Archive for August, 2009

It Came From Outer Space

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Author and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Carlson) and schoolteacher Ellen Fields (Rush) watch a great meteor crash to earth near the small town of Sand Rock, Arizona. After visiting the crash site, John Putnam notices a strange object at the impact site, and comes to believe the meteor is not a meteor at all, but an alien spaceship. After a landslide covers the mysterious craft, John Putnam’s story is ridiculed by the townspeople, the sheriff (Drake), and the local media. Even Ellen is unsure of what to believe at first, but soon agrees to assist John in further investigation. In the following days, several local people disappear. A few return, only to display odd robot-like behavior, and seem distant and removed from their normal selves. Eventually Sheriff Drake also becomes convinced that something more than a meteor is involved, and organizes a posse to root out and destroy the invaders. All alone, John hopes to reach a peaceful solution, entering a mine which he hopes will lead him to the buried spacecraft and its mysterious occupants.

It develops that the aliens are benign beings whose spacecraft has crashed due to malfunctioning components. Their plan is to stay on Earth long enough to replace them, then continue on their voyage. They temporarily control a few humans since they would not be able to mingle inconspicuously with people, and they realize that humans would panic on seeing them. Upon their departure, all returns to normal on Earth.

REVIEW:

As a fan of classic sci-fi/horror films, I find it appalling that this one has slipped past me up until now. After watching it this morning, though, I am a bit befuddled. Not because the film was bad, but moreso because I couldn’t pay it the attention it deserves due to the version I had being in 3D and me with no glasses.

For those of you not familiar with the old style of 3D, it was done in such a way to where you were more or less seeing double, outlined in blue and red, because the glasses had one red lens and one blue lens, as opposed to to today where you more or less wear sunglasses in the theater.

Aside from the 3D fiasco, which from what I could tell is how 3D should be done, this was a pretty solid film.

We have here your classic sci-fi plot of aliens coming to Earth, observing humans, and the military/police having a cow and deciding to shoot first, ask questions later. What is different about this one is that the aliens sort of abduct people, inhabit their bodies on a temporary basis to blend in with us, and then return them after their task is completed. It is that little detail that really intrigued me. Not many alien films, past or present, use that…at least not for the sole purpose of searching for help.

These poor aliens just wanted to repair their ship, but the stupid country bumpkin humans didn’t understand them, so of course they had to attack. If these aliens weren’t a peaceful race, we could have another situation similar to the one in Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, which would not be a good one. When will humans learn?

Luckily, all things worked out. In the process we get a very good film that is a worthy entrant into the annals of sci-fi lore. Not to mention, this is Universal-International’s first 3-D film, so that little tidbit by itself earns it a place in history.

The acting here is what you would expect from a film of this era. Very well executed by those who actually worked to get where they are as opposed to these who were just given a shot based on having a pretty face.

Special effects are a little tame. I don’t expect anything such as you would see today, but I was expecting a little more than what we have here.

All in all, I have to say this is a pretty good film. As I said before, I was a little distracted by the fact that the version I had was 3-D, and I had no glasses, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t watch and enjoy the film, but I think the 3-D would have enhanced it. Having said that, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy it.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Heathers

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film centers on high school student Veronica Sawyer (Ryder) who is part of the most popular clique at Westerburg High School (named for singer Paul Westerberg) in Sherwood, a fictional suburb of Columbus, Ohio. In addition to Veronica, the clique is composed of three wealthy girls with the same first name: Heather Chandler (Walker), Heather Duke (Doherty), and Heather McNamara (Falk). These mean-spirited girls play croquet with each other, use their own unique slang, and even purge together. Even though they are adored by most other students, the Heathers despise everyone outside their clique and continuously bully socially awkward classmates such as the overweight Martha “Dumptruck” Dunnstock.

