Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Movie I Need to Review...





Behold that which is too good for theaters and was released into DVD just today!

And who might that big-nosed beauty starring alongside Lorenzo Lamas be? None other than...

Anyone guess what she has to do with these guys?

Click here to find out. (Oh...and FUCK YOU to MTV who won't let you embed the video. 15 years ago you didn't suck but about 12 years ago you turned into a piece of broadcasting shit.)

Uh...where was I? Oh yeah!!! Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus!!!

I've already reserved my copy...stay tuned for the review.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mythos Monday - Cthulhu the Movie (2007) Review

Here is the plot summary. It's pretty basic. After the final sentence you can add "shit goes steadily downhill for Russ from there".

1. Based upon the above, would you say that Cthulhu - Welcome Home to the End of the World is a ____________ movie.

A. Lovecraftian
B. Scary
C. Gay
D. Worthwhile

The answer is actually E. All of the above, as you probably guessed I would write. I will caveat that "All of the above" with "to varying degrees"...

How Lovecraftian? On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it the letter "Q". Because to me it really makes no sense to try and quantify just how much it is, because it is and is not at the same time. The trailer states that it is based upon the "Classic Tale" by H. P. Lovecraft although it really draws on two. The first and most obvious is The Shadow Over Innsmouth - from which the Marsh name, Esoteric Order of Dagon, some characters and the concept of going to "live in the sea" as servants of Cthulhu are drawn/adapted. The second is The Festival - from which the seasonal festival (Yuletide in the original story, "The May Festival" in the movie) and the main character's resistance to having a family legacy forced upon him as he uncovers its horrors. While things aren't revealed to the protagonist exactly the same way as in TSOI, it works in the context of the movie. The film takes many of the issues society deals with today - environment, climate change, resource overuse and infrastructure decay - and uses them as a backdrop of activity that alludes to the coming the Great Old Ones. While the film does not go deep into it or smoothly integrate it into the plot, it's not altogether a failure. I will say that you don't go through the whole movie feeling like your watching an H. P. Lovecraft story brought to life, it does have its moments.

How scary? A little. Not hugely. The movie does a decent job of moving the mystery along and revealing parts as Russ discovers them, but doesn't really reach any crescendo of horror that makes you jump out of your seat or anything. The ending is somewhere between okay and pretty good.

How Gay? There is a strong gay agenda viewed through an H. P. Lovecraft-inspired lens. How religions alternate between ostracizing and trying to "cure" homosexuals, homosexuality as not being in line with patriotism or community/family values, and outright homophobia. There are plenty more. Face it. Innsmouth, being isolated, under the thumb of a cult (religion), with a small homogeneous population that is wary of strangers or anything "different" is a fertile backdrop against which to express these issues. This should not be a surprise as the movie is a here! TV production. (It DID surprise me a little bit - simply because my brain didn't make the connection between the logo on the DVD case and the channel.)

How Worthwhile? It's worth watching. There are some parts that didn't work well for me - in particular Tori Spelling's part; I think the movie could have been just as good without her or her part in it. But then again I'll say that for most movie or TV productions that include her. It doesn't always flow smoothly, horror isn't really at the forefront, but...it works. While it's not even close to "in step" with the original stories, I think the attempt to draw on these stories written three quarters of a century ago to frame a social issue of today is admirable. The movie is definitely worth seeing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Chip Off the Old Crawling Chaos

I got nuthin'...I mean I got more nuthin' than mortgage-backed securities. But still, press ahead I must. Think, write, try to put something down, even though I don't have to, to keep the blog-fires burning.

So when all else fails, tell a story about your kids that only you would be interested in. Yeah! That's it! Tell some mundane story about something cute or cool or silly...

...or insidious...or evil...or chaotic...

So while frantically running through the house this morning trying to transition from the Mother's Day breakfast and presents in bed for the wife to getting ready to jump in the car and head south for an hour to meet everyone for brunch and talk about the same old shit I notice something is different. I can't say wrong, but different. It's coming from downstairs where we have our kids corralled by plastic gates and waiting for the inevitable departure among their toys and a Comcast channel blaring kids music.

It's a weird noise. Muffled, crunching, pounding...strangely musical. The running around, jumping and general destruction of the living room has stopped. Wondering what is going on, I cautiously approach the stairs. A voice...strangely monotone, as though reading from some ancient tome, comes drifting up the stairs in snippets. I grow afraid, wondering what sinister fate has befallen my spawn, or - worse yet - what sinister deeds they may be performing on some poor passer-by, who was just coming through this historic landmark for a Sunday morning walk. The swift, grinding, screaming sounds swell and invade my brain, almost inducing panic as I reach the bottom of the stairs, turn around, and behold the genesis of what I was certain was fueling a ritual I did not want to witness...

