Archive for October, 2008

The Center of the World

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on October 31, 2008 by Mystery Man


A couple checks into a suite in Las Vegas. In flashbacks we see that he’s a computer whiz on the verge of becoming a millionaire, she’s a lap dancer at a club. He’s depressed, withdrawing from work, missing meetings with investors. He wants a connection, so he offers her $10,000 to spend three nights with him in Vegas, and she accepts with conditions: four hours per night of erotic play, and no penetration. During the days in Vegas, they get to know each other, have fun, meet a friend of hers; at night, at least after the first night, things seem to get complicated. Is mutual attraction stirring? Will they play by their rules? Can it be about more than money?


There isn’t much to this film. honestly, I don’t know why I wasted the hour and half watching it. It can best be summed up as a less charming, more erotic version of Pretty Woman. If I say that, though, it would be an insult to that iconic film.

This movie is so bad, I needed to take a shower after watching it. I had never heard of it before and just happened to come across it in passing on the Netflix instant view list. There is good reason I never heard of it, though.

I will say, that for an independent film, it isn’t bad, but at the same timne, it’s not good.

The gorgeous Carla Gugino was wasted in her small role in this film. The plot isn’t the worst in the world, but it’s just been done so much, many times better.

So, do I recommend this film to anyone. No. Unless you’re into this kind of boring film, then stay away.

1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Saw IV

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 30, 2008 by Mystery Man


At the autopsy of the Jigsaw Killer, a wax-coated microcassette is found in his stomach. Detective Hoffman is called in to listen to the tape, which promises that “the games have just begun” and that “perhaps you [Hoffman] will succeed where others have failed” in his test as he is “the last man standing.”

The scene shifts to a mausoleum, where Trevor and Art are chained to a large device. Trevor’s eyelids have been sewn together, as has Art’s mouth, making communication between them impossible. When the device begins pulling them together, they panic, and Art kills Trevor to retrieve a key from the latter’s collar. In a later flashback, Art finds two items waiting for him elsewhere in the mausoleum: a recorded message from Jigsaw and an envelope containing instructions.

It has been six months since the disappearance of Detective Eric Matthews, and four days since Detective Allison Kerry vanished, as noted by Hoffman. The police discover Kerry’s corpse, still hanging in the harness of the inescapable trap that killed her in Saw III. After cautioning Lieutenant Rigg for barging through an unsecured door, Hoffman is introduced to FBI Agents Strahm and Perez, who deduce that Amanda Young, Jigsaw’s apprentice, would need assistance with Kerry’s death, indicating that there is another accomplice to the murder.

That evening, Rigg is attacked in his home and Hoffman disappears. When Rigg comes to, a videotape informs him that Matthews is in fact still alive, with ninety minutes to save himself, and that Hoffman’s survival is at stake as well. He then undergoes his first test, in which he finds a woman named Brenda. Jigsaw advises Rigg to walk away–to “see what I see,” as written on the wall–but Rigg’s natural instinct to help those in need clouds his judgment. When Rigg removes the pig mask covering Brenda’s face, he triggers a trap device that begins to slowly tear her scalp from her head. He succeeds in freeing her, but to his surprise, she comes at him with a knife; Brenda has been told that Rigg is there to arrest her and the only way to stop it is to kill him. He throws her into a mirror and leaves to find the site of his next test. Sometime later, Strahm, Perez, and the police enter the apartment and find that Brenda has died.

Rigg arrives at a motel, where he is instructed to “feel what I feel,” painted on the door of one room. He must abduct the manager, Ivan, revealed to be a serial rapist. Angered by seeing videos and photos of Ivan’s exploits, Rigg forces Ivan into a prearranged trap, which gives him the option between having his eyes gouged out or being savagely dismembered. Rigg hands him two controllers that will drive blades into his eyes, blinding him and saving his life. When Ivan runs out of time after blinding only one eye, his limbs are ripped off his body and thrown across the room.

Rigg’s next test, to “save as I save,” occurs in a school where Rigg once attacked a man named Rex, whom he suspected of abusing his wife Morgan and daughter Jane. Hoffman had intervened to stave off disciplinary action against Rigg at that time. In one of the classrooms, Rigg discovers that same husband and wife impaled together back to back with several long metal rods. The rods are placed such that they pass through vital circulatory points of his body, but non-vital points of hers. If she has the courage to remove the rods, her abusive husband will bleed to death but she will survive. By the time Rigg finds the couple, she has pulled out all but one rod and gone into shock; she suddenly wakes up and Rigg tells her that she has to save herself. He removes the last spike, wraps his jacket around her, hands her the key to the harness she and her husband are strapped into, and sets off a fire alarm to alert emergency services to her position, then leaves.

Strahm and Perez arrive on the scene, having previously realized that they have both become targets in this latest series of games. They determine that all of the victims were defended by Art, who is also the lawyer of Jill Tuck, John Kramer’s ex-wife. A gun used to insert the rods into Rex and Morgan fires a spear through a photographer and kills her on the scene. Strahm and Perez find Billy, Jigsaw’s puppet, in the office; Perez is told via tape recorder that Strahm will “soon take the life of an innocent man” and that her “next step is critical.” Ignoring the warning, she takes a closer look at Billy, whose face suddenly explodes and showers her with shrapnel; she is rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Furious, Strahm interrogates Jill, who recounts Jigsaw’s backstory. She was once pregnant with a boy to be named Gideon (after John’s first construction project), but the baby was lost when Cecil Adams robbed the clinic at which she was employed and caused her to suffer a miscarriage. She and her husband grew apart and divorced. After learning that he had cancer and only a short while to live, John kidnapped Cecil and placed him in a trap, the first trap he ever built. Cecil had to push his face against several knives in order to release his wrists, which were slit due to razor blades in the arms of the chair. He began to do so, but the chair collapsed before he could reach the release switch. Noticing John standing in front of him watching, Cecil lunged at him but fell into a mesh of barbed wire as John moved aside at the last second. Strahm makes connections from Jill’s story to the Gideon Meat Factory, the scene of Rigg’s final test.

Strahm arrives but finds himself lost, accidentally trailing Jeff Reinhart – making the viewers believe Jeff is looking for his daughter. In reality, however, the events of this film and Saw IIIare now unfolding at the same time. Rigg, meanwhile, approaches his final test. In the next room are Art, Matthews, and Hoffman; Matthews stands on an ice block with a chain-noose cinched around his neck, while Hoffman is strapped into a chair with an electrode by his feet. They are at opposite ends of a balanced seesaw, but if Matthews slips off the ice or too much of it melts, he will be hanged and the weight shift will dump the runoff water onto Hoffman’s end, electrocuting him. Art is watching over them both, with a device strapped to his back that holds a set of pincers against his neck, ready to cut through his spine. Once the ninety-minute timer for Rigg’s tests runs out, he can push a button to release himself and the others.

All three men discover that if the door is opened before time runs out, Matthews’ head will be crushed between two ice blocks and Hoffman will die with him. Seeing an approaching figure (Rigg) through the door’s grimy window, Matthews attempts to warn him off without success, then shoots out through the door at him with a gun supplied by Art. The shot hits Rigg in the stomach, but he still crashes through the door with one second left on the clock, releasing the overhead ice blocks and killing Matthews. Rigg shoots and kills Art, mistaking the tape recorder in Art’s hand for a gun, and plays the tape only to discover that he has failed his final test by not learning that he could not save everyone by himself. Had he allowed the time to expire and not barged through the door (something Hoffman had earlier warned him against), he would have passed and the three captives would have all survived. Hoffman releases himself from his chair unharmed, revealing himself to be another apprentice of Jigsaw, and leaves Rigg bleeding on the floor. Elsewhere in the factory, Strahm faces off with Jeff in the makeshift sickroom from Saw III. Jeff waves a gun at Strahm, believing him to be involved in the abduction of his daughter; Strahm kills Jeff in self-defense. Before he can react further, Hoffman locks him in the room with the corpses of Jigsaw, Amanda, Jeff, and Lynn Denlon.

