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Plan 9 (2015)
Kind of Pointless
I think the best visual representation of this film is the last time we see Lt. John Harper. He looks exactly like he does from the original-goofy trench coat, silly fedora, waves his gun around like an idiot. Sadly he only lasts less than a minute as he is quickly devoured by a very modern zombie probably getting all of his insides ripped out in excessive gore.
This Plan 9 has a very different plot to the point where if it weren't for the name I wouldn't connect them at all. The small town of Nilbog (GET IT!!) gets hit by a meteor and all of a sudden, the dead start rising from the grave. Because of this, the quirky citizens of this town have to band together in order to survive as well as find out what is causing this epidemic.
While many of the same characters are here, they have added tons more and the story resembles Night of the Living Dead or most other zombies movies than the original Plan 9. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is an odd choice. In fact remaking Plan 9 from Outer Space is an odd idea altogether. The point of a remake is to take a film that has promise but was held back by it's problems or the technology of the time and make it better. But everybody loves Plan 9 BECAUSE of it's problems and mistakes so why remake it?
The characters are just boring stock characters like the original. The editing and cinematography is good say for a few spots here and there. The acting and direction though is pretty lackluster. Most everyone seems to have a straight face during the whole ordeal and taking this whole zombie thing really well-too well! Others though act pretty realistic. Its a mixed bag for sure. The writing feels about the same. It has some good moments and good pieces of dialogue in there-both funny and dramatic-but for the most part, it just feels flat and boring. The worst part is also when something really tragic and dark has just happened so of course moments later, they make a stupid joke or a sarcastic statement. They spend most of the film just running around but because we don't really know all that much about these people, I couldn't care less what happens to them.
The thing that annoys me the most is all of the references. Seriously, they mention Predator, Monster Squad, The Fog, Psycho, Troll 2, The Shining, etc. The fourth wall jokes are pretty annoying too. Normally I like that kind of stuff but it's all about context. The movie isn't a comedy, you are supposed to take it seriously or at least semi-seriously, so those type of jokes feel out of place. It seems like a desperate plea for you to like their movie. The only really new thing it brings to the table is the zombie lore. Apparently the alien menace is sending out these waves of energy that keep bringing the dead back to life. If you get bitten by a zombie, you don't become one but the next wave of energy will turn you into one. The other interesting idea is that each new batch of zombies gets smarter than the last one. It's pretty cool but everything else is pretty standard.
And that's exactly the problem with remaking Plan 9. They actually do make major improvements to the film but because of that, it's no longer that likable. The original Plan 9 from Outer Space could have been much better if put into more skilled hands but in the end, it would have been standard 1950's sci-fi fare. But because a man with little talent, experience or money handled the project, it turned into a gloriously fun mess of a movie. This Plan 9 suffers from not being handled by a modern Ed Wood and instead winds up being on about the same level as those awful Syfy channel movies. Not the worst I have ever seen (heck the original Plan 9 is a thousand times worse) but it doesn't do anything really that fun or interesting with itself. If you want to see a modern version of a 50's sci-fi flick go see The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera. That one is actually funny and isn't afraid to embrace it's roots.
