Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dark Lord Day!!

Finally the day is upon us: Dark Lord Day!!
I'd love to write up an extensive post on this amazing day but I think I may save that for my beer blog on posterous. You can read more about the day over at the Three Floyds Official DLD site. Imagine 6000 beer geeks assembled at Three Floyds Brewery sharing, imbibing and celebrating beer. Having been to many beer festivals, there really isn't anything to compare to the atmosphere you'll find at Dark Lord Day. Sure, GABF may be a better event but for a one day beer release party, you'd be hard pressed to beat DLD.

Typical table full of beer. There are a dozen+ tables just like this one!

I think I tasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 50+ different craft beers from around the world. Didn't score an exclusive bottle but we did take home an extra 4-pack of standard 2011 Dark Lord that someone left sitting on the ground (?!). Just an amazing day start to finish. Glad my brother and his wife made the trip and joined in the excitement this event exudes. Already looking forward to next year!

  • April New: 31
  • April Re-watch: 8
  • April '11 Total: 39
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 268

Friday, April 29, 2011

Chicago Beer Tour Day Two

Friday meant more visits to beer haunts in Chicago and stop into Rotofugi for a look at their new store and gallery at their new location. We started in Andersonville and first hit-up Reza's buffet for some incredible middle eastern food. Their lunch buffet is the way to go!

From there we walked up to Hamburger Mary's, a nationwide boutique burger chain restaurant, but the Chicago location also brews craft beer! It's often hit or miss there but their hits are outstanding. The Black Widow black IPA (pictured) was simply amazing! This joint turned out to be Adriana's favorite place we visited. If you are familiar with the joint, you'd know why. After a few beers we stopped into In Fine Spirits and Andersonville Liquors to buy more beer.

Then we headed over to Hopleaf, one of the most renowned beer bars in Chicago. We enjoyed a few beers there from the long beer list. Then we split to head down to Rotofugi. We were all impressed with their new space and shelves of amazing toys. Really cool store and must-visit for anyone looking for designer toys.
We had dinner plans up north with Kevin and Erica, who were in the country visiting from South Africa. Before getting on the highway we stopped into Binny's Skokie for a quick tequila tasting and peruse the excellent craft beer selection. Bought a few things then headed up to Firkin in Libertyville for dinner. Because it was Friday we had a bit of a wait but it gave us more time to catch up before getting seated. Again, great conversation, food and more beer!

Another great day with good friends and good beers on the eve of Dark Lord Day!

  • April New: 31
  • April Re-watch: 8
  • April '11 Total: 39
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 268

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Beer Tour in Chicago

Guess I was too burned out to watch a movie last night and just felt like playing video games (my current obsession is Lego Harry Potter). Tonight my brother and his wife arrived from Albuquerque and the agenda included a whirlwind tour of drinking establishments throughout downtown Chicago.

We hit Fountainhead first, which had an amazing beer selection to celebrate their 1-year anniversary. We had to be there and it was excellent to be in the middle of that crowd. Beers we had were Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout, Half Acre Ambrosia, Three Floyds Zombie Dust and several others. Also enjoyed one of their burgers and the bacon skewers. So damn good and great beers! Congrats to them.
Moved on from there to Goose Island Clybourn for a round then over to Revolution Brewing for a beer and another burger, which we divided between the three of us. Pretty awesome way to kick off their visit to Chicago for Dark Lord Day on Saturday!

  • April New: 31
  • April Re-watch: 8
  • April '11 Total: 39
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 268

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Four Furious

Since I've seen the third film, Tokyo Drift, a couple of times I skipped revisiting (plus it's entirely out the continuity of the others). So I picked up with Fast & Furious (2009) and was once again pleasantly surprised. I feel with this installment, the world they have established is finally fleshed out with all the characters and the role they play. Yes, the CG isn't great but Justin Lin does a good job keeping all the pieces in place with some nice road action. Very entertaining. 7 / 10

  • April New: 31
  • April Re-watch: 8
  • April '11 Total: 39
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 268

