Archive for October, 2009

The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2009 by Mystery Man


Frank Drebin is honored at a dinner at the White House, where the guests are President George Bush, John Sununu, Nelson Mandela and Winnie, Washington, D.C. police commissioner Annabelle Brumford (played by Jacqueline Brookes) and others. The President announces that he will base his recommendation for the country’s energy program on Dr. Albert Meinheimer’s advice at the National Press Club dinner the following Tuesday night. The heads of the coal and oil (fossil fuel) and nuclear industries are apparently distressed by this fact, but the antics of Frank Drebin distract, as he accidentally injures Barbara Bush many times.

Dr. Meinheimer reveals that he was going to also give his results at the White House dinner but because of Frank Drebin “making such a ruckus” he was unable. Jane Spencer (Presley), now working for Dr. Meinheimer, is shown late at night at the Meinheimer research institute crying about Frank, while Dr. Meinheimer tries to console her. At one point Spencer looks out the window and sees a man run into a red van and leave. However, a maintenance man, emptying out garbage cans, discovers a clock with dynamite attached and takes it down to the security guards downstairs, accidentally triggering it in the process.

The next morning, Frank reacquaints with Jane as he interviews her about the explosion. He is shown around the institute and meets Jane’s boyfriend, Hexagon Oil executive Quentin Hapsburg, of whom he becomes exceedingly jealous. Later, Ed finds Frank at a lonely blues bar, trying to cheer him up. They discover Jane there, attempting to talk with Frank, but she only wants to discuss what she knows about the case. They have an argument and she storms off. At a meeting of the “energy” industry leaders, Quentin has revealed that he has kidnapped Dr. Meinheimer and found an exact double for him, Earl Hacker, who will pretend to be Meinheimer and give “their” recommendation to the President endorsing fossil and nuclear fuels.

The next day, the Police Squad determine the driver of the van, Hector Savage, is connected to a sex toy shop. Frank spots the red van upon entering the store, which Nordberg is given the task of bugging. While he is doing this, Savage takes off in the van. Before successfully installing the device, Nordberg is trapped underneath the van and is pulled along with the van until he eventually gets himself free from the van, but ends up getting trapped under Frank’s car. Frank and Ed pursue the signal, but when they finally stop, Nordberg is propelled forward and ends up getting stuck under a bus. Savage is held up in a suburban home surrounded by police, but Frank commandeers a tank, which he drives into the house. Savage, who was about to surrender, escapes. Frank then drives the tank into the zoo where many animals escape.

That evening, Drebin arrives at a party and starts dancing with Jane to make Hapsburg jealous. After a disastrous attempt to “wheel” the Meinheimer double to the stage for a raffle drawing, Frank then goes to Jane’s apartment, where Savage arrives with orders to kill. However, he comes across Jane while she’s having a shower, she screams, alerting Frank to Savage’s presence. Frank and Savage fight until Frank sticks a fire hose in Savage’s mouth and turns on the water full blast until Savage gets filled up with water and apparently bursts. During the fight with Savage, Frank picked up a card from Savage leading him to the dock of Quentin’s oil company. When Frank reveals the card to Jane, she quickly realizes Hapsburg’s plan and asks Frank for help to stop him. They rediscover their love for each other and spend the night together, starting with a jukebox playing “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers in the background while they recreate the love scene from “Ghost” concluding with various motion picture representations of spring and love blossoming.

The next day, Frank goes with the police to investigate, while Hapsburg and the energy representatives are meeting in a warehouse. He is bugged and accidentally falls through the roof of the warehouse as he was being chased by a guard dog. They discover the bug and tie up Frank with the real Dr. Meinheimer and the police arrive to free them, but not before Frank tries to free them knocking many objects onto Meinheimer. The police then go to the hotel where Dr. Meinheimer will make his recommendation to President Bush, and where they hope to get Hapsburg. Drebin wants to get the jump on Hapsburg by having Jane let them in from the back entrance, but that plan is derailed. Frank, Nordberg, Ed and the real Meinheimer get into the building by appropriating a costume and instruments from a Mariachi band due to perform at the hotel, and wind up performing the song “Besame Mucho” for the National Press Club audience.

Drebin Drebin “>then encounters Hacker and he attacks Drebin, but members of the Chicago Bears appear and, believing Frank to be attacking a defenseless man, proceed to wheel away Hacker while attacking Frank. Ed and Meinheimer disable Hacker. Later, during the confusion where Drebin mistakes Meinheimer for the fake, Hacker ends up arrested but Hapsburg escapes with Jane. Eventually, Frank and the police have a shootout with Hapsburg’s goons on the hotel roof. Hapsburg ends up about to set off a small nuclear device which will destroy the function, so that it won’t matter what Meinheimer will say in his speech. Nordberg’s attempt to get Hapsburg distracts him, at which point Frank suddenly disarms him and proceeds to aggressively subdue him. Ed arrives before Hapsburg reveals the code for disarming the bomb and throws him out the window, believing that he was still struggling with Frank. Although Hapsburg manages to survive the fall thanks to an awning, he is attacked by a lion, one of the animals presumably released by Frank from the zoo. His fate after that is unknown. Frank frees Jane and they attempt to figure out how to disarm the bomb while Ed and Nordberg try to evacuate the hotel despite the audience panicking.

After several attempts to disarm the bomb, Frank then manages to disarm the bomb accidentally at the last second by tripping and unplugging the power cord. He is then commended by the President, who offers him a special post as head of a Federal Bureau of Police Squad. Drebin declines, vowing to take an environment-friendly approach to his police work instead and asking Jane to marry him, which she accepts. They then go out to a balcony, where they accept commendations from the crowd, and Frank turns around, accidentally knocking Barbara Bush off the balcony. She manages to hold on, although Frank pulls off her dress in an attempt to help her.


Following the success of the wildly funny and silly The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad, The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to the jokes and sight gags, which ave become a staple of this series.

Believe it or not, there is a plot to this madness.  The villain, played by Robert Goulet, is heading up a group that wants to shut down use of fossil fuels in favor of nuclear power.

Leslie Nielsen reprises his role as Lt. Frank Drebin, only this time he has a bit of credibility to his name after the successful case from the first film.

Pricilla Prelseyalso reprises her role from the first film, only this time she has more time on-screen. No, she’s not the best actress around, but her screentime is worth it.

Robert Goulet is not the first person I think of when it comes to villains, but he surprisingly does well with a mixture of sophistication, cunning, charm, and charisma that you almost don’t even realize he is the villain until it is officially revealed.

Spoofs and satire don’t get much better than these Naked Gun films. Leslie Nielsen makes the audience belive he’s such an inept cop that you almost forget he’s more than a capable actor. Leave us not forget that these are brighter spits in O.J. Simpson’s career, before the whole murder thing.  All that aside, this is one of those films that is nothing but good fun. If you’re one of those people that are going to take everything literally, then this isn’t the movie for you.

4 out of 5 stars

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2009 by Mystery Man


The film opens with highlights of events from the first movie: Jor-El condemning three Kryptonian villains, General Zod, Non, and Ursa, to the Phantom Zone and sending his son, Kal-El, to Earth in a rocket ship, the launching of the two XK-101 missiles, Superman being trapped in the swimming pool by wearing the Kryptonite necklace by Lex Luthor and being rescued by Ms. Teschmacher, and Superman diverting the XK-101 missile programmed to hit Hackensack, New Jersey into outer space. Meanwhile, the Phantom Zone drifts through space towards Earth because the shock waves after the destruction of Krypton sends it on a new course, and the XK-101 missile explodes near it, causing shock waves that destroy the Phantom Zone, freeing the three villains, who then head toward the Moon.

Later, at The Daily Planet, Lois Lane begins to suspect that Clark Kent is Superman. She confirms this belief when she draws clothes that Clark is wearing on a picture of Superman in the newspaper; the posture of both looked almost the same. She tries to prove to Clark she knows his secret by jumping out of a window believing that Superman wouldn’t allow her to die. Instead, Clark races outside at super-speed and uses his super-breath and heat vision to slow her fall and open roof curtains to act as a trampoline. Lois bounces off them and lands in a fruit stand. By the time she looks up, Clark has already raced back up to the window and looks down, appearing not to have done anything at all.

General Zod, Non, and Ursa arrive on the Moon and kill all astronauts on a joint NASA-Soviet moon expedition. They note that they have become more powerful from how easily they have killed all of the moonwalkers, having acquired more powers from being closer to a yellow Sun. They decide to fly off to Earth, which they believe to be called ‘Houston’, upon overhearing radio transmissions between the moon mission and mission control in Houston, Texas.