The end of the opening autopsy scene is shown again, indicating that it took place after the events of the film.


I’m not a fan of these new age horror films that feel the need show every aspect of the murder. I find it more terrifying not knowing what’s happening and just seeing the shadows or hearing what’s going on.

That being said, I decided to give this a go tonight. While I wasn’t crazy about it, and have no clue what is going on in the Saw franchise, other than what I’ve seen in various parodies and such, I did enjoy it. I didn’t love it, but it was enjoyable.

There were a few too many twists for my liking and not enough death and gore. If you’re going to show it, then show it, go all out, don’t hold back!

The acting, other than Jigsaw, is very, very, bad, but this is to be expected in horror films. Even the great horror films of days gone by had bad acting, so I’ll let that pass.

All in all, if you’re into the blood and gore genre of movies, then you’ll love this.

3 out of 5 stars

Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2008 by Mystery Man



The mother of Hercules, Alcmene, is kidnapped, and Hercules finds that the Olympians are being attacked by Titans, set free by the jealous Hera. Then Hercules and Iolaus join forces with Xena and Gabrielle to save the Olympians – who only include Zeus, Aphrodite, Ares, and Artemis. During the film, the Olympians (or, at least, the four included) were changed into common domestic animals. Hercules and Xena fight to imprison the Titans, punish Hera, restore the Olympians, and rescue Alcmene.


As a fan of both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, I had high hopes for this. I figured it was just an animated episode. Boy was I mistaken!

If you close your eyes, then it sounds like a cross over episode with Xena and Hercules because they have all the same voices. However, that’s the only thing that resembles the series’. I’m not really sure why this was made, other than the creators wanted to give kids a version of Hercules and Xena that they could enjoy. In doing so, though, they may have alienated the fans. Luckily, this was a direct-to-video release and didn’t go to theaters.

The animation is sub-par, but I may be a bit biased  and spoiled as a die-hard Disney fan.

I will say, the plot and story aren’t bad. In fact, this could have worked as a real episode. Sadly, it didn’t work out that way.

I really can’t think of anyone who would willingly watch this, unless you are a fan of Xena and Hercules and can look past all the inconsistencies between the shows and this movie.

2 stars out of 5


Posted in Action/Adventure, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2008 by Mystery Man


In 1944, the German Nazis work with Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin on an isolated island off the coast of Scotland to build a dimensional portal. They intend to use it, with Rasputin’s help, to awaken the Ogdru Jahad (the Seven Gods of Chaos), monstrous entities that have been imprisoned and asleep since an undisclosed time, to destroy their enemies. But Rasputin secretly intends to use the entities to bring about the destruction of the entire Earth. He is aided by his servant and lover, Ilsa von Haupstein, to whom he has granted eternal life, and Nazi Lieutenant Colonel (Obersturmbannführer) Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, a notorious killer, Hitler’s chief assassin and leader of the Thule Society. The United States sends a small Army team to destroy the portal, guided by a young doctor, Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who is well-versed in terms of magic and sorcery. In the ensuing battle, the German scientists and soldiers are killed and the portal is destroyed, killing Rasputin. Ilsa and Kroenen escape capture. As the Army team surveys the ruins for anything that may have sneaked into their dimension through the portal, they discover a bright red infant demon with a right hand seemingly made from stone. Bruttenholm coaxes it into his arms with a Baby Ruth candy bar. They name the little demon “Hellboy.”

Sixty years later, a young FBI agent named John Myers is transferred to the Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense, run by Professor Bruttenholm. He is introduced to Hellboy, now an adult. Also employed with the BPRD is a fish-like person named Abe Sapien who has advanced psychic abilities, and Liz Sherman, a pyrokinetic who has yet to learn to control her firestarting abilities. Liz has recently left the bureau (for the thirteenth time) and checked herself into a mental hospital in an effort to protect others from her talent. Despite regular visits and coaxing from Hellboy, who appears infatuated with her, she is determined not to return.

Meanwhile, Kroenen and Ilsa resurrect Rasputin. Rasputin and his companions travel to New York and the Machen Library of Paranormal Artifacts. There, they open a display and, through magic, release a demon known as Sammael, a hell-hound with a distinct Lovecraftian appearance. Rasputin imbues Sammael with the power to reincarnate and split his essence, causing two of the creature’s “eggs” to hatch and mature in seconds each time one dies. Rasputin then visits Liz as she sleeps, reactivating her powers and causing the near-total destruction of the hospital. Afterwards, Myers talks to her, and convinces her to return to the bureau, at least for the short term.

The multiplying Sammael quickly becomes a major problem, as Hellboy repeatedly kills it, creating dozens. Abe is injured during an attempt to retrieve some of their eggs, and Kroenen kills one of the FBI agents sent with Hellboy, and Sammael kills the other 2 agents. Kroenen, whose ancient body is now run by mechanisms, then shuts himself down and pretends to be defeated just before Hellboy arrives. Kroenen’s ‘corpse’ is brought to the bureau for examination. FBI Director Tom Manning is angered by Hellboy’s recklessness, which he feels is indirectly responsible for his agents’ deaths. Hellboy gets mad and threatens Manning just as Liz returns, almost causing her to leave again just as quickly. Myers, in an effort to help her overcome her difficulties with Hellboy, takes her out for coffee and to talk. Hellboy, jealous, covertly follows them.

While they are away, Rasputin appears at the bureau, reanimating Kroenen before they confront Professor Bruttenholm. Out of twisted respect for Bruttenholm’s protection and nurturing of Hellboy, Rasputin promises him a quick death, but first offers him a vision of the future, showing Hellboy is the agent that has destroyed the world. Rejecting Rasputin’s vision of Hellboy’s destiny, Bruttenholm is stabbed in the neck and, clutching a rosary, collapses and dies.

Manning takes over the BPRD and, with the help of Hellboy and the others, manages to find Rasputin’s physical body located in a mausoleum in an old cemetery outside Moscow, Russia. An enraged Hellboy, with Manning’s help, destroys Kroenen once and for all, to avenge the death of his “father”, Professor Bruttenholm. Telling Manning to stay back, Hellboy reunites with Liz and Myers at Sammael’s nest to defend them, but the hellhounds overwhelm him. In an effort to help, Liz, with some encouragement from Myers, ignores the fear that has prevented her from unleashing her full potential and uses her pyrokinetic powers to encase herself in blue fire, which she uses to incinerate the army of Sammaels and all the eggs. Unfortunately, this effect renders Hellboy, Liz, and Myers unconscious and they are captured by Rasputin.

To force Hellboy to release the Ogdru Jahad, Rasputin sucks Liz’s soul out of her body, telling Hellboy that Liz will come back to life only if he complies. Hellboy, not wanting to lose Liz, awakens his true power as Anung un Rama (the Beast of the Apocalypse), causing his horns to regrow. He nearly releases the Ogdru Jahad, but the injured Myers reminds him of who he is and that he has the right to choose his own path. He snaps off his horns, returning to his former self and resealing the Ogdru Jahad. As Rasputin screams his frustration and disappointment at Hellboy, Hellboy stabs him in the heart with one of his broken horns.

