New Voicemail Line

We’ve had voicemail lines in the past, but always let them expire. Mainly because we never really mentioned it and we used some dumb thing that auto-expired after 30 days so you’d have to keep getting new numbers and that became a pain. So we just let it lapse. But now that we have some plans for this site and our podcasts in the coming year, we’ve decided to revive it. The new number is 402-937-1947

This will be the universal voicemail for all of the shows. Those of you who want to comment on Cold Case Cinema one week and the Splattercast another week will only need this one number. As usual, you are more than welcome to leave a comment at any time for any of the shows and we’ll play your messages during the respective podcasts episodes.

We’ve had a lot of fun with the voicemail in the past. Listeners have left reviews of movies we haven’t been able to see, goofball statements, and even some heartfelt appreciation. Anything is more than welcome. So give us a call if you want to be heard by the world!

Spartacus XXX: The Beginning

(trailer is safe for work)


Sometimes, you get trailers that are just too interesting not to watch. We love Spartacus, so why not watch a porn parody of it? And that blonde chick kinda looks like Viva Bianca if you squint and tilt your junk to the left. We hope to review it on an upcoming Splattercast.

Here’s the film’s website, be warned, it’s definitely not safe for work.

Quick thoughts on TV: Supernatural, Ringer, Pan Am, and Terra Nova

Supernatural is one of my favorite shows on television. It also happens to be one of the best genre shows that horror fans never seem to talk, or care about. It’s got a cool mythology (even though it does seem to be stretching at this point), neat monster-of-the-week episodes, and excellent action. Last season ended with everyone’s favorite angel, Castiel, consuming all of the souls caught in Purgatory, thus making him God. The cliffhanger final involved Cas turning into God right after Sam and Dead attempted to kill him. It’s never wise to make God angry and thus, season 7 picks up with Cas deciding that God is better when he instills fear into his subjects. Forget that free will crap. Cas is going to show everyone he is here, real, and that they better worship him or else. Turns out, though, that when he consumed the souls in Purgatory, there also happened to be all manner of other stuff in there including the Leviathans. Unable to control them, they quickly take over Castiel and are intent on turning Earth into a hellscape of pain and suffering. Sam, Dean, and Bobby do a binding spell on Death (pic above) trying to get him to kill God. Meanwhile, Sam continues to deal with the after effects of the mental barrier Death put in place coming down, as he is hallucinating (or is he?) about Lucifer coming back and escaping the cage in hell he was put into.

I really dug this season premiere. Sam and Dean don’t have much to do as it mostly focuses on Castiel but I liked that they completely changed your expectations. Instead of Cas as God as the main season struggle, that is solved by the end of the episode, it becomes Cas as an evil Leviathan. On one hand, I like that because it gives Misha Collins out of his stoic, emotionless acting and lets him get a little crazy. Plus, we’re not exactly sure what the Leviathans are and how powerful they are so the first episode hints at a good narrative thread that could be coming up. But it is a little disappointing that the Leviathans seem to be just inhabiting bodies instead of us getting any genuine Lovecraftian monsters. But we’ll see. I have a feeling we’ll see Lucifer escape the cage this season and our heroes will have to make some sort of deal with devil to figure out this Leviathan stuff. Which is good, I think, because Lucifer always felt like a genuine threat to me, whereas stuff like the Mother of All just felt like “We need another powerful entity”, thrown into the story. Supernatural continues to be a quality genre show but if you haven’t seen anything from Season 3 on, you’ll be completely lost in terms of the mythology. My recommendation? Go watch them. It’s a wonderful series.

Ringer is the new show by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who sort of disappeared after Buffy, deciding to focus on a couple Scooby Doo flicks and making babies. This show is three episodes in so far. The plot is insane but basically, SMG switches places with her successful twin sister in New York who just so happens to have not told anyone about her crackhead prostitute little sister. The twin then seemingly kills herself, leaving SMG to take her place and start a new life. Unfortunately for her, her twin wasn’t the good girl she made out to be. She’s been having an affair on her husband, has been transferring money into secret accounts, and has had a hitman try to kill her. So now SMG must try to negotiate her twins fucked up life while simultaneously trying to hide out from the cops who have had her under protective custody ever since she witnessed a mob murder. And oh yeah, the mob is trying to find and kill her as well.

The premise of this show is solid. It’s twist after twist. You never really know what’s going on. It’s been described as a neo-noir and that description fits it in some way. The characters, other than SMG aren’t really that interesting yet, but they’ve been giving hints that none of them are what they seem so maybe they’ll flesh them out more in the future. I like the show so far, but I can’t help but feel like this show will lose its interest in the coming weeks. Like, once the novelty of the situation wears off, is there going to be any “there,” there? It’s also filled with lots and lots of rich people melodrama, fashion, money, design, dinner parties, etc. So if that’s not your thing then you probably aren’t going to go for it. I’ll give it a few more weeks and hope it keeps my attention. It certainly has potential, that’s for sure.

