Archive for October, 2010

Airplane!

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Ex-fighter pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) became traumatized after an incident during the “war”, leading to his fear of flying and his “drinking problem” (implying alcoholism, but specifically the “problem” refers to the fact that he misses his mouth every time). Recovering his courage, Striker attempts to regain the love of his life from the war, Elaine Dickinson (Julie Hagerty), now a stewardess. In order to win her love, Striker overcomes his fear and buys a ticket on a flight she is serving on, from Los Angeles to Chicago. However, during the flight, Elaine rebuffs his attempts.

After dinner is served, many of the passengers fall ill, and fellow passenger Dr. Rumack (Leslie Nielsen) quickly realizes that one of the meal options, which was fish, gave the passengers food poisoning. The stewards discover that the pilot crew, including pilot Clarence Oveur (Peter Graves) and co-pilot Roger Murdock (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), have all come down with food poisoning, leaving no one aboard to fly the plane. Elaine informs the passengers that everything is fine. She then asks everyone on the plane if anyone knows how to fly a plane. Elaine then contacts the Chicago control tower for help, and is instructed by tower supervisor Steve McCroskey (Lloyd Bridges) to activate the plane’s autopilot, a large blow-up doll named “Otto”, which will get them to Chicago but will not be able to land the plane. Elaine realizes that Striker, being the only pilot on board who has not succumbed to food poisoning, is their only chance, and he is convinced to fly the plane, though he still feels his trauma will prevent him from safely landing it.

McCroskey knows that he must get someone else to help take the plane down and calls Rex Kramer (Robert Stack). Striker and Kramer served together in the war and must overcome their negative history. As the plane nears Chicago, Striker becomes increasingly stressed and can only land the plane after a pep talk from Dr. Rumack. With Kramer’s endless stream of advice, Striker is able to overcome his fears and safely land the plane with only minor injuries to some passengers, and damage to the landing gear. Striker’s courage rekindles Elaine’s love for him, and the two share a kiss while Otto takes off in the evacuated plane after inflating a female companion.

REVIEW:

 For quite some time, I’ve been meaning to watch this classic film, and arguably the greatest spoof/satire picture not to be made by Mel Brooks. Finally, I got around to it this weekend, and boy was it worth the wait!

Airplane! takes aim at all those disaster movies that were so prevalent in the late 70s (this film was released in 1980). Some people don’t care for the humor, but I happen to love it. This type of toungue-in-cheek humor is perfect. Granted, some of the jokes  didn’t get, since I was still a baby at the time this film was released, but that didn’t make them any less hilarious.

The plot…if you can call it that…is qite entertaining, especially the way it unfolds. Even with the hilarious jokes and whatnot, one is still on their edge of their seat wondering what is going to happen to the plane and all the passengers.

The casting is genius. At the time, Leslie Nielsen was still a serious actor, so getting him to be in the farce was coup de gras, for sure. As was roping in Robert Stack, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges, and NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

Airplane! is hands down one of the funniest films I’ve seen in quite some time. I was literally on the ground, rolling around laughing. I highly recommend this to everyone. We all need a laugh, right?

5 out of 5 stars

Fright Night

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Charley Brewster is a huge fan of horror films until he discovers that his new next door neighbor Jerry is a blood sucking vampire. Upon discovering this new fact,Charley tries and turns every which way he can for help. Including telling his mom, asking his friends for their help, calling the police and turning to vampire-hunting hero, actor Peter Vincent. All of them turn him down until Peter Vincent discovers that Charley’s cries for help were real and now Jerry is becoming aware of the fact that Charley knows what he truly is. His girlfriend Amy hires the money-desperate Peter Vincent to “prove” Jerry is not a vampire by having him ingest holy water (really tap water.) Charley, Amy and Peter arrive at Jerry’s house with their friend, “Evil” Edward. The plan works perfectly, but fails to convince Charley. In fact, Peter Vincent accidentally discovers Jerry’s true nature after noting his lack of a reflection in his pocket mirror. With this new information, Peter flees – but Jerry already learns of Peter’s discovery after finding a piece of his pocket mirror on the floor. He hunts down and converts Edward into a vampire, who unsuccessfully tries to attack Peter. Jerry then enchants and spirits away Amy – who bears a resemblance to Jerry’s lost love. With nowhere left to turn, Charley goes to Peter Vincent a second time. Peter initially refuses but then reluctantly brandishes his “Vampire Killer” role as Charley approaches his neighbor’s house. Despite a rough start, the two are able to repel Jerry’s attack using a cross – though only Charley’s work, since he – unlike burned-out Peter Vincent – has faith. Peter seemingly kills Edward after leaving him with a stake in the heart, while Charley finds Amy already in the throes of a vampire transformation. Peter is sure the process can be reversed – but only if they kill Jerry before dawn. The two kill Jerry’s carpenter – revealed to be a Frankenstein’s Monster-like creature complete with green blood and sand. Brandishing a cross without faith a second time, Peter is able to lure an overconfident Jerry in front of a window – just before the morning sun lights him ablaze. Jerry flees to his coffin in the basement, while Amy completes her transformation and attacks Charley. By breaking the windows in the basement, however, Peter and Charley are able to kill Jerry once and for all in a monstrous explosion. Amy returns to normal, and later that night, Amy and Charley finally make love. Peter Vincent comes on the TV and announces a break from vampires, instead selecting an alien slasher movie. Charley takes one wary eye out his window before returning to Amy. The last shot shows two red eyes in the darkness, followed by Evil Ed laughing sarcastically “Oh, Brewster, you’re so cool!”

REVIEW:

 I remember being in elementary school, going to a friend’s house one weekend and watching this film. Back then, the gross out effects that occur at the film’s end did scare me a bit. However, years later, now that I’m in my adult years, it didn’t phase me one bit, but I do have a nostalgic yearning for this film. Maybe it’ll become a Halloween tradition for me, along with The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

The plot here is your typical vampire moves in next door, so the nerdy next door kid gets all paranoid. This puts his friends and family in danger. If only he would have left well-enough alone. Some people never learn, do they?

While I didn’t care for the story, it did have its moments. However, it seems as if this has all been done before. I was just hoping for more.

I applaud their choice to not have the vampire, Jerry (what kind of name for a vampire, is that?), use all his forms…bat, mist, wolf…although, I didn’t quite get what was up with the ridged Klingon face. Now that I think about it, I remember the vampires on Angel and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer having that same look, so maybe this is where they got it from?

The effects are great for a film of this era. The green slime is very reminiscent of the good old days of Nickelodeon.

The cast is nothing special, but if there is one that stood out, it has to be Jonathan Stark as the mysterious henchman/carpenter. The whole film, we wonder what this guy is, since he’s obviously not a vampire, based on his ability to be out during the day. I read somewhere that he was supposed to be some sort of Frankenstein-type monster, but I still wonder.

Steven Geoffreys’ character, “Evil” Ed wasn’t bad, but that voice got on my nerves.

Amanda Bearse was almost hot here…a far cry from her Married…with Children days.

Fright Night is a nice bit of nostalgia. It really is a shame they’re bastardizing it by doing a remake. On this Halloween, though, I figured it would be the perfect time to revisit an old memory, and it did not disappoint. No, it isn’t a great film, but it is a fun flick to watch. Why not check it out sometime?

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Shutter Island

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In 1954, U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his newly assigned partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), go to the Ashecliff Hospital for the criminally insane on Shutter Island located in Boston Harbor. They are investigating the disappearance of Rachel Solando, a patient who apparently vanished from a locked room. Dr. John Cawley (Ben Kingsley), the head psychiatrist, explains that Rachel was institutionalized after drowning her three children.

During the search for Rachel, Teddy sees a lighthouse but is told it has already been searched. He asks to see the hospital personnel files; Cawley refuses, but allows the Marshals to question the staff. They are frustrated to learn that Rachel’s psychiatrist, Dr. Sheehan, left on vacation after her disappearance. That night, Teddy has a strange dream in which he sees his wife Dolores Chanal (Michelle Williams), who was killed in a fire two years earlier. She tells Teddy that Rachel is still on the island, as is Andrew Laeddis, the arsonist responsible for her own death.

In the morning, they interview patients from Rachel’s group therapy sessions, one of whom distracts Chuck and warns Teddy to run. Later, Teddy reveals to Chuck his ulterior motive for taking the investigation. Andrew Laeddis was sent to Ashecliff for his crime and then disappeared, motivating Teddy to investigate the institution. He met a former patient, George Noyce, who claimed that Ashecliff experimented on patients. Teddy is determined to bring the institution down.