In prison, Lex Luthor devises a plan with Otis to break out. When Otis reveals to Luthor that Superman always flies north to escape radar detection, Luthor decides to track him down using a ‘black box’ he has created that detects alpha waves. Luthor finally breaks out of jail with the help of Ms. Teschmacher using a hot air balloon, but leaves Otis behind as his weight holds the balloon down. Using the black box device, he goes north to the Fortress of Solitude. Luthor, activating the Fortress control panel, then learns from hologram recordings of Jor-El about the three Kryptonian villains who have escaped. He decides that he will collaborate with the Kryptonian villains to defeat Superman and take over the world.

Meanwhile, Clark and Lois have arrived at Niagara Falls, Ontario to investigate a ‘honeymoon racket’ assigned to them by Perry White. Lois sees a boy falling over a railing and calls for help; Clark, outside of anyone’s sight, transforms into Superman to rescue him. Later, in their suite, Lois decides to try to prove again that Clark is Superman by pointing a gun at Clark and firing a shot. She looks with amazement as Clark, who is unharmed, removes his glasses and, giving Lois a stern look, says, “If you had been wrong, Clark Kent would have been killed.” Lois, in a humorous twist, reveals that she has used a blank in her gun. Meanwhile, the three Kryptonian villains arrive on Earth in a small town in Idaho, where they declare their reign over the entire planet to the townspeople after using their powers to easily stop incoming military forces. They then fly to the White House and easily defeat the military defenses that are protecting the President of the United States. General Zod forces the President to kneel before him as the President prays for Superman to come to the rescue.

Meanwhile, Superman takes Lois to the Fortress of Solitude, where he confesses his love for her as they retire to his bedchamber and make love. Kal-El then speaks to his father through hologram about his desire to give up his responsibilities as Superman so he can live a normal life with Lois. In order for him to relinquish being Superman, Kal-El must enter a crystal chamber and be exposed to harnessed rays from the Krypton red sun in order to lose his powers permanently Despite his father’s pleas to reconsider, Kal-El enters the chamber without hesitation and undergoes the de-powering process, which culminates in the destruction of the crystal control panel. Later, Clark and Lois visit a diner, Clark, now powerless, finds that he can’t even handle a bullying customer named Rocky, who easily beats him up. Clark’s mood is worsened when he watches the President announcing his surrender to General Zod on the diner’s TV. Clark realizes that he has to return to the Fortress and find a way to have his powers restored. Clark returns back at the Fortress, now a darkened sanctum, and calls out to his father for help. He then notices the Green Crystal glowing among the remains of the destroyed control panel and he uses the crystal to activate the panel. Jor-El appears and tells Kal-El about his terrible mistake and offers him one last resort to regain his powers – he will channel all of his remaining energy to his son, thereupon dying. Jor-El bids farewell and emerges in full body and spirit; upon touching Kal-El, he restores his son’s powers and dies by fading away.

Lex Luthor finally arrives at the White House and offers the three villains a way to find Superman, who he notes is the son of Jor-El, their imprisoner, in exchange for possession of ‘beachfront property’: Australia. Luthor agrees to help the three villains and hopefully find a way to have Superman defeated. The Kryptonian villains attack the Daily Planet and confront Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane. Superman appears, taking up Zod’s challenge to fight. During an epic battle in the Metropolis streets, Ursa and Non throw a bus at Superman crashing him into a building. To the people of Metropolis, Superman appears to be dead, and they try to attack the villains, who blow them back with super-breath (with much less slapstick than the Richard Lester version). However, Superman emerges alive, but flies off, seemingly in defeat. After the battle, Luthor offers the villains the location of the Fortress of Solitude, in exchange for Cuba.

The villains fly north bringing Luthor and Lois with them. When they arrive at the Fortress, they confront Superman and Zod threatens Lois’ life to force his surrender and, in the meantime, betray Luthor and plan to kill him as well. Luthor seemingly sides with Superman, who tells Luthor about trying to trick the villains into entering the de-powering chamber. However, Luthor double-crosses Superman and warns Zod of the trap in which Zod decides to spare Luthor’s life and agrees to the term of his demands. Superman enters the de-powering chamber and later emerges with a look of weakness and hopelessness on his face. Zod orders him to kneel and take his hand in submission, but Superman crushes his hand and throws him across the room down into the abyss below. Luthor then realizes that Superman switched the process so that the de-powering rays have been set loose in the Fortress while Superman has been safe inside the chamber. Non and Ursa are also defeated and Superman and Lois leave Luthor stranded in the Fortress and fly away (however, in a deleted scene it is stated that Luthor has been arrested and taken away by the artic police). Superman then uses his heat vision to destroy the Fortress and flies Lois home. Lois begins to break down in despair since life would never be the same, she heartbreakingly assures Superman that she can be trusted to keep his secret identity, which Superman acknowledges consolingly, and he flies off.

Superman once again turns back time by flying around the Earth at tremendous speed and reversing events that have occurred throughout, such as the destruction and mayhem done to Metropolis during Superman’s battle with the villains and the shattering of the Phantom Zone that releases the Kryptonian villains, as well as Lois’ knowledge of his secret identity. The status quo is finally changed back to normal, although both Lois and Perry White seem to experience a sense of déjà vu. Clark also goes to the diner and confronts Rocky, who is more than willing to pick a fight with him. Much to everyone’s surprise, this strange, young man handles the bullying customer like a little child, eventually felling him across the counter and sending him crashing into the pinball machine, knocking him unconscious. Clark then offers to pay the owners of the diner for the damage. With those around wondering how the stranger was able to beat the bully, Clark simply replies: “Oh, I’ve been… working out.”


Before I begin this review, in case you didn’t catch in the title or plot synopsis, I need to make sure that you all know this is about the Richard Donner cut (the way Superman II was intended to be) of the film, so if you were expecting a review of the “standard” version, you will be sadly disappointed.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I have to say this is one of the best sequels I’ve seen in my lifetime and a worthy sequel to Superman. Of course, this did come out in a time when sequels were made to improve upon the original and keep the story going rather than make a quick buck like today’s films.

Christopher Reeve does more of an acting job in this film than in the last, showing conflicting emotions as both Clark Kent and Superman. Reeve really captures Superman’s “weakness” for both Lois and humanity here in this film. I did find it a bit funny that with his longer hair in some scenes he resembled Zack Efron.

Margot Kidder isn’t annoying as Lois Lane as she is in the first, except for her constant prodding and assumptions that Clark Kent is indeed Superman. Once that gets out of the way, though, she becomes your typical damsel in distress.

Gene Hackman takes a backseat to the Kryptonian villains from the Phantom Zone here, but is no less effective or eccentric as Lex Luthor.

Speaking of the Phantom Zone villains, Terence Stamp is perfect as General Zod. The lack of emotion on his face is fitting of a man who wants nothing more than to rule and case destruction. Not to mention the fact that he utter s the infamous line, “Kneel before Zod.”

An upgrade that this film has above its predecessor is that there is actually a fight scene. Superman squares off against the three villains in downtown Metropolis for a good 5-10 minutes near the end of the film. Why can’t all Superman films include a fight song. This one proves that even though it isn’t the longest fight in history, it makes for an even more exciting film.

It’s been years since I’ve seen the original Superman II cut, so I can’t tell you all the differences and what I think of them, but from what I hear, this film is far superior to the wannabe version that is considered the “real” film. There is a nice mixture of action and drama, and even a bit of comedy thrown in for good measure. Who wouldn’t like this film? It is a sure-fire must-see for everyone.

4 1/2 out 5 stars

The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2009 by Mystery Man


Bo Duke (Jonathan Bennett) is arrested for destructive driving in neighboring Chickasaw County. Luke Duke (Randy Wayne) is arrested for blowing up illegal fireworks. Both of the teenage boys are paroled to the care of their Uncle Jesse (Willie Nelson) in Hazzard County, sentenced to a summer of hard work on the farm.

Jesse is carrying on the family tradition of producing the best moonshine in the county. Bo and Luke quickly tire of farm work and take an interest in some of the local girls of Hazzard. Attempting to visit the Boar’s Nest bar, they see Jesse meeting with Boss Hogg. Jesse is arranging for his regular bribe to the County Commissioner to look the other way from his illegal moonshine operation. The Duke boys inadvertently allow Hogg’s prize pig to escape, and it falls off the roof and is injured. Furious, Boss Hogg demands a sizable amount of money from Jesse, due in two weeks, or he will foreclose on the farm.

