pancreas just deflated"

So with that I know your all rolling on the floor laughing, ROFL'ing as the kids might type, so just steady yourselves compose what ever you need to and lets continue.

Now at the start of the movie we see Dolphs little girl playing touch football, this brilliant display of preteen athleticism not only shows us how family orientated our beefcake star is, it also sets up the big conclusion to the movie. So Dolph is flying a plane over a truck, containing his kidnapped daughter, his friend and several nasty bad men that hope to blow up something representing American freedom, I don't know what it was I was still slightly distracted by the memory of Kylie Bax and her sweater defying nipples. Back to the point, Dolph communicates to his trapped friend a ingenious code, one of the plays used in no doubt a touch football game. So 'snap and roll 52 storm' is the play in question which is a weird one, because one would wonder when a play where you tackle the bad dude and jump out the back of the truck your in would ever be used in an under 13's girls touch football game. But hey I'm not completely aware of all of Dolphs training techniques. After this little scuffle and little girl and friend escape in a hilarious scene where he grabs her jumps out of the truck and then uses her as a mattress to land on, Dolph proceeds to fire a missile into the truck and blow the crap out of bad dude... hooray freedom, liberty, all that crap.

So that's 'Storm Catcher', a movie were the high light was a women's nipples and a grown man jumping from a truck and seemingly using his best friends daughter as a crash mat. On the Pope Terry scale of movies I give it a Parishioner rating....... I still don't know what that means.