Archive for September, 2009

Invaders from Mars

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , on September 30, 2009 by Mystery Man


One night, a small boy, David MacLean (Jimmy Hunt), sees a flying saucer land near his home. His scientist father (Leif Erickson) goes to investigate; when he returns, there is an unusual mark on the back of his neck and he behaves in a different, cold and hostile manner. Gradually, David realizes that there is a conspiracy in which the people of the town are one by one becoming cold and inhuman.

With the help of a local astronomer Dr. Stuart Kelston (Arthur Franz) and health-department physician Dr. Pat Blake (Helena Carter), he learns that the flying saucer, that has buried itself in a sandpit just behind his home, is the vanguard of an invasion from Mars. The Army is contacted and convinced to investigate, leading to a military penetration of the underground hideout established by the Martians. The troops enter the saucer. Inside they find a Martian, mostly a large head with strange tentacles, encased in a glassy sphere. The Martian mastermind is served by tall, green, silent humanoid “mutants”, who use cerebral implants to control the townsfolk in order to sabotage nuclear rocket experiments at a facility just outside of town.

In the film’s climax, the Army, scientists, and David flee from the sandpit as explosives hidden aboard the flying saucer count down their last remaining seconds. After the explosion, the scene shifts and David is back in his bed, awakened by thunder. His parents reassure him by telling him the whole thing was just a nightmare and send him back to bed. As thunder awakens him again, he sees the same UFO slowly land at the sandpit near his house.


As I’m sitting here watching this classic sci-fi flick, I can’t help but wonder if indeed it should have been filmed in 3-D. The reason I say that is because the colors are done is such a way that you almost seem them as if you would 3-D without the glasses. I may be the only one that sees it that way, though.

Many have called this the quintessential Cold War sci-fi film. I would be hard pressed to disagree with them. If you think of everything you know about classic sci-fi and the 50s, it is included in this picture, short of America’s prejudice and hatred toward the Russians.

The Martians aren’t particularly impressive, even for the time period, although the head (pardon the pun) martian with the tentacles looked pretty cool.

I loved the concept of mid control using radio frequencies, but felt they could have done something to counteract it, then again, that may just be my modern day brain criticizing a film from days gone by.

The “big ape” Martians, who seem to be nothing more than mindless slaves, are the kind of creatures you expect to see on a Saturday morning cartoon as goons. As a matter of fact, they remind me alot of the putties from the first couple of seasons of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

The acting is pretty flat throughout the picture, with the one bright spot being Helena Carter, not Helena Bonham Carter, who portrayed Dr. Pat Blake. In this picture where everyone is ether under or over acting, she finds a good median and sticks with it, only going over when the need calls for it. Having said that, there are no bad performances from the actors, just none that you’ll be writing home about.

As far as classic sci-fi fare goes, this is a must see. The DVD that I watched happened to have both the British and American version of the film. From what I’ve read and heard, the British version has a different ending. That’s neither here or there, though. This is a really solid film that is quite entertaining, You won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars

National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze 2

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2009 by Mystery Man


Dorm Daze 2unfolds during a semester at sea-type cruise in the Caribbean. The class from Billingsly University are trying to put on a play to win a contest. Sexy and scheming Gerri (Marieh Delfino) and stoner Pete (Patrick Cavanaugh) are competing for a scholarship. Newmar (Tony Denman) is trying to have sex with his Christian girlfriend (Vida Guerra). Rusty (Oren Skoog) is just trying to have sex with anything he can. The creepy Dante (Nicolas Shake) runs around planning all sorts of nefarious schemes, all while uttering his signature line “Don’t get on my bad side, mate.” Meanwhile a priceless stolen jewel is loose on the boat and everyone is after it.


As bad as National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze was, the sequel, Dorm Daze 2, is 10x worse! I could sit here and waste time writing an in-depth review of this so-called film, but the fact is that it is so uninteresting, disconjointed, and pointless, that even I (someone who will watch just about anything) found it unbearable. As a matter of fact, were it not for the gratuitous bikini clad and topless girls, as well as the ample bosomed female leads through this picture, I may have done something that I have never before done, and that is turn it off before it even finished. Yes, it is that bad. There is a reason this mess was released straight-to-DVD, people. My suggestion is to stay away from this and find one of Vacation films from the days when Nation al Lampoon actually made films that were funny and worth watching and don’t even bother with the upcoming sequel to this thing, Transylmania, or something like that.

1 out of 5 stars

The Wedding Singer

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by Mystery Man


Set in 1985, Robbie Hart (Adam Sandler) is a wedding singer from the town of Ridgefield, New Jersey. Engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Linda (Angela Featherstone), he meets and befriends a waitress, Julia Sullivan (Drew Barrymore), at the reception hall where he regularly performs. Julia is also engaged, to businessman Glenn Gulia (Matthew Glave).

On his wedding day, Robbie is devastated when Linda leaves him standing at the altar, citing his failure to move on with his singing career. Robbie tries to move forward with his life, but despair hinders his performances. Julia tries to cheer him up, and later asks him to help her plan her own wedding. Initially reluctant, Robbie eventually agrees, and their friendship blossoms. During a double date between Julia and Glenn, and Robbie and Julia’s cousin, Holly (Christine Taylor), Robbie learns that Glenn is unfaithful to Julia.

Julia and Robbie are increasingly confused by their deepening feelings for each other, and Robbie labours under the misapprehension that a “real” job will impress Julia. She becomes angry with him for assuming that she is marrying Glenn for his money. After confiding in his best friend, Sammy (Allen Covert), Robbie finally decides to confess his true feelings and heads to Julia’s house. When he arrives, he sees her through her bedroom window. Julia is wearing her wedding dress and happily imagining herself as Robbie’s wife, but Robbie mistakenly believes that she is looking forward to marrying Glenn.

Heartbroken, Robbie leaves to get drunk and finds Glenn in the midst of his bachelor party. After a heated exchange, Glenn sucker punches Robbie. An intoxicated Robbie goes home and finds Linda waiting for him, and wanting to reconcile. Robbie passes out, but the following morning, Linda answers the door and introduces herself as Robbie’s fiancée to a crestfallen Julia. Julia runs to Glenn, wanting to be married immediately, and Glenn happily offers to take her to Las Vegas.

Robbie awakens and promptly breaks it off with Linda for good. Inspired by the 50th wedding anniversary of his friend Rosie, to whom he has been giving singing lessons, Robbie decides to pursue Julia. Just then, Holly arrives, telling him of Julia’s plans. Robbie, Sammy, and Holly rush to the airport, where Robbie books a flight to Las Vegas; his ticket is first class because the coach seats are sold out. After telling his story to a sympathetic audience in first class which includes Billy Idol (playing himself), Robbie learns that Glenn and Julia are on the same flight. Over the loudspeaker, and with the help of Billy Idol and the flight crew, Robbie sings a song he has written called “Grow Old With You,” which he has dedicated to Julia. The two admit their love for each other and as they’re about to kiss, Billy Idol interrupts. Impressed with Robbie’s song, Billy plans to tell the record companies about him, allowing Robbie to finally fulfill his dream of being a songwriter.

The movie closes with Julia and Robbie’s wedding.


Ah, the 80s! Big hair, funky clothes, music that wasn’t depressing. A good decade. In ’85, I was only 7, but I still have memories of those days. Adam Sandler, apparently has the same feeling, which is why The Wedding Singer is set in 1985.

Sandler plays Robbie Hart, a nice guy wedding singer who is left at the altar by his fiance and falls in love with a waitress (Drew Barrymore) at a random wedding where he happens to be singing. I think this up there in the top 5..scratch that, top 2 funniest performances by Sandler.

Drew Barrymore plays Julia perfectly. With a mixture of the sweet, girl next door good looks and bubbly personality that has endeared her to audiences worldwide since the days of E.T.

The rest of the cast is magnificent, especially Ellen Dow, who plays Rosie, the elderly lady who pays Robbie in meatballs for singing lessons.

I would love to say that the highlight of this film is the acting, or the story, or something along those lines, but in fact, it is the music. First, we have the music that plays in various montages and such. Then there are the songs that Sandler (as well as Jon Lovitz and Steve Buscemi) sing at the weddings. Finally, there is the original songs that Sandler sings. All these make for quite the interesting backdrop to a very entertaining film.

Speaking of entertaining…remember when Adam Sandler used to make these films? The kind that weren’t all preahy and borderline dramatic? He used to have fun with his movies. Its part of why he’s as bug a star as he is. As I said before, this is one of his best pictures.

