Archive for March, 2009

Bloodrayne

Posted in Action/Adventure, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Loosly based on the video game of the same name, the film centers on the character of Rayne (Kristanna Loken), an unholy breed of human and vampire called a Dhampir. Dhampir are unaffected by crucifixes and do not thirst for human blood. She is the daughter of the Vampire King Kagan (Ben Kingsley) who has gathered an army of thralls, both vampire and human, in order to annihilate the human race. She was conceived when Kagan raped her mother, and she later witnessed him killing her.

Sebastian (Matthew Davis), Vladimir (Michael Madsen), and Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez) are three members of the Brimstone Society, who fight vampires. When they hear of the Dhampir, Vladimir plans to recruit her in order to kill Kagan. A great portion of the story concerns the three body-parts of an ancient vampire that can make a vampire free of the basic weaknesses: all water (the eye), the cross (the rib), and the sun (the heart). As Kagan wants all these parts, it becomes the heroes’ mission to stop him.

REVIEW:

Having never played the actual video game on which this film is based, I cannot say how true this is to its source material, but I can say that as a film it could have been better, but could have also been worse.

Kristianna Loken give a performance so mechanical, you would think she was still in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. It also appears that they wanted to capitalize on her sexuality, for me, though, it didn’t work so well.

Michael Madsen and Matthew Davis are perhaps the most competent actors in this film in their roles. They seemed to really get into them, especially Madsen. He even went so far as to change his speech pattern to fit the time period.

Michelle Rodriguez seemed a bit unnecessary in this film, until a key scene near the end. I wonder how she would have done in the lead role instead of Loken.

As accomplished an actor as Sir Ben Kingsley is, he looks bored and out of place as the vampire king Keegan. I do understand why they would choose him for the role, but I’m sure there were others who would have enjoyed it more.

With such a remarkable cast, which even eincluded Meatloaf, one would think that think that the last thing to be criticized would be the acting, but to be honest with you, that is what made this film so terrible.

The action scenes are your typical video game fare. The director tried to capture some of the scenes from the game, I would imagine.

There are even some soft, tender moments that make you feel connected to Rayne, then she starts acting again, and you lose the connection.

The blood that was used for this film, didn’t look real or fake, but rather like ketchup. Now, I’m of the belief that if you’re going to use blood on screen, make it look like the real stuff or some sort of fake liquid, but when you fall into that in-between status, it just doesn’t sit right with me.

What is my verdict on this film? Well, to be honest with you, there are moments that I enjoyed, and others that just didn’t work for me. I think this is an ok flick, but I believe its best reserved for viewing on Sci Fi Channel or something along those lines.

3 out of 5 stars

Batman (1989)

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

As a child, Bruce Wayne saw his parents killed by a young criminal. He grows up, avenging their death against the criminals in Gotham City. He takes a disguise as Batman, while keeping his public image as a billionaire heir to Wayne Enterprises. Years later, Gotham is under control by crime boss Carl Grissom. Despite the best efforts of newly-elected district attorney Harvey Dent and police commissioner James Gordon, the police department remains corrupted. Reporter Alexander Knox and photo-journalist Vicki Vale begin investigating the rumors of a shadowy vigilante figure dressed as a bat, who has been terrifying criminals throughout the city.

Vicki and Knox attend a benefit at the mansion of billionaire Bruce Wayne, who is taken by Vicki’s charms. Knox, however, appears somewhat jealous of the chemistry between Bruce and Vicki. That same night, Grissom’s second in command, Jack Napier, is sent to raid Axis Chemicals factory. After the police receive a tip-off and arrive to arrest him, Jack realizes he’s been set-up by his boss, angered by his affair with Grissom’s mistress. In the midst of the shoot-out, Batman arrives and takes out Jack’s henchmen.

In a bizarre accident caused by his own ricocheting bullet, deflected by Batman’s metal-reinforced gauntlet, Jack’s face is ripped open. Reeling from the pain, he topples over a platform rail but manages to grab a lower rail with one hand. Batman momentarily clutches Jack’s free hand, but the grip is soon broken, and he falls into a large vat containing an unknown chemical solution. Shortly thereafter, he emerges from an adjacent reservoir, his hair and skin permanently discolored. Following a botched surgical attempt to repair his face, Jack is left with a permanent grin, which becomes his most distinguishing feature as “The Joker”.

