Sunday, 26 October 2014

Cheapo DVD Review: Hood Angels (2003)

A rapper I've never heard of.
Some other people I've never heard of.
Even more people I've never heard of.

Definitely not starring: 
See the girl on the cover with the ridiculously oversized magnum? 
Not in it. 
Not even a little bit. 

And why is that guy so proud of his watch anyway? 

Time for the back cover blurb.
"Traci, Felicia and Cinnamon are street smart beauties who get framed for crimes they didn't commit. 
 Trapped in lock-up, their luck takes a turn for the better when they are approached by Attorney Larry Abrahams, who agrees to take their cases and get their charges dropped - if the ladies investigate the murder of his friend Nitro Jones.
The ladies go undercover at Nitro's record label and ferret out clues about his murder. Following heir leads, the avenging angels evade deadly traps set by  the villains and use their martial arts skills to avenge Nitro's death. 
 The HOOD ANGELS uncover a scandal that rocks the rap world to the core - murder for a number one record."  

  I know I keep going on about this but wouldn't be a great idea if the blurb writers actually watched the frigging movie?  Because the one they describe here isn't the one I saw.  
"...framed for crimes they didn't commit. " - No they aren't. They get nicked for punching people in the face. The fact that it was in self-defence is an important factor, but not the same as "framed".
  "approached by Attorney Larry Abrahams, who agrees to take their cases and get their charges dropped - if the ladies investigate the murder of his friend Nitro Jones." No, No and No. 
 The girls call him to get their asses out of jail and they suggest going after Nitro's killers, what with him being Cinnamon's brother and all.
The ladies go undercover at Nitro's record label and ferret out clues about his murder."  Technically correct. although ferreting out clues implies something a bit more subtle than poking about in the bosses drawers in broad daylight. While the boss is in the building. 
 " evade deadly traps set by  the villains" What traps? There are no traps! A good-old fashioned booby-trap might livened Hood Angels up a bit but alas, we shall never know.  They get caught by the bad guys anyway, so that sentence is wrong on two counts. 
 "use their martial arts skills" Again, technically correct but only if you use "skills" very loosely. More on that later.

 How about a back cover blurb that's slightly more honest/

"Three women who've only just met decide to become amateur sleuths, and fail to get themselves killed only because the bad guys develop a reluctance to kill that's in complete contrast to their earlier behaviour"

  There are plenty of films around that succeed in combining Hip-Hop culture and gritty urban drama. 

 Sadly Hood Angels is not one of them. 

  The whole thing is hobbled by a shoe-string budget but also suffers from indifferent acting, lazy storytelling and an overall approach best described as "ham-fisted."  
 The director suddenly switching over to slo-mo at odd moments doesn't help and just makes it even more obvious that the fight scenes are performed by utter newbies. 
   At one point the Attorney pulls the Angels into his office to give them their new assignments - then in the very next scene he meets up with them again to give them their assignments once more. 

Like I said, ham-fisted. 

 On the plus side....Hmm...I'm struggling a bit.
 If you're a fan of modern building design then the record label's headquarters is open and airy and I wouldn't mind working there. Otherwise, "Hood Angels" really has nothing to recommend it. Even the music is crap.

How much did I pay for this: 75p 
Was it worth it: Not in any way, shape of form. Not even for comedy value. 

Because I know some of you won't take my word for it, here's the trailer:

I watch these things so you don't have to.
You're welcome.

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Sitting Pretty

 Hello people of the internet. I thought it was well past time I posted some more album covers.

 The purist will note that here my definition of "Heavy Metal" is rather broad.  Hey, I grew up in the 80s when Rush, AC/DC and Van Halen were considered Heavy Metal.

 Semantics aside, the theme is "Women sitting down." Doesn't sound very exciting but as you will see, a good artist can get a lot of dynamics, sensuality and/or malevolence into the simple act of being sat down.

  Anybody can look cool swinging a broadsword. But when they are sat in a comfy chair and still manage to look dangerous then you are in the presence of true badassdom.

 We'll start with the pic that inspired this post. It involves snakes. Sorry.

evil woman and snakes

Vindicator - Sleeping With Evil EP (USA 2014)

   Anybody who is cool with being naked in the presence of lots and lots of snakes is probably not to be taken lightly.
 I pity the poor sod who has to refill her goblet. 

