Archive for January, 2010

District 9

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , on January 30, 2010 by Mystery Man


In 1982, a large unidentified flying object hovers above Johannesburg, South Africa. Reports suggest that the craft became stranded and dropped to Earth after a command module separated from it and was nowhere to be found. An exploratory team discovers a group of one million sick and leaderless members of an arthropod-like extraterrestrial species who are given asylum on Earth. Some of these aliens engage in criminal and destructive activities, which lead to demands from the human population for more control. As a result, the aliens, derogatorily referred to as “prawns”, are confined to a government camp inside Johannesburg, called District 9. The camp is secured and, with a massive police presence, soon turns into a slum. In the first decade of the 21st century, Multinational United (MNU) is placed in charge of policing and relocating the now 1.8 million aliens to District 10, a new camp 200 kilometres outside of Johannesburg. They use a private military corporation, headed by Koobus Venter (David James), to enforce the relocation effort with impunity.

Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an MNU field operative, leads the relocation with the serving of eviction notices on August 9, 2010. During the eviction Wikus confiscates alien weaponry and “aborts” their eggs with a flame-thrower. As this continues, some nearby aliens are shown distilling a mysterious fluid into a small canister. One of the aliens designated as Christopher Johnson (voiced by Jason Cope), resists. While raiding the shack of the alien that was helping Johnson, Wikus discovers and removes the container, accidentally spraying some of the liquid onto his face, and his left forearm is injured by one of the aliens who created the container. Consequently, Wikus begins to feel sick and sees his fingernails loosen. That night, during a surprise party at his house, he falls ill and is taken to a hospital, where his left forearm is revealed to have mutated into an alien appendage. He is immediately taken into MNU custody. After discovering that Wikus can now operate alien weaponry due to his mutating DNA (the weapons being unresponsive to humans), they force him to test various energy weapons, including against a live alien target. The scientists then intend to vivisect him before he fully transforms, but a panicked and terrified Wikus overpowers his captors and escapes. Piet Smit the director of Multi-National United (MNU) lies that Wikus had sexual activity with aliens that causes him to become one of them.

He is then followed by symptoms of loosening of teeth, obsession to cat food and slow loosening of hair

Now a fugitive, Wikus takes refuge in District 9 and returns to Johnson’s shack. Noticing Wikus’ arm, Johnson reveals that the canister contains a fluid that he gathered over 20 years by scavenging, which would allow him to reactivate the dormant mothership. After revealing the location of the lost command module hidden under his shack, Johnson agrees to help reverse Wikus’ genetic transformation if Wikus retrieves the canister from MNU. Wikus then finds his skin loosening and inside is the body of a “prawn”. He agrees and tries to buy weapons from a local Nigerian gang. Their leader, the paralyzed warlord Obesandjo (Eugene Khumbanyiwa), abducts Wikus, seeking to gain his ability to operate alien weapons. Wikus finds an alien firearm and kills some of Obesandjo’s men before stealing a cache of weapons and escaping.

Wikus and Johnson break into the MNU offices and retrieve the canister, fleeing back to District 9. Johnson, having just seen that MNU is performing medical experiments on his fellow aliens, tells Wikus that he will not let his people be experimented on and informs Wikus that he will seek help for the other members of his species before curing him, which would take three years. Enraged, a selfish Wikus knocks Johnson unconscious and powers up the command module. Soon after takeoff, one of the craft’s engines is shot off by an MNU missile battery and it quickly crashes nearby.

MNU forces led by Koobus enter District 9 taking Wikus and Johnson prisoners, but Obesandjo’s gang ambushes them. During an intense fire fight the Nigerian gang captures Wikus. From the downed command module, Johnson’s son activates the mothership and an alien mechanized battle suit which frees Wikus. Wikus pilots the suit and rescues Johnson. Promising Wikus that he will return to reverse his transformation, Johnson activates a tractor beam in the mothership, which lifts the stricken command module towards it, while Wikus stays behind to hold off the MNU forces, managing to kill all of them except for Venter. Heavily wounded and in a much more advanced state of his mutation, Wikus crawls out of the wrecked battle suit to be confronted by Venter. His right eye remains blue-human eye and his left eye turns large-yellow alien eye. Just as he tries to kill Wikus, several aliens appear and tear Venter apart.

The mothership begins to leave as Johannesburg’s residents celebrate its departure. The last-known footage of Wikus is showing him crying. Those interviewed hypothesize that Johnson might return for the refugees or declare war on humanity. MNU’s illegal experiments on the aliens are exposed by Wikus’ co-worker Fundiswa. A series of interviews and news broadcasts show the aliens have successfully moved to District 10, and are said to have a population of 2.5 million and growing. Those interviewed also theorize about Wikus’ fate, hypothesizing that he may still be in hiding or captured by another government agency. Wikus’ wife reveals that, having found a small metal flower on her doorstep, she has hope that her husband is still alive. In a scrapyard, an alien with chunks of human skin still on its arm is seen crafting a flower out of metal.


Someone said that this was a dark picture, but I wasn’t expecting this. Military abuse of power, forced evictions, lack of emotion toward living beings…what happened to humanity?

Another alien film where the military thinks they are the absolute, supreme power and that anything else is a threat. These pictures are getting on my nerves. Not because of the portrayal of the military, I could care less about that, but rather because these are all starting to turn into the same story. Maybe the next time there’s a big alien film, the government can be the corrupt power. You know, like senators, congressmen, etc. Oh wait, that’s how it is in life!

Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but I just didn’t care for the way everyone was treated in this film. First of all, we have the aliens who are being forced to leave their run down shacks in the slums of South Africa for tents in what can best be describes as a concentration camp. To further worsen things, when these people try to ask why they are being evicted, due to lack of a communication between them and the humans, they are beaten, or worse. As if that isn’t bad enough, the almighty corporation has seen fit to declare themselves the one that decides how much of the alien population grows or not. In other words, any babies they see are aborted, or burned. Don’t even get me started on the way “Christopher Brown” was treated while he was hostage. It truly is a miracle he survived that experience.

This should all be a big surprise, except for  the humans in this picture don’t even seem to care about their own. The gy in charge of making sure the evictions go smoothly foolishly opens some category and is sprayed by something that apparently turns him into one of the “prawns” (but somehow is actually fuel for the ship). I don’t really know how/why that happened but it does. As soon as it is found out he is changing, they whisk him away as if he tried to assassinate the President. His poor wife doesn’t have a clue about what is going on, and can just stand there looking. To make matters worse, they find out that he cane use the alien technology and force him to kill one of them in an experiment. This just isn’t right!

I also wasn’t a fan of the documentary style format this thing took. It is the same reason I don’t care for reality shows, The Office, or Parks & Recreation. The filmmakers may have thought it a brilliant idea, but it just seemed to kill the film. This could have been a genuine sci-fi treat, but instead turned out to be some sort of drama laced hate crime story using humans and aliens.

Don’t get me wrong, District 9 is not a bad film, but for me, it just has too many things that I don’t care for, which took away from the entertainment value. I’m not going to sit here and write that you should avoid this film. Far from it, I think you should see it, but remember that this is not a friendly little alien film. It’s dark and covers a variety of themes not usually associated with this genre. Personally, if you want to see something about a giant ship hovering above a city where the aliens mix with people and are scaly, wait until the end of March when V returns. I can say this about District 9, though. The filmmakers took some chances with this material, and it paid off as this film was pretty successful, but again, it just isn’t my cup of tea.

3 out of 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on January 30, 2010 by Mystery Man


Mary Katherine Gallagher (Shannon) is an Irish-American Catholic school girl and social outcast in a Catholic high school. She wants to be a superstar so she can get a kiss from Sky Corrigan (Ferrell). When Mary is sent to Special Education, she makes a new best friend, the tomboyish and equally socially-awkward Helen Lewengrub (Emmy Laybourne).

Mary sees her chance to become a superstar when her school promotes a talent show. She wants to try out, but Grandma Gallagher (Glynis Johns), will not let her. Mary tries out anyway, and when she goes to sign up, a stereotypical cheerleader, Evian Carrie Graham (Elaine Hendrix), gets in a fight with her. The fight causes Evian and Sky to break up, and now Sky is a “single hunk of beefcake on the rebound”. Mary is now determined to get in the talent show so Sky will notice her. When Grandma Gallagher finds out that her granddaughter got into the talent show, she finally tells the truth about how her parents died – they were stomped to death while performing in a Riverdance-like competition. This is why Grandma Gallagher is against her granddaughter performing.

However, Grandma Gallagher decides to help Mary do her act in the talent show, as long as she performs for herself. Mary and the other Special Education students spend days practicing. Mary wins the competition as well as Sky’s heart. When she kisses Sky though, she discovers he is a horrible kisser and chooses to kiss her friend Slater (Harland William) instead.


I remember watching Saturday Nigh Live back in the early-mid 90s (when it was still funny) and loving the sketches with Mary Katherine Gallagher. I never thought, though, that she’d make a good movie.