Jesse believes his only recourse is his moonshine operation, but he cannot deliver enough in two weeks. Bo and Luke volunteer, and set off to find a fast car to do the job.

The boys enlist the help of their cousin Daisy Duke (April Scott), who has just turned 18 but is somewhat of a wallflower who wonders why boys don’t notice her. She takes them to the high-school shop class, where they meet Cooter Davenport (Joel Moore), who gives them a fast engine. They go to the junkyard to find a suitable car, but don’t like what they see. On their way home, they find some girls sunbathing next to a local pond. Bo knocks Luke in to try to impress the girls, but upon learning from Cooter that most people who jump in end up either “crippled, on life support, or brain damaged,” Bo jumps in to save him. Instead Cooter drags Luke to shore and while underwater, Bo discovers an abandoned 1969 Dodge Charger and believes it would be the perfect car. They retrieve the car from the pond, add the engine and some new paint, and The General Lee is born.

The moonshine deliveries go well but before they raise enough money to pay off Hogg, the Boss declares Hazzard a dry county, and offers a $25,000 reward for anyone who uncovers an illegal moonshine operation. He will turn the Boar’s Nest into an ice cream parlor.

Meanwhile Daisy applies for a job at the bar to help raise the money. Hughie, the Boar’s Nest bartender, says she’s not the type of girl who should work there, and refuses her but she is smitten. She undergoes a makeover to impress him, cutting her jeans into very short shorts, wearing a shirt tied to show her midriff and she lets her hair down. The bar partrons are all stunned by how good she looks and Hughie hires her immediately, and agrees to take her on a date.

Jesse then holds a large party to raise funds for the farm, but Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco arrest Jesse for illegal moonshine sales, and seize Jesse’s assets. Daisy, Bo and Luke visit him in jail, and he tells them that Boss is as corrupt as anyone, and the best way to get Jesse off is to find evidence of this. Bo and Luke soon discover Hogg’s plan. He wants to convince all the county commissioners in Georgia to ban alcohol, thus paving the way for a thriving ice cream business. More importantly, with all the ridge-runners in jail, Hogg will then be free to make a fortune selling his own illegal alcohol, turning the Boar’s Nest into a speakeasy.

Boss Hogg wants the Duke family still, which produces the best moonshine in the County. When Daisy finds out Hughie is Boss Hogg’s nephew and only dated her to find out about the family secrets, she is devastated.

The Dukes kidnap Boss and ride off in the General Lee with the police following in pursuit. They threaten to drive into Hogg Ravine unless he tells them his plan. He is too scared not to tell, and his confession is broadcast over the radio thanks to Daisy’s manipulation of Enos at the station. The Dukes then jump the ravine anyway (their first jump), and catch Hughie delivering illegal moonshine into Hazzard. The Dukes make Boss pay them the $25,000 reward, which they use to buy back the farm.

Fed up with Hogg, the citizens demand he reverse his dry county policy and free all the people he had arrested for selling moonshine. Just as it seems the 112-year-old candidate who always runs for county commissioner will finally win, he dies, leaving Boss as the only candidate, and he is re-elected anyway. Hogg summarily pardons himself for his misdeeds.


The iconic orange General Lee comes roaring out of nowhere and jumps over something or other and the first thing you think of is The Dukes of Hazzard, right? well, how exactly did them Duke boys get the car? How did they end up with Uncle Jesse and cousin Daisy? What did they ever do to Boss Hogg to make him so agitated against them? There many questions that can be asked when it comes to the Duke legacy, and this film seeks to answer them.

Although the original series aired in the early 80s, this prequel is set in modern day. I don’t particularly agree with that, but when you consider that the movie with Sean William Scott and Johnny Knoxville was set in modern day, it makes sense.

The film starts off with the Luke and Bo Duke getting into trouble in their separate parts of wherever they live and being sent to live with their Uncle Jesse on the farm. Here we also meet a frumpy, nerdy Daisy Duke…a far cry from the hyper-sexed versions done by the immortal Catherine Bach and Dallas Cowboy killer Jessica Simpson. More on Daisy later, though. As the film progresses we meet all the pivotal characters of the series from Enos and Cooter, to Roscoe, Lulu, and even Roscoe’s dog…name escapes me at the moment, sorry.

THe actor who play Bo and Luke are competent in their own right. Unlike many direct-to-DVD actors these days, they seem to take their work seriously and have respect for their characters. Of course, the script and story are very well written, so they didn’t have to do much.

Newcomer April Scott, as mention  before, puts a new spin on Daisy as a frumpy schoolgirl type who gets tired of being ignored and becomes the Daisy we all know and love. Of course, it is a bit of a sudden change to all of a sudden walk around all day in short, short jean shorts and  a bare midriff, but if you got it, flaunt it, and she definitely has it!

Chris McDonald is a bit too skinny to be Boss hogg for my taste, but I guess since this is supposed to be a younger version of him, its ok. Sherilyn Fenn plays his wife Lulu, also a bit too skinny for her character, but the way she was smacking up that chicken, I’m sure Lulu will be packing on the pounds soon.

Harland Williams is a natural as Rosco and Joel Moore fits the role of Cooter.

I found it a bit odd that they foun the General Lee in the bottom of a pond, but I guess cars have been found in stranger places. Who knows where  Michael Knight found KITT or B.A. Baracus got his van.

I grew up on The Dukes of Hazzard, but the movie that came out a while back isn’t a particular favorite of mine. One thing I’ve always been curious about is how things happened that led up to the Duke legend. This film answers those questions for me, and does so without ruining the legacy of the classic TV show. Any film that can do that is worth a watch, even if it isn’t the greatest flick of all time.

4 out of 5 stars

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2009 by Mystery Man


A writer for television advertising, Rockwell P. Hunter (Randall), is low on the ladder at the company he works for. He then finds the perfect model and spokesperson for his new line of lipstick, the famous actress with the “oh-so-kissable lips”, Rita Marlowe (Mansfield).

In order for Rita to endorse the lipstick, however, Rock has to pretend to be her boyfriend to make her real boyfriend, Bobo Branigansky (Hargitay), the star of a TV Tarzan show, jealous. Bobo leaks the news of Rita’s new romance to the tabloids and Rock Hunter is suddenly famous. Women are crazy about him and he moves steadily up the ladder at work, becoming company president, only to find it is not what he really wanted.

At the behest of his agency, Rock is forced to propose to Rita on a coast-to-coast TV show, which breaks the heart of his fiancée, Jenny Wells (Drake), who is not too pleased, but she takes him back in the end. Both Rock and Rita are saved from a marriage neither one wants by the last-minute arrival of Rita’s hometown boyfriend, George Schmidlap (Marx).


In the 50s and 60s, they really knew how to make movies that were fun to watch, unlike today where everything is all about how much money can studios put into special effects and/or 3D. Sure, most of these films weren’t the greatest in the world, but you can actually sit and watch them today and feel the sense of enjoyment that you don’t get from today’s pictures. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? was a Broadway play initially that made its way to the big screen with much of the same cast, and became a hit, something that hasn’t been done in today’s cinema.

The film starts off with Tony Randall playing the drums to the 20th century Fox fanfare and then switching to the bass. After the fanfare is over, he breaks the third wall and talks to the audience as if we were at the theater watching the play. The DVD Netflix sent me had some issues during the opening credits, so I can fully comment on them, other than to say they seemed quite funny.

Tony Randall is a comic icon, and this is one of the films that proves it. Sure, he’s the straight man ( a role he is usually cast in), but no one else can make a straight man such a loving endearing character as Randall, not to mention get in a few one-liners.

Jayne Mansfield is…well…va-va-voom! Need I say more? As Rita Marlowe, she brings to mind Marilyn Monroe with her high pitched voice and squeals. Ironically, Mansfield is oft times confused or overshadowed by Marilyn. Perhaps this was her way of getting back at her? I loved Mansfield’s character here, except for the squealing. It was cute at first, but got old quick and then just starting grating at me like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Mansfield’s than husband, Mickey Hargitay, and Groucho Marx have a couple of memorable cameos, and the cast is terrific.

Would I change anything about this picture? Sure, I would. For instance, it just seems that the whole film is based on Rock Hunter and his rise up through the ranks thanks to chance meeting with Rita. I’d make more of that story, as well as their relationship and the jealousy of Jenny and Bobo, perhaps go a bit more into the Schmidlap thing. Also, I’d give Vi a bit more. She seems to have been an interesting character, who obviously ends up with Rockwell’s friend Rufus. There could have been more on that, other than just scenes in the montage. There are other things I’d change, but these are all minor alterations that are nitpicky on my part, and not enough to affect my opinion of this film.

