Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The new, state of the art nuclear submarine Seaview is on diving trials in the Arctic Ocean. The Seaview is designed and built by scientist and engineering genius Admiral Harriman Nelson (USN-Ret) (Walter Pidgeon). Captain Lee Crane (Robert Sterling) is the Seaview’s Commanding Officer. One of the on-board observers is Dr. Susan Hiller (Joan Fontaine), studying crew-related stress. The mission includes being out of radio contact for 96 hours while under the Arctic ice cap, but the ice begins to crack and melt, with boulder-size pieces crashing into the ocean around the submarine. Surfacing, they discover fire burning in the sky. After the rescue of a scientist and his dog at Ice Floe Delta, Miguel Alvarez (Michael Ansara), the sub receives radio contact from Mission Director Inspector Bergan at the Bureau of Marine Exploration. He advises that a meteor shower pierced the Van Allen radiation belt causing it to catch fire, resulting in a world-threatening increase in heat all across the Earth. Nelson’s on-board friend and scientist, retired Commodore Lucius Emery (Peter Lorre) concurs that it is possible. Bergan informs Nelson that the President wants him at a UN Emergency Scientific Meeting as soon as possible.

Nelson and Commodore Emery calculate a plan to end the catastrophe. The USOS Seaview arrives in New York Harbor in two days. At the meeting Nelson informs the UN that according to their calculations, if the heat increase is not stopped, it will become irreversible and Earth has “a life expectancy of about three weeks.” The Admiral and the Commander have come up with a plan to extinguish the Skyfire. He proposes firing a nuclear missile at the burning belt from the best calculated location, the Marianas. Nelson posits that when fired at the right place and time, 1600 hours on August 29, the nuclear explosion should overwhelm and extinguish the flames, away into space, essentially “amputating” the belt from the Earth. The Seaview has the capability to fire the missile.

However, the Admiral’s plan is rejected by the chief scientist and head delegate, Emilio Zucco (Henry Daniell) of Vienna. His reasons are that he knows the composition of gases in the belt and he believes the Skyfire will burn itself out at 173 degrees. Zucco’s plan is to let the Skyfire do just that and he feels the Admiral’s plan is too risky. Nelson claims that Zucco’s burn-out point, however, is beyond that date and time if the current rise rate is maintained. But at Zucco’s urging, Nelson and Emery are shouted down and the plan is rejected. Despite the rejection, the Admiral and the Commodore quickly leave the proceedings, advising that his only authorization will be from the President himself.

It is a race against the clock as the Seaview speeds to reach the proper firing position, above the trench in the Marianas in the Pacific. During this time Nelson and Crane agree on tapping the Rio-to-London telephone cable to try to eventually reach the President. However, an unsuccessful attempt on the Admiral’s life makes it clear that there is a saboteur on board. But the confusion over who the saboteur might be revolves around rescued scientist Miguel Alvarez, who has become a religious zealot regarding the catastrophe, and Dr. Hiller, who secretly admires Dr Zucco’s plan. Other obstacles present themselves: a minefield and a near-mutiny. And Crane himself begins to doubt the Admiral’s tactics and reasoning. During the telephone cable attempt, Crane and Alvarez battle a giant squid. Although the London cable connection is made, Nelson is told there’s been no contact with the States for 35 hours. Also, a hostile submarine follows the Seaview deep into the Mariana Trench, but implodes before it can destroy the Seaview.

Near the end of the film the saboteur is revealed to be Dr. Hiller. Captain Crane happens by as she exits the ship’s “Off Limits” Nuclear Reactor core, looking rather ill. She has been exposed to a fatal dose of radiation: her detector badge is deep red. Walking over the submarine’s shark tank, she falls in during a struggle with the Captain, and is killed by a shark. The Admiral learns that temperatures are rising faster than expected. He realizes that Zucco’s belief that the Skyfire will burn itself out is in error.