Superstar takes the character from the SNL stage to the big screen, and quite successfully.

The good…this is a pretty funny, and at times corny/cheesy, film. A few reviews I’ve read about this flick have said that they didn’t connect with Mary Katherine or feel any remorse for her. For me, this was not true, though. Molly Shannon improves on her character, as one would expect, from the small to the big screen, and adds a bit of depth to her. I liked the fact that she was given a best friend who was just about, if not more, um…special than she. Glynnis Johns, best known as the mother from Mary Poppins, does a pretty good job as the grandmother, who apparently has a Broadway background.

The bad…well, there is the obvious rivalry between the nerdy girl and the cheerleader for the affections of the school hunk. Mary Katherine’s special ed class is full of interesting characters, especially the devil worshipper chick (you can just imagine what they could have done with her, especially since this IS a Catholic school). I’m not real sure what was up with the Jesus hallucinations, especially when Harland Williams saw the exact same version that Mary Katherine did. Something just wasn’t right about that. I know he works in mysterious ways and all that jazz, but seriously, they couldn’t have at least changed his clothes for his appearance to a different person?

 Saturday Night Live films haven’t exactly been the best, with the exception of the original Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World, and to a lesser extent The Coneheads. Superstar falls in the category of those that don’t suck. While not being a bane on the existance of cinema, it is far from being a well made film. It has plenty of funny moments, but the plot is paper-thin and just doesn’t work. Luckily, a strong performance from Molly Shannon keeps this thing going (having Will Ferrell as a pretty boy jock helps, too). Still, I can’t give this thing too much love. It just isn’t anything more than average.

3 out of 5 stars

The Italian Job

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2010 by Mystery Man


In Venice, Italy, retired safecracker John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) calls his daughter Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron) and tells her that he is participating in what will be his final heist. John then meets up with Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) before setting the heist into motion. Their team consists of themselves and four others: Steve (Edward Norton) is the “inside man”, Handsome Rob (Jason Statham) is a getaway driver, Left Ear (Mos Def) is an explosives expert, and Lyle (Seth Green) is a technical expert. The heist is a success, but Steve betrays them all by taking the gold for himself; he kills John Bridger and leaves the rest of the team for dead.

A year later in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stella is using her safe cracking expertise to break into vaults as an assistant to law enforcement personnel. The team has tracked Steve down, and Charlie recruits Stella to participate with the team in stealing the gold from Steve since she has the required skill and motivation. The team travels to Los Angeles, California to begin their surveillance of Steve’s house and plan the heist. Meanwhile, Steve attempts to sell his gold through a money launderer, but kills him when the launderer begins asking questions about the source of the gold. However, the money launderer is a cousin of a local Ukrainian Mafia boss, who subsequently seeks vengeance for his cousin’s murder. The team’s initial plan is to have Steve stood up on a date with Stella—who posed as a cable repair woman to get into Steve’s house and locate his safe—while the team would break into Steve’s house, load the gold into three Mini Coopers modified by Rob’s mechanical friend Wrench (Franky G), and use hacked traffic lights to make their escape. However, Charlie is forced to call it off because of a local party, which would witness the heist’s execution. To maintain her cover, Stella goes on the date with Steve, but he figures out her real identity. Charlie then confronts Steve and promises that he will recover the stolen gold.

Now aware that Charlie and his team are alive, Steve makes preparations to move the gold. He obtains three armored trucks and a helicopter from which to monitor the trucks’ transit. To counter the shell game, Charlie uses Lyle’s control over the Los Angeles traffic system to isolate the one truck containing the gold, which Lyle manages to find, and gridlocks the entire city. The team then steals the gold from the truck and escape in their trio of Mini Coopers. Steve and his hired security guards pursue them through Los Angeles, and the team manages to lose them all, except Steve. He follows Charlie, but falls into a trap: Charlie has already informed the Ukrainian that Steve is the man they want, and Charlie gives the Ukrainian a portion of the stolen gold. Steve is taken away by the gangsters, and the team split up the remaining gold and raise a toast to Stella’s father as they leave Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight. During the credits, it is shown what happens to each of the main characters afterward.


If you’ve seen these little striped cars driving around, y’know, the mini-Coopers, this is the film that brought them fame and popularity. Personally, they are a bit small for me, but to each their own. However, they do play a pivotal role on this picture. I thought, initially, that they would be just a way of transportation, but turns out that they take up more screen time than some of the actors.

Again, I have to say that I detest remakes, but I have not seen the original, so I have nothing to compare this to, so, my opinion is strictly based on what I saw, and nothing else.

The good…look at the cast, Jason Statham, Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Seth Green, Mos DEf, and Donald Sutherland. At the time this film was made, Statham was up and coming, Wahlberg, Norton and Theron were settling in to mega stardom, and Green and Mos Def were realizing that they are best served ding comic roles. Having said that, this cast is phenomenal. The chemistry that exists really sells the story. The last 30 minutes or so, are nothing but pure action, which I love. Of course, I could have done with a few more explosions, but I won’t hold that against them. While the plot of the crime is a bit convoluted, it is impressive, especially when they pull it off…before the deception, of course. What’s even more impressive is how they use the same process to get the gold back from Edward Norton.

The bad…for an action flick, there is a severe lack of action here. As I said, the last 30 minutes or so cram it all in, and that’s fine, but what about the other 90? Save for the heist at the beginning and later escape and betrayal, there’s nothing but a bunch of drama that takes up the rest of the film’s runtime. I’m not quite sure what the deal with the Ukrainians was, even if they do play a pivotal role at the end. I guess if they got a proper introduction and some development, they would make more sense, and not just 3 scenes, total. Maybe it’s just me, but if I had a few tons of gold all marked with a distinctive design of a dancer on them, I’d be finding a way to get rid of that mark, so that they can’t be traced. Norton’s character seems like a real smart guy, so I don’t understand how he missed that.

With all the fancy gadgets and ways they these guys pull off the hesits and adjust their mini Coopers, one has to wonder how long it will be before some real crooks are able to pull this off. I guess if some major city grid is shit down and a massive shipment of gold is stolen, we’ll know, right? I really don’t know why I’ve avoided this film. I guess because I thought it was more drama heavy, as most films involving Wahlberg and Theron tend to be. For the most part, I was right, but I was also wrong. I did enjoy this picture, but I’m not in love with it. The entertainment value is there, but not enough to where I’m going to drop everything I’m doing and watch this again. Having said that, if given the chance, I’d love to see it now and then, but for me, it was just above average.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Big Lebowski

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by Mystery Man


The film begins with a short voiceover introduction by an unnamed narrator (Sam Elliott) introducing the character of Jeffrey Lebowski as he is buying half and half from a grocery store with a check for 69 cents on September 11, 1991. The voiceover explains that Lebowski calls himself “The Dude”.

After returning to his apartment in Venice, California, the Dude is roughed up by two thugs who have broken in. They are attempting to collect a debt the unmarried Lebowski’s wife supposedly owes to a man named Jackie Treehorn. After realizing they were looking for a different person with the same name, they leave, but only after one of the thugs urinates on the Dude’s rug. At the instigation of his friend and bowling teammate Walter Sobchak (Goodman), the Dude decides to seek compensation for his urine-soaked rug from the other Jeffrey Lebowski. The next day, the titular “Big” Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, gruffly refuses the Dude’s request. After craftily stealing one of the Big Lebowski’s rugs, the Dude meets Bunny Lebowski (Reid), the Big Lebowski’s nymphomaniacal trophy wife on his way off the property.

Days later, the Big Lebowski contacts the Dude, revealing that Bunny has been kidnapped. He asks him to act as a courier for the million-dollar ransom because the Dude will be able to confirm or deny their suspicion that the kidnappers are the rug-soiling thugs. Back at his apartment, the Dude naps on his new, stolen rug, only to have a new set of criminals burgle his apartment. The criminals knock him unconscious. Following a musical dream sequence, the Dude wakes up on his bare wooden floor, his new rug missing. Soon after, when Bunny’s kidnappers call to arrange the ransom exchange, Walter tries to convince the Dude to keep the money and give the kidnappers a “ringer” suitcase filled with dirty underwear. The Dude rejects this plan, but cannot stop Walter. The kidnappers escape with the ringer, and the Dude and Walter are left with the million-dollar ransom. Walter seems unperturbed by this turn of events, and takes the Dude bowling. Later that night, the Dude’s car is stolen, along with the briefcase filled with money. The Dude receives a message from the Big Lebowski’s daughter, Maude. She admits to stealing back the Dude’s new, stolen rug, as it had sentimental value to her. At her art studio, she explains that Bunny is a porn starlet working under producer Jackie Treehorn and confirms the Dude’s suspicion that Bunny probably kidnapped herself. She asks the Dude to recover the ransom, as it was illegally withdrawn by her father from a family-run charitable foundation for orphans. She offers him a finder’s fee in exchange for his services.

