Feb 29, 2012

Monthly Movie Recap - Feb 2012

Here we are at the end of another month, let's see what I've forced on my eyeballs.
You can click on the bold titles to go to the film's Amazon page.

Mercury Men (20??)


Shot for under $10,000, this is a pulp sci-fi adventure in the tradition of ole timey serial pictures. There are 10 episodes and each is around 7 minutes. In 1975, the Mercury Men take over an office building and attempt to activate a device that will crash the moon into Earth! You can check your local cable's On Demand listings under SyFy or watch it on Hulu.

Cool: Great job capturing the retro-pulp feel; The Mercury Men are surprisingly creepy!
Lame: What did we ever do to Mercury to deserve this?
Rating: 7/10, worth a watch!
Be sure to check out their website for the digital prop section, including virtual trading cards, posters, and mock-ups of action figures and video games that would have been made if this came out in the 70's.

*Doctor Strange (1978)
Image from Sanctum Sanctorum Comix
Attempting to cash in on the 70's popularity of superhero TV shows and the occult, Marvel did a TV pilot movie for the Sorcerer Supreme. They changed up his origin and made him a womanizing psychologist (hey, it was the 70s!). I remember seeing this a while back and not liking it, glad I had a chance to revisit it.

Cool: Nods to the comic, including the iconic window in the Sanctum Sanctorum, Wong, Clea and even Morgan LeFey
Lame: His costume has way too much bling; only available as a bootleg or on YouTube
Rating: 6/10 Despite the slowness at times and 70s effects I found myself digging this take on Dr Strange

Special When Lit (2009)

After finally seeing King of Kong last year, I started poking around to see what other gaming documentaries were out there. If you enjoy playing pinball, you should check this out (duh). It broadly covers the rise and fall of pinball production and also focuses on the players/collectors who are gearing up for a big tournament.

Cool: Lots of pinball eye candy; learning the evolution of the pinball machine
Lame: Did you know pinball was illegal in the US for 30 years because it was a form of  gambling?
Rating: 6.5/10 While I love arcades and "vintage" gaming, I'm more interested in the pinball machines and their artwork than I am about the people that collect and/or play them

*Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999/2012 3D)

I did a whole post weekend of release about my theater experience.

Cool: Seeing Star Wars in a packed theater, especially with kids
Lame: Still The Phantom Menace (although I like it a little more than I used to)
Rating: 6.5/10

Sideshow (2000)

A group of stereotypical teens go to a local carnival and encounter the Horrors of Nature: a bug boy, a Kuato-like conjoined man, an inside-out girl and a girl who can digest anything. After the jock loses at a rigged game (ain't they all?) he gets in the face of the diminutive carnival leader (Phil Fondacaro) and the teens get what's coming to them. Usually in horror movies, the characters get what they deserve  but that doesn't hold true here. It's more like a "be careful what you wish for" thing and some of the kids who aren't jerks are punished for no reason.

Cool: I'm a long time fan of Full Moon movies; Makeup effects are pretty good; Fondacaro steals the screen
Lame: Barely above a SyFy original movie, but that's what Full Moon is famous for
Rating: 5/10 You can watch the trailer and get everything cool about from movie without watching it

Justice League: Doom (2012)

Another DC Direct-to-DVD adaptation of a comic story. Things look pretty grim for the JLA when the Legion of Doom breaks into the Batcomputer and steal Batman's files about the JLA member's weaknesses.

Cool: Returning voices such as Conroy, Daly and Fillion; Royal Flush gang; Cyborg; Batman is a badass...and kind of a jerk
Lame: When will superheroes learn when they're fighting a super villain team that they need to switch off their nemesis?
Rating: 7.5/10, Really enjoyed it but it's not quite the gripping story of Red Hood or Batman: Year One. It could have been a bit longer to explore the JLA's reaction to finding out Batman has the goods on all of them.

Puss in Boots (2011)

About the only thing Puss has in common with Shrek is that it takes place in the same fairy tale universe. And that is a great thing! It never feels like they're trying overly hard to appease an older audience. They all but do away with pop culture references and "clever" jokes aimed at adults. The result is a great looking, fun adventure for all ages.

Cool: The "ooooo" kitty; the Batman-like costume for the rival thief; fight choreography
Lame: My only regret is that I saw this on DVD and not Blu
Rating: 8/10, gets everything right the last couple of Shrek movies did to make me not remember them

Land of Doom (1986)

Look at that fantastic 80s poster! Now think of all the awesome this poster is promising you...now throw it right out the window. I was really hoping for a decent Mad Max ripoff/post-apocalypse 80s flick. What I got was not much action and a lot of running to or from places. Most of the bad guys look like they were outfitted at an S&M store that was going out of business.

Cool: Just look at that poster!
Lame: I kid you not, there is a guy riding a 10-speed in the desert carrying a puppy at one point; Oh and I almost forgot to mention the jawa knockoffs
Rating: 2/10, so far the second worst movie I've watched this year

Zaat (1972)

AKA The Blood Waters of Dr. Z on MST3k.
A Nazi mad scientist decides to get revenge on the colleagues who scoffed at him by turning himself into a half-man, half...catfish creature? Wha? Where the previous movie was terrible in its amateurishness, Zaat shines because of it.

Cool: It's a guy in a rubber monster suit, what else could you want? What's that? You say you enjoy watching stock footage of aquatic animals? Ok, there's plenty of that too.
Lame: If you're a monster kidnapping your dream girl, don't drag her underwater where she can't breathe!
Rating: 6/10

New: 7
Rewatch: 2
To-Date Total: 12 New, 5 Rewatch


  1. Hey!

    Thanks for the link-love from the pic you obtained from my blog.
    (That's some proper net-iquette there. You were raised well!)

    However, you got one small detail incorrect:
    The DR. STRANGE 1978 TV movie WAS given an official home-video release.

    In fact, the link you point to (towards the end of my post) shows all the versions that I have acquired over the years.

    2 USA (VHS) releases
    and several foreign editions

    Of course, it's mostly found on bootleg tapes, dvd's and youtube, but it was released officially.

    Good article.
    I've got to track down some of the films you recommended.

    1. You're more than welcome! I might pretend to know it all, but I always give credit to the sources of my knowledge.

      The availability comment was more about where you would have to find it to watch it now (unless you know Dark Secrets of the Internet). For some reason, it's very hard for me to sit in front of the computer and watch something for more than 10 minutes.

      I tend to find all kinds of weird/bad sci-fi and horror, feel free to check out other monthly movie recap posts for oddball viewing suggestions.