Archive for September, 2011

Forever, Darling

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , on September 28, 2011 by Mystery Man


After five years of marriage, chemical engineer Lorenzo Xavier Vega (Arnaz) tends to neglect his wife Susan (Ball) in favor of his work. When she wishes aloud that she had a more attentive spouse, her Guardian Angel — coincidentally the mirror image of her favorite movie star (Mason) — appears. He advises her to take a greater interest in Lorenzo’s career, so she agrees to accompany him on a camping trip to test the revolutionary new insecticide he’s developed. (Lorenzo’s boss declares it will “make DDT look like talcum powder”, a line with ironic meaning to modern audiences.) Susan’s dream of a second honeymoon turns into a nightmare when everything that possibly could go wrong does.


Fans of I Love Lucy will find this film to have a very similar feel to it, as Lucy and Desi are again playing husband and wife, though nowhere near as loving.

Forever, Darling is the second film venture with these two. The first was The Long, Long Trailer. 

I really don’t have much to say about this film. As much as I love Lucy on the small screen, for some reason her big screen ventures seem to fall flat with me, with the exception of Mame. I think this may partially be because I’m so sued to seeing her as Lucy Ricardo, that any other role comes off as an epic fail.

Strangely enough, it is the exact opposite with Desi. I love him as Ricky Ricardo, but he seems to be more at home acting here. Of course, Ricky is basically just Desi being himself, so this may be or chance to actually see him act.

The plot here isn’t too bad, though the whole guardian angel thing, while a bit comical, adds this weird element to everything that sort of changes the tone. The jury is still out with me on whether this good or bad, though.

This is labeled as a comedy, but at times it is a bit too serious to fit that bill. On the other hand, it is too funny to be a drama. I wouldn’t go the extremes of saying it is a dramedy, either.

There are moments that will make you laugh out loud, and I suppose those moments are what give this film its distinction.

Is this a film worth watching? Yes, but be warned, while it does star Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, it is not…I repeat…in NOT I Love Lucy. If you go into this expecting something similar, you will be disappointed. That point aside, this is a decent movie, though, it does seem to bog down in some muck in the middle and almost totally loses the audience. I would say watch it if you’re a classic cinema fan, but given today’s audences’ tastes, you probably wouldn’t like it.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Invention of Lying

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 25, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film features a high concept narrative set in an alternate reality in which there is no such thing as lying and everything said is the absolute truth. In this world people make blunt, often cruel statements, including those that people would normally keep to themselves. There is a lack of religious belief, and the absence of fiction results in a movie industry limited to lecture-style historical readings, and advertisements as bluntly truthful as the people are.

Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is an unsuccessful lecture-film writer who is assigned to write about the 1300s, a “very boring” era. One night he goes out on a date with the beautiful, charming and wealthy Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner). She tells Mark she is not attracted to him, due to his looks and unsuccessful financial situation, but is going out with him to satisfy her extremely prejudicial mother and as a favour to Mark’s friend Greg Kleinschmidt (Louis C.K.).

The next day Mark is fired from his job due to lack of interest in his films, and his landlord evicts him for not paying his rent. Depressed, he goes to the bank to close his account. The teller informs him that the computers are down, and asks him how much money he has in his account. Mark has an epiphany and tells the world’s first lie, that he has $800 in his account. The computer comes back online and shows his balance is $300 but the teller gives him the full $800 anyway, assuming that the computer made a mistake.

Mark then lies in a variety of other circumstances, including telling an attractive woman that the world will end unless they have sex, preventing a police officer (Edward Norton in a cameo) from arresting his friend Greg for DUI, getting money from a casino, and stopping his neighbour Frank Fawcett (Jonah Hill) from committing suicide. He then writes a screenplay about the world being invaded by aliens in the 14th century and that the memories of all humans were erased. He becomes wealthy from the success of the film which he named “The Black Plague.”