Those of us that have ever been to weddings and/or receptions know that there is usually this guy (or girl) there that sings bad covers of popular songs. This is the basis for the this film. Sandler takes the idea and turns it into comedy gold. If you’re a fan of a good comedy and some nice 80s tracks, then this is the picture for you.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Fox and the Hound

Posted in Animation, Classics, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by Mystery Man


After a young red fox is orphaned, Big Mama (Pearl Bailey) the owl, Boomer (Paul Winchell) the woodpecker, and Dinky (Richard Bakalyan) the finch arrange for him to be adopted by the Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan). Tweed names him Tod (voiced by Keith Coogan), since he reminds her of a toddler. Meanwhile, Tweed’s neighbor, Amos Slade (Jack Albertson), brings home a young hound puppy named Copper (Corey Feldman) and introduces him to his hunting dog Chief (Pat Buttram). Tod and Copper become playmates, and vow to remain “friends forever.” Slade grows frustrated at Copper for constantly wandering off to play, and places him on a leash. While playing with Copper at his home, Tod awakens Chief. Slade and Chief chase him until they are stopped by Tweed. After an argument, Slade says that he intends to kill Tod at his first opportunity. Hunting season comes and Slade takes his dogs into the wilderness for the interim. Meanwhile, Big Mama explains to Tod that his friendship with Copper cannot continue, as they are natural enemies, but Tod refuses to believe her.

Months pass, and Tod and Copper reach adulthood. On the night of Copper’s return, Tod (Mickey Rooney) sneaks over to meet him. Copper (Kurt Russell) explains that he is a hunting dog now and things are different between them. Chief awakens and alerts Slade, a chase ensues and Copper catches Tod. Copper lets Tod go then diverts Chief and Slade. Chief maintains his pursuit onto a railroad track where he is struck by a train and wounded. Copper and Slade blame Tod for the accident and swear vengeance. Tweed realizes that her pet is no longer safe with her and leaves him at a game preserve. Big Mama introduces him to a female fox named Vixey (Sandy Duncan), then Slade and Copper trespass into the preserve and hunt the two foxes. The chase climaxes when Slade and Copper inadvertently provoke an attack from a bear. Slade trips and is caught in his own trap and drops his gun just out of reach. Copper fights the bear but is no match for it. Tod battles the bear until they both fall down a waterfall. Copper approaches Tod as he lies in the lake below when Slade appears, ready to fire at the fox. Copper interposes his body in front of Tod, and refuses to move away. Slade lowers his gun and leaves with Copper, but not before the two former adversaries share one last smile before parting. At home, Tweed nurses Slade back to health while the dogs rest. Copper, before resting, smiles as he remembers the day when he became friends with Tod. On a hill Vixey joins Tod as he looks down on the homes of Copper and Tweed.


The Fox and the Hound is a nice coming of age story that is one of the better known of the lesser known Disney films.

The film beings with the quiet calm of the forest, then all of a sudden, a mother fox holding baby Tod, is seen running from hunters and their dogs. Before we know it, he is left by the fence to be discovered by Big Mama. Big Mama is the typical matronly type, compete with African-American mannerisms, partially because she’s voiced by Pearl Bailey.

With the help of Dinky and Boomer, a sparrow and woodpecker, respectively, she gets the Widow Tweed to come notice Tod by the fence. At the same time Tod is discovered by the widow, the hunter neighbor, Amos Slade, brings home a hound pup named Copper.

Soon enough, Copper and Tod meet and, despite the fact that they should despise each other, become best friends. That is until Copper leaves with Amos on a hunting trip and comes back a trained hunting dog. Needless to say, things change between the two, especially after Chief is injured falling of a bridge in pursuit of Tod.

Tod is dropped off at the animal preserve and has a miserable night. would you expect him to just fall right into things after living with a human his entire life? With the help of Big Mama, though, he meets a female fox, Vixey. As with many films of this nature, they immediately hit it off and before we know it they are a couple.

Just in time to ruin things, here comes Amos and Copper, hell-bent on getting Tod. They trick him (and Vixey) down. After a cunning escape, Amos and Copper are cornered by a big black bear. Copper is roughed up quite a bit and lets out a whine that Tod hears. you can see the look on Tod’s face as he takes a few moments to decide whether to keep escaping or go back and help his former friend. He goes back and fights the bear tooth and nail, until he gets the upper hand.

Amos, still wanting Tod’s hide, even though he saved his life sees him ripe for the picking and is ready to shoot him, when Copper stands over Tod and gives Amos the puppy dog eyes. Somehow this sends the message to Slade to leave Tod be. As Copper leaves, he and Tod share one glance that says we’re friends again and thanks.

This is not the best Disney film, but the story is one of the best. Strangely enough, I think of all the Disney films that have come from literary material, this one deviates the most, but considering this is a kid-friendly film, it had to. The original book is quite dark. I don’t think it would have worked as well had they gone more in the direction of the source material. Having said that, the overlying theme of friendship conquers all that is prevalent throughout the film, is perhaps the best thing about it, and is handled so expertly that it doesn’t even come off as preachy.

4 out of 5 stars

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by Mystery Man


The plot of the series is a basic parody of detective film clichés, featuring stereotypical characters, settings, and situations. Many other film genres and styles are mocked as well, and the movies are full of references to current events and contemporary pop culture.

The movie starts in a meeting in Beirut with a collection of anti-American leaders: Ayatollah Khomeini, Mikhail Gorbachev (who claims he has the Americans believing he is “a nice guy”), Yasser Arafat, Muammar al-Gaddafi and Idi Amin, who are planning a terrorist act against the US. The man who is later shown to be Pahpshmir is seen at this meeting. It turns out that Frank Drebin has been posing undercover as a waiter; he beats up all the attendees, wipes off Gorbachev’s forehead birthmark (“I knew it!!!”), then knocks the turban off the Ayatollah, to which a mortified Khomeini is shown to have an orange mohawk underneath. Drebin then defiantly tells them all that they will never attack America as long as he is on the job.

Back in Los Angeles, Officer Nordberg unsuccessfully attempts to bust a heroin drug operation at the docks organized by Vincent Ludwig, and is shot numerous times by Ludwig’s goons but, before falling off into the sea, suffers additional injuries like being hit on the back of his head on an iron pipe, burning his left hand on a coal oven, and having a window falling shut on his right hand (it is a running gag that Nordberg keeps getting badly injured, but somehow manages to survive). After being briefed on the case by his colleague Captain Ed Hocken, Frank visits Nordberg in hospital, but the near-comatose Nordberg can provide only a few cryptic clues, including a picture of the ship on which the deal had been organized—and the ship belongs to Vincent Ludwig.

Frank then meets with wacky police scientist Ted, a parody of James Bond’s Q. Ted invents things such as a wall that is able to defend itself from tagging, to which a street gang is then shown attempting to spray paint the wall, only to have cannons of spray paint activate towards them, sending them running off screaming. Ted has invented a cufflink that shoots out a tiny dart which renders the victim into a temporary sleep, promptly testing it on Hocken.

Pahpshmir is seen meeting with Vincent Ludwig, a businessman who has terrorist connections, where Ludwig says that he will assassinate Queen Elizabeth II (who is on a state visit to the USA) for $20 million. Ludwig demonstrates that he has a way of turning anyone into an unknowing assassin at the press of Ludwig’s beeper; it appears that the victims are responding to a post-hypnotic suggestion (repeating “I must kill [name of the target]” and trying to do so even with ineffective weapons, in a very automatized way).

Drebin visits Ludwig in his office (thereby causing some minor chaos) and inadvertently lets slip the information that Nordberg is still alive. Ed gives Frank 24 hours to clear Nordberg as a result. Later on another attempt is made on Nordberg’s life. Frank chases the assassin (a hypnotized doctor) in a commandeered car operated by a panicked student driver and her unflappable instructor (John Houseman), until the luckless assassin crashes the car into (in succession) a gasoline truck, a US Army truck carrying a missile, and- with the missile in tow- a fireworks factory, which presumably eliminates the assassin.

As he works on the case, Drebin meets and falls in love with Ludwig’s assistant Jane Spencer. It is eventually revealed that Jane knows nothing about Ludwig’s plot, and after the pair spend the night together, she helps Frank with his investigation. However, things go awry as Frank breaks into Ludwig’s office to get information. He ends up setting a fire, destroying most of Ludwig’s property. Then, to make things worse, he ends up causing more trouble at a reception for the Queen. When Ludwig presents the Queen with a Revolutionary War-era musket as a gift, Frank (delirious from the horns trumpeting the Queen’s arrvial) dives at the Queen sending them sliding across the table. He is then removed from the force.

The climax of the film centers on the Queen’s visit to a California Angels baseball game. Frank must find out how Ludwig plans to assassinate her- he is told by Jane one of the players is going to do it- while hiding from his fellow policemen, who are now under orders to arrest him (although Police Squad is in his corner).

Frank decides to go undercover, first knocking out “renowned opera singer” Enrico Pallazzo (obvious parody of Luciano Pavarotti), taking his clothes and proceeding to brutally mangle the national anthem, along with Pallazzo’s reputation. Frank then knocks out the home plate umpire with a bat while walking back through the tunnel and begins calling the game, while at the same time frisking players for weapons. Having been informed that the assassination will take place during the seventh inning stretch, Frank proceeds as a normal umpire would while talking with Ed about not being able to find the assassin in between innings. With two outs in the top of the seventh, realizing he’s running out of time, Frank goes to great lengths to delay the game, ultimately resorting to interfering with the play to the ire of the Angels’ manager and the umpires.