Pet Sematary (1989)
A Decent Horror Flick
Stephen King is often hailed as the master of modern horror with his suspenseful scenarios and unforgettable characters. He himself though will claim that he is just an entertainer and his works won't become classics. That sums up my thoughts about this film adaption: scary and engaging but nothing that great. Our movie follows the Creed Family as they move into a small house across from a kind yet mysterious stranger named Jed. They also live near a busy road where tons of trucks go by and often kill many local pets. So of course, the Creed's cat gets run over. Jed decides to show Louis Creed-the father-a secret burial ground behind the titular pet cemetery. If you bury anything in this special ground, it will come back to life though they won't be the same. So of course, things start going downhill when Louis buries other things there. As a whole this film is quite frightening but has many flaws. Though the main focus is on this cursed cemetery, we also focus on a ghost that is trying to help the family and the psychological trauma Louis' wife Rachel is still experiencing from a childhood incident. They are kind of out of place but they connect better if you think about it in a thematic sense. The whole film is centered around death and how people deal with it. The trauma the wife goes through could be about how death can scar people while the helpful ghost could be trying to represent the fact that those who passed away before us help us from beyond the grave-though in reality it's more through what they left behind. However, this kind of logic doesn't help the fact that there are some Stephen King clichés sprinkled throughout this flick. Personally, I think these little tropes drag me out of the story and just remind me that I am watching a Stephen King movie. However that might not be the case for everyone. The disjointed nature of the story is what really hurts the movie as some things just seem to happen that don't really relate to the movie as a whole. It's like little story pockets here and there that don't add up to much. The acting though manages to make up for this. Jed-played by Herman Munster himself!-does a pretty good job actually being both creepy, friendly and dramatic. The family though are more of a mixed bag. Louis has some pretty good moments when the character is dealing with serious pain but in a normal situation, he comes off as distant and uninterested in what's going on around him. The actress who played his wife also seems to have the same situation. The children surprisingly are pretty good despite being so young. The special effects are also very convincing and look incredibly realistic. They are complimented by the use of dutch angles which makes everything look off and weird. These two elements combined make the movie pretty creepy. But the thing that really cements this horror story is the ending. All I can say is that is it is possibly one of the most gruesome ends in film history. Period. Overall, Pet Sematary is a bit of a jumbled mess but what it does right, it does very well. If you want to see a depressingly dark horror movie about death, then give Pet Sematary a look because you won't forget it! Trust me O_O
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
A Great War Movie That Weaves Fact, Faith, & Fiction
It's been a while since a good old fashion war movie came out but if it was all building up to Hacksaw then it was totally worth it. Let's be honest: almost every "based on a true story" film has some made up parts. If it were completely true then the movie would be pretty boring. But for Hacksaw Ridge, most of it did actually happen and I am a bit shocked it wasn't made into a film earlier. Desmond Dos is a naive southerner who decides to join World War 2 despite the fact that he despises violence. He simply wants to help a unit as a medic but he finds opposition along the way as many believe he is simply a coward. By the end of the film though, he proves himself worthy of the title "hero". Andrew Garfield does a wonderful job of playing Desmond as he brings a simple charm to the character. He is very likable and I experienced some of the same emotions he was going through in the film. When he was frustrated, I was frustrated. When he was happy, I was happy for him. It felt like I was actually watching this man's life and not just a movie based on it. The other actors do a great job as well especially Vincent Vaughn who manages to be both funny and dramatic at the same time. The one thing about this film that might hurt it is the violence. The first third of the film is shot very beautifully and looks like an ideal vision of that time period. But the last third is all on top of Hacksaw Ridge which is piled with dead bodies, intestines, rats, blood, decapitated heads, you name it they got it. It works in a story sense because they never portray war as a pretty or fun thing but the film is also filled with Christian themes. Box office wise those Christian messages might have helped the film but because of it's R rating I doubt any youth groups are going to be piling into vans to see it. Which is a shame since the film is honestly a great representation of holding onto your beliefs no matter how others maybe feel about them. Over all, Hacksaw Ridge is a great film with a well structured story, likable characters, beautiful direction and tons of events to keep you entertained.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Phase Three is Looking Good
If Marvel keeps this streak up, they might possibly make a superhero film on the same level as the Dark Knight. Doctor Strange is about a neurosurgeon named Stephen Strange who has it made. He's rich, famous and he even has an on again, off again girlfriend. However that all changes when he gets into an awful car accident and completely ruins his hands. It looks like he can never operate again so he does everything he can to fix his hands. His last ditch effort is to seek The Ancient One-a Celtic mystic that resides in the far East. Stephen then finds himself in a world of magic, sorcery and alternate dimensions. The rabbit hole goes deeper though as one of the Ancient One's old students has sided with an evil entity named Dormamu who wants to-you guessed it-take over the world and Stephen is the only one who can stop him. Even if this movie wasn't tied to the MCU, it would still be very interesting and a great film in and of itself. It still has many of the previous entries' quirks such as goofy humor, great action but one dimensional villains. However, they balance that out with new things such as psychedelic visuals, great character development and creative action sequences. They really go all out with the possibility of magic and many of the best parts of the film revolve simply around the idea of these people being able to bend reality to their will. The actors all do a spectacular job as well bringing life to these performances. But of course this would all be for nothing if it weren't for the great writing and characters. Even though this villain is nothing to brag home about, we might get another new villain in the future that's just even more menacing and interesting. I would not only suggest Doctor Strange for fans of the MCU but also for anyone who just wants to see a cool film. You can watch this film without having seen any of the other entries