Mark convinces Anna to go out with him again hoping she will see past his looks and weight now that he is financially secure. On their date Anna congratulates Mark for his success and admits that he would be a good husband and father. She is still not attracted to him because if they ever have children Mark would contribute half of the heredity to their children, making them “fat kids with snub noses” and Anna does not want that. Mark then gets a call that his mother had a heart attack and rushes to the hospital. There, the doctor (Jason Bateman) tells him that his mother is going to die. She is terrified of death, believing that death will bring an eternity of nothingness. Mark, through tears, tells her that death instead brings a joyful afterlife, introducing the concept of a Heaven to her, and she dies happy while the doctors and nurses appear awed by what he says.

Mark soon receives worldwide attention for his supposed new information about death. Under pressure from Anna, he tells them, through “ten rules”, he talks to a “Man In The Sky” who controls everything and promises great rewards in the good place after you die so long as you do no more than three “bad things.” Some time later Anna and Mark are hanging out together in a park and Anna asks him if they marry would being rich and famous make their children not fat with snub noses. Mark wants to lie but doesn’t because of his feelings for Anna.

Meanwhile Mark’s rival Brad Kessler (Rob Lowe) pursues Anna romantically, motivated because of Mark’s success. However Brad’s blunt, rude manner makes Anna uncomfortable though she continues dating him; they become engaged. Anna invites Mark to the wedding. Mark tries to convince her to not marry Brad but fails. Anna goes to the park she first went to with Mark and sees a slightly overweight child with an ice cream when some thinner boys come and mush his ice cream into his shirt. She yells at them and then they run away. She runs up to the boy and wipes away his tears while asking his name. He replies ‘Short Fat Brian’ to which she tells him: ‘you are so much more than just that.’

Before the wedding Mark’s friend Greg shows up and tells him that he didn’t lose her yet and Mark reluctantly attends Anna and Brad’s wedding. There, he objects to the marriage, but the officiant informs him that only the Man in the Sky can stop the wedding. Brad and Anna both ask Mark to ask the Man in the Sky what Anna should do but Mark refuses to say anything and leaves, wanting Anna to choose for herself. Anna walks out and Mark confesses his ability to lie and that the Man In The Sky he told everyone about was made up. Anna struggles to comprehend the concept and asks why he didn’t lie to convince her to marry him; Mark states that it “wouldn’t count.” Anna confesses that she loves him.

Some time later, the now-pregnant Anna and Mark are shown married with a son, who has learned his father’s ability to lie


Imagine what the world would be like if everyone told nothing but the truth? Well, that is the world that The Invention of Lying is set in.

I’ve been postponing this film every week since it was released on DVD, thinking it might be nothing more than another one of those dramedy flicks that seem to be becoming more and more prevalent. I won’t say this isn’t one of those, but it does start off hilarious, especially when you think about the fact that these people can do nothing bt tell the truth.

The bluntness of these people is hilarious to us, but to them it is just everyday conversations. For instance, Jennifer Garner flat-out tells Ricky Gervais that she’s not attracted to him and he’s fat and has a snub nose. Granted, these kind of things happen today in our society, but for some reason, the way she said it was funny.

The plot of this film is something that we don’t see very often…an original story! Kudos to Ricky Gervais for coming up with this. I actually thought this may have been a book, Twilight Zone episode, or short story, but apparently not.

The acting here is a little dry for my taste. That is not to say that it is bad, it just is that humor that Gervais brought to audiences with the original The Office and tends to do in everything he does. For me, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Here, it works initially, then fades away and becomes more of a nuisance than anything.

I mention how the film starts out hilarious than tapers off. I’m not sure if that is because the joke gets old, or if it does indeed turn more towards the drama angle, but whatever the reason, it deeply affects the film, which is truly a shame, because if they wold have kept up the pace and tone of the first part of the film, this could have been great.

Instead, in typical Gervais fashion, they have to go and smack society in the face with our shortcomings and such and his character is the one that is the one to start it all. Don;t even get me started on that whole Jesus beard he had going near the end.