Monday, April 25, 2011

Too Faster

Still working on my Fast and Furious catch-up so the second film 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) was on deck. Surprisingly I enjoyed this one more than the original. And this is the one most people hate the most. I was reassured in my reaction when Large William left me a positive comment on my Miso check-in. I would prefer to watch this one again over the original; the John Singleton Miami vibe works. 6.5 / 10

  • April New: 30
  • April Re-watch: 8
  • April '11 Total: 38
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 267

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stripper Hunting

I'm baffled as to why my library would stock Zombie Strippers! (2008) but whatever, they (fortunately) have a diverse catalog of titles. I don't regret watching this film but it really is awful. Jenna Jameson isn't slumming here but Robert Englund sure is. 5 / 10

Diving back into my new Sidaris DVD collection, I rewatched Hard Hunted (1992), which I consider the last of the "great" Sidaris flicks. It was around this time when the changing of the guard occurred just before Fit To Kill, Dona Speir's last role as Donna Hamilton, and a new line of enhanced women entered the remaining films. 6.5 / 10

  • April New: 29
  • April Re-watch: 8
  • April '11 Total: 37
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 266

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Movie Night 2011 #3

Big +1 for impromptu movie nights at Ron's home! We both had an open Saturday for a change so I headed over with a bag of films to choose from and we watched, chatted and caught up on things.

First film was another one that had some Twitter chatter, Down Terrace (2009), so I figured it be a good one since neither of us had seen it. This Ben Wheatley scripted and directed flick holds up in every way to the good word of mouth around it. It's a dark comedy crime family film with plenty of subtlety and dry wit. Excellent movie. 8 / 10

Next was a flick I'd recently picked up at HorrorHound Weekend and have been wanting to see for quite some time, Fade to Black (1980). Now I know why it's occasionally referenced among film geeks; it's horror thriller send up to classic film. Very fun film. 7 / 10

Lastly I thought we'd go farther off the deep end with Raw Force (1982) a.k.a. Kung Fu Cannibals that is mash-up of so many genres it could be hard to explain. Sex adventure comedy, boat trip, martial arts, horror, action. And with Cameron Mitchell, notch. A wild, inexplicable ride. 7.5 / 10

  • April New: 28
  • April Re-watch: 7
  • April '11 Total: 35
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 264

Friday, April 22, 2011

I Will Break You

The Shooter (1995) a.k.a. Hidden Assassin I queued up from a recent Dolph Lundgren 3-film DVD I bought on the cheap. It's actually a pretty good espionage thriller with double agents and Dolph kicking ass. 6 / 10

  • April New: 25
  • April Re-watch: 7
  • April '11 Total: 32
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 261

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peace in Plastic

Due to all the Wes Craven chatter on Twitter (ex. "what's his best film?"), I decided I needed to revisit The Hills Have Eyes (1977), a film a barely remember from my childhood. Actually I recalled so little of it I don't even count this as a rewatch. In fact, Michael Berryman is the only thing I do remember. Glad to see this as it really is a terrific horror film and definitely up there as Craven's better work. 7 / 10

Now that Marwencol (2010) is on Netflix Instant Watch I knew I had to view this with all the buzz over the last year. Had no idea what to expect outside of the book and images I've seen online (photos of 1/6 G.I. Joe action figures arranged in a static action scene). Kinda thought it might be a stopmo film but it's not. Rather it's a very poignant documentary about the struggles of Mark Hogancamp after he was violently beaten outside a bar and now finds solace in this fantasy world of action figures. Incredible film. 8 / 10

  • April New: 24
  • April Re-watch: 7
  • April '11 Total: 31
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 260

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Freaks Rule the Streets

Headed down to The Music Box Theater for New Cult Canon double feature with guest Alex Winter. Was stoked to finally see Michael Winner's Death Wish 3 (1985) on the big screen. Such a hilarious mess of a film that can only be seen to be believed. Bronson returns with a serious vengeance and big gun. Glorious. 7.5 / 10

That was followed by an extensive Q&A with Alex Winter that included some memorable responses and insight. He's such a great dude. Then we were treated to a screening of Freaked (1993), a weird film directed by Winter and Tom Stern. I only had vague memories of this but always enjoyed its quirky comedy and such an ensemble cast (Brooke Shields, Bill Sadler, Deep Roy, Morgan Fairchild, Randy Quaid, et al). Great to see this again. 6.5 / 10

Overall this was a nice re-introduction to New Cult Canon at The Music Box. Glad I could make this event.