A Must See From 2016
There are many films coming out this year that far exceeded my expectations but Arrival is at the top of the list. This is not only arguably one of the greatest films of the year but one of the greatest science fiction films ever. The story follows linguist professor Louise Banks-played by Amy Adams- who is assigned to help the military communicate with a group of unusual extra terrestrials. However, the situation is slowly falling apart as many people are starting to worry that the aliens might have sinister motives. The premise alone doesn't sound like anything too great but it is truly the execution that is what makes the difference. Amy Adams and Jeremy Reiner play well off one another as both colleagues and love interests. The special effects-even the CGI-are also beautiful and completely realistic. But that is the great strength of this film: it's ultra-realism. The scenarios, the dialogue, the science, the language, all of it could possibly happen in real life. That's what makes it so absorbing. It's not a feel good movie like Independence Day but a thinking man's film that's still very entertaining like 2001 Space Odyssey. But the best part is the ending. It might be confusing at first but if you think about it, you will begin to understand it. Arrival is definitely one of those movies you need to see twice in order to fully understand it. If you enjoy films that make you think twice about what you saw, then Arrival should be at the top of your list. With great acting, direction and special effects, Arrival is totally worth a second look.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)
Good Idea, Terrible Execution
My Big Fat Greek Wedding has become a cult hit of sorts that deserves a sequel-that isn't rushed out, unfunny and almost twelve years late. My Big Fat Greek Wedding centered around a 30 year old woman named Toula who falls for a non-Greek man- a huge no-no according to her strictly Greek family. The couple try to work around cultural differences in order to tie the knot and move on with their lives. It was clever, unique and while certainly silly at times; it was still very heartwarming. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 deals with about 7-not kidding-different plots that are all crammed together like sardines in a can. Toula's parents apparently were never officially married so they now have to get re-married. But her mother is having second thoughts about going through with it. Toula also has to deal with letting her daughter go off to college, re- kindling a romance with her husband and just generally making sure that her parents don't kill themselves. On top of that, one of her cousins turns out to be gay which is easily brushed aside for some reason and Toula's daughter starts a relationship with a boy at school. .P.S. Toula learns to stand up against her old class mates that made fun of her back in the 80's who live next door to her now for some reason. Does that sound disjointed? Because it is. There are a lot of good ideas in this movie but the thing is they don't seem to know which is the best one. I would have forgiven the film for these faults if it was at least somewhat entertaining, but it really isn't. It gave me a few chuckles here and there but I wouldn't recommend it like the first movie. Even for the most die hard fans of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I would suggest just going back and watching the original. There really isn't anything here worth your time. You want to know the scariest part about this whole thing? They might be making ANOTHER sequel! God have mercy upon all of us!
Better Off Dead... (1985)
Weird, Fun But Very Flawed
I love weird movies. I love it when a film maker dares to go into odd territories-especially in comedies-and talk about twisted ideas which Better Off Dead does in spades. But I also enjoy a well paced story and rich characters which Better Off Dead sadly lacks. Lane is an ordinary guy with an unusual family and the only thing going for him is his gorgeous girlfriend, Beth. However, she dumps him and this sends Lane spiraling into depression. He even goes so far as to commit suicide-even though he's never successful. Things start turning around though when he meets Monique-a french foreign exchange student-with whom he begins a new romance with. If you enjoy Monty Python's style of humor, then you will get a kick out of this. One running gag is that everyone from the mailman to flipping Barney from the Flinstones is asking Lane if it's okay to ask out his ex. Lane's best friend is a drug addict who tries to get high off of everything from jello to snow. There is literally a random musical number in the middle of the movie with a singing hamburger. It's pretty off the wall. However, the pace of the story suffers from all of this randomness. Half of that stuff I just mention add up to very little if anything at all. Remember how Lane starts up a new romance with that French girl? Lane apparently forgot about that since it feels like he doesn't get to that until the third act. It seems like the real story of this movie takes a back seat to any surreal joke or idea the writer can throw on the paper. Because of this, we don't really get much development out of our characters either besides a few quirks. The actors do manage to pull through and make these performances interesting with their own unique charms. To reiterate if you want some trippy humor with some likable performances, Better Off Dead is a safe bet. But if you want a well written story with well thought out characters, look elsewhere.