When a new student, a rebellious boy named Jason Dean (Slater), or J.D. for short, pulls a gun on school bullies Kurt (Fenton) and Ram (Labyorteaux) and fires blanks at them, Veronica is intrigued. They meet and have sex. To avenge herself on Heather Chandler, who she feels mistreated her the night before, Veronica and J.D. jokingly prepare a cup full of drain cleaner to bring Heather as a morning wake-up drink. Veronica decides on milk and orange juice as a suitable form of revenge, as the combination can induce vomiting. J.D. distracts Veronica with a kiss and Veronica takes the wrong cup to give Heather. J.D. notices the mistake, but does not inform Veronica; Heather Chandler drinks the drain cleaner and dies in front of them.

J.D. urges Veronica to protect herself from suspicion of murder by forging a suicide note in Heather Chandler’s handwriting. Based on this note, the school and community look on Heather Chandler’s death as a dramatic, yet somehow hip, decision made by a popular but sadly troubled teenager. Heather Duke soon steps into Heather Chandler’s former role as clique leader, and begins wearing a red hair bow that had belonged to Chandler.

Several weeks later, the oafish Kurt and Ram spread a false rumour about Veronica giving oral sex to Kurt and Ram at the same time, ruining her reputation at school. J.D. proposes that Veronica lure them into the woods behind the school with the promise to “make the rumors true”; then, they will shoot them with special bullets that will knock them unconscious but not kill them. J.D. will plant “gay” materials beside the other boys, including a gay porn magazine, and a suicide note saying the two were lovers in a suicide pact. Ram is shot but Veronica misses Kurt, who runs away. Veronica realizes that the bullets are real, though originly smiles and says “it’s not a problem, it was worth it to see the looks on their faces”, then JD runs after them to when she notices that the intent to kill them was real.; J.D. chases Kurt back towards Veronica, who panics and shoots him dead. At their funeral, Kurt’s father is seen wailing, “I love my dead gay son!”, and the boys are made into martyrs against homophobia.

Other students begin mimicking the perceived behavior of the popular dead kids and attempting suicide themselves. Martha Dumptruck pins a suicide note to her chest and walks into traffic. She survives but is badly injured.

Veronica tells J.D. that she will not participate in any more killings. He plans to kill Heather Duke next, and subtly threatens to do the same to Veronica if she does not cooperate. Veronica instead tricks J.D. by using a harness to make it look like she has hanged herself. Heartbroken, he reveals his plan to blow up the entire school during a pep rally. A petition he has been circulating, via Heather Duke, to get the (fictional) band Big Fun to perform on campus was actually a disguised suicide note. Most of the students had already signed, so the mass murder would appear to be a mass suicide instead.

Veronica confronts J.D. in the boiler room where he is rigging timed explosives. She attempts to kill him when he refuses to stop the bomb. As J.D. collapses, he accidentally stops the timer. Veronica walks out through the pep rally with everyone cheering, unaware of their narrowly-missed demise. The severely injured J.D. follows her outside, looks at her as if to say, ” We could have been together…” and detonates a bomb that is strapped to his chest. The final scene of the film is of Veronica, covered in ash and bleeding slightly, walking through the school halls.

REVIEW:

To this day, I still don’t understand why they have Heathers billed as a comedy when there is nothing funny about it.

This  film was released at a time when high school movies were all the rage and many of the stars were on their ay up.

Winona Ryder gives a good performance as Veronica. One that would rival her more serious works. she brings to the screen that moody, teen angst that was highly popular at the time, while at the same time keeping an air of innocence about her. I liked how she seemed to be the popular girl that still talked to all the regular folks, even though Heather #1 was doing everything short of beating her on the head with a club to do what she said. At film’s end, though, we get a glimpse of what things would be like under the Veronica regime when she actually talks to Martha “Dumptruck” Dunnstock. A little  while earlier, she was playing croquet with her childhood friend, Betty Finn. Maybe they all went on to become the next Heathers?

Christian Slater looks like he was a bad boy in high school, so the task of taking on the role of J.D. was not brai surgery. He turns in the best performances of the film, from the the time we first meet him carefully observing Veronica to his psychotic plan to blow up the school at the end of the film, he seems disturbed, the perfect man for Winona Ryder.

Shannen Doherty starts out the film as the quiet, good-girl Heather, characteristics we’ve only seen from her on screen during the early days of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Little House on the Prairie. However, after some training with J.D., she takes over the role as chief Heather from the now deceased Heather Chandler. As the new Heather #1, we see Doherty as the bitch we know her for on-screen.

