Dracula 3000

In space, there is no daylight...or need for a plot.
In space, there is no daylight…or need for a plot.

If you thought space was free from vampires, just remember – there is no daylight in space! Also, there aren’t any serious vampire movies up there either.

Plot: A salvage crew composed of clichés finds a floating spaceship drifting towards Earth. The estimated 15 million credits that the vessel is worth is too much to pass up, so the crew of Mother III, decide to take the spaceship back to earth. The crew soon encounters Count Orlock and their fates are sealed soon afterwards.

My first thought upon starting this movie was that the person who did the title sequence was probably a person somewhat familiar with powerpoint but didn’t actually know the title of the movie. While the movie is actually called Dracula 3000, the title screen suggests that the movie is actually Dracula 3000: Infinite Darkness. However, this didn’t bother me for long as I was soon distracted by the shock that Coolio was in this movie.

It did not.

I could write any number of jokes about how this movie "sucks" but I'm sure you've heard them all before. You're welcome.
I could write any number of jokes about how this vampire movie “sucks” but I’m sure you’ve heard them all before. You’re welcome.

As the film opens, we find out the captain is named Abraham Van Helsing and his crew is composed of a pig-tailed intern named Mina Murry, a Bill Gates look-alike computer guy named Prof. Holmwood, a tough guy named Humvee, a hot navigator/pilot named Aurora Ash and a “cargo specialist” named 187 (Coolio). It’s not long before Coolio falls victim to Count Orlock and begins wrecking havoc on the crew.

After watching these shenanigans (crew running around, trying to kill the vampires, figuring out that a stake through the heart actually does it) for a bit, we learn that the hot navigator is a robot who has been undercover, recording evidence to use against the crew. Conveniently, this means that Count Orlock doesn’t want her blood. Also, the Count is the last of his kind from the planet Transylvania, a planet of vampires.

Random Note: There was a weirdly high amount of Soviet paraphernalia randomly placed throughout the movie that was never explained. Not that much was…but still.

Some of the writing inconsistencies were kind of amusing. For example, in this movie, marijuana was made legal and religion, specifically God, was outlawed decades ago. Normally, I would ponder if this was supposed to make the phrase “sweet jesus”, as spoken by Captain Van Helsing, that much more powerful, but in this case, I think it was more likely an accidental oversight. Also, if the Count needs blood, how did it work on Planet Transylvania where there were only vampires? We may never know…

It has been previously mentioned that the writing in this movie, wasn’t of the highest quality:

– “Dracula 3000″ is a shining example of complete filmmaking ineptitude. You can look all you want and you won’t find even the slightest hint of intelligence on any level. … It sucks. ~ Mitchell Hattaway of DVD Verdict

– “Dracula 3000” is a monumental achievement in cinematic stupidity. … I suspect it is going to be a long time before I come across a new movie that is as bad as this was. ~ Scott Foy of foywonder.com

– There are bad movies, and then there is Dracula 3000 ~ Beyond Hollywood

– To call this film shit is an insult to fragrant brown logs everywhere. ~ David Oliver of CHUD.com

That all being said, I knew what I was getting into when I turned this one on.

The movie ends the with the hot [robot] navigator mentioning to Humvee that she used to be a “pleasure bot” before she was upgraded to cop bot and would be happy to “relax” him on the way back to Earth. I’m unsure if the ship exploding at the end was meant to be metaphor, but after learning that the actress who played Aurora Ash (Erika Eleniak) used to be Playboy Playmate, it’s possible. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt there.

Alt text
Playboy Model Erika Eleniak plays Aurora Ash in Dracula 3000

This was a pretty terrible movie, no doubt about it. The acting was marginal with Coolio being the most convincing, which I think says something. The writing was probably done while high with no editing whatsoever. That being said, if you’re looking for something that is enjoyable to poke fun at, or put on as background noise for a hipster party, I highly recommend it for that. I give this movie 2 out of 3 C’s.

To read more about the rating system, please check out the “Ratings” page.

You'll need it where you're going...
Erika Eleniak Wishing You a Fond Farewell

Surf Ninjas

Kwansu Dude!

Kwansu dude! I never considered that I would see Ernie Reyes Jr.,  Rob Schneider, Leslie Nielsen, and Tone Lōc together in a movie. Luckily, I got that privilege the other night.

Plot Rundown: Two kids find out they are the heirs to an island monarchy and they have to spinning-kick and surf their way to free their people from the evil rule of Colonel Chi. Rob Schneider as Iggy, and Tone Lōc as Lt. Spence, provide the comic relief.

motosurfing surf ninjas

Surf Ninjas was about what I expected from the title. A fun and campy kids movie with some ninjas and surfing. It delivered on the ninjas, but was sorely lacking on the surfing. If it weren’t for the title sequence, there would hardly be a reason to call it Surf Ninjas. The martial arts scenes were pretty decent however and having a trained martial artist, Ernie Reyes Jr., definitely helped. Rob Schneider provided some smirks but Tone Lōc and his gravely voice provided the right balance and kept the film, at least somewhat, grounded. Nielsen was more a buffoon in dark clothes than a bad guy and he had an obsession over landlines and answering machines that was more confusing than amusing. He reminded me of the Mads in Mystery Science Theater 3000. His character has limited screen time which was a good editorial decision.

I had heard good things about this movie before watching it, as it was a childhood favorite of a close friend. Independent of that, if you’re looking for a fun, action-y, kids flick and aren’t burdened with demands of realism, I give this 2 out of 3 B’s.

To read more about the rating system, please check out the “Ratings” page.