When it comes to classic actresses from the era of Hollywood that this film comes from, most people are ga-ga for Marilyn, but I prefer Jayne Mansfield. That’s not to take anything away from Marilyn, but just a matter of personal taste. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is full of the campy humor you’d expect from a comedy of this era. Those of us that appreciate real movies when the humor wasn’t all jokes about race, sex, and laced with profanity will love this. For the rest of you that are expecting to see Mansfield’s massive mammaries on display, you’re out of luck, but there are a couple of tease scenes (she’s in the bathtub in one and getting a massage in the other). This is just one of those movies that you don’t try an analyze, but rather sit back and enjoy it for what it is, a movie, not some sort of blueprint for how to live your life or anything like that.

4 out of 5 stars

Land of the Lost

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2009 by Mystery Man


Three years after being kicked out of the science department for his theory of time warps and his attack on Matt Lauer on The Today Show, paleontologist Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) is reduced to working as a teacher for children at the George C. Page Museum until he meets Holly Cantrell (Anna Friel) who urges him to finish his tachyon amplifier after presenting him with a fossil imprinted with the image of his lighter. When he does, they go to the Devils Cave where Holly found the fossiled imprint, with tour guide Will Stanton. Marshall activates the T-amplifier triggering an earthquake, and the three end up in a parallel universe having lost the amplifier.

Finding themselves in a strange world without the tachyon amplifier, they befriend a Pakuni named Chaka before falling into the feeding grounds of a Tyrannosaurus which then chases them until they reach a crevice in a cave, momentarily giving up though bent on eating Marshall for insulting him during the chase. Holly, knowing the dinosaur’s attitude, gives him the name “Grumpy”. The next day, Marshall has visions about a strange creature begging for his help and goes to find the Lost City where they encounter a strange glass beacon, the Pylon, that turns into a vocoder when they touch it before being attacked by creatures called Sleestaks. When the Pylon opens, Marshall enters, meeting the creature Enik. Enik tells them that the evil Zarn is out to control the universe and needs the tachyon amplifier.

Chaka takes the group through the jungle and onto a salt flat landscape, filled with numerous jumbled objects and landmarks. The others discover that the area is a feeding site for Compsognathus and Velociraptors, who attack a wandering ice cream man, until Grumpy comes and scares them off. An Allosaurus arrives as well. The two territorial predators prepare to fight when they both catch Marshall’s scent and chase after him. Marshall runs from “Big Alice”, and liquid nitrogen to freeze the Allosaurus to death, then finds the tachyon amplifier among her remains before a Pteranodon took it. After getting the amplifier back, the group takes a break at a motel in the salt flat. While Marshall, Will and Chaka laze in the pool, Holly repairs the amplifier and wanders off. She finds dinosaur eggs and takes one before accidentally triggering a holographic message from the Zarn, learning that Enik is the real villain.

Marshall, Will, and Chaka realize Holly is missing and leave to find her. Finding two mating Sleestaks who shed their skin, Marshall and Will use the shed skin to disguise themselves while Chaka takes the tachyon amplifier to Enik. Holly has been captured by Sleestaks and brought before the Library of Skulls to be judged, Marshall and Will arriving to learn that Enik is the villain. After fighting for their lives, the group is ambushed by Enik as he reveals his plan to use the Sleestaks to take over the Earth. He then leaves Marshall and company to their fate as Grumpy arrives to get his revenge.

Marshall takes on Grumpy one-on-one, resulting him being eaten as the dinosaur left. Holly, Will, and Chaka attempt to fight off the numerous Sleestaks. Once they are surrounded, Marshall returns to kill most of the Sleestaks with Grumpy’s aid, having made their peace with each other. Marshall and company manage to stop Enik as the portal back to Devil’s Cave begins to close. Will chooses to stay with Chaka in the Land of the Lost so Marshall and Holly can return home. Back on Earth, Matt Lauer gives a second interview with Marshall, ending with Lauer’s attempt on Marshall’s life for his slander against him. Soon after the show ends, left in the studio by accident, Holly’s dinosaur egg hatches into a baby Sleestak.


If you’ve ever seen a Will Ferrell film, then you know what to expect in terms of humor. Although, I will say that this is a bit tame for him, almost like his dramatic film, whose name I can’t think of at this moment. Before this film was released this summer, Sci-Fi channel aired a marathon of Land of the Lost episodes. While this may have been a good marketing decision as it was done the weekend prior to the film’s release, it may have ultimately swayed some viewers opinions. What I mean by that is that this film strays quite a bit from the original series that it can be off-putting to some viewers, which may be why critics panned this film.

I would totally love this film if they would have been more loyal to the original series. Seriously, do they really think paying oodles of dollars for some CGI dinosaurs makes a better flick than using good old-fashioned stop motion? Had they gone the stop motion route, they could have used that excess money for something else to make the film better. Honestly, the dinosaurs don’t look any more or less real in either medium. These studio execs need to realize that CGI is not the be all end all of effects. For a film like this, it would have been better to go with stop motion, not just for the “cheesy” effect, but as a nod to the original, and because it would have been better, in my opinion. I’m sure there are those out there that are sure to disagree with me on that point, but I don’t care. CGI is used way too much these days, and this film just proves it.

Sorry to get on a soapbox there.  Will Ferrell is never going to win any awards for his acting, we all know that, but he is very good at what he does. Here he reinvents Marshall as a bumbling paleontologist, as opposed to a confident park ranger. The thing about Ferrell’s performance that really stuck with me is that while he turned Marshall into pretty much the opposite of what he originally was he kept parts of him in there, as can be seen more towards the end of the film. A couple of other notes on Ferrell. His take on Marshall reminded me of his character Marshall Willenholly (Marshall Will, & Holly…get it?) from Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. More importantly, I do belive that this is one of the few, if not the only film he does no strip down and get naked in. Although there is a scene where he swimming in a t-shirt and what appear to be speedos. Small steps, I guess.

In the original series, Will was Marshall’s son. Here, Danny R. McBride plays him as the owner or manager of some sort of truck stop amusement park thing and a pothead. McBride has been used in quite a few of Ferrell’s films, so the two have chemistry together, as is apparent in the pool. I’ll leave it at that. Will comes off as annoying or most of the film. all the whining and complaining he does grates on the nerves, but he straightens up near the end.

Holly was Marshall’s daughter in the series. Here she is a doctoral student who was kicked out or dropped out of Cambridge because she believed his theories. Anna Friel, who should still be on TV in the cancelled way too early Pushing Daisies, gives this character new life. Unlike McBride and Ferrell, her reinvention of this classic character is one that fully works. Although, when you think about it, there is a creepy factor that there is sexual tension between Marshall and his daughter.

Plotwise, I can’t really fault them. For the most part it condenses 3 or 4 season of the show into 90 minutes, while throwing in a few new things here and there, but that whole pool scene dragged on too long. It felt a bit like it was just filler. Enik could have played a bigger part of the film, since he was more of a major player in the series, and that tachyon amplifier could have played another song than one from the musical A Chorus Line, but that’s just a bit of personal bias on my part.

I wasn’t born when the original Land of the Lost TV series aired on Saturday morning, but from what I’ve seen in reruns (thank you Nick at Nite and Sci-Fi Channel), this film is a slap in the face. However, had I seen this without knowing anything about the orignal show, I’d probably be in love with this movie. I’m sure those that watch this will fall into that same mentality. If you’re familiar with the show, especially if you’re a purist, then you will no doubt hate this film and feel as if your childhood was raped by Will Ferrell. If you’re one of those that hasn’t seen or even heard of the original series (we won’t mention the 90s remake), then this is just your typical Will Ferrell flick, only slightly tamer. Personally, I fall somewhat in the middle. I liked it, but felt they could have done more to be closer to the original, such as use stop motion instead of CGI, as I mentioned before. Also, it appears that they meant for this to be a family film, but there are more than a few adult jokes flying around all over the place. Ultimately, I belive your opinion of this film is going to be determined by your opinion of Will Ferrell and how you feel about remakes of old TV shows.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2009 by Mystery Man


Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) was born in the year 1518 “in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel.” In 1536, his clan is in conflict with the Clan Fraser, and Connor rides along into his first battle. The Frasers are working with a towering monster of a man known as The Kurgan (Clancy Brown), who has recognized that Connor is a fellow Immortal and hopes to use the battle to kill Connor before he becomes aware of his abilities. On the battlefield, Connor wonders why none of the Fraser’s forces will attack him, until he comes across the Kurgan and is struck by an odd pain (from sensing the proximity of another immortal, though he doesn’t know it at the time). This leaves him open to attack.