However, Rasputin has one last trick up his sleeve: he is possessed by a demon from the Ogdru Jahad. The tentacled Behemoth bursts out of Rasputin’s body, grows to immense size, and destroys Rasputin and Ilsa. Hellboy grabs a stone sword from a nearby statue and attacks the Behemoth’s tentacles, then allows himself to be swallowed while detonating a belt of live hand grenades. The subsequent explosion tears the Behemoth apart from inside, killing it. Liz’s vital signs are gone when Hellboy returns from the fight, but he whispers into her ear, and suddenly her life is restored. When she asks how her soul was returned, Hellboy replies that he simply told the creatures from the other side the cost of taking her: “Hey, you on the other side. Let her go. Because for her I’ll cross over, and then you’ll be sorry.” She and Hellboy kiss as she surrounds them in blue flame, and the narrator, Myers, says that what truly makes a man is “Not how he starts things, but how he decides to end them.”

Finally, the film ends with a humorous mid-credits scene, where a forgotten and frightened Manning is lost several levels down in the dank and dim halls of the mausoleum, listening to (maybe) the rustle of footsteps, and looking to see if there’s anyone/anything around.


As a comic book fan, I love movies based on comics. Although I am not well versed in the Hellboy universe, I thoroughly enjoyed this film and after my first viewing of it went out to school myself on the his legend.

I don’t think anyone else could have pulled of Hellboy better than Ron Pearlman.

The monsters and special effects are a thing of beauty. It’s quite obvious this is a Guillermo del Toro film.

The death of the professor and Hellboy’s emotions surrounding that as well as his feelings for Liz add real depth to the character.

I do have a couple of problems with this movie, though. The final battle was over in like 5 seconds. I’m sorry, but you just expect something like that to last a little bit longer. Also, Abe was severely underused, especially considering how major of a role he has in the comic.

All in all this is a good comic book film. It is forgotten alongside the likes of  Spider Man, X-men, Superman, and Batman because he’s not from a “major” comic company, but given that little tidbit, the fact that this film has done as well as it has is something to be commended.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Little Mermaid

Posted in Classics, Disney, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2008 by Mystery Man



A sixteen-year-old mermaid princess named Ariel is dissatisfied with life under the sea and curious about the human world. Ariel, with her best friend, a fish named Flounder, collects human artifacts, and visits the surface of the ocean to visit a seagull named Scuttle, who offers comically inaccurate knowledge of human culture. Ignoring the warnings of her father, King Triton, and the court musician, Sebastian the crab, that contact between merpeople and humans is forbidden, she longs to be part of the human world; to this end she has filled a secret grotto with all the human artifacts she has found.

Ariel and Flounder travel to the surface to watch a celebration for the birthday of Prince Eric, with whom Ariel falls in love. The birthday celebration is cut short by a massive storm, during which the ship is struck by lightning. Everyone manages to escape in a lifeboat, except for Eric who boards the burning ship to save his dog Max. Eric almost drowns, but is saved by Ariel, who drags him to the beach. She sings to him, but when he stirs awake, she dives underwater. Eric has a vague impression that he was rescued by a girl with a beautiful voice; he vows to find her, and Ariel vows to find a way to join Eric.

Triton and his daughters notice a change in Ariel, who is openly lovesick. Triton questions Sebastian about Ariel’s behavior, during which Sebastian accidentally reveals the incident with Eric. Triton furiously confronts and punishes Ariel in her grotto, using his trident to destroy her entire collection of human treasures, including her prized statue of Prince Eric. After Triton leaves, a pair of eels, Flotsam and Jetsam, convince a crying Ariel that she must visit Ursula the sea witch, who can supposedly make all her dreams come true.

Ursula makes a deal with Ariel to transform her into a human for three days. Within these three days, Ariel must receive the “kiss of true love” from Eric; otherwise she will transform back into a mermaid on the third day and belong to Ursula. As payment for legs, Ariel has to give up her voice, which Ursula magically traps in a shell she wears as a locket. Ariel is transformed and, with the execption of her breasts, is naked. She is dragged to the surface by Sebastian and Flounder. There, she is washed up on a rock. She sits up and looks in astonishement at her new legs. She lifts her right leg out of the water and examines her foot. She wiggles her toes and smiles open-mouthed. Shortly after, Scuttle helps dress her in the remains of sail. She is found by Eric, but when he learns that she cannot speak, he discards the notion that she is the one who saved his life. He helps her to the palace, where the servants think of her as a survivor of a shipwreck. Ariel spends time with Eric, and at the end of the second day, they almost kiss but are thwarted by Flotsam and Jetsam. Angered at the close call, Ursula takes the disguise of a beautiful young woman named “Vanessa” and appears onshore singing with Ariel’s voice. Eric recognizes the song, and “Vanessa” casts a hypnotic spell of enchantment on Eric to make him forget about Ariel.

The next day, Ariel finds out that Eric will be married to “Vanessa” on a ship. She cries and is left behind when the wedding barge departs. Scuttle discovers Vanessa’s true identity and informs Ariel. Ariel and Flounder chase the wedding barge, Sebastian informs Triton, and Scuttle is assigned to “stall the wedding.” With the help of various animals, the nautilus shell around Ursula’s neck is broken, restoring Ariel’s voice back to Ariel and breaking Ursula’s enchantment over Eric. Realizing that Ariel was the girl who saved his life, Eric rushes to kiss her, but the sun sets and Ariel transforms back into a mermaid. Ursula reverts back to her true form and she kidnaps Ariel.

Triton appears and confronts Ursula, but cannot destroy the contract Ursula made with Ariel. Triton chooses to sacrifice himself for his daughter and signs the contract. Ursula transforms Triton into a polyp. Ursula takes Triton’s crown and trident and declares herself queen of the oceans, which was her plan from the beginning. Eric dives into the sea and throws a harpoon at Ursula. In her rage, she attempts to destroy him by using the trident, but Ariel attacks her, and Ursula accidentally kills Flotsam and Jetsam. Angered, Ursula subsequently transforms into gigantic proportions and stirs up a storm using the magical trident. A whirlpool is also formed, which disturbs several shipwrecks, one of which Eric later commandeers. Just as Ursula is set to use the trident to destroy Ariel, Eric turns the wheel hard to port, in effect ramming the ship’s splintered bowsprit through Ursula’s abdomen, killing her in a huge explosion.

When Ursula dies, her power breaks, and the polyps in Ursula’s garden (including Triton) turn back into merpeople. Later, after seeing that Ariel really loves Eric, Triton willingly changes her from her mermaid form into a human using his trident. She runs into Eric’s arms, and the two finally kiss. In the final scene, Ariel gets married to Eric in a wedding, when both humans and merpeople now become attendees.


This is the film that started the Renaissance of Disney musicals. Granted, its predecessor, Oliver & Company was a musical, it was an experiment to see if the audiences would come. I’d say it’s a safe bet that they came.

I don’t see how anyone can not like this film. Ariel is your typical teenage girl who is rebelling against her overbearing father to be with the man she loves. Your basic love story, just in a different setting.

If I have any issues with this movie is that she was supposed to have 3 days to fall in love with the prince, but those 3 days ended up condensed into a montage. They could have expanded a bit with that, but that’s just my opinion.

Everyone will love this movie. If you don’t, then you just have no taste!

5 out of 5 stars

Night at the Museum

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2008 by Mystery Man


Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is a divorced father who is unable to keep a stable job, the bulk of them being failed business ventures. He is desperate to win the support of his son Nick (Jake Cherry), whom he fears is beginning to look up to his more successful soon-to-be stepfather, Don (Paul Rudd), a bond trader on Wall Street. After being fired from his last job, he applies for a job at the Museum of Natural History, and is assigned as a night guard.

The three elder (soon to be unemployed) night guards, Cecil (Dick Van Dyke), Gus (Mickey Rooney), and Reginald (Bill Cobbs), give him a quick tour, advise him to leave some of the lights on, and warn him not to let anything “in…or out”, which Larry meets with humorous skepticism. They also leave some odd instructions for him.

