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Rapture-Palooza (2013)

Rapture-Palooza (2013)

Two teens battle their way through a religious apocalypse on a mission to defeat the Antichrist. IMDB says.

A religious apocalypse? It's the religios apocalypse! It rains blood, and meteors, and the devil Satan takes human form and transforms from Earl to The Beast - a profane idiot who happens to fall in love with Lindsey Lewis (Anna Hendrick!)... and proposes. And there's no denying the Devil.

Problem is she's taken. Her boyfriend Ben House (John Francis Daley) and her decide to kill 'The Beast' to solve this dilemma, but Ben's dad happens to work for him, and provides certain hindrances. They get help from a zombie though, and it turns out the Wraiths are highly susceptible to the interference of pot... so it seems like their crazy plan to lock up the Devil in a dog kennel for a thousand years might actually work... or will it?

It all starts one day at a bowling alley, when half of the population on Earth is instantly teleported up to Heaven. They disappear right out of their clothes, and this phenomenon - filmed in slow-mo along with various bottles and other items dropping to the floor and breaking, makes for a particularly stylish intro! It starts great. I'm hyped. Unfortunately the quality deteriorates quickly from that point on.

The special effects are crap. The plot's a mess. It's fun, but it could've been more... wholesome. Craig Robinson plays the Devil and Ken Jeong plays God, and now that you know the cast you can probably get an idea of what kind of movie it was. Corny, crude and not impeccably filmed but... creatively fun. Good stuff. Mostly.

Its one big flaw was probably that it just didn't have that something. I liked bits and pieces of it. I liked the idea. I feel like... meh. I enjoyed it, but if they had done things right I wouldn't have just enjoyed it, I would have applauded it and been like holy shit this was awesome! And so new!

Many props on the appreciatively open take on the religious phenomena as such, and easy entertainment, but blotches on the little spots that bug me lots. I must give it, barely (could have been 4), a...

 rated 3/5: not bad

The Smurfs (2011)

The Smurfs (2011)

There is a place... a place that knows no sadness... where even feeling blue is a happy thing! :)

It's a happy world! It's the Smurf world! It's like... Trolls, but with Smurfs. Which of these came first anyway?

I watched the second movie recently so it seemed like I needed to watch the first one two. This one follows not just Smurfette, but the Smurfs as a species, and of course: Gargamel! The ever-so nefarious pain in their backs, who finds their hideout and causes them to (somewhat accidentally) smurf into the real world. Clumsy soon becomes the highlight of the show.

Overall it was way more feelgood than the first one. Err... the second, I mean. It had just the right amount of poppy tunes, and the Smurfs first appearance in the real world was something else. Second time around it's just... not the same. Even if I saw the second movie first this really felt like the original: a well-thought out piece with polished comedy and plot progression... and lots of Smurfs. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Smurfs 2 (2013)

The Smurfs 2 (2013)

The ever so nefarious Gargamel is back - with his cat and two gray Smurf clones, attempting to get the blue formula! Smurfette is the key, and on her birthday - just as the rest of the village are preparing a surprise celebration, she gets abducted by you know who.

A rescue mission is put into play, and the Smurfs once again embark into the human world, where Garmamel is now a well-known magician - living off of remnants of that secret Smurf essence and stirring up evil schemes to rule the world. Time to get Smurfette back and save the world at the same time!

Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays play the real-world hosts, and... a bunch of others the others. I was surprised to read that Katy Perry voiced Smurfette! There are some well-known names voicing the rest, like Shaquille O'Neal as Smooth Smurf, and Jimmy Kimmel as Passive-Aggressive Smurf. Good names. And a good change of main sidekicks after the first movie. Papa Smurf and Smurfette remain the main ones.

It was a fun adventure, though the music's sometimes annoyingly poppy, Blue doesn't really serve a purpose, and rescue mission or no Smurfette is pretty much the main focus. It feels a bit shallow, but it's a feelgood film, and it ends... like you'd expect it to. Shallow review for a shallow film, right?

But a good film regardless. Smurf on.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Deadly Prey (1987)

Deadly Prey (1987)

A group of sadistic mercenaries kidnap people off the streets and set them loose on the grounds of their secret camp, so the "students" at the camp can learn how to track down and kill their prey.