This film bombed at the box office, but has garnered a real big cult following. Can’t say I blame them, its not a bad picture. Personally, I wasn’t that into it and felt like it was dragging on in parts. However, as far as story/plot goes, its not half bad and is worth watching. Of course, if you’re going to watch it, I would suggest doing it quickly before your memories of the original are still pure and not poisoned by the upcoming TV-series remake of this.

3 out of 5 stars

Grease 2

Posted in Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

It is 1961, four years after the events of the first film took place, and a new academic year is just beginning at Rydell High School (Back To School Again). The Pink Ladies are now led by the insouciant Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer), who feels she has “outgrown” her relationship with the arrogant leader of the The T-Birds, Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed). A new arrival comes in the form of clean-cut English student Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield), the cousin of Sandy Olsen (the character played by Olivia Newton-John in Grease). Michael quickly becomes obsessed with winning Stephanie, despite the gentle protestation of the sole remaining lead character from the first film, Frenchy (Didi Conn), who observes that she will never date him since he is not a T-Bird.

At the local bowling alley, a competitive game (Score Tonight) turns sour due to the animosity between Johnny and Stephanie. Johnny flirts with Stephanie’s friend and fellow Pink Lady, Paulette Rebchuck (Lorna Luft), to make Stephanie jealous, and she retaliates by kissing the next man who walks in the door, which happens to be Michael. Bemused by this unexpected kiss, Michael attempts to ask her out at an audition for the school talent show, but discovers that she has a very specific vision of her ideal man (Cool Rider). He realizes that he will only win her affection if he turns himself into a cool rider, and begins saving up for a motorcycle by selling completed homework assignments to the academically-challenged T-Birds and other lazy students. He buys the bike and spends all his spare time learning to ride it.

Following an unusual, largely interactive biology lesson (Reproduction) given by new substitute teacher Mr. Stuart (Tab Hunter), a gang of rival motorcyclists called the Cycle Lords (led by Balmudo) surprise the T-Birds at the bowling alley. Before the fight starts, a lone anonymous biker appears and defeats the enemy gang, performing impressive stunts and leaping over police cars to disappear into the night (Who’s That Guy?). Stephanie is instantly fascinated with the stranger. The following day at school, Michael attempts to tell Stephanie that he is the “Cool Rider” but becomes tongue-tied. In a short comic scene, one of the T-Birds, Louis DiMucci (Peter Frechette), attempts to trick his sweetheart Sharon (Maureen Teefy) into losing her virginity to him by taking her to Michael’s uncle’s fallout shelter and faking a nuclear explosion (Let’s Do It For Our Country), but the plan backfires and she runs off in horror.

Stephanie is surprised again by the Cool Rider while working at a gas station, and they enjoy a romantic twilight motorcycle ride. Just as Michael is about to reveal his identity, they are interrupted by the arrival of the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies; before Michael disappears, he tells Stephanie that he will see her at the talent show, in which the Pink Ladies are performing. Johnny, enraged by Stephanie’s new romance, threatens to fight the Cool Rider if he sees him with her again, and the group has an argument about who belongs to whom. The Pink Ladies exit haughtily, although this has little effect on the T-Birds’ innate self-confidence (Prowlin’). At school, Stephanie’s poor grades in English lead her to accept Michael’s offer of help with her essay on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but although she has warmed to him considerably, he still cannot reveal his double identity (Charade).

By this point, Stephanie has begun to realize that, despite his shy, bookworm outward appearence, Michael is a kind, good hearted guy who genuinely cares about her. She then slowly begins to discover that she has similar feelings for him, and starts to reciprocate his crush. These events are not lost on their mutual acquaintances, and Johnny, upon seeing them together in a discussion, demands that Stephanie quit the Pink Ladies for his “rep” and subtly threatens that the T-Birds will beat Michael if she refuses (“Don’t damage the rep we won’t damage new friends.”). Stephanie is visibly upset by this and consequently quits the Pink Ladies. Although still head over heels for the Cool Rider, interactions with Michael reveal that she has become smitten with him as well.