At the end, Seaview reaches the Marianas. There, in spite of the threats and objections of Alvarez, Seaview launches a missile toward the belt and it explodes the burning flames outward, saving the world.

REVIEW:

The late 50s and 60s must have been a scary time to be alive because it seems like everything I watch involves fear of something, be it the Russians, aliens, or something out in the ocean coming to get us. Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea plays on a fear that is very real and that we still have today, making this perhaps the most relevant picture from this era I’ve watched since The Day the Earth Stood Still, if not moreso.

What is this about?

Walter Pidgeon plays the designer and builder of a nuclear submarine called upon to fire its missiles on the Van Allen radiation belt to put out the fire raging there that threatens to incinerate the earth in this deep-sea adventure.

What did I like?

All-star. At the time of its release, many of the cast members hadn’t become household names. Fast forward 50+ years and the likes of Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lorre, Michael Ansara, Joan Fontaine, Barbara Eden, and a very young Frankie Avalon all strike up various memories of long careers and lives. It does give one cause to pause and think how the studio was able to get them all under contract for this flick.

It could happen. In my native land of Texas, it has been raining so much that parts are flooding. Meanwhile California is experience its worst drought in history. Down here in south Louisiana, the high was 64. Usually at this time of year, its 84! I say all this to say that something is off with our weather and its a sure bet that part of it goes back to the ozone layer, the very thing that a meteor shower breaks through in this film and nearly fries the planet. Unless you’re blind, like politicians, then you can tell that we’re experiencing a trend of global warming, if not worse, thanks to the way we’ve treated our ozone. If we’re not careful, the events of this film are actually going to happen, only we  won’t be as prepared. Who would’ve thought that a film released in the early 60s would hold relevance 50 yrs later?

Calamari, anyone? I love film that use giant creatures. No surprise that a sea adventure where we briefly encounter a couple of underwater sea creatures is great. I would have preferred for them to be stop-motion, but that just me. Both the squid and octopus attempt to crush the submarine, both failing, but not before we get a glimpse of their enormous. I guess they grow them big down there.

What didn’t I like?

Change of heart. So, I’m sitting here listening to the captain spout off his reasons why he believes the admiral’s plan will backfire, if not worse. He makes some good points, as does the admiral. This gets a little testy and uncomfortable at times, then as the film has its climax, suddenly the ship’s captain has had a change of heart and rather than fighting with his superior officer.

Dive, Dive! The great thing about a movie the features submarines is that they go underwater, right? We get plenty of scenes with the sub under the water’s surface, but it is the structure of the sets that bother me. Having never had anything to do with the Navy, save for recruiting me my senior year of high school, I can’t speak to how big or small, they are.

Sub-mariner. Diving in modern times is hard, but when one is down deep in the depths, you can’t just surface immediately. There has to be a period of time for the body to adjust without getting the bends, as they call it. So, why is it this not addressed? Your guess is as good as mine, but I would wager it was just something they felt unnecessary to include.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea is perfect fodder for if you want a Saturday afternoon adventure. However, the film itself is not a masterpiece, by any stretch of the imagination. The true meaning of this film is what is important. We need to save the ozone layer, or else that spells about the end of life on this planet. Do I recommend this picture? Sure, but be warned that at times this comes off as a bit more preachy than it should.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Let’s Be Cops

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Two longtime pals, Justin, a reject video game designer, and Ryan, a washed up college quarterback, recall a pact they once made: if they hadn’t “made it” in Los Angeles by the time they were thirty, they would head back to their Toledo, Ohio hometown. While exiting a bar, their car is hit by a vehicle full of Albanians, who intimidate them into doing nothing.

Justin attempts to pitch a game about policemen but is dismissed by his employer. Later, Ryan convinces him to use the police uniforms from his presentation as costumes for their college reunion party. Upon attending, both are confronted with their failures and mutually accept to honor their pact. As they walk home, they are treated like real cops and decide to enjoy the gag. It allows Justin to finally get the attention of Josie, a waitress to whom he is attracted and who works at a local diner, Georgie’s.