The Kurgan mortally wounds Connor and prepares to decapitate him, but the MacLeod kinsmen intervene just before this occurs, with the Kurgan vowing to return. The clan mourn Connor, but he miraculously revives shortly after his “death.” Accusing him of witchcraft, Connor’s clansmen beat him and prepare to burn him, but his cousin Angus (James Cosmo) persuades them to exile Connor instead. He escapes with his life but is banished forever from his clan and birthplace.

MacLeod eventually becomes a blacksmith in Glencoe, where he marries Heather (Beatie Edney). In 1541, he is located by a much older Immortal, who introduces himself as Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez (Sean Connery). He explains that the pain he feels in the Kurgan’s and Ramírez’s presence is “The Quickening,” which compels Immortals to battle each other. Ramírez appoints himself MacLeod’s tutor in the ways of being Immortal, their pursuit of The Prize, and the rules of an age-old “Game,” which will end when the few who remain participate in “The Gathering,” noting that “in the end, there can be only one.” Immortals can only die by decapitation and can only avoid battle on holy ground.

Ramírez later explains that his own name is just his current alias, being Egyptian by birth. He adopted it while serving as Chief Metallurgist for Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (also King of Spain between 1516-1556). His sword is a katana he received in Japan in 593 B.C., made by his (then) father-in-law Masamune. Masamune, a genius far ahead of his time in the forging of swords, was the father of Princess Shakiko, Ramírez’s third wife. Ramírez also takes it upon himself to improve MacLeod’s swordsmanship, which he declares is “no better than that of a clumsy child.

Ramírez warns MacLeod to leave his wife or face heartbreak, explaining that “I was born 2,437 years ago. In that time, I’ve had three wives. The last was Shakiko, a Japanese princess… When Shakiko died, I was shattered. I would save you that pain. Please, let Heather go.” He also explains that Immortals are incapable of having children.

MacLeod refuses to leave his wife, though he continues to train under Ramírez, who also explains the origins of the Kurgan and the risk for the world if he wins the Prize. One night, the Kurgan arrives at MacLeod’s home while MacLeod himself is absent, though Heather and Ramírez are there. The Kurgan and Ramírez duel, with the frightened Heather their only spectator. After an extended duel, which destroys the house, the Kurgan manages to decapitate Ramírez and proceeds to rape Heather. MacLeod soon returns to find his home in ruins, his mentor killed, and his wife alive but traumatized. She never tells him about the rape, and MacLeod never learns of the event until 1985, when the Kurgan mocks Ramírez’s memory.

MacLeod remains with his wife until her death from old age. Dying in MacLeod’s arms, she confides that her only regret was not having his children. After burying Heather, MacLeod burns their residence and wanders the world, journeying as far away as Japan, and finally ends up in America. These travels include an 18th century duel on Boston Common (in which a drunken MacLeod is repeatedly run through by a sword, to no effect, by an insulted husband), and killing a Nazi officer during World War II, rescuing young Rachel, a Holocaust survivor, in the process. His experiences over time leave him a bitter, cynical man.

In 1985 New York City, the few surviving Immortals are participating in “The Gathering”, a final series of confrontations to determine the winner of “The Prize”. Eventually, the last two surviving are MacLeod, under the alias of “Russell Edwin Nash” and the Kurgan, under the alias of “Victor Kruger.” Meanwhile, the spike in what appear to be murders by decapitation has drawn the attention of the police, who find MacLeod leaving the scene of an earlier duel and bring him in for questioning. However, as their evidence is circumstantial, they cannot arrest him, though he becomes their prime suspect. Among the investigators of the case is forensic scientist Brenda Wyatt (Roxanne Hart), who is well-versed in the provenance of swords. Samples taken from the crime scene reveal the sword used is more than 2000 years old (MacLeod is now using Ramírez’ sword) and she begins investigating him, primarily over interest in the sword.

Eventually, her investigation reveals MacLeod’s longevity through the use of different names, and she confronts him about it. He reveals his true nature to her and she finds herself falling in love with him. This does not escape the attention of the Kurgan, who is now hunted by the police as the wanted murderer after being identified by a mortal he stabbed during a recent duel. He abducts Brenda to force MacLeod into a final confrontation. MacLeod battles the Kurgan, finally defeating him (with a little help from Brenda). He wins “The Prize” which is revealed to be mortality, the ability to sire children, and a telepathic/empathic gift described as being “at one with all living things” with “each man’s thoughts and dreams… yours to know”. He and Brenda embark on a new life together.


Highlander is one of those films that you need to see to really be able to say whether you like it or not. Yes, I can sit here and tell you what I think about it, but this is just one of those films where you need to see for yourself to make your own decision. You’ll either love it or hate it, depending on your taste and if you can keep up with the story.

I would have liked for there to have been more of a developement of the story. For me, this seemed like it was two different films going on at once. The first being the modern day (it was released in ’86) and the other was all the flashbacks. The flashabcks were actually more interesting than the modern day sequences, if you ask me.

The modern parts of the film are the “bread and butter” of the picture and are what the movie is really about, but with the exception of the climax, are nothing more than some drama in the vein if CSI or some other type of crime show, but with the occasional word fight thrown in there for good measure.

Clancy Brown is best known to me as the voice of Lex Luthor from the Superman cartoons and Mr. Krabs from Spongebob Squarepants. Its hard to imagine this guy as good old Mr. Krabs after seeing how evil he can be, coupled with what I’ve heard from him as Luthor, but that’s just the sign of a good actor when one can totally morph from one role to the next.

Christopher Lambert will best be known to me as the Raiden in Mortal Kombat (a role he was much better suited for than his successor). In Highlander, though, Lambert comes off as a bit monotone and unfeeling…almsot robotic at times. It actually puts me in the mind of Bill from True Blood. They both have lived for quite some time and don’t really know how to fully adjust to modern civilization. It is for this very reason that I can’t rip his acting a new one, but I would have liked for him to be more human with this character.

While there is quite a lot of action in this picture, I could have done with a bit more. That could just be the action junkie in me talking, though. I really liked the relationship McLeod has with Rachel. From what I hear this is explored a bit more in the sequels.

unfortunately, the “geniuses” in Hollywood have seen fit to put a remake of this film in the pipeline. I may sound like a broken record, but its best to see the original before you bother with any newer version. Even if the new one sucks, and it probably will, there is still that newness factor with modern day technologies and whatnot that wasn’t around in the 80s that will just make this thing look cheesy and ruin its legacy. Having said that, I don’t think Highlander will have any problem being remembered by anyone. I didn’t know much about this film series, other than a couple of skits that appeared on Robot Chicken, but of this is any indication, I think I’ll be enjoying them all. Hopefully you will, too.

4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2009 by Mystery Man


On the planet Krypton, using evidence provided by scientist Jor-El, the Ruling Council sentences three insurrectionists, General Zod, Ursa and Non, to “eternal living death” in the Phantom Zone for attempting a totalitarian rebellion. Although the Council widely respects him, Jor-El is unable to convince them of his belief that the Kryptonian sun will shortly explode and destroy their planet. As a result, Jor-El launches a spacecraft containing his infant son, Kal-El, towards Earth, a distant planet with a suitable atmosphere, and where Kal-El’s dense molecular structure will give him superhuman powers (since all Kryptonian life-forms gain superpowers from exposure to a yellow sun, such as Earth’s sun). Shortly after the ship launches, Krypton is destroyed.

The ship crashes near an American farming town, Smallville, Kansas, where Kal-El is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent and raised as their own son, Clark. Immediately after his discovery by the Kents, the toddler Kal-El hoists the bumper of a pickup truck about to fall on Jonathan Kent. As a teenager, Clark exhibits other extraordinary powers, outrunning speeding trains, and punting a football into the stratosphere. Shortly thereafter, Jonathan Kent dies of a heart attack, and Clark can do nothing. Following the funeral, Clark hears a psychic “call”, discovering a glowing green crystal in the ship stored in the barn.

Compelled to travel north, Clark heads to the Arctic Circle, where the crystal builds the Fortress of Solitude, resembling the architecture of Krypton. Activating a control panel inside the fortress, a vision of Jor-El appears, stating that he has been dead for “thousands of your years,” and explains Clark’s origins, educating him in his powers and responsibilities. After twelve years, with his powers fully developed, Clark leaves the Fortress and finds a job at The Daily Planet in Metropolis. He meets and develops a romantic attraction to reporter Lois Lane, but the feelings are not returned: she regards him as merely a friend. Lois becomes involved in a helicopter accident where conventional means of rescue are impossible, requiring Clark to use his powers in public for the first time in order to save her.