Cawley informs Teddy that Rachel has been found and presents her to him. The delusional Rachel (Emily Mortimer) mistakes Teddy for her husband who died in World War II, and then becomes very agitated. Later, Teddy develops increasingly severe migraine headaches accompanied by hypersensitivity to light. In his sleep he has more strange dreams, followed by waking hallucinations. He is now determined to search for Laeddis in Ward C, which houses the most dangerous patients. There he finds Noyce (Jackie Earle Haley) who is afraid of being taken to the lighthouse, where lobotomies are performed, and tells Teddy that the entire investigation is a game constructed for him.

Teddy rejoins Chuck and they head to the cliffs surrounding the island, intending to reach the lighthouse. Eventually, Chuck suggests that continuing is too dangerous and Teddy goes to the lighthouse alone. He is unable to reach it, and when he returns, Chuck has disappeared. Looking for him at the foot of the cliff, Teddy finds a woman hiding in a cave who confirms his suspicions by revealing that she is the real Rachel Solando (Patricia Clarkson). She says that she was a psychiatrist at Ashecliff until she found out about the experiments. She was forcibly committed to ensure her silence. She explains that the hospital is using psychotropic medication in an attempt to develop mind control techniques and create “sleeper agent” spies. She says that Teddy has been similarly drugged since he arrived on the island.

Teddy returns to Ashecliff, where Dr. Cawley tells him that he came to the island without a partner – nobody seems to know Chuck. Teddy eventually makes it to the lighthouse but finds nothing unusual on his way up the stairs, contrary to what he expected. At the top of the lighthouse, he finds Dr. Cawley who reveals that Teddy is not Edward Daniels, but ex-Marshal Andrew Laeddis. Cawley says that he has been a patient at Ashecliff for two years since he murdered his manic depressive wife in a fit of rage after discovering she had drowned their children. Cawley explains that Rachel Solando never existed, neither as patient nor psychiatrist. “Chuck” then arrives and reveals himself as Dr. Sheehan, Andrew’s psychiatrist; the woman who was presented as Solando the patient turns out to be a nurse. Sheehan and Cawley state that Andrew lived the fantasy of still being an active U.S. Marshal, searching for Andrew Laeddis as a means to disassociate himself from what he had done. They show him that the names “Edward Daniels” and “Rachel Solando” are anagrams of “Andrew Laeddis” and “Dolores Chanal”, respectively.

Cawley explains that Andrew has gone through repeated cycles of realizing the truth, only to regress into his fantasy again, during which he has injured multiple orderlies and patients, leading the administrative board to demand a lobotomy as a permanent solution to his problem. Sheehan and Cawley explain that they decided to try an experimental therapy, in which they created the role play of “Rachel’s” disappearance based on Andrew’s fantasy. They say they hoped that by failing to uncover his mind-control conspiracy, Andrew would see reality and return to it permanently. Andrew appears to accept Sheehan’s and Cawley’s explanations, blaming himself for ignoring Dolores’ mental illness until she killed their children. Experiencing yet another migraine, which causes a flashback of the traumatic event of his wife’s and children’s death, Andrew faints.

The next morning, Andrew once again calls Sheehan “Chuck” and mentions exposing the Island’s doings to the outside world. Sheehan silently signals to Cawley, and orderlies approach to take Andrew to the lighthouse. Andrew asks Sheehan whether it is better to “live as a monster, or die as a good man”. He then walks off calmly with the orderlies.

REVIEW:

 First, let me say that I was nodding on and off during this picture, so my opinion of it may be a bit skewered by the fact that I missed part of it. Still, it wasn’t bad from what I saw.

Shutter Island is based on the novel of the same name. It tells the story of a couple of U.S. Marshalls investigating the escape of a dangerous patient/criminal at a mental institution in 1954…or does it?

There are many twists and turns in this film that you really do have to watch it more than once, (even if you aren’t dead tired from a long day that started at 4 am). Martin Scorsese rivals M. Night Shamylan here with the sudden suprise twist that he pulls. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but it does take the audience by surprise, that’s for sure.

The cast is great. DiCaprio has come a long way as an actor since those days on Growing Pains and Michelle Williams is doing all she can to make people forget her Dawson’s Creek background.

While I didn’t really get to watch the entire film that way I would have liked, the parts I did see were pretty impressive. I look forward to the chance I get to watch this again and get the full understanding of what really went on. Based on the parts I was awake for, do I recommend this film? Yes, especially if you’re into these psychological thrillers. You’ll be very satisfied.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Blacula

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In 1780, Prince Mamuwalde (William Marshall), the ruler of an African nation, seeks the help of Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) in suppressing the slave trade. Dracula, who along with his other evils is revealed as a racist, not only refuses to help but also transforms Mamuwalde into a vampire (denigrating him with the name “Blacula” into the bargain) and imprisons him in a sealed coffin to suffer the un-ending thirst of the damned. Mamuwalde’s wife, Luva (Vonetta McGee), is also imprisoned but, not being a vampire, dies in captivity.

Almost two centuries later, in 1972, the coffin has been purchased as part of an estate by two gay interior decorators, Bobby McCoy (Ted Harris) and Billy Schaffer (Rick Metzler), and shipped to Los Angeles. Bobby and Billy open the coffin and become the vampire’s first victims. Blacula then travels around the city and soon encounters Tina (also McGee), who appears to be a reincarnation of his deceased wife, and begins stalking her. This brings the vampire to the attention of Dr. Gordon Thomas (Thalmus Rasulala), who is helping Lt. Peters (Gordon Pinsent) with the investigation of the series of strange murders that is occurring, and whose girlfriend, Michelle (Denise Nicholas), is Tina’s sister (by an unlikely coincidence Tina and Michelle are also friends of Bobby, one of the murdered gay men).

The film continues as the vampire kills several more victims and hypnotizes Tina into falling in love with him. Meanwhile, Thomas, Peters, and Michelle are following the trail of victims and come to realize that a vampire is responsible and Mamuwalde is their culprit. In the final scenes, the police shoot at Blacula and Tina; he is unharmed but she is mortally wounded. He saves her by turning her into a vampire, but Thomas, Peters, and Michelle find Tina and kill her with a stake through her heart. Distraught, Mamuwalde climbs up a staircase and onto a rooftop, into the sun to kill himself. Blacula melts in the light, and maggots suck his bones, and eat his flesh.

REVIEW:

 Blacula is one of the vampire films I have been patiently awaiting to see for many years now. Finally, thanks to Netflix instant play, I was able to watch it. Trust me, it was well worth the wait.

I’ve heard some people who have never seen this film think that it basically a retelling of all the other Dracula films, just with an African-American cast. Admittedly, I thought so too, but turns out that Dracula turned an African prince into a vampire, though I don’t remember seeing him bite him.

This has to be the fastest moving vampire film I’ve seen in a long time. Blacula is freed from his coffin and strikes fast. At the same time he is creating the proverbial reign of terror, he is a smooth “brother” getting his mack on with a woman who looks like his lost love.

As with most films of this nature, there has to be some goody goody cop who takes it on himself to save the city, even if it cost someone close to him, their happiness, and in this case, her life. I can’t tell you how annoyed I am with these kind of characters, but apparently they existed even back in the 70s, so chances are they’ll still be around for quite some time.

If you’ve ever seen any blaxploitation flick, then you know that one of the highlights of these film is the funky music. Sadly, Blacula only has that in the opening credits, and a brief appearance by the Hues Corporation, but that is enough to make it truly funky.

Blacula is played by William Marshall. Most people will recognize him as the King of Cartoons from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Once you get past the realization of who he is, he does a masterful job with this character, although I do wish he wold have made him a bit more separated from Dracula. What I mean by that is that he seemed to be playing his version of Dracula, rather than making Blacula an entity into himself. At least that’s how I saw it.

When all the dust settles, Blacula is really an enjoyable film. I’m sure some out there are going to say it is cheesy and that there wasn’t enough gore…blah, blah, blah! Whatever! What works for some vampire films, doesn’t work for others. At least he isn’t walking around with glitter on his chest in the sunlight like those wannabe vampires in the Twilight franchise. I highly recommend this film to everyone. It is a good watch, and a nice warm-up to the heavier, scary stuff you’ll probably be watching in a few days for Halloween.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

River of No Return

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Set in the Northwestern United States in 1875, the film focuses on taciturn widower Matt Calder (Mitchum), who recently has been released from prison after serving time for killing a man while defending another one. He arrives in a tent city in search of his ten-year-old son Mark (Tommy Rettig), who was left in the care of dance hall singer Kay (Monroe) during his absence. Matt promises Mark, a virtual stranger to him, the two will enjoy a life of hunting, fishing and farming on their homestead.