Ryan decides to take the hoax further than one night. He learns official procedures and buys a used police cruiser, modifying it to resemble the genuine article. Although reluctant, Justin agrees to continue the charade, and through it begins a relationship with Josie. Ryan gets revenge on the Albanians who hit his car, unaware they are actually mobsters blackmailing the owner of Georgie’s. During their many shenanigans, Ryan and Justin end up on a real distress call with Patrol Officer Segars. The experience shakes Justin, who realizes they face serious jail time if exposed. He tries to “retire,” but gets a phone call from Josie about a man frequently harassing her at work. It turns out to be Mossi Kasic, leader of the Albanian mobsters. Once more, the pair are intimidated into doing nothing.

Via Segars, Ryan obtains surveillance equipment to gather evidence and put Mossi away, along with an unidentified partner who has been investigating the pair. Ryan convinces Justin to do an undercover operation to obtain information on an incriminating shipment of crates. During the mission, they discover the crates full of SWAT equipment, along with secret tunnels in which they are shipped that run between Mossi’s club and Georgie’s restaurant. This necessitates the acquisition of the restaurant, explaining the blackmail. After a few close encounters, they barely escape. Fed up, Justin insists on mailing the evidence anonymously, but Ryan, finding purpose in his life again, is set on delivering it personally. They fight, and part ways.

Ryan brings his evidence to Segars, who recommends it go to the highest authority, which is Detective Brolin. Unfortunately, Brolin is actually Mossi’s partner. After instantly recognizing each other, Ryan makes it out of the station, but his sudden threat has blown their cover. Meanwhile, Justin decides to man up and, in uniform, assertively pitches his game again. One of Brolin’s officers shows up to try and kill him, inadvertently helping to sell the pitch. Ryan is abducted, and Mossi sends a threatening message to Justin. Overwhelmed, Justin pleas to Segars for help after admitting everything. He also confesses to Josie, which he had made previous attempts to do, and she disgustedly leaves him.

Justin goes into the tunnels alone while Ryan pits Mossi and Brolin against each other, prompting Mossi to shoot and kill the detective. Justin attempts to save his friend, but is overpowered. Segars arrives, causing Mossi and his crew to retreat. Segars admonishes the duo for their deception and orders them to leave before going after the mobsters without waiting for backup. Ryan and Justin agree they can’t abandon him, and suit up with the SWAT equipment. They save Segars, but he becomes incapacitated. The pair then face Mossi alone, during which the two reconcile. They fail to take him out, but luckily, Segars is able to show up and shoots Mossi in the back of the chest, saving Justin and Ryan.

Thanks to the respective confidence and motivation gained during their impersonations, Justin has become a successful game developer, while Ryan graduates from the police academy as a true, fully-fledged member of the LAPD. Justin apologizes to Josie, and after she forgives him, they rekindle their relationship. Ryan, however, still has not given up on their fun as cops together, and convinces Justin to don the fake uniform once again and join him on patrol.

REVIEW:

Police officers need some kind of good publicity now, since a few bad eggs are making them all seem as rotten as spoiled milk. Perhaps Let’s Be Cops will at least paint the police in a positive light, even if out here in the real world it is getting harder and harder to trust them.

What is this about?

When two pals show up at a costume party dressed as cops, they end up being mistaken for the real thing and get drawn into a bona-fide crime drama. Despite a lack of experience in police work, the duo takes their new roles seriously.

What did I like?

No drama. These days it is hard to tell what is a comedy and what is a drama because films in the so-called “comedy” genre start off funny and about halfway through they turn into Grey’s Anatomy and never really get back into the groove they had at the start. Thankfully this film doesn’t fall into that trap. Yes, there is a hint of drama, but it is more so that we can become emotionally attached to these characters.