Outside the talent show, Stephanie and the Cool Rider meet, but are instantly ambushed by the T-Birds who pursue Michael in a motorcycle chase, with Stephanie and the Pink Ladies following in a car. They pursue him to a closed-off construction site which conceals a deadly drop, and the biker’s absence suggests that he has perished below, leaving Stephanie inconsolable. They return to the talent show to perform, but during the ladies’ number (A Girl For All Seasons), Stephanie is overcome and stops singing, sinking to the floor. Oblivious to the audience, she enters a dreamlike fantasy world where she is reunited with her mystery biker (Turn Back The Hands Of Time). As her reverie finishes, it appears she has been singing a solo; she is duly named winner of the contest, and crowned the queen of the upcoming luau, with Johnny hailed as her king.

The school year ends with the graduation luau (Rock-A-Hula Luau) during which Johnny and Stephanie engage in an intense argument while being carried onto the pool in a floating throne. The Cycle Lords appear and begin to destroy the celebration, but are stopped by the emergence of the Cool Rider, much to the surprise of Stephanie. After roundly defeating the Cycle Lords and leaping over the pool on his motorcycle, he finally reveals himself to all in attendance to be Michael. After the initial shock, Johnny offers him a T-Bird jacket and welcomes him into the gang, and Stephanie finally accepts that she can have “two for the price of one” – a cool rider and a Shakespeare. All of the couples pair off happily (We’ll Be Together).

REVIEW:

Grease was a huge hit, so of course it makes sense to make a sequel, right? Wrong! If ever filmmakers need any proof that sequels to films that don’t set them up don’t work, then they look no further than Grease 2. 

I don’t want to start off by bashing this thing’s head in. Actually, there are quite a few redeeming qualities, such as the fact that they brought back a couple of characters from the original, plus 3 of the teachers. This helps to maintain the continuity. The Pink Ladies and T-Birds are still around, even if they are different generations of the factions.

The music in this film is inconsistent. Some songs are catchy and memorable. The kind of stuff you expect in a musical, whereas others sound like someone wrote them in 5 minutes in order to meet a deadline. As I’ve said in previous reviews of musicals, not all the songs need to steal the show, or even be memorable, but it helps. However, when a good portion of the songs seem to be rushed on paper, then there is a problem.

The cast is by far the least impressive I’ve seen in an on-screen musical. Is it any wonder none of them went on to become big stars, except for Michelle Pfeiffer, and even her career didn’t take off apparently until the year after this was released when Scarface came out. Pfeifer and Maxwell Caulfield lack the chemistry that John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John possessed in the first film. to me, they seemed like a couple of high school kids in a badly acted play.Both the T-Birds and Pink Ladies are moreso just glorifies extras with a few lines here and there. At least in the first film, they each had individual personalities, here they have said personalities, but they just seem to be there for the paycheck.

I made it a good portion of my life without seeing this atrocity of a film, and it is such a shame that I couldn’t have made it my entire life without seeing it. This is not a bad film per se, but it is far from being a good one. The music is below standard, the acting far below what you would expect from a Hollywood picture, and the only thing with mention is the fact that htis is the film debut of Michelle Pfeiffer. Still, if you’re a fan of musicals, you may like it. I didn’t, but you have to make your own decision.

3 out of 5 stars

Dumbo

Posted in Animation, Classics, Disney, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

While circus animals are being transported, Mrs. Jumbo, one of the elephants, receives her baby from a stork. The baby elephant is quickly taunted by the other elephants because of his large ears, and they nickname him “Dumbo”.

Once the circus is set up, Mrs. Jumbo loses her temper at a group of children for making fun of her son, and she is locked up and deemed mad. Dumbo is shunned by the other elephants and with no mother to care for him, he is now alone, except for a self-appointed mentor and protector, Timothy Q. Mouse.

The circus director makes Dumbo the top of an elephant pyramid stunt, but Dumbo causes the stunt to go wrong, injuring the other elephants and bringing down the big top. Dumbo is made a clown as a result, and becomes the main role in an act that involves him falling into a vat of pie filling. Dumbo hates this job and is now very miserable.