Once night comes, Larry discovers that the museum exhibits come to life. Larry barely manages to survive through the night. First, he discovers a Tyrannosaurus rexdrinking from a water fountain; Larry distracts it by throwing a bone it has ripped from its own skeleton. Then, despite a narrow escape in the wildlife exhibits, Larry manages to lock up the lions. Finally, he double-checks his belt, only to discover that a lovable capuchin monkey named Dexter has in fact filched the aforementioned keys. And, when Dexter rips the old guards’ instruction manual to shreds, Larry is forced into monkey-style humiliation. Eventually Larry is rescued from an odd feud between miniatures, pitting a Wild West buckaroo named Jedediah (Owen Wilson) against a Roman General named Octavius (Steve Coogan), by a wax model of Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), who later explains that ever since an Egyptian tablet — the Tablet of Akmenrah — was brought to the museum in 1952 after the Nile expedition, everything comes to life each night. However, if the exhibits are outside of the museum by sunrise, they turn to dust. Roosevelt proceeds to help Larry by restoring order but insists that it will be the last time he shall ever do so.

While initially unnerved, Larry decides to stick it out. On Cecil’s advice, Larry begins to study the history of the events and people in the exhibits to prepare himself better. He meets Rebecca Hutman (Carla Gugino), who is writing a dissertation on the life and times of Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), and learns much of the history of the various exhibits from her.

The next night, Larry uses what he’s learned to better control the exhibits, but it once again goes bad. One of the Neanderthals sets fire to their display, which Larry extinguishes with a nearby fire extinguisher, while another escapes out a window and turns to dust when the sun rises. Larry barely manages to keep his job after the Museum’s emotionless director, Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais), discovers the mess. Larry tries to tell Rebecca about what happens every night, even offering to let her meet Sacagawea to help with her dissertation, but Rebecca thinks that Larry is mocking her and leaves the museum visibly upset.

Two nights later, Larry brings Nick to the Museum. At first Nick isn’t too convinced when nothing comes to life. Then, just as Larry barely convinces Nick to stick around, they become aware of shadows in the back of the security office. They immediately find Cecil, Gus, and Reginald stealing the Tablet of Akmenrah, amongst other artifacts. Cecil then reveals the truth to Larry: like the museum exhibits, the Tablet gives life to the three night guards. Now accustomed to this new-found vigor, they are unwilling to give it up and were planning on stealing the Tablet, along with various other Museum artifacts to fund their retirement. They had in fact hoped to frame Larry for the theft. Nick, after prompting from Larry, turns an out-of-place panel that reactivates the tablet’s power and brings the exhibits to life once more. Cecil grabs the tablet back and locks Nick and Larry in the Egyptian room.

Larry calls for Theodore Roosevelt for help, but Roosevelt insists that Larry solve this problem on his own. The only thing left for Larry to do is release the mummy of King Akmenrah (Rami Malek) himself, the owner of the tablet. He speaks English, to which he replies (when Nick inquires) that he spent many years at Cambridge University (as an exhibit in the Egyptology Department). After Larry introduces himself and Nick, Akmenrah then asks them to bestow his Tablet upon him, so he can “claim his kingdom”. Larry informs Ahkmenrah that the tablet has been stolen, forcing Ahkmenrah to order his Anubis statues to break down the gate. The three new friends then set out to reclaim the tablet. Larry discovers that the other exhibits are fighting with each other. Larry explains that their only chance is to stop fighting and start working together, because, in Larry’s words, “Without that Tablet, all this — this whole coming-to-life-at-night thing — all goes away.” Though the exhibits manage to capture Gus and Reginald, Cecil escapes with the tablet. But a vengeful Larry, aided by Nick, Akmenrah, Jed, Octavius and Attila, manages to capture Cecil, as well. But more than half of the animal and human exhibits are left outside, and the sun is just about ready to rise. Larry wastes no time in bestowing unto Ahkmenrah his Tablet, which he immediately uses to enforce its power that returns all the exhibits to the museum. Rebecca, in a taxicab, sees the exhibits crossing the road in front of her — and realizes that Larry really was telling the truth. Entering the museum, she is introduced by Larry to Sacagawea.

The next day, Dr. McPhee once again fires Larry despite his effort to clean up the museum, not to mention the vast media coverage resulting from the prior night’s incident (believed by some to be either a kind of hoax or a publicity stunt), with even New York 1 News reporting the footage. But when that media coverage starts increasing the admissions and bringing in the visitors, the Doctor knows that he must rehire Larry, which he does. Later that same morning, Larry appears in Nick’s classroom during Career Day. Later that night, Larry returns with Nick and there is a celebration.


I’m usually on the fence about Ben Stiller movies. Some of them I like, while others I could care less for. This is one of his better pictures.

Apparently, this is adapted from a book, but many liberties were taken. From what I’ve read about the plot of said book, they made a good choice.

I have to give credit to the special effects artists that worked on this film. While these aren’t groundbreaking effects, they are very effective.

Who would have ever thought an Egyptian pharaoh would have a British accent? Guess that’s what happens when he ends up at Cambridge…lol One of the funniest parts of the whole picture.

Go see this. You’ll enjoy it!

4 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2008 by Mystery Man


The film begins with the Dursleys preparing for a visit from Uncle Vernon Dursley’s boss. When Harry is locked in his room during the visit, he first encounters Dobby, a house elf. Dobby warns him not to go back to Hogwarts because there are rumors of dangerous things being plotted. When Harry refuses to not return to Hogwarts, the house elf, in a blackmail attempt, hovers a cake over the head of Uncle Vernon’s boss and drops it. Thinking that Harry did it, Vernon puts bars on Harry’s windows so he cannot make an escape to Hogwarts. All of Uncle Vernon’s efforts fail however, when Ron, Fred, and George Weasley arrive in their flying car to rescue Harry and flee the Dursley home.

The four arrive at the Burrow, the family home of the Weasleys. Mrs. Weasley catches the four coming in, and while ensuring Harry that she is not blaming him, yells at her three sons for their carelessness. She tells the boys that they could have been seen by Muggles” (non-magical people) as they flew through the air. As wizards are strictly forbidden to perform magic in the presence of unknowing Muggles, their stunt could have easily resulted in their expulsion from Hogwarts.

Harry then meets Ginny, the youngest Weasley child and the only girl, and Ron’s father, Arthur Weasley, during a typical Weasley family breakfast. Upon meeting Harry, Ginny becomes wide-eyed and runs off. Ron claims she doesn’t always act that way, and that she’s “been talking about Harry all summer”.

The five student-aged Weasleys—including Percy Weasley—receive letters from Hogwarts from their owls. Booklists in hand, the Weasleys soon leave for Diagon Alley. Harry has never used Floo Powder—the Weasleys’ chosen method of transportation—and is unsure of himself. In his nervousness, he accidentally pronounces “Diagon Alley” as “diagonally”, landing himself in Knockturn Alley. Fortunately, Hagrid happens upon him, leading him to Diagon Alley and reuniting him with the Weasleys and Hermione Granger.

Harry meets Gilderoy Lockhart, a famous wizard and author, who is signing copies of his new book inside a crowded Diagon Alley bookstore. Lockhart, recognizing the famous Harry Potter, pulls him out of the large crowd and announces his presence to the excited on-lookers. Lockhart announces that Harry will be receiving a copy of his new book about his encounters with dark magic and dangerous creatures. The Daily Prophet, a newspaper in the wizarding community, takes a picture of the two famous wizards for the front page. Mrs. Weasley is extremely excited because she is a big fan of Lockhart. After Harry escapes the sudden spotlight, he and the others purchase their school books and prepare to leave. Harry runs into Draco Malfoy’s father Lucius, who could not help but see Harry’s scar. There appears to be tension between Lucius and Mr. Weasley due to Lucius’s seemingly haughty attitude.