After killing Grissom, the Joker takes over his empire and holds the city at his mercy by chemically altering everyday hygiene products so that those using a certain combination of products die. Batman attempts to track down the Joker, who has become romantically interested in Vicki. It is revealed that Joker, as a young criminal, killed Bruce’s parents. He holds a parade through Gotham, luring its citizens on to its streets by dispensing money, intending to kill them with a lethal gas. Batman foils his plan, but the Joker kidnaps Vicki and takes her to the top of a cathedral church. After a fight with Batman, the Joker falls to his death from the bell tower. Commissioner Gordon unveils the Bat-Signal along with a note from Batman read by Harvey Dent, promising to defend Gotham whenever crime strikes again.

REVIEW:

Let me make this perfectly clear…THIS IS WHAT A BATMAN FILM SHOULD BE!!!! Tim Burton captures the darkness of the character as well as throws in a little bit of the campiness from the old TV series and the 60s era Batman. Having said that, I’m a little biased because this is my favorite of all the Batman films.

When this film came out, along with everyone else, I was in shock when they announced Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Keaton is best known asa comedic actor, not an action star. However, after all was said and done, he stands tall as one of, if not THE best Batman to grace the screen. Personally, I think that has to do with his offbeat personality which fit Bruce Wayne’s dual life perfectly.

Kim Bassinger was one of the hottest women around when this film was released. I don’t know what she’s currently up to, but I have to commend her for making an obscure character from the Batman universe relevant. If I’m not mistaken, after this movie was released, Vickie Vale returned to the comic with a whole new look that resembled Kim, but I’m not 100% sure, but just the thought of that happening should let you know the effect she had on this character.

What can I say about Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker that hasn’t already been said. No disrespect to Heath Ledger or Cesar Romero for their takes on the character in The Dark Knight and Batman (1966) ,  respectively, but Nicholson’s take on the character is closer to what I expect the Joker to be like. Literally a psychotic clown, not a mysterious, moody guy with a white face, or an over the top prankster. Still, all 3 versions of the character work for their universe, but if you were to stack them up side by side, Nicholson gts my vote for bringing life to the dark and lighter sides of the Joker. I guess you can say his Joker is the middle ground between his predecessors.

The action in this film is awesome, highlighted by the chase from the Guggenheim and the crashing of the Batwing. Of course, this is a superhero movie after all, so action is not optional.

If there is one thing I didn’t care for in this film, it is the slight deviations from the source material and the fact that we don’t really know what happens to the Joker. I mean we see him fall to his “death”, but we also see them take something out of his pocket that seems like it could be a tape recorder of some sort. Just a thought I have everytime I watch this film.

So, I’m sure many of you out there think that The Dark Knight was God’s gift to cinema. Well, I’m here to tell you, that’s not the case. This is the better, more entertaining Batman. He doesn’t go flying off to foreign countries, possibly causing international incidents, nor does he drive around in a tank for a Batmobile, and he also doesn’t sound like he’s burping when he talks.

Speaking of the Batmobile, the version used in this film is my favorite.

Action, adventure, beautiful women, intrigue, deception, and Tim Burton directing…do you really need any more reasons to watch this film? If you haven’t been brainwashed into thinking Nolan is Jesus Christ, then give this one a look.

5 out of 5 stars

101 Dalmatians

Posted in Animation, Classics, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Pongo the Dalmatian lives in a London bachelor flat with his owner Roger Radcliffe, a songwriter. Bored with bachelor life, Pongo decides to find a wife for Roger and a mate for himself. While watching various female dog-human pairs out the window, he spots the perfect couple, a woman named Anita and her female Dalmatian, Perdita. He quickly gets Roger out of the house and drags him through the park to arrange a meeting. Pongo accidentally causes both Roger and Anita to fall into a pond, but it works out well as the couple falls in love. Both the human couple and the dog couple marry.