Kay’s fiancé, gambler Harry Weston (Rory Calhoun), tells her they must go to Council City to file the deed on a gold mine he won in a poker game. They head downriver on their flimsy log raft, and when they encounter trouble in the rapids near the Calder farm, Matt and Mark rescue them. Harry offers to buy Matt’s rifle and horse so that reach Council City by land, and when Matt refuses, Harry steals both, leaving Kay, Matt, and Mark stranded in the wilderness.

When hostile Indians threaten the farm, the three are forced to escape down the river on Harry’s raft. That night they set up camp by the river, and Matt and Kay argue about the wisdom of pursuing Harry. Matt questions why she would choose to marry a man who had endangered a child, and she reminds him Harry never killed a man like he did. Mark overhears their discussion, and Matt is forced to reveal the truth about his past to his son, who is unable to comprehend why his father acted as he did.

As the three continue their journey, Kay comes to appreciate Matt’s bravery and the tender way he cares for both her and Mark. As time passes, they are forced to deal with a series of trials and tribulations, including a mountain lion attack; prospectors Sam Benson and Dave Colby, who are pursing Harry for stealing their gold claim; and another group of Indians.

After a difficult ride through the worst of the rapids, the three arrive in Council City and confront Harry. Harry shoots at Matt, forcing Mark to kill Harry with a rifle he is inspecting in the general store, and the boy finally understands why his father shot a man so many years before. Kay heads to the local saloon, and while she is singing there, Matt arrives to take her back to his farm with Mark.

REVIEW:

 I’ve read some reviews of River of No Return, most of which can’t decide which scenery is better…the wonderous nature, or Marilyn Monroe! To be honest, I had trouble focusing, myself.

This is a film about a man who has recently returned from prison, sent for his son, and wants to settle down on his farm and live a quiet life. Unfortunately for him, he saves Monroe and her shifty husband from being swept down the river. To make matters worse, the husband “borrows” his gun and horse (two things one would need living in those days, especially with the Indians just waiting to pounce when given the chance). So, the man, his son, and Monroe take off down the dangerous river after him.

A pretty nice story drives this film along, make no mistake about that, but it is Marilyn Monroe that keep audiences interested. First off, she’s in tight jeans, that show off her ample posterior (especially when wet). Most of the film, she is in some sort of white shirt. Do I really need to say how much of a distraction that can be when mixed with water?

All this aside, though, one has to be impressed with Monroe’s performance. She doesn’t play a total ditz here. She is just a normal, compassionate woman, who happens to be blonde. It is on record that she thinks this is her worst film. As I haven’t seen all of her films, I can’t fully comment on that, but judging the ones I have seen, I have to respectfully disagree.

Robert Mitchum plays a hardened, rugged anti-hero type. This seems to be the kind of role he was meant to play, as it fits him like a glove. Not quite sure what got into him when all but raped Marilyn out there in the woods, though. The compassion and love he shows for his son in unmatched, though…even if he always calls him “the boy”.

There is a little bit of action here and there, but this more of a drama when all is said and done. I wold have liked for there to have been more of the Indians than the 2 1/2 scenes they had, but that’s just me.

While our trio is headed down the river, though, is quite action-packed, complete with fainting, people falling off the raft, Indian attacks and your basic death-defying peril that usually accompanies such a trek.

River of No Return may not be Marilyn’s best work, but it worth watching if for nothing else than the scenery and a decent plot. I highly recommend it to all of you that love Marilyn and classic cinema. You won’t come away disappointed!

4 out of 5 stars

Vampire Killers

Posted in Comedy, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 27, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

After Jimmy (Matthew Horne) is dumped by his girlfriend and Fletch (James Corden) is fired from his job as a clown, they decide to escape their woes and hike to a remote village they find on an old map. As they arrive at a pub in the village, with Jimmy upset about Fletch destroying his phone, they see a number of attractive foreign female history students leaving. Hoping to find more beautiful women inside, they are greeted by a morose crowd of men and approached by a seemingly crazed vicar (Paul McGann) who believes Jimmy is a long lost descendant of a local vampire slayer. As the barman offers the two men free ale as an apology for the vicar, they learn the students they saw earlier are going to a cottage – where they are to stay the night. Jimmy and Fletch pursue the students’ bus, catching up to it as the engine has broken down, and are introduced to four girls (Heidi, Lotte, Anke and Trudi). They are invited to join a party on the bus.

The group arrives at their destination, only to learn that a curse rests over the village and that every female child turns into a lesbian vampire on her eighteenth birthday. There is an old legend stating that the Vampire Queen, Carmilla, descended on the village, killed its menfolk and seduced its women to her evil. When the ruler of the land, Baron Wolfgang Mclaren (Jimmy’s great ancestor) returned from the Crusades, he discovered one of the women corrupted by Carmilla was his wife, Eva. The baron forged a sacred sword, then defeated Carmilla, but before dying Carmilla cursed the village, adding that when the blood of the last of Mclaren’s bloodline mixed with a virgin girl’s blood, Carmilla would be resurrected.

Fletch and Jimmy spend the night with the women. Heidi, Anke and Trudi are turned into vampires. After Lotte insists that the others try to find her missing friends, they witness Trudi being turned. Eva, Carmilla’s mistress, tries to draw Lotte to her growing clan of lesbian vampires. The trio runs back into the cottage after killing Heidi and Anke, and barricade themselves in after the vampires destroy the bus. Judi arrives at the door and Jimmy, not ready to give up on the relationship, takes her into the bedroom. Lotte reveals to Fletch that she is a virgin and wants to sleep with Jimmy.

At the church, the Vicar researches the vampire slayer who killed Carmilla, before arming himself and setting off to find Jimmy. Judi reveals herself to be a vampire, and after a struggle Fletch and Jimmy kill her. The vampires approach the cottage and Jimmy inadvertently invites them in. Eva discovers that Jimmy is the descendant of the baron who killed Carmilla and that Lotte is a virgin and kidnaps them.

The Vicar saves Fletch from Trudi and tells Fletch the truth about the village and Jimmy’s identity. They go after Jimmy and Lotte in the Vicar’s crucifix-covered car. As the vampires prepare to sacrifice Lotte and Jimmy, Fletch and the Vicar try to recover the sword of Daeldo, the sword that killed Carmilla, from the baron’s tomb. While Fletch works to open the tomb, the Vicar checks on his daughter Rebecca, but does not notice that she has been turned. Rebecca attempts to seduce Fletch, who does not know what she is. When she attacks him, she is inadvertently impaled on the sword. Fletch decides not to tell the Vicar of his daughter’s death.

At Carmilla’s tomb, Lotte reveals her love for Jimmy. The vampires begin draining the two of their blood to resurrect Carmilla. With the sword, Fletch and the Vicar drive to Carmilla’s tomb. When they enter the woods they bring various weapons, but forget the sword. Despite not having the sword, the pair reach Jimmy and Lotte. The Vicar releases them, but not before enough blood gathers to resurrect Carmilla. He sacrifices himself so the others can get back to the car and the sword. Eva separates Lotte from the men, attacking and seducing her. Lotte fights back while Fletch and Jimmy fetch weapons. Lotte kills Eva with her cross necklace, infuriating Carmilla. Fletch tries to kill Carmilla before Lotte is turned, but is captured himself. Jimmy saves them by hurling the sword at Carmilla, piercing her heart and destroying her for good. With the curse lifted, the three survivors decide to continue ridding the world of evil.

The film ends with the shot of a “Gay Werewolf” howling before the full moon, suggesting a sequel.

REVIEW:

 Ok…let’s get one thing out of the way…how can a film with the original (British) title Lesbian Vampire Killers be such a dud in the T & A department.

I mean, I wasn’t expecting this thing to turn out to be some sort of soft core porn or anything, but I was at least expecting some kind of lesbionic something or other, and didn’t get it.

I don’t understand how this thing was rated R when there isn’t really anything bad. Sure, there is some language, bt that’s about it. They said there was nudity, but I didn’t see it, except for maybe 1 scene, and that wasn’t enough to garner an R, in my opinion.

That wasn’t the only problem I had with this flick. When the vampires were killed, stabbed, or what-have-you, they had this white goop instead of regular blood. I’m sure there is some reason for this, but I didn’t get it. In the back of my mind, I was thinking this was some kind of…shall we say, male fluids…that they were filled with.

As bad as this film is, and trust me on the fact that it is bad, there are some good things. For instance, the opening segment and initial plot are awesome. It is a shame that they dropped the ball afterwards, casing this crash and burn.

The women are quite hot, even if the closest they came to lesbianism on-screen were some kissing and petting.

The comedy aspect of this flick wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t as funny as it could/should have been.