To cheer Dumbo up, Timothy takes him to visit his mother. On the way back Dumbo cries and then starts to hiccup so Timothy decides to take him for a drink of water from a bucket which, unknown to him, has accidentally had a bottle of champagne knocked into it. As a result, Dumbo and Timothy both become drunk and see hallucinations of pink elephants.

The next morning, Dumbo and Timothy wake up in a tree. Timothy wonders how they got up in the tree, and concludes that Dumbo flew up there using his large ears as wings. With the help of a group of crows, Timothy is able to get Dumbo to fly again, using a psychological trick of a “magic feather” to boost his confidence.

Back at the circus, Dumbo must perform his stunt of jumping from a high building, this time from a much higher platform. On the way down, Dumbo loses the feather and Timothy tells him that the feather was never magical, and that he is still able to fly. Dumbo is able to pull out of the dive and flies around the circus.

After this performance, Dumbo becomes a media sensation, Timothy becomes his manager, and Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo are given a private car on the circus train.

REVIEW:

Dumbo is a true classic. The most impressive thing about it is that so much gets done in a short amount of time (64 min).

Our hero is a baby elephant who has ears that are a bit larger than the rest of his body. During a viewing before the circus, some boys come in and one of them (who has ears that aren’t exactly that small) takes it upon himself to instigate making fun of little Jumbo, Jr. Dumbo’s mother, Mrs. Jumbo, goes into mother mode and does all she can to protect him, but the boy keeps will not be happy until he’s done making fun of the “freak”. This angers Mrs. jumbo to the point of rage as she picks the boy up and spanks him. Of course the circus staff thinks she’s gone mad and do all they can to subdue her and eventually put her in solitary confinement. All this for defending her son, who is now not only motherless, but friendless.

That pretty much sums up the major event that drives the film forward.  Of course, he meets Timothy, gets turned into a clown, gets drunk, flies, meets the crows, and then shows the entire circus he can fly.

I suppose if you’re one of those overly-emotional people, this can tug at your heartstrings, especially the scenes with Dumbo and his mother. The beautiful song “Baby Mine” is one of the most beautiful lullabies I’ve ever heard, and I would put it up as one of the most beautiful pieces in the Disney repertoire.

Timothy makes a good sidekick for Dumbo. In case you don’t notice, remember Dumbo doesn’t speak, but don’t worry, Timothy does more than enough talking for the both of them. I had never really thought about it, but its kinda funny that he’s a mouse and Dumbo is an elephant when it is believed that elephants are scared of mice.

The gossipy elephants are just as snooty as one would expect from what appears to be the equivalent of a bunch of housewives who want to know any and everything. If they don’t know it, they make it up. There is no villain in this film, but they are the closest thing to it with their treatment of him from the time his ears grow.

The animation in this film is very subdued and simple.  There isn’t anything fancy abut it, just some good old-fashioned (even for 1941) hand drawn characters and backgrounds. I think this may be why this film is such a classic. It is one of the few that actually is fully hand crafted. The simplistic approach, though, makes it that much better.

A true classic, Dumbolives on in the hearts and minds of all who have ever seen this masterpiece. We all love an underdog, and what bigger underdog is there and Jumbo, Jr.? This is a good, uplifting, family film. So, what are you waiting for? Run, don’t walk, to rent/buy it!

5 out of 5 stars

Bandidas

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film tells the story of María Álvarez and Sara Sandoval. María is a poor farm-girl whose father is being forced off his land by a cruel US land baron, Tyler Jackson. Sara is the wealthy daughter of the owner of the nearby properties, and has recently returned from Europe where she attended school. In one fell swoop, both María’s and Sara’s fathers fall under attack by the baron, (Sara’s father is killed, María’s is shot but survives) giving him free reign in the nearby territories. As an act of revenge, María and Sara become bank robbers, stealing and giving back to the poor Mexicans who had lost their lands.

At first the two are catty and quick to fight over the smallest matters, but under the tutelage of famed bank robber Bill Buck they learn to trust each other. María turns out to be a crack shot and, while Sara can barely hold a gun, she shows that she is an expert with throwing knives.

