In the midst of all the hype for big movies like “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Deadpool 2,” and “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” it would be easy to overlook the little Blumhouse sci-fi thriller “Upgrade”. That would be a mistake because “Upgrade” is much better than these more highly hyped films.
It centers around a not-too-distant future in which a man (Logan Marshall-Green) and his wife are brutalized (and in her case, killed) by street toughs after an auto-functioning car malfunction lands them in the wrong side of town. When he gets his consciousness back, he is a quadriplegic, and his only hope for revenge and an interesting life is to have a secret STEM (or sentient computer) chip implanted in his brain. All of the sudden, he’s basically got a HAL-9000 type computer that only he can hear interacting with him and controlling his movements. He discovers that he can find his tormenters and get revenge, but at what cost?
This film is basically a mash-up of “Blade Runner,” “The Terminator,” “Hardcore Henry,” and a really interesting nightmare. It adds up to more than the sum of its parts because writer-director Whinnell (creator of the “Saw” and “Insidious” franchises) has an original and (yes!) insidious sensibility that gets under your skin.
The film is action-packed, surprising, and funny because it’s so violent and has so many twists. By the end, we’ve been put through the wringer, and we have to credit the director for making us care so much and get so many laughs out of what could have turned out to be a routine thriller. The best sci-fi action film out right now is definitely “Upgrade,” and no genre fan should miss it under any circumstances!
No this is not a John Carpenter / Kurt Russel sequel. A new poll shows that over half the residents of the SF Bay Area wish to leave, in a mass exodus, due to high rents and housing prices, combined with homeless blight and other factors. High taxes are yet another reason.
The median house price is 800k there, by the way. Some people claim to like their property values increasing, but in reality the government will eat up most of your profits by taxing you to death through property taxes. Yet we have some of the worst performing schools.
I moved all around San Jose over the years, including living right near Apple HQ in Cupertino when I was younger. When I left I could not stand:
-The loud fireworks every night. Some of which were landing, smoldering on my roof. An ex firefighter and myself organized a campaign to put liability and fines on homeowners who light them off.
-The traffic was ridiculous. The whole city became a big, overcrowded parking lot. It became hard just to run errands.
-People were getting run over and stabbed at places such as the grocery store I shopped at (produce section), bloody pool from stabbing en frente de taqueria I used to eat at, fruit vender with many kids run over and killed by drunk driver at the gas station I went to the most.
-Loud oompa music at all hours from multiple parties as a ‘normal thing’. It could not be drowned out even with earplugs. Some parties had the ‘grandpa’ dancing with a tequila bottle on top of his shed, while a wild party raged below him. These were the super Christian people too, by the way. Sometimes there would be a block party and a full on oompa live band would be brought over , complete with the crowd chanting ‘ ei ei ei ei!!! at top volume.
– There were really bad potholes and tons of homeless people everywhere. Nobody watered any plants due to the drought , so everything died and heat collected. The area became ugly.
-Also, you had Trump supporters getting beat up at Trump rallies, and people in the Bay Area hate Trump so much, I know people who more or less get fired for supporting Trump. Socially, people felt the need to berate me over how I planned to vote.
These are just some of the reasons people are moving from the Bay Area in a mass exodus.
Here are the top metal albums of all time, in my humble opinion. I would honestly probably put Danzig How the Gods Kill at #1 , but that might be considered rock.
1. Sepultura- Arise
This album had amazing vocals and catchy driving, fast thrash guitars. Has basically no flaws at all. Songs like Dead Embryonic Cells, Arise, and Desperate Cry are untouchable. When I saw them live, people at the front got completely crushed against the front barrier during Dead Embryonic Cells.
2. Disincarnate- Dreams of the Carrion Kind
This 90’s classic had some of the best metal riffs and leads ever. Total sick melodic death metal written by James Murphy, and a bunch of college students. Talked to James once after a Napalm Death , Obituary show he was attending and he said he just could not get the college kid band members to write another album but wished he could have. They were too busy with school. Told him amazing we thought the album was. Here check it out. On the way to show performances in the 90s, friends of mine like Bud and I would get amped off of this album:
3. Obituary – Cause of Death
Another James Murphy classic. John and Donald Tardy also kicked ass on vocals and supporting guitar. Catchy songs like Bodybags and Chopped in Half are completely immortal. Just a super heavy album overall, with killer riffs and leads. Great artwork too. Got to see them play this live by the way, at a show with Morbid Angel.
4. Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss
While its not their most old school album, Seasons was their catchiest and best written effort. Songs such as Dead Skin Mask helped me take the transition to death metal at the time from thrash. There was also something spooky and truly evil sounding about this album.
5. Morbid Angel – Altars, Blessed are the Sick, Covenants (all tied)
Along with Slayer, Morbid Angel is the other really Satanic band I like. Their earlier stuff like Altars of Madness was more thrash influenced. Blessed are the Sick is their best album, since its a hybrid of death metal, with the thrash hidden more. Fall From Grace, as well as the instrumentals on the album, are very atmospheric considering they are death metal. The solos sound super evil on it by Trey.
5. Krabathor – Orthodox
Krabathor is a Czech death metal band from a real small town near Busloviche’, just above Moravia. I had the pleasure of seeing them in the Czech Republic, along with Vader, and Malignant Tumor at a 24 hour 2 day long huge beer truck 2 stage event , with grindcore on one stage and death metal on the other. There was also an all female black metal band playing that night. Krabathor have been around since the old days, and had Fade to Black styled Metalica kinda stuff early on. What makes Orthodox so great are the American styled blast beats , catchy 3 piece band mixing, and the fact that the bassist’s vocals and bass parts rival those of David Vincent from Morbid Angel. The whole album is super catchy death metal, with lots of grinding. Be sure to check out their old albums too.
6. Dismember – Dreaming in Red
There is just something about this album. It is so catchy. The bass is so clean and nice sounding. There is some punk mixed in, and the beats have a lot of energy.
7. Mayhem – their only good album
Mayhem had one good album. It was so good, it is legend. For obvious reasons. Needs to be listened to on a really loud truck stereo with enough bass to bring out all the drum tom work. Fucking amazing drums, killer production (all their other albums had bad production or sounded tinny).
8. Winter – into Darkness is about SLOW, chunking doom, and flanger. It sounds best on tape. It was highly original , like a slowed Celtic Frost but different theme (environmental catastrophe). Very much saying , no showing off, only heaviness , to the point of becoming exquisite art
9. Forbidden – Forbidden Evil
Chalice of Blood has the awesome-est song lyrics ever. That other song where he goes ‘ I’m on the edge. Jump!’ is classic. Its a super catchy album with great leads and great vocals that can beat out almost any Metallica album. One of the most under-rated albums of all time, along with some Overkill albums such as Years of Decay. These guys are still at it last I heard, and they practice in Fremont , California. Just a great , under-rated band.
Bands like the Sword, Electric Wizard, and such are not original enough to make this list.
10. Suffocation – This was the best Suffocation album. It had the best mix and the catchiest riffs and sound. Ironically, it is the Florida engineering sound which produced the best sound album of this brutal all black New York band, which emphasized the power of the American blast beat, over the European blast beat.
11. Dark Throne – Transylvanian Hunger
This was the album that said: Fuck you. I will do a slowed down version of a European blast beat all day long , with a simple grinded chord progression over it for a whole hour! And if you don’t like it: You can go fuck yourself… This was original at the time. That is why it was on the list . That there are 1000’s of other albums now that sound exactly like Transylvanian Hunger is a testament to how awesome this album was at full blast in your headphones, on cassette at the time. It is their best , as well as most controversial album.