So, what do I ultimately think about Vampire Killers? Well, I would say that this thing isn’t worth your time. The story about Carmilla, the vampire queen is better told in many other films, and if you just want to see lesbian vampires, I’m sure there are plenty of porns that use that as their “plot”, not to mention that in most vampire films, Dracula’s wives seem to have lesbian tendencies. My final verdict is this is better than other vampire spoof-type films such as Transylmania, but you’d do best to avoid this film if you can.

2 out of 5 stars

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , on October 27, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Police Detective Shindo (Yosuke Natsuki) is assigned to guard Princess Selina Salno of Selgina (Akiko Wakabayashi) during the Princess’ visit to Japan, due to a suspected assassination plot. Although Shindo is smitten with Selina’s photograph, her plane never makes it to Japan, as it is destroyed by a bomb en route. At exactly the same time a meteorite shower draws the attention of Professor Murai (Hiroshi Koizumi), who along with his team of scientists strikes out into the wilderness to examine the largest of the meteors, which has strange magnetic properties.

To Shindo’s surprise, the supposedly deceased Selina turns up in Japan, without her royal garb (including the golden bracelet which proves she is heir to the throne of Selgina), claiming to be from the planet Mars, and preaching to skeptical crowds of forthcoming disaster. To their surprise however, her prophecies begin coming true. First she predicts Rodan, thought dead in the eruption of Mt. Aso, will emerge from Aso’s crater. Subsequently, none other than Godzilla will arise from the sea and destroy a ship. Both of these events transpire.

In the meantime, Selina’s uncle (Shin Otomo), who was behind the assassination attempt, learns of her survival and sends his best assassin Malness (Hisaya Ito) to Japan to dispatch the Princess and steal the golden bracelet. Malness and his henchmen are stopped by Shindo, who was warned of their attempt by the Shobijin (Emi and Yumi Ito), who were in Japan appearing on a television show. The Shobijin had been scheduled to return to Infant Island aboard the ship sunk by Godzilla, but opted not to go after overhearing Selina’s prophecy. A further attempt by the assassins is thwarted when both Godzilla and Rodan attack the city and engage in battle, forcing everyone to flee.

Convinced that Selina is insane, Shindo takes the Princess to see a renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Tsukamoto (Takashi Shimura), in the hopes of curing her. However Tsukamoto can find nothing wrong with her, mentally or physically. He concludes she must therefore truly be possessed by a Venusian as she claims. As if emboldened by the doctor’s diagnosis, Selina reveals her final prophecy—that Venus’ once thriving civilization was destroyed by an evil, golden three-headed dragon named King Ghidorah, and furthermore that Ghidorah himself has already arrived on Earth. No sooner has she revealed this than Professor Murai and his colleagues at the meteor crash site receive a nasty surprise—the “meteor” is actually an egg, which hatches into the fearsome King Ghidorah. Ghidorah begins razing the countryside.

To combat the combined threats of the three monsters, the Japanese government enlists the aide of the Shobijin to summon Mothra. Upon arriving on the Japanese mainland, Mothra attempts to persuade the quarreling Godzilla and Rodan to team up against the evil alien (which is translated to the humans by the shobijin) but both refuse, with Godzilla stating they have no reason to save mankind as both he and Rodan “have always had trouble with men and men hate them” which Rodan agrees to. Despite Mothra stating that Earth belongs to them as well and that it is their duty to defend it, Godzilla and Rodan still refuse (with Godzilla apparently swearing at Mothra) and the pair refuse to forgive each other, wanting to continue their fight. Unable to convince them and despite being vastly overpowered, Mothra calls the pair of them “bullheaded” and resolves to fight Ghidorah by herself. Mothra engages Ghidorah and is continually blasted by his gravity beams. Luckily for Mothra, Godzilla and Rodan; impressed by her courage and selflessness; arrive to help and a titanic battle against Ghidorah begins. Meanwhile, Shindo and Dr. Tsukamoto are forced to protect Princess Selina as Malmess and his men converge on Tsukamoto’s clinic; they fend the killers off and escape into the mountains as the dueling monsters draw closer, so they can watch the battle from a safe distance.

The assassins attempt to follow, but a stray blast from Ghidorah buries their car in an avalanche. Only Malness remains uninjured enough to continue. He attempts to snipe the Princess from an elevated position, but only injures her. In her pain she regains her memory and is no longer possessed by the Venusian. Before Malness can take another shot, another stray blast from Ghidorah buries the assassin under a second avalanche. With the heroes thus saved from the human menace, they gather at a safe distance to watch the battle between earth’s monsters and Ghidorah. After not gaining a clear advantage over Ghidorah, the three monsters co-ordinate their attack; Godzilla grabs hold of Ghidorah’s tails while Mothra (riding on Rodan’s back) sprays the three headed dragon with her silk. Finally Godzilla throws the alien beast off the cliff and the battered dragon flies off, back into outer space.

As Mothra and the Shobijin return to Infant Island while Godzilla and Rodan go their separate ways. Selina, having retained the memories of her time with Shindo, bids farewell to her guardian as she meets her bodyguards at the airport to return home.

REVIEW:

 This film introduces us to Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. Ghidorah will go on to challenge Godzilla on many occasion, with new powers each time. With the help of Rodan and Mothra, we are privy to an epic monster battle that really makes this film.

As with any entry into the Godzilla franchise, the film moves along at a snail-like pace, with more unnecessary human plot that, no matter how much they want to deny it, no one cares about it. Seriously, if you’re going to watch a film like this or say, Transformers, are you really concerned about the humans, or would you just rather hurry and get to that which the film is named for (and you paid your money to see)?

Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster is the next entry in the Godzilla franchise, following Godzilla vs. Mothra. I can say that this film offers more action, it still is too bogged down with useless human stuff. These films would be awesome, if not for the humans. They are only good for getting squashed, if you ask me.

The special effects are on par with the norm for this era. Godzilla and Rodan still seem like they are guys in sits, especially in the scene where they are “talking”. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, Rodan reminded me of those old Chuck E. Cheese animatronics( that they don’t have anymore.)

Other than some minor issues, this is one of the best entries into this franchise. I look forward to watching it again, as well as seeing the sequels, and suggest you do the same.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Posted in Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In 1462, Vlad Dracula (Gary Oldman), a member of the Order of the Dragon, returns from a victory against the Turks to find his wife Elisabeta (Winona Ryder) had committed suicide after hearing false reports of his death. Enraged at the notion of his wife being eternally damned as a suicide, Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness.

In 1897, law clerk Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) takes the Transylvanian Count Dracula over as a client from his colleague R.M. Renfield (Tom Waits), who has gone insane. Jonathan travels to Transylvania to arrange the formalities of Dracula’s real estate acquisition in London, including Carfax Abbey. Jonathan meets Dracula, a wrinkled, pale old man (Oldman) inhabiting a bizarre castle. During the signing of the papers, the Count discovers a picture of Harker’s fiancée, Mina (Ryder), and is astonished to find that she is the reincarnation of Elisabeta. Dracula leaves Jonathan to be seduced by his brides (Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu, and Florina Kendrick) and sails to England with boxes of his native soil, taking up residence at Carfax Abbey. His arrival is foretold by the ravings of Renfield, now an inmate in Dr. Jack Seward’s (Richard E. Grant) neighboring lunatic asylum.

In London, Dracula emerges as a werewolf-like creature amid a fierce thunderstorm and hypnotically seduces, then rapes and bites, Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost), with whom Mina is staying while Jonathan is in Transylvania. Lucy’s deteriorating health and behavioral changes prompts Lucy’s former love-interests Quincey Morris (Billy Campbell) and Dr. Seward, along with her fiancée, Arthur Holmwood (Cary Elwes), to summon Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins), who during a blood transfusion recognizes Lucy as the victim of a vampire. Dracula, now young and handsome, meets and charms Mina. However, when Mina gets word from Jonathan, who has escaped the castle and recovered at a convent, she travels to Hungary to marry him. In his heartbroken fury, Dracula transforms Lucy into a vampire. Van Helsing, Holmwood, Seward, and Morris kill Lucy to stop her undead suffering, and save her from eternal damnation.

As Jonathan and Mina return to London, Jonathan and Van Helsing lead the others to Carfax Abbey, where they destroy the Count’s boxes of soil. Dracula enters the asylum, where he kills Renfield for warning Mina of his presence, and visits Mina, who is staying in Seward’s quarters while the others hunt Dracula. Dracula confesses that he murdered Lucy and has been terrorizing Mina’s friends, but a confused and angry Mina admits that she still loves him and now remembers her old life as Elisabeta. At her insistence, Dracula begins to transform her into a vampire. The vampire hunters burst into the bedroom, with Dracula claiming Mina as his bride before escaping by changing into thousands of rats. As Mina begins changing the same way Lucy had, Van Helsing hypnotizes her and learns via her connection with Dracula that he is sailing home in his last remaining box. The Hunters depart for the port of Varna to intercept him, but Dracula reads Mina’s mind and evades them. The Hunters split up, with Van Helsing and Mina traveling to the Borgo Pass and the Castle, while the others try to stop the Gypsies transporting the Count.

