Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Movie Review: Assassin's Creed (2016)

What would you do if you found out you were part of a secret society? In December 2016, Cal found out his ancestors have been fighting an ongoing war and now it's his turn to join the fight.

Directing this 115 minute action/adventure/drama is Justin Kurzel.

Some of the cast is: Michael Fassbender as Cal Lynch/Aguilar, Marion Cotillard as Sofia, Hovik Keuchkerian as Ojeda  and Jeremy Irons as Rikkin.

For Centuries a battle has been fought between two secret societies known as the Templars and the Assassins. One side wants to control the world, while the other side wants to protect it. If the Templars can find the Apple of Eden then they can finally put their plans into motion. Problems is, the Apple was lost somewhere in time. If the Templars are right, a man named Cal might have the information to its location hidden deep inside his memories. Through some revolutionary technology, the Templars have a way to unlock Cal's genetic memories and relive moments of his ancestors. If it works, the Apple could finally be within their reach and the world could be in some serious trouble.

I've been a big Assassin's Creed fan for awhile now. I got hooked after playing the first video game (Assassin's Creed), which came out in 2007 and became Ubisoft's best-selling franchise. So far there are nine games that were developed by Ubisoft Montreal (single player) and Ubisoft Annecy (multiplayer), along with some spin-off titles. The Assassin's fan base quickly grew and over time has spawned comics, novels, more games (handheld & mobile) and now a live-action film. The game's storyline is about a "centuries-old struggle between the Assassins, who fight for peace with free will, and the Templars, who desire peace through control." What I dig about the video game is the way they came up with a storyline combining fictional stories & characters with real-world historical events & figures.

The screenplay that Adam Cooper, Michael Lesslie, and Bill Collage came up with is based on the Unisoft video game series Assassin's Creed by Patrick Desilets, Corey May and Jade Raymond. What I liked about the storyline is, just like the games, it's anchored in the present but you travel back in time and get two stories blended together. With the whole traveling through time thing there's plenty of stories to be told and while the movie is tied to the AC (Assassin's Creed) franchise, the writers actually came up with a stand-alone story that plays out like the games. For the most part, I liked the story, but certain parts of the story felt forced or rushed so we could hurry up and move on with things, which makes the story weak in spots.

After the main character, Cal Lynch, is brought into the bad guy's Headquarters, Abstergo, you find out there are other people being held there for the same reason as Cal. Having those other captives made for a cool big battle, but I think the story would have been better off if they had cut out the other captive's side of the story and used that time to smooth out the main storyline.

I thought the playthrough was really good and it held my attention. For the gamers, yeah, they changed how some things work for the movie. In the game they use a high-tech piece of equipment, like a  chair or table, to send the user back in time. The movie upgraded the chair to a moving harness that amps up the visuals. So instead of just laying there the wearer actually acts out what they are physically doing in the past. Sounds weird, but cool to watch and made for some killer scene transitions.

The cast did a good job, but with the big name stars in this one, I expected more from the cast.

All across the board with the scenery, time transitions (present to past), fight scenes and customs you can tell they really put a lot of work into everything and it shows because it looked great. As someone who's played the game, they brought over some well-known scenes from the game to the movie and filled the background with a bunch of hidden (game based) treasures, which was awesome to see. Now, I mention the game a lot, but the cool thing is you don't have to know anything about the game to enjoy the movie.

Side note: Back in March 2016, it was stated that New Regency was looking to turn the film into a franchise and that two additional films are planned. Now, if news of the sequels doesn't tickle your fancy, how about a T.V. show? Apparently, both Ubisoft and Netflix are in talks to develop a live-action Assassin's Creed T.V. series. Personally, my fancy is tickled by both pieces of news, but then again my fancy is easily tickled. (You probably didn't need to know that... sorry.)

Overall, as a gamer and movie go-er, I enjoyed this one. So, if you're looking for an action flick to kill some time on, then here you go.