Later, Perdita gives birth to 15 puppies. One almost dies, but Roger is able to revive it by rubbing it vigorously in a towel (because of which, they would name the pup, ‘Lucky’). That same night, they are visited by Cruella De Vil, an wealthy former schoolmate of Anita’s. She offers to buy the entire litter of puppies for a large sum, but Roger says they are not selling any of the puppies. Weeks later, she hires Jasper and Horace Badun to steal all of the puppies. When Scotland Yard is unable to prove she stole them or find the puppies, Pongo and Perdita use the “Twilight Bark”, normally a canine gossip line, to ask for help from the other dogs in England.

Colonel, an old Sheepdog, along with his compatriots Captain, a gray horse, and Sergeant Tibbs, a tabby cat, find the puppies in a place called Hell Hall, along with lots of other Dalmatian puppies who Cruella had purchased from various dog stores. Tibbs learns the puppies are going to be made into dog-skin fur coats and the Colonel quickly sends word back to London. Pongo and Perdita quickly make their way from London to retrieve their puppies. They arrive just as Horace and Jasper are about to kill the puppies. While the adult dogs attack the two men, Colonel and Tibbs guide them from the house.

After a happy reunion with their own puppies, the Pongos realize there are 84 other puppies with them. Horrified at Cruella’s plans, they decide to adopt all of the puppies, certain their pets would never reject them. The dogs begin making their way back to London, aided by other animals along the way, with Cruella and the Baduns chasing behind them. In one town, they cover themselves with soot so they appear to be Labrador Retrievers, then pile inside a moving van going back to London. As the van is leaving, melting snow clears off the soot and Cruella spots them. She follows the van in her car and rams it, but the Baduns, trying to cut off the van from above, end up colliding with her, knocking both vehicles into a deep ravine. Cruella yells in frustration as the van drives away.

Back in London, Roger and Anita are attempting to celebrate Christmas and Roger’s first big hit, a song about Cruella, but they miss their friends. Suddenly barking is heard outside and after their nanny opens the door, the house is filled with dog. After wiping away more of the soot, the couple is delighted to realize their companions have returned home. They decide to use the money from the song to buy a large house in the country so they can keep all 101 Dalmatians.

REVIEW:

I am by no means a dog person, but occasionally a film about dogs actually warms my heart to the creatures. Examples of this feat are Old Yeller, Lady and the Tramp, and of course this film.

The beginning narration by Pongo where the camera pans down to Roger and then he introduces himself was pure genius, as was the way he and Roger meet Anita and Perdita.

When the puppies were born and that 15th pup, who went on to become Lucky, nearly dies, I thought it was going to be another sad moment such as the death of Babmi’s mother or Dumbo’s mom being put in a separate trailer.

I really liked the way that all the dogs have their own network to help each other out. I wonder if that’s what all the barking is about at night.

Horace and Jasper are the typical bumbling henchmen to one of the most popular and evil Disney villain, Cruella de Vil. Seriously, how many villains do you know have their own song? Yes, you can says Prince John (Robin Hood), Madam Mim (The Sword in the Stone), Ratigan (The Great Mouse Detective ) and Gaston (Beauty & the Beast). However, with the exception of Gaston, none of those songs leave a lasting memory in your psyche, and even his isn’t that memorable. There is a reason Cruella last name is de Vil, as in “devil”, she is evil on the level of Jafar, the Wicked Queen, Lady Tremain, and the penultimate Disney villain, Maleficent. One thing I wish that would have been addressed, even if only a line or two to let the audience know, was what happens to Cruella and her henchmen after the wreck.

I love the films that Diseny was releasing around this time. Something about that sketchy animation really appeals to me.

I still wonder why they felt the need to make this into a live-action film. Especially considering how it wasn’t that great. I guess money drives people to do anything. I’m a purist when it comes to Disney films, though, and think they should be left alone. That includes the songs, so you can imagine my disdain for these tween “stars” that “update” the classic songs. I won’t get into all that now, though, but I will say that this is a film for the whole family to enjoy!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Music & Lyrics

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Alex Fletcher was one of the founding members of the band PoP!, which achieved fame and enjoyed considerable success during the late 1980s and early 1990s. After they disbanded, his partner Colin Thompson became a popular solo act, while Alex’s career nosedived. In recent years he has supported himself by reprising his old hits for middle-aged female fans at high school reunions, county fairs, and amusement parks.