I must mention that Rob Lowe does play a pretty good douchebag slimeball villain. Of course, this character is actually not much different that the one he played in Wayne’s World, so it should come as no surprise. The guy does bring something different to the table when he’s on screen, though.

Would I recommend The Invention of Lying? Yes, but I wouldn’t go rush out to find it. Nothing about this film is memorable. Hell, I just finished watching it and already I’ve forgotten about a good chunk of it! Still, I did enjoy and think this is worth a viewing or two.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Tourist

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on September 25, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The movie opens with Elise (Angelina Jolie) being followed by French police, working with Scotland Yard under the direction of Inspector John Acheson (Paul Bettany). Acheson has spent years attempting to catch Elise’s old lover, Alexander Pearce, who owes £744 million in back taxes. While at a cafe, Elise receives instructions from Pearce: board a train to Venice, pick out a man on the way who resembles Pearce, and trick the police into believing that this decoy is the man himself. Elise follows the instructions, picking Frank (Johnny Depp), an American tourist. She spends much time with him, seeming to start a romance. The police recognize the ruse, but it does fool Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), a gangster from whom Pearce stole $2.3 billion.

Pearce leaves further instructions for Elise to attend a ball. Elise abandons Frank, who is then chased by Shaw’s men. Through a mishap Frank is arrested by the police, only to have a corrupt inspector attempt to turn him over to Shaw’s men in exchange for the bounty on Pearce’s head. During the transaction Elise rescues Frank, leading Shaw’s men on an extended chase and eventually escaping. Afterward she leaves Frank at the airport with his passport and a satchel full of money, asking him to go home for his own safety.

Elise is revealed to be an undercover agent sent to catch Pearce, who may have instead become his ally. Because of her fears for Frank, she comes back to her role as Scotland Yard agent, and sets up a sting against Pearce. Frank, apparently newly in love with Elise, has not left, and worms his way in, upsetting the plan. When Frank is pulled out by the police, Elise goes after Pearce to a new rendezvous point. The other agents follow with Frank aboard, but Shaw is following even more closely. When Elise arrives at the destination, Shaw moves in, takes her prisoner, and threatens her with disfigurement or death unless she finds and opens a safe containing his stolen money. Despite Elise’s peril, Inspector Acheson repeatedly turns down police requests to intervene, convinced that Pearce will show. Frank escapes police custody and confronts Shaw, posing as Pearce and using information previously shared by Elise to convince Shaw that he is truly Alexander Pearce. Ultimately, Chief Inspector Jones (Timothy Dalton) arrives and orders police snipers to fire, killing Shaw and his men. Jones lifts Elise’s suspension, but then terminates her employment.

After the confrontation, the police run out to chase a possible sighting of Pearce. Frank then opens the safe, with only Elise present, demonstrating that he knew the safe combination, and was, in fact, Alexander Pearce the entire time, and had been in control all along. He and Elise take the money and run away, leaving behind a check for the balance of his taxes owed. Acheson wants to pursue him, but Jones determines that with the taxes paid, Pearce’s only crime is that he stole money from a now dead gangster. Jones orders the case to be closed. Frank and Elise then sail away.


When this film was in production, much was made about how Angelina Jolie was going to take Johnny Depp from his wife and children and leave Brad Pitt. You know how tabloids like to fabricate stories and such.

With those stories, though, The Tourist had a mediocre box office showing and received mostly negative reviews. So, the question is…how will I rate this film, eh?

I’m no fan of Jolie, at least not since her Tomb Raider days when she actually had some meat on her bones. Having said that, she looked the better here than she has in years. It might be the whole British thing she had going. It really worked for her, plus, I think directors have told her she’s too skinny and she’s finally starting to listen.

Johnny Depp takes a break from being Captain Jack Sparrow, though he does go into his British accent a couple of times in the film, to play this role as an American tourist/ math teacher who has recently lost his wife. I’ll admit it was a bit strange seeing him out of “character” for the first time in forever, but it was nice to get a bit of a change. Sometimes we forget that Depp is a competent actor.

