Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wha? An Official Black Omen Films Website? Saints Preserve Us!

The title is true! There's a website! It's all fancy. It's, and it'll be the place I likely post to in coming centuries. Please adjust your bookmarks or RSS feeds or VR chamber coordinates or whatever you lot are into these days. :3

From you'll be able to read up on the projects I've had my filthy mitts in. I'm not sure I'll use this here olde thyme bloge much anymore, not that I have been for the past year and a half or anything. I may still yet use this site for general interest stuff. Is it a bad idea to fill a professional-ish site with assorted strangeness? Probably. If I get cold feet I'll post that stuff here instead of there.

Cheers, big ears.
- The Wizaard

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Awliens. Vompyre. This is Radiorama.

The 80s was special. You know this.

You may not know Radiorama. They're Italo-Disco and your new master.

Awliens. Awliens. Whatcha gonna' do? I love the poor man's R2D2 doing a constant 'suck it'.

Simona Zanini's dance has revealed new realms of eroticism inside me, and I know that I can never be the same.

Here's a little tune about Vompyre.

"Like a tiger vampire." That's pretty serious.

They also have a song titled Yeti, so they've really covered a lot of ground with their work. The electronic solos in all of their hot tracks feel like they could be the backdrop to some kind of magic medieval forest adventure. When was the last time you went on one? The forest misses you, you know.

Not seeing this on my blog? Original post can be found here.

Friday, June 1, 2012


I wasn't one of the 14 million people who had seen this already. Are you like me?

This is why I love the internet with all my heart:

Chinese Game Of Thrones Season 2 Cover! Featuring Thor. Wow.

For those who haven't seen the gorgeous cover from a now legendary Chinese bootleg of Game of Thrones Season 2, feast your valyrian steel blades on this:

ZOMG it's Ned! Alive and well. How about that, eh? And he's Thor'd the fuck out. Remember that part in book 2 where Mr. Stark shows up and saves the day after having found Mjollnir, Thor's magic hammer? No? Oh right, that was just a Bath Salts hallucination. I'll never go to Bath & Body Works again.

Fun fact: Mjollnir literally means 'The Crusher'

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #98: Stryker (1983)

Leather! Boobs! Bullets!
Unlikable characters
Road Warrior? No.

The holy trinity of my interest is this:


Stryker is of the third. And it pains me to report that it's not very good. But if you're hankering for some Road Warrior-esque post-apocalyptic atmosphere, Stryker  might do right by you. Provided that you can supply beer and comrades.

So in this one you've got lots of leather, chains, ridiculous looking cars augmented with various impractical weaponry, desert marauders, and bow-wielding amazon biker chicks. What you don't have is any character worth giving a shit about. Each one annoys, each one lacks. You have a movie here in which none of the characters are terribly likable. Not because they're bad people or anything, but because they don't say enough or do enough to endear you to them. Every scene in Stryker is so cut and paste, so laughably obvious that almost no part of you is engaged. They're not even characters. There's nothing like a character arc anywhere in this movie. It's wonderful to behold.

Plot-wise, water's the precious thing everyone's fighting over, not gasoline. Road Warrior, the 1981 flick that was totally rad and sparked this whole screen genre was all about gasoline. Gasoline addiction is something we all know well in our modern age. Just the other day I stepped off of my modified Vespa (it has a mustard gas cannon), pushed back my spiked football helmet and slew a man with my combo sawed-off shotgun/steel trident crossbow. Because prices were so high, you know? I didn't even buy gas, I just wanted a cash for life ticket. I didn't win.

Water's a big deal too though, I guess. We'll worry about that someday I reckon. In Stryker it's serious business, and when the bad guy learns that a good guy has a secret mountain spring somewhere, well, look out! You've got a movie on your hands! Desert marauding is thirsty work on both sides, and Stryker, our lone wandering hero caught between them, has canteens to fill. Stryker's pretty aloof. So aloof that his motivations are completely absent. Self-preservation and greed don't even seem to be his modus operandi. He doesn't seem to care about much, but for whatever reason he seems to like these Jawa-like desert people he gives a bit of water to one time after they attack him savagely. Their tiny, shrill, dubbed voices only able to twitter one word at a time over and over until they're understood is certainly one of the most ridiculous and demeaning depictions of little people I've seen in a movie. I should be pc, sorry: they're mutants.

Unlikable as Stryker is, by the time the third act rolls around all of the other non-characters suddenly care about the guy. Our main heroine makes out with him before he deserts them in their time of need, and everybody pats him on the back as he walks away. Okay, sure.

As you'd expect from an exploitation film (this one hails from the Phillipines) it gets a bit rapey. Lone females inevitably get their shirts torn off by grimy raiders and roughed up a bit before the hero steps in. When the amazon biker chicks show up, you'd expect some ass-kicking to commence, but of course, they have to be reduced to being just women. As soon as the menfolk arrive, the fierce amazons mostly just run around helplessly, look for their male interests and, calling out their names, get shot to death in the middle of a firefight.

Yes please.

The movie's soundtrack is noticeably annoying and hilarious for it. It's very, very overplayed. Essentially it's just one lackluster and inappropriate melody, either synthesized or played by soft piano for those really tear-jerky and sensitive moments. As crappy as the movie is, the ending actually caught me off-guard, and I'll have to give it kudos for that. It wasn't a particularly good ending, it just kind of comes out of nowhere, and is bewildering enough to be a point of enjoyment. Okay movie, you just do your thing. I'll watch you.