Alex is given a chance at a comeback when teenaged pop star Cora Corman commissions him to write a song for her new CD which is on the verge of completion, leaving him only days to fulfill her request. Alex’s forté is composing music; he always relied on Colin to supply the words. His manager Chris Riley helps him search for a lyricist, and Alex is in the midst of trying to collaborate with one when Sophie Fisher arrives at his apartment in place of his usual plant caregiver.

Sophie is a former creative writing student reeling from a disastrous romance with her former English professor that left her with little confidence in her talent. When she blurts out a few lyrics Alex finds more appealing than those provided by the pompous writer with whom he’s making no progress, he cajoles her into working with him. There are signs of a budding romance as the two spend the next three days collaborating on “Way Back into Love.”

Cora is thrilled with the completed song and Alex, Sophie, Chris, and his date have dinner to celebrate. At the restaurant Sophie runs into ex-lover Sloan Cates, the creative-writing professor who used her as the basis for the protagonist in his latest best-selling novel. Alex convinces Sophie to confront him, but the speech she prepared for this very moment long ago escapes her as her insecurity rises to the surface and leaves her tongue-tied in Sloan’s presence. She and Alex return to his apartment and consummate their relationship, much to her sister Rhonda’s delight when Sophie confides in her.

Sophie is horrified when she discovers Cora plans to record a sexually-charged interpretation of “Way Back into Love,” complete with a “steamy and sticky” Indian vibe she feels clashes with the romantic spirit of the song. She is determined to convince Cora to abandon the bizarre arrangement, only to find Alex vetoing her efforts for fear he will lose the opportunity to work with Cora and revive his career. In the ensuing argument, he admits Cora’s version is awful but contends accepting it is the cost of doing business. Upset by Alex’s willingness to demean his talent and hurt by his argument that she is refusing to live in the real world, Sophie leaves him.

When Cora’s new tour opens at Madison Square Garden, Alex introduces “Don’t Write Me Off,” a self-penned plea for Sophie to give their relationship another chance. She finds him backstage, and he confesses he convinced Cora to drop the risqué version of “Way Back into Love” in an attempt to win Sophie back. He and Cora perform the tune as he and Sophie intended it to be sung, and the two songwriters embrace in the wings.

REVIEW:

There just aren’t enough films about music. Yes, there are a few, but none have the charm of this one.

Drew Barrymore is giving Meg Ryan a run for her money as the queen of the romantic comedies. She plays the naive, hopeless romancitcness that only she can bring to this role. On top of that, she seems to have natural chemistry with Hugh Grant.

Speaking of Hugh Grant, this is his type of movie, and of course he delivers. He even sings his parts! That’s dedication.

The opening video of this film is one of the things that really sold me on it. A very catchy 80s tune that, had it have been an actual group that released, more than likely would have been a hit.

There’s not much on the negative side I have to say about this film, other than a couple of observations. The first is that I wih Sophie would have eventually gotten the courage to go and stand up to Sloan. Secondly, they talk about  the other member of Pop!, but never show him. I think instead of having Cora sing in the finale with him, that it should have been a reunion. Maybe that’s just me wanting a true happy ending, though.

So, I’m sure many of you are wondering whether I recommend ths or not. Well, the answer is yes. It’s got someting for just about everyone. The music is great. The acting is top notch, and its just a great film.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Rocker

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Robert "Fish" Fishman (Rainn Wilson) was once the drummer for Vesuvius, which went on to be a successful heavy metal band without him. At the insistence of their manager and their own greed, he’s kicked out of the band and replaced by the son of the record label’s president. Fish vows never to play drums again. Twenty years later, after failing at another cubicle job, breaking up with his girlfriend, and having to move in with his sister, Fish finds himself living in the attic "looking" for work. When it looks like he’ll be a loser for life, his dorky, socially awkward nephew Matt saves the day. Matt (Josh Gad) plays the keyboards in a band called A.D.D., joined by the dark brooding artist type Curtis (Teddy Geiger) and the no-nonsense Amelia (Emma Stone). The band is set to play the prom when their drummer gets thrown out of school for bringing "hash brownies" to the Spanish club. Running out of time, Matty suggests they give his Uncle Fish a try.