Jolie and Depp start out as two strangers meeting on a train, and their chemistry throughout feels like they are just two strangers uncomfortably making small talk. I expected more. This may go back to that whole think about Jolie trying to steal Depp, but who knows.

Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton are supporting characters here, but to be honest, neither really brings anything to the table. I fond it odd that Bettany was cast in a role that cold very well have been played by some cheaper actor, who may or may not have done better with it. To me, it seems as if Bettany’s role would have been fleshed out a bit more.

Rufus Sewell makes this random appearance in the film. I’m not sure if he was meant to be a cameo or if perhaps he just wanted a quick paycheck and was asked to do these two scenes, bt it actually made no sense for him to have been there, when they cold have gotten some extra to do his role, seriously!

The action in the film isn’t bad, but for a spy film, which is what this actually is under all the murkiness of the convoluted plot. I think they cold have done a bit more in the climax, but that’s a personal preference.

I mentioned that Jolie and Depp have no chemistry, and that is very apparent in the ballroom scene, which was already supposed to look uncomfortable. Ironically, that might very well have been their best scene together.

The score to this film left me scratching my head. It seemed to be light-hearted and fun, much in the same way as the first two Harry Potter films. My issue with that is it doesn’t fit with the tone of the film, at least not for most of it, anyway.

I put my hatred of Jolie and my man-crush of Depp aside when I was watching this flick. I don’t think it helped any, though. Fact of the matter is, while this isn’t anywhere near as bad as the critics wold have you believe, The Tourist just doesn’t live up to what it could be. I can recommend this, but be warned that it is nothing more than an average flick with overpriced stars.

3 out of 5 stars



Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on September 21, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

During a shootout against Chinese Triads at a dock warehouse, FBI agents John Crawford (Jason Statham) and Tom Lone (Terry Chen) stumble across the notorious assassin Rogue (Jet Li), a former CIA assassin who now works for the Japanese Yakuza. Rogue ambushes Crawford and is about to execute him when Lone appears and shoots Rogue in the face, causing him to fall into the water. Rogue’s body was never found and he is presumed dead. However, Rogue survives and his retaliation against Lone, his wife and his daughter, leaves three corpses in the ashes of their home.

Three years later, Rogue re-appears, working under Chinese Triad boss Li Chang (John Lone). Rogue is assisting Chang against Chang’s arch-enemy and Rogue’s former employer, the leader of the Japanese Yakuza, Shiro Yanagawa (Ryo Ishibashi). Rogue first attacks a club ran by the Yakuza in order to recover a pair of antique gold horses, family heirlooms of Li Chang. However, Rogue is secretly setting the Yakuza and the Triads against each other, in order to push the two factions toward all-out war.

Now the head agent of the FBI’s Asian Crime Task Force, Crawford is determined to hunt Rogue down and exact revenge for Lone’s death. Crawford’s obsessive pursuit of Rogue has taken a toll on his personal life, estranging him from his family. Crawford comes close to catching Rogue in the wake of Rogue’s various killing sprees against the Triads and Yakuza, but Rogue always manages to stay one step ahead.

Ultimately, Rogue’s machinations have gained the trust of both Li Chang and Yanagawa. Rogue succeeds in betraying Li Chang, but spares Li Chang’s wife and child, turning on the Yakuza. With Chang dead, Yanagawa is finally ready to come to America, where he intends to take over and expand Yakuza business operations. However, he is confronted by Crawford and the FBI; Crawford presents Shiro with proof that Rogue has betrayed him and spared Li Chang’s family, but Yanagawa refuses to assist Crawford in locating Rogue.