The scoreboard operator overrules Frank’s last out call in the top of the seventh and Ludwig triggers the beeper, with Angels outfielder Reggie Jackson responding (“I must kill… the Queen.”). Jane alerts Frank, who chases after Jackson. He catches him and tackles him, inadvertently triggering an all-out brawl between the Angels and their opponent the Seattle Mariners, as every single player piles up on top of one another. Meanwhile, Ludwig takes Jane to the top of the stadium at gunpoint.

During the brawl, Reggie Jackson emerges from the pile, rather unscathed, and points the gun at the Queen. Frank fires one of Ted’s cufflink darts to try and hit him, but instead hits a fat woman in the upper mezzanine. However bumbling, Frank still manages to save the Queen’s life, because the dazed fat woman falls on top of Jackson, crushing him.

The audience is amazed at Frank’s heroism although they do not know who he is. He reveals himself, but only the mayor and Ed know who he is (the rest of the crowd assumes he’s still Enrico Pallazzo and chant his name as such). Frank then moves through the crowd to the top of the stadium, where Jane is being held hostage. Frank shoots Ludwig with the other cufflink dart, causing him to stagger and fall several stories over the stadium’s railing. The USC marching band performing “Louie, Louie” then tromps over his steamroller-flattened body, pressing the beeper, which makes Jane try to kill Frank with Ludwig’s gun. Frank uses reverse psychology to try and break Jane’s hypnotized state, by saying that if he cannot be with her he may as well be murdered, and gives her an engagement ring, after which Jane is freed from Ludwig’s assassination hypnosis and then embraces him and accepts his marriage proposal. His speech is broadcast on the stadium screen, causing the teams to stop fighting and make up, as well as cause the everyone in the stadium, including the players from both teams, quarrelling wives and husbands, Palestinians and Israelis, Curt Gowdy and Jim Palmer, and a mailman and a dog, to all hug each other. The mayor thanks Frank, saying the whole world owes him a debt of gratitude, and he is congratulated by Nordberg. The latter, while still wheelchair-bound, seems much better until Frank pats him on the back, sending him zooming down the aisle and up over the railing of the stadium’s upper deck as the movie ends.


Oh, how I love nonsensical, farce/comedies. The first time I saw this  film, I didn’t et half the jokes, but was still rolling around on the ground laughing. Now, 21 yrs years later, I get all the jokes, and it makes the film that much better.

Leslie Nielsen has long been known for these films that make no sense. Couple that with his flair for physical comedy, and you’ve got an entertaining film that even those that despise comedy can’t help but find themselves laughing.

Look, I don’t care what you say/think about O.J. Simpson. Similar to his NFL and college career achievements, you can’t deny what he did just because he may or may not have killed a couple of people. Having said that, Simpson is great as Nordberg, even though he doesn’t have much of role, other than being more accident prone than Nielsen.

Priscilla Presley, you know, Elvis’ wife, is quite fetching as Jane. It is easy to see why they chose her to be the token eye candy. On top of her good looks, she also isn’t too bad of an actress, especially when she’s being as clutzy as Nielsen.

Ricardo Montalban is no stranger to villainy, with stints on the dark side in the Spy Kids and original Star Trek franchises. Vincent Ludwig makes his first on-screen appearance giving the appearance of some sort of heartless criminal, but as the film progresses, he doesn’t go anywhere near that characterization.

It appears that there was a show called Police Squad back in the day, but I’ve never seen it…yet. If the film is anything like it, then you can be assured that I’ll love it. There is nothing to not like about the film, though, unless you’re just boycotting anything O.J. related, which is totally stupid, if you ask me. There comes a time to move on. Besides, this is such a funny, entertaining picture, that you’ll forget about all that.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Reservoir Dogs

Posted in Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2009 by Mystery Man


The film opens to eight men eating breakfast at a diner. Six of them wear matching suits and are using aliases: Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), Mr. Blue (Eddie Bunker), Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), and Mr. White (Harvey Keitel). Among them is middle-aged Los Angeles gangster Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney), and his son, “Nice Guy” Eddie Cabot (Chris Penn). Mr. Brown discusses his comparative analysis on Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”, Joe’s senior moments involving his address book rankle Mr. White, and Mr. Pink defends his anti-tipping policy until Joe forces him to leave a tip for the waitresses.

After the opening credits, the action cuts to the interior of a speeding car. Mr. White, driving with one hand, is trying to comfort a hysterical Mr. Orange, who has been shot in the abdomen and is bleeding profusely. They arrive at an abandoned warehouse, later revealed to be the rendezvous point for the armed robbery they have just committed. Mr. White leaves Mr. Orange on the warehouse floor when Mr. Pink appears, angrily suggesting that their robbery of a jeweler, orchestrated by Joe Cabot, was a police-setup. Mr. White reveals that Mr. Brown has been shot and killed by the police, and the whereabouts of Mr. Blonde and Mr. Blue are unknown to both. A flashback is played, revealing more of Mr. White’s long-time friendship with Joe Cabot.

The two men discuss the actions of the sociopathic Mr. Blonde, who murdered several civilians after the jeweler’s alarm had triggered; the police arrived at the scene remarkably soon after the alarm was activated. Mr. White is angered about Cabot’s decision to employ such a psychopath and agrees about the possibility of a setup, while Mr. Pink confesses to having hidden the jeweler’s diamond cache in a secure location. However, they violently argue about whether or not to take the unconscious Mr. Orange to a hospital when Mr. White reveals that he had told the former his true first name. Mr. Blonde, who has been watching them from the shadows, steps forward and ends their Mexican standoff, telling them not to leave the rendezvous as Nice Guy Eddie is on his way. Mr. Blonde takes them outside to his car and opens the trunk to reveal he captured a police officer named Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz). A second flashback reveals that Mr. Blonde became involved in Cabot’s heist team because of his friendship and loyalty to Eddie.

The three men torture the officer until a furious Eddie arrives at the warehouse. After berating the men over the carnage and incompetence displayed at the heist, he orders Mr. Pink and Mr. White to assist him retrieve the stolen diamonds and dispose of the hijacked vehicles, while ordering Mr. Blonde to stay with Nash and the dying Mr. Orange. Nash states that he has been a police officer for eight months and is ignorant as to a possible setup. He then pleads with Mr. Blonde to release him without further incident. However, after the others leave, Mr. Blonde confesses to enjoying torture, at which he turns on the radio and dances to “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealers Wheel before severing Nash’s ear with a straight razor. He then retrieves a large gasoline can from the trunk of his car and is about to set Nash alight when Mr. Orange, having regained consciousness, produces a handgun and repeatedly shoots Mr. Blonde. Mr. Orange tells Nash that he is actually an undercover police detective named Freddy Newandyke, and reassures him that a massive police force is in position several blocks downtown waiting for Joe Cabot to arrive.

A series of flashback scenes detail Mr. Orange’s involvement in an undercover operation to capture Cabot, culminating in a sequence depicting the death of Mr. Brown as he attempts to drive Mr. White and Mr. Orange away from the jewelry store, and Mr. Orange’s shooting a woman who shot him in the stomach as he and Mr. White attempted to steal her car.

The remainder of the heist group returns to the warehouse to find Mr. Blonde dead. Mr. Orange claims that Mr. Blonde was going to kill Nash, Mr. Orange and the rest of the gang so that he could take the diamonds for himself. Eddie doesn’t believe the story and, furious with Mr. Orange, fatally shoots Nash three times. Joe Cabot himself arrives and, after informing the group that Mr. Blue was killed, confidently accuses Mr. Orange of being an informant, forcing Mr. White to defend his friend. A shootout ensues, leaving Joe and Eddie dead, Mr. White severely wounded, and Mr. Orange mortally wounded. Mr. Pink, who avoided the shootout, takes the cache of diamonds and flees the warehouse. As police sirens and gunshots are heard outside, Mr. White cradles Mr. Orange in his arms and Mr. Orange reveals that he is in fact a detective. Mr. White kills Mr. Orange as the police raid the warehouse, resulting in the police killing Mr. White.


Quentin Tarantino’s gritty directorial debut took the world by storm and as much as it is revered, it is also mimicked. You know what they say about imitation, it is the highest form of flattery.

I’m not exactly sure why this is called Reservoir Dogs. As far as I can tell, there was nothing about a reservoir or water even mentioned. Maybe I missed something.

Each of the “dogs” is given the name of a color to go by. Mr. Pink, Steve Buscemi, is none to happy about being pink, and in a way that he is known for, whines and makes a big to do about it.

Harvey Keitel, Mr. White, is the team’s compassionate, level headed veteran, who is none to happy about the way the events of the bank heist unfolded. Not to mention he feels responsible for Mr. Orange, Tim Roth, being shot as they were trying to get away.