The prom turns into a disaster, being Fish’s first time on stage again, and his drum solo takes over the King and Queen’s dance in a fit of rage, sweat, and sheer embarrassment for A.D.D.

When Robert is kicked out of his sister’s house and forced to live in the basement of his favorite Chinese take-out place, the band invents a new way to practice via four-way iChat. Because of the heat in Fish’s new "apartment", he’s forced to drum naked, which quickly makes its way onto YouTube. A million hits later, A.D.D. signs a contract with David Marshall (Jason Sudeikis), an obnoxious agent who tries to be hip and takes them on tour.

Fish and the kids wow audiences across the country, with everyone wanting to see the infamous “Naked Drummer.” Fish starts taking his rock star status a little too seriously, though, and the whole band winds up in jail after a late-night party.

Curtis’s mom (Christina Applegate) promises to stay for the remainder of the tour, so her children won’t be influenced by the wild ways of Fish. As the tour continues, Fish and Curtis’s mom begin to find an attraction with each other. A.D.D. also shoots a music video which upon watching, all the band members are featured prominently except Fish, who notices that his face is being obscured during the entire video under David’s watch.

David informs the band that they’re opening for Vesuvius in a free concert for their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Fish flies off the handle and the band stick by his side and agree not to do the show. Curtis’s mom, at this point has gone to the roof to calm Fish down and does so by kissing him, which David comes across. He exaggerates the truth about Fish and Curtis’ mother to Curtis to his dislike, hoping to replace Fish. During their next gig, Curtis announces the band will do the show after all to a live crowd much to Fish’s dismay. After they argue in front of the crowd, Fish quits the band, and finds himself a miserable job with his brother-in-law in the corporate world.

Matt and Amelia convince Curtis that the band is nothing without the spirit of Fish after the label’s appointed drummer doesn’t fit in, and Curtis convinces Fish to do the gig. Upon arriving at the stadium before their performance, Fish encounters his former bandmates who have all adopted phony British accents and egocentric attitudes. To his happiness, Fish finds that he is able to let the past go and wishes Vesuvius a great show. Fish and the band play an incredible show. When they think things couldn’t get any better, Vesuvius takes the stage. And with one slip of the mic stand, the lead singer’s microphone goes crashing to the ground. This mistake causes the singer to search for the lost microphone, while the voice track is still going, exposing their fraud for lip-syncing the entire time. The audience goes wild, booing Vesuvius off the stage in a cloud of embarrassment, and chanting, “A.D.D.! A.D.D.!”; Against the advice of David, whom they fire on the spot, the band take the stage again and performs for the crowd.

REVIEW:

Who knew they could still make films that are actually light hearted and fun anymore? I was pleasantly surprised while watching this film. It ws actually pretty good.

Rainn Wilson is not a leading man. As a matter of fact, the majorit of his roles are as the sidekick or comic relief, so for him to be cast as the lead in this picture is a shock. He does handle it pretty well, though. I wouldn’t go so far as ot cast him as the lead in Julius Ceaser or some other role that requires the full range of acting talents. Did I mention he has many o the film;s funniest lines?

Christina Applegate really has evolved in her acting career. Remember the days when she was Kelly Bundy on Married…with Children? Well, in this film she plays the mom and, what appears to be Rainn’s love intersrt. Not  a thing was wrong with her performance, except we didn’t get to see more of her,

Teddy Geiger, Emma Stone, and Josh Gad make up the band A.D.D. All 3 are relatvie unknowns, so this was their big break. Years from now, I am pretty sure Stone and Gad will be looking bak and rememebr that this was one of the crucial stepping stones for their carer. Geiger, on the other hand, had a hit some "Foyu You I Will" not too long ago. As I was watching the film, I knew that the lead singer of the band has to be a real singer, then I found out who it, makes sense.

Many of the comedies I’ve recentl;y watched have fallen prey to the formula that they are hilarious at the beginning though shortly after the 1 hr (to halfway) point, then they switch to some serious stuff and never really recover. This film, thankfully does not so that.

