Movie Review- Zodiac: Signs of the Apocalypse

Starring Joel Gretsch and Reilly Dolman (who?) as a father and son team that are forced into solving the cause of global disasters. Neil and Colin Martin are nearly killed by a freak meteor strike (while the dialogue plays up that both men are lonely and bad with women) and soon after are contacted by Kathryn Keen (Emily Holmes) who works for a private company with an interest in an artifact that she believes is causing the disasters. Neil is a professor and archaeologist who is illogically broke and jumps at the chance to help after Colin negotiates the fee up to $100,000.

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Neil and Colin make a series of preposterous Indiana Jones Lite finds, including rescuing Sophie (Andrea Brooks, star of the upcoming CW series “iZombie”) before Katherine reveals some questionable motives. The the Department Of Defense gets involved (one of the Agents is played by “Hemlock Grove” actor Aaron Douglas) and tries to shut down their science experiment/quest for adventure and salvation.

Neil discovers that the disasters all present themselves as Zodiac signs and they try to narrow down the upcoming dangers. The special effects are worse than Sharknado. Christopher Lloyd makes a cameo for no good reason. He doesn’t even say “Great Scott!”

There’s nothing remarkable about this film. There are pacing issues, fake science, bad effects, worse plot and an obvious ending. It’s like an Indiana Jones knock off for fans of Sharknado. There’s not much else to say about that. Andrea Brooks’ portrayal was the only highlight.

Couldn’t save this flop for me.

Part of my disdain may be that now when I here “apocalypse” that I expect ZOMBIES

1/5

Under the Dome: Season 2 episodes 1, 2 &3

Episode 1- This one is written by the man himself, Stephen King. And there are so many preposterous things that occur. We lose and gain characters. But we begin our episode with Dale Barbara at the gallows as Julia drops the egg in the lake. Suddenly most of the gathered crowd collapses as a bright light shines across the dome and a mysterious girl appears in the lake. And from there on we have a typical UtD chain of nonsensical and frustrating events.

Julia jumps in the lake to save the drowning girl. She’s shot in the shoulder, so it seems unlikely that she’d be a strong swimmer at that particular moment. A man runs out of a house and helps Julia do CPR, then he asks her if she can walk. Umm.. she’s shot in the upper body and playing life guard. That made no sense. Junior poises himself to be a hero and refuses to hang Barbie. Linda threatens to shoot Big Jim, which is good since she’s the law and Jim is framing a man and publicly executing him. Very reasonable.

The four go investigate at “the dome” (which is making a perimeter around the whole town… it’s not one spot) where Linda dies saving Barbie. Anyone other than Junior, Big Jim or Barbie would have been reasonable. Her oath was to protect and serve, but another woman being cannon fodder, being a reason for male characters to have a change of heart. Boooo Barbie and Big Jim tussle and he runs off to steal a car from local Science teacher Rebecca Pine, another WoC who will probably have a short life span given this show’s track record of repeatedly victimizing women.

Julia and Junior’s uncle Sam tend to the alien who escapes and Angie, Joe and Norrie save Carolyn from flying kitchen accessories while Big Jim hallucinates Dodee telling him off again. Shortly after, Angie and Junior resolve to kill Big Jim. But then they collapse during a magnetic wave. Ms Pine creates a way to offset the magnetic charge. Barbie and Julia reunite and make out around an ocean of collapsed townsfolk. Big Jim finds Junior collapsed and freaks out, then he hallucinates Linda while Junior has a coma dream about his mom. Stricken with fear and concern for his son, Big Jim decides to hang himself but he can’t pull the lever. Julia says that she’ll do it but immediately has a change of heart. So he stomps on the trapdoor and Julia with lightning fast reflexes has a knife open in her hand and cuts the rope. 

Julia and Rebecca immediately quibble over whether magic or science stopped the dome’s nefarious magnetism. Because women can never be friends on TV.

Big Jim tells Phil that Barbie didn’t kill Dodee, then he invites Carolyn, Norrie, Joe and Angie to stay at his house. Yeah, that’s a safe place for Angie in particular… Norrie is prepared to tell him to fuck off but Carolyn says to keep your enemies closer. Angie still wants Jim dead. Good for her. Sam, Junior’s Uncle shows up at the diner, Big Jim is not pleased. Angie closes up the diner alone, she’s taking out rubbish when she sees that alien girl that Julia saved go into the school. Angie follows her but the other girl runs off. Angie sees that her locker is open and the gets an axe to the back. Welp, 2 deaths + 2 replacements + another straight white male added to the main cast. Fuck. Add to that the waffling that the characters do about killing Big Jim… dude’s crazy and a murderer. And now Junior being on board and Angie commending Junior for having her back after keeping her chained up (“to protect her”) last season… oh fuck that. Abuser turned hero is the worst trope.