At night, Van Helsing and Mina are approached by Dracula’s brides. They frighten Mina at first, but she gives into their chanting and attempts to seduce Van Helsing. Before Mina can feed on his blood he places a communion wafer upon her forehead, leaving a mark. He proceeds to surround them with a ring of fire to protect them from the brides. In the morning, he infiltrates the castle and decapitates them. As sunset approaches, Dracula’s carriage appears on the horizon, pursued by the hunters, and arrives at the castle. A fight between the hunters and gypsies ensues and at sunset Dracula bursts from his coffin. Harker slits his throat while a wounded Morris stabs him in the heart. As Dracula staggers, Mina rushes to his defense. Holmwood tries to attack but Van Helsing and Harker allow her to retreat with the Count, turning instead to Morris, who dies surrounded by his friends.

In the same chapel where he renounced God centuries earlier, Dracula lies dying, now in an ancient demonic form. He asks Mina to give him peace, by stabbing the sword through his heart. They share a final kiss, as the candles adorning the chapel miraculously light in God’s presence, and the hole in the cross heals itself. Mina shoves the knife through his heart. The mark on her forehead disappears as Dracula’s curse is lifted, as well as Elisabeta’s soul. She then decapitates him and gazes up at the fresco of Vlad and Elisabeta ascending to Heaven together. Mina is then finally free.

REVIEW:

 Previous film incarnations of the vampire have all been loosely rooted in Bram Stoker’s novel, but Bram Stoker’s Dracula is taken straight from the pages.

With all the vampire stuff that is flying around out there today, not to mention the fact that Halloween is next week, it seemed like the perfect time to watch this film. Not to mention the fact that I had the chance to watch the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula yesterday.

I could compare the two films until the cows come home, but what point would that serve? They are like peaches and apricots. There are similarities, bt ultimately, they are different.

The plot here goes a bit more into the history of Dracula, such as how he renounced God and started drinking blood. Also, they mention that it is only a myth that he couldn’t go out during the day, though they are weak during the day.

We all know about vampires turning into bats and exuding all types of sexual charisma, but have you ever heard about them turning into a wolf or smoke? That is something else that is mentioned in this version that the other’s leave out.

The plot here moves along at a fairly brisk pace, but there is a bit of disconnect when it comes to Keanu Reeves’ character, Jonathan Harker. After he escapes from the castle, he is suddenly gray-haired. Can you honestly tell me that the beautiful brides who were all over him made him gray? I don’t know about you, but if 3 beautiful women were crawling all over me like they were him, I’d let them do what they want.

The cast is great, but it is Gary Oldman who really sells the film. He is great as the younger version of Dracula. You can feel his pain in the beginning of the film when he is Vlad (not quite sure what was up with the way that armor was designed, though), and he outshines everyone as the old Count Dracula.

Keanu Reeves is everything you expect from him.

Winona Ryder is beautiful as ever, though she puts me in mind of Keirra Knightley in this role for some reason. I think it might be because of the way she moves her mouth or something.

Anthony Hopkins seemed to be nothing more than a narrator at first, but a little more than halfway through the film he comes in as Van Helsing and, well, he’s Anthony Hopkins, need I say more?

Look for appearances by Cary Elwes, Billy Campbell, and a young Monica Bellucci, as well.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not my choice for favorite Dracula picture, but that is because I’m such a fan of the classics sch as the aforementioned Bela Lugosi version, as well as the black and white silent film, Nosferatu. This is still a great piece of cinema. Watch it and you will definitely have a better understanding of the undead, something you won’t get from watching those crappy Twilight films. I highly recommend this to everyone, especially at this time of year!

4 out of 5 stars

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Dastan, an orphan in the Persian Empire adopted by the king, and his royal-blooded foster brothers, Tus (Richard Coyle) and Garsiv (Toby Kebbell), and his uncle, Nizam (Ben Kingsley) are planning an attack on the sacred city of Alamut, which is believed to be selling weapons to Persia’s enemies. Dastan leads a successful surprise attack on the city and after a fight he gets hold of a dagger. Alamut’s princess, Tamina, is captured and agrees to marry Tus in order to achieve peace.

Sharaman (Ronald Pickup), the king of Persia, reproaches Tus, for attacking the city and suggests that Dastan, rather than Tus, should marry Tamina. Prince Dastan unknowingly presents a poisoned robe, given to him by Tus, to his father, who dies upon donning it. Dastan is blamed for the king’s murder and flees Alamut with Princess Tamina. In their first camp, Tamina attempts to kill the prince and recover the dagger, during which Dastan finds out that the dagger can reverse time. During their journey, the duo meet a shady ostrich racing-organizer and tax-averse entrepreneur, Sheik Amar (Alfred Molina), with his knife-throwing African friend Seso (Steve Toussaint). Dastan offers Tamina up as a slave in return for supplies; however, Amar betrays him because he recognizes him as the murderer of the king, for whom there is an “obscene” reward being offered. Dastan and Tamina escape and return to Persia for King Sharaman’s funeral; here, Dastan attempts to convince his uncle Nizam that he did not kill his father. Dastan discovers that Tamina has taken the Dagger; however, he then notices Nizam’s hands are burned. Garsiv and the city guards appear and attack Dastan and he is forced to escape.

Dastan catches up with Tamina and explains that the villainous brother of the King, Nizam, was behind the murder. Once Tamina finally explains everything about the Dagger, Dastan realizes why Nizam wants the Dagger of Time: to use it with the massive Sandglass to go back in time and undo saving Sharaman from a lion so he could become king. He fabricated the false allegations that Alamut had been dealing weapons to Persia’s enemies so that he would have the opportunity to search the city for the Sandglass. However, opening the Sandglass will trigger an apocalyptic sandstorm that would end the world. Meanwhile, Nizam tries to convince Garsiv and Tus that Dastan is trying to overthrow them and should be killed immediately; when this fails, he hires the Hassansins, a group of highly skilled warriors who once served as hired killers for Persian royalty, to slay Dastan.

Dastan and Tamina are again captured by Sheik Amar and Seso, seeking to rebuild his ruined business by turning them in for the enormous bounty. But that night, when everyone is asleep, the Hassansin leader, Zolm (Gísli Örn Garðarsson) attacks the group by controlling a number of vipers. Many of the group die, but Dastan uses the Dagger and manages to kill all the snakes and save everyone. The next day, the pair, accompanied by Sheik and Seso, travel to a secret sanctuary in the mountains near India, where it is possible to seal away the Dagger. However, they run into Garsiv’s men. Dastan manages to persuade his brother that he is innocent, only for Garsiv to be fatally wounded by a Hassansin, Setam. The Hassansins attack, killing most of the group, while Dastan and Tamina sneak away to the secret cave where they can hide the Dagger. Tamina says she is ready to give up her life to protect the Dagger, but Dastan stops her and tells her that he is not ready for her to die. They share a silent and romantic moment, but they are found and attacked and Zolm manages to snatch the Dagger of Time from Tamina. However, Dastan is saved from the last Hassansin, Tamah, by Garsiv, who then dies of his wounds.

The group returns to Alamut to reveal the truth about Nizam and the Dagger to Tus. They learn that the dagger is being guarded by the Hassansin who killed Garsiv, Setam (“some sort of demon… covered in spikes” – Tamina). Seso volunteers for the task of defeating Setam and recovering the dagger. He defeats Setam in a duel but is himself mortally wounded. He manages to fling the dagger down to Dastan before he succumbs to his wounds. Dastan confronts Tus and explains the dagger’s mechanics to him and then stabs the dagger into his abdoman killing himself; Tus brings Dastan back to life by rewinding time and realizes his brother has been innocent all along. Soon after, however, Nizam arrives and kills Tus, leaving his Hassansin guard, Ghazab, to kill Dastan. The Dagger is once again in Nizam’s hands, but Dastan manages to defeat Ghazab with Tamina’s help. Nizam goes to the Sandglass caves beneath Alamut, as Dastan and Tamina take a more secret route: an underground tunnel. After a short battle with Zolm, Tamina grabs one of Zolm’s snakes and stabs its fangs into Zolm’s face, fatally wounding him and sending him plummeting to his death in a chasm, Dastan and Tamina kiss for the first time. They then reach Nizam before he can pierce the Sandglass with the Dagger, but he knocks Tamina and Dastan over the edge. Dastan grabs hold of Tamina; knowing he cannot stop Nizam and also save her, Tamina tells Dastan to let her go because it is his destiny to save them, but Dastan refuses to let her go. Tamina professes her love for Dastan, wishing they could have been together, and lets go, plummeting to her death and sacrificing herself to stop Nizam. Heartbroken, Dastan watches her fall. Driven to fight on, Dastan manages to pull himself up. Nizam stabs the Sandglass with the Dagger, but Dastan grabs hold and opens the Dagger, rather than activating it, causing the Sands of Time to flow through freely, rather than destroying the world. Time reverses to when Dastan first obtained the Dagger, now fully aware of all that has occurred.