The Big Lebowski angrily confronts the Dude over his failure to hand over the money. The Dude claims that he made the pay-off as agreed, but the Big Lebowski responds by handing the Dude an envelope sent to him by the kidnappers which contains a severed toe, presumably Bunny’s. The Dude is enjoying a relaxing bath when he receives a message that his car has been found. Mid-message, three German nihilists invade the Dude’s apartment, identifying themselves as the kidnappers. They interrogate and threaten him for the ransom money. The Dude returns to Maude’s studio, where she identifies the German nihilists as Bunny’s friends (including her pornographic co-star Uli Kunkel AKA “Karl Hungus”). The Dude picks up his car from the police, and based on evidence he finds in the front seat, he and Walter track down the supposed thief, a teenager named Larry Sellers. Their confrontation with Larry is unsuccessful, and the Dude and Walter leave without getting any money or information.

Jackie Treehorn’s thugs return to the Dude’s apartment to bring him to Treehorn’s beach house in Malibu. Treehorn inquires about the whereabouts of Bunny, and the money, offering him a cut of any funds recovered. After the Dude tells him about Larry Sellers, Treehorn drugs the Dude’s drink (a White Russian) and he passes out. This leads to a second, more elaborate dream sequence in which “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” by Kenny Rogers and The First Edition is playing. Upon awakening once again, the Dude finds himself in a police car and then in front of the police chief of Malibu, who berates and throws a coffee mug at him for disturbing the peace. After an abbreviated cab ride home (in which he is thrown out of the cab by an Eagles-loving driver), the Dude arrives home and is greeted by Maude Lebowski, who seduces him. During post-coital conversation with Maude, the Dude learns that she hopes to conceive a child with him but wants him to have no hand in the child’s upbringing. He also finds out that, despite appearances, her father has no money of his own. Maude’s late mother was the rich one, and she left her money exclusively to the family charity. In a flash, the Dude unravels the whole scheme: When the Big Lebowski heard that Bunny was kidnapped, he used it as a pretense for an embezzlement scheme, in which he withdrew the ransom money from the family charity. He kept it for himself, gave an empty briefcase to the Dude (who would be the fall guy on whom he pinned the theft), and was content to let the kidnappers kill Bunny.

Meanwhile, it is now clear that the kidnapping was itself a ruse: While Bunny took an unannounced trip, the nihilists (her friends) alleged a kidnapping in order to get money from her husband. The Dude and Walter arrive at the Big Lebowski residence, finding Bunny back at home, having returned from her trip. They confront the Big Lebowski with their version of the events, which he counters but does not deny. During this confrontation Walter accuses The Big Lebowski of not being a genuine paraplegic and forces him from his wheelchair, causing The Big Lebowski to fall and cry. The affair apparently over, the Dude and his bowling teammates are once again confronted by the nihilists, who have set the Dude’s car on fire. They are still demanding the million dollars. After telling the nihilists they know that they never kidnapped Bunny and that the Big Lebowski never gave him any money, the nihilists demand all the money in their pockets. Walter viciously fights them off, going so far as to bite off one nihilist’s ear. However, their third teammate, Donny, suffers a fatal heart attack.

After a disagreement with the funeral home director over the cost of an urn for Donny, Walter and the Dude go to a cliff overlooking a beach to scatter Donny’s ashes from a large Folgers coffee can. Before opening the can’s lid and haphazardly shaking out Donny’s remains into the wind, Walter remembers what little he knew about Donny, including that he loved to surf and bowl, digresses into a eulogy of soldiers killed in Vietnam, then quotes a line from Hamlet: “Goodnight, sweet prince.” After an emotional exchange, Walter suggests, “Fuck it, man. Let’s go bowling.” The movie ends with the Dude in the bowling alley and meeting the narrator at the bar. The narrator tells the Dude to take it easy and the Dude responds by stating, “the Dude abides”. The narrator briefly comments on the film to the audience, saying that although he “didn’t like to see Donny go”, he hints that there is a “little Lebowski on the way.” The film transitions to the closing credits as Townes Van Zandt’s version of “Dead Flowers” plays.


Apparently, my man card has been null and void until a few minutes ago when I finished this film. Yes, ladies, this is not a film for you. No, there isn’t anything chauvinistic about it, but it’s just a guy flick. That’s all there is to it.

I’m sure you’ve all seen and/or heard many references to “The Dude”. Well, this is where those references originate from. More specifically, Jeff Bridges’ character of Jeff Lebowski.

The good…this isn’t your run of the mill comedy, but rather more of the Cohen Brothers humor where you have to think for a minute before you laugh. The story is excellent. Kind of has a cop chase feel to it, but not quite. Acting is great. These actors seemed like they really had fun with this one, especially John Goodman and John Turtrro.

The bad…if you’re not careful, you can get lost trying to figure out what’s going on with this thing. That’s not necessarily a knock on the film, but every Cohen Brothers film that I’ve seen has the same issue. Tara Reid’s character could very well have been a criminal mastermind behind everything if they would hav been a little more creative with everything, but instead she’s just some random “trophy wife” that gets allegedly kidnapped. For a film where two of the leads are obsessed with bowling and in the middle of a tournament, there was surprisingly little bowling in here. I’m just saying.

I think I’m going to start calling myself the dude and walking around in a bathrobe and boxer shorts. Nah, but after you see this picture, you’ll feel the need to mellow out and veg. The Dude’s way of life is that intoxicating. Now, this isn’t the world’s perfect film, but it does accomplish what movies are made for, to entertain and create and escape from the harsh reality of the world. For that reason alone, despite the total greatness of  the film itself, you should watch this.

4 out of 5 stars

Wholly Moses

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , on January 27, 2010 by Mystery Man


Harvey and Zoey, two tourists travelling through Israel, discover an ancient scroll describing the life of Herschel, the man who was almost Moses. Herschel receives the command from God to free his people from Egyptian slavery, but Moses keeps blundering by and taking all the credit. Several other biblical stories, such as Lot and his wife, David and Goliath, and the miracles of Jesus, are also parodied in this story of the life of a man trying to follow the path to God, but somehow always seeming to lose his way.


I am always looking for good comedies, spoofs, satires, parodies, etc. So, when a friend of mine suggested that I check out Wholly Moses, I figured, why not.

Apparently, this is one of those pictures that has cult garnered cult status, but I had never heard of it until my friend mentioned it.

If you like Mel Brooks’ films, then you’ll love this, even though it isn’t one of his works.

The good…a capable comedic cast led by Dudley Moore that takes the material to another level of hilarity. This film proves that it doesn’t take a bunch of fancy special effects and a ridiculous budget to make a good comedy, something that is forgotten in today’s Hollywood. The story is great, and sure to offend the insanely religious. Oh well, they can get over it.

The bad…Moses is mentioned in like every scenes, but we never rally see him, except for maybe twice. I realize that this isn’t his movie and all, but you’d think they’d have at least thrown him in there a bit more. Richard Pryor’s appearance at the end seems a bit out of place. Not that he gives a bad performance, it just doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the film. THe papyrus that Moore and Laraine Newman read in that cave seems very well-preserved for having been in a cave for 2000 yrs or so. What’s worse is that as soon as it hits the outside air it dissolves to nothing. I don’t know much about the mechanics and biology of ancient papyrus and whatnot,but something doesn’t seem right about that. 

Wholly Moses is a hilarious farce in the same vein of films such as Mel Brooks’ History of the World, pt. I. While it doesn’t quite measure up to that film, this tale is quite entertaining and had me rolling around more than once. Is it a must-see? I can’t say that, but it is definitely far from being a waste of time. If you’re in the mood for a good comedy, why not check it out?

4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2010 by Mystery Man


An unnamed man (referred to in the credits as “Buscemi”) (Steve Buscemi) walks into a bar. The customers are initially hostile towards him but he seems not to notice. He begins to tell how he was in a bar in another town and it was cleaned out by a man in black looking for a man named Bucho. This story openly frightens the men and the bartender (Cheech Marin) and his side kick Tavo (Tito Larriva), attempt to get a description of the man’s face. Buscemi claims to not know and remarks that he believes the man is headed that way.

El Mariachi(Antonio Banderas), the man from the story wakes from a dream about Domino, his love interest in the first film. He hears a knock at the door and lets in Buscemi. It is revealed that Buscemi is helping El find out where Bucho is. He tells El that he can find out where Bucho is at the bar he just visited. Buscemi asks El what he will do when he has his revenge. El simply states that it will be over. Buscemi then says he is glad. El remarks that Buscemi never had the stomach for that sort of thing. He replies: “Neither did you.” El then cleans himself up to appear as a mariachi and walks to town. He meets a young boy and teaches him to loosen his fingers when playing the guitar, despite not being able to use his fingers on his left hand due to the gunshot wound to his hand from Moco in the first film. Meanwhile, Bucho is apparently worried that “the man in black” is coming for him. He orders his men to keep an eye out for any strangers and buys a bulletproof limo. El then goes to the bar. The patrons are suspicious of him due to the Buscemi’s story even though he appears nothing like he was described (“The biggest Mexican ever!”) except for the black clothing. They hold him at gunpoint as they open his guitar to search for weapons that they were told were in the guitar case (“The biggest fucking hand cannon I’ve ever seen!”), but only see a guitar. They let him go, just as the guitar is revealed to be a cover inside the case to conceal his guns. They prepare to kill him but he ejects 2 hidden .45 ACP pistols from his sleeves and engages in a gunfight with the men. Meanwhile in a hidden room, several other men see the gunfight on a video monitor and Tavo executes the drug Pick-Up Guy (Quentin Tarantino) because they believe he betrayed them. El proceeds to kill all the men except the bartender and tries to question him, but he is accidentally shot by a man from the hidden room. They attempt to shoot each other but run out of bullets and try to use the fallen men’s guns but find that they are all empty. Finally the man finds one and tries to shoot El with it, but El snaps his neck.