The Bright Knight
In a climate where it feels like Batman is always trying to be grim, dark, brooding and epic; it feels like a breath of fresh air when someone says "Hey remember the 60's Batman? Wasn't that fun! Let's do something like that!" I watched that old 60's movie all the time when I was a kid and I still get a kick out of it. While I haven't watched a lot of the old series, from what I have gathered this movie mimics it perfectly. The crazy gadgets, the silly alliterations, the kooky villains, and even the fact that they add the word "bat" to everything Batman creates. However, it does have a few dull spots for me and it feels like some of the ahem "action" sequences go on a bit too long. However, I think we need to measure a film by what it's trying to do and how well it executes it despite how it makes you feel. And since this movie is obviously trying to homage the old show as well as be it's own thing, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders does a great job! It has an interesting story, fun characters and some great dialogue. If you wanna see a new spin on the classic Adam West Batman, then look no further!
The Hideous Sun Demon (1958)
Surprisingly Not THAT Bad
Plan 9 from Outer Space. Howard the Duck. Return of the Kung Fu Dragon. There, three films that are much worse than this one and yet they all have higher scores. Granted I am not saying Sun Demon is some hidden masterpiece but it does have some merits. So the story goes that a scientist is exposed to a new radioactive isotope never encountered before. They find out that the scientist-who is named Gil-now has to live with the terrible side effect of transforming into a lizard creature in the sunlight. Kind of a random really but I have seen radiation do stranger things. Plus the explanation behind it is kind of clever. Kind of. So Gil has to stay inside all the time and also starts up a romance with a nightclub singer who has some mafia ties. Things quickly go downhill from there. Sun Demon was written and directed by Clarke and for being his first time in both departments, he does a pretty decent job. The story is pretty well structured and he knows how to frame a good shot. The monster costume-while not great-certainly isn't bad and I actually give it props for being unique. Clarke-who also plays Gil- brings a real conviction to the character and I can actually buy that this guy is going through some real turmoil. You get a sense of helplessness from Gil and I really sympathized with him. Someone said that Sun Demon was like a "reverse Wolf-Man" which perfectly summarizes the situation. However, that is where my praises end as the other stuff is pretty standard. It deals with elements of nuclear radiation and tampering with the universe, typical 50's sci-fi stuff. It's nothing really new or groundbreaking. Which I think stops it from being more than just typical convention. The other problem is that the dialogue and acting can be awkward and clunky in spots. At one point, Gil starts fighting with this mob guy and it looked so fake that it made me laugh. Not to mention one scene where the singer is supposed to scream in horror at something off screen, but it comes off as so forced. Little moments like that are sprinkled throughout and add up pretty quickly. Still, I think there are some pretty decent parts to this film that are at least worth a pat on the back. If you want a laugh out load bad movie, just go watch Plan 9. Sun Demon is more like a mixed bag that I would only suggest watching if you love classic sci-fi or really enjoy werewolf or werewolf like movies.
Central Intelligence (2016)
Recently a lot of Kevin Hart's movies have been pretty lack luster. The Ride Along movies and Get Hard were shredded by critics. When I saw the trailer for Central Intelligence, I thought this would be just another one of those flicks. Thankfully, I was very wrong! The page here lists the film as an "action, comedy, crime" movie but really it is more of a "action, comedy, drama" flick. Dwayne Johnson plays the gentle giant Bob Stone/Robby Weirdicht (haha pun) who works for the CIA while Kevin Hart plays the everyday joe Calvin Joyner (a nice change of pace in my opinion). These two are the reason this film works as pure entertainment. They have great chemistry together and they play rather interesting characters. Robby is on the same level as Jason Bourne when it comes to hand to hand combat and other spy stuff like that but he has the sensitivity and the tastes of a fourteen year old girl. I don't care who you are, you have to admit that's hilarious. Calvin was the favorite student of his high school but now he is just a washed up accountant upset with where his life has gone. Hart and Johnson bring some real comedy to their roles as well as true conviction. You can believe that these two are dealing with some real emotional problems. I never thought of either of them as good actors but they do a splendid job here. The stunts they pull also look so very realistic. They are very thrilling and pretty creative too. Now the movie isn't without problems-what movie is? The spy portion of the plot is pretty straight forward and shallow. It's obviously just an excuse to get these two together but is that really such a bad thing when what they are offering is so good? Central Intelligence is kind of like that movie Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito. Two popular actors play as comic foils to one another as well as provide great drama with some cool stunts thrown in. What more could you want?
