Archive for » February, 2009 «

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 | Author: Casey Criswell

While I’ve been quiet as of late, I haven’t been totally slacking off! (Just mostly)

This week sees the publication of another of my short stories, A Fine Line over at Sonar 4 Ezine!

“A Fine Line” is my take on the super hero. Check it out, let me know what you think!

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Thursday, February 19th, 2009 | Author: Casey Criswell

Back in Episode 49 of the Bloody Good Horror Podcast we laid into “Feast 2″ with both barrels and proclaimed the movie a fun staple on the over the top gore side, yet light on plot and purpose. Now that “Feast 3: The Happy Finish” is finally here on DVD to finish out the story, they managed to deliver a capstone to the series… by changing absolutely nothing.

For the full review, head over to BloodyGoodHorror.com!

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Monday, February 09th, 2009 | Author: Casey Criswell

Hollywood has tried to tackle the Vikings a few times in the past decade, but most didn’t pan out so well. “Pathfinder” comes to mind. They depict the rough and burley boys of the far north fairly well, but the stories are generally flat and boring with little to no excitement. With the announcement of “Outlander”, a Viking story with aliens and Jim Caviezel, I was cautiously optimistic and generally uninterested. The story in itself seemed so far fetched, I really didn’t know how it was going to come off.

Jim Caviezel plays Kainan, a solider from a futuristic space faring society. On a mission transferring bodies to their home planet for burial, including the bodies of his wife and son, Kainan’s ship is attacked from within by a hitchhiking alien entity causing the ship to crash onto earth. Being the only survivor of the crash, our survivor hauls himself to shore and begins to investigate his new surroundings: Earth in 700A.D., the iron age. In specific, he has crash landed in Norway, with no one about but Viking tribes.

As the Vikings discover a destroyed outlying village, they fear that the ruler of said village and opposing tribe will blame them for the full scale slaughter of his people. As they comb the countryside for the culprit of the attack, they come across Kainen. Who is this outlander that has laid waste to their rivals town? Kainen claims to come from an island to the north, in the area hunting for ‘dragons’; for he knows that the real monster behind the attack is the very same ‘Moorwin’ that destroyed his ship and sent him careening through the earth’s atmosphere. Wary at first, the Vikings distrust this stranger and treat him appropriately. Soon however, he proves himself in battle against a giant bear and the clan embraces him as one of their own. Before long they begin to believe his tales of dragons and together they band together to take down the beast that stalks the night and lays waste to their kinsfolk!

“Outlander” is an easy movie to describe; it’s the ancient Old English poem ‘Beowulf’ with a scifi spin. This alternate telling seems outlandish at first. Aliens and Vikings, how would that possibly fit? The twist works though and provides us with an engrossing action flick with monsters and burly men. Clocking in at just under two hours, the movie flirts with the epic scale of “Braveheart” allowing us to follow under the leadership of Caviezel with full hearted support and excitement. He’s an easy man to become enamored with and he works the experience and other-worldliness of his character to full effect. Honestly, even with the inclusion of Ron Perlman and John Hurt as Nordic rulers, the movie would have suffered some without the stone faced wariness and fight of Caviezel in the lead role. Not say that these two experienced actors turned in poor performances, they were just cast in more minor roles, small enough that they could not have carried the movie on their own.

The writing for “Outlander” is top notch as well. There are many facets at play throughout the course of the film and they are all handled well to add flavor to the main arc of fighting this beastly alien entity that is the Moorwin. You have John Hurt, an aging tribal king worried about marrying off his daughter to the proper man and choosing an apt successor to his thrown. You have Kainen mourning the loss of his family, all while being forced to commit atrocities in the name of expansion. You have a budding love affair between Kainen and Freya, the king’s daughter. This budding romance subplot is especially handled well. Throughout the entire movie it is made obvious that two characters see a spark between them, yet it is never ladled on so thick as to bog down the movie. It isn’t a driving force to the storyline, yet it is essential and is made just apparent enough to be enjoyable. “Outlander” has many facets and most are done quiet well.

The movie does drag some towards the middle of the film, but it is not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the film. There is a large section of time devoted to character development for both Kainen and the Viking tribe, some of which seems slightly unnecessary and extraneous to the main goal. However, director Howard McCain still manages to pepper these slower moments with some action helping us over the hump and keeping the viewer interested. These early portions of the film also help to blend together a fairly moving ending to the film. The ending, while predictable, is given more weight from all of the development given in the first two acts of the film. Without this time, the ending would have felt more tacked on instead of just right.

While starting out the viewing with little faith in another Hollywood stab at Viking lore, by the end of the film I found myself quite excited and please in what had just transpired. With little attention given to the film upon its limited release and zero fan fare, it turns out “Outlander” is a pretty damn good hidden gem of a flick. While it may not win any awards, it will entertain you for two hours and that’s what counts.

8 Jim Caviezel can be my Jesus’s out of 10

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