He then leaves the bar, unaware that he is being followed by the bartender’s friend and associate of Bucho, Tavo, who is carrying two pistols in public. As he walks, he notices a beautiful woman (Salma Hayek) walking towards him. Her shocked expression at the man behind him warns El and he shoves her out of the way in time as he is shot in the arm, but manages to kill Tavo. The woman then carries him away. El awakens in a bookstore to see the woman stitching up his arm. She says her name is Carolina. He wants to go to a hospital but she says he wouldn’t if he saw them. He then asks where he is and she says it is her bookstore, but business is not very good. He then falls asleep from the painkillers she gives him. Carolina runs some errands and then comes back to the bookstore. Curious about his guitar case, she opens it to see the guitar, but it then opens to show his guns. She is then grabbed by El. She says she now knows who he is (“You’re that guy you always hear stories about.”) She doesn’t seem to be afraid of him. He then offers to give her one of his guns as a gift, but she declines. He then leaves to go to church, where he meets with Buscemi who tells him to get out while he still can, because that is what he is doing. El then follows and begins to argue with Buscemi, again unaware that he is being followed, this time by another man in black (referred to in credits as “Navajas”) (Danny Trejo), who has been stalking El throughout the film. He then tells Buscemi that maybe he should quit after all. Buscemi approves of this, but is then killed by Navajas’ throwing knives. El is then also hit, but only wounded and takes cover in an alley.

Navajas waits confidently at the entrance. Bucho’s limo, full of armed men and Bucho’s girlfriend, pulls up behind him and attempts to question him on who he is. He proceeds to kill several of them with his knives, but is then shot dead. El manages to escape without being seen and runs into the little boy from earlier, who wants to show El his real guitar. El follows him, visibly in pain and bleeding profusely. A car drives up and a man inside trades guitars with the boy. They then drive around the corner and see El. The man in the car attempts to pull a gun, but El is faster and demands the other guitar. They give it to him and drive away. He then breaks it open to see a packet of cocaine. He then questions the little boy who says that everyone else in the town is involved and most of the businesses are fronts, including Carolina’s bookstore. Enraged, El heads back to the bookstore. Meanwhile, Bucho’s men return Navajas’ body. He calls his superiors to ask for a description of the man they sent in to look for El. The description matches Navajas, but Bucho doesn’t let on that his men killed the man they sent. He then chastises his second in command for believing that El is nothing but a legend.

El, returning to the bookstore, yells at Carolina, angered at the fact that she is apparently working for the man who he is trying to kill, and that his friend is dead. She then states that she doesn’t work for Bucho, stuff is only dropped off and picked up from her bookstore and she is paid 50,000 dollars a year. She says she uses a little to keep the bookstore running and saves the rest in case she ever has to leave, but that once she joined she wasn’t allowed to get out. El calms down and lays on the counter so she can fix his wounds, but she promptly shoves him off behind the counter just as Bucho walks in. He questions her about if she has seen any strange people, but she states that she hasn’t and will call him if she does. El, behind the counter attempts to load his gun silently, but is unable to in time before Bucho leaves. He attempts to leave and follow Bucho, but Carolina tells him that it would be suicide and to wait till later. Later, while El is recovering from his wounds, Carolina gives him a guitar as a present. They attempt to play together, but are unable to. Carolina then kisses El, and they proceed to have sex in her bedroom. Meanwhile, Bucho calls his men in town and tells them to search the bookstore and if El is there, to kill him and Carolina by burning the bookstore down. The next day, El awakens while Carolina sings with her eyes closed, to see the silouhettes of armed men through the curtains. He proceeds to silently pull out one of his pistols and his sawed-off double barrel shotgun and trips Carolina out of the way as he fires and kills the two men. They attempt to escape through the bookstore, only to see that it’s on fire. They make their way to the roof, gunning down several men, only to find their way blocked by men on the ground. Carolina jumps while El fires at the men and then throws his guitar case across to the next building. Men then come behind him and he is forced to jump backwards off the roof while firing at the crooks. He lands, and rolls, unharmed. He then uses a grenade to kill the last of the gangsters. While hiding on the roof, El sees Bucho drive up. He proceeds to aim a scoped Wildey Magnum pistol at Bucho’s head but hesitates when he sees Bucho’s face, and puts the gun away. Carolina asks him why he didn’t shoot him. El doesn’t answer, and they take refuge in a hotel. El tells her that she can escape and use the money she stashed to start a new life, without El having to kill Bucho, but Carolina says that the money was hidden in the books that were burned. El then decides to call his friends Campa and Quino. They show up shortly after and follow him to a deserted part of town, where Bucho’s men find them. Campa and Quino reveal that they have special cases, too, Campa’s two cases being machine guns, and Quino’s case being a rocket launcher. They proceed to kill many of Bucho’s men along with Carolina’s help. However, Quino is killed by a gangster on a roof, and Campa is killed when he runs out of ammo. The little boy is also caught in the crossfire and is badly wounded. El and Carolina kill the last man, Bucho’s second in command, by running him over, and rush the boy to the hospital. With the doctors unsure if the boy will live, El angrily heads to Bucho’s ranch to settle the conflict. They arrive and find themselves surrounded, but Bucho calls his men off.

It is then revealed that El and Bucho are brothers; this being why El did not kill Bucho earlier. Bucho, however, angry at Carolina’s betrayal, tells El to put his hands up while he kills Carolina and that they will then be even for El killing his men. El, unable to bear another love’s death, ejects his pistols from his sleeves as he did earlier in the bar, and shoots Bucho dead.


I guess I’m going backwards in this trilogy. A few months back, I watched Once Upon a Time in Mexico, the third part of what is often called the “El Mariachi” trilogy. Desperado is part two. I have yet to watch the original El Mariachi, but rest assured, I’ll get to it.

This is one of those films I’ve heard nothing but good things about and have seem bits and pieces of, but never actually sat down and watched the whole thing from beginning to end, for one reason or another until today. Although I pretty much knew that I wouldn’t be disappointed, I had no idea that I’d be blown away!

The good…two words…Salma…Hayek!!!! That’s it…I can stop this review right there. lol

Seriously, though, my obsession with Salma aside. The story is well written. You feel Banderas’conflict and want him to track this guy down and get his revenge. The little kid whom he takes under his wing, if you will, is an added element that initially I was skeptical about ,but given what happens to him, it makes sense. The gunfights are awesome and reminiscent of the good old westerns of yesteryear. This is a Robert Rodriguez film, so of course thee has to be lots of blood, but surprisingly, with the exception of one guy getting run over by a truck, there are no guts. I happened to like that. Certain genres call for blood and guts, while others don’t.

The bad…as much as I hate to say thins, Salma Hayek’s character crashed and burned, especially after she and El Mariachi had sex. What I mean by that is that when we first meet her she is smart and sexy, but something happens somewhere and she becomes basically one of those chicks that just attached on to the guy and screams at every little thing that happens to him. No, I’m exaggerating, but you get the picture about what happens to her character. They introduce this drug smuggling factor in, but never realy go anywhere with it, and after the one scene and a brief interrogation of Salma that leads back to the original plot, it isn’t mentioned ever again. To me, that seemed kind of pointless. I’m not sure what Steve Buscemi was supposed to be doing here, but his character didn’t quite fit. I’m not sure why. I mean, he has a purpose, but there is just something odd about a random white guy down in Mexico I suppose.

I have to say, with the past couple pieces of crap I’ve seen it was nice to see something that was actually worth watching. Desperado is one of those films that you just don’t want to end. It has a mix of old west flair and modern-day heroics and sex appeal. If you haven’t seen this yet, what are you waiting for?

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Fired Up!