It’s good to take the time to watch a good comedy once in a while. Granted, this isn’t the best of comedies, but it is fun, funny, and has a cute ending. Definitely worth watching

4 out of 5 stars

Underworld: Evolution

Posted in Action/Adventure, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The movie opens in the year 1202 AD with an army led by three vampire elders (Markus, Viktor, and Amelia) arriving at a Werewolf ravaged village. After killing several werewolves, Viktor and Amelia capture their target: Markus’s brother William Corvinus, the first and most powerful werewolf. Viktor orders that William be imprisoned in a secret location forever.

The story then continues the present-day timeline, after the events of the first film. Selene takes Michael to a safe house so that she can return to the mansion to confront Kraven. She knows Kraven intends to kill Markus and plans to stop him. However, Singe’s blood has already awakened Markus, turning him into a hybrid, who then wipes out Kraven and his men, and destroys the mansion. He learns Selene and Michael’s location from camera surveillance of various safe houses and leaves to track them down. Markus confronts Selene and Michael, who evade him and hide in a warehouse.

Lorenz Macaro, an elderly and imposing man, sends in a team of “Cleaners” to investigate the aftermath from the final battle in the first movie. When Macaro examines Viktor’s body he finds a metal disk attached to his ribcage which is the match to Sonja’s pendant, which is in the possession of Selene and Michael. Now knowing that the pendant is of some importance to Markus, Michael and Selene set out to solve its mystery. Selene recalls that she’d seen it as a child, but doesn’t know its significance. To find answers, they travel to the hideout of the exiled vampire historian, Andreas Tanis.

Selene and Michael confront Tanis, who reveals that Markus, not Viktor, was the first vampire. One of the two sons of Alexander Corvinus, Markus was bitten by a bat and became a Vampire; his twin brother, William, was bitten by a wolf and became a werewolf. The first werewolves created by him were entirely animal and unable to take human form again. Due to William’s destructiveness, Markus approached Viktor, a warlord dying of old age, and offered to turn him and his army into immortal vampires in exchange for tracking down and stopping William. Markus intended to capture his brother and tame him, but Viktor ordered that William be locked away forever, far away from Markus. Viktor does not kill the brothers because he believes doing so would result in the immediate extinction of all other vampires and his lycan slaves. Tanis also reveals that Selene’s father was the architect who built William’s prison and that the pendant is a key, that after Lucian’s escape Viktor killed Selene’s family as as they knew of the prison’s location, but turned Selene into a vampire. Tanis then refers Selene and Michael to Lorenz Macaro for help. Shortly after they leave, Markus arrives and questions Tanis. Tired of hearing Tanis’s lies, Markus learns the truth by drinking his blood, killing him.

Selene and Michael go to see Lorenz Macaro, who is actually Alexander Corvinus, who has devoted his life to containing the Vampire-Lycan War away from the mortal world. However, Alexander refuses to help kill his son. When Markus arrives, he apparently kills Michael and learns the location of William’s hidden prison by drinking Selene’s blood. He then attacks and mortally wounds his father, thereby obtaining the other half of the pendant. On Alexander’s bidding, Selene drinks his blood, which will give her the power to defeat Markus. Afterwards, Alexander blows up his ship.

Selene leads the cleaners to the prison to confront and destroy Markus, but he has already freed William. A battle ensues in which William bites the Cleaners and begins turning them into Lycans. Michael, presumed to be dead inside his bodybag, suddenly regenerates and joins the fight in his Hybrid form. Michael ultimately kills William, while Selene kills Markus by pushing him into the spinning blades of a crashed helicopter. It is then revealed that Selene can now stand in the sun. As the film ends, Selene narrates that she fears the days ahead, as the death of the Elders will cause nothing but chaos; but she is nevertheless hopeful.

REVIEW:

Vampires seem to be all the rage right now. This concludes the triolgy of Underworld films for me. I was expecting to recieve Twilightfrom Netflix this week, but that didn’t happen. Howveer, although I have’t seen Twilight yet, I believe this to be the better film.