Now don't get me wrong, just because I think this film is overrated doesn't mean I don't think it doesn't have some merit. I realize this little movie has quite a few fans surprisingly and is actually sort of important in film history. This little film was originally just a student film by Dennis Muren until it was picked up by a studio and extra footage was added. Muren would later go on to do the special effects on Star Wars, Terminator 2, and Jurassic Park. So in a way, this little pic jump started his career.Now the special effects are actually pretty good for it's time. The stop motion creatures are unique and very memorable and they are even more impressive when you know they were all done by one guy, Dennis himself! Also the giant that attacks the teenagers looks like it is right there with them! It's kind of amazing. Equinox's story is rather unique for it's time too and supposedly influenced other horror films like Evil Dead. Equinox is about four college students who go into the woods looking for a professor only to find a mystical book instead. It supposedly contains spells and knowledge of demons and how to fight against them. So of course, the king of demons named Asmodeus wants to get his hands on it. Before this, most horror films at the time were more sci-fi oriented like evil aliens or mutated mishaps. So I am sure this was refreshing. However, besides all of the positives I just listed everything else is pretty poor. The main problem is with the four main characters. The actors are wooden, their dialogue is very clunky and their personalities are practically non-existent. You could have replaced them with sock puppets and you would have been more intrigued(side note- Equinox: The Sock Puppet Opera needs to happen!). They are just not interesting characters and I skipped through most of theor parts so that I could watch the monsters. The cinematography is kind of bland too but the characters are what kills it. If they had just developed the cast or gotten better actors, the movie would be pretty fun. But as is, it's an intriguing part of film history but a less intriguing film. The movie is worth watching though...if you get a bunch of friends together to make fun of it MST3K style.
Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
I watched Babe quite often as a child. I don't know really why, I just did-that's kids for yah. But as I have grown older, I have found the film's charms not as alluring. While it is fun and I liked it's unusual sense of humor, I thought it was drowned out by the uneventful story and a cop out ending. Babe: Pig in the City however-no pun intended- is a different kind of animal all together. A few months after the original, Babe accidentally injures the farmer and because of that, a chain of events unfold that might cause them to lose the farm. The Farmer's wife decide then to enter Babe into a sheep herding contest to win some money but due to all sorts of confusion, they wind up stuck at a big city simply called Metropolis-a compilation of major cities from around the world- instead. Babe gets mixed up with some weird animals like a lame dog, a choir of cats and a family of mischievous chimpanzee bandits who are owned by Mickey Rooney-of all people. The story itself is pretty crazy and even hard to follow if you aren't paying attention. But that's the charm of this picture. It's controlled chaos. It is trying to go for this larger-than-life slapstick epic with colorful visuals. In that way, I think it is better than the original, Babe: Pig in the City's story is just as thin as the original but it contains the same sense of humor only amplified to 11. It's also much darker than the original kids film which I think more children need to be exposed to. The world is pretty messed up but that doesn't mean you can't be a good person. Babe: Pig in the City is certainly underrated and deserves much more attention just for it's quirky charm.