It's rated PG-13 for violence and language.

3 stars

Monday, March 20, 2017

Movie Review: Kultur Shock! 2017

What would you do if you woke up somewhere and didn't know how you got there? In February 2017, a man named Blue woke up that way, and he wasn't the only one...

Directing this 85-minute mystery/sci-fi/thriller is Todd Osleger.

Some of the cast is: Maureen O'Malley as Red, Terry McNavage as White, Eric Paul Chapman as Blue, David Hundertmark as Uncle Sam and Jerry Pietrala as The Attache.

Three American immigrants, who are called Red, White and Blue, wake up in a windowless room and can't remember who they are or how they got there. If that wasn't strange enough, they're being tormented by a talking Uncle Sam doll. Slowly, the three immigrants try to figure out where they are... and what's making that horrid sound outside their door.

I gotta say, I liked the story that Eric Paul Chapman came up with.  Chapman's writing style reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan, with the way he weaves a story filled with hints to tell you what's going on and then throws that curve ball at you in the end. The story has so many moments that keep you guessing on what's really going on. Along with some comical spots to lighten things up, in a weird way.

 I thought the playthrough was interesting and the way everything starts out not only grabbed my attention but held it. Unfortunately, one of the problems  I had with the flick it was with the sound. Throughout the film, there are scenes where the dialogue was hard to hear like the microphone wasn't near the cast, which made me have to break from the film to turn up the sound and rewind it to catch what was said. Another sound issue I had was with the Uncle Sam doll. Between his accent and the radio crackle, I had trouble making out what he was saying. Now, the sound issue isn't constant. Most of the time you can hear what's going on between the cast very clearly, which is what made it weird. I could hear two people whispering across the room but in the next scene, I couldn't hear two people talking at a normal level right in front of the camera.

Now, the entire movie takes place in a single set, which impressed me. I'm usually not a fan of single set films. Mainly because you have to have a really good story and/or cast to make it work. Without set changes to keep things fresh, it's easy for a film to get stale and lose my attention. I never felt like things got stale in this one. Instead, the set actually adds to the film by pushing the audience to focus more on the cast and scenes.

The special effects (by Kevin Kukler) and visual effects (by Lee Copeland) looked good for a small budget flick. The CGI wasn't the best I've seen, but it was clean looking and moved smoothly. Something else that caught my attention was the look of the Uncle Sam doll that Michael Williams came up with. It had this mixed look of creepy but antique cool to it that I really dug.

Overall, I didn't know what to think of this one at first, but it turned out to be pretty good. If you've got the time and like to watch a mystery unfold, give this one a go.

It's rated UR but has language.

3 stars

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Comet's Beasts of February giveaway

Hey everyone, it's time for another Back Seat Viewer GIVEAWAY! In honor of Comet's Beasts of February I've got a limited edition prize pack to give away.

The prize pack includes:
* Two Limited Edition COMET TV Pint Glasses - Two glasses will be chosen out of four Limited Edition designs. If you can’t beat your inner beast, having a drink will soothe even the darkest soul!
* One Heart Splatter Toy - There’s nothing a beast wants more than the heart of their victims, now you can beat them to the punch, just don’t squeeze too hard!
* Fire Ants Hard Candy - The beasts have invaded! But now you can fight back and have fresh breathe at the same time!
* Oozing Candy Eye Balls - Perfect for the beast in your house, these candy eye balls with an oozing gushing center will have your pack fighting for more!
* Gummie Tarantulas - EEEK! Don’t be scared these Tarantulas aren’t coming to get YOU… You’re coming to get THEM! Unleash your inner beast and take a bite out of these former frightening foes. In delicious cherry and lime!

Leave a comment on this post to enter the drawing for your chance to win. A winner will be randomly picked after the giveaway ends March 8th 2017.

Each household is only eligible to win COMET TV Feb Beasts pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open to the U.S.