Angered by the recent attacks by the newly infamous ‘Bandidas’ Jackson brings in a specialist, criminal investigator, Quentin Cooke. It doesn’t take long for Sara and María to hear of this, and they quickly capture Cooke and convince him to help them. He has already figured out that Sara’s father was murdered, so realises that his employer is actually a criminal.

Now there are three robbers, each playing their part in bigger, more ambitious heists. As time goes on, the girl’s compete for Quentin’s affections, which he rebukes because he is engaged. In a move to make the money they’ve stolen useless, Jackson moves the gold that backs the money on a train up towards U.S. territories. Midway, he decides to steal the gold, betraying the Mexican government. The Bandidas manage to hunt him down, but when they get their chance to kill him, they can’t, feeling it would make them no better than him. Jackson manages to draw his gun and almost gets a shot off at María but Sara shoots first, finishing the villain off. In the end Quentin ends up with his fiancée and María and Sara ride off into the sunset, their eyes set on Europe where the banks are, according to Sara, “bigger”.

REVIEW:

Westerns don’t tend to be the moneymakers they were at one time, but when you cast Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz as your leading ladies, you’re going to put some butts in seats.

This is the first on-screen pairing of Salma and Penelope. They couldn’t be playing two more different characters, and it works for them, especially early on in the film where they are almost constantly fighting. Yes, this film is a vehicle for them, but so what, they deliver on the expectations.

Steve Zahn normally is the comic relief guy, but here he just adds another element to the already eccentric duo of Cruz and Hayek.

Dwight Yoakem gives an outstanding performance as the villain, Tyler Jackson. He comes off as criminally insane anf sadistic, a perfect mix for a villain in the old west.

The bandidas are quite dysfunctional at first, but as the film progresses, their partnership strengthens and they quickly become a formidable force, with the help of Steve Zahn that is. I don’t know about you, but if two mega hot babes came into my bank, I would be more than happy p let them do whatever they wanted

This is more than jut a good film to see Sal Hayek all pushed up in her corset and Penelope Cruz as a farm girl, compete with pig tails. Bandidas is a film that explores the buddy comedy side of things, and it does an excellent job of doing so. This western is nowhere near the stature of others such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but it is a fun filled romp that is entertaining for the audience as well as the actors that were in the film.

5 out of 5 stars

Obsessed

Posted in Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on August 29, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Derek Charles (Idris Elba) is the Executive Vice President of Gage Bendix and has received a recent promotion from his boss (Bruce McGill). He is happily married to Sharon Charles (Beyoncé Knowles), who is pursuing her business degree. They have a son, Kyle. However, a new temporary worker, Lisa Sheridan (Ali Larter) begins to unnerve him. Derek’s best friend and co-worker, Ben (Jerry O’Connell), reminds him to be careful because he thinks she has her eyes on him. Lisa eventually attempts to seduce him, but he repeatedly rejects her advances. Lisa becomes obsessed and begins to manipulate Derek and Sharon’s relationship, eventually becoming violent. Lisa’s actions become erratic and she fakes a suicide in Derek’s hotel room while he is on a business trip, leaving him no choice but to send her to the hospital. Meanwhile, Sharon is trying to reach Derek but she can’t get in touch with him so she calls Ben. Ben tries to cover for Derek but he just comes out and tells her that he should tell her the truth himself. This prompts Sharon to go to the hospital where Derek is. Detective Monica Reese (Christine Lahti) interrogates Derek about his “relationship” with Lisa. Both Detective Reese and Sharon refuse to believe he didn’t sleep with Lisa. When Derek and Sharon go home, Sharon kicks him out of the house and they separate for three months. Derek moves into his own apartment. However, she still lets him visit and play with Kyle.