Dastan stops the siege of Alamut, revealing Nizam’s treachery; Nizam attacks Dastan, but is killed by Tus. After apologizing for the ransacking of her city, Tus suggests that perhaps Tamina should become Dastan’s wife as a sign of good will. The Prince returns the Dagger of Time to her, which changes Tamina’s view of Dastan. Later on, the two take a walk together, and Dastan and Tamina have a small conversation, in which Dastan hints at his knowledge of the Dagger’s powers and tells Tamina that he looks forward to a future with her.

REVIEW:

 Let me get the first tidbit of information out of the way. No, I have never played the Prince of Persia series of video games, but I may try one or two after watching this picture.

Next, let me say that while this casting is pretty good. I don’t wish to take anything away from the outstanding performances these fine actors give, but I have to wonder why they didn’t go with actors that have more of that Middle Eastern descent look about them, rather than taking mainly Caucasian actors and spray tanning them. This is a problem that I will address again in the future when I review The Last Airbender.

So, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was meant to be a huge summer blockbuster, but didn’t pan out that way. I don’t understand why. It has everything going for it, except a story that works.

Yes, my biggest problem with this film, aside from the whitewashed actors, is that the plot doesn’t really work. Ironically, this is taken almost exclusively from the games. Maybe they should just stuck with one game, rather than trying to fit 3 or 4 in here. Did they not learn anything from the second Mortal Kombat? There is such a thing as too much!

The action in this film is the real selling point. I mean, they literally captured many of the moves from the game. What more could you ask for?

The effects are also pretty good. Just look at how the sands evaporate and reform. That is some brilliant CGI work, if you ask me.

The thing that I love the most about this flick is that it harkens back to those films from the 60s such as the Sinbad franchise. Well, maybe not exactly, but it did put me in that mindset.

The casting, as I already mentioned, is pretty good, but I do wonder about why they were chosen.

Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job in this role, though, his accent leaves a bit to be desired. That can be said of all of the cast, though.

Gemma Arterton is gorgeous, and here she is obviously meant to be eye candy with a pulse, but I was sort of wishing her character would have been fleshed out a bit more.

Alfred Molina takes a rare comedic turn as Sheik Amarh. I have never thought of this guy as a comedic actor, yet he really shines in this role.

Sir Ben Kingsley may be the one actor who may not have initially seemed to fit into this film, but as you watch it unfold, you understand why he was cast. Honestly, the guy plays such a great villainous uncle here, it is scary.

Some have said that this film is one of the biggest flops of the year. I disagree. Sure, it may have been a disappointment, financially, but it was good fun from start to finish. I do wish it would have been a bit more lighthearted, but that’s just me. I highly recommend this to everyone!

4 out of 5 stars

Chloe

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , on October 23, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film opens with Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) dressing herself in front of a dirty mirror. In a voice over, she discusses her business as a call girl, explaining that she must be capable of pleasing her clients with her words, as well as with her actions.

Catherine (Julianne Moore), a gynecologist, is working in her office. She glances out of her window at different times to see Chloe entering hotels with her clients. Catherine’s husband David (Liam Neeson), a college professor, lectures to a class in another city. Catherine hosts a surprise birthday party for David, who has not yet arrived. After assuring the guests that David is just minutes away, she gets a call from him saying that he missed his flight and will not make it home in time for his birthday. The next morning ,after arriving home, Catherine suspects David of having an affair after she sees a picture of him and the female student hugging on his phone.

That evening David and Catherine go to dinner with two friends. David flirts with the waitress, upsetting Catherine. Catherine goes to the restroom and enters a stall. Overhearing a woman crying in the next stall, she asks her if everything is okay. Catherine hands her some toilet paper under the partition and exits her stall. The woman (Chloe) follows. As they are washing their hands, Chloe offers Catherine her hairpin. Catherine refuses, kindly, then says she must return to her husband. During dinner, Catherine notices Chloe with another client.

After work, Catherine stops by the hotel bar where Chloe spends the majority of her time waiting for potential clients. Chloe, looking at Catherine passionately, tells her that she “[doesn’t] usually meet with women.” Catherine reassures Chloe, explaining that she suspects her husband of infidelity. She wants Chloe to go to David’s coffee shop in the morning and test his loyalty. The next evening Catherine and Chloe meet at a bar. Chloe tells Catherine that she asked David to kiss her, and he did. Angered, Catherine tells Chloe that that wasn’t what she wanted her to do. However, she insists that Chloe meet with David again.

The next evening, Chloe tells Catherine that she went with David to a garden, where she seduced him. Catherine is heartbroken. Once more, she insists that Chloe meet with David again. The next day Catherine receives a text message from Chloe at work, asking her to meet her at a hotel. When Catherine arrives, Chloe tells her that she had sex with David. She describes the encounter in explicit detail, but rather than causing Catherine more heartbreak, it arouses her. Chloe, feeling remorse, kisses Catherine, who abruptly leaves.

At home, David sends instant messages to someone on his computer and pays little attention to Catherine. Upset, Catherine meets Chloe at a hotel and has sex with her. Afterwards, Catherine and Chloe share a taxi and Chloe offers her her hairpin again. She says it was her mother’s, and she wants Catherine to have it. Catherine doesn’t reply to Chloe but she takes the hairpin. Catherine enters her home to find David waiting for her. He asks her if she’s been unfaithful. Catherine becomes infuriated and tells him she’s been meaning to ask him the same question. David declines to respond.

The next afternoon, Catherine arrives at her office after lunch to find several missed calls from Chloe and an email with a picture of them in bed together. Catherine calls her and discovers that Chloe is waiting in her waiting room. Chloe enters Catherine’s office with flowers, and asks her if she enjoyed the sex the night before. Embarrassed, Catherine admits that she did, but explains that their business is finished and pays her for the work she has done. Chloe leaves Catherine’s office crying. Seeking revenge, Chloe goes to Michael’s (Catherine’s son) hockey practice and they flirt.

That night Catherine and David go to a coffee house, where Catherine demands that David admit that he is having an affair. David admits that he lied to her for avoiding the birthday party (because he didn’t want to celebrate his birthday), but he denies that he is having an affair. Chloe suddenly walks in and David genuinely does not appear to know who Chloe is. Chloe realizes that it is a trap and leaves quickly. Catherine realizes that Chloe made up her encounters with David and that Chloe loved her because Catherine gave her attention.

Catherine apologizes to David for not having trusted him, and admits that she worried about him because she was getting older and more insecure about her appearance. Then she confesses her sexual encounters with Chloe. David, shocked but understanding, embraces and kisses her.

Jealous, Chloe goes to Catherine’s home and has sex with Michael in Catherine and David’s bed. Catherine arrives home to find them. Chloe tells Catherine that “money isn’t enough to make her go away”. Catherine apologizes and Catherine asks Chloe what she wants. Chloe asks for one last kiss and Catherine complies. Michael then sees what is going on on, startling Catherine and causing her to accidentally push Chloe into the bedroom window, breaking the glass. Chloe manages to grab hold of the frame but then, with a triumphant smile, lets herself fall and dies. Later, at Michael’s graduation party, Catherine is shown to be wearing Chloe’s hairpin in her hair.

REVIEW:

 It seems as if every DVD that I’ve watched since about April or May has advertised this film, so I finally caved in and decided to check out Chloe.

This is one of those erotic  thriller flicks that is sure to make people either hot or bothered, or both.

The plot is interesting. A young prostitute gets hired by a woman who suspects her flirty husband of actually acting out his flirtations. This leads to a fatal attraction of sorts between the prostitute and the woman, ending in the death of one of them.

As with most films of this genre, the first hour or so is spent developing the characters. I understand this is necessary in order to make them more relatable to the audience and all, but at the same time, and this may just be my ADHD talking, I just wanted to get on with the story.

Sometimes these films can get so tedious and boring, but just when it seems as if you’re ready to fall asleep, there is a scene that makes you sit up and take notice. In this case, that would be the lesbionic scene between Amanda Seyfried and Julianna Moore. This was one of the hottest scenes I’ve seen in quite sometime. I do wonder, though, why are Julianne Moore’s nipples so damn sharp and pointy?!?