COMET, the newest & obviously coolest Sci-Fi Network has been showing the best in fun cult classic films and television shows! If you haven’t checked it out, you’re missing all the fun!
Cool thing is you don't need a subscription to watch these great movies...

Species (1995)
Monday February 27 at 6/5C
Tuesday February 28 at MIDNIGHT/11C

Species II (1998)
Tuesday February 28 at 6/5C

Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985)
Tuesday February 28 at 10am/9C

Teen Wolf (1985)
Monday February 27 at 4/3C

Teen Wolf Too (1987)
Tuesday February 28 at 4/3C

Strange Invaders (1983)
Monday February 27 at MIDNIGHT/11C

All this movies, and more, are available on television digi-networks and online at, COMET offers something for everyone and has an incredible array of movies that you simply can’t get with a subscription to streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu.

The prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS. No P.O. Boxes please. Please note that the assets included within this message were delivered to you to promote COMET. Any actions (including contest and competitions) that you complete with the provided assets are your liability, and should comply with both local and international laws. Also, please remember to disclose that you are working with COMET, or that COMET supplied these materials to you if required by local law.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Movie Review: Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies

Could you fight off zombies with a snowboard? In January 2017, three friends strapped on their boards and tried to find out.

Directing this 78 minute comedy/horror is Dominik Hartl.

Some of the cast is: Oscar Dyekjaer Giese as Josh, Gabriela Marcinkova as Branka, Laurie Calvert as Steve, Margarete Tiesel as Rita, Patricia Aulitzky as Hilde, Kari Rakkola as Chekov and Karl Fischer as Franz.

Three snowboarders find themselves stuck on top of a mountain when a local entrepreneur unwittingly starts a zombie outbreak. Friends Josh, Branka and Steve's snowboarding skills will be put to the test as they fight off the growing horde of flesh eaters and try to find a way off the mountain. Unfortunately, the zombies aren't the only dangerous things they need to worry about...

Every now and then you see a movie title and you just know you have to see it. This... was one of those titles. So when I got the opportunity to screen this Austrian zombie flick I jumped on it. As it turned out, it was totally worth it.

The story that was writers Dominik Hartl and Armin Prediger came up with is pretty entertaining. It has a good mix of zombie chomping horror and humor. The snowboarding theme was kind of cool because it was something different, which is always good to see in a genre that's had so many movies of the same thing pumped out over and over. Hartl and Prediger managed to pack a witty script, funny/interesting zombie kills and plenty of gore to satisfy any zombie fan into this one.

I thought the playthrough had a really good pace, and with everything the film has going on it constantly has something, laughs or action, happening to hold your attention. The music that Paul Gallister came up with was a good fit for the movie and really made the zombie fighting montage part of the film even better. One of the complaints I have with the film is, even with a running time of 78 minutes, it felt like a short watch. The movie opens up and sets the scene for why everyone is in place. Then the zombies start running wild and before I knew it I was watching the credits. Now, it's cool that the movie is constantly moving, so you're never bored, but it felt like we blew through the zompocalypse too fast to really enjoy everything that was going on behind the scenes.

As for the cast, I thought everyone did a good job. There's a good chemistry between the cast members, which shows in the scenes. Out of everyone, I think Margarete Tiesel's character was my favorite. Be it behind the bar working or fighting off zombies, Tiesel's character always got me laughing.

Another one of the things I liked about this one was the special effects. They went mainly with practical effects along with some light CGI work here and there. Some of the CGI looked good and blended in smoothly, but there were some spots that stood out real bad. The makeup work that Desiree Delic and Schwerthelm Ziehfreund came up looked great and really added to the movie. Things get pretty gory once the zombie infection takes hold, and between Xiaosu Han and Andreas Thalhammer, doing some great cinematography work, they captured some awesome scenes.

Overall, for any zombie fans looking for a laugh, this one is worth your time to check out.

It's rated UR (unrated) but has violence and langue.

3 stars