Thursday, July 30, 2015

Prince of Punishment

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Tuesday night, Izzy & I went to the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild Monthly Meeting at Chez Poulet… previously most meetings had been held at Anchor Brewing but due to our group growing beyond their capacity, we’ve had to start moving around venues… which has its own pros & cons… but let’s focus on the pros, which is creating a different atmosphere & experience with each meeting as well as keeping the main core values in spreading the good word of homebrewing and the cooperative community that the group provides. At this meeting, we also unveiled our new trophy for Homebrew Club of the Year from the California State Fair Homebrew Competition… because we had far & away the most award-winning beers this year!!!

After discussing events coming up in the next few months (more to come in future entries), one of the Guild’s founder Mr. Kevin Inglin gave a great talk about Mash Temperatures and how they’ll effect your beer on a chemical level, including all the various enzymes, malt sugars, and even various strategies for stabilizing & controlling the temperature during the mashing process. It was a great talk from a man who’s been homebrewing for almost twenty years now & will hopefully have his nanobrewery/homebrew shop open soon. Here are some pictures…
Also Monday night, Izzy & I had a little bit of a John Carpenter marathon with movies that we hadn’t seen… starting with 1987’s “Prince of Darkness” starring Donald Pleasance and… well… Alice Cooper is in it briefly as “Street Schizo” but that’s really about it. Egg Shen & Wang Chi from “Big Trouble in Little China” are in it but… yeah, not a lot of star power. The story is about a team of researchers who found this giant cylinder that… looks like it contains a green tornado in it… in this old deserted church… and basically in trying to figure it out & open it, they very well may release the Devil / Satan / Prince of Darkness and bring about the end of the world. That’s the one liner about it… but it’s really more like this. A bunch of stupid science nerds who aren’t particularly good at what they do, an old priest & some crazy Asian liberal arts professor meet up at a church where there’s this cylinder holding… what they can only even fathom is either a nuclear core, the worst plague imaginable, or according to their limited research… a 7 million year old harbinger of Death. Oh… and before they even enter the church, a small army of homeless people led by Alice Cooper basically surround them like zombies to keep them in the church. When the researchers take their naps while doing research, they all share the same dream consisting of an 8 mm film snippet complete with a warning that they’re going to unleash some sort of dark angel… yet they still continue. Well, spoiler alert… but something comes out of it… but it’s basically green ooze (the Devil’s semen?) and basically it’s shot into a girl’s mouth… and then she projectile vomits into another girl’s mouth… and then she vomits into another guy’s mouth… all the while, nobody seems to know where anybody is… but it doesn’t mean they’re going to really do anything about it… or they’ll see that one of their people are acting weird like a zombie… or slashing their own throat… or turning into beetles… and still they’ll do absolutely nothing. Seriously, I was getting frustrated during this movie… because nobody… f**king… did… any… thing… ever. It was sooooo f**king slow… and sooooo f**king stupid… and the dialogue was ridiculously bad… and I basically couldn’t stand it. I wanted them all to die. Well, except Wang Chi… but by the end, I was even willing to part with that if it meant an end to the movie. Oh… and the ending… ugh… who f**king cares? I did not care for it… sorry John, not your best by any means. Waste of two hours… and not even in the kitschy kind of way that I love… just f**king boring and stupid… with all due respect.