 The artist is Yannik Bouchard and his DeviantArt can be found here:
 I'm expecting to see some more cool covers from him in years to come. 

The band have a song called "Hockey Stick Vengeance."  
For some reason I find myself pleased by this news. 
Honour to: Vindicator Official

Moving on to somebody currently regretting her career choices. 

sexy album cover boxer

 Ted Nugent - If You Can't Lick 'Em...Lick 'Em (USA 1988)

Subtle Ted... real subtle. 
I once had the chance to see Ted Nugent play at Milton Keynes.
I decided to stay in the pub instead. 
I regret nothing. 

album cover woman on throne

Sister Sin - Now And Forever (Sweden 2012)

 Frontwoman Liv Jagrell strikes a queenly pose.
Sadly the photographer has a thing about curtains and decided to focus on those instead. 
He's an idiot.

Check them out. 

Sexy album cover nude witch

Maligno - The Funeral Domine (Mexico 2011)

 All hail the Queen Of Nudist Witches. 
A job that stops being fun round about November.

I was expecting something more 70s and lumbering so this track is a pleasant surprise.

Sticking with witchy women.

sexy album cover forest goddess

Season of Arrows - S/T (USA 2014)

 A portrait that looks quite sweet for all of two seconds. Then you notice her eyes... 
Going by the crown of branches I'd suggest that she's some sort of Forest Deity. 
Not somebody you want to meet if you're a Lumberjack. 
Or one of those dog-owners who tie bags of dog poo to branches. 

If Sabbath - no wait, better example Witchfynde ...had a female vocalist they might sound like this. 
And finally... 

Sexy album cover evil queen woman in armour

Unholy Quest - The Dark Queen (USA/Norway 2014)

 It's good to be the Queen.
(I apologise. I just had to get that one in somewhere. ) 
 The Queen takes a breather from jumping up and down on the faces of her rivals and contemplates where she's going to lay waste to next. 
She also wonders why people keep calling her The Dark Queen when all her armour is bright and shiny.

 If you liked any of these, go check out the bands.
If you have any themes you'd like to see, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

That's all folks. 

Monday, 6 October 2014

DVD Review; Unicorn City (2012)

 Table-top gamer Voss (Devin McGinn) is feeling a bit fed up of late. After losing his job in the gaming industry he's working at a Taco shop and living with his brother - who tends to solve issues with chokeholds.
  To cap it all, Voss has just been booted out of his regular gaming group by dickhead GM Shadowhawk (John Gries).
  And his sword has been confiscated.

 There is a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel though. If he can demonstrate leadership qualities, then gaming titans Warlocks Of The Beach  might give him a job in Seattle.
  With the aid of gal-pal Marsha (Jaclyn Hales) and best mate Clancy (Matt Mattson), our slacker hero hatches a cunning plan. He will create his own Utopia where tapletop gamers can let their imaginations run free.
 It shall be known as Unicorn City.

  Basically the whole film revolves around somebody inventing Live Action Role Playing. Thing is, that's already been around for at least 25 years. It's fairly big, well-organised and popular with people who aren't the stereotypical "nerd" loser.
 I'm guessing the film-makers didn't know any of this.

  Moving on from that, it's not exactly easy to root for main-man Voss. I know he's supposed to be the classic slacker stroke geek stroke loser that comes good in the end but there's no getting around the fact that for most of the film he's an utter dick. I really struggled to see what the lovely Marsha saw in him.
  Admittedly he gets much better at the end of the film but wouldn't it have been better if he'd actually displayed some likable qualities before then?
 Given that he utterly fails to notice how much Marsha is into him, the boy is also clearly dumb as pondweed.

  On the plus side, Marsha and Clancy are rather more likeable, the arrival of "Centaur" Rhubarb is verging on epic and while Unicorn City isn't what you'd call hilarious, it's cast are talented, the film moves along decently enough and it remains watchable throughout.
  If you like Indie comedies then you might like this. If you want a better LARPing movie, try "Knights Of Badassdom" instead -  it's much funnier and the wonderful Peter Dinklage is in it.  