Mr. Blonde, Michael Madsen, is, in my opinion, the best character, is apparently responsible for the diamond heist falling apart, due to his shooting up the place like a psychopathic, trigger-happy, maniac. Not exactly sure why he’s called Mr. Blonde, though, since he has dark hair. His torture scene with the cop is one of the best in film, though. What makes him such a great character is that he is a soft spoken, calm guy. Those are always the worst kind, aren’t they?

The thing about Tarantino’s films is that are visually stunning, graphically violent, very well-made, have some sort of homage to days gone by, and these are all good things, but the drawback they seem to have is that they seem to talk themselves to death. I mean, I was expecting lots of shooting and whatnot in this film, but instead it was like watching some sort of play on stage….nothing but talking. Aside from the excessive chatter, this wasn’t a bad film. I think it could have used a bit more action, but that goes back to the talking thing. Watch and enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars

Monster House

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2009 by Mystery Man


Halloween, c.1975, preteen boy, D.J. Walters (Mitchel Musso), spends a lot of his free time spying on the house across the street and its owner, Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi), a crotchety old man who terrorizes anyone who steps anywhere on his lawn or close to his house. DJ has seen and documented Nebbercracker taking toys from kids that have stepped in his grounds. His parents (Catherine O’Hara and Fred Willard), dismiss his comments as “kid talk” and leave town for the weekend, during which he is to be cared by Elizabeth or “Zee” (Maggie Gyllenhaal), DJ’s apathetic babysitter.

When Charles “Chowder” (Sam Lerner), DJ’s best friend, loses his basketball on Nebbercracker’s lawn, DJ ventures there to recover it, but Nebbercracker appears and grabs DJ, who then starts screaming. This causes him to collapse from a stroke, seemingly dead. While Nebbercracker is carried away by the paramedics, a gold key is dropped, which DJ scoops up.

That night, DJ gets a call from Nebbercracker’s house (which was just eerie moaning from the other end). He calls Chowder and they agree to meet at a construction lot. There, they decide to investigate the house. When Chowder tries to ding-dong-ditch the house, it comes to life and attempts to eat him. They run back to DJ’s house and spend the night watching across the street. Unknown to them, Zee’s recently ex-boyfriend, Bones (Jason Lee), has already been “swallowed” by the house.

The next morning, a girl named Jenny Bennet (Spencer Locke) is on the street selling Halloween chocolates. DJ and Chowder see her going to Nebbercracker’s house, and they rush out to warn her, managing to catch her before she is eaten by the house. Jenny decides to call for the police, but when police officers Landers and Lester (Kevin James and Nick Cannon) arrive, they don’t believe their story, as the house doesn’t react to the kids’ teasing while the cops are there.

The children then go to an arcade and ask advice from a video-game addict nicknamed Skull (Jon Heder). They learn that the house is a “domus mactibilis” (deadly homein Latin), which is created when a human soul merges with a man-made structure. They conclude that the house is Nebbercracker back from the dead and that the only way to “kill” the house is to destroy its heart. Though they have trouble figuring out what the heart is until DJ realizes that the chimney has been smoking (and apparently beating like a heart) ever since Mr. Nebbercracker died.

The kids make a dummy that they fill with cold medicine from Chowder’s parent’s drug store, intending to “drug” the house. As the house is about to swallow the dummy, the police officers return. Officer Landers decides to arrest the children for stealing the cold medicine and places them in the car. The house then swallows Lester, Landers and the police car, while the kids survive by jumping out the broken back window.

As the group is trapped inside the house, they notice that it has fallen “asleep”. They see lights in a net in the shape of a uvula and Chowder incorrectly thinks it is the heart. They explore the house and find a locked cage, which DJ opens it with the key he took at earlier. They find the body of Nebbercracker’s wife, Constance the Giantess, covered in cement. The house then realizes that the kids are inside and starts attacking them. They manage to escape by pulling on its uvula and forcing the house to “vomit” them outside.

As they return home, Nebbercracker arrives in an ambulance, with an arm in a sling, revealing that the house isn’t possessed by hissoul, but by the soul of Constance. DJ confronts him, and Nebbercracker reveals his story. He met Constance (Kathleen Turner), who was an unwilling member of a circus freak show, and fell in love with her. After helping her escape, Nebbercracker moved them away and started building the house she always wanted. However, children still taunted and threw things at her for her size. On one particular Halloween day, as children cruelly attacked her with objects, Constance went after them yet lost her footing retaliating and as she fell from the edge of the house’s foundation, she grabbed the lever of a cement mixer, which covered her in cement as quickly as she fell to her death. Nebbercracker ended up finishing the house, yet found her spirit had not left. It possessed it. To protect children from her wrath, Nebbercracker had to pretend to be a child-hating old man. However, Nebbercracker felt it was now time for the house to be destroyed. The monster house overhears this alliance between him and DJ and is angered. It breaks free from its foundation to attack the group.

As they flee from the now-walking house, they run to the construction lot. A chase ensues, during which Nebbercracker tries and fails to throw a stick of dynamite into the house. Jenny kisses DJ good luck; getting courage, DJ takes the dynamite and climbs to the top of a tower crane. He swings with the crane cable and throws the dynamite down the chimney, where it reaches the furnace and destroys the house completely. The kids see Nebbercracker dancing with the spirit of Constance as he lets go of her and she fades away. DJ apologizes to him and Nebbercracker thanks him for freeing him and Constance after 45 years of being “trapped.”

The film ends with the kids returning to the hole where the house was, and Chowder, DJ, and Jenny helping Nebbercracker return all the toys. During the credits, it is shown that everyone that was eaten by the house crawls out of the basement bewildered but unharmed.


In about a month, Halloween will be here, so I figured a way to get in the swing of things would be to watch a film of this nature. The feeling I got from this picture is that Monster House is a training wheels horror film. What do I mean by that? Well, you know how when you’re young and you get training wheels on your bike before you learn how to ride it? That’s what this was for me. It’s like a way to introduce the horror genre to kids.

The all-star voice cast that was put together for this picture is actually overshadowed by the spectacular beauty of the animation. I belive this was released as a 3D film, because there are more than a few scenes and backgrounds that look like they were designed for viewing only with the glasses. Still, hearing Maggie Gyllenhall, Jason Lee, Jon Heder, Nick Cannon, Steve Buscemi, Kevin James, Kathleen Turner, and a few others lend their voices to these characters was quite the treat. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see them recording their lines, especially when they were doing action and/or comedy lines.

When it comes to the actual story, it was ok, but I felt like something was just missing. Near the end, the film take a drastically serious, dark turn and we learn the origin of the house. I’m not going to sit here and say that shouldn’t have been in there, but I think they could have come up with a better origin. On top of all this, they make Nebbercracker the typical grumpy old man who doesn’t like kids on his yard, but all of a sudden he becomes a caring individual. Seems a bit odd and forced to me.

I didn’t really have any expectations for this film. With the current trend of non-Disney or Disney/Pixar animated films that I’ve seen lately, my expectations have been lowered. I am pleased to say that, while I didn’t fall in love with Monster House, it was worth watching and very enjoyable, except for the middle section which seemed to not fit with the tone of the rest of the movie. I wouldn’t rush out to go buy this or anything, especially since everytime you turn around it’s on Cartoon Network, but if you get the chance, don’t hesitate to check it out. you may be surprised as what you ultimately think of it.

4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2009 by Mystery Man


Elliot Richards (Brendan Fraser) is a geeky and overeager young man working a dead-end job in a San Francisco call-center. He has no real friends, other than his co-workers who manipulate him for their own amusement, knowing he’ll do anything for acceptance. He has a crush on his colleague, Alison Gardner (Frances O’Connor), but lacks the courage to ask her out. After Elliot is ditched at a bar while trying to talk to Alison, he says that he would give anything for Alison to be with him. The Devil (Elizabeth Hurley), in the form of a beautiful woman, hears this wish and offers Elliot a contract. She will give Elliot seven wishes, and in return Elliot will give her his soul.

As might be expected of a bargain with Satan, there is a catch to the deal. No matter what Elliot asks for himself, the Devil grants his wish in such a way that he is invariably unhappy with the result,

  • As a test wish, he wishes for a McDonalds Big Mac and a Coke. The devil takes him to McDonalds and places the order on his behalf. Elliot has to pay for it, because as the saying goes, “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

After taking Elliott to her nightclub in Oakland in her black Lamborghini Diablo, the devil gets Elliott to sign her substantial contract, and delivers his further wishes:

  • He wishes to be rich and powerful, with Alison as his wife. The Devil makes him a Colombian Drug Lord whose wife despises him and is having an affair with her language tutor – pointing out that he never wished for Alison to be in love with him – and whose business partners are about to double-cross and murder him.
  • He wishes to be emotionally sensitive. The Devil makes him so sensitive he spends much of his time crying at how beautiful the world is. Alison then contradicts herself and says she wants to be with a man who is strong and shallow.
  • He wishes to be a superstar athlete. The Devil makes him an unstoppable seven-foot-plus tall basketball star, but gives him an extremely small penis and equally low IQ (as evidenced by a limited vocabulary), which causes Alison to lose interest in him.
  • He wishes to be intelligent, witty and well-endowed. The Devil grants this by making him a famous writer who is actually gay, living with a male partner.
  • He wishes to be President of the United States. The Devil makes him Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre on the night of his assassination.