Stick to your genre. Continuing on that thought track, a film like this just screams to make an attempt at being a buddy cop flick, forgoing the comedy for action and one-liners. Again, the powers that be remembered that this is a comedy first. Yes, there is some action, but it is hardly enough to even mention, other than the climax. Kudos to the filmmakers for sticking to the genre.

New guys. There is some real chemistry between Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. (who looks and sounds almost exactly like his dad!!!). I think we may be watching the beginning of a new comedy team and/or comedic movie careers. Working together on New Girl probably helped make this transition as smooth as possible, I would imagine. The scenes when they are just acting as roommate feels like a couple of guys who live together and are just messing with each other because they are old friends. They really capture that aspect of these characters. Throw in their comedic talent and it is no wonder this film works on so many levels.

What didn’t I like?

Plausibility. Let’s say aliens were to come down to Earth and watch a movie that would tell them about our culture. For the sake of this example, they watched this film. When they assume human form, they also assume they can just wear a police officers uniform and get away with anything. Maybe that’s what’s going on with the cops today. Hmmm… Seriously, though, how is it that all one has to do is slap on a uniform and everyone takes them as cops. Surely they would have been figured out way before it got to the point that they were “helping” with a case. If not, then anyone can just slap on a uniform and do the same thing.

Odd couple. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. One roommate is tall, neurotic, possibly a neat freak, working hard to get his stuff together. The other is shorter, rounder, borderline slob, and has no idea where his life is headed. With some slight variations this is the plot to just about any comedy that involves roommates, most notably The Odd Couple. While it is a formula that has been tested time and time again, isn’t it time we come up with something else? Or is this more proof that no one has any original ideas anymore?

Sorority girls. There is a scene a little before the midway point where the fake cops are sent to sorority house. First off, I don’t know what kind of sorority only had 3 girls. Second, this scene seemed like something that Damon Jr.’s uncle Marlon would put in is his films, what with the “hood rat” girls fighting over some guy. I’m not sure what is more troubling, that or the fact that they just didn’t even acknowledge the super hot chick that made the call, answered the door, and just stood off to the side.

Let’s Be Cops is a film that probably could be turned into two or three more films, if they do it right. Unlike Ride Along, where the strength of the film lies in the names of the actors and not the actual story, this one is actually one to remember. Having said that, the villains are generic cartoons, but for this kind of film, they work. I do with Nina Dobrev and Keegan-Michael Key would’ve gotten bigger parts, though, more so with Dobrev. I won’t mention the tease she does to the audience (she starts to take her dress off, but all we see is her back). Key is typical Key. This guy is getting some major work and is killing it in everything, from being the President’s anger management translator at the White House correspondent’s dinner, to his role in Pitch Perfect 2, and now this. Oh, and Key & Peele is still on the air. Enough beating around the bush! Do I recommend this? Yes, while not the best film in the world, it is a comedy featuring relatable characters is absurd situations that will most likely brighten your day. Give it a shot!

4 out of 5 stars

Pitch Perfect 2

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Following an incident involving Fat Amy having a wardrobe malfunction at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Barden Bellas are suspended from the circuit of a capella performing. In order to regain their status, the Bellas enter the international competition—a colossal task since no American team has ever won.

REVIEW:

So, it was about this time last year that this city was being overrun by production crews. One was for Fantastic Four and the other was the just finished Pitch Perfect 2. Since this production overtook the city and streets and everything, I can’t help but feel a little biased, but then I remember that this is one of those rare films today that, in its own way, pushes music education, and I can’t be mad at it…or can I?

What is this about?

Hoping to be the first American group ever to win a prestigious international a cappella competition, the Barden Bellas return in this song-filled sequel and come up against a rival group of European singers who are also determined to win.

What did I like?