Later, Rogue delivers the horses to Shiro personally. Knowing of Rogue’s betrayal, Yanagawa captures Rogue and demands the location of Li Chang’s family. Rogue kills all of Shiro Yanagawa’s men, and engages in a sword fight against Shiro Yanagawa himself. Rogue reveals that he is actually FBI agent Tom Lone (who, after receiving plastic surgery, changed his voice to obtain a Chinese accent); and killed the real Rogue, assuming the assassin’s identity. Rogue/Lone reveals that his actions have all been designed to bring him face-to-face with Yanagawa, so he could kill the man who ordered the death of his family. Yanagawa reveals that Crawford was in his pocket and responsible for leaking Lone’s identity and home address to Rogue. Angered, Lone disarms and decapitates Shiro Yanagawa.

Meanwhile Chang’s wife receives a package from Lone, composed of the golden horses that belongs to Chang’s family and a message reading, “Make a new life”. Yanagawa’s daughter also receives a package with the same message and inside the box is her father’s head. Lone then calls Crawford as he was packing up his office, telling him to meet him at the dock warehouse they last made their investigation. Before going to the warehouse, Crawford enlists the help of Goi (Sung Kang), an FBI sniper who helped in the investigation throughout the film.

At the warehouse, Crawford and Rogue battle each other in an intense hand-to-hand fight. When Rogue reveals his identity as Lone, a devastated Crawford reveals his employment of Yanagawa and that he only gave Lone’s address to Shiro because he thought that the Yakuza were only going to beat Lone up, and did not expect the family to be assassinated by Rogue. Crawford begs Lone for forgiveness, but is rebuffed by Lone, finalizing his identity as Rogue. During the revelation, Goi takes aim at Rogue, but Crawford jumps in Goi’s line of fire, saving Rogue’s life. Rogue pushes him away and shoots him in the back, later driving out of town accepting his new identity.


I guess tonight just turned out to be the day of 3 letter movie titles. First, there was Rio, and now…War.

I’m a pretty big Jason Statham fan, so it was just a matter of time before I got around to watching this. I am starting to see a pattern in his films, though. Not to spoil the ending, but many of them seem to have the same twist. I wonder if that is done on purpose or if it is just a coincidence.

The best thing about this film is the action. Of course, with Statham and Jet Li, would you expect less. The thing about that, though, is the two never get a showdown, so that was a bit of a letdown. When they do come face to face, they circle each other and talk for a good 5 minutes leading to the film’s conclusion. It was actually a bit of a tease, not to mention anti-climactic.

I really liked the plot, even though it did do a bit of jumping around which left me a bit confused. Of course, I was also taking playing Words with Friends on Facebook, so that might have been a reason for the confusion. I probably just missed something. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Recently, I’ve really gotten into the samurai culture, so seeing them use samurai swords in this film was a real treat for me, even if it was briefly and not in the traditional samurai way. Still, that sword fight was awesome.

I wish I had more to say about this flick, but the fact of the matter is that it wasn’t really that impressive as a whole picture. It came off as very pedestrian to me. I mean, there wasn’t anything special about it. Sure, it wasn’t as plain as sliced bread, or anything like that, but I guess I was just expecting that final battle between Statham and Li, which never happened and that really ruined the whole picture for me. Still, I think I would recommend this, if you’re looking for a decent action flick.

3 out of 5 stars


Posted in Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

n Brazil, several types of exotic birds get smuggled to different countries. A crate with a male blue macaw hatchling falls off the truck into the streets of Moose Lake, Minnesota. Linda Gunderson quickly finds the macaw, adopting him as her pet and naming him Blu. However, he is unable to fly, which makes him subject to ridicule by the Canadian Geese that frequent the outside of Linda’s bookstore.

One day, ornithologist Túlio Monteiro invites Blu and Linda to vacation in Rio de Janeiro, on the condition that Blu mate with a female macaw before his return to Moose Lake, as he is the last male of his species. Linda takes the offer and the three are flown to Rio, where Blu meets a Red-crested Cardinal named Pedro and his Yellow Canary friend Nico. Blu is taken to Túlio’s aviary, and falls in love with Jewel, a cynical, fiercely independent blue macaw longing to flee into the wilderness. Blu and Jewel are captured by a boy named Fernando and a psychopathic Sulphur-crested Cockatoo named Nigel, both of whom work for a group of smugglers led by Marcel. Nigel tells the macaws that he vowed to smuggle exotic birds because of his role being replaced on a television program. Blu and Jewel flee from him, ending up in a jungle.