I am a big fan of classic science fiction and parody. I thought this might be a match made in heaven but frankly this is quite sad. I wish I could say this is worth at least a 1.99 but I feel cheated out of it actually. This feels like something I could just watch on youtube for free. The short follows a sheriff of a town called Backwater(I have to admit that made me chuckle) and how he has to fight off an invasion of an evil eyeball with tentacles from outer space. At times the story doesn't make much sense-the aliens crash land on earth yet somehow they leave the planet-and the jokes aren't all that funny-though it can be clever at times. The jokes seemed to be focused more so on making references than doing something clever even though the jokes do land every once in a while. The special effects is in this short is actually quite pitiful and they look even worse than special effects from an actual 50's sci-fi movie. I will give the makers behind the film this, you can tell they tried but in my opinion it just didn't work. If you want to watch a actually good parody of classic sci-fi, go watch The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera which is much smarter and has better jokes. And if you want to watch an unintentionally funny parody of 50's sci-fi, go watch Plan 9 from Outer Space.
A Visual Marvel That Requires Some Patience
Clocking in at just a littler over 2 hours, Baron Munchausen is a very visually imaginative film that takes a while to get going.The Adventures of Baron Munchausen focuses on the titular character who is a decrepit old man that has gone on to become a legend of sorts. He visits a theater inside of a city in the middle of a raging battle between some Europeans and the Turks. The Baron is eventually recognized by the citizens to be the legendary figure and they plead with him to get reinforcements. He decides to get his old gang back together with the help of a littler girl traveling all the way to the moon and even into the depths of a sea monster's belly. Like Terry Gilliam's other films Time Bandits and Brazil, Baron Munchausen is about escaping the shackles of reality through imagination. For Munchausen, those shackles are outliving his usefulness and the inevitability of death. The story is somewhat disjointed but what pulls it together is the charming cast, Gilliam's unique visual style and complex metaphors about life. The best way to describe this movie is if Gulliver's Travels and Alice in Wonderland got fused together in a blender. It's a delight for both the eyes and the mind.
Uneven But Loads of Fun
The major problem with this film is that it is very confused. It doesn't know if it wants to be a gritty thriller filled with violence or a light hearted romcom that just happens to have killing in it. I think if they toned down the griminess of it all, it would actually be one of the best pictures I have ever seen. That being said though, it is very good. The dialogue is witty and well crafted. The acting is superb and the plot-though complicated-will keep you intrigued. I see some people complain that the story is hard to follow but actually it really isn't. I watched another film called The Big Sleep-another mystery movie-that had much more going on it and I couldn't keep track of it all. Charade has a much more simple plot that still manages to have plenty of twists and turns. Definitely worth a watch!
The Princess Bride (1987)
Definitely Worth a Look
I used to watch Princess bride all the time as a kid. I have lots of good memories of me and my parents popping in a VHS tape of this film and eat some popcorn. As a film student and a movie critic though, I am not letting that get in the way of analyzing this picture. As a whole this movie is a bit of a mixed bag. The actors are the best part of the film. Even though it's a comedy, they play it straight which really works and makes the hilarious lines come off naturally. The second best is the writing. At times, the lines can be clunky and awkward-once again though those actors make them work-but the characterization makes up for it. These well developed characters are a lot of fun and you can't help but want to see them accomplish their task. The style and the direction of the picture are at about the same caliber. They display the action clearly and effectively so that the audience gets the picture. However some of the special effects shot look kind of crappy and a few of the props look a little too plasticy. I think though that adds to the appeal since it gives it a sense of cheesiness. Basically, this movie is pure fun with some good characters, cheesy special effects, and good one liners.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Big Slap In The Face
I don't hate this film. I don't like it either. For me, it just kind of exists. It's understandable though why so many people enjoy this picture. There are quite a few chuckle worthy moments and the characters are quite funny in how quirky they are.The actors are rather charming and the Coen brothers are good directors. However, that doesn't make up for the fact that this movie adds up to nothing. Random events happen for no good reason, many of the characters are completely pointless and even the story is unnecessary as well. It starts off with this unique crime plot about "The Dude"-a lazy bum-who gets mistaken for a millionaire with the same name as him. The Dude then gets caught up in this convulted scheme by German nihilists to blackmail the millionaire by holding his trophy wife hostage. But by the end of the flick I realized that absolutely nothing was at stake. I don't want to spoil it so I will just leave it at that. I don't mind if a story just wants to meander around aimlessly. Alice in Wonderland does that but at least there's a reason for it, they are in a dream like world that makes no sense. Here, they set up this world like its flesh and blood reality where things are run by rules and regulations but then some things will happen out of nowhere and lead to nothing-like the plot. You can't have a world run by both chaos and order. It just doesn't make any sense. That's The Big Lebowski. It feels like the whole movie is a big joke the Coen brothers are pulling on the audience. You are given a tour of strange characters that are tied together by a overly complicated plot that meant nothing in the end. I wouldn't recommend this unless watching a bunch of walking character quirks stumble around for an hour and a half sounds like fun to you. And if you do, don't worry you aren't alone.