 And now some screenshots.

  Voss and Marsha share a fantasy sequence. 

The entire SFX budget went into this one scene.
He starts singing in a minute. Just because.

If your family is prone to this sort of thing, please move out immediately. 

Jaclyn Hales.
If there was an award for "Actress Who Looks The Most Like Katherine Heigl 
Without Actually Being Katherine Heigl" , then Jaclyn is definitely in with a shot.
Or is that just me? 

Behold the Plastic Pipe Of Power

Voss gets some quality emoting in. 

Centaurs indahouse, bitches. 

A picture that makes sense in context. 

Marsha tries a spot of interpretative dance.

Which leads to...
Possibly the most awkward dance-off in cinema history. 

Shadowhawk shows up to stick his oar in. Twat. 

Screw it. Let's finish with some more Marsha pics.  
Elf Woman Spectacles.

 One of the secrets to successful blogging is to find a niche and exploit it.
In this case I'm going after the small, underappreciated "Elves in Glasses" fandom. 

Trailer here.

That's all folks. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Metal Project: 2014

 First of all, I really should apologise for the lengthy gap between posts. Due to circumstances (mostly) beyond my control I haven't really had the spare time lately.  Now on with the show.

 2014 has been an interesting year in Heavy Metal.

  Metalcore stars As I Lay Dying lost their front man Tim Lambesis. I say "lost". More like "sent to prison for trying to have his wife murdered"
 Cynic frontman Paul Masvidal came out as gay, provoking some unpleasant comments from guitar maker Vik Kuletski, who in turn got a bit of a roasting from less-than-pleased fellow musicians.  
  Black Sabbath played a triumphant set at Hyde Park and then announced that they would be releasing another album next year, as well as a farewell tour.
  Judas Priest delighted fans with  new album,"Redeemer Of Souls" a welcome return to form after the overblown mess that was "Nostradameus" and despite having had their own "farewell" tour in 2011, plan to tour the USA in October. If they decide to slip in some UK dates, I won't be complaining, just as long as they play "Evening Star".
 Angela Gossow stepped down from Arch Enemy for personal reasons, being replaced by Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist. The Agonist in turn recruited Vicky Psarakis for the vocal slot. Everybody concerned seems to have been quite resonable about the whole thing, which is nice.
 Sticking with new vocalists, Alien invaders GWAR unveiled their new singer as the female-but-still scary  Vulvatron, replacing the late Dave Brockie. (RIP|)
 Metallica were the controversial choice to headline hipper-than-thou festival Glastonbury but played a storming set. The best part about that was watching assorted Radio One presenters desperately trying
to pass themselves off as "Rock" fans.
 Metallica then joined Iron Maiden and The Prodigy as headliners of the revived Sonisphere. Maiden's Bruce Dickinson  treated punters to a WW1 dogfight display before his set. And the band everybody seemed to be talking about was a trio of Japanese teenagers singing about chocolate. Babymetal had arrived in the UK...

 And finally, NWOBHM heroes Truffle were all set to play a reunion gig at Portsmouth Pyramids when the whole thing had to be scrapped due to flooding. Bugger.

 Now let's have some music. As you've probably guessed, all six of these songs came out this year. Enjoy.

 I make no apologies for starting with one of my favourite bands.

 Judas Priest - Metalizer (UK)

Honour to: JudasPriestVevo

Johnny Touch - The Metal Embrace (Australia)

(A new band paying tribute to the rough & ready 80s )

Honour to: pahlsix6sixdoom

Barbarian - Total Metal (Italy)

(A slightly thrashier take on the 80s.)
Honour to: LeoEvilBanger

Salamandra - Metal Fever (Cech. Rep)

(Galloping Power Metal)
Honour to: Vasek Moch

Toxic Death - Speed Metal Hell (Norway)

(No nonsense Thrash)

Honour to: AlcoholicMayhem

Bicoloured Men - Metal Man (Italy)

(Meat & Spuds Metal with  some nice tuneful touches.)
Honour to: Bicoloured Men

If you liked any of these, please check out the channels I've listed.
Like, subscribe, you know the drill.

That's all folks. 
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