Later, he visits her at home, takes her for a flight over the city, and allows her to interview him for a newspaper article in which she dubs him “Superman.” Meanwhile, criminal genius Lex Luthor has developed a cunning plan to make a fortune in real estate by buying large amounts of “worthless” desert land and then diverting a nuclear rocket from a missile testing site to the San Andreas Fault. This will destroy California and leave Luthor’s desert as the new West Coast of the United States, greatly increasing its real estate value. After his incompetent henchman Otis accidentally redirects the first rocket to the wrong place, Luthor’s girlfriend, Eve Teschmacher, successfully changes the course of the second missile. Knowing Superman could stop his plan, Luthor lures him to his underground lair via a supersonic greeting and exposes him to Kryptonite. As Superman weakens, Luthor taunts him by revealing the first missile is headed to Hackensack, New Jersey, in the opposite direction, knowing Superman could not stop both impacts.

Teschmacher is horrified because her mother lives in Hackensack, but Luthor does not care and leaves Superman to a slow death. Teschmacher rescues Superman on the condition that he will deal with the New Jersey missile first. He is consequently too late to stop the second impact, causing a massive earthquake which he battles to correct. While he is busy saving others, Lois’ car falls into the ground as a result of an aftershock, and quickly begins to fill with dirt and debris, which suffocates her to death. Distraught at being unable to save Lois, Superman ignores Jor-El’s warning not to interfere with human history, preferring to remember Jonathan Kent’s advice that he must be here for “a reason”, and travels back in time in order to save Lois, altering the historical timeline so that her car is never caught in the aftershock. Superman then delivers Luthor and Otis to prison, where he knows they will be secure until they receive a fair trial.


Superman is one of the first names many think of when you say superhero, often times he is the first name. This film was, for the longest time, the benchmark for superhero films and with good reason.

The film covers the basic origin of the Man of Steel, complete with a glimps at the villains of Superman II and appearances by Lana Lang and a young Lois Lane on the train. What is most impressive about the film for me was the fact that they handled the original similarly to the source material.

Sure those Krypton scenes seemed to drag on forever and a day, but as the film progresses, you start to realize how they fit into the Superman origin.

There are a few things that bothered me about this flick, though. First off, there is the rule that Superman cannot change human history. Now, even though he does change human history near the ned of the film, it seems as though he does so without consequences. My  issue is that it is never said why it is forbidden for him to do so. Sure, if was to go back and change the outcome of the Civil War or prevent something major from happening, then it would make sense that he isn’t meant to go back. He goes back to save Lois, but it seems like he undoes everything that he raced to do. It just makes no sense. Yes, I realize its just a movie and there needs to be some suspension of disbelief, but this just seems like a plothole that is never addressed.

The other issue I have deals with the fact that Superman doesn’t fight. Obviously Lex Luthor is not going to go toe to toe with Supes, but Kal-El’s only bit of action along those lines is when he knocks the door out of the way when he first meets Luthor. It just seems like they could have done more with the action part of the film, as opposed to the story…though the story is very well written and executed.

John Williams’ score captures the true essence of the characters. Aside from the main theme, the most impressive  pice has to be the fanfare that is played when we first see Krypton. It is Williams’ genius at its best.

The cast really makes their characters believable. I’d love to sit here and heave praise of Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman, but he takes a backseat to Gene Hackman’s over the top Lex Luthor. As Luthor, Hackman gives us a character who is not only evil and sadistic, as showing in his first appearance on screen where he knocks a cop onto the subway tracks, but also a flamboyant businessman with plans of world domination.

As good, and near perfect, s this film is, I cannot give it a full 5 star rating sue to the plotholes and lack of Superman action. However, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I’m just going to say that you should see it for yourself before making a decision. Rumors have it that they are trying to reboot this franchise and make it super dark, in a way they did with Batman. I have to vehemently object to this decision. Superman is a lighter superhero. He is, more or less, a boy scout, not a spoiled rich kid playing dress up. Having said that, it may be best if you watch this film before the it does indeed get rebooted (and bastardized).

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Dance Flick

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by Mystery Man


Suburban girl Megan (Shoshana Bush) gets into a series of misadventures when she moves to the inner-city and pursues dance. A nerdy street boy named Thomas (Damon Wayans, Jr.) is passionate about street dancing, but he is stuck working for a hungry obese gang lord (David Alan Grier) who only loves food. Megan later befriends Thomas’ ghetto sister Charity (Essence Atkins) who has a baby but also poor parenting skills. Charity has her own issues dealing with her dimwitted “baby daddy” (Shawn Wayans) who also is a bad parent. Once Megan and Thomas spend more time together, they become dance partners and begin to fall in love and start dating.


The Wayans Bros. have been churning out these parodies for years now.  I’ll admit that I’m getting a little tired of them, honestly. Seriously, they stopped being funny after Scary Movie 2 and Epic Movie was an epic fail. Somehow, though, they managed to find their niche again with Dance Flick.

While there are numerous films parodies here, the plot focuses on spoofing Save the Last Dance mainly.

The gags throughout can get a bit old after a while, but that is part of the charm of these films. Each time you watch it those jokes that have gotten old, are the best ones the second time around.

Acting wise, no one is going to win any awards here, unless its for best Wayans or former WB star, because about 90% of the cast is either a member of the WAyans family or starred on a show that was on the now defunct WB.

Let’s face it, if you’re even going to take the time to watch Dance Flick, then chances are that you are more than familiar with the type of flick it is, a senseless parody with tons of pop culture references and bad jokes. However, if you’re one of those few that doesn’t fall into that category and this is your first trek into a film by the Wayans’, then you’re either going to love it or hate it. Its best that you watch and find out for yourself.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Time Machine

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by Mystery Man


On January 5, 1900, four upper-class friends arrive for a dinner in London, but their host, H. George Wells (Rod Taylor), is absent. As requested, they begin without him, but then George, staggers in, exhausted and disheveled. He begins to recount his adventures since they last met on New Year’s Eve 1899.

A week earlier, George discusses time as the fourth dimension with friends, among them David Filby (Alan Young) and Dr Philip Hillyer (Sebastian Cabot). He shows them a tiny machine that he claims can travel in time. He tells them it is experimental, that his larger version can carry a man “into the past or the future”. When activated, the device first blurs, then disappears. The others dismiss it as a trick and leave. Filby warns George that if it was not a trick, it is not for them “to tempt the laws of Providence.” They agree to meet again next Friday.

George heads to his lab where the full-scale model is waiting. He sits in it, pushes the lever forward, and watches time pass at an accelerated rate. To his amusement, he observes the changing of women’s fashion on a mannequin in the window of a shop across the street. He stops at September 13, 1917. He meets a man in uniform whom he mistakes for David Filby; it turns out to be his son James. He informs George that his father had died in “the war”.

George returns to the machine and travels to June 19, 1940. There are barrage balloons and bombing. He cannot believe the war has lasted so long, then realizes “this was a new war.”

George’s next stop is August 18, 1966, where he is briefly fascinated by the changes in the neighbourhood, which is now part of a magnificent future metropolis featuring proud skyscrapers and an elevated monorail. However, he is puzzled to see people hurrying into a fallout shelter amid the blare of air raid sirens that sounds like a Thunderbolt siren which is disguised as some triangular pipes with holes. An older, grey-haired James Filby tries to get him into the shelter, warning him that “the mushrooms will be sprouting.”. Shortly after, James spots an “atomic satellite zeroing in” and flees into the shelter. An explosion turns the sky red and lava oozes down the street. George restarts the machine just in time to avoid being incinerated. The lava covers the machine, cools and hardens, forcing George to travel far into the future before it erodes away.

He stops the machine on October 12, 802,701, next to a low building with a large sphinx on top. George explores the idyllic pastoral paradise and spots young adults by a river. A woman is drowning, but the others are indifferent. George rescues her, but is surprised by her lack of gratitude or other emotion. She calls herself  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”herself “>Weena (Yvette Mimieux) and her people the Eloi.

As night falls, George is surprised to find out that the Eloi have no government, no laws, and little curiosity. Wanting to learn why, he asks to see their books. When he finds them all covered in dust and rotted by mold, he is outraged:

“What have you done? Thousands of years of building and rebuilding, creating and recreating so that you can let it crumble to dust. A million years of sensitive men dying for their dreams, for what?!!! So you can swim, and dance, and play.