  • April New: 22
  • April Re-watch: 7
  • April '11 Total: 29
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 258

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rumble in the Jungle

Kongo (1932) was a nice pick-up from TCM that is borderline horror but more just terrorizing. A cruel, disabled white man rules a small tribe of natives in Africa using fake witchcraft and voodoo. Really cool little flick that does its job instilling fear for those trapped under this man's will. Good watch! 7 / 10

  • April New: 21
  • April Re-watch: 6
  • April '11 Total: 27
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 256

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tall Hot Blonde

I was lured to the documentary Talhotblond: (2009) by Kreepylady Kristin who recommended it after viewing Catfish. It's a similar story of how those you meet on the internet are rarely who you think they are. This ends tragically. Real good flick and I recommend it as well esp. if you've seen Catfish. 7.5 / 10

  • April New: 20
  • April Re-watch: 6
  • April '11 Total: 26
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 255

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Cybersuit Abuse

Digging back into my Full Moon DVD sets I pulled out Mandroid (1993), which seemed interesting enough. This was not the case. The premise isn't bad: a Russian doctor creates super suit but his partner wants to use it for evil. But the execution and acting is horrendous. HORRENDOUS. 5 / 10

  • April New: 19
  • April Re-watch: 6
  • April '11 Total: 25
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 254

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Screaming Never Stops

In revisiting the Scream series I discovered the older horror film Scream (1981), which I hadn't seen. So I ordered from Netflix and proceeded to watch. Whoa, this is not a good film at all. A group of people go on rafting trip to a ghost town, get stranded there then begin to get killed off. All the characters do inexplicable things and ending reveal is just bad. I think I listened to part of the commentary because I was so dumbfounded by this movie. 5 / 10

Followed that with third film in Craven's franchise, Scream 3 (2000), which despite owning the DVD for at least 10 years I have never seen. Until now. And now I feel foolish for waiting for so long because I really dig this installment (more than the second film). Maybe it's Parker Posey that does it for me but it just works on a different level. 6.5 / 10

  • April New: 18
  • April Re-watch: 6
  • April '11 Total: 24
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 253

Friday, April 15, 2011

Scream For Me, Long Beach!

And like the upcoming Fast Five sequel, Scream 4 is nearing so I figured I might as well revisit the other films starting with Wes Craven's original Scream (1996), which I haven't seen since it was released on home video. Still a pretty damn fun film and everyone is so young. Aw. 7 / 10

Scream 2 (1997) didn't seem nearly as annoying as it was when I saw it in the theater w/my brother. Actually the first third is quite awesome. The middle drops and the end is just falls out. 6.5 / 10

  • April New: 16
  • April Re-watch: 6
  • April '11 Total: 22
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 251

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Marching, More Marching

A strange blindspot to have but nevertheless March of the Penguins (2005) was rated highly and therefore on my project list. Grabbed the Blu-ray from my library for this (part of the motivation). Not nearly as good as I expected from all the hype. Disappointing really but it does look pretty on blu. 6 / 10

  • April New: 16
  • April Re-watch: 4
  • April '11 Total: 20
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 249

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Synthesized Gun

Another long desired DVD set arrived this week: The Andy Sidaris Girls Guns & G-Strings collection (highly recommended for fans of Sidaris and/or crappy movies). Guns (1990) is one that I had missed before the original DVDs went out of print so I queued this one first. It's about the same as the others with our same heros and silly villains. 6 / 10