Within the three months, Detective Reese interrogates Lisa, who lies about her relationship with Derek. Detective Reese discovers that Derek was telling the truth and that Lisa is insane. Reese informs Derek that she believes him now and Lisa has moved to San Francisco. After Sharon forgives Derek, they go out to dinner for his birthday. Sharon gives him a gift that is actually the key to the house. While they are out, Lisa goes to their home and convinces the babysitter Samantha (Scout Taylor-Compton) to let her in, eventually escaping with Kyle while Samantha is distracted. When Derek and Sharon return, Samantha informs them that Lisa had been there, and they find that Kyle is missing. Derek goes to the car, intending to pursue Lisa, and finds Kyle in the backseat with lipstick from Lisa on his forehead. They immediately take Kyle to the hospital to make sure he is okay. Detective Reese meets up with them there. Sharon warns her that she better do something about Lisa or she’ll do it herself. Reese assures them that she’ll handle it. They take Kyle home, where they have a hard time putting the upset baby to bed. Afterwards, they try to go to bed they see that Lisa has trashed their bedroom and removed Sharon’s face from all the family portraits. The next morning, Sharon leaves an angry, threatening voicemail on Lisa’s phone. They set up a home alarm system, while Lisa secretly monitors the house from outside.

Later on, Patrick (Matthew Humphreys), Derek’s assistant, receives a call from Lisa. He reveals that Sharon and Derek will be visiting her mother’s house, with Sharon leaving that afternoon and Derek first thing the next morning. While Sharon is on the way to her sister’s to pick up Kyle before she goes to her mothers, she calls Derek, who asks her if she set the alarm. She realizes that she forgot and goes back to set it. Meanwhile, Lisa has broken into the house with a bottle of champagne. While setting the alarm, Sharon hears Lisa pop the champagne bottle open. Sharon finds Lisa wearing one of Derek’s t-shirts lying in her bed. Sharon tells Lisa she is calling the police, but Lisa tries to stop her. Sharon pushes Lisa down, but Lisa gets up and shoves Sharon onto the dresser, knocking her down, and begins kicking her. Lisa grabs a lamp and tries to hit Sharon with it, but Sharon escapes to the bathroom.

Derek calls the house and Lisa answers. Sharon struggles with Lisa to get the phone, headbutting her and knocking her down. Sharon tells Derek she’s going to have to call him back and hangs up. Derek calls Detective Reese and leaves his office. While fighting, Sharon reminds Lisa of everything she has done. Lisa escapes and runs to the attic. Sharon pursues Lisa to the attic, where she is attacked. Sharon, remembering when Derek showed her a weak spot in the floor, leads Lisa to it. Lisa falls through the floor and hangs onto the edge. Sharon reaches out and grabs her hand to prevent her from falling, but Lisa pulls Sharon down with her instead of accepting her help. Seeing that the floor is starting to buckle, Sharon pries Lisa off of her arm and she falls to the ground. Lisa grabs a chandelier, stopping her fall, but lets go and falls onto the table below. Sharon sighs in regret as she sees this, but then sees Lisa open her eyes. Lisa begins to rise up when the broken chandelier falls on Lisa and seemingly kills her. Derek and Detective Reese arrive as Sharon comes out of the front door. As the film ends, Sharon and Derek embrace each other.

REVIEW:

When I saw the trailers for this, I admittedly wasn’t interested until I saw the scenes of Ali Larter in her underwear, and of course Beyonce. Those two pieces of eye candy aside, when you get right down to ir, this film isn’t half bad.

Idris Elba isn’t a household name here in the states, but I’m sure he will be soon. He gives the kid of performance that rockets actors from nothings to mega stars. The most interesting thing I found out about his character is that he is 100% faithful. Often times in movies like this, the guy resists initially, but in time he caves. This is not the case here, with the exception of when he is drugged and has no choice, he resists all of Ali Larter’s advances, knowing that he has a wife and kid waiting for him at home.

Beyonce takes on her most dramatic role to date, as this is the only one that I can recall where she doesn’t sing or dance at all. This is a deep role for her, but it wasn’t so much her acting that impressed me, but rather the fact that she layed the smackdown on Ali Landry at the end. Amazing what can happen to someone when their family is threatened.

Speaking of Ali Landry, she’s no stranger to playing psychos. The first season of Heroes had he as a woman with extreme dual personalities. Now, in this film she is just plain disturbed. Initially, it seems as though she is just going to get her work done and be on her way, then the next day, we see her become more and more Obsessed. She is without a doubt the best part of the film.