Episode 2-

Ms Pine wants to reopen the school, Big Jim sets Junior off to check out the school where he finds dead Angie. At the diner Rebecca Pine tells Jim that butterflies are munching their crops. And Barbie and Jim speculate about who would do this. Phil is there and still suspicious of Barbie. They find a bloody shoeprint. Jim thinks it’s Junior, Junior thinks it’s Big Jim. Norrie and Joe are off in the woods oblivious when they find the mysterious girl from the lake. They pass by the school and Joe whose stages of grief are acceptance and anger. Barbie and Julia are discussing the new girl when they see a fire. Rebecca is burning the crops. Joe is upset and Norrie tries to comfort him to little avail. Norrie expresses the same suspicion that Barbie has about the girl from the lake. Because women on this show all hate each other on sight. Rebecca says that she burned the wheat to stop the caterpillars from infesting other crops.Big Jim decides that “this is a test for him”

Barbie’s like: Big Jim’s like, “This plague was sent as a test for me, Barbie.”

Julia goes to talk to Sam to find out is he’s holding anything back about the new girl and he finds out what’s happened to Angie, Julia finds out that Sam is Big Jim’s brother in law. Sam comes to examine Angie’s body for evidence and Junior reveals that he got blackout drunk because the vision of his mom threw him off guard. But he doesn’t think he would have hurt Angie. Barbie and Jim decide to rain pesticides on the remaining crops and they quibble over who will fly the plane and get the credit. Should they let Barbie- the former military pilot!? tough choice. Joe and Norrie bring weird girl’s shoe to Phil and it’s a match, Julia is pissed that they’re holding her… ummm… it seems reasonable. Less reasonable is hung over and emotional Junior switching gears from looking for something damning on Big Jim to wanting to kill the new girl in the span of 30 seconds.

Barbie damages the wing of the plane on the dome, he thinks he’ll run out of gas but Big Jim had a spare tank. Julia and Sam “clear” the girl from the woods when they find a man sized handprint on Angie. Umm… two people working together is a thing. And Julia and Sam go to free her while Joe points a gun at her. Julia and Barbie recap their day’s event and Julia goes on and on about Rebecca and how she’s too Team Big Jim and that Rebecca “doesn’t know everything about the dome.” Newsflash: no one does, at least she’s doing things that will help Chester’s Mill residents. But the fact that Rebecca was in Barbie’s proximity makes Julia see her as a threat… when she was with Sam all day and Barbie didn’t tee off like a 15 year old… makes female characters look dumb as hell. Angie’s funeral is the following day –it’s majorly inappropriate that Big Jim gives the Eulogy, mind you. She wanted him dead, he’d threatened her before. Really any other person was a better choice. Right before, Joe has a melt down while he’s looking for her bracelet, Barbie consoles him and then Junior finds that he has the bracelet and heads to Sam’s to confess that he thinks he did it.

Episode 3

Barbie and Julia are sheltering the young alien girl and Barbie catches her going through his things. She asks him where he is from and he asks her where she is from. Julia accuses him of interrogating her. Oookay.

Big Jim goes to get a haircut and some cologne from Dwight Yoakam. who is a religious nut bag… but that comes later.

Ms Pine decides to get all the teenagers together to help build a windmill. Joe still has the specifications on his school tablet. Norrie and the new alien aren’t exempt from this task. Julia tries to get new girl out of it, but the mystery girl says she would like to help. Norrie is not amused. And this time I don’t blame her. She didn’t get to be sheltered, she’s been through a lot with losing her mom and was never into the school thing. Now she’s being forced into educational activities and the chipper goody two shoes that she thinks may have killed HER FRIEND ANGIE (even though they don’t allow Norrie any time to grieve). 

They head off to the school to get the tablet, Junior is already there after talking to Sam about his blackout and Sam says that his mom used to go into fugue states but that sometimes if she tried to retrace her steps she would start to remember.

It starts raining what looks like blood but is really a chemical/algae rain that burns people’s skin. That might be worse than blood. Lyle (Dwight Yoakam) and Rebecca face off over religion and science.

The school has wifi again somehow and they have gotten messages from the outside. Including a message to Joe from his dad: his parents miss him, “now he’s the man of the house, take care of Angie” WTFF? Joe is the YOUNGER brother. Angie had lived on her own and is an adult. What kind of patriarchal BS… *sigh* Joe starts crying, worried what he’ll tell his parents, worried that they’ll all die in the dome… and he’s comforted by the new girl. Norrie hates it. She gives Junior her tablet and  stomps off. Junior has a message that says “I can help you James” (which is how so many emails in my spam box begin), and he finds a video by his mother. She confesses that she’s alive and tells him that Lyle has answers.

Then alien girl knows Angie’s locker combo… turns out she had the same locker in 1988! There’s no way schools keep records of that for that long. There’s no way that the combos weren’t changed. It’s so fucking pointless.

Meanwhile Rebecca and Big Jim head out to treat the water and stop the red rain. Suddenly a figure blocks the road and Jim crashes to avoid him, the disoriented Jim is tossed from the car and Rebecca is abducted by Lyle. Jim radios for help. Rebecca gets tortured. Barbie, Junior and Julia bust in to save Rebecca (except Junior who is looking for answers from Lyle). Lyle like Julia because she believes in the higherpower of the dome instead of science and she nearly talks him into letting Rebecca go. Rebecca doesn’t wait, she douses Lyle with the acid rain. Julia exclaims “Why did you do that?” Let me answer… she’s been caused pain and forced to fear for her life at Lyle’s hands all day. It’s obvious.