Scared to Death (1981) was the Horror Movie Night selection this week and the introduction of the Syngenor! I couldn't get my hands on a copy of this so I found it streaming online on some weird website. Not the best PQ but it was fine to follow the creation and terror of this Synthesized Genetic Organism! Check out @zombiefreak's write-up about Scared to Death as he chronicles Horror Movie Night. 6.5 / 10

  • April New: 15
  • April Re-watch: 4
  • April '11 Total: 19
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 248

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Angels Ascend

Dark Angel: The Ascent (1994) is another film from the Full Moon DVD set. This one is only mildly entertaining as a demon woman escapes hell and comes to Earth. I think I may have seen this on cable back in the day. 6/10

  • April New: 13
  • April Re-watch: 4
  • April '11 Total: 17
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 246

Monday, April 11, 2011

War of the Robots

At the Full Moon Horror Fest, I bought a couple of DVD boxsets of Full Moon films that aren't available anywhere else. The price was better than Amazon (I checked) so I picked up both Volume 1 and 2. Robot Wars (1993) is one of the films in the set and plays out kinda like a side story to Robotjox (often considered a sequel but it is not). And it features Barbara Crampton! Yay! Silly film but I really like the stopmo robot creatures and machines. 6.5/10

  • April New: 12
  • April Re-watch: 4
  • April '11 Total: 16
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 245

Sunday, April 10, 2011

You're Furious

Sunday and I'm game for another cinema screening so out to catch Your Highness (2011). Wasn't expecting too much and I think it delivered to that empty expectation. Not a very good film but at times it was okay. Several flat jokes but Natalie Portman looks delicious. 6/10

Anticipating the upcoming Fast Five, I decided I should probably watch the other Fast films having not seen any 'cept Tokyo Drift. Funny because I've own two copies of The Fast and the Furious (2001) on DVD for years. Ya know, I was a little disappointed with this first film after everything I'd heard about it. Didn't it was that good but mostly fine. 6.5/10

  • April New: 11
  • April Re-watch: 4
  • April '11 Total: 15
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 244

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Full Moon Horror Fest

Today was an event I had circled on my calendar for a while: Full Moon Horror Fest at Portage Theater. In truth, I cared a lot less about the The Charles Band EVIL BONG 3-D Full Moon Roadshow w/the puppets and all that, incl. the Evil Bong flick. What really had my juices going was the addition of the Stuart Gordon/Jeffrey Combs/Barbara Crampton Trilogy on the big screen! Not to mention that both Barbara and Stuart would be there for a Q&A. Yes, I was amped for this.
It was great to see Stuart and Barbara hobnobbing in the lobby with Capone prior the event beginning. There were already big lines for the stacks of DVDs and promos that Full Moon had on display. Finally after a long delay From Beyond (1986) began after a short intro. How cool is this film? That cool. 7.5/10

Got to hear both Stuart and Barbara discuss the film and introduce the next film which I still had not watched despite owning it on DVD. Castle Freak (1995) was received well by the horror crowd on hand as it should. Really good film with some excellent character moments by Combs. I even asked a question afterward about the long bar sequence that Combs seemed to be improvising. Barbara agreed with me that it is an amazing scene! (She rocks!) 7/10

Next up was the "event" film premiere of Evil Bong 3-D: The Wrath of Bong (2011) that also including sniff-o-rama cards. I haven't seen the prior installments of this. After viewing this one, I won't be in a rush to see 'em either. Kind of a dumb film and premise in which the 3D didn't add much. The sniff cards were mostly effective but after the screening the entire theater smelled like my basement in High School. Disgusting. 5/10

Finally the one we'd all been waiting for… Re-Animator (1985). Earlier I had debated leaving before it started b/c everything was running so late and I was tired. But I stuck around after it started and I'm glad I did. This is such a great film to see on big screen in theater packed with horror fans. 7.7/10

Great night and so glad to talk to both Stuart and Barbara. She really is one of the nicest people I've met in the business. Definitely will be one of my favorite nights of the year!