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by Mystery Man


The movie opens with the two main characters, Shawn (Nicholas D’Agosto) and Nick (Eric Christian Olsen) making out with two girls and giving each a line that it is their first time with a girl. Minutes later they are chased off by the girls’ fathers who arrived back from working out. The movie then shifts to Nick and Shawn playing a spring football game at their high school, checking out all of the girls they will make their moves on next but are distracted by the female cheerleaders who are not very good. Later that night Nick and Shawn go to a bonfire party where they overhear the cheerleaders talking about an upcoming three week cheer camp, which supposedly will be attended by over 300 girls. The boys think is the perfect opportunity to get some fresh girls so they decide to go. The conflict is that football camp overlaps with the first two two weeks of cheer camp and they wish to attend the football camp after party. So they create a story about Nick’s newly discovered “real father” to get out of their football camp commitment, freeing them up to go to cheer camp. Their next obstacle is they have no cheerleading experience, so they seek the help of Shawn’s sister Poppy to get them on the squad. They casually show off their new moves to a few cheerleaders, impressing them enough for a meeting with Carly (Sarah Roemer), the head cheerleader. Carly is aware of Shawn and Nick’s reputation as womanizers and is against the idea of having the boys on the team. But after the cheerleader coach sees the boys’ “spirit,” she is forced by the other squad members to put them on the team.

Upon arriving at cheer camp, Shawn and Nick begin their usual quest for girls. Soon they realize that they are actually good at cheering, and they begin to really care for the other squad members. Nick is smitten for Diora (Molly Sims), who is the camp coach’s wife, who rebuffs his advances. Shawn begins to fall in love with Carly. He is soon disappointed when he finds out she is dating a pre-med student, Rick (David Walton). Nick and Shawn discover that Rick doesn’t like Carly but only stays with her to make his parents happy, and that he cheats on her. Yet, Rick is overbearing and comes between Shawn and Carly. Wanting to rid himself of Shawn, Rick finds the bus tickets Shawn and Nick were planning to use to leave cheer camp early and reveals them to Carly and the rest of the squad. He also reads aloud from Nick’s diary which includes poetic passages he wrote about Diora. The boys get kicked off the team but Diora tells Nick she loved it and to meet her after the cheer competition in the field to “read her more of his diary.”

Shawn and Nick take the bus to the football camp after party. While at the party, they realize that they no longer enjoy the drunken parties of their peers and they actually enjoyed being a part of the team, and that they want to be there for the girls and try to win the cheer competition.

The boys return to cheer camp and Shawn apologizes profusely to Carly and his inspiring speech gets back on the team. On competition day they have to go against the Panthers, (the best and cockiest team at the competition) and 27 other teams. In the middle of their routine, Carly sees Rick kissing the captain of the Panthers, so she and Shawn decide to try the “Fountain of Troy” which is said to be the most difficult and dangerous cheer move ever created and is “prohibidado” (sic). They complete it cleanly, but instead of doing a double back-flip like Carly, Shawn performs a triple back-flip and lands in a shallow pool of water. The squad believes he is seriously injured, but he gets up and waves only to fall over again. Shawn later wakes up on the grass with Carly looking over him. She explains they placed 19th. She admits that she believes that they would have placed it the top 3 and gone to State thanks to the perfect Fountain of Troy move, had it not been for whole pool accident which they lost points for. Still, Carly is satisfied as it is ten places higher than the previous year. Shawn and Carly kiss and Rick sees them. He confronts them and attempts to punch Shawn but Nick ends up taking the hit. Rick is then punched in the face by another cheerleader and he runs away crying. During the credits, Nick is shown meeting Diora in the field. To get herself “in the mood” she asks him to read from his diary while she strips off her clothing and makes out with him. Just as the two prepare to have sex, Diora’s husband pulls up in a golf cart and Diora runs off. Nick is then forced to cheer in the nude while the coach assists. More of the credits involve various outtakes, the last one leading into the rest of the credits with Nick and Shawn on the bus leaving cheer camp singing “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake.


I’m not really a fan of cheerleading movies…cheerleaders, are a different, story, though. I had initially planned to not waste my time on this, then a buddy of mind said that this was more about the guys and not real cheering stuff. In other words, it wasn’t another Bring It On (as if the world needs any more of those).

He was right, but it still wasn’t worth the nearly 90 minutes I spent watching it.

There are a few funny moments, and plenty of eye candy (its cheer camp, what do you expect). The lead actors, if their careers survive this, are destined for bigger and better things. They have talent. A couple of the cheerleaders also keep this film from going down the crapper, unfortunately, these are the ones that aren’t focused on.

Where should I start when talking about the bad things about this flick? Well, first off, while the story is pretty good, the script kills it with bad jokes and overemotion, especially for a comedy. I have a personal hatred for AnnLynee McCord. Something about her rubbed me the wrong way, so seeing her cast in this thing is a strike, as well. Molly Sims is wasted for most of the flick, at least until the credits. I don’t really understand why they would get such a talent only to have her standing around with a clipboard the whole time. Was there really a need for the token douchebag boyfriend? It was so cliché, and we all knew he was going to try to expose the guys.

So, what did I think of this thing? Well, I was surprised that I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it. It was just one of those films to pass the time and possibly give a chuckle or two. Nothing more…nothing less. Chances are that by this evening I’ll have totally forgotten everything about it. There is nothing memorable about it, and quite honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that it didn’t do well at the box office or receive good reviews. I’m not going to sit here nd say you should avoid it like the plague, but don’t go out of your way to see it. If you just have a burning desire to watch this, then go ahead, otherwise opt or something better and put this on the “if I must…” list.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Teen Wolf Too

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2010 by Mystery Man


Todd Howard (Jason Bateman), the cousin of Scott Howard, has recently been accepted into Hamilton University on a full athletic scholarship. Having never been much good at sports he soon realizes that he is there for one reason – because werewolves run in the family. At first Todd is certain that Coach Finstock (Paul Sand) has the wrong guy, but at the first boxing match of the year the wolf in him emerges.

With his new found fame comes girls, top grades and even the dean’s car but as the year goes on, Todd realizes that he is losing his friends and self respect. Can he be a winner without the wolf?


After watching Teen Wolf  last night, I flipped the DVD over and watched Teen Wolf Too this afternoon.

Whenever I watch a sequel, I question the motives behind it. I mean, there are sequels that are made to continue a story, there are those that are meant to start a story that will be continues, and then there are those that are there just to make money. That’s what category this thing falls in. Teen Wolf ended with nothing left to resolve, yet they felt the need to make a sequel. To make things worse, they have different characters interspersed with some of the originals. Nothing really wrong with that, except that they aren’t the same actors from the original. This begs to question…why?

Jason Bateman’s character obviously is meant to be similar to Michael J. Fox’s. As a matter of fact, they resemble each other…vaguely, but Todd has the bigger ego once the campus accepts his wolf persona and he becomes a total jerk. As I said in the Teen Wolf review, there is just something disconcerting about the speed at which they accept him. I juts expect them all to be more scared of a guy that suddenly changes to a werewolf right in front of their eyes, but that’s just me.

For a comedy, this isn’t very funny. I’ve gotten bigger laughs cleaning the litter box than I did from watching this.

What is good about this thing? Well, even though Batman is hindered by this horrendous script, he remains the bright spot, along with John Astin, everyone else just doesn’t cut the mustard. In the previous film, it seemed like everything was all about Scott and basketball. At least in this one we get a bit about Todd in class, and his troubles/perks for being a wolf. It is also hinted that his faculty advisor/Biology professor is also a werewolf, but all she does is give the dean the red eye, similar to the way Scott’s dad did in the first film, only there’s no pissing involved this time. I wish she would have gone full wolf, instead of have a tail, though. Not really sure what the deal with the tail was, since none of the three werewolves we see in these two films has one, but it is good to know that there are werewolves outside the Howard family.

The fact that almost none of the actors from the Teen Wolf came back for the sequel should have been a tipoff as to how bad this film was going to be. I remember watching this thing back in the day and tolerating it, but even then I  remember it reeking of suckage. I really wish I could say something positive about this thing, but there isn’t much. Even for fans of 80s cinema, it just isn’t worth it. Really, unless you’re a Jason Bateman fan, there is absolutely no reason to waste your time.

2 out of 5 stars

Teen Wolf

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on January 23, 2010 by Mystery Man


High school student Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) is seventeen years old, sick of being average and wishing he were special. His father runs a local hardware store. Scott plays basketball for his high school’s team, the Beavers, with a not-so-good win-loss record. The girl of his dreams, Pamela Wells (Lorie Griffin), is dating Mick, a jerk from an opposing high school team, the Dragons. After another of the team’s losses, Scott begins to notice strange changes to his body. While at a party, Scott keeps undergoing changes and eventually he returns home, locks himself in the bathroom, and undergoes a complete change and becomes a werewolf, while his father demands that he open the door. He tries to refuse, only to finally give in and obey, to find his father has also transformed into a werewolf.

Harold never told his son about the condition because “sometimes it skips a generation” and he was hoping it wouldn’t happen to Scott. Scott first reveals his transformation to the public at one of his basketball games, after getting pinned in a pile-up. After momentarily stunning the crowd with The Wolf, Scott goes on to wow them with his basketball skills and he finishes the game with a quadruple double.

Scott subsequently learns to use his family “curse” to gain popularity at school, becoming the team’s star basketball player, and learns to transform at will between his normal self and The Wolf. His basketball team goes from last to first, and Scott begins spending most of his school time as The Wolf. He also wins the heart of Pamela while ignoring the affections of his best friend, Boof (Susan Ursitti), who has loved him since childhood.