The cast here works for me. Although, I wouldn’t exactly picture Seyfried as a prostitute. Something about her seemed to pure. Ironically, she played the antithesis to this character with her role opposite Megan Fox in Jennifer’s Body.

Julianne Moore comes off as bit paranoid and unbecoming (except for her shower and sex scene) here, yet it works for this film. A testament to her acting skills, if you ask me.

Liam Neeson is nothing more than the token male here, but when he does deliver some lines or have something to do with the story, it is worth paying attention.

I can’t sit here and say that I enjoyed Chloe, but at the same time I didn’t hate it. This is one of those pictures that was good, just not my cup of tea. For those of you that are into this type of stuff, check it out.

3 out of 5 stars

MacGruber

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film begins in eastern Siberia’s Dzhugdzhur Mountains with Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer), the villain, and his men taking control of the X-5 missile, which contains a nuclear warhead. The scene then shifts to an Ecuadorian monastery, where Col. Jim Faith (Powers Boothe) and Lt. Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) have come to find MacGruber. The two military men find MacGruber (Will Forte) meditating in a chapel, and try to convince him to return to the United States. MacGruber refuses, even when he learns that the purpose of his return would be to go after his nemesis, Cunth. However, later that night, MacGruber explodes into a fit of rage after a flashback where Cunth killed his would-be wife Casey Sullivan (Maya Rudolph) at their wedding, and decides to take Faith up on his offer.

MacGruber goes to the Pentagon, and, eventually, finds Col. Faith. After a heated and violent conversation with Faith and Piper, MacGruber decides he will form his own team to pursue Cunth, and will not tolerate Piper on his team. MacGruber visits all his potential team members and is successful in recruiting all but his long time friend Vicki St. Elmo (Kristen Wiig) and Brick Hughes (Big Show), the latter out of homophobia. MacGruber and his team meet Faith and Piper on a tarmac. Upon being questioned where his team is, MacGruber responds that they are in the van (seen in the background) along with his homemade C-4 explosives. The van promptly explodes, killing the whole team. The scene shifts to Faith’s office; MacGruber is distraught over the loss of the team and his removal from the Cunth case. In a one on one conversation with Piper, MacGruber repeatedly offers to perform sexual acts on, or with, him if he will join his team. Vicki also arrives, completing MacGruber’s team.

The group then travels to Cunth’s nightclub in Las Vegas. MacGruber’s Miata is insulted by a man driving a car with license plate KFBR392, which he vigorously tries to remember. MacGruber then enters the nightclub and announces who he is and his intentions, as well as where he can be found the next day. The team then tries to set up a sting operation, with Vicki pretending to be MacGruber. However, the van MacGruber and Piper are sitting in is attacked by Haas Bender, one of Cunth’s henchmen. MacGruber tells Piper to pass him an Incredi-Mop, which he uses to turn the ignition key and hit the gas pedal, running down Bender. Having Vickie assume the guise of Bender, the team then breaks into a warehouse to stop von Cunth from getting the passcodes to operate the rocket. MacGruber distracts the guards by walking around naked with a piece of celery clenched between his buttocks. Piper manages to kill most of the men inside, but is unable to stop the transfer of the pass codes (due to MacGruber insisting on using a homemade grenade made from a tennis ball, which fizzles). MacGruber and the team then go to a charity event Cunth is holding. MacGruber breaks into a poker game between Cunth and an influential senator. MacGruber tells the senator Cunth is bluffing, which winds up being a very bad move, leading Cunth to win the game. After a heated conversation, MacGruber is thrown out by Cunth’s guards who also break Macgruber’s beloved stereo, which he eventually does a poor job repairing with duct tape.

After the fiasco, MacGruber returns to the Pentagon where he is told he is a liability. The scene then shifts to MacGruber and Piper drinking and hanging out. However, the two men are suddenly attacked. MacGruber uses Piper as a human shield to survive, and Vicki and MacGruber escape in the Miata. Piper survives due to the fact that he was wearing a bullet proof vest, but is disgusted that MacGruber used him as protection, and leaves him. Vicki and MacGruber then return to Vicki’s house where the two have sex. MacGruber then goes to his wife’s grave in shame, but he sees her ghost, who gives her blessing to allow MacGruber to pursue Vicki. They have sex immediately afterwards.

Upon returning to Vicki’s house (and destroying the car with the license plate KFBR392), MacGruber discovers that Vicki has been kidnapped, and realizes what Cunth’s plan is: to bomb the State of the Union address. Cunth calls MacGruber to gloat, but MacGruber is able to trace the call. MacGruber then meets up with Piper to save Vicki. The two men make their way into Cunth’s compound, in large part due to MacGruber’s propensity for ripping throats. The two are captured and are taken to where Vicki and the missile are located. The group manages to overpower Cunth and his men and handcuff Cunth to a handrail. MacGruber then removes the nuclear component and disables the missile launch before his team escapes as missile explodes. The scene then shifts to MacGruber and Vicki’s wedding six months later. Out of the corner of his eye, MacGruber spies a disfigured Cunth (who was believed to have died in the explosion) with an RPG. MacGruber saves Vicki, and then battles Cunth before throwing him off a cliff behind the altar, shooting him with a machine gun as he falls, incinerating the recently dead corpse and finally urinating on it at the foot of the cliff.

REVIEW:

 Chances are you’ve seen, or at least heard of, the MacGruber sketches that had been a staple of Saturday Night Live until this year when Will Forte decided to leave to pursue bigger projects (he thinks the “success” of this movie will make him the next Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, or other SNL alumni who have went on to have successful movie careers). If you have, then you are probably like me and wondered how a sketch that most of the time doesn’t even last a minute can translate into a full-length(99 minutes) motion picture. The answer to the question is surprisingly better than one would think.

The thing that made MacGruber work so well on TV was that it was a parody of the old show McGyver, and made no qualms about being such. So, one would imagine that we’d have plenty of the scenes that made the sketch “funny”, and some wannabe McGyver moments, right? Wrong!

We only get the one scene toward the end of the film that is what the sketches were and as far as MacGruber doing the McGyver thing…well, he does it here and there, but not as much as I would have liked.

The tagline for this film reads “…The Funniest Film since Wayne’s World“. That is a bold statememnt…and one that this film just doesn’t live up to. Sure, there are a couple of funny moments, but mostly, it feels as if MacGruber is just trying too hard to not fail and prove that this was worth making.

I didn’t quite understand the whole plot of this film. I mean, it is your basic villain wants to blow up _____ scenario, but for some reason it just didn’t work. I guess because in the sketches, there is no real plot. So, to stick one in to make a film didn’t do it for me.

Strangely enough, the same can be said for all the other SNL films. Sometimes they work (Wayne’s World, Coneheads, Blues Brothers) and sometimes they don’t (Night at the Roxbury, It’s Pat, Stuart Saves His Family).

I also didn’t get the sex scene. What I mean by that is, it wasn’t set up well enough. In the Naked Gun franchise (I forget which one it is in), where Lt. Drebin is getting his freak on with the lady d jour of the film, the joke is set up perfectly, but here it was just randomly done. I’ve seen porn that sets up better!

To make matters worse, the whole ghost sex in the cemetery just made no sense, even for a comedy like this one. In one scene Maya Rudolph is translucent, and in the next she’s solid and getting rammed on her own grave! WTF?!?

 The casting here was 50/50 for me. The comedians worked for what they were supposed to do, and Val Kilmer wasn’t bad as the villanous von Cunth, but I have to question Ryan Philippe and Powers Boothe choosing to be in this flick. They both seem so uncomfortable, bored, and disinterested in their parts. It was as if they were there just to collect their paycheck.

It also seemed as if they raided the WWE for MacGruber’s team. Chris Jericho, Kane, Mark Henry, Great Khali, MVP, and Big Show all make brief cameo appearances. Sure, these guys look menacing, but really, what was the point?

If you’re going into this film with high expectations, then you need to get your head examined. MacGruber is nothing more than a waste of SNL resources. The fact that Forte left the show after this was released saying he wanted to pursue other projects may very well turn out to be the biggest mistake of his life. That being said, as bad as this film is, I expected way worse. Do I recommend it? Not really, but if you’re the curious type, like me, then check it out and appease that curiosity.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Neverending Story

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Bastian Bux (Barret Oliver), a boy, is accosted by bullies on his way to school. He hides in a bookstore, interrupting the grumpy bookseller, Mr. Koreander (Thomas Hill). Bastian asks about one of the books he sees, but Mr. Koreander warns him it is “not safe.” Nevertheless, Bastian steals the book and races towards school. He then hides in the school’s attic to begin reading “The Neverending Story.”