Maciste e la regina di Samar (1964)
A Great "So Bad It's Good" Flick
Hercules Against The Moon Men doesn't deserve a 2 out of 10. It doesn't deserve an Oscar either but it isn't THAT bad. It's not good but it is at least entertaining. I have seen plenty of bad films that often insult your intelligence and make no sense but this film- though incompetent in most areas-in no way feels like a slap in the face like say Troll 2 or Howard the Duck. This movie tries to be a mixture of a Mythical Epic like Clash of the Titans and 50's Sci-fi like The Day the Earth Stood Still. And we get the best(or best worst) of both worlds. The development of the characters and their relationships are almost non-existent yet they still try to pass it off like they are growing i.e. a girl falls in love with Hercules even though they have known each other for a total of 12 minutes. The aliens are absolutely ridiculous but they look as if effort were put into them unlike other movie monsters like the goblins from Troll 2. The acting and dialogue are very wooden but you can at least say some work was put into it unlike say the actors from Troll 2(have I mentioned how much I hate Troll 2?). It doesn't try to be historically accurate or anything, it just tries to be exactly what it promises: Hercules fighting a bunch of aliens and that's exactly what it is and nothing more. I would say check this movie out if you wanna see a poorly done B-movie that you and your friends can laugh at.
Without a Doubt, One of the Greatest Animated Films of All Time
I heard about how a lot of people absolutely loved this film yet I didn't really know why and after watching it and some comments on what the film is trying to say, I think I understand now. The story if about a young girl whose family is moving into a new house when they decide to visit a strange town on the way there. They discover that it is inhabited by monsters and spirits who visit there for relaxation and now the parents have turned into pigs leaving the girl at the mercy of these creatures-some of them actually being quite kind. I can't emphasize this enough, but the animation in this picture is amazing. It might possibly be the best ever made but the visuals aren't the only appealing thing about this picture. The story really is all about growing up and how alien it can be. Going through the same process myself, I can relate to the character very easily and I wanted her to be able to get through this whole thing alright. I would recommend this movie not just for cinephiles but everyone honestly. It's a great film that anyone of just about any age can enjoy.
The Peanuts Movie (2015)
Blue Sky Does The Peanuts Justice
Blue Sky hasn't had a great track record. The Ice Age movies and the Rio films are okay at best but somehow they managed to really shine with The Peanuts and bring the strip justice. That probably has something to do with the fact that this film was actually written by Charles Schulz's son Craig. All the characters are here with their personalities intact and voiced by some really good kid actors. I didn't once think to myself that these kids don't sound like The Peanuts. The parts involving Snoopy's adventures against The Red Baron are also quite engaging almost like something out of Duck Tales or Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. I think this is a good film any fan of Charlie Brown will love and those of you unfamiliar with the material, this is probably a great place to jump onto.
A Complete and Utter Mess
I like weird movies. I love it when a film maker decides to go outside of the box and use strange and surreal stories to present unusual concepts like TV ruling our world. Croneneberg-notorious for making strange films-directed this picture and his fingerprints are all over it. The questioning of reality, the dream like imagery and the hammy acting are all part of his charm. But frankly, it simply didn't work here. The story of the film is about the head of a TV station named Max Renn that broadcasts sleazy sex-ploitation movies. He comes across a new program called Videodrome that begins to affect the way his mind works. Eventually, reality begins to unfold around him as a war between fiction, reality, and rival companies comes to the surface. Now, the main problem with this film is that it leaves the audience with more questions than answers. Now allowing your audience to think for themselves is a good thing. But allowing too many questions to be wide open isn't. In Inception, letting the audience guess whether or not Leonardo Di Caprio's character was still in a dream or not was a great use of suspense. Videodrome slowly reveals the secrets of it's world but as it does so, it begins to make less and less sense.Did that actually happen or was just in his head? Was that person real or did Videodrome mess with your head? Why is an eyewear company getting involved with TV? It is like a piece of clothing that if you just pull out a little string than the whole thing unravels and turns into a mess. Now the visuals and the special effects are very well done, I will give the movie that. That doesn't make up for the fact though that it isn't really well constructed story wise. If you want to watch a really gross body horror film that questions what reality is, go check out eXistenZ-another Cronenberg film with similar themes to Videodrome but done way better.