Scott’s other best friend ‘Stiles’ (Jerry Levine), a party animal with an entrepreneurial streak, quickly cashes in on Scott’s new-found popularity, selling Teen Wolf T-shirts and other merchandise. Stiles’ “wolfmania” reaches such extremes that he trades in his own vehicle for a stepvan dubbed “Wolfmobile.”

After a freak encounter with Mick at the Spring Dance that almost turns violent, Scott wishes to be himself. During the final basketball game (Beavers VS. Dragons again), Scott refuses to “wolf out” and insists on winning the game on his own. Coach Bobby Finstock tells Scott that the team is doomed to fail without The Wolf, but Scott is able to prove him wrong. In a dramatic ending, and with the help of four fouls from Mick, Scott is able to rally the team back to within a point as time is expiring. Scott is fouled one last time by Mick on the final play and given two shots. In a clear violation of the rules, Mick is able to stand underneath the basket as Scott attempts his foul shots. Scott makes both baskets and the Beavers win the game by one point.

Pamela attempts to get Scott’s attention after the game is over, but he passes her by to hold Boof in his arms, kissing her passionately.


The 80s was a good time for cinema. Back in those days, movies were made for the people that watched them, not solely for the purpose of making moeny. Furthermore, no matter how totally “rad” (had to get that 80s term in there) or awful a movie ended up being, they were still fun to watch and not depressing like many of today’s movies.

Teen Wolf is what I like to consider a forgotten 80s classic. Think about it…name 5 80s films and I bet Teen Wolf doesn’t come up on the list, does it? There is a reason for that. Simply put, it isn’t that great a film, even by 80s standards. Having said that, it doesn’t totally suck, but there’s isn’t anything really memorable about it. As a matter f fact, I think I remember more about the SAturday morning cartoon than I did about the actual movie.

The good…the studio did a good job of casting and capitalizing on Micaheal J. Fox’s growing star power. The initial transofmation sequence is impressive, and belive it or not, one of the better werewolf tranformation scenes I’ve seen (at least they don’t jump in the air and turn into giant dogs *cough* Twilight *cough*). The fact that the school seems to accept this teenage werewolf, when we all know theyd have shunned or shied away from him in real life, is something I’ve always liked. The scenes where the dad scares the piss (literally) out of the vice principal has long been one of my favorites of the film.
The bad…muhc of this film is the cliche high school stuff, culminating with the “hero” falling for the popular girl when a perfecty beautiful best friend is secretly pining over him, but at film’s end he falls for her. That kid of stuff you can see a mile away. As good as the transformation sequences are, the actual look of the werewolves is just plain bad. The look like some kid of hybrid between Cousin It and the monkey creatures (can’t think of their name right now) from Land of the Lost.  Talk about bad acting, the actress that plays the object of Scott’s affection is in a high school play and is supposed to sound like a band actress, that’s fine and dandy, except that there are times that I think she may have have gone too far into her preparation because she wasn’t that great.
I seem to remember loving this film when I saw it in my younger days. I guess now my tastes have changed, or I now more about what to look for in a good film. Not totally sure what the reason is, but this picture isn’t as good as I remember. Still, it isn’t that bad, but rather just and average film. No reason for you not to give it a look see. You could definitely do a million times worse.
3 out of 5 stars

American Pie Presents: The Book of Love

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2010 by Mystery Man


The story takes place at East Great Falls High, ten years after the first American Pie movie. The new protagonists of this movie are three brand new hapless virgins: Rob (Bug Hall), Nathan (Kevin M. Horton) and Lube (Brandon Hardesty). One night Rob accidentally sets fire to the school library, and finds “the Bible” (or Book of Love), Mr. Levenstein’s (Eugene Levy) creation. Unfortunately for them, the book is ruined. The book had incomplete advice and embarks them on a helpless journey to lose their virginity. After trying and failing for most of the time, they pledge to restore the book, and to do this, they must find the original author of the book (Levenstein) and all the other people who wrote on the book, and start the restoration.


Honestly, I don’t even know why they still make these American Pie films. None of them have really been worth watching since the second, and the direct-to-DVD films, are just an a smear on the American Pie legacy.

American Pie Presents: The Book of Love tries so hard to capture the “magic” that made the first film so great, that it comes off as just an upstart annoyance.

You know a film is bad when the most redeeming fact about it is the gratuitous skin shots.

The plot isn’t original in any way. We ave a group of horny high school guys searching for ways to get laid, all having issues with girls…typical formual for a high school film. The “bible” doesn’t even come into play until the end of the film, which makes me wonder, why they even bothered to include it in the title.

I also have to wonder what they have on Eugene Levy to keep him coming back to do these things, especially when no one else from the original does. I was sort of expecting Kevin or Jim to show up in this one, but no such luck.

While on the subject of casting, how did they get all these semi-big name cameos, like Brett Michaels, Christopher Knight, Dustin Diamond, and a starring role for Rosanna Arquette? Are these people that so hard up for money?

Also, we have yet another Stifler (how could we not). He does actually act like a Stifler, but, just like this film, he tries too hard and comes off as annoying, more than anything else.

Do I have anything good to say about this flick, besides the gratuitous skin flashes here and there? Well, there are a couple of funny moments, and we finally get to know what’s in “the bible”…something that’s been on my mind since the first film, though they seem obsessed with the tongue tornado. A couple of the girls are pretty hot, but otherwise there really is no reason to watch this, unless you just want to watch all the American Pie films, which was my reason for even bothering, and I thought it would actually have been worth the time. Boy, was I mistaken. Take my advice, if you must see it, wait a year or so and it’ll pop up on Comedy Central. You won’t miss much in terms of the editing trust me.

1 1/2 out of 5 stars


Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2010 by Mystery Man


The film starts with the reading of the will of Patrick Dennis’ (Kirby Furlong) late father, by his trustee, Mr. Babcock (John McGiver). The will states that Patrick is to be left in the care of his aunt, Mame Dennis (Lucille Ball), as well as his nanny, Agnes Gooch (Jane Connell). The two take a train ride to live with Mame (Main Title Including St. Bridget). When they arrive a day early, they walk into a big party that Mame is giving for a holiday she herself created. (It’s Today) Patrick introduces himself by asking if he may slide down her bannister, then reveals that he is Patrick. Mame introduces him to several of her friends, including aspiring stage actress and famous lush, Vera Charles (Bea Arthur).

The following morning, Patrick awakens a hungover Mame with his bugle. After Patrick tells Mame what Mr. Babcock has said about her, she decides that she wants to fill his life with adventure (Open A New Window). She decides to enroll him in “the School Of Life,” a very non-traditional school, but when Vera Charles inadvertently leads the trustee, Mr. Babcock, to Patrick’s school, Patrick is taken from Mame’s custody. In that same moment, Mame gets a phone call and learns that the stock market crash has left her without any money to hire a lawyer to get custody of Patrick back. Vera, knowing that Mame is now in need of money, offers Mame a very small role as The Man In The Moon in her newest operetta about a lady astronomer. Unfortunately, Mame flubs her one line and causes the play to be a disaster, which puts a major rift in her friendship with Vera. Meanwhile, Patrick, who was in the audience, reassures Mame that she’s not a failure and lets her know that he still loves her (My Best Girl).

Now broke, Mame has worked a string of jobs, including one selling shoes. While working in the shoe section of the department store, a customer comes in wanting a present to send to someone back home. Mame helps him make the decision to buy a pair of roller skates by trying them on. The customer tells her of his name – Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside (played by Robert Preston). However, Mame’s inability to write up a cash order as opposed to a C.O.D. order gets her fired. Mame roller skates home, dejected because she’s unable to pay Ito (George Chiang) and Agnes, who reassure her that they’re not going anywhere. Even though it’s only a week from Thanksgiving, Mame decides to lift everyone’s spirits by decorating the house for Christmas and giving everyone their Christmas gifts (We Need A Little Christmas), which include Patrick’s first pair of long pants. Agnes and Ito surprise Mame with the news that the butcher bill has been paid. Mame promises to pay them back someday. Meanwhile, Beau, who’s been looking for Mame since she was fired earlier that day, finally finds Mame’s house and invites everyone to dinner, and it’s obvious that the two are meant for each other.

Beau brings Mame and Patrick to his plantation in Peckerwood, Georgia, where they’re immediately greeted by Sally Cato (Joyce Van Patten). However, much of Beau’s family, especially Mother Burnside (Lucille Benson) and Cousin Fan (Ruth McDevitt), are not happy about Beau marrying a “Yankee”. Sally then invites Mame to a foxhunt. Despite not knowing a thing about horseriding, Mame accepts the invitation. The following day, Mame accidentally wins the fox hunt, despite not knowing what she was doing, and all of Beau’s family and friends, except for Sally, sing the praises for Mame.