Fernando meets Linda and Túlio, explaining that Marcel had forced him to capture birds before cooperating with the two to Blu. The macaws meet a Toco toucan named Rafael, who offers to take them to his bulldog friend Luiz to remove a chain connected to their legs. He also tries to teach Blu how to fly, before the three meet Pedro and Nico. Nigel hires a horde of thieving marmosets led by Mauro to capture Blu and Jewel. Pedro and Nico take Blu and Jewel to a bird’s Rio-style party, where they perform a duet, but are attacked by the marmosets. Their bird friends fight them, allowing the five to flee. Linda and Túlio are taken to the smugglers hideout. While there, Marcel explains that he will use the Rio Carnival to kidnap Blu and Jewel.

Meanwhile, Blu and the others meet Luiz. Luiz manages to release the chain holding Blu and Jewel using his drool. After a brief falling out, Blu and Jewel decide to go their separate ways. When Blu and Rafael learn from Pedro and Nico that Nigel captured Jewel, the four rush to the carnival to rescue Jewel, while Linda and Túlio organize a rescue attempt on the birds.

While Linda and Túlio pose as dancers, Marcel enacts his plan, using Nigel to capture the birds. On board Marcel’s Short SC.7 Skyvan, Blu and Jewel release the captive birds out of the plane, but Nigel fractures Jewel’s wing and then proceeds to finish Blu. Before he can do so, Blu uses a fire extinguisher to send Nigel into the propeller of the plane’s engine, and the smugglers flee. Unable to fly, Jewel slips out of the plane, falling towards the ocean. Blu jumps out of the plane to rescue Jewel, and finally discovers that he is able to fly. Later, Linda, Túlio and Fernando organize a sanctuary to protect the jungle from smugglers. Blu and Jewel raise three chicks together and celebrate with their bird friends, Nigel is ridiculed for his loss of feathers, and the smugglers are sent to jail.


Remember those days when animation was hand drawn? Oh, how I miss those days! Rio is another of these compter animated films in which the characters all look nearly alike and the plot is more generic than peanut butter.

Is it me, or are of these films from Dreamworks all starting to seem like they want to be something bigger, but they just haven’t been able to measure up to Shrek, yet. I can think of two that were really good, but the rest, including the Shrek sequels (excluding 2), all fall into mediocrity. This one is no exception.

Sure, the plot is a nice one about a rare blue macaw that was kidnapped from Rio, somehow ended up in Minnesota where he was taken in by this socially awkward little girl who took care of him and then somehow they are asked to go back to Rio so that he can mate with the only other of his kind. Along the way, there are perils, hijinks, and a psycho cockatoo.

The problem I have with the plot is that it all seemed too…I dunno..formuulaic, for lack of a better word. The whole while I was watching this, nothing happened to make me sit up and say wow! Everything was something we’ve all seen before and you could tell what was going to happen next throughout the entire picture.

If there was a surprise, it was the random musical numbers. These would be fine, except for the fact that the songs were quite horrid! These are the kind of musical productions that make you wish those wannabes on American Idol actually got a shot. Yes, they were that bad!

Not to make it sound like this is a total downer for me, I will say that the animation of Carnival and the city itself was breathtaking. Now, it quite possibly be that the colors were distracting from some shortcomings, but hey,it worked.

Voice casting was fine for the most part. My only issue is with Jesse Eisenberg. This guy has no talent and is just annoying. I mean, the guy from How to Train Your Dragon, Jay Baruchel, is annoying, but his annoying voice is what works for him. Eisenberg is just a hack. He didn’t work for this character, in my opinion.