George returns to where he had left his time machine, but it has been dragged into the pedestal, behind locked metal doors. Weena follows George and insists they go back inside, for fear of the Morlocks. As George tries to recover his machine, a Morlock grabs Weena, but George saves her.

The next day, Weena shows George openings in the ground like air shafts. She then takes him to a museum, where “rings that talk” tell of a centuries-long nuclear war. One group of survivors remained underground in shelters while the rest decided to “take their chances in the sunlight, small as those chances might be.” George starts climbing down a shaft, but turns back when a siren sounds. Weena and the Eloi walk towards the open building in a trance, conditioned to seek refuge from a non-existent attack. When the siren stops, the doors close, trapping Weena and some others inside.

To rescue her, George climbs down a shaft and enters a large cave. In one chamber, he sees human bones and learns the terrible truth: the Morlocks feed on the Eloi. The Morlocks are shown to be irradiated, sloth-like creatures. George finds they are sensitive to light and uses matches to keep them at bay, eventually fashioning a makeshift torch. A Morlock knocks it away, but one of the male Eloi summons up the courage to punch the Morlock. Weena pitches in as well. George sets the Eloi to setting fire to material in the cave, driving off the Morlocks, then leads the Eloi up the shafts to safety. Under George’s direction, they drop tree branches into the shafts to feed the fire. There is an explosion, and the area caves in.

Finding the doors to the building now open, George goes to get his machine, but they close behind him. A few surviving Morlocks attack, but George manages to activate the machine and travel into the future, watching the Morlocks turn to dust.

Then George returns to January 5, 1900. He tells his story, but only Filby believes him. George’s friends leave. Filby turns back, but by the time he reaches the laboratory, it is too late: George has left again. The housekeeper, Mrs Watchett (Doris Lloyd), notes that he took three books. Filby rhetorically asks which three she would have taken to restart a civilization.


H.G. Wells’ classic novel The Time Machine has been the inspiration for many films about time travel, but none have been done as well as this version from the 1960s starring Rod Taylor.

Taylor portrays H. George Wells (H.G. Wells, get it?), an inventor in London who has just invented a time machine.  As expected his friends are skeptical about whether his newest invention will indeed work. Once he gets in and tests it out though, he makes an astonishing trip through time, all the way to the 81st century. Along the way, eh observes the changes that occur outside. These are brought to life through the wonders of stop motion.

Upon arrival in the 81st century, George saves a  beautiful, young girl, Weena whose civilization is being threatened by the Morlocks, a group of  sloth-like creatures who have more or less taken it upon themselves to rule ro ruin everything.

After saving the girl, George decides he needs to get back to his own time, but to do so he has to go back in the Morlockls lair. As he enters his machine, they attack and he has to fend them off. finally he returns to his own time of 1900, but soon returns to Weena (we believe).

Any fan of sci-fi should not ignore this film. A true classic, even if you may think the effects are cheesy. Personally, I like stop motion animation and cheesy effects, but I know there are more than a fe out there who think these things should never have been allowed to be filmed. The Time Machine is one of the greatest novels ever written, and while this film doesn’t stack up to the book, it is quite enjoyable.

4 out of 5 stars

Next Day Air

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2009 by Mystery Man



When a misguided delivery driver inadvertently delivers a package containing concealed bricks of cocaine to the wrong address, it sets in motion a desperate search and battle for the coke between the furious dealer that sent it, the fearful intended recipients that missed it, and the conniving accidental recipients that plan to flip it. Time is running out and everyone’s trying to get their hands on the package that’s been sent…Next Day Air!


Hmmm…a delivery driver, who happens to be high, delivers a package of cocaine to the wrong people, who find out what it is and try to sell it, while the intended owners are about to lose their life if they don’t find it. The plot is so generic that I almost didn’t even bother with this film.

The cast that they put together for this film isn’t necessarily a group of comedy all-stars, but rather a bunch of sidekick actors, for lack of a better term, getting their shot at the big time. unfortunately, none of them step up in the way one would expect. Mike Epps is his usual character, a little slow off the take. Donald Faison doesn’t seem to know if he’s coming or going, and aside from his scenes with Debbie Allen and Mos Def, seems to be rather whiny throughout the entre picture. Speaking of Mos Def, he is arguably the biggest name in here, but is only in two or three scenes. I don’t understand that.

The way the trailers made this film look, it was like this was going to be some sort of buddy film where they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. That might actually have been better that what ended up.

Please don’t misunderstand me and think that this thing totally sucks, because it doesn’t. As a matter of fact, listening to Mike Epps and Wood Harris’ exchanges was quite entertaining, as was Mos Def’s explanation for stealing stuff from his own truck.

Many reviews I’ve read have said exactly what I was thinking as I was watching it, and that is that it can’t decide if it wasn’t to be an action/comedy or gritty action drama. Because of this, the film really suffers. I think if they would have had a more definitive direction they wanted to go in, this would be much better, but it still is worth watching, though I wouldn’t necessarily rush out to see it, unless you want to feast on eye candy Yasmin Deliz.

3 out of 5 stars

Gypsy 83

Posted in Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on October 18, 2009 by Mystery Man


25 year old Gypsy Vale and 18-year-old Clive Webb are two goths living in Sandusky, Ohio. Gypsy’s parents, Ray and Velvet, once were in a band together, and Gypsy now aspires to be a famous singer, like her idol, Stevie Nicks. She is hesitant, because of the disappearance of her mother, to leave her father alone in Sandusky to pursue her dreams.

While checking updates on a Stevie Nicks fansite, Clive discovers the Night of a Thousand Stevies event in New York. After a long and heated discussion with Gypsy, she reveals that her mother didn’t just disappear, or die: she left to follow her dream of becoming a famous singer. Despite this, Clive finally convinces Gypsy to go to New York.

Along the way, Gypsy and Clive meet a diverse host of characters and obstacles. They miss the auditions for the Night of a Thousand Stevies, and Gypsy learns that her mother committed suicide four years earlier. The sympathetic Mistress of Ceremonies (who was also her mother’s best friend when she was in New York) allows Gypsy to perform a song she wrote for her mother at the end of the show.

In the end, Gypsy stays in New York to pursue her musical aspirations like her mother, and Clive returns to Sandusky to finish high school but plans to come back to New York after he graduates.


Raise your hand if you’ve even heard of this film before? I know I hadn’t, but I was talking to a friend of mine about Sara Rue and he suggested it, so I gave it a look-see.

If you’ve seen any flick from the late 90s-early 2000s, then you can pretty get the tone of this film, filled with teen angst and indie rock.

It is possible to get lost in this film if you don’t watch and keep up from the beginning, but to put it as simply as I can, Gypsy and Clive tire of being outcasts in Sandusky, OH, and head to NY for Night of 1000 Stevies so that she can get on stage and sing and he can fit in. Along the way they meet a washed up, failed lounge singer, an Amish runaway,  frat boys, and of course the colorful characters at the bar with 1000 Stevies.

Sara Rue, in my opinion, should be a bigger actress. She has the talent to carry her own film, as can be seen here. Although Gypsy seems a big moody/outspoken, especially in the earlier parts of the film, it is her relationship with her dad and Clive that really show the audience the kid of person she truly is. Rue really shines in this role.  Of course, I couldn’t help but stare at her chest the whole time, thanks to her corset.

While Sara Rue may be the star and “big name” star of the picture, it is Kett Turton who may have been the breakout star of the picture. Turton captures the goth gay teen character perfectly, ad far s I can tell from personal experience. Turton’s character is your typical college teen who is stressed about not fitting in , but he is a gay virgin, so that makes things that much worse for him. He really shines after he has his experience with the frat boy in the bathroom, though his little mood swing afterwards at Gypsy I could have done without.

Aside from Sara Rue, massive cleavage, there wasn’t anything that really stuck out to me in this picture. That is not to say that this was a bad film, because it really wasn’t, but there isn’t anything memorable about it. For the most part, it is the typical teen angst road trip flick that was prevalent during this time, just with a couple of goths instead of stoners, is all. Still, I would recommend that you give it a chance.

3 out of 5 stars

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by Mystery Man


The plot centers on El Mariachi (Banderas), who is recruited by CIA Agent Sands (Depp) to kill General Marquez. Marquez had murdered El Mariachi’s wife Carolina (Hayek) and child and has been hired by Mexican drug lord Armando Barillo to assassinate the Mexican President. Sands wants El Mariachi to kill Marquez after Marquez has killed the President. Sands recruits retired FBI Agent Jorge Ramirez to kill Barillo, as Barillo had been responsible for the death of Ramirez’s partner, Agent Archuleta. Sands also hires AFN Agent Ajedrez to tail Barillo.