My Predictions for Top 10 Summer Movies @ the Box Office

So having done a bit of research, I present my predictions for the Top 10 summer movies.

1. Iron Man 3 ($350-400 million)

With all the hype surrounding this movie, picking up the kick-off slot for the summer, in addition to being a follow-up of sorts to The Avengers, this is my #1 pick.

2. Star Trek Into Darkness ($300 million)

A bunch of people disagree with me that Man of Steel is going to take spot #2 but I’m convinced that the holding power of the reboot in 2009 and the the huge promotion that has been running since before the Super Bowl will pay off.

3. Despicable Me 2 ($280 million)

I didn’t see the first Despicable Me but it pulled in decent numbers at the box office last go-round. $250 million is nothing to scoff at. I’ve seen blimps floating around my city with one of the minions on it so I can only assume that the ads will ramp up closer to the release date. The minions seem to have played well with the younger demographic so I guess their numbers will only go up.

4. Man of Steel ($260 million)

I initially ranked this much lower in my first draft. I’m of the opinion that if you have to do a reboot only a few years after a previous reboot, it probably won’t do much better and Superman Returns made a respectable $200 million. After reconsidering my bias and watching the new trailer, I pushed Man of Steel up the list a bit. I mean, it does have Nolan onboard and that could be the push the franchise needs to get off the ground.

5. Monsters U ($255 million)

I was really conflicted about this one. I kept going back and forth over whether this or Despicable Me 2 would do better, finally giving it do Despicable Me 2. I’d heard that Monsters was both one of Pixar’s best movies, and that it was more of a dud with the youngsters. Personally, I wasn’t as fond of it as I was of Nemo and Toy Story. Cars 2 didn’t do as great at the box office as most of the other Pixar films so I stayed on the safe side (?) and guessed the Monsters prequel would do about the same as the original.

6. Hangover III ($230 million)

I’m probably reaching here, but since Fast & Furious 6 and Hangover III are generally reaching for the same demographic, given the numbers, most of those people are likely to choose Hangover III. The Hangover franchise has been trending down (Hangover = $277 million, Hangover II = $254 million) and the Fast & Furious franchise has been trending up (F4 = $155 million, F5 = $209 million), but I don’t think we’re at the intersection yet and the fact that the Hangover is back in Vegas could help.

7. Fast & Furious 6 ($220 million)

As I mentioned above, I think this one will do well. Just not as good as Hangover III. It also won’t help that Star Trek will still be in theaters.

8. The Wolverine ($165 million)

Who doesn’t love Hugh Jackman? Although the movie is coming out at the tail-end of July, I still think it will do pretty decent. The first Wolverine origins movie did $180 and even if the Japanese story arc doesn’t thrill as many people (although it should more so than whatever happened during the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie), it will still put up decent numbers.

9. The Heat ($160 million)

This one was a crapshoot for me. There seems to be decent buzz for it and there doesn’t seem to be too many female-oriented movies out this summer so this one could do well. I asked the lady-friend and she seemed to like it (though I wasn’t as impressed). I got the impression that it would do numbers similar to The Proposal ($163 million) and be a weaker Bridesmaids ($169 million). Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy will likely make it happen.

10. Pacific Rim ($145 million)

This was another movie I was unsure about. It seems to be getting a lot of buzz, but I don’t see it pulling in audiences who wouldn’t normally see a robot and/or Godzilla movie. The most recent trailer swayed me though so it did make my Top 10, though just barely.

Dark Horses (Movies I Think Could Make Top 10 But Didn’t Make the Cut)

Lone Ranger – Westerns are a hard sell; even with Johnny Depp. It is Disney though so the ad campaign will likely be decent.

Epic – Looks like a modern Fern Gully/ Thumbelina. Could do okay but doesn’t have the name draw as some of the other animated pictures. It will be the first to come out though so that should help.

The Great Gatsby – I want this movie to do really well and if only wishing made it so. This movie is smushed between Iron Man 3, and Star Trek Into Darkness and I’m skeptical it will pull in enough people to make the Top 10. Dark Shadows had a similar spot last year and suffered because of it. Being next to Avengers was definitely not the way to go last year. That being said, I think Gatsby will be a popular date flick so here’s hoping…

Summer Movie Wager 2013

... to get ourselves a treat

Since today is the start of the 2013 summer movie season, I thought it would be fitting to share a game that my friends and I play where we try to predict the Top 10 movies we think are going to do the best at the box office over the summer. In the hopes that this post will help someone else structure their own game for guessing the Top 10 summer movies, I’m posting the rules that we use:

1. Pick 10 movies that are released during the summer and rank them in order from #1 (will make the most money) to #10.
2. Pick 3 “Dark Horse” movies. These are picks you think have a chance to make it into the Top 10 but for some reason, probably won’t. These are obviously different than the movies you picked for your Top 10.

The summer movie season is the first weekend in May to the first Monday in September.

– 13 points for getting #1 or #10 dead-on.
– 10 points for getting #2-9 dead-on.
– 7 points if your pick was only one spot away
– 5 points if your pick was two spots away
– 3 points if your pick was anywhere in the Top 10.
– 1 point for each Dark Horse that makes it into the Top 10.

The scoring is done once Labor Day has passed, although I generally like to score the lists every few weeks or so, just to see who is winning. The scoring is tabulated such that you only get the single highest point value for each movie pick. That means if you get #10 right, you only get 13 points; not 13+3 points.

I get the rankings from boxofficemojo.com and only use the domestic box office numbers (U.S. & Canada).