Next up was his most recent full scale production “The Ward” starring Amber Heard (Depp? Really?), Lynsey Fonseca and Jared Harris. This movie is about a crazy hot arsonist (Heard) who is sentenced to a psychiatric ward after burning down a house. Now… right away you’ll notice that the ward is a little different because… it’s basically filled with f**king supermodels. No joke. Every single person in this particular ward is an 18-29 year old superhottie… with various mental issues… but not the serious kind… the more like… it’s as if the cast of “Mean Girls” were on the set of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” but they wore… well, most of the time they wore exactly the same things they would’ve if they were in a high school… incredibly form-fitting blouses & jeans… occasionally a gown but… yeah, odd. Anyway, shortly after getting there (like I think this all takes place over the course of a few days?) she starts to realize that girls are being killed off… and then she learns about a killer ghost of a former patient… except the main doctor (Harris) thinks it’s all in her head… so even as girls are being killed off, they seem to do nothing. Why? What are they hiding? Yeah, the movie has a pretty good “Shutter Island” kind of vibe to it once you get past the fact that it’s a psych ward for starlets… and I actually enjoyed it, definitely a lot more than “Prince of Darkness.” As for the ending, you can kind of see it coming… but it’s pretty well done… except that it’s completely unfeasible in all reality. Maybe I’ll have to do a top ten list of those… Movie Endings that are absolutely ridiculous & unfinished though allegedly based in reality. Anyway, maybe down the road… that’ll take a lot of research to get the good ones for you. Not going to spoil this one though… go check it out… help support a decent, independent filmmaker like John Carpenter.
Wednesday night, we watched a movie that had somehow slipped through the cracks for me when it first came out, “Punisher: War Zone” starring Ray Stevenson & Dominic West. This is a re-reboot of the famous Marvel comic book “Punisher” which had originally been brought to the screen in the late 80’s with Dolph Lundgren as the star, then in 2004 with Thomas Jane (and John Travolta as the bad guy), and this movie was released in late 2008. For those who don’t know the basic story, Frank Castle is a former cop/war hero who was trying to lead the good life… until his family is brutally murdered (in this version, apparently during a picnic at an Old Navy commercial backdrop) and he then becomes a vigilante who exacts justice for criminals who slip through the cracks in the justice system. No, he’s not Daredevil. He doesn’t have superpowers & he’s not blind… nor is he Batman because although he apparently has a full arsenal at his disposal, he’s not a billionaire who dresses up in a rubber suit… basically he’s Batman if Bruce Wayne just loaded up on bulletproof vests, machine guns, rocket launchers & frag grenades and just decided that instead of putting criminals in Arkham Asylum to be released/escape a month later, he just did a quick double tap followed by evisceration of the corpse. He doesn’t even wear a helmet while he does it. Basically he’s a bit of an 80’s badass in the Rambo, Commando mold… but in this day & age (especially with the last decade’s shoot-em-up news stories) it’s not nearly the same appeal as it once was.
In this edition of the Punisher, after the Jane-Travolta movie didn’t do so well with audiences because it was either too dark for the PG-13 crowd that it tried to get or too weak & predictable for comic book fans, this version was meant as a full R-Rated version that wanted to be dark, violent, sickening, basically what the newer versions of the comic books were… and it pulled it off pretty tremendously. This is kind of a sequel to the Jane-Travolta version in which it takes place 4-5 years after the events of that movie… and the Punisher has been “takin’ care of business” and cleaning the streets of wrong doers… until he almost singlehandedly takes out the local crime syndicate… but accidentally takes out an undercover federal agent. Now the Feds have to take him down… and also, one of the few generals left in the crime syndicate is still alive (even after being ran through… some kind of glass pulversizer machine?) and emerges as the villain… JIGSAW!!! Jigsaw (West) then breaks his brother Looney Bin Jim out of… I assume another wing of the asylum from “The Ward” (same kind of super lax security) and they want revenge… and to get $12 million for facilitating the transfer of some dirty bombs to local terrorists. Who can save us? The Punisher!!! Okay, that’s the story… or at least the first act or so… but it’s all about the execution of the story… and I’ll admit… everybody in this f**king movie sounds like they have a weird Irish twist to their respective accents. The Punisher doesn’t speak much… so it’s hidden well… but Jigsaw sounds like an Englishman doing his worst Italian-wopdago stereotype (and I love Dominic West, don’t get it twisted)… and there’s even a Jamaican parkour guy who sounds like Bobby O’Marley… but aside from that, the movie is spot on. It’s extremely unabashedly violent… the mood is always dark… there’s always hues of red & green to almost every frame… even the sound effects sounds like the engineers were having a field day with KY jelly, grapes, mac & cheese, breaking glass and all kind of other muted breaking noises… HE PUNCHES THROUGH A GUY’S FACE!!! I read a little bit about this movie on IMDb… and there are WELL over a hundred DIFFERENT KINDS of guns used in this movie… and the death toll is probably in the Top 10 Movie Death Tolls of all time... but I enjoyed it. If you’re down for a total Man Movie, then I’d say check it out! You could do a LOT worse! There are some scenes where you’ll just go “F**K!!! Hahahaha… that was pretty awesome!”