In each wish, his co-workers are his nemeses, thwarting each one.

After each wish is renounced (by dialing 666 on a pager), Elliot returns for a meeting with the Devil in which she blames him for not being specific enough in his desires and prompts him to try again. These meetings take place in a variety of locations, with the Devil each time in a different role, in which she carries out a variety of everyday evil acts – dismissing a class full of students from their lesson without any homework other than to remember not to take any interest in being educated, swapping the medication on a hospital trolley for candy (although she explains that those were placebos), forcing parking meters to expire, and writing tickets for parked cars. The roles she plays (teacher, nurse, police officer, cheerleader) can be viewed as objects of typical male sexual fantasies. In one of the deleted scenes she also wears a French maid outfit.

Eventually he goes back to work, taking time to think on what would be best to do with the two last wishes. The devil points out that on their first meeting he asked for a Big Mac and Coke. This counts against his total, leaving just one wish remaining.

Then he goes to a church looking for God’s help, where he briefly confesses to a priest who seems sympathetic. However the priest, upon being asked whether he thinks asking the Devil for a Big Mac and Coke counts as a wish, has Elliot arrested. The sergeant decides to book him, and the Devil, now dressed as a police officer, throws him in a cell, telling him that she really does like him, and it wouldn’t hurt to have her as a friend. In prison, Elliot’s cellmate (Gabriel Casseus, as an angel) tells him that he cannot possibly sell his soul as it belongs to God, “that universal spirit that animates and binds all things in existence” and although the Devil may try to confuse him, in the end he will realise who he truly is, and what his purpose is. Mistakes are to be expected, but with an open heart and mind, eventually he’ll get it right. Elliot questions the man as to his identity, but the response is simply “a really good friend”.

Elliot returns to the Devil and asks her to cancel their contract. When the Devil refuses, Elliot states that he will not use up his final wish. However, there is also an expiration date for the wishes, and The Devil angrily teleports both Elliot and herself to her domain, Hell, where she transforms first into a black horned monster, then into an enormous giantess, who is much bigger than the terrified Elliot in comparison. When the Devil pushes him to make a final wish, Elliot blurts out that he wishes that Alison could have a happy life. The giantess devil heavily sighs and then falls into a million pieces, Elliot falling into the depths of Hell. Elliot wakes up on a marble staircase, wondering if it is Heaven. The devil tells him that it is merely a courthouse and that, by the terms of his contract, a selfless wish voids the entire deal, so he gets to keep his soul.

Before they part ways Elliott admits that despite her manipulation of him he has come to like the Devil and regards her as a best friend, something she does not object to. She simply says that Heaven and Hell can be found on Earth. It’s up to the humans to choose. Elliot finally approaches Alison directly and asks her out, only to find that she is currently dating somebody. He accepts this with good grace and continues with his life, but with a better understanding of who he is and renewed confidence.

Later he is confronted by one of his ‘friends’ at the office, who makes fun of his former attempts to be cool. Elliot finally loses his temper and grabs the man’s shirt, but lets him go with a simple “nice talking to you Bob”. A threatening look sends his other coworkers scurrying.

At home, he soon meets a new neighbor, Nicole Delarusso (also played by Frances O’Connor), with personality traits and dressing styles similar to his. He presumably forgets about Alison and enters a relationship with Nicole.

While the two are walking along the boulevard, the Devil and the cellmate, both dressed in white, are seen playing a friendly game of chess (the Devil, true to form, tries to change the pieces while the man watches Elliot and Nicole), confirming some kind of bond between the two. Whether the Devil is who she says she is, or an agent of God – heavily implied by the wise prisoner – sent to tempt humans, remains unclear.

The movie closes to the lyrics of “Change Your Mind” by Sister Hazel, and reveals that Elliot ‘drinks from the carton’, and Nicole ‘hogs the covers’.


As I’ve stated many timed before, and will keep stating until they put me in the ground, I despise and detest remakes. However, there are rare instances when remakes are pretty good. Bedazzled is one of those instances.

Brendan Fraser starts out the film as the typical nice guy that finishes last in everything and tries to hard. In the films opening, it’s even shown that as he opens the door for one person,  a slew of other people follow. I’ve been in those same shoes, so I feel his pain. As the picture moves on and he makes his wishes, each a comedic adventure in itself, his character somehow gains confidence. Perhaps this is the devil’s intention all along?

Speaking of the devil, Elizabeth Hurley is hands down the hottest devil I’ve ever seen. she is smoking hot from the time she appears on the screen all the way until she turns into a giant demon near the end.Characterwise, she’s not particularly evil, but rather manipulative. she uses her feminine ways to persuade Eliot to do things for her. This is all without mentioning the super sexy wardrobe she has all the way through the film.

Frances O’Connor has a major role, but at the same time it’s rather small. She is the object of Brendan Fraser’s affection, and is present in all the wishes, but she’s nothing more than a supporting character. As a supporting role, she is pretty good, but I think she could have done more with her role. As it is, the final scene when she is her Doppelganger, Eliot’s new neighbor, Nicole, is her best of the film, mainly because you can really see the chemistry between the two there. That may have been done on purpose, however.

I’m not exactly sure there were 7 wishes. I’m assuming it has something to do with the 7 deadly sins, though. Each of the wishes were very enjoyable to watch, but each one seemed to get shorter, not counting the Big Mac wish. I didn’t time them, but it seems as though the Colombian wish was the longest and the Abraham Lincoln wish ended up as the shortest. Maybe its just me, though.

What we have here is a romantic comedy, but there is a guy in the lead as opposed to an over-emotional female. Fraser fully embraces this role and Hurley plays up her natural hotness with those uber -hot outfits the costume department had her in. I don’t think this film would work without her looking so sexy. Fraser’s comedic talents can only go so far. That doesn’t make this anywhere near a bad film. For some reason critics and people find Hurley annoying and don’t think this is worth watching. Well, guess what? I disagree! It is fully worth the hour and a half runtime, if for nothing else than to laugh at Brendan Fraser’s pain and see Elizabeth Hurley. Look for the dogs named Peter and Dudley, a nod to the stars of the original Bedazzled, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Witches of Eastwick

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by Mystery Man


Alexandra Medford (Cher), Jane Spofford (Susan Sarandon) and Sukie Ridgemont (Michelle Pfeiffer) are three dissatisfied women living in the small town of Eastwick, Rhode Island. Alexandra is a sculptress and single mother, music teacher Jane is a spinster, and journalist Sukie is an extraordinarily fertile woman with numerous small children. Having left or been abandoned by men, they unwittingly form a coven of sorts, which consists of weekly meetings during which they drink, play cards and share their fantasies about ideal men.

The day after one such coven meeting, an enigmatic man arrives in Eastwick and buys the Lennox mansion, a sprawling estate that was previously uninhabited. The riveting and charismatic stranger causes fascination among the townfolk, but angers local townswoman Felicia Alden (Veronica Cartwright), a conservative busybody who is married to newspaper editor Clyde Alden (Richard Jenkins). The stranger eventually makes his introduction to the whole town at a music recital; making a rather eccentric spectacle of himself, he is revealed to be Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson). At the moment of Sukie remembering his name from her research, her beaded necklace inexplicably breaks and falls to the floor, causing Felicia to trip and fall down a large staircase, breaking her leg in the process.

Daryl sets about seducing the women one by one, beginning with self-assured Alexandra, who is at first appalled by his arrogance and bravado, before moving on to shy and reserved Jane, whom he encourages to be passionate and reckless. Inviting all three women over to the mansion, he turns his attentions finally to Sukie, creating a network of jealous rivalry between the women that leads to a supernatural game of tennis and reveals the first signs of their witchcraft abilities. They are later seen levitating above Daryl’s swimming pool, enjoying their newfound powers.

As time goes on, the witches’ continued presence at Daryl’s mansion leads to gossip and consternation from the local townswomen who publicly snub Jane in a supermarket. Felicia in particular is incensed at the perceived immorality of their behaviour, but is dispatched in a particularly graphic scene by Daryl’s casting of a spell that causes her to vomit the witches’ discarded cherry stones; seeing her possessed, her husband kills her with a poker.

Suddenly horrified by the dangerous effects of their relationship with Daryl, the witches attempt to break all ties, but end up facing the horrific consequences of Daryl’s hurt pride. Having previously recorded a conversation in which the three women confessed to their innermost fears, Daryl sets about making them come true supernaturally: Alexandra wakes up to find her bed full of snakes, Jane looks in a mirror and sees herself horrifically aged, and Sukie is subjected to unbearable pain that leaves her hospitalised. While recovering, it becomes clear that all three of the women are pregnant with Daryl’s children.