  • April New: 9
  • April Re-watch: 4
  • April '11 Total: 13
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 242

Friday, April 08, 2011

Sinner Punched

Was glad that Sucker Punch (2011) was still on screens after its dismal performance at the box office. I wanted to see it on the big screen again to affirm my first reactions; yep, still love this silly flick. Look forward to the extended cut on Blu-ray. Still don't care what the critics think because even for those that didn't like it, I enjoy the discussion arising from what may or may not be happening in the movie. 7.7/10

From my Netflix I spun Nagisa Ôshima's Sinner in Paradise a.k.a. Three Resurrected Drunkards (1968). This is an interesting comedy of 3 teens that get mistaken for Koreans and find themselves running from the authorities. Overall a good film with a unique ending. 6.7/10

Then from streaming I viewed Dracula's Widow (1988) directed by Christopher Coppola. Upside it stars Sylvia Kristel. Downside it's a rather awful movie. I give it credit for some decent practical effects. 5.5/10

  • April New: 7
  • April Re-watch: 2
  • April '11 Total: 9
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 238

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Modern Fairy Tale

Another film I had to see was Joe Wright's Hanna (2011). Wow. What a stunning and mesmerizing movie to soak up. I love this film and it's sure to make my Top Ten for 2011. I'll save the details because if you're reading this you've already seen it or you will. Right? 9/10

  • April New: 5
  • April Re-watch: 1
  • April '11 Total: 6
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 235

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Having been out of town for 5 days I wanted to catch up with all the new releases. This meant hitting James Wan's Insidious (2011) after leaving the office. Heard about the "loudness" of this horror flick but I didn't notice that it was extra loud. I did really fall into the story and it did creep me out. Effective thriller. 7.5/10

  • April New: 4
  • April Re-watch: 1
  • April '11 Total: 5
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 234

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Skate Sourcing

Flew back to Chicago today from San Jose. On the plane I watched a couple of films via my macbook. First up was a Albert Pyun joint Nemesis 2: Nebula (1995), which is a sequel to a film I haven't seen. Doesn't really matter as this isn't really a good flick but decent enough with a few highlights. One included an amazing high tower drop that looks amazing. 6/10

Next up was a film I've been wanting to see for a while, Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979). This really nails the skate culture that I grew up with hitting my very own Skateland in East Moline every Friday night. Love seeing the young Patrick Swayze. Not to mention Scott Baio, Maureen McCormick, and Billy Barty! This needs a proper release. 7/10

As soon as I arrived home I headed out to AMC Showplace for a late screening of Duncan Jones' newest Source Code (2011). I really like the sci-fi of this flick and being set in Chicago is a bonus. Very enjoyable popcorn flick. 8/10

  • April New: 3
  • April Re-watch: 1
  • April '11 Total: 4
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 233

Sunday, April 03, 2011

California Dreaming

Got a couple more days left out here in California so I'll be off the grid so to speak.

  • April New: 0
  • April Re-watch: 1
  • April '11 Total: 1
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 230

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Polly Says...

Out visiting my girlfriend I don't get much of a chance to view movies. Sometimes we watch a few together but depending on what we have planned it's usually not happening. But she happened to own Along Came Polly (2004) on DVD that was given to her by a friend but hadn't seen. I suggested we watch it b/c I actually like this film and thought she'd also enjoy it. Fortunately she did. Success! 7/10

  • April New: 0
  • April Re-watch: 1
  • April '11 Total: 1
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 230

Friday, April 01, 2011

San Jose to Los Angeles (and back)

So begins April with no movies watched. This is because I'm still in California hanging with my girlfriend and doing other things... like driving from San Jose to Los Angeles. Did get to visit Firestone Walker Brewery, which is way cool. Also stopped by Telegraph Brewing in Santa Barbara.

I haven't made that drive from the Bay Area down to L.A. since the late 90s so it was a trip I was looking forward to despite the long drive. But it was nice as we stopped along the way and spent a nice couple of days in L.A. Maybe I'll post some photos... sometime.

  • April New: 0
  • April Re-watch: 0
  • April '11 Total: 0
  • April '10 Total: 68
  • 2011 Total: 229