Pass the torch. In the years since Pitch Perfect, our Bellas have grown from freshman to seniors. While none of them really seem ready to strike out in the world, let alone willing, it is something that must be done. Of course, when they do this, someone has to fill their shoes. The film does a good job of letting them go out with a bang, as well as introduce the first of the new generation, if you will, in Hailee Steinfeld, who shows she has the talent and drive to keep this going both in and out of character.

Music. There seemed to be much more music in this film as opposed to its predecessor. Is that a good thing? I’m not so sure, especially given that there weren’t as many instantly recognizable tunes as before and it ended with an original piece. That being said, when the performances are happening, be they from the Bellas, Treble Makers, the German group, or even the Green Bay Packers, you can’t look away. I know that in the last performance, I nearly stood up and clapped when the “old” Bellas joined them on stage. It was a great moment, especially at that point in the plot and the song lent itself to that very well.

Now you know. Anna Kendrick’s character was so gung-ho about her “talent” for mixing songs in the last film and she thought she was could skip college and go straight to a career doing so. As I said in my review of the last film, that isn’t music. Furthering my point, Becca gets told by her boss that “any kid with an ear and some equipment can do what you do.” Sounds harsh, I know, but it is true. Mixing songs together isn’t music, and someone needed to tell her!

Germans. Here in the US, whenever we need a foreign villain, that isn’t going to destroy the world, we tend to make them German (pending the era). Nothing wrong with that, just an observation. This German group, whose name totally escapes me at the moment, is like a machine. They sing and perform with military precision and it is no wonder they are considered one of the world’s best. You can’t help but be in awe of their talent and physical superiority. A perfect foil for our Bellas.

What didn’t I like?

Sequelitis. If there is one thing I can say about this picture, it is that it doesn’t suffer from sequelitis, which is repeating the same film all over again. While there are some places that can be said to be copied, for the most part, this is a picture with its own plot. However, I do take issue with this being the second time the Bellas have had a disgrace on the national stage. Couldn’t there have been a better way to get them to compete on the international level than to go through all that? Not to mention using Fat Amy for that stunt was questionable in the first place.

Announcers. On their own, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are actually two really funny people. Put them together and the sparks fly. However, this script was not written very well, as all of their jokes are just unfunny, racist, or sexist. I appreciate their trying to get audiences to lighten up a bit.

Catalina she ain’t! Every chance they get, we are forced to suffer some sort of joke from the token Latina of the group, played by Chrissie Fit. I wouldn’t have a problem with her, except for the fact she was really playing up the illegal immigrant angle, which was done much better by Catalina from My Name is Earl. This chick doesn’t measure up and took away screen time from what should have been more randomosity from Hanna Mae Lee’s character.

My initial bias against Pitch Perfect 2 quickly went out the window and I was able to enjoy this film for what it was. A musical comedy meant for fans of the first film, but also aimed at bringing in some new blood. I do have some issues with the film, but for the most part, I found this to be an enjoyable time. Did it need to be made? Probably not. Do I recommend it? Yes, very much so! The last number and the underground riff-off sequences, as well as the performance by Key (from Key & Peele) is worth the price of admission. Check it out!

4 1/4 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 5/21

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on May 21, 2015 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

School’s….out…for…summer! Come on, you all know the song. Sing with me!

School’s…out…for…summer!!!

Since school is out, why not feature a summer type movie, but wait…in other parts of the country school isn’t out for another few weeks. Isn’t that…Summer School?

HAHA See what I did there?

Revisited: Beowulf

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Beowulf (Ray Winstone) is a legendary Geatish warrior who travels to Denmark with his band of soldiers, including his best friend, Wiglaf (Brendan Gleeson). They travel in response to the call of King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins), who needs a hero to slay a monster called Grendel (Crispin Glover), a hideously disfigured troll-like creature with superhuman strength. Grendel attacks Hrothgar’s mead hall, Heorot, whenever the Danes hold a celebration there, and Hrothgar was forced to close the hall. Upon arriving, Beowulf immediately becomes attracted to Hrothgar’s wife, Queen Wealtheow (Robin Wright Penn), who does not love her husband and reciprocates Beowulf’s interest.