The oldest...who answers to a range of nicknames, is sitting between his sisters, The Songbird and Rocker-Girl, reading to them the sacred text of Archie and Jughead while the youngest, whom I have previously referred to as Chub-Niggurath, bounces and practices his newly-found jumping skills to the newly-found metal.

My firstborn looks up at my puzzled face, "What? It's metal. You know."

I smile. He has come a long way...his education is almost complete, and he has earned himself a new name, one that commands fear and respect for the path of insanity that he is ushering his younger siblings down. I will now call him Nyarlathotep.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Free Comic Book Day Report

No, no, no, no, no....this report isn't what's free, even though it is...just like everything else on this blog because if even if I charged half a dingleberry for this information I'd be ripping you off bigger than Bernie Madoff. It's the COMIC BOOKS that were free!

Between Little League for the boy, swimming for the girls, housework, taking the kids to dinner cuz we were too lazy to cook and purchasing tickets for last Sunday's NHL East Semi-Finals game (fucking Bruins...the ONE game I go to in years and they lose!) I didn't think I'd be able to get my son and me to the comic store to take advantage. But I did...and we walked away with some cool stuff...

The comics across the top are the free ones, chosen by my son. The ones across the bottom (and the Munchkin Cthulhu expansion pack) were most decidedly not free.

They were not all, in my opinion, good buys. I do not care for the Lenore comic; I read the back cover, flipped through a few pages to check out the art work, and it looked "cute" and novel enough, so I got it - actually for my wife of all people who said to get her something if the mood so struck me (The Tank Girl comic was also purchased with that in mind...her being the tough, independent Aussie Sheila and all).

The primary focus of the graphic novel is dark humor, with many of the stories having amusing twist endings.

Errrr...amusing is not what came to mind when we read the first episode. In it she babysits and takes the baby out to feed the birds. After she unwittingly leaves the seeds in the baby carriage, birds descend upon the baby and peck it to death. I haven't read anymore. I plan on seeing if they'll take it as a return (a gift for someone who didn't like it) and trade in.

The high point is definitely the Spider Man book the store manager gave my son. He'd got a stack of them to give away as promotions and had been "consistently forgetting to do so" as he said. So now my son has the "Ten Greatest Spider Man Stories Ever, Vol. 1". As I have mentioned before I was not a big follower of the Marvel Universe so I couldn't tell you if they are, but my son is happy, and loves reading the villain stats.

The Fall of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Tales graphic novels will probably wait longer than I want them to before I read them. But hey, I'm a busy guy for the next few months...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

This Swine Flew ... Into My Mouth and Down to My Belly!

Finally, we had the year's first grilling of an object larger than a London Broil. We've had a nice looking pork loin in the freezer for some time, and it just felt like the time to cook some pork again. The last time I blogged about pork loin I smoked it and attempted to shred it only to give up after maybe doing half of it...I was working too hard for my vittles. I decided to roast it instead, but on the grill.

I searched until I found a recipe that looked good (and was reviewed as such) and settled on it. I made some adjustments for preference and ingredient availability, so here is the complete ingredient list:

1 (4 pound) boneless pork top loin roast (single loin)
1 teaspoon olive oil

2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

I did not have any onion salt, so I substituted onion powder and seasoned salt. I also prefer brown sugar to regular sugar, for a more caramel-like, barbecued flavor. After brushing the loin with olive oil and applying the rub I wrapped it and let it marinate in the fridge for about 90 minutes before grilling.

Instructions seemed simple enough. The grill is simple enough. Count on me to complicate shit. Temp was around 400°F when I put the loin on, with the fattier of the two sides on the grill itself. I resolved to check it every couple of minutes and at the first check I noticed the temp had gone up so I adjusted the flame down up because I wasn't freaking paying attention. A minute later the temp is still rising, so I turn it down up again, but realize I'm doing it this time and correct way down. I check again two minutes later and the temp is runaway, above 500°F but all I needed to see was the smoke pouring out of the grill to know there was a fire inside. After pulling it off the grill, knocking the charred bits off and flipping it (I figured that side had had enough!) the rest of the grilling went smoothly, as did the follow-on roasting. The only minor issue was that my grill wasn't able to hold 400°F (only about 380) with only two burners running.

We roasted up some peppers and onions to enjoy with it, and cooked some corn on the cob.

The meat was excellent! No sauce needed; marinating with the rub provided all the flavor it needed, just enough balance of sweet and spicy.

...and plenty left over for sam'iches!