The next scene begins September 1 in King’s Cross Station. The entire Weasley family, excluding Ron, cross through the magical barrier to Platform 9 3/4 with ease. Harry and Ron then try, but they cannot go through; as a result, they missed the Hogwarts Express. Mr. Weasley had brought them all to the station in the flying car, so Harry and Ron steal it and follow the train to Hogwarts. They land in the Whomping Willow, where the car is wrecked and Ron’s wand is broken. They are ejected from the car with their luggage and the magical car takes off, leaving them behind. Harry and Ron are caught by the Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch, and brought before Professor Severus Snape to be punished. Before Snape can expel the pair, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall arrive. As head of Gryffindor House, only McGonagall has the authority to punish the boys, not Snape. She gives the two detention not just for arriving after the feast and having missed the train, but also for having been seen by “no less than seven Muggles” whilst leaving the station in the flying car. Later Ron receives a howler from his mother, screaming at him for taking the car, but also congratulating Ginny for being sorted into Gryffindor.

During the school year, Harry begins to hear voices, find people Petrified and find writing on the walls in blood. Harry, Hermione and Ron try to figure out about how the Chamber of Secrets was opened and who opened it. They decide to make a Polyjuice potion to disguise themselves as Crabbe and Goyle and talk to Malfoy to find out if he is the Heir to Slytherin. Soon the whole school finds out Harry can talk to snakes, and thinks that he opened the chamber. Harry finds a book in the girls’ bathroom with no writing into it. It belonged to Tom Marvolo Riddle, who came to the school fifty years ago. He is then sent back in time and learns that Hagrid had opened the Chamber fifty years Ago.

Things get much worse when Hermione is found petrified and Tom Riddle’s diary goes missing. Harry and Ron turn up at Hagrid’s hut in the middle of the night and Cornelius Fudge (the Minister for Magic) shows up to take Hagrid to Azkaban (the magical prison). Lucius Malfoy arrives to suspend Dumbledore from the school on behalf of the governors of the school. Before Hagrid is taken away, he gives the two twelve-year-olds a clue to follow the spiders into the Dark Forest. They meet Aragog, a famed giant spider, whom they thought killed a Mudblood (a witch or wizard with non-magical parents) fifty years ago. Hagrid was innocent, but Aragog turns on them and send his children spiders to attack the two wizards for fresh meat. The flying car magically shows up and they make a fast escape.

Now knowing that Hagrid was innocent, Harry and Ron find out (from a piece of paper in Hermione’s hand) that the monster responsible for the petrification attacks is a basilisk. But they also find another message from the heir and the teachers say that a student has been taken into the chamber. It is then revealed that Ginny Weasley is the victim. Gilderoy Lockhart, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, was chosen to go down into the chamber to save the unfortunate first year girl, but he tries to make an escape until Harry and Ron catch him. This was because it turns out Lockhart’s famous past was false. The three find the chamber entrance in the girls’ bathroom and they enter to find a giant snake skin. Lockhart tries to stop Harry and Ron using a memory charm but it backfires because he tries to use Ron’s broken wand. Lockhart ends up losing his memory and the spell causes a rock fall, which separates Harry from the others. Harry goes on alone and finds Ginny’s body. Tom Riddle shows up telling him that he is beginning to get much stronger. Then Harry learns that Tom is the Heir to Slytherin House and is Lord Voldemort in his teenage form. Riddle sends the basilisk to kill Harry but ends up losing the giant snake because Dumbledore’s phoenix Fawkes attacks the Basilisk’s eyes. Harry finds the Sword of Gryffindor and pierces the snake’s head. Unfortunately, a fang also pierces Harry’s right arm.

Harry, who is dying from the fang’s poison, defeats Tom Riddle, by piercing the diary with the fang retrieved from his own arm. Ginny comes round and finds Harry hurt but Fawkes answers Harry’s loyalty to Dumbledore and heals Harry’s wound with his tears. (Phoenix tears are a very potent healer) Then Harry, Ron, Ginny and Lockhart leave the chamber pulled by Fawkes. Dumbledore gives Ron the task to send a letter to Azkaban to release Hagrid, and Harry discovers that Voldemort has transferred his parseltongue (snake language) powers by accident into his scar. In addition, the fact that Harry had used Godric Gryffindor’s sword means he must belong in Gryffindor House. Harry soon finds out that Dobby serves the Malfoys and tricks Lucius Malfoy into giving the house elf a sock thereby freeing him from servitude. Everyone who is petrified is re-animated and before starting the end-of-year feast, Hagrid returns (late as is usual, due to some ‘ruddy owl called Errol’ getting lost while delivering his release papers), and everyone cheers his arrival.

In a post credits scene, Diagon Alley is shown. In the window of the bookshop is Lockhart’s new book, “Who Am I?”, with the cover image being Lockhart in a straitjacket.


Another excellent Harry Potter film. After this one, they take a dark turn and lose the fun that I really think makes them appeal to everyone.

Sadly, this is the last appearance of Richard Harris as Dumbledore. He passed away shortly after this was released.

As with any movie that is based on a book, there are things that are left out and liberties taken. I’m not going to get into all of those with this one, but I can say that this is pretty much dead on with the book.

The flying car scenes were a treat for me. I wish there would have been more of them. Other than that, there really isn’t much I can say that is wrong with this film.

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, you’ll love this movie.

5 out of 5 stars

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2008 by Mystery Man


Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp), a skilled barber, is falsely charged and sentenced to a life of hard labor in Australia by the corrupt Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman), who lusts after Barker’s wife Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly). Fifteen years later, under the assumed name “Sweeney Todd”, Barker returns to London with sailor Anthony Hope (Jamie Campbell Bower). At his old Fleet Street lodgings above Mrs. Sarah Lovett’s (Helena Bonham Carter) pie shop, he discovers that Lucy, having been raped by Turpin, has poisoned herself, and his teenage daughter Johanna (Jayne Wisener) is now Turpin’s ward, and like her mother before her, is the object of his unwanted affections. Todd vows revenge, reopening his barber shop in the upstairs flat.

While roaming London, Todd’s shipmate Anthony spots Johanna and falls in love with her, but is ejected from the judge’s house by a disapproving Turpin and his associate, Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall). Far from being discouraged, the sailor becomes determined that the pair will elope. Meanwhile Todd, during a visit to the marketplace, denounces a fraudulent hair tonic by faux-Italian barber Adolfo Pirelli (Sacha Baron Cohen), and later humiliates him in a public shaving contest. Pirelli and his boy assistant Toby (Ed Sanders) visit Todd’s barbershop; Lovett keeps Toby occupied downstairs, while in the parlor Pirelli reveals himself to be Todd’s former assistant and attempts to blackmail him. To protect the secret of his true identity, Todd murders Pirelli.

Judge Turpin, intending to propose to Johanna, pays a visit to Todd’s parlor for grooming. Recognizing his tormentor, Todd relaxes the judge while preparing to slit his throat. Before he can do so, they are interrupted by Anthony, who, unaware of Turpin’s presence, bursts in and reveals his plan to elope with Johanna. Turpin leaves enraged, vowing to never return. Infuriated at being thwarted, Todd has an epiphany, and decides to vent his murderous rage upon his customers while waiting for another chance to kill Turpin. Lovett becomes his willing accomplice, suggesting they dispose of the bodies by baking them into pies to improve her business. Todd enthusiastically agrees, and rigs his barber’s chair with a pedal-operated mechanism, which deposits his victims through a trapdoor into Lovett’s bakehouse. As the weeks pass, Todd’s murders accumulate and Anthony begins to search for Johanna, who was sent by Turpin to Fogg’s insane asylum as punishment for her refusal to marry him.

