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Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom

Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom 2017

Last year I decided to take a chance on the first Howard Lovecraft movie. At the time, I thought it was just a low budget knock off film that somehow was trying to trade in on the HP Lovecraft lore and was also based on an indie comic. This year I did a little bit more digging and discovered Arcana Studio spun off of Arcana Comics. They do seem to be a low budget animation studio, but the majority of their films are adaptations of their comics which I think is a great concept. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Howard Lovecraft film, it seemed like a fascinating world, but there wasn’t much of a character arc and the tone seemed like a weird childish goth with mediocre voice actors except a couple token cameos. The sequel works much better with an overall darker tone with less kid-centric humor, bigger roles for the notable voice actors, and more of a character arc for Howard himself. I actually quite enjoyed this one and am curious to see where things end up in the third movie coming out in a couple weeks.

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Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel

Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel 2018

An interesting thing happened the other day, I had a Facebook memory reminding me that a year ago I was contacted by an indie filmmaker who discovered my site and reached out to me to request a review for their movie. And that actually happened yet again this year. Justin Cook sent me a screener of his superhero spoof sequel, though I originally thought that the whole “Revenge of the Sequel” was part of the whole spoof concept. It also boasts being the first out gay superhero. On top of that, it’s filled with literally dozens of cameoes from superhero and sci-fi history including plenty of Star Trek actors. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but even though most of the cameoes felt like they were pulled from various convention circuits, it was still a treat for someone like me who recognized plenty of stars from films like the 70’s motorcycle riding Captain America or the unreleased Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four. It felt like a cheesy road trip movie with a gay superhero twist that had some fun moments here and there.
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Robocop Prime Directives: Dark Justice

Robocop Prime Directives: Dark Justice 2001

While the two Robocop sequels aren’t that well known at this point, they did at least get a theatrical release. What’s even lesser known is this Canadian miniseries that takes place ten years after the events of the first movie and moves things away from Detroit to Delta City, and yet continues to have multiple flashbacks from Murphy’s time as a police officer in Detroit. This is the first of those movies and while it’s not quite the TV series or cartoon which made Robocop much more family friendly, this returns to the violent and satiric tone of the first film, although with much less talent behind the writing, acting, and special effects. It’s an interesting concept, but very little was done with it to make things more interesting than a low budget, TV movie.

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Darkman 3: Die Darkman Die

Darkman 3: Die Darkman Die 1996

After watching the second Darkman movie, I didn’t exactly have high hopes for the third entry in the franchise and while most of it faced the same mediocrity as the second movie, it went a few places in the second half that I didn’t quite expect and surprisingly enjoyed. What helped the most was that this film didn’t try and just re-do what the first film did with a slightly different premise, but it actually took the character in a new-but-believable direction. There are still plenty of mistakes along the way, but it was a worthy attempt.
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Darkman 2: The Return of Durant

Darkman 2: The Return of Durant 1995

Darkman is a movie that I’ve actually seen a surprising number of times considering that I’m someone who rarely re-watches movies unless it’s for a reason. In the past five years writing for this site, I’ve watched it four times. Once for the initial review, once for an episode of Filmwhys, once because someone was doing a group livetweet of it, and I rewatched it again because I borrowed the entire Darkman trilogy from the library so why not? I never knew much about the sequels other than they are obviously not as good as the Raimi original and they brought in Arnold Vosloo to replace Liam Neeson. The first sequel was ok, but nothing really stood out to keep my attention. Just a lackluster pseudo-revenge tale where the revenge wasn’t even that important and had a hard time keeping my interest.
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Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract 2017

It actually feels like a fairly light year for DC animated movies when compared to last year when there were quite a few movies from various different DC properties while this is only the fourth animated movie counting the theatrical Lego Batman movie and the latest DC Superhero Girls movie. Even so, I feel like I’ve fallen behind on these as this came out a couple months ago and I’m only just now getting around to watching and reviewing it. I did quite enjoy Teen Titans vs the Justice League and this movie does feel like a step up from that one. This also seems to do a good job of including more social relationships within the story instead of just focusing on the plot and action which helps differentiate itself from other superhero stories to a certain extent. There were a few too many attempts at maturing the story by including sex jokes, but overall this was an enjoyable continuation of the animated Teen Titans storyline. And as usual with all my reviews and especially recent releases, I will be discussing the movie in full including any potential plot spoilers.
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Gantz: O

Gantz: O 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to keep up with anime. There was a time when I was a big fan and would keep track of every new release and would follow certain series releases on DVD. Nowadays, there’s too many for me to keep track of, but every once in a while something comes my way that piques my interest. Gantz was one of those series that I followed on DVD. It’s a bizarre series about people who have died and are then resurrected by a giant black orb and sent out on missions slash games to kill aliens with high tech weaponry where they will most likely die. After the anime series came a few live action movies, and this most recent film is a CGI rendered anime that follows likely a few months to a year after the series left off. It’s been a while since I’ve watched the original anime and even a while since I watched the first live action movie (and haven’t gotten around to the live actions sequels), but while this was so different that it barely felt like it was still Gantz, it’s still a bizarrely enjoyable ride.
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Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 2017

The first Guardians of the Galaxy was a semi-surprise hit. I say semi because even at that point, anything with “Marvel Studios” plastered in front of it would be in for a certain amount of success. And as for James Gunn, I enjoyed his previous film Super but still haven’t gotten around to his quirky horror movie Slither. And as much as I loved the first movie, I expected this second one to be more of the same. Following in the footsteps with the same level of chemistry and humor and for the most part, that’s what I got. But more than that, I got a level of heart that I wasn’t quite expecting, and some major themes of family that I imagine must be present in the later Fast and the Furious movies, though I also haven’t seen any of those just yet. And finally, as with most of my new release reviews, I will be discussing the film as a whole including any potential spoilers.
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Red 2

Red 2 2013

I’ve almost completed my recent goal of watching and reviewing the last few major comic book films I have yet to cover here. This film came out during the second year of this site and it was the first summer where I started to realize how many comic book films were actually coming out and how difficult it was for me to keep up with all of them. And since this was a sequel to a film that I had yet to see, it was one of those that fell through the cracks until now. I hadn’t really heard much about this film, and what little I did hear was generally mixed. But since I did enjoy the first one so much, I though I would enjoy this one as well. There is definitely a different tone to this film, and while the plot still isn’t much to speak of, I did laugh more often and harder than I did in the first film, so it’s got that going for it at least.
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Robocop 3

Robocop 3 1993

I’ve been feeling rather indecisive as to what direction I wanted to take next on this site. I still have a small handful of relatively good, or at least mediocre and well known comic book movies that I still need to get around to and a whole lot of dreck. So I decided to make a little Twitter poll with a couple good movies, a bad movie, and an oddity to see what won out. It shouldn’t have come to much surprise that this is the film that won. And despite the fact that I have yet to see Robocop 2, I was certain that it didn’t matter. It also helped that I had the DVD sitting in front of me from a clearance bin I picked up months ago. I am a big fan of the original Robocop, but I’ve never really given much thought to the sequels. I was a little surprised to see that this was rated PG-13, and even more surprised considering it still had a fair amount of blood and swearing, just toned down from the levels seen in the original. It had a scant few impressive moments, and notably more laughably bad moments. It really just lost sight of what made Robocop an interesting property in the first place in return for a failed attempt at marketing towards a younger audience. But one of the more interesting things about this film, especially coming from this site, is that comic book writer Frank Miller co-wrote this film (as well as the second).
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