This is what it's all about! Grit. Grime. Emotion. Action! This is what the eighties lived and breathed - albeit with a bit of (even more) B-movie vibe.

It's interesting to see how many plot elements repeat themselves in this and the latter, and how Ted Prior went from being that typical eighties tough guy to an almost Liam Neeson-like look-alike. This is how the new one should have been. The roles sure switched with the newer, but that's not why it was worse. The music's the same but the mood us all new... it just doesn't have whatever it was that this one did. You can't say this movie had a good script, but compared to the new one, woah, what a difference. This feels raw. The new feels old. This has all. This has soul. The new has... mold.

Maybe the old style just doesn't go with the new format. The colors. The clothes. The effects. The pretty much everything about it.

Even if this was clearly shot on a much worse budget: the new one doesn't manage to match up at all. The characters and location feel natural here. There's nothing out of place, even if it's otherwise pretty much the same thing! Could the shoes be the difference? The shirt? Unfortunately, it's probably the age (of characters or director?).

There really was no need for another one of these movies... though if I saw this one first, maybe I'd have enjoyed the sequel a little bit more.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Deadliest Prey (2013)

Deadliest Prey (2013)

Nearly three decades after his abduction by the psychotic Colonel Hogan, the hardened Vietnam veteran and elite soldier, Mike Danton, has to face once more his archnemesis' thirst for revenge. Is Danton still the best?

Well there you have it! It's a B-movie a la... well, pretty much any action movie of the eighties. The soundtrack is spot on, and the characters both pay homage to and play parody on icons of old, like Rambo, but the main show... nah, it's unfortunately not that good. Ted Prior does a good job of looking worried instead of tough, and though Fritz Matthews contributes some of that toughness, the main antagonist (played by David Campbell) just manages to grin or grimace evilly in between repetitive speeches about his revenge.

The soldiers get killed off one after the other, and the choreography feels slow and sometimes sloppy. I've seen worse, but I feel like it could have been a lot better than this. They do nail the special effects, though. Oldskool. Not bad. Props on the props.

Most of the movie's spent in the forest, as Mike first picks off soldiers one by one while escaping, and then returns and goes at it again in order to get his at this point abducted wife back. Showdown time, between Hogan and the seasoned veteran main character Mike. The former's a real veteran but... yeah, he's a real veteran. He looks kind of... frail.

The director: David A. Prior, did a bunch of awesome action back in the late eighties and early nineties, but his latest works before his unfortunate demise - this movie being the very last one... didn't uphold the standard.

Times change, and filming techniques with them, so maybe he just didn't keep up with the times. Maybe the actors didn't. Maybe the setting just doesn't play as well in a modern milieu. Maybe the budget was lower.

Hopefully there's some good excuse, because it was a somewhat depressing final movie for someone who's been in the action biz so long... he made good stuff back in the day, like Raw Deal and... hey, there's a prequel! Deadly Prey (1987). Maybe that one's better...

If I'd seen the original one back in the day maybe this would've been a more appreciated dose of nostalgia, but as it is it feels like the old guys are just too old, and the other soldiers just too clueless. The script's dim and Tara Kleinpeter is lost potential. Could've been good...

 rated 2/5: decent

The Human Race (2013)

The Human Race (2013)

This might seem like a religious movie at first, but the name should be a hint that it's more than that. What starts as a race for life - when eighty people are abducted from the same block and put to a test only one can survive, eventually turns into... a race of death. And more.

The main characters are an interesting group in this movie. There are deaf people. There's a person without a leg. It's the ones with the biggest handicap that come out the victors, and it feels refreshing with a cast that's not just unknown, but also underrepresented in movies overall.

Eddie McGee's got some mad skills with those crutches too! I'm just sad to see Trista Robinson take such a twist for the worse. She seemed like the one who would see things on the bright side no matter what.

Reviews for this movie on IMDB are terrible, but it's really not that bad. Acting? Yes... not perfect. Sets? Not perfect either. Idea? That's where it gets interesting! The characters and concept are what make the movie, and the exploding heads aren't terrible CGI either. It's definitely a B-movie, but it's not a bad one.

You want something strange and alien? Give it a chance. It's like Death Race but with runners... and with a twist: the worst runner wins. :)

 rated 3/5: not bad

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