The barbering and pie-making business prospers financially, and Lovett takes in young Toby. Anthony finally discovers Johanna’s whereabouts, and following Todd’s plan, poses as a wig-maker’s apprentice, allowing him access to the asylum to put a rescue plan into action. Todd’s motive for assisting is to lure Turpin back to the barber shop, and he sends Toby to the courthouse to let the judge know where he will find Johanna. Toby has become wary of Todd, and when he returns he tells Lovett of his distrust, unaware of her complicity in his activities. Beadle Bamford arrives at the barber shop and is murdered by Todd, and Lovett informs Todd of Toby’s suspicions. The pair search for Toby, whom Lovett has locked in the basement bakehouse to keep him out of the way. He is nowhere to be found, having hidden in the sewers after seeing the Beadle’s body drop into the room from the trapdoor above. Meanwhile, Anthony brings a disguised Johanna to the shop, where she hides herself in a trunk in a corner of the room.

A disfigured beggar woman, who has been pestering Todd, Lovett, and Anthony throughout the film, now makes her way into the shop. Todd kills her moments before Turpin arrives, then finally gets his revenge upon the corrupt Judge. As Johanna peeks out of the trunk she is hiding in, Todd spots her and prepares to slit her throat as well, not recognizing her as his daughter. A scream from Lovett diverts him to the basement, where she tells him that Turpin had still been alive and tried to grab at her dress before bleeding to death. Viewing the corpses in the light of the bakehouse fire, Todd discovers that the beggar woman was his wife, Lucy, whom he had believed to be dead based on Lovett’s account of the poisoning. Realizing that Lovett knew Lucy was alive, Todd begins to waltz maniacally with her around the bakehouse before hurling her into the open oven, were he watches Mrs. Lovett burn to death. He returns to Lucy and cradles her dead body as an enraged Toby emerges from the sewer and picks up Todd’s discarded razor. Todd, now wishing to die, silently offers his own neck to the boy, and Toby slits Todd’s throat. The movie ends with Todd bleeding over his dead wife, and Toby walking away.


I’ve read reviews about this movie and the one thing they all seem to agree on is that the blood wasn’t believable. WTF?!? First of all, this is a Tim Burton movie. He does things over the top. Secondly, the excessively bright red was in a stark contrast to the gloomy backdrop of London.

There are those that say this is how a musical should be done, since they cut out a good portion of the songs and the ones that were kept were shortened. I don’t know if I agree with that, but it works for this one. This is a very good musical.

Who would have thought Johnny Depp could hold a tune. He’s not the best singer in the world, but he could be a lot worse. My beef with his performance is that he sounds like Capt. Jack Sparrow. Someone said he looks like Edward Scissorhands grew up and went psycho…lol

Helena Bonham Carter does an excelent job in her role. I wonder just how bad those pies were, though. They sure looked wretched!

I didn’t care for the ending, though. Toby comes up out of the sewer and slices Sweeney’s throat and for what reason? I didn’t too much care for that kid. Personally, I think more could have been spent with the sailor and Johanna, but that’s just me.

The music is awesome! The opening credits give you chills, and it just gets better from there.

I thoroughly recommend this to anyone, but if you’re squeamish, be warned, this film is up there with horror films in terms of blood spilled.

5 out of 5 stars

Dracula 3000

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2008 by Mystery Man


Set in the year 3000, the film opens with the salvage ship Mother III, commanded by Captain van Helsing, (played by Casper Van Dien), traveling through space. The craft soon happens upon the derelict transport Demeter, a ship that has been missing for fifty years. Docking with the ship, van Helsing sends crew intern Mina Murry, (Alexandra Kamp), to board alone and check it out. She nervously conducts her search all the while a mysterious figure darts in the shadows behind her.

The rest of the crew boards where the wheelchair bound technician, Arthur “The Professor” Holmwood, (Grant Swanby), restarts the ship’s systems. They then explore the bridge finding a human corpse tied to a chair and clutching a makeshift crucifix – a sign unknown to most of the crew as religion was said to have been outlawed in the galaxy two centuries ago. Later, they learn the corpse is the Demeter’sCaptain Varna, (played by Udo Kier), whose video log entries are recurring feature throughout the film. Varna speaks of an “epidemic” and an “evil” loose aboard his ship. Despite the misgivings of Mina and vice-captain Aurora, (played by Erika Eleniak), van Helsing decides to tow the ship back to Earth hoping for a profitable salvage. As the crew get underway, their ship, Mother III, mysteriously uncouples from the Demeter and leaves them stranded aboard the mysterious ship, and with no means of communication.

Later, cargo specialist 187, (played by Coolio), and deckhand Humvee, (Tom Lister Jr.), explore the cargo bay discovering a room full of coffins. The marijuana-smoking 187 speculates that the coffins could contain smuggled goods, like more marijuana, and cracks one open cutting his hand in the process. He becomes further dismayed when he finds only sand inside the coffin. While Humvee starts to head back to the bridge, 187 stays to open more coffins, but is attacked by something. The others rush the 187 to a recreation room and tend to his injures, but 187 suddenly awakes as a vampire. He attacks the Captain and the Professor and then runs off chasing Aurora. 187 then confers with the mysterious figure, his “master”, who orders him to kill all the crew members. Mina eventually becomes 187’s first victim.

Meanwhile, Aurora runs into the master vampire who introduces himself as Count Orlock, (played by Langley Kirkwood), and apparently proceeds to bite her neck. When she returns to the recreation room, she reports about her encounter with Orlock who has revealed his intentions of returning to Earth to feed. She however, is unable to logically explain how she escaped Orlock unharmed. Thinking Aurora could be lying, the Captain has her tied up and guarded by Humvee. Through trickery, 187 gains entrance to the rec room and attacks Humvee. The Captain arrives, but his gunfire causes no harm to 187 until Humvee manages to stake him in the heart with a wooden cue stick from a pool table. Aurora, still tied up, confesses that she is in fact an android and an undercover cop investigating illegal salvage activities. Van Helsing and Humvee feel betrayed but nonetheless untie her.

Eventually, by searching the ship’s database, the Captain and the Professor discover that the legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing is one of the Captain Van Helsing’s ancestors. The Professor believes that Orlock will want to seek revenge against the Captain. The Captain’s only concern is to destroy Orlock and learns from the computer how vampires can be stopped by wooden stakes, repelled by crosses and destroyed by sunlight. Van Helsing then decides to steer the Demeter on a course to what appears to be a binary star system.

The Captain and Aurora search the coffins for vampires and are confronted by Orlock. While Aurora leaves to get reinforcement, the Captain fights Orlock alone. Van Helsing is finally overcome, bitten and, as Aurora returns with Humvee, attacks the two. Aurora stakes him with another cue stick. Out of nowhere, Mina, (now a vampire herself), attacks but is staked by Humvee.

Elsewhere, the Professor despairs of his chances of surviving and wheels into Orlock who promises to free him from his disabled state. However, this scene is interrupted by the ongoing fighting and remains unresolved. After Aurora and Humvee return to the bridge, they find the Professor hiding but find bite marks on his neck. Just to be sure, Aurora stabs him with a cross, revealing the Professor was a vampire as well. A furious Orlock tries to enter the bridge but Humvee and Aurora manage to close the door on him, severing his arm.