Realising that the only way to get rid of Daryl is to use against him the powers he taught them, the witches cast a final spell that involves the manipulation of a Daryl-shaped voodoo doll, and the very trick that he used, through them, on Felicia, involving cherry stones. Having damaged the doll beyond repair, they break it and throw it into fire, and Daryl is depicted as disintegrating into flame.

An epilogue scene shows Alexandra, Jane, Sukie and their families all living in Daryl’s mansion with the newborn male children fathered by Daryl. While the witches are otherwise occupied, Daryl appears on a television screen and tries to communicate with the three babies, but before he can accomplish anything, he is interrupted by the three women who point the remote control at him and switch him off.


It sure looks like this has been a witch weekend for me. Not really sure how that happened, but it did. First, I watch Teen Witch, then follow it up with The Witches of Eastwick.

Our story involves 3 (relativley) new single women living in a small town. One dar and stormy night (is there any other kind?), they sit around drinking wine and are talking about the kind of man they want and wish for. No sooner do they do so, then into town comes Jack Nicholson, who turns out to be the devil and, well, you can guess that a series of events transpires that lead us to the climactic ending.

Jack Nicholson steals the show with his over-the-top performance as the devil. Of course, Nicholson has a reputation as a ladies’ man, so the fact that he gets to have 3 women fawning over him and his every will like this, is right up his alley. During the voodoo scene, we get to see what Nicholson can do as a comedic actor, what with his turn at some physical comedy stuff.

Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon, and Cher all have their individual faults and traits that make them somewhat interesting characters, but I just couldn’t really feel anything for them. Before Sarandon became the sexed up version of herself, as opposed to the spinster music teacher, I did feel for her, but the others were just characters to me. For a film, in which these ladies are the subject, I expect more.

I did like that they chose a blonde, brunette, and redhead. Having not read the book, I’m not sure if this was done randomly, or if that’s how they are described in the source material.

Witches in a small town, add in the devil, and you’re sure to have some rampant paranoia fueled by some crazy townsperson. Surprisingly, there isn’t much here, but then again, the witches don’t do much witching. As a matter of fact, I don’t even think they know they’re witches. The town seems more concerned with their “unwholesome ways” more than anything else. In other words, Conservatives rule the place.

During the climactic fight scene, Jack Nicholson turns into the giant CGI creature, but the girls throw the voodoo doll into the fire and he disappears. Seemed to be kind of a waste, if you ask me, especially since it looked like there really about to be something interesting happen.

Personally, I don’t belive 3 novice witches could beat the devil with a voodoo doll, but apparently, the author and filmmakers believed that could happen, so it’s what we got. Does that make the film any less interesting? No, just a little disappointing in my book. I’m sure there are more than a few people who will watch this and say that he gets what he deserves. to them, I say, “whatever!” Unfortunately, the legacy of this film is set to be tarnished. No, not by a remake (as far as I know), but by a TV show. I wish they’d just leave things alone. All that aside, this is really a good film. A lighthearted, dark comedy (if that’s even possible).

4 out of 5 stars

Teen Witch

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by Mystery Man


After a bike accident, sweet but nerdy Louise Miller (Robyn Elaine Lively) knocked on the door of a strange looking house, hoping to use the phone. Instead she found a strange but warm woman, the seer Madame Serena (Zelda Rubinstein), who was stunned to realize that Louise was a reincarnated witch and old friend of Serena’s. On Lousie’s 16th birthday her magical powers returned to her through a powerful amulet she lost in a former life. Now that Louise has the power to make her dreams come true, she cast a popularity spell to win the hottest guy in school Brad (Dan Gauthier) without forcing him to love her. Louise now becomes the most popular girl in school while getting back at her English teacher, Mr. Weaver, and the cheerleaders who before never respected her. After realizing that believing in yourself is the true magic, Louise gave up her power to make her own happy ending.


Who doesn’t love a good, cheesy 80s flick? I know I do. Teen Witch is not the world’s greatest film, but it does what most 80s flicks do, entertain and not take itself seriously.

Robyn Lively (you may know her sister, Blake) shines as the star of the film, Louise, a nerdy, insecure high school student who, though a distinct chain of events becomes the most popular girl in school. Louise’s metamorphosis is sudden, but Lively tries to bring some humanity to it so that the audience isn’t shell shocked.

Dick Sargent just can’t seem to get away from witches. All those years on Bewitched, and here he is with more withces.

Dan Gauthier is the quintessential jock that you would expect in  high school film. The difference with his is that he seems to actually be a nice guy with a good head on his shoulders.

Zelda Rubenstein. Don’t know the name? I’m sure you know the voice. Every witch needs someone to guide then, and Louise has Madame Serena, played by Rubenstein, who gives her all types of advice, as well as becomes the comedic highlight of the film.

With a movie about  a witch, I expected more magic and less drama. Unfortunately, that’s not what I got. SAve for making her date disappear and her brother a dog, the magic in this film is sad, quite nonexistent. I know this is a comedy, but one would think that there would become sort of hocus pocus going on, but maybe I’m wrong.

This is an 80s flick, so we have to have the perennial 80s montage complete with hair band soundtrack. While I liked the rapping scene, I prefered the locker room scene (and not just because to was a bunch of girls dancing around in leotards).

Ultimately, this is not a film I would be watching over and over again. Ashley Tisdale, of High School Musical fame, is set to star in a remake of this cult classic. Ugh! Another bastardization set in motion. You know what that means, right? You best be finding a way to watch this before it comes out,so you can see what a real movie is like and not some crappy, unnecessary remake. While this picture didn’t strike my fancy, it is worth watching. I’m sure those of you out there of the female persuasion will prefer it more than the guys. It just seems like it’s more your speed. So, go track it down, hogtie your guy to the couch, and enjoy.

3 out of 5 stars

Slumdog Milionaire

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on September 19, 2009 by Mystery Man


Set in 2006, the film opens in medias resin Mumbai with a policeman torturing Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), a former street child from the Juhu slums. In the opening scene, a title card is presented:

Jamal Malik is one question away from winning 20 million rupees. How did he do it?
• A: He cheated • B: He’s lucky
• C: He’s a genius • D: It is written

Jamal is a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, hosted by Prem Kumar (Anil Kapoor). He has already won Rs.10,000,000 and has made it to the final question, for Rs. 20,000,000, scheduled for the next day. Following up on a tip-off from Prem Kumar, the police now suspect Jamal of cheating, because the other possibilities—that he has a vast knowledge, or that he is very lucky—seem unlikely.

Jamal then explains that, while at least the question about Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan was very simple, he knew the answers of most questions by chance, because of things that happened in his life, conveyed in a series of flashbacks documenting the details of his childhood. This includes scenes of his obtaining Bachchan’s autograph (which is then sold by his brother without his permission), the death of his mother during anti-Muslim violence (rekindling memory of the 1993 anti-Muslim attacks in the Bombay slums), and how he and his brother Salim befriended Latika (Rubina Ali). He refers to Salim and himself as Athos and Porthos, and Latika as the third of the The Three Musketeers, the name of whom they do not know.

In Jamal’s flashback, the children are eventually discovered by Maman (Ankur Vikal) while they are living in the trash heaps. Maman is a gangster (a fact they do not actually know at the time they meet him) who pretends to run an orphanage in order to “collect” street children so that he can ultimately train them to beg for money. Salim is groomed to become a part of Maman’s operation and is told to bring Jamal to Maman in order to be blinded by acid (which would improve his income potential as a singing beggar). Salim protects his brother, and the three children try to escape, but only he and Jamal are able to do so, jumping onto a train which is departing. Latika catches up and takes Salim’s hand, but Salim purposely lets go, and she is recaptured by the gangsters as the train accelerates away.

The brothers make a living, travelling on top of trains, selling goods, picking pockets, and cheating naive tourists at the Taj Mahal by pretending to be tour guides. Jamal eventually insists that they return to Mumbai since he wishes to locate Latika, which annoys Salim. They eventually find her, discovering that she had been raised by Maman to be a culturally talented prostitute whose virginity will fetch a high price. The brothers attempt to rescue her, but Maman intrudes, and in the resulting conflict Salim draws a gun and kills Maman. Salim then uses the fact that he killed Maman to obtain a job with Javed (Mahesh Manjrekr), a rival crime lord. Salim returns to the room where the three were staying and orders Jamal to leave. Jamal, knowing his brother is here to claim Latika as his own, attacks his brother violently before being overturned by Salim and confronted by Salim’s revolver with Salim threatening to kill him. Latika intervenes and tells Jamal to leave, breaking his heart and sacrificing herself to keep him safe. With Maman’s men searching for Salim, Salim and Latika flee to an unknown location, leaving Jamal alone to fend for himself.