Beowulf and his men celebrate in Heorot to lure Grendel out. When the beast does attack, Beowulf engages him unarmed and naked, determining that since Grendel fights with no weapon or armor he shall face him as equal. During the melee, Beowulf discovers that Grendel has hypersensitive hearing, which is why he interrupts Hrothgar’s celebrations – the noise they make is physically painful to him. After his eardrum is ruptured by Beowulf, he attempts to escape (having shrunk in size due to the injury). Beowulf manages to restrain Grendel and severs his arm using the door. In thanks for freeing his kingdom from the monster, Hrothgar gives Beowulf his golden drinking horn, which commemorates Hrothgar’s victory over the mighty dragon Fafnir.

Returning to his cave, the dying Grendel tells his mother what was done to him and by whom, and she swears revenge. She travels to Heorot in the night and slaughters Beowulf’s men while they were sleeping. Hrothgar tells both Beowulf and Wiglaf, who had been sleeping outside the hall during the attack, that it was the work of Grendel’s mother, the last of the Water Demons, who was thought by Hrothgar to have left the land. Beowulf and Wiglaf travel to the cave of Grendel’s mother to slay her. Only Beowulf enters the cave where he encounters Grendel’s mother (Angelina Jolie), who takes the form of a beautiful woman. She offers to make him the greatest king who ever lived if he will agree to give her a son to replace Grendel and let her keep the golden drinking horn. Beowulf agrees to the deal and returns, claiming to have killed her. Hrothgar, however, realizes the truth after hearing Beowulf describe her as a “hag” and a “witch.” He tells Beowulf indirectly that, much like Beowulf, he was also seduced by Grendel’s mother; Grendel was the result of their tryst. Hrothgar names Beowulf his successor as king, much to the dismay of his royal advisor, Unferth (John Malkovich), who was hoping to take the throne. Hrothgar then commits suicide by jumping from the castle parapet onto the beach below. A wave momentarily engulfs Hrothgar’s body, there is a golden flash underwater, and the body is gone.

Years later, the elderly Beowulf is married to Wealtheow. Over the years they had grown apart, husband and wife in name alone. Beowulf takes a mistress, Ursula (Alison Lohman) but his tryst with Grendel’s mother has left him sterile. One day, Unferth’s slave Cain (Dominic Keating) finds the golden drinking horn in a swamp near Grendel’s cave and brings it back to the kingdom. That night, a nearby village is destroyed by a dragon, which leaves Unferth alive in order to deliver a message to King Beowulf: the dragon is Beowulf’s son born to Grendel’s mother. Removing the horn has voided the agreement between Beowulf and Grendel’s mother, who has now sent their son, the dragon, to destroy his kingdom.

Beowulf and Wiglaf go to the cave once again and Beowulf goes into the cave alone. When Grendel’s mother appears, Beowulf gives her the golden horn to convince her to stop the attack. Grendel’s mother considers it too late for any kind of agreement. She releases the dragon to attack Beowulf’s kingdom again. Beowulf goes to great lengths to stop the monster, even severing his own arm, and ultimately kills the dragon by ripping its heart out. The dragon’s fall mortally wounds Beowulf, but he lives long enough to watch the carcass of the dragon transform into the humanoid body of his son before it is washed out to sea. Beowulf insists on speaking the truth about his affair with Grendel’s mother but Wiglaf insists on keeping Beowulf’s legacy intact. As the new king, Wiglaf gives Beowulf a Norse funeral and watches as Grendel’s mother appears and gives Beowulf a final kiss before his burning ship sinks into the sea. Wiglaf sees the golden horn in the sand while Grendel’s mother floats in the sea, looking at him seductively. The movie ends ambiguously with Wiglaf holding the horn and staring back at her.