Now, as the Demeterdraws closer to a star, Humvee nor Aurora confess to one another that neither know how to steer the ship, and a complete destruction of the ship is inevitable. The two surviving crew members then take comfort in the fact that this would foil Orlock’s plans to return to Earth. Aurora also reveals that from an earlier assignment she is programmed for sexual pleasure and two characters leave to spend their last hours making love.

The movie ends with another segment from Captain Varna, who announces his intention to sacrifice himself and his ship, and the Demeter exploding in space.


Movies that are released directly to DVD are done so for a reason. Typically, they’re not that good. This is no exception.

I wish I could find something good about this, but I just can’t. The plot has holes in it big enough to drive a truck through. The acting is inferior. This is obviously a low budget film, but it looks like they didn’t even try! Count Orlock looks like he just came from a vampire costume party on Halloween and isn’t even remotely believable as a vampire.

Don’t waste your time on this, unless you’re a Coolio hater and want to see him get killed. Otherwise, there is no point!

1 out of 5 stars

Dragon Wars

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2008 by Mystery Man



As a young boy, Ethan Kendrick (Cody Arens) encounters in a shop owned and operated by antiques dealer Jack (Robert Forster) a mysterious reptilian scale that shines with a blue light. This light projects itself upon Ethan. Seeing this, Jack pretends to suffer a heart attack and sends Ethan’s father, who is selling him an antique dagger, to get help. He then reveals to Ethan that the scale belonged to an Imoogi. Ethan listens as Jack narrates a story (largely shown in flashback) explaining the scale.

According to the story, every 500 years a girl is born who has the power to change one of the Imoogi into a Celestial Dragon. She is identified by the stylized image of a dragon on her left shoulder. In order to maintain humanity’s place in the balance of nature, this process must be completed each time such a birth occurs. When the evil Imoogi Buraki sought to become a dragon through contact with this woman, who is called the Yuh-Yi-Joo, the authority identified only as “Heaven” sent two warriors, Bochun and his ward Haram, to protect the Yuh-Yi-Joo from him. When Buraki’s ruthless Atrox Army (legions of armored warriors able to create their weapons on demand) advanced on the village where the Yuh-Yi-Joo’s father was headman, a village mother revealed the location of the Yuh-Yi-Joo to them in exchange for her own daughter’s modesty, which would otherwise have been violated by Buraki’s soldiers. The Artox Army murdered the headman and captured his daughter, whereupon Bochun intervened to rescue her. She was sent to join Haram, who, to avoid sacrificing her to the Good Imoogi, led her to the edge of a cliff, where Buraki attempted to kill them. Haram and the Yuh-Yi-Joo then committed suicide to save themselves from Buraki.

Jack, having told this story, reveals that he is himself Bochun, and that Ethan is Haram, reborn to protect the Yuh-Yi-Joo from Buraki, who is soon to return. Jack gives Ethan a medallion formerly belonging to Haram and reveals that the Yuh-Yi-Joo is a girl named Sarah whom Ethan will find in Los Angeles. Ethan accepts the medallion and the responsibility of caring for the Yuh-Yi-Joo.

Nineteen years later, Ethan has become a television news reporter, in which role he discovers while investigating a disaster site that Buraki has returned. He then inquires into the news office’s database for the location of a Los Angeles-based girl named Sarah, who is either nineteen or twenty years old and bears a dragon-shaped mark on her shoulder. His friend Bruce, despite his disbelief, helps Ethan search.

The Sarah Ethan wants, one Sarah Daniels, sees Ethan’s news report and is terrified by the tracks Buraki has left. She hurries home and surrounds herself with protective symbols, which she does not understand but which she feels are the only tools she has by which to protect herself. Her friend Brandy, concerned but not quite understanding Sarah’s problem, takes her to a tavern for a drink, hoping to take her mind off of her fears. Sarah, still afraid, leaves the tavern and is attacked outside by three thugs, who are driven away by Jack. Word of her escape later reaches Ethan through another reporter. Buraki and his army continue to search for Sarah, attracting the attention of the U.S. Government and the notice of at least one civilian.

Ethan eventually finds Sarah at a hospital. Although the hospital’s receptionist refuses him entry, a doctor later revealed to be Jack in disguise allows him into Sarah’s room. Ethan is about to explain the truth of their situation to Sarah when Buraki attacks the hospital, intent on capturing her. Ethan and Sarah flee in a car driven by Bruce, with Buraki in pursuit. They are stopped by a commander of the Atrox Army, but eventually escape him due to another intervention by a disguised Jack.

Ethan subsequently explains the story to Sarah, who accepts it as true and Ethan as her protector. He then takes her to a practitioner of hypnotherapy, who helps her revive the memories of her previous life as the unsuccessful Yuh-Yi-Joo. The energy released by her body during the hypnotherapy session attracts Buraki, who destroys the hypnotherapist’s house and follows Sarah and Ethan.

In a car, Ethan and Sarah flee to a more densely-populated area of the city, where they meet with Bruce in a restaurant. When Bruce has left Ethan alone, Jack warns Ethan that the Yuh-Yi-Joo must fulfill her destiny. Ethan, defiant as a result of his new attachment to Sarah, demands autonomy.

Moments later, Buraki finds Ethan and Sarah again. They attempt to escape him, resulting in a chase scene that culminates atop the U.S. Bank Tower. There, Buraki is distracted by several military helicopters, who proceed to attack him. Buraki then summons the Atrox Army to help him. This legion enters the city and advances through the streets, engaging the United States Army, and the Los Angeles Police Department in battle as it goes. Here the Atrox Army is shown to consist of black-armored, humanoid warriors; therapod-like cavalry called “Shaconnes”; small, winged western dragons called “Bulcos”; and huge, slow-moving reptiles identified in the dialogue as “Dawdlers”, who carry powerful rocket launchers on their backs. The Atrox Army proceeds, crushing the American soldiers and their weapons while suffering moderate casualties. Meanwhile Ethan and Sarah are taken to an empty garage by two FBI Agents. The senior agent reveals that he has researched the legend of the Imoogi, and attempts to kill Sarah so that Buraki and his army would depart for another five centuries. The junior agent kills his partner and gives the fugitives his car whereby to escape.

Ethan and Sarah then enter the rural countryside in the car. Sarah, having given up hope of escape, remarks that wherever she goes, the Imoogi will find her. Ethan, who seems bent on saving her both from Buraki and from the Good Imoogi for whom she is destined, refuses to admit this. Sarah pauses, then tells him that she is now twenty years old, revealing herself to have come into her full power as Yuh-Yi-Joo. Immediately, the Bulcos knock the car over and capture Sarah.

When Ethan regains conciousness, he finds himself tied to a pillar which stands before a menacing fortress in the midst of a darkened desert landscape. In front of it lies an altar from which Sarah is to be sacrificed to Buraki. Just as Buraki is about to consume Sarah, Ethan’s pendant unleashes a light that destroys all of Buraki’s legions, though not the Artox Leader or Buraki himself.

Ethan attempts to retrieve Sarah, but is halted by the Atrox Leader, with whom he engages in combat. The Atrox Leader is killed by Ethan’s pendant when he inadvertently strikes it with his sword. A revived Buraki knocks Ethan down and attempts to eat Sarah, but is unexpectedly attacked by the Good Imoogi. Ethan and Sarah then watch as Buraki and the Good Imoogi battle furiously. Ultimately, Buraki wins. He then approaches Sarah, who offers herself to him. Just as Buraki is about to absorb Sarah’s power, she redirects it into the open mouth of the Good Imoogi, who is instantly revived and continues to fight Buraki, transforming as he does into a gigantic Korean dragon. The two struggle for a few moments until the Good Imoogi, now the Celestial Dragon, disengages from Buraki, flies to the top of the latter’s fortress, and burns him to ashes.