I’ve been singing the praises of Mad Men since the very first episode. It’s easily my favorite show on television right now. It feels good to be a fan of something from the beginning and then to watch it become this really successful thing. One offshoot of success is that everyone will try to copy your formula. Hence, Pan Am. One of the novel things about Mad Men is the 60’s period of it. The fashion, the different culture, it’s the in thing right now. And c’mon, chicks looked smoking hot back then. Take a cue, ladies, you can be completely covered and gorgeous. Pan Am utilizes all of that. It takes place in 1962, when Flight Attendants were still called Stewardesses. The premiere is mostly just an introduction to all of the hot chicks in tight uniforms that will be the backbone of the show. One of em is played by Christina Ricci, which was weird, not because of the forehead, but because I wasn’t expecting Christina Ricci. There wasn’t enough to really give a lot of development to any of the characters, but you see bits of their backstories and to how they came to be on the plane. One stewardess had an affair with a passenger and now finds herself face to face with his wife. Another pair are sisters, one helped the other escape a wedding. The pilot is in love with a stewardess who happens to be missing. And the main plot of the show is we find out that one stewardess is a spy “Pan Am girls can go anywhere and talk to anyone without raising suspicion”.

It looks good, has a nice espionage angle, and those women do look gorgeous. I’ll keep watching, for sure.

$20 million dollars. That’s the rumored budget of this pilot episode. Outrageous for a television show, and unsustainable as far as profit goes (Each episode is reportedly $4 million buckeroo banzai’s). But Stephen Spielberg’s name is attached, and much like his other show this year, Falling Skies, Terra Nova is pretty bland right off the bat. Basically, in the future we have destroyed earth’s environment. So scientists discover a rip in time. That time turns out to be 85 million years ago. So they send back people to colonize earth (don’t worry, it’s a separate timeline) and give humanity a new start. They have this little colony which they call Terra Nova. Anytime anyone leaves the walls, dinosaurs try to eat them. There’s also this mystery of another colony that was sent through the time rift and why they hate the Terra Nova peeps. There’s a Lost style “WTF is Terra Nova REALLY?” angle that they set up. Meanwhile the other group of outsiders (which all seem to be minorities. I guess Terra Nova is white utopia, or something lol) has control of the mine that has the show’s version of Unobtanium (Avatar reference). It’s pretty much Jurassic Park meets Avatar meets Lost. Which is fine, I guess, but the show just recycles a bunch of stuff you’ve already seen before (How much do you want to be that that kids girlfriend he left in the future comes back and is all “WTF?” when she sees him with his new love interest? Didn’t take long for that kid to get past his girlfriend who he tells he’ll find a way to bring back “no matter what”. Love is fickle like that)

Dinosaurs. You want to know about the dinosaurs, right? I mean, that’s the ultimate draw of Terra Nova.  Just like Jurassic Park, the first dinosaur you see is a Brontosaurus type thing. Just like in Jurassic Park, there is T-Rex style dinosaur attack. Just like Jurassic Park, there are Raptor like dinos that attack a group of kids. What I was struck by is the shitty CG. For a pilot that cost this much money, and which was delayed because of the fx work, I couldn’t believe that I was watching SyFy level CG. I mean, it all looks like an expensive show…until you see the dinosaurs. Even Spielberg’s other show, Falling Skies, had better CG than this. I like dinosaurs, but I can already tell that I don’t give a shit about this show. I’ll keep watching if only because my girlfriend is interested in it. Maybe it will get better. It took a good two-thirds of the season before Falling Skies got interesting. Both shows suffer from the same problem: the characters are totally uninteresting. They are bland. Spielberg bland. My prediction is that Terra Nova will be seen as a big failure. I would expect a significant drop off in terms of viewership over the next couple weeks. We’ll see.

Review: Evil Things

Evil Things is a found footage flick by first time feature length director Dominic Perez. There seem to be two minds on found footage movies. Fans either love them for their immediacy, roller coaster scares, and realism, or they hate them for nauseating shaky camerawork, low-non existent budgets, and abrupt and often times jarring endings. Personally, I love found footage flicks and am very impressed with how the subgenre is evolving in terms of marrying the “realism” that is their calling card with standard conventions of filmmaking. So my bias, as it were, is that I like these movies, watch as many as I can,  and I feel I have a good handle on what this subgenre is all about. If you hate these movies, you might as well stop reading. But that’s your loss.

Continue reading


This Week

  • We watch Mayweather-Ortiz right after it happens.
  • We discuss the moral implications of looking at Scarlett Johansson naked.
  • Bleak discusses an interesting moment with his ex-girlfriend’s sister.
  • Ronin disparages the good name of Boba Fett and we wonder what’s evil about Darth Vader.