As far as thrillers go, this one is a bit on the tame side. It actually leans more towards the drama side, rather than the suspense genre, but I believe that can partially be attributed to the PG-13 rating. I never really got the sense of uncertainty about what was going to happen that one expects from a suspense film. It just seemed to be rather predictable.

Critics generally didn’t care for this film. They seemed to think everything was, as I said, predictable. That felt Beyonce was trying too hard and that you learned everything you needed to know from the trailer. I have to go back and look at said trailer again to know if I agree with them, but this film could have been better, but it isn’t half bad, and is pretty entertaining, especially the end. I wouldn’t rush out and get it, but when you get the chance, at least check it out.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Alien Trespass

Posted in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The story begins in 1957 in the star-filled skies above California’s Mojave Desert. It is a special night for noted astronomer Ted Lewis, who is preparing a special dinner for his beautiful, adoring wife Lana to celebrate their wedding anniversary. In another part of town, Tammy, a waitress at small local diner with big plans for the future, looks out her window and is excited to see a shooting star, which she takes as a good sign for her dreams. But, what Dr. Lewis and Tammy assume is a shooting star, is really an alien spaceship. The fiery ball hurtles toward earth and crash-lands on a butte in the desert. The only witnesses are teens Dick and Penny who are necking in a nearby lover’s lane. A tall, metallic alien named Urp emerges from the craft unharmed, alarmed to discover that the monstrous Ghota, who was also on board, has escaped. The menacing one-eyed creature’s unquenchable appetite could mean the end of civilization as we know it. Urp is the only one who knows how to stop the hideous extraterrestrial, but to do so he has to take over the body of Dr. Lewis and enlist the aid of Tammy, the only human in town willing to believe and trust in his mission. The local police – including Chief Dawson and Officer Vern – are confirmed skeptics and offer little help. Together, Urp and Tammy must hunt down the Ghota and neutralize it before it consumes all the local inhabitants and uses the human fuel to multiply and conquer the world.

REVIEW:

Raise your hand if you even remember this coming out in theaters? My guess is that maybe a handful of you knew about it. I was not one of them, and if not for the recommendations Netflix puts up each week, I wouldn’t even know about it. ‘m glad they did, though. I’m a huge fan of 50s-era film, especially in the sci-fi genre, and this is a clear homage to those films of yesteryear.

The best part of the film is not the story, the acting, the special effects, or anything like that, but rather the work and detail they went into so that they could make this look and feel as close to a film from the 50s as possible. They could have gone a bit further, but I think they went as far as they wanted.

One of the things that impressed me the most was the intro to the film. It was a newsreel from 1957, the year the film is set in. Had this been a real film from the 50s, you would have actually seen something like that before the film started. I could have done without them trying to convince us that all the actors were descendants of what accounted to themselves. It may have been a gag, but it wasn’t funny. Of course, I say this after watching all the features back to back, and hearing the same stuff over and over again, so I may be a bit bitter on the subject.

If you’ve ever seen any 50s flicks, then you know that the special effects are nowhere near where they are today. They actually used their imagination to come up with ways to bring their creatures to life, rather than just stick it in a computer. In other words, this film has NO CGI!!!! That in itself earns it a star. Without CGI, you would expect the alien to look fake, and quite honestly, he didn’t…when you consider that this is supposed to have been made in the 50s.

The acting is really good in this film. Mainly in part to the fact that they’re having to act like they’re in a film from the 50s, not present day actors in a period piece.

The film’s ultimate downfall is that it takes itself too seriously. Its obviously an homage to the great sci fi films of yesteryear, but what’s missing is the fun of those films. This seems to be plodding along just going through the motions. Such a shame that they don’t seem to be having fun with this, it could hve made it even better.

As one watches this, then they can see the influences of many of the major sci-fi films of yesteryear. When directors decide to put these references/homages in their films, sometimes they work,and other times they don’t. In this case it does and makes the film that much more entertaining and endearing. As I just mentioned, it could’ve been better, but the attention to detail is really what sells me on this film. Too bad it didn’t get more publicity. I believe it could’ve been a hit. Maybe through word of mouth, it cane become a DVD hit. Why not watch it and spread the word?

4 1/2 out of 5 stars