The book describes the fantasy world of Fantasia which is being threatened by a force called “The Nothing,” a void of darkness that consumes everything. The creatures of Fantasia have gathered to plead for help from the Childlike Empress of Fantasia, but her attendant (Moses Gunn) reveals to the assembled crowd that she has fallen deathly ill due to the Nothing. She has summoned a warrior from the Plains People, Atreyu (Noah Hathaway), to help put an end to the Nothing. Atreyu is revealed to be a boy about Bastian’s age. He is given a magical medallion called the Auryn to use as a guide. As Atreyu sets off on his quest, the Nothing summons Gmork (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer), a vicious wolf-like creature, to kill Atreyu.

Atreyu heads to the deadly Swamps of Sadness to see the ancient Morla, the wisest being in all of Fantasia. His horse, Artax, is overcome by the sadness of the swamps and sinks into the mud, forcing Atreyu to continue on foot. Morla cannot help Atreyu, but directs him to the Southern Oracle, which is 10,000 miles away. In the real world, the school bell rings and the school quickly empties, but Bastian remains in the attic and continues to read.

While trudging through the swamp with Gmork on his tail, a despairing Atreyu finally falls under the swamp’s spell and begins to sink, when a luckdragon named Falkor (also voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) saves him and takes him most of the way to the Southern Oracle. Two old gnomes named Engywook (Sydney Bromley) and Urgl (Patricia Hayes) tend to Atreyu’s injuries and give him advice to pass the gates that guard the Oracle. Atreyu is able to pass the first gate of the Sphinxes’ gaze and reaches the Magic Mirror Gate. As he approaches it, the image of the Gate is shown to reveal a child that matches Bastian’s description. Bastian throws the book away in disbelief, but cautiously begins reading it again, wondering if the people of Fantasia really know him.

Atreyu passes through the Gate and meets the Oracle. The Oracle tells him that the only way to stop the Nothing is for the Empress to be given a new name by a human child. Atreyu is nearly consumed by the Nothing, and loses the Auryn. He encounters Gmork, who explains that Fantasia is humanity’s hopes and dreams, but that the Nothing, representing apathy and despair, eats away at it. The monster attacks, but Atreyu manages to kill it. Weak from his wounds and with the Nothing beginning to consume the area, Atreyu nearly gives up hope. Falkor arrives, having found the Auryn, and rescues Atreyu.

Atreyu wakes on Falkor’s back to find only pockets of Fantasia remain floating in a void. With the Auryn’s guidance, they manage to find the Empress’ home, the Ivory Tower, which still stands. They fly towards it, and Atreyu sadly reports his loss to the Empress (Tami Stronach), having failed to find a human child. But the Empress reveals that he in fact succeeded: the quest Atreyu went on was the only way to get in touch with a human child, and he is listening to their conversation at that very moment. Bastian realizes the book is talking specifically about him, and that he has a name for the Empress. As the Nothing begins to consume the Ivory Tower, the Empress pleads for Bastian to say her new name. Bastian races to the attic window, shouts her new name, “Moonchild” and strong wind blows through the now empty attic.

Bastian finds himself face to face with the Empress, who reveals that the Nothing has consumed all but one grain of sand from Fantasia. However, Bastian’s wishes and imagination can help to restore the world to its former glory. The more wishes he makes, the more it will be restored. Bastian makes his first wish, and is instantly riding Falkor through the skies. All the characters who died or were taken by the Nothing have returned, including Atreyu riding happily on Artax. Bastian then whispers one more wish to Falkor. In the real world, the bullies that chased Bastian the previous day suddenly find themselves chased by Bastian and Falkor. Bastian and Falkor soar triumphantly off into the sky, and a narrator reveals that Bastian made many more wishes and had many amazing adventures.

REVIEW:

 So, raise your hand if you’ve never seen The Neverending Story. Chances are there aren’t very many of you, at least those over at least 25, that haven’t seen this piece of nostalgia. I’ve been meaning to get around to watching this again and finally did it this afternoon.

I remember watching this film in my younger days and loving it. That sentiment has not changed with age. I just hope that the forthcoming remake doesn’t ruin it for future audiences (like we all know it will).

The first thing I have to bring up about this film is that it does stray from the source material. For instance, Bastian is supposed to be a chubby kid, Atreyu is supposed to have green skin and blue hair, Fanstia is actually called Fanstastica, just to name a few. I’m real big on keeping things as close to the source material as much as possible, but I make an exception here…nah! They need to explain why they changed the things they did, especially the whole Fantasia Fantastica thing. Also, would it really have been that much trouble to find a chubby kid to be Bastian and paint skin blue? Seriously?!?

The effects in this film are so totally early 80s, and that is what makes them so great. I get so tired of reading message boards and whatnot that say these things are just cheesy. I like cheese, personally. It shows that the special effects director has imagination, rather than just taking a picture of something and then making it move. Any idiot can do that!

The story moves along at a pretty fast pace, though it does seem to slow down and almost come to a complete stop when Atreyu meets Gmork…until he attacks, that is.

One thing that I really didn’t care for in this film was the final scene with the childlike Empress where she screams “Say my name”. I don’t know why, but that has always made me think that the filmmakers needed to fill in som space, so they drug that scene out. After watching again today, my opinion has not changed. It does seem as if they didn’t know when to bring it to an end.

I can’t really comment on the cast, because, well, they’re acting is pretty bad…not Megan Fox bad, but still pretty bad. Having said that, they did what they had to in order to make this film work, so kudos to them.

What is my final verdict on The Neverending Story? Well, if you have kids, nieces, nephews, etc., watch it with them before that remake comes out and bastardizes our memories of this great entry into cinematic lore. For the very few of you that haven’t seen this, though, I very highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Sweet Charity

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Charity Hope Valentine (Shirley MacLaine) works as a taxi dancer along with her friends, Nickie (Chita Rivera) and Helene (Paula Kelly). She longs for love, but has bad luck with men being robbed and pushed off a bridge in Central Park by one ex-boyfriend. She meets famous actor Vittorio Vidal (Ricardo Montalban) and has a complicated, but pleasant evening with him.

After failing to find a new job through an employment agency, Charity meets shy Oscar Lindquist (John McMartin) in a stuck elevator. They strike up a relationship, but Charity does not reveal what she does for a living. When she finally does tell Oscar, he initially seems to accept it, but finally tells Charity that he cannot marry her.

The optimistic Charity faces her future, alone for the time being, living hopefully ever after.

An alternate ending found on the Laserdisc and DVD versions picks up after Oscar leaves Charity. Oscar starts to go crazy in his apartment and, feeling suffocated, goes for a walk in the park. He sees Charity on their bridge in Central Park and thinks she is going to jump. Racing to rescue her, he trips and falls in the water. Charity jumps in after him, but can’t swim so Oscar rescues her. Oscar realizes Charity is the only breath of fresh air in his life, proposes again, and she accepts. Fosse thought the ending was too corny, but filmed it in apprehension that the studio would demand a happy ending. In the end, though, they agreed with Fosse and kept the original bittersweet ending from the stage version.

REVIEW:

 For the casual musical fan, Sweet Charity may or may not ring any bells, but you are sure to know a couple of the songs. At least that’s how it was with me.

The last couple of musicals I’ve watched didn’t exactly blow me away with their music. Sweet Charity didn’t either, but at least the songs were memorable. With catchy tunes such as the “Hey, Big Spender!”, “If They Could See Me Now”,  and the showstopping “Rhythm of Life”, this film’s music really caught my attention.

The story is a nice, yet bittersweet tale. I mean, here have young Charity, a girl who works in a nightclub (for lack of a better term) and just has horrible luck with man. For goodness sakes, the first guy we see her with was married and pushed her off of a bridge! The guy whom she seems to be destined for leaves her at the proverbial alter, and the man of her dreams locks her in a closet all nigh, though that was a special circumstance.

Shirley MacLaine gives, arguably, her best performance here. As with most of today’s older actors, it is hard to look at her at this young age and then see her today, as she is almost unrecognizable, but it is indeed her. No wonder she has been around as long as she has.

Ricardo Montalban was born to play the cocky actor, but it is a shame his role was such a limited one. I would have liked for him to have had a longer scene or come back at the end.

John McMartin made a good match for MacLaine as Oscar Lindquist. He really sold all the quirks and issues this guy had.

One thing that I didn’t like about this film was the melancholy ending. I preferred the alternate ending, but I’m one of the handful of folks left in this world who actually like happy endings and not these sad, depressing type of things.

Final verdict on Sweet Charity? Well, there are better musicals out there, but this is still a fun film to watch. The story really captivates you, and I dare anyone to come away not feeling for Charity by the film’s end. Sure, this isn’t a must-see, but it is a definite should-see.

4 out of 5 stars