Review: Grave Encounters

Grave Encounters is the latest entry into the found footage subgenre and is directed by The Vicious Brothers (Really? Sorry, I shake my head when I see this kind of stuff). The plot is pretty simple: a group of paranormal investigators who have a television show called, wait for it, Grave Encounters, are filming episode 6 of their show at an abandoned insane asylum. Once locked inside, they find out that the spirits of the building are very much real and all too happy to torment them as the cameras roll. I watched this on the recommendation of one of our listeners. For optimum scareability, I fired it up around midnight, shut off all the lights and turned the volume up high. What I got was a fun, if flawed ride, that manages to pull off a few highly effective sequences amid the general high level of annoyance factor of the characters who populate the film.

The idea is a good one for found footage. There are a million of these ridiculous ghost hunting shows on television. Each one of them seemingly populated by some douche bag with too much hair gel taking himself way too seriously. The hook of these shows is that a group of people lock themselves into a creepy location (asylum, haunted house, dorm, etc.), set up various night vision cameras, and then wander around yelling out things like “If you are here, show yourself!”. They then overreact by freaking out anytime some wind blows through an open window, immediately assuming ghostly activity only to inevitably come to no solid conclusions at the end of each episode: “Could be haunted, we’re not sure!” Grave Encounters does a good job mocking these sorts of shows. The douchebag host in this has a perfectly douchbaggy name in Lance. He is loud, overly melodramatic, and comes across as a total tool, even going so far as to pay a local groundskeeper to make up a story about seeing a ghost simply to enhance his television show. Tagging along are his team of annoying ghost hunters. Sasha is there to be the generic “I’m the girl who will freakout at everything” character, Houston is the fake psychic that accompanies them to “read” the sadness and evil in all the rooms, and T.C. is a cameraman who is at home shouting and yelling curse words. There’s a couple other peeps along for the ride, but those are the main people we follow.

The double edged sword with Grave Encounters is that it does a great job of mocking these ghost hunter shows and showing you how dumb, cocky, and fake these people are but because it does that, you generally hate these characters. As the ghosts start having their way with the various members of the film crew you are definitely on the side of the ghosts. The film has a definite case of Blair Witch Syndrome in that, when shit starts hitting the fan, all the characters seem to do is cuss and yell. Now, I’d certainly drop some f-bombs if I was in this scenario, but it felt really forced and extreme, almost like the filmmakers were trying to be edgy more than realistic. But I’m sure many viewers won’t have as much of a problem with that as I did. I just find that kind of thing to be lazy scriptwriting. I mentioned earlier that the characters are annoying and unlikeable and because of that, the film has to focus on the ghosts doing the tormenting. It takes quite a while for the spookiness to manifest itself as the first third of the movie are these dumb characters setting up their television show (doing interviews, setting up cameras, being dumb, etc.) Once they get locked in and it becomes clear that this isn’t going to be their typical show, the film brings a good sense of atmosphere, tension, and decent creep out scenes. The insane asylum that they are filming at is a terrific location for this sort of thing. It reminded me of that old MTV show Fear, which made people wander around in the dark and let them scare themselves just by using their own imaginations.

What I liked about this film was that, at a certain point, all of the characters know they are screwed. They try to escape the insane asylum but all the exit doors just lead to more corridors. They try to get to the roof via a staircase that ends in a brick wall. All of their food spoils. It’s literally just them running around this asylum trying to find a way out and as they do they encounter ghosts of the crazed mental patients from years past. But once again, that’s a double edged sword. Although it was refreshing to watch a film that literally states that all of its characters are doomed and to revel in their downfall, it becomes clear that the film has no stakes at all. With no chance of escape and no likeable characters, you realize you are watching a glorified demo reel. Like, it’s cool to watch doors opening on their own, wheelchairs moving, things flying around, but the scariness of all those scenes are undercut by the filmmakers wanting you to want to see that kind of thing. It feels like fan service more than a naturally organic thing that happens within the space of the film. This movie would have been way more effective if more time had been spent showing a human side of the characters. There was not enough separation from their on-screen douchebag personas and their off-screen slightly less douchebag personas. A side complaint is that the film does a poor job of handling the passage of time and three days of camera battery power is stretching even my ability to suspend disbelief.

Grave Encounters has all the elements to it that should have made it Great with a capital G. A cool premise, a wonderful location, and some highly effective sequences. There is one scene involving a bathtub full of blood that really, really works. It’s still an enjoyable movie and for what it’s worth, simply the audio of people screaming and running around was enough to give my girlfriend nightmares (she refused to watch it as soon as they start setting up static cameras). I just wish more time was spent making me care about any of these people. In Paranormal Activity, I wasn’t rooting for the demon to kill Katie. That’s what made the scare sequences so effective. You want her to be okay and therefore the horror is more visceral and real when she’s put in danger. In Grave Encounters, I was like “Can you just kill this asshole, already? I’m sick and tired of him yelling and screaming”. I’m sure this review comes off as overly negative, but I don’t mean for it to be that way. This movie isn’t bad, it’s a fun ride. I was just disappointed that it had so much more potential that was squandered by some silly filmmaking decisions. Still, it’s certainly worth a look if you like found footage films.