It also got me thinking… about how the Punisher hasn’t been in the Marvel Universe. This movie came out a few months after the first Iron Man movie… and was under the “Marvel Knights” company… which apparently is separate from the more financially successful Marvel team (as it’s composed of this movie & the 2nd Ghost Rider abortion a few years later) and is apparently for the more… let’s say EXTREME Marvel Universe where you can have gun-toting vigilantes & minions of Satan where there’s actual death tolls (as opposed to one character being killed off in “Avengers” movie and then brought back for a TV series later that year). If it’s the only way to get some of these characters & storylines brought to the screen, then so be it. Other characters in this universe are Black Panther (at least until next year), Black Widow and the Inhumans… and some of the darker storylines from other staples like I feel the Netflix Daredevil series is trying to do… but it got me thinking… “What if Punisher were in that extended Marvel Universe?” And here are some of my favorite Punisher Crossover Movie possibilities… starting with the most ridiculous to one that MUST happen…
Avengers: Infinity War Part Two – Let’s face it… there’s already enough characters in this movie… but I wouldn’t mind a quick cameo of The Punisher locking& loading as like a special general with S.H.I.E.L.D., giving a quick speech about finding the gumption to face impossible odds, charging into battle, and then maybe being quickly pimpslap-vaporized by Thanos. Maybe even follow it up with a snarky Tony Stark one-liner… You’re welcome, Hollywood.
X-Men: Apocolypse/Punishment Day – Basically the same as Avengers, but replace S.H.I.E.L.D. with Stryker’s armed forces… and Thanos with Apocalypse… and Tony Stark with Wolverine rattling off a Bad Pun… … …isher.
Punisher vs. Ghost Rider – Honestly the only reason that I want this movie to exist is to see Nicolas Cage do his crazy thing… you’d think that I’d be over it by now but… it’s just absolutely mesmerizing. As for the plot, they’re going after the same baddies… “This is my turf, punk!” Battle ensues… the only drawback is… honestly it’s not really a fair fight. Guns don’t even phase the Ghost Rider… in fact… from what I can tell in the movies… the only things that can slow down the Ghost Rider is either a dwindling return on investment… or Nicolas Cage’s schedule. That’s why this next one is much better…
Punisher vs. Daredevil – I’ve actually read this is already going to happen in the 2nd season of the Netflix Daredevil series… and I basically got a woodie. Full chub. They even cast Jon Bernthal (“Walking Dead” & “Fury”) as the Punisher… and I’m perfectly okay with that. Also, you may be wondering why I don’t care about him going against fellow New Yorker Spiderman… and it’s because Spiderman is a f**king p**sy who couldn’t lick Frank Castle’s boot. Face!
Blade vs. Punisher – What? Blade gets top billing over the Punisher in this one? You bet he does! Wesley Snipes reprises the role that he was born to play… it’s the 4th movie in both quadrilogies… and you can even have them meet up & battle the first time they meet because… you know, Punisher got wind that vampires are terrorizing the city… and Blade is half-vampire… but then after a battle, they begrudgingly join forces to try & take down Satan himself… played by Nicolas Cage with a full Fu Manchu… you’re welcome, World!!!
Punisher vs. Predator: Dusk of Justice – Okay, so I was trying to keep this all in the Marvel Universe… and I know that I might as well be saying Punisher vs. Jesus / Rambo / Batman / Superman / Lobo / Jason / Freddy /  The Devil / The Devil’s Rejects / Time / Barb Wire / Beavis & Butthead / Jurassic World or something like that. However… this would be f**king amazing on every level!!! You could even have Dolph Lundgren back as an aging Punisher (though I’d prefer Jason Statham or Ray Stevenson) following the trail of this mysterious killer whose… basically doing his work, taking out the trash of New York City. However, as he gets close… he realizes that it’s all for sport… and there’s only one man who can actually give Predator a challenge. “PUNISHER VS. PREDATOR: DUSK OF JUSTICE… coming this December…”
Anyway, that’ll do it for this entry… I hope you all enjoyed it… now if you’ll excuse me, I’m probably going to watch some of that Netflix Daredevil so that I can get ready for the 2nd season… have a great weekend everybody!!!

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