Years later, Jamal has a position as a “chai wallah” (tea server) at a call centre. When he is asked to cover for a co-worker for a couple of minutes, he searches the database for Salim and Latika and succeeds in getting in touch with Salim, who has become a high-ranking lieutenant in Javed’s organisation. Jamal confronts a regretful Salim on tense terms. Jamal asks him where Latika is. Salim, annoyed and bewildered that his brother still cares about her, responds that she is “long gone.” Salim invites Jamal to live with him, and after Jamal follows him to Javed’s house, he sees Latika (Freida Pinto) there, and she also notices him. He bluffs his way in, pretending initially to be a dishwasher and then later a cook. Jamal and Latika have an emotional reunion, but elation quickly turns to despair after Jamal discovers that Latika is involved with Javed. Upon discovering this, Jamal tries to persuade Latika to leave. She rebuffs his advances and insists that he forget about her and leave, but instead Jamal confesses his love for her and promises to wait for her at Mumbai’s largest train station, the VT station “five o’ clock every day until you come”. One day, while Jamal waits there, Latika attempts to rendezvous with him, but she is recaptured by Salim and Javed’s men. Javed slashes her cheek with a knife as Salim drives off, leaving a furious Jamal behind with a crowd of onlookers.

Jamal again loses contact with Latika when Javed moves to another house outside of Mumbai. In another attempt to find Latika, Jamal tries out for the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, because he knows she’ll be watching. He makes it to the final question, despite the hostile attitude of the host who feeds Jamal a wrong answer during a break. At the end of the first day of the show, Jamal has one question left to win 20 million rupees, but the host calls the police and Jamal is taken into police custody, where he is tortured as the police attempt to learn how he, a simple “slumdog”, could know the answers to so many questions. While watching a tape of the show, question by question Jamal tells his whole story, explaining how his life experiences coincidentally enabled him to know the answer to each question. The police inspector (Irrfan Khan) calls Jamal’s explanation “bizarrely plausible” and, realizing he is not in it for the money, allows him to return to the show for the final question.

At Javed’s safehouse, Latika watches the news coverage of Jamal’s miraculous run on the show. Salim gives Latika his phone and the keys to his car. He urges her to run away and to “forgive me for what I have done.” Shortly after Latika has left, Salim fills the bathtub full of cash and sits in the tub, waiting for his death. The final question asked of Jamal is to name the third musketeer in the story of The Three Musketeers. When Jamal uses his last Phone-A-Friend lifeline to call Salim, Latika barely succeeds in answering the phone in time and they reconnect. She does not know the answer to the final question, but she tells Jamal that she is safe and (in unsubtitled Hindi) starts to say “God is with you” but the phone connection cuts off in the middle of the sentence. With detached irreverence, Jamal simply guesses the correct answer (Aramis) to the question of the one musketeer whose name they never learned, and wins the grand prize. Simultaneously, Javed discovers Salim helped Latika escape. Javed and his men break down the bathroom door and Salim shoots Javed. Javed’s men then come in and shoot Salim multiple times. Salim’s last words are “God is great.” Later that night, Jamal and Latika meet at the railway station and they share a kiss. It is then revealed that the correct answer to the opening question is “D) it is written”, implying that Jamal’s story is his destiny. During the closing credits, Jamal and Latika—along with hundreds of bystanders and even the younger versions of themselves—dance in the CST train station to the song “Jai Ho”.


When the awards season rolled around last year, this film really cleaned up. When one picture ends up winning all those awards, my interest is piqued. After sitting down and watching it this afternoon, I have to say that all the accolades are more than well deserved.

It may be hard to believe, but 10 years ago Regis Philbin and ABC debuted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, which reignited America’s love affair with game shows. Since then, …Millionairehas gone on to become a worldwide smash. I seriously thought about auditioning on more than once occasion, but never managed to do so. However, Jamal Malik, played by Dev Patel, somehow end up on the Indian version of the show. The thing about it is that he didn’t go on the show for the money, but rather for the chance to impress and get the attention of childhood friend/sweetheart Latika, played by Freida Pinto.

This picture can be a bit confusing if you’re not paying complete attention. I know that I was a bit lost with all the excessive flashbacks, but I was able to catch up. The flashbacks set things up very nicely and give us some insight and backstory to Jamal and how he ended up in the hot seat, not to mention there is a nice subplot involving a conspiracy that he was a fraud which leads to him being arrested (and beaten and tortured), then questioned, which leads us to his flashing back and explaining things about his life before answering each question.

The relationship between the brothers Jamal and Salim is quite the intrsting one, especially when you see the things that Salim does to Jamal, including seeing an autograph that he had to crawl in feces to get out of a outhose for, being responsible for Latika not escaping to the train, becoming a hitman for a gang boss, etc. His actions make him highly unlikable, so it is no surprise that they didn’t talk for quite some time and Jamal does not forgive him.

There are’t too many things wrong with this film. The flashbacks are hit or miss. In my opinion, they work, but could have been set up better, especially the earlier ones. THe big problem is the subtitles. I know you’re wondering what is wrong with the subtitles. well, they are a bit on the small side and the colored background makes them hard to see. Yeah, that’s just nitpicky stuff, but Hindu isn’t exactly a universal language, so in scenes where they speak it (and any other foreign dialect).

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I don’t normally go for these “artsy-fartsy” films. Having said that, this wasn’t bad. Now, it didn’t inspire me to go out and buy the DVD or anything like that, but it was a good watch. The ending dance to “Jai Ho” was really entertaining. Don’t forget to check it out during the credits.  I’m not into this genre, but I know a good movie when I see it, and this is one of those that you shouldn’t go without seeing at some point in your lifetime.

4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2009 by Mystery Man


A girl named Penny and a dog named Bolt star on a hit television series called Bolt in which the titular character has various superpowers and must constantly thwart the evil plans of the nefarious Doctor Calico. To gain a more realistic performance, the TV show’s producers have deceived Bolt his entire life, arranging the filming in such a way that Bolt believes the television show is real and he really has superpowers. After filming completes for the latest episode, Bolt escapes from his on-set trailer mistakenly believing Penny has been kidnapped by the television villain. He attempts to break through a window, knocking himself unconscious as he falls into a box of styrofoam peanuts. With no one aware Bolt is in the box, it is shipped from Hollywood to New York City. In New York, he meets Mittens, a female alley cat who bullies pigeons out of their food. Bolt, convinced this is another adventure, forces Mittens to help him get back to Hollywood, and the two start their journey westward on a truck after Bolt knocks Mittens unconscious. Meanwhile, in Hollywood, Penny is deeply saddened over Bolt’s disappearance but is forced by the studio to continue filming with a Bolt lookalike. As their adventure proceeds, Bolt starts to notice that his superpowers aren’t working, and rationalizes this is the effect that styrofoam has on his body.

Surprised at his first feelings of both pain and hunger, Bolt is shown by Mittens how to act like a cute, but needy dog, and is rewarded by food. They meet Rhino, a fearless, TV-obsessed hamster and huge Bolt fan who joins their team. Mittens tries to convince Bolt that his superpowers aren’t real, but their discussion is cut short by the arrival of Animal Control, who captures them both and transports them to an animal shelter. After being freed en route by Rhino, Bolt finally realizes that he is just a normal dog, but regains his confidence after Rhino (oblivious to this revelation) gives him a pep talk. They rescue Mittens from the shelter and escape, allowing them to continue their journey. Along the way, Bolt learns to enjoy typical dog activities (such as hanging his head out the window), but Mittens refuses to go farther than Las Vegas. She tells Bolt that his Hollywood life is fake and there is no real love for him there. Her emotional rant reveals that she was once a house cat, but was abandoned by her previous owner and left to brave the harsh streets alone and declawed. Bolt refuses to believe that Penny doesn’t love him, and continues on alone, wishing Mittens the best. Rhino, learning of Bolt’s departure, convinces Mittens that they must help him, and the two set off to find Bolt once again.

Bolt reaches the studio, finding Penny embracing his lookalike. Unaware that Penny still misses him and that her affection for the lookalike was only a part of a rehearsal for the show, he leaves, brokenhearted. Mittens, on a gantry in the studio, sees what Bolt does not – Penny telling her mother how much she misses Bolt. Realizing that Penny truly does love Bolt, Mittens follows Bolt and explains. At the same time, the Bolt-lookalike panics during filming and accidentally knocks over some torches, setting the sound stage on fire and trapping Penny. Bolt arrives and reunites with Penny inside the burning studio, being rescued as they succumb to smoke asphyxiation.

Penny and her mother subsequently quit the show when their agent attempts to exploit the incident for publicity purposes. Penny herself adopts Mittens and Rhino, and moves to a rural home to enjoy a simpler, happy lifestyle with Bolt and her new pets. The show continues, but with a replacement “Bolt” and “Penny”- “Penny’s” new appearance being explained in the show as being serious injuries necessitating her undergoing facial reconstruction surgery-, and adopting an alien abduction storyline (One that even Rhino finds ridiculous).


There was a time when Disney animation was all 2D, hand drawn things of  beauty. Since Home on the Range, though, it seems as if Disney has been more of  a computer animated company. Thank goodness for the forthcoming Pricess and the Frog!