REVIEW:

In high school and college, I was made to study the epic poem Beowulf. While I found it interesting, admittedly, I didn’t do too well in those units. It wasn’t until years later, when this film was released that I developed a real respect and understanding of the material. I almost wished I could go back and take those classes over again…almost.

What is this about?

Robert Zemeckis directs this film adaptation of the longest surviving Anglo-Saxon poem, an epic tale concerning a 6th-century Scandinavian warrior named Beowulf and his mission to slay the manlike ogre Grendel, a descendant of Cain.

What did I like?

Animation. Unlike other films that use this CGI-live action hybrid, the characters in this one actually look alive, as opposed to creepy dead behind the eyes creations of a mad scientist. When your characters actually look alive, then they can do so much more. You can show the pain and heartbreak of a betrayed queen, the lust of a young maiden for her king, the sensual glance of Grendel’s mother (a perfect rendering of Angelina Jolie, btw…circa the Tomb Raider days), etc. On top of all this, the action in this is done almost as well, if not better, than some of the stuff we see in live action today. Just watch the fight with Grendel or Beowulf’s tale of his battle with the sea monster and you’ll see all you need, trust me.

Score. Some of my favorite films are the epic adventures from the late 50s and 60s. Most of these films had two things in common. The genius stop-motion of Ray Herryhausen and brilliant scores, most notably would have to be Jason and the Argonauts. In that same vein, we have here an epic story that is more than worthy of an epic score that fits the tone and scope of what is happening, and that is exactly what our ears are treated to.

A hero’s entrance. Beowulf’s entrance is truly that of a hero. After the initial massacre at Heorot, cut to Beowulf on his ship. The guy is what you would expect him to look like, big, strong, etc. He jokes around with his friend, Wiglaf and then inspires his men to keep rowing, storm or not. While Beowulf didn’t enter the film with his sword a-blazin’, for lack of a better term, it is still a majestic entrance for our titular hero.

What didn’t I like?

Changes. If I’m not mistaken, there is no actual text of the original poem, so at this point, transcribers are changing all sorts of thing in this story. However, even with the changes they make, most things still stay the same. That is not the case with this film, though. Most of the changes I can live with, as they were done for film and time sake, such as Beowulf becoming king of Denmark, rather than his homeland. There are things that just aren’t right, though, such as Grendel’s mother attempting to seduce Wiglaf as the film ends, Unferth being a Christian, Grendel’s mother, etc. Ok, I have no problem with how they portrayed Grendel’s mother on-screen, just her character. HAHA! Seriously, though, these changes were a bit more than what was perhaps necessary, in my opinion.

Queen’s right. Queen Wealthow is a loyal mate to both her cheating husbands, Hrothgar and Beowulf. Hell, Beowulf does it twice, even if the first time is before they were married. This brings to question why she sticks around. A beautiful woman like that deserves better than to be cheated on over and over again.

Just keep swimming. The race that Beowulf has at sea is told through a flashback, but why? This is arguably one of the most beautifully animated and exciting scenes in the film and it is nothing but a flashback. Seems to me that this should have been given more of an actual sequence in the film, perhaps even use it as Beowulf’s entrance, since Unferth had apparently heard talk of the tale.

In theaters, I actually paid to see Beowulf in 3D *GASP* To this day, I have not regretted that decision. 8 years later it still stands as one of the best 3D films that I have seen in theaters, if not THE best. The story is captivating enough to keep audiences interested, and I doubt guys (and girls) will have issue with a naked and golden Angelina Jolie popping up now and then. Do I recommend this film? Yes, very much so. This is one of those films you need to see before you die!

5 out of 5 stars

Female Vampire

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on May 20, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The plot revolves around Countess Irina von Karlstein (played by Lina Romay), a mute woman who needs sex like a vampire needs blood in order to stay alive forever. When new victims are found fatally drained of potency, forensic scientist Dr. Roberts consults his colleague, Dr. Orloff, who confirms that a vampire is responsible. Meanwhile, Irina is confronted by a poet who believes he is destined to become her lover and join her among the immortals.