Having slain Buraki, the Celestial Dragon approaches Ethan, allowing Sarah’s spirit to speak with him. Sarah, now a fully fledged Yuh-Yi-Joo, requests Ethan not to be sad, adding that she will love him for all eternity. The Celestial Dragon then takes Sarah back into his body and ascends to the heavens. Immediately, Jack appears behind Ethan, reminding him that the two of them have been given a great honor. Jack then dissolves into dust. Ethan, recognizing that he will never see Jack again, whispers “Good-bye, old man”. His own fate is left undisclosed.


Honestly, this movie can be split into two parts, the really bad first hour that seemed to drag on forever and made no sense, and the action packed final 45 minutes that were actually worth watching. Having said that, this just seemed like a Sci-Fi channel movie with a bigger budget.

The dragons (and various other creatures) are the highlight of the picture. The acting is very wooden and bordering on robotic. No one was believable in their role. This is a Korean legend for goodness sakes, would it have hurt to have someone of Korean descent in the film?

So, do I recommend this? I would say that this is a picture you have to see to make up your own mind about. For me, I wasn’t crazy about it, but I didn’t hate it. I think if I see it again, I may even actually fall in love with it, but the next person may totally hate it. It really is a matter of taste.

I will say that the dragon battle at the end is worth the wait, but could be better.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Ladies Man

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2008 by Mystery Man



Because of his salacious language, late-night radio advice-show host Leon Phelps, along with his sweet and loyal producer Julie, is fired from his Chicago gig. They can’t find another job. About that time, two things happen: he gets a letter from a wealthy former lover who offers to take care of him (but she doesn’t sign her real name, so Leon, an inveterate Casanova, has no idea who she is), and a group of angry cuckolds, all of whom have surprised their wives in flagrante delicto with Leon (who has a distinctive tattoo on his booty), are closing in, armed and dangerous.


When it comes to SNL sketches that have jumped to the big screen, the track record is not the best. However, I would place this in the top 5.

That being said, I would never have expected the Ladies Man to be turned into a feature film. However, it was and rightfully so. Of course, since this is a picture from SNL studios, I expected it to be funnier.

There are quite a few funny moments. This is a comedy after all, but I think the highlight is seeing a grown up Tiffany Thiessen seducing Tim Meadows character and Karyn Parsons not being a snob like she was in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

I can’t say I really cared for the whole thing with the guys dancing around like they were in West Side Story. It just didn’t work for me and after the initial joke, just got old, but I guess you have to have a plot device…no matter how week.

So, do I recommend this, yes, but it’s not a ringing endorsement, unless you’re a fan of SNL. I wouldn’t go running out to rent it, though. Chances are it’ll be on Comedy Central plenty of times so you can watch it there. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not the greatest, either. Just your average comedy.

Before I forget, Billy Dee Williams brings some sophistication to this film, but gets treated like a red headed stepchild every time he tries to narrate, which I didn’t care for, either.

3 out of 5 stars


Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2008 by Mystery Man


Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) is an elite hacker who infected the FBI’s Carnivore program with a potent computer virus, delaying its deployment by several years. For this, he was arrested by Agent Roberts (Don Cheadle), convicted of computer crimes and spent two years in Leavenworth. A condition of his parole is that he is forbidden from touching, much less using, a computer. His ex-wife, Melissa, has sole custody over their daughter Holly and some form of restraining order against Stanley from seeing Holly.

While Stanley is at home in rural Texas practicing his golf swing, a woman named Ginger Knowles (Halle Berry) shows up to solicit his hacking skills for her boss Gabriel Shear (John Travolta). For an initial $100,000 he agrees to meet with Gabriel. He and Ginger fly to Los Angeles, California and meet Gabriel in a night club. Gabriel pressures Stanley right-then-and-there to hack a government system in 60 seconds while at gun point. Although it was just a test (the gun was not loaded) Stanley succeeded in hacking the system, a feat that Gabriel had not anticipated.

At Gabriel’s house he convinces Stanley to write a worm for $10 million that steals money from a secret government slush fund on the order of $9.5 billion. Gabriel reveals to Stanley that he works for an organization called the Black Cell that was started by J. Edgar Hoover in the 1950s, which is responsible for retaliatory attacks against terrorists who have attacked Americans. It is currently headed by Senator Reisman. Reisman discovers that the FBI has caught onto Gabriel and attempts to pull the plug. After Gabriel refuses to terminate plans Reisman attempts to have Gabriel killed, which fails. Gabriel tracks the Senator down while he is fly fishing in Bend, Oregon and kills Reisman.

Gabriel proceeds with his plan and raids the local branch of the WORLDBANC. He takes hostages and deploys Stanley’s worm. After stealing the $9.5B he boards the hostages and his crew on a bus out of the bank. Gabriel demands a plane at the local airport (a hostage negotiation cliché) but it was a diversion. An S-64 Aircrane swoops down, lifts the bus, and releases it on the rooftop of a skyscraper. From the rooftop, Gabriel departs with his team in a helicopter which is shot down by Stanley with a rocket-propelled grenade. At the morgue, Stanley realizes it was more misdirection and Gabriel was not on the helicopter and “Gabriel Shear” is an alias.

The end of the film shows Ginger and “Gabriel” in Monte Carlo transferring that $9.5B into other accounts. The final scene shows a yacht being destroyed and a news anchor voice narrating that a suspected terrorist died on that yacht, althought the dvd does contain an alternate ending wherein Ginger is told in the bank that the account is already empty, alluding to the possibility that Stanley has played one final trick on them and taken the money himself.


First of all, let me say that the reason I initially saw this was for the topless scene with Halle Berry. Of course, not long after this film came out Monster’s Ball was released and we got to see a lot more of her, so it kind of took away from the impact, but it’s still impressive, nonetheless.

Other than the aforementioned nude scene, this movie was was a pleasant surprise. Action packed, doesn’t make you think too much, has a twist ending, and even has a touching moment. The explosions are some of the best in cinema. If I’m not mistakes, the guys that did The Matrix had something to do with it.

I know I’ve gone on record as saying that I’m not a fan of long movies, but I feel this one could have been a bit longer, but I’m not sure what they could have expanded on, short of doing a bit of a back story on Jackman or Travolta’s characters or something.

This is an excellent movie with something for everyone. You should check it out!

5 out of 5 stars

The Seven Year Itch

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on October 23, 2008 by Mystery Man


Richard Sherman (Ewell), after sending his wife (Keyes) and son to Maine to escape the sweltering summer, meets the nameless model (Monroe), who is renting the apartment upstairs. Despite recent paranoia about becoming unfaithful—he is reading a book his company is going to publish about the “7-Year Itch” with the book claiming a significant proportion of men have extra-marital affairs after seven years of marriage—Richard invites the girl downstairs for a drink. However, his over-active imagination works overtime, to the point where he imagines his wife carrying on in Maine with their hunky neighbor, Tom McKenzie (Tufts). He is torn between fantasies of seduction, complete with Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, alternating with horrible thoughts of his wife catching (and, in one fantasy sequence, shooting) him.


This is the film that brought us the iconic scene in which Marilyn stands over a grate as a subway runs by and her white dress is lifted up. That is actually the highlight of the film. I’m not saying that in a negative sense, though.

This is a good comedic film. Not the funniest of movies, but it has its moments. Of course, Marilyn steals the show. Tom Ewell is a good stright man throught, but one must wonder if his character is all there.

My complaints with this movie stem from the fact that it isn’t consistent. It seems to jump around a bit. Otherwise, it’s a very enjoyable film.

If you’re a fan of old movies, like I am, or love Marilyn Monore pictures, or just want to see a good movie, then I highly recommend this one.

4 out of 5 stars