Bolt tells us the tale of a dog who knows noting but life as a TV canine. THe makers of the show do everything they can to keep Bolt in the dark. The whole plot reminds me of a watered dn Truman Show, but with animals.

Voices for this film range from John Travolta, as Bolt to Miley Cyrus as Penny to Malcom McDowell as Dr. Calico and a host of others.

As with any buddy picture, there are characters that steal the film.  Those characters  in this film are the pigeons and Rhino, the hamster. These guys are just hilarious.

When the film opened and got past the buying of Bolt scene, it gave the illusion of a nonstop action flick. I was highly impressed.

The animation is obviously not Pixar, but it is pretty good. Nothing really sticks out in terms of details and whatnot.

I apologize for the shortness and discojointment of this review. I just took some meds and am fighting the Sandman. Before I fall asleep, let me say this…Bolt is a great animated picture that will entertain and astound you. While is is mostly an action/comedy, there are a few touching scenes that tug on your heart strings, as well as a cat that will crush your dreams with her cynicism. It is with good conscience that I full recommend this to each an every one of you. Enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars

Crank: High Voltage

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 12, 2009 by Mystery Man


The film opens with a sequence designed to look like a classic video game, depicting Chev Chelios’s fall from a helicopter during the final moments of the original film. Immediately after his fall, he is scooped off the street via snow shovel by a group of Chinese medics and removed from the scene.

He wakes up in a makeshift hospital and sees doctors removing his heart while Johnny Vang (Art Hsu) watches. The doctors place Chelios’s heart in a red cooler with a padlock, and place a clear plastic artificial heart in his chest. Chelios passes out. He wakes up, and escapes. He notices a yellow battery pack is attached to him. After a gunfight and interrogation of a thug, he learns the location of Johnny Vang – the Cypress Social Club.

Chelios calls Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), who tells him that he has been fitted with an AbioCor Artificial heart. Once the external battery pack runs out, the internal battery will kick in and he will have 60 minutes before it stops working. He crashes his car right after the conversation, destroying his external battery pack. In order to keep going, Chelios has the driver of another car use his jumper cables on Chelios, and runs to the Club.

He loses Vang at the club but picks up a hooker named Ria (Bai Ling) who sends him to a strip club where Vang is hiding out. In the club, Chev finds Eve, now a stripper.

Back outside of the strip club, Chev is met by a group of police, who begin beating him down. He is weakened, but one of them inadvertently charges Chelios by using a taser on him. Another stripper tells Chelios that he should look at the Hollywood horse racetrack for Johnny Vang. They encounter a group of porn stars protesting low wages, and Chelios is forced to escape, leaving Eve in the back of the cop car. Chelios is picked up by Venus(Efren Ramirez), who reveals himself to be Kaylo’s brother. It is revealed he also has Tourette’s Syndrome. At first, Chelios tells Venus that he killed everyone responsible for his brother’s death, but this prompts Venus to leave. Wanting his help, Chelios tells Venus that El Huron was involved but escaped.

At the horse tracks, Chelios is losing energy. He learns that the heart can be charged through the skin by means of friction. Eve shows up and they have sex on the racetrack while the crowd cheers, and Chelios is restored to full energy. Chelios spots Vang and once again leaves Eve behind. Vang escapes, and Chev is about to be subdued by security when Don Kim picks Chev up in his limo. He informs Chev that there is a leader in the Triads named Poon Dong (David Carradin), who was in need of a heart transplant. When he heard of Chelios’s ability to withstand the Chinese adrenaline poison, he put out an order for Chelios’s heart. Don Kim then tells Chev Chelios that he wishes to return him to Poon Dong for a reward. Upon hearing this, Chev kills all of Don Kim’s henchmen, including the limo driver, and shoots Don Kim several times. Meanwhile, Eve is arrested, and Venus calls in Orlando (Reno Wilson) to assist in tracking down El Huron.

While driving, Chev is cut off by an ambulance. He boards the ambulance and is surprised to see the EMTs are working on one of Don Kim’s henchmen. He demands a new battery pack for his artificial heart, and the EMT is forced to stop working while he hooks it up. Don Kim’s henchman dies, and Chelios exits the ambulance upon seeing Johnny Vang on the street outside. Vang tries to escape in a car, but the car drives off without him, and Chev chases Vang to an electric plant, where there is a Godzilla-inspired fight between Chelios and Vang. Upon winning, Chev discovers that Vang’s red cooler holds something other than his heart (the contents of which are unknown, but make Chelios recoil in disgust). Chelios learns from Doc Miles that his heart is already transplanted into Poon Dong, but promises to find him for Chev. Chelios goes to ask Johnny Vang, but Johnny Vang is shot and killed by Chico, and they knock Chelios unconscious.

There is a dream sequence showing Chelios as a youngster, with his mother (Geri Halliwell) on the Luke Canard show talking about his violent tendencies as a boy. Eve is interrogated by police, but refuses to rat Chev out. Doc Miles uses his assistant Chocolate to lure Poon Dong in, and knocks him out.

Chelios is awakened by electric shocks to his testicles, and is dragged by speedboat to an island where El Huron awaits. El Huron explains to Chev that he is the third Verona brother, and is very upset that Chelios killed Ricky (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Alex Verona (Jay Xcala). He reveals Ricky Verona’s head being kept alive in a tank by a group of scientists, speaking in an electronic voice. Chelios is whipped for Verona’s pleasure, and is about to die when Orlando, Venus, and Ria show up, each with their own group of gunfighters, and chaos breaks out.

Chev smashes open Verona’s tank and kicks his head into the swimming pool, but starts to slow down. He climbs an electric pylon nearby and grabs the insulators to recharge, but is flung off of it upon contact. Venus is fighting El Huron and is about to lose when Chev reappears, still partially on fire from the electricity. He beats El Huron to death (while still burning), and throws his body in the pool next to Ricky’s head. In a hallucinogenic state, Chelios then tries to hug Ria (thinking she is Eve) but accidentally sets her on fire as well, and she runs off screaming. His flesh burning and his face melting, Chelios walks towards the camera, giving the middle finger to the audience in the final moment of the film.

During the credits, Doc Miles places Chev Chelios’s heart back in. At first, it looks like a failure, but after everyone leaves, Chelios’s eyes open, and his heart is heard beating.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sequels are hit and miss. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t. The jury is still out on Crank: High Voltage, though.

Jason Statham returns as Chev Chelios. As I was watching everything Chelios was going through, I was like, can this guy ever catch a break and is he really human? The man somehow survived that poison from the first film, and now he’ had his heart removed and repalced with a temporary one that he has to keep juicing up. He even ends the film climbing up power lines to get some electrical current which is so much that it sets him on fire!

Amy Smart reprises her role as Eve, Chev’s ditzy blonde girlfriend. Now a stripper, she thought that Chelios was dead and shacked up with the sleazy club owner (played by Corey Haim, of all people). In a film like this, you’d think there’s be more scenes with the resident eye candy, but not so much. A bit of a disappointment to me, but then again, there are plenty of other naked women to be seen, plus she and Statham have the memorable sex romp at the horse races.

Dwight Yoakam, who I still can’t get over being an actor now, has a bigger role as Doc Miles this go around. It is good to know that Doc is actually skilled at some thing, although he confused the bejesus out of me when he was explaining what Chelios had to do to stay alive with that AbioCor heart.

Efren Ramirez returns, not as the murdered Kaylo, but rather his brother Venus, who suffers from some form of Tourette’s. I think it was called FBT, Full Body Tourette’s. Venus isn’t as flaming as Kaylo. As a matter of fact, he almost seems straight. It is implied that he isn’t, but it is also implied he is? Perhaps he swings both ways?

Bai Ling annoys me to no end when she’s not acting, so of course I’m no fan of her character who is just about as annoying as one can get. I’m of the belief that had she been in the first one, she’d have been part of the body count. Here, Chelios isn’t on as much a rampage. This chick does get everything done to her except get shot, so I guess that’s a consolation.

One of the best scenes in the film involves a cameo from Lauren Holly as a psychiatrist talking to the cart guy from the first film that Chelios pulled a gun on so that he could get his ephedrine. On top of this being a hot scene, the irony comes when a bullet (fired from Chelios’ gun) ricocheted and goes through his head. Another cameo is Geri Haliwell (Ginger Spice) as Chev’s mom in a flashback. Nothing really special there, just wanted to mention it. There is also a scene with striking porn stars and we get cameo appearances from Lex Steele, Jenna Haze, and Ron Jeremy.

Following up where Crank ended, this film doesn’t lose any of the excitement of its predecessor. There are still tons of bodies, senseless violence, over the top action, gratuitous sex (in front of a crowd at the racetrack, this time), and everything that made the first film one of my favorites…except it doesn’t have that fun factor. To me, it seems like this one tried to become a serious movie, whereas the first film was insane and didn’t care. For this reason, I can’t give this an enthusiastically high rating, but it is still awesome, mindless fun that any action junkie will love.

4 out 5 stars