REVIEW:

It seems as if the vampire craze that gripped the country, if not the world, is over and has thankfully been replaced by the far superior subject, superheroes! I am still a fan of vampires, though, especially female vampires. It seems like every vampire film we see focuses on the male specimens, but what about the other sex? This is where Female Vampire comes in.

What is this about?

To ensure her survival, an undead countess drains the life force from her prey. Meanwhile, she stirs a poet’s passion — and the coroner’s suspicions.

What did I like?

Suck it. We all know that vampires suck blood. That is how they survive. Until True Blood, we were mostly led to believe that they had to bite out necks in order to gain sustenance (they also take from the thigh and wrist on that show) . Now, thanks to this film, we have a new twist on how vampires get blood and, considering the nature of these creatures, it makes sense. Oral sex! Yes, that’s right. Our titular character has goes down on her victim and then when she’s had her fun, she drains them.

Lina Romay. The first person you see in this picture is Lina Romay, wearing only a hood of some sort walking in the woods towards the camera. Nudity aside, you cannot deny that this was a beautiful woman. Also, she doesn’t speak in the picture. When she does interact with someone it is through a series of nods and facial cues. Does that mean she’s a good actress? I wouldn’t go that far, but to pull of a non-speaking role like this does require some talent, other than just walking around with no clothes on all day.

Hood ornament. There are a few scenes where the Countess is riding around the countryside. As she is doing so, we get to look out the window and notice a hood ornament (remember those?) in the shape of a bat, I believe. Not just any bat, though. This one has wings that actually flap as the car moves. That isn’t a big thing, nor does it really have anything to do with the film, but it did catch my attention.

What didn’t I like?

Skin flick. As a red-blooded, straight male, I would be lying if I said that I was not interested in seeing an attractive woman walk around for nearly 2 hours giving head to both men and women. If that was all this was, then we’d have a porn film, so there is (allegedly) a plot somewhere in here which I will touch on next. The scenes in which Romay does her vampire thing seem to get longer and longer as the film goes on, until they just seem like filler. I almost turned this off because it had literally turned into a skin flick, and that isn’t what I signed up for when I decided to watch.

Plot? You know that plot that I just mentioned? Well, there really isn’t one. This is all about Romay and her insatiable appetite. We get hints at plot, such as the coroner who wants to prove the existence of vampires, the poet who is madly in love with (this story line seems to get the most airtime), and the reporter who wants to interview her about her family. None of these go anywhere, though, leaving one to wonder, why even bother?

Silence. I think I am one of the few people around today who genuinely enjoys silent film, and not in an ironic, hipster way, but as entertainment. Because of this, the main character’s inability to speak, as well as the sparse dialogue (which is in French, btw) in the film, didn’t bother me in the least. However, I am curious as to why she can’t speak. Is that some kind of vampire thing in this “world”? Did she have some kind of accident? Vampires aren’t known for having any imperfections, so this is an odd thing.

Final verdict on Female Vampire. Well, first off, it is obviously a product of its time. Every female vampire film that I’ve seen, excluding the Underworld franchise has been from the 70s and is just shy of being porn. This one, though, has to be near the bottom of the barrel, because the story and plot are there, but as soon as it gets going, cut to an oral sex scene. Do I recommend this? No, it is best that you not waste your time. I already wasted mine.

2 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 5/14

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on May 14, 2015 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

For this week’s trailer, let’s take a look at a film from one of my favorite special effects artists, and master of stop-motion animation, Ray Herryhausen.

Sinbad may be a forgotten relic these days, but there was a time when he was as popular an action character as Batman and Bond…James Bond.

Have a look at the trailer for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and tell me what you think!

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