I’ll be honest, I was really expecting to like this film. It is a huge disappointment that it turned out to be this…whatever this was. There is a ton of wasted talent, forgettable, forced music, and a story that probably should have been tweaked a little more before they went into production. I recommend Rio for two groups of people…if you’re one of those that has kids that are fascinated by brilliant, fantastic colors or if you want to be blown away by the way they captured the essence of Rio in computer animated form. Everyone else would do better watching one of the far superior Dreamworks films,or even better watch a classic Disney hand drawn masterpiece!

3 out of 5 stars

Your Highness

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Thadeous (Danny McBride) and Fabious (James Franco) are the sons of King Tallious (Charles Dance). They are both warriors, but Fabious is dashing and skilled whereas Thadeous is lazy and ineffectual with both an inferiority complex and poor track record in quest taking. While celebrating his latest victory over the evil sorcerer who has been ravaging Tallious’s kingdom, Leezar (Justin Theroux), Fabious reveals the virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) he freed from a tower and wishes to marry her. Though he is made the best man, Thadeous skips the wedding after overhearing Fabious’s Elite Knights, led by Boremont (Damian Lewis), talk about him negatively. But the wedding is then crashed by Leezar, revealing himself to be the one who placed Belladona in the tower before spiriting her away. Returning to the castle with his servant Courtney (Rasmus Hardiker), Thadeous is forced into joining Fabious on his quest to rescue Belladonna.

Visiting the perverted Great Wise Wizard, the brothers learn that Leezar is attempting to fulfill a prophecy of a warlock having intercourse with a maiden when the two Moons converge, impregnating her with a dragon that will allow him to take over King Tallious’ kingdom. To destroy Leezar, they are given a magic compass that would led them to the fabled Sword of Unicorn which is located with a labyrinth. On the way there, after finding that Fabious’s slave Julian has been reporting to Leezar of their progress, the brothers learn that Elite Knights are also serving the warlock and escape from them alongside Courtney. While collecting themselves at a river, after his brother sends his mechanical bird Simon to tell the king of the Elite Knights’ betrayal and request reinforcements, Thadeous, Fabious and Courtney are captured by nymphs under their leader, Marteetee (John Fricker), who imprisons them at an arena where Fabious kills off Marateetee’s finest warrior. In retaliation, Marteetee summons his hydra-like familiar to kill them.

However, they are rescued by Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior that is seeking revenge for her father’s murder at Marteetee’s hands. Later that night, as Fabious and Courtney leave them for the mood to set in, Thadeous learns that Isabel is also after Leezar for the slaughter of her brothers before accidently revealing their quest and the compass to her. The next day, the party learn too late that Isabel stole the compass from Thadeous and ran off. Finally infuriated of his brother’s selfish behavior as they arrive to a village, Fabious decides to find the Sword of Unicorn alone as Thadeous and Courtney go to a tavern, where they find Isabel and steal the compass back. But finding that his brother has been captured by Leezar’s men, Thadeous wins Isabel over as they join forces, entering the labyrinth where they encounter a minotaur. Getting separated from the others, Thadeous retrieves the Sword of Unicorn and, after a test of worth, slays the minotaur as Isabel used a panflute to soothe the monster as he was about to rape Courtney. A changed man, proudly wearing the minotaur’s severed penis as a trophy necklace when unable to get one of the beast’s horns, Thadeous and his group make their way to Leezar’s castle and free Fabious while giving him the Sword of Unicorn. As the others kill off Julian and Boremont’s men along with Leezar’s mothers, Fabious then uses the Sword of Unicorn to end Leezar’s life before he isable to rape Belladonna, saving the kingdom.

After their victory, the heroes go back home, but Isabel goes on another quest. Fabious and Belladonna marry as Thadeous retreats to his bedroom to masturbate before going to bed. There, he is approached by Isabel, who reveals that she has fallen in love with him. However, for them to have sex, he must first slay the witch that cast a spell on her, locking her in a chastity belt. Though he was not in the mood to go out, Isabel’s suggestion to cuddle convinces him to go on a new adventure.