Mame and Beau, now happily married, go on an extended honeymoon, traveling all over the world (Loving You). Meanwhile, Patrick goes from a young child who pulls in a B+ average to a high school senior (Bruce Davison) flunking many classes (The Letter). When an avalanche in the Alps kills Beau, Mame returns home and is reunited with a now grown Patrick, who is dating a very snobby conservative girl named Gloria Upson (Doria Cook-Nelson). Mame, who decides that she’s tired of looking like she’s just come from a funeral, goes to reunite with her old friend, Vera, for a drink. The two enjoy some drinks and some snippy comments, which they insist are not being made out of hatred, but simple honesty, as that’s what Bosom Buddies do. The two come home and continue to reminisce and discuss men that they’ve dated. Agnes, who is listening to the conversation, admits that she’s never had a date. Mame and Vera decide to give the uptight, frumpy Agnes a makeover and send her out to live, because “Life is a banquet, and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death.” After Agnes comes out of her bath with her new image, she goes off in a taxicab.

Six months later, Agnes returns home, visibly pregnant. At the same time, Mame is currently visiting with her guests, Patrick and Gloria, and they agree to bring Gloria’s parents to Mame’s home to meet. However, once Patrick sees Agnes, who’s hiding in the kitchen, he decides it’d be a better idea for Mame to visit the Upsons at their home, since Patrick is ashamed to have the Upsons see an unwed, pregnant Agnes. Agnes then describes what she did after her big makeover (Gooch’s Song).

Mame visits the Upsons (Don Porter and Audrey Christie) at their home, Upson Downs. She learns there that Patrick and Gloria are engaged. After spending several hours with the Upsons, Mame discovers that she definitely dislikes the family and their overly conservative and bigoted views on everything from African-Americans and onward. (They praise their African-American maid, noting that “so many of them are so snotty these days” and ask Mame to help pay for a piece of property next door to Upson Downs so that Patrick and Gloria could live there, as opposed to “the wrong kind of people.”) When Mame leaves, she confronts Patrick about her disdain for the family, calling him a snob when he admits that he’s ashamed of her and her “crazy” friends. A heartbroken Mame drives home, wondering what she did wrong when he was younger (If He Walked Into My Life).

Mame and Patrick apologize to each other off-screen and are dressed for company – the Upsons. Mame promises to behave. Patrick, still embarrassed by Agnes’s condition, begs Agnes to stay in her room while the Upsons are there, while Mame reminds her to take her calcium pills. Patrick talks to Mame’s new maid, Pegeen (Bobbie Jordan), for a moment before the Upsons arrive. After arriving, Mr. and Mrs. Upson announce to Mame that the property they’d wanted had been bought, complaining about being outbid by “some Jew lawyer”. Suddenly, Vera and several men barge into Mame’s house, singing (It’s Today reprise). Vera toasts to the new couple, mistaking Pegeen for Gloria. At that moment, Agnes comes downstairs because her calcium pills are in the kitchen. Mame invites her to sit with everyone. When Mrs. Upson asks Agnes what Mr. Gooch does, she says “My father’s passed away.” When Mrs. Upson states that she meant her husband, Agnes declares that she’s unwed and that her baby’s going to be a little bastard (although in the film, she’s cut off after “ba …”). Suddenly, a large group of unwed pregnant women barge in, singing. (Open A New Window reprise) Mame reveals to the Upsons that she bought the property next door so she could build the Beauregarde Burnside Memorial Home For Single Mothers. This is the final straw, and the Upsons leave, angry that Mame isn’t “one of them.” Patrick, visibly upset, leaves the house.

Years later, Patrick and Pegeen are married and have a child, Peter. Mame, who is going on a trip to Siberia, requests that Peter be allowed to go with her. Although Patrick and Pegeen resist at first, once Peter quotes Mame’s “life is a banquet” line, they relent. The two get onto a plane, and Patrick states that Mame has not changed and that she’s “the Pied Piper.” Mame and Peter wave goodbye and go into the plane. The plane takes off, followed by clips of Mame embracing Vera, Agnes, Beau, adult Patrick, and young Patrick (Finale: Open A New Window/Mame).


Since Hallmark Channel doesn’t know how to keep I Love Lucy on the air for more than a couple weeks (followed by a couple months without it) of 3-4 hr daily marathons, I’ve been suffereing from some severe Lucy withdrawals. Mame has been on my radar for sometime, especially with Bea Authur’s death last year, so I figured why not use this opportunity to watch it this weekend.

From my understanding, there are two different Mame films, this one and a non-musical picture.

Since this is a musical, let me start by talking about the music. In many musicals, the songs are upbeat, catchy, and memorable. In others, they are meant to be more of mood setters and help the story move along. Mame’s songs seem to want to go more towards the former, but end up in the latter category. The songs aren’t bad, but with the execption of the title track, you’re not going to remember and/or sing them after the film is over. To me, that is the biggest test of how good a musical is, if the songs stick with you long after the production is over. If the audience isn’t singing something after it’s all over, then the score just isn’t good enough. I have tremendous respect for Jerry Herman as a composer, but this is not his finest work.

As far as the movie goes…the good…its a nice little story. There is never this feeling of gloom and doom over what could have very well been turned into some sort of moody story, especially when you throw in that Mame loses all her money in The Great Depression, can’t seem to hold a job, and eventually loses her husband in an avalanche. I commend the writers for not going down the dark path and just skimming through these factors. There really is no need to dwell on the negative. I know Bea Aurthur mostly from The Golden Girls, so seeing her in a different role and young was an experience for me, but I have heard talk about how talented she really is, and even though she isn’t on screen too long in this picture, she makes her presence known when she’s there, and not just because her character is flamboyant. Of course, when she first appeared, I thought she was a man in drag.

The bad…there is a lot of random jumping around that causes the film to seem a bit disjointed. I did lose interest about midway through when the film got all dramatic. Lucy’s hair was a different color in almost every scene until she decided on her “natural” red hair. This is minor thing, but  a couple things about it, first is the fact that its distracting for her to have different color hair in every scene when she doesn’t have to, the second is that Lucy is known for her red hair, so for her to not have it, despite her talent, sort of defeats the purpose of her being in the picture. The singing isn’t that great. I know Lucy was never going to be one to sing Mozart it the Met or anything, but they could have found a better singer to sing her parts.

I came away a little disappointed with this film. I’d heard so much about it, and with Lucille Ball, Bea Aurthur, and Robert Preston leading the case, I expected something alot better than what I saw. Granted, this is my first time seeing this film, maybe another viewing will change my mind. My recommendation, though, is to go ahead and see it. It is far from being a bad picture, and is better than alot of stuff that’s out there right now. For me, though, it was just above average as a film, and a let down as a musical.

3 out of 5 stars

Blade: Trinity

Posted in Action/Adventure, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2010 by Mystery Man


The film begins with an opening narration about Dracula:

In the movies, Dracula wears a cape and some old English guy always manages to save the day at the last minute with crosses and holy water.
But everybody knows the movies are full of shit.
The truth is, it started with Blade and it ended with him. The rest of us were just along for the ride.

The film starts with a collection of vampires looking for “Drake”, a.k.a. Dracula, they find him in Syria in a tomb where he retreated to sleep for a time. He is ultimately woken by the group.

The vampires succeed in framing Blade (Wesley Snipes) for the killing of a familiar posing as a vampire. A few days later, the FBI attack the hideout. During the siege, Whistler destroys the hideout after being mortally wounded and dying in the ensuing explosion. With his mentor gone Blade allows himself to be captured.

As the police prepare to hand Blade over to a group of vampires, Blade is rescued by Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Biel). The two head a group of vampire hunters called the Nightstalkers, formed by Blade’s mentor to assist him. King and Abigail reveal that Danica Talos (Parker Posey), who was the vampire who bit King, has located the first vampire, Dracula, now called Drake. Talos hopes that by resurrecting him, Drake (Dominic Purcell) will help save the vampire race by producing more daywalkers, and eliminate Blade. In his first confrontation with Blade, Drake shows a sort of affinity for Blade, as they are both “honorable warriors” (ironically, while Drake is delivering his speech about honor, he is hiding behind a baby he has taken hostage). During the chaos, King is incapacitated by Drake.

Blade eventually learns of a bioweapon the Nightstalkers had created called Daystar. The weapon is capable of killing any and all vampires in a nearby area. However, there are two catches: The first is that Drake’s blood must be infused with the virus. As he is the first vampire, his DNA is still pure, which, infused with Daystar, will make it work to its maximum efficacy. The second: the virus has a possibility of killing Blade, as he is a half-vampire.

Blade and Abigail learn of the vampire “final solution”, which involves several hundred homeless being kept “alive” in a chemically induced coma, trapped in body bags. This keeps in line with vampires needing live food sources if the entire vampire race were to take over the world. Blade has all of them put out of their misery, shutting down their life support.

The two return to find the Nightstalkers have been all but wiped out. The only exception is King who has been kidnapped by Drake and a young girl named Zoe (Haili Page), the daughter of one of the Nightstalkers. Blade and Abigail go to the Talos building to save their friends.