The Dark Knight (2008)
A Good Superhero Flick But Not A Great Film
Has anyone seen any of those Biblical epics from the golden age of Hollywood? You know the ones with tons of great actors, larger than life production values, and a decent script? The Dark Knight is a modern day version of that. Now, I like this film. I think the music and the direction are spot on, the editing is incredible, and even all of the actors do a pretty good job. But there are frankly too many problems with the script. Because of it's huge and epic proportions, many scenes feel almost unnecessary and just there to pad out the running time. Many of the characters and their motivations are just there to move the plot along whether they make sense or not. Not to mention that quite a few of these lines of dialogue come off as completely unnatural and they sound like something a very pretentious wannabe writer would come up with. A lot of people really like Heath Ledger's performance and he is hands down the best performance in this film. But that doesn't make up for the fact that his rise to power over night is nonsensical. I know many people might not like this review because a lot of people love the Dark Knight. I can understand that since I love a lot of films that have several issues. That doesn't mean the problems aren't there though. Thanks for reading and God Bless!
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Plan 9: A Grand Guilty Pleasure
I sometimes wish that I could genuinely rate films merely on how entertaining they were and not their quality. However, this film is really awful. The production designs look like they came off the set of a middle school play, the dialogue is giggle worthy, the acting is stiff and the story is about as well constructed as a tower of jenga blocks. But man was it fun! The charm of this film doesn't come from the movie so much as it comes from how much you can make fun of it. You can tell though that everyone tried their hardest to make this a good film. But they simply lacked the talent to do so. The best way to describe this film is like it is the cinematic equivalent of that klutzy office guy. You know that one guy who is really nice and kind but is also a complete doofus and continues to mess up almost all the time. That is this movie in a nutshell. Thanks for reading and God Bless!
eXistenZ: The Better Videodrome
I am not a big fan of Cronenberg. I despise it when a director does the same style or theme a thousand times and no one is more guilty of it than he(except for maybe Tim Burton). It gets repetitive though I understand why some might like his type of work. I watched another film of his-Video Drome-and hated it. I thought it was like someone trying to throw every type of food they liked into a blender put forgot to put the top on-a complete mess in other words. EXistenZ though takes all those foods and manages to create an exquisite- though somewhat disgusting-cuisine. The story is about a game designer in a future where game systems are biologically engineered. A bounty is put out on her head and now she must team up with a PR guy to stay alive. But it gets a thousand times more complicated from there. The movies goes through so many twists and turns that it actually almost became disorienting. Yet it stays fixed on the same idea: is this reality? Video Drome had a similar set up but an awful pay off unlike what he did with this picture. My only complain is just how graphic and foul mouthed he got. Are ten f-bombs seriously needed for this picture? Still the atmosphere and story are actually strong enough to make me want to watch it again sometime.
Flash Gordon (1980)
Underrated and Unknown
5 years ago, if you asked me who Flash Gordon was I would stare at you with squinted eyes and a puzzled look. A long time ago, I had this sci-fi phase and I came across the comic strip of Flash Gordon and eventually the movie. When I went to my uncle's apartment, I stumbled across it and I loved it as a kid. Now my dad bought it from Wal-mart with three other films and I feel in love with it all over again.
Flash Gordon is to Star Wars as the Avengers is to The Dark Knight series. Flash Gordon is comic booky, creative, visually engaging, and just full of eye candy. It doesn't make you feel like this is taking place in real life, instead it transports you to the world of the comic strip. it's not here to be realistic, it's here to entertain.
It's not Shakespeare but it sure is entertaining. If you want a semi-cheesy love story mixed in with science fiction, action & cool sets then this is the film for you.