As the plot unfolds, Cucuy and informants begin to turn on El Mariachi and Sands. On the day of the coup against the President, Sands is captured, tortured, and blinded; his eyes having been drilled out by his captors after Ajedrez reveals herself to be Barillo’s daughter. With the help of a young gum-selling boy, however, he manages to exact his revenge. Meanwhile, El Mariachi recruits his two friends, Lorenzo and Fideo, to assist him in rescuing the President. Much like Quino and Campa from Desperado, Lorenzo and Fideo also wield weapon guitar cases; in this case, Lorenzo wields a flame thrower, while Fideo has an RC Remote Bomb, which are able to destroy heavy armored vehicles. El Mariachi kills Marquez by shooting both his kneecaps and then shooting him in the head, avenging his lost wife and daughter, and goes on to assist Ramirez in killing Barillo – who falls off a balcony when El Mariachi shoots him with a lupara.

As the coup begins, the people begin rising up to protect the President, permitting the three Mariachis to gain access to the President.

Ultimately, Lorenzo and Fideo walk away with the loot that Barillo was using to pay Marquez, and escort the President to safety. Sands begins his new life as a blind man in Mexico. Agent Ramirez, his job accomplished, walks away.

The movie ends with El Mariachi walking on a desert road into the sunset.


I’ve had this film on my Netflix list ever since they recommended it, but never rushed it to the top. Just so happens that this week due to a couple of films going on the waiting list, it made the cut. I didn’t have high or low expectations for it, other than seeing lots of gunplay, as with most of these Mexican western-type films. On top of that, Salma Hayek and Eva Mendes were in the cast, so of course I was anxious to drool over…er…see them.

The film delivers on the action, but the direction of the story seems to be a little lacking. It jumped around more than a Mexican jumping bean, and was very hard to follow. One minute is a flashback of Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek life together, the next is talk about assassination the president, then is some wierd scenes with Johnny Depp and his third arm. WTF?!? Don’t even get me started on Willem Dafoe and his obscenely bad accent!

I’m not going to sit here and rant about the acting, or lack thereof, because quite frankly, the way this film plays out, acting isn’t the most important aspect, which is fine with me. This isn’t meant to be some sort of Oscar-winning drama or anything, but rather a fun action flick. Since that is the purpose, it succeeds. I am a little disappointed in the lack of Salma Hayek, though. I’m sure women were more than happy to see Antonio Banderas and Johnny Depp together, though.

Apparently, this is final film in a trilogy that includes the films Desperado and El Mariachi, both of which I’ve seen, but never completely through. I need to do something about that, because while there were flashbacks galore in this picture, I was still slightly lost. After I watch the preceeding couple of films,  I should watch this again, and see if I still have the same opinion, but for right now, all I can muster is that this is an average flick with a pretty good climactic gunfight scene at the end reminiscent of the old westerns.

3 out of 5 stars

The Lion King

Posted in Animation, Classics, Disney, Family, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2009 by Mystery Man


The Lion King takes place in the Pride Lands, where a lion rules over the other animals as king. Rafiki (Robert Guillaume), a mandrill, anoints Simba (cub by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, adult by Matthew Broderick), the newborn cub of King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Sarabi (Madge Sinclair), and presents him to a gathering of animals at Pride Rock.

Mufasa takes Simba around the Pride Lands, teaching him about the “Circle of Life”, the delicate balance affecting all living things. Simba’s uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons), who desires the throne for himself, tells him about the elephant graveyard, a place where Mufasa has warned  Simba not to go. Simba asks his mother if he can go to the water-hole with his best friend, Nala (cub by Niketa Calame, adult by Moira Kelly). Their parents agree but only if Mufasa’s majordomo, the hornbill Zazu (Rowan Atkinson), goes with them. Simba and Nala elude Zazu’s supervision and go to the graveyard instead. There, the cubs are met by Shenzi, Banzai and Ed (Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin and Jim Cummings), spotted hyenas who try to kill them, but they are rescued by Mufasa.

Meanwhile, Scar gains the loyalty of the hyenas by claiming that if he becomes king, they’ll “never go hungry again”. Scar tells the hyenas to kill Mufasa and Simba, thus establishing his plan of regicide. Some time later, Scar lures Simba into a gorge while the hyenas create a wildebeest stampede. Alerted by Scar, Mufasa races to rescue Simba from the stampede. He saves his son but is left clinging to the edge of a cliff, which results in Scar flinging him into the stampede below. Scar convinces Simba that he (Simba) was responsible for his father’s death and tells him to flee from the Pride Lands. Scar once again sends Shenzi, Banzai and Ed to kill Simba, but he escapes. Scar informs the pride that both Mufasa and Simba were killed and that he is assuming the throne as the next in line.

Simba is found unconscious by Timon and Pumbaa (Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella), a meerkat-warthog duo who adopt and raise the cub. When Simba has grown into an adult he is discovered by Nala, who tells him that Scar has turned the Pride Lands into a barren wasteland. She asks Simba to return and take his place as king but Simba refuses. Simba shows Nala around his home and the two begin to fall in love. Rafiki arrives and persuades Simba to return to the Pride Lands, aided by Mufasa’s presence in the stars.

Once back at Pride Rock, Simba (with Timon, Pumbaa and Nala) is horrified to see the condition of the Pride Lands. After seeing Scar strike his mother, Simba announces his return. In response, Scar tells the pride that Simba was responsible for Mufasa’s death and corners Simba at the edge of Pride Rock. As Simba dangles over the edge of Pride Rock, Scar whispers to Simba that he killed Mufasa. Enraged, Simba leaps up and pins Scar to the ground, forcing him to admit the truth to the pride. A raging battle then ensures between the hyenas and the lionesses which results in Simba cornering Scar. Begging for mercy, Scar blames the hyenas for Mufasa’s death, but Simba orders Scar to go into exile. Scar pretends to leave but turns to attack Simba, resulting in a final duel. Simba triumphs over his uncle by flipping him over a low cliff. Scar survives the fall but finds himself surrounded by the now-resentful hyenas, who attack and devour him. The film concludes with the Pride Lands turning green with life again and Rafiki presenting Simba and Nala’s newborn cub.


First of all forget the sequel and prequel, they just skewer the legacy of this great picture. Second, it is important to remember that not much effort was put into The Lion King. They thought that Pocahontas was going to be the bigger and better hit. Boy were they wrong!

As with most Disney films, this is loosely based on a piece of literary work. Originally, I thought this was a total orignal idea, but it turns out that it was loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I found that quite interesting.

The voice casting here is terrific, though many have been critical of Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick being cast as Simba, moreso Thomas, instead of African-American actors. I suppose there could be a point to that, but only if you really grasp at straws to find it.

Who else could voice the regal Mufasa than the booming voice of James Earl Jones? The man is so perfect for this that it almost seems like it was written with him in mind. Strangely enough, though, Jones always seems to be married to Madge Sinclair whenever they are in the same movie. Sinclair does a good job of bringing grace and elegance to Sarabi, Simba’s mother.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas fits young Simba perfectly with his youthfully exuberant voice, and the transition to Matthew Broderick as adult Simba really works. Broderick is no Jones, and contrary to popular belief Simba is no Mufasa, and that’s the way it should be.

Jeremy Irons is another perfectly cast character. He already has a villainous voice, and uses it to its full potential as the conniving Scar.

Whoopi Goldberg and Cheech Marin are excellent comic relief as the hyenas, while Nathan Lane, who has this film to thank for his mainstream career, and Ernie Sabella provide two of the most memorable characters in the picture, Timon and Pumbaa.

Musically, it is obvious that Tim Rice is without the late Alan Menken, but collaborating with Elton John, he still comes up with some memorable songs. My personal favorite is “Be Prepeared”…or is it “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King”? As far as the score goes, Hans Zimmer does what he does best, and captures the true essence of the film through the use of various instruments in the orchestra, as well as experimenting here and there.

One of the saddest moments in all of cinema happens when Mufasa is killed. What makes it worse is that young Simba has to see it. The realistic feel of that is what makes it so heartbreaking. There are no magic spells, or pixies, or anything like that to bring him back to life, the king is dead. The moment is reminiscent of when Bambi’s mother gets shot.

There was a time when it seemed Disney could do no wrong when it came to animated features. Unfortunately, after The Lion King, those days seemed to have ended. Hopefully, with the upcoming release of The Princess and the Frog, they’ll have a Renaissance of sorts. In the meantime, we can always pop in the DVD, VHS, Blu-Ray, or download classics such as these that are true gems.

5 out of 5 stars