Meanwhile, King is chained and tortured for information about Daystar. When this fails to get any information from him, Talos threatens that she will bite King and leave him to feed on Zoe. Blade and Abigail eventually enter the building and the fighting begins. Abigail kills Danica Talos’ brother Asher (Callum Keith Rennie) and King kills Jarko Grimwood (Triple H) while Blade engages Drake in a sword battle. In the end, Blade impales Drake with the Daystar arrow, and releases it into the air, killing all the nearby vampires, including Danica Talos. As Drake dies, he praises Blade for fighting with honor and tells him that through Blade the vampire race will survive. Dying, he offers Blade a “parting gift”, he also warns him the thirst will eventually win.


Blade: Trinity brings an ending to a saga started in Blade and continued in Blade II. This time Blade faces off against Dracula, who apparently is some sort of super vampire.

Wesley Snipes has said that he loves this character and would love to do more Blade movies, of course he has to rid himself of his tax problems, first, but I would love to see more Blade films myself. Especially after the bad taste the TV series left in my mouth. I’m not talking about some sort of reboot or remake, either. I want a full on Blade 4. Wishful thinking, though. Chances are if they do make another Blade picture it’ll be a remake or reboot. SAd…but true.

THe good parts of the film…well, when you have a film about vampire hunters, you’re expected to eventually bring in Dracula, so having him in the final chapter was a stroke of genius. Their sword battle is reminiscent of the swashbuckling films of yesteryear. There are a lot of explosions and technical gadgets and whatnot that bring Blade into the present, whereas in the first first film he was using alot of antiquated  weapons, primarily (that may have had something to do with the budget, though). Jessica Biel was obviously brought in to be the token eye candy ,but her character had a lot of depth to it, especially being Whistler’s daughter. There is scene after Natasha Lyonne’s character dies that Blade stands over here and tells her to “use it”. It brought to mind the possibility that now he was the mentor to her, as this was probably a similar scene he went through in his youth.

The bad…as with Blade II, they have decided to pair Blade up with a team. Now, while this team actually has good intentions and all, it just takes away from his character. It’s like The Punisher joining the Avengers, it just shouldn’t happen. normally, I’m a fan of Ryan Reynolds, but he came off as a tad annoying here. Strangely enough, the same characteristics here, he uses as Deadpool. Parker Posey just doesn’t seem to fit or convince me that she can lead this group of vampires or be a sexy vamp. Couple that with her funky hairdos and you have to wonder who she slept with to get this job. The film starts with this massive chase scene that is wicked cool, but in the context of the film, it doesn’t really click. Apparently it was meant for Blade II, but was cut, so I guess that makes more sense, but it still doesn’t fit. Neither do these random FBI agents who seem to have it in for Blade. They go through all the trouble of catching him, then after the interrogation, we don’t see them again until the last scene. Lastly, in all 3 films, Blade’s headquarters, which are located down by the pier have been infiltrated and blown up. You’d think he’d find some other kind of warehouse or something as a base of operations.

Be honest, when was the last time the last film in a trilogy was actually on the level of its predecessors? Even the final chapter of the holy trilogy, Return of the Jedi, doesn’t stack up. Does that mean its a bad film? No, but it isn’t as good as the other two films. Blade: Trinity follows that same pattern. I’m not a fan of the story, but it does make for a fitting end to the trilogy. I wouldn’t watch it as a stand alone film, though, unless you’re a woman who has a thing for Dominic Purcell or Ryan Reynolds, otherwise it is one of those films you can catch on TV. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Blade. While I didn’t love the film, I really did like it and would recommend it to anyone who is into these kid of pictures, but if you can only see one Blade picture, I’d go with the first.

4 out of 5 stars

Captain America

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2010 by Mystery Man


In 1936 fascist Italy, the government kidnaps a boy from his family, whom they subsequently kill. The boy is needed for an experimental project to create a fascist supersoldier; however, Dr. Vaselli (Carla Cassola) objects to using the boy, and under the cover of gunfire flees to the United States of America to help create an American super soldier.

Seven years later, the American government finds a volunteer in Steve Rogers, a loyal all-American who is excluded from the draft because of his polio. The formula successfully transforms Rogers into a superhero, but before any more super soldiers can be created using the formula she keeps in her head, Dr. Vaselli is murdered by a Nazi spy. Meanwhile, the Italian boy has become the Red Skull and is planning to launch a missile at the White House. Rogers, code named Captain America, is sent in to defeat the Skull and deactivate the missile.

However, after an initial battle, the Red Skull defeats Captain America and ties him to the missile as it is about to launch. Captain America is able to grab a hold of the Red Skull, forcing him to cut off his own hand to avoid being launched into destruction with his “American brother”. While the missile is over Washington, D.C., a young boy named Thomas Kimball takes a photograph as Captain America forces the missile to change course and land somewhere in Alaska, where he remains frozen until 1990.

Kimball goes on to become an honest politician and Vietnam War hero until being elected the President of the United States of America. In 1993, a year into his term, he is pushing for pro-environmentalist legislation that is angering the military-industrial complex, who hold a secret conference in Italy that is led by the Red Skull.

After the War, the Red Skull had extensive plastic surgery done in a partially successful attempt to alter his disfigured features, raised a daughter, and became the leader of a powerful crime family. In the 1960s, this American military-industrial complex hired the Red Skull and his thugs to murder various Americans who were against their militarism and Red Skull’s fascism, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. Now, Red Skull is targeting President Kimball for assassination.

Captain America’s frozen body is found in Alaska by researchers, and he awakens still thinking that it is the 1940s. After battling some of the Red Skull’s thugs, he brushes off Sam Kolawetz (Ned Beatty), a reporter and childhood friend of President Kimball, and hitchhikes his way back to his wartime girlfriend, Bernice (Kim Gillingham), in California.

While Bernice still lives at her old residence, she has long since married and raised her own daughter, Sharon, who subsequently gives Rogers a series of VHS history tapes so he can catch up on what happened while he was frozen in ice. Meanwhile, the Red Skull’s thugs, lead by his daughter, break into Bernice’s house and kill her. They also cause her husband to have a heart attack during their efforts to find where Captain America is hiding out. Rogers and Sharon visit the secret underground base where Rogers gained his superpowers in the hopes that Dr. Vaselli’s diary is still there and contains the original name of the Red Skull.

Although Rogers and Sharon find the diary, the Red Skull’s thugs attempt to grab it. Rogers and Sharon vow revenge as well as the rescue of the recently kidnapped president. They travel to Italy and locate the Red Skull’s home and an old recording of the murder of his parents. Sharon agrees to be kidnapped to allow Steve Rogers, who once again dons his costume, to enter the Red Skull’s castle.

In the midst of their battle, the Red Skull pulls out a remote trigger for an explosive device, but Captain America uses Sharon’s recording of the murder of the Red Skull’s family to distract him. While the Red Skull is lost in thought, Capt. America uses his shield to send the Red Skull off a cliff before the bomb can be set off. As the Red Skull’s daughter prepares to kill Captain America, she is then decapitated from behind by his returning shield.

The United States Marines show up to save the President and arrest the Americans involved in the kidnapping. The credits roll with a comic book image of Captain America in the background and a plea to support the United States Environmental Protection Act of 1990.


This is another of those films that I watched more because of my love of the character, and against my better judgement. Having said that, though, this wasn’t as utterly horrible as I expected, but it also wasn’t worth the paper the script was written on.

Filmed on a low-budget, Captain America was supposed to be the film to usher in superhero films. Unfortunately it failed, and failed big, partly because the audience and word wasn’t ready for the genre and second…this just isn’t that great of a film.

The good…for the most part, they do a good job of telling the origin of Captain America. Even though the uniform looks about as rubber as Batman’s suit from the movies, it still is brilliantly red, white, and blue. Cap’s iconic shield is present. Choosing Red Skull as the villain was really a no brainer, so they did a good job there. Action, what little there is, is pretty good.

The bad…I don’t care for any of the cast, especially Matt Salinger and Scott Paulin, who play Captain America and Red Skull, respectively. They just didn’t work for me, or sell their characters as well as they could/should have. A problem I had with Superman’s films is present here, too. There isn’t enough action for this to be a superhero film. It is way too much driving around and whatnot, but for me, if I’m watching an action/adventure flick, I expect to see some action. There also should have been more detail on the serum and stuff instead of just grab Steve out of California, inject him, and bam, he’s a supersoldier. The whole thing just happened to jump around way too much and lacked any kind of continuity.

Let’s no beat around the bush. The only reason anyone should even think about wasting their time on this is if you’re a fan of Captain America, but if you are a fan, chances are you’ll be offended by this, so you should stay away, too. There is a reason this hasn’t been released on DVD, too. They wouldn’t make any money! Look, if you want to see a Captain America flick, wait until July 2011 when The First Avenger: Captain America is released. No matter how bad or good it is, there is no possible way it can rival the level of suckage that this thing was. Having said all that, though, this wasn’t as terribly atrocious as I thought it would be. No, it’s not worth viewing, but if you’re looking for something late at night to pass the time (and make fun of), Captain America is for you.

2 out of 5 stars