So: Mostly worth it if you like bad movies. Certainly if you like bad post-apocalyptic movies.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #97: The Raid: Redemption (2011)

Excuse me sir, my face does not need a machete.

Dirty apartments
Hardest points on the body?
Ouch, elbows and knees.

The Raid: Redemption. To be fair, even before going to see it, the movie had already won a point with me. I squeal inwardly when a movie gives me a sub-title. Especially ones like The Redemption. Stick an epic sub-title on your movie and I'll pay good money to see it. Money I earned by putting children to work in diamond mines. You know what I mean, good money. I'd go see Princess Diaries: Dark Reckoning, or A Heartland Christmas: Rain of Blood. These things just sell me.

So it's pretty good. I won't say The Raid is inspired, but I will say it's quite satisfying. It's Indonesian, and it's always a nice change of pace to see a foreign film in a cinema: it reminds you that there's other people on the planet, you know? In their own countries? Speaking in different languages, shooting each other, breaking each other's bones. Just like us.

The movie kind of plays through like a video game. It starts with a mere 5 minutes of exposition, throws some stylish opening credits your way, and gets with the action. Mission laid out: there's an apartment building full of baddies that need stomping, and you, rookie, are going to have to fight your way through them to get to the two mini-bosses you have to face before you get to the big boss. Mission accepted. Mission start.

The fights are well choreographed and don't rely on much shaky-cam, which is a definite plus. When someone gets kneed in the face, I don't want the camera flopping around like an epileptic duck. I want to see a knee hit a face. If you're using a shaky camera style it's probably because your stunt guys suck and you don't want us to notice.

There are some great deaths given to some (relatively) bad people, which always entertains. The gore's either not extreme or I'm too desensitized to judge properly. If it's not that extreme and I still have a healthy brain gauge, I'm glad for it. The gore walks a fair line without getting stupid or showy. Though get ready to see stabbings. Lots of them. The sort where you see the knife go in and out in the same shot. Several times. That doesn't happen in movies terribly often: I believe you can show a knife going into a body, but if you pull it back out it earns you a harsh rating from the ratings board. Ratings be damned, The Raid says, laughing bullets.

So: A dish of satisfyingly meaty and moist martial arts. Best enjoyed with friends.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #96: Shame (2011)

People quite naked,
Long take alienation,

Director Steve McQueen garnered deserved praise for Hunger back in 2008, a film in which Michael Fassbinder plays a jailed Irish republican who leads his entire prison into a hunger strike. A visceral drama of human politics and the human body, Hunger was an impressive debut for McQueen. When I learned both him and Fassbinder were teaming up for a movie about a cold sex-addict, I had some faith. Shame didn't betray, and I think I liked it, but the experience left me as listless and blank as its protagonist. Guess that's the point. Fun to mull over after having seen it, but the seeing part is less than arresting. What we have here is the kind of movie that serves as excellent essay fodder.

Now I love me a long take - the longer a shot is, the more you invest in it. There's more tension, a more natural and organic feel; that's some of what you get when you go the long take route, stylistically. You can also get bored, though.

It's tough for me not to like a long take, but in Shame I found myself in a couple of instances where I really didn't care about what I was seeing. Might be that's the desired effect: during a sequence where Fassbinder is struggling with some kind of human reaction, he goes for a sudden jog through the streets of New York. It's long, it's detached, it dislocates you from what came before. It's a bit tedious as well,  like in an earlier scene where Carey Mulligan is singing in a swanky lounge. We don't get to see very much of Fassbinder's reactions, though we do see his stony face shed a tear. We mostly get Mulligan's face, singing a pretty long tune from start to finish. Visually, you aren't given much to keep you going. There's another sequence where a really awkward waiter keeps interrupting a date between Fassbinder and a co-worker over and over. It was there that it suddenly started to make sense for me: as viewers we were being pushed away! McQueen you bastard! You cad! We were being denied any kind of easy connection with our sex-mad hero because he just can't bring himself to connect at all.

Seeing that in the movie I'd normally shout ZOMG BRILLIANT! and say the film was great, but there were quite a few moments in the latter half of the film where its points about alienation and the erosion of human empathy were so heavy-handed that I had to turn to the person next to me and chuckle a bit. It busts out a few cliches - running out onto a rainy peer and collapsing into a disparaging cry, some emo wrist-cutting, some serious overscoring, and at three points I thought the movie was gearing up to cut to black and end. But somehow there was more.

Alright, now the sexy sex bit of the review. As you'd expect from a film about a sex addict, there's a lot of sex. The sex is fairly explicit, but I think they show you less than you come away thinking you saw. There's full frontal, but it never shows the penetrational pomp that porno promises. There's much humping, much undulation, and much face in the throws of orgasm - enough of all that to make you feel embarrassed and as exposed sitting in a dark theatre as the naked actors are on screen. All part of McQueen's Brechtian alienation tactics, I suspect.

So: Not terrible. Solid acting, obvious with its theme, tedious at times. Stuck in my brain for awhile though, which could count for something.