When has Kate Beckinsale looked hotter than she does in these films. Unlike in the first film, this one lets her show her humanity a bit mire. I can’t get over the fact that sh spends the entire film in black leather. If vampires looked like her, I’d gladly become one.

This film has a dark quality, but at the same time isn’t a dark film. Make no mistake, this isn’t a feel good film, but it isn’t as dark as one would believe. There are quite a few exremely violent scenes where Michael, the hybrid, does some major damage to the Lycans he deafeats, and the result of the end battle is reminiscent of a Mortal Kombat fatality.

The flashback scenes are good, but not great. They don’t really move the story along, but they do give us some more insight into Markus, as well as the story of Viktor and Selene. Personally, I think it was just a way to ger Bill Nighy in the film.

Markus and Michael are both interesting characters in the way the make-up department depicted them.  There’s not much to say about Michael, other than he truly is a luck man for getting to make love to Selene. MArkus, on the other hand, is a totally different person than he was in Viktor’s flashbacks. I guess time caused him to become more violent, sadistic, and short tempered.

Typical of most films that spawn sequels, this isn’t in the same league has the original, but at least they are different stories. Despite the flaw of being a sequel and being mostly panned by the critics, this is a good film about vampires and lycans. Those of you out there into that kind of stuff will love it. For the rest of us, there’s action and Kate Beckinsale in tight leather sandbags.

4 out of 5 stars

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Sinbad (Patrick Wayne), sailor and Prince of Baghdad, seeks permission from Prince Kassim to marry his sister Princess Farah (Jane Seymour). A spell is placed on Kassim by their evil stepmother Zenobia (Margaret Whiting) turning him into a baboon (one of Harryhausen’s stop-motion creations) just as he was going to be crowned caliph. Sinbad sets off with Princess Farah to find an alchemist named Melanthius (Patrick Troughton), who knows where to discover a cure to break the evil spell.

Sinbad and his crew eventually find Melanthius and his daughter Dione (Taryn Power), who agrees to help them with their quest. Melanthius tells Sinbad and his crew that they must travel to the land of Hyperboria to find an ancient pyramid where Kassim can be cured. Zenobia, her son Rafi, and the Minaton(a mechanical version of the Minotaur) secretly stalk them. On their quest, Sinbad and his crew encounter creatures such as a trio of ghouls, a killer wasp (effected by Zenobia’smagic), a giant walrus, a troglodyte (a creature that is friendly to Sinbad and his crew), and a smilodon (whose body gets possessed by Zenobia).

REVIEW:

This is the final installment of the Sinbad trilogy. I’m a little partial to it, since it was the first Sinbad film I ever saw when I was younger.

As with its predecessor, this one goes to further cement the legacy of Ray Harryhausen and his genius work with stop-motion animation (a lost art form, if you ask me).

Patrick Wayne would not have been my first choice to play Sinbad. He just doesn’t convince me that he’s the dashing sailor. To me, he seems more like some sort of villain or lackey.

A young Jane Seymour appears in this film and is smoking hot. Not to mention she gives a fine performance as Princess Farrah.

The effects in this film, are what you come to expect from films of this era. By today’s standards they are laughable, but when you consider the technology that was available at the time, it’s cutting edge.

As with the other Sinbad films, this one starts off a bit slow, but gradually picks up until the climactic final battle.  Leading up to that point are a couple of monsters thrown in to keep your interest piqued. In the case of this film, we get a giant walrus.

While Sinbad and his crew do vanquish the walrus, I was left wondering why they didn’t kill it. I’m sure they would have had plenty of food and warmth if they would have done so.

Another oddity was the fact that these people from the mid-east region actually didn’t seem affected by the cold of the Arctic. I’m from the south and can barely take the cold snaps we have, so I know it must have been an experience for them, but I guess for the film’s purposes, they didn’t need to go into all that.

Oh, how I wish they made films like this these days. The action, animation, story, and scenery all make for an epic adventure on a grand scope that no film can match these days because they try to make things too real or too serious. Only the Pirates of the Carribean trilogy comes close. If you’re into the kind of film that shows what Hollywood put out during the days when films were fun to watch, then this is one of those pictures.

4 out of 5 stars