Anyway, Rebecca fixes the water. Lyle goes to jail, Junior lets him out. And Rebecca goes back to the crazy talk about “thinning the herd.” Maybe in time it would be necessary,  the acid rain killed some pigs, butterflies destroyed some plants but it’s been less than 3 weeks. And a bunch of people have already died anyway. Julia gets to be self righteous and outraged. Rebecca gives no fucks.

31 Horrifying Days: Day 15- Rapture-Palooza (2013)

The rapture has happened and Lindsey (Anna Kendrick, Into the Woods), her boyfriend Ben (John Francis Daley, “Freaks and Geeks”), and their families have been left behind, doomed to endure torture on Earth. A former politician named Earl Gundy (Craig Robinson, This is the End), now known as The Beast, is the Anti-Christ. But when The Beast decides he wants to take Lindsey as his wife, Lindsey and Ben must come up with a plan to defeat the Anti-Christ. 

…Lindsey and Ben are supposed to be teens… but they’re a full decade into adulthood, both actors have played iconic teens AND adults. While it’s played cute and Kendrick’s nasally voice and good skin makes it almost believable and Dalet channels his Sam Weir persona.. it’s still weird.

They think about starting their own sandwich cart because “people appreciate a good sandwich, even when the world is ending.”

The remaining earthlings make due without a lot of resources, with locusts biting their ankles, blood rain and fiery meteor storms. When one of those fiery meteors lands on their sandwich cart, Ben’s dad gets them a job working for the Beast. He lays eyes on Lindsey and lays the mack on her. Ben is not amused but his Dad tries to get him to be cautious. “I’m not going to let the Anti-Christ steal my girlfriend, dad.” he says, “I Don’t care, I’m punching that guy in the face.” But Ben’s dad ices him with a shovel, and upon finding out that Lindsey is a virgin, the Beast is more enamored. He decides to marry her, if she declines: he’ll kill her family and Ben.

So Ben and Lindsey decide to lock him in a kennel for 1000 years.

Good plan.

Except they have no choice but to involve their zombie neighbor, wraith security guards and Lindsey’s pothead brother as well in their convoluted plan involving sleeping pills and a ride on mower.

They get caught up in a murder plot… and accidently kill Jesus. 

Craig Robinson is hilarious. Everyone clobbers each other with shovels (before it was cool).

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If you’re in the mood for some funny with horror/supernatural elements check this one out.

4/5

 

ThrowBack Attack! Movie Review- Alien Apocalypse

For years and years I worked at a movie store. I bought a bajillion movies and there are some I STILL haven’t watched, or that should have earned a rewatch by now. Alien Apocalypse falls into the first category. This movie came out in 2005 (but had previews for Evil Dead) It was the highest rated SciFi Pictures Original of all time! (Still? Maybe).

Bruce Campbell says of the film “Think Spartacus with aliens.” 

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This is the international cover, which is much cooler than the American one. 

A manned space probe returns to Earth after 40 years. The crew has been taking a cryogenic nap and when they unceremoniously return to Earth, things seem normal at first; world class horror alumni Bruce Campbell stars as Dr. Ivan Hood who starts trying to mack it to astronaut Kelly (played by Renee O’Connor of Xena). 

Soon they find that Earth has been taken over and people enslaved by giant termites. 

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It goes about how you expect: they 4 person crew gets captured, misunderstandings, puns and beheadings ensue. They’re kept in an underground bunker with people who have been prisoners for decades. After each failed escape the aliens take one of your fingers. People work all day chopping wood (for the termites) and they fight each other over gruel. At first Ivan and Kelly don’t fight for food. But exhausted from digging an escape tunnel, they soon succumb to desperate behavior. 

“Do your work well and lives, that is your only choice.”

This has been going on for 20 years. The President is hiding in a bunker. Some people think that the he will come back to save them, but Bruce… err… Ivan and Kelly try to rally the humans. Pushed too far they attempt to lead a rebellion. And get not much support. In the escape Ivan and Kelly get separated. Kelly is captured while Dr. Hood is saved by a beautiful but not very bright girl, who takes him to her even less bright village: Freedom Valley. One of the last human settlements. There he manages to round up some more supporters and they head off to find President Demski…

They do, but what they find isn’t a leader, it’s a cowardly old man. 

Will Dr. Hood be able to rally the humans and kill every last alien?

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There’s a few funny running gags along the way. No one knows what a handshake is, no one has ever heard of a doctor. But why did no one TRY to kill the aliens before? 20 years isn’t all that long, people would still remember what life was like…. so that was weird.

All and all, enjoyability-wise… I give it a 3.

Written and directed by Josh Becker (who was a production assistant on Evil Dead directed episodes of Xena and some movies that sound interesting but that I have never seen.)