Your Highness is one of those films that I just didn’t know what to think of when it was initially released. I passed on seeing it in theaters because it didn’t look like something worth wasting $8 to go see. I still hold to that, but this does make for a decent rental.

I won’t beat around the bush. If you’re coming into this film thinking you’re going to get some sort of epic medieval masterpiece, then you will be supremely disappointed. Your Highness comes off as nothing more than a bunch of frat boys playing around with what they know about the era and some _____ (insert recreational drug here).

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but apparently critics seemed very turned off by it. I often wonder if, in order to become critics, they had to get a stick shoved far up their ass, because it seems as if the only film they really love are the kids that audiences don’t really get excited over, and yet something like this, which is not meant to be anything more than entertaining, they treat like it was a pox on civilization.


Sorry for the little rant there, but I get so frustrated when I read the things critics say about films that obviously aren’t meant as anything more than mindless fun, which is all this is.

Now, I mention the frat boy mentality this film has. The humor of this film is mainly centered around lewd and crude humor. For goodness sakes, at one point in the film, a Minotaur’s penis is cut off and Danny McBride wears it around his neck.

What is odd about this film, though, is save for one scene near the middle with naked women, there is nary a bare breast to be seen. The tone this film set leads one to belive you would see more. If anything, they could have put Zooey Deschanel and Natalie Portman is traditional Renaissance corsets, but I guess they wanted to focus more on the men, for some reason.

Speaking of the girls, this was released after Portman’s Oscar-winning role in Black Swan. Some have criticized her for it, but if you’ve watched her career, then you know she’s very versatile and this is much lighter faire than playing a ballerina on the verge of insanity and anorexia. All that said, she does a real good job in this role, but are we really surprised.

I do have to criticize Zooey Deschanel, something I never do, though. She seems rather wasted here, not to mention the fact that her personality doesn’t necessarily lend itself to the whole “damsel in distress” thing. Then again, maybe I’ve been watching her sister too long on Bones and now have them confused. Either way, I think she should have gotten more screentime than just a couple of scenes. Although, the possession, or whatever that was supposed to be, was qite…um…different.

The plot of this film is filled with all types of whole, and yet, they aren’t really detracting from the story, except the thing about the two moons and dragons or something like that. Not really sure where they were trying to go with that, or if I just missed something, or what the deal was, but it left me scratching my head.

Finally, the special effects in this film are two-fold. The first is the creatures. While most of them look like rejects from Narnia, the Wise Wizard looks like he came straight from Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, or some other Jim Henson film.

The next part is the special effects laden final act. Now, if you’ve seen many of the summer blockbusters in the last few years, then you know that they almost all rely solely on effects for the big climactic battle.

I think that was the idea here, but it just didn’t work the way they wanted it to, mainly because of how the characters were developed…or rather not developed. Still, it was a worthy attempt, I’ll give them that.

Your Highness is not a film for everyone. The humor lies in its crudity, so if you can’t handle that, you won’t find this film funny. Having said that, somewhere past the middle it stops being funny and just goes into this weird autopilot mode until the final scene. I enjoyed this film, and while I think nothing really needs to be changed, there are some things that could be altered to make things better. That point aside, I wold highly recommend this to all that aren’t easily offended by frat boy-type humor.

4 out of 5 stars

Let Me In

Posted in Drama, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1983 Los Alamos, New Mexico, a police detective (Elias Koteas) enters the hospital room of a disfigured man and tries to question him about a recent murder for which he is a suspect. The detective concludes by telling the suspect that he will catch whoever else he is in league with; the detective is then called to take a phone call outside the room by the desk nurse and is told that the man’s daughter is downstairs. While he is on the phone, a scream is heard, and the detective finds the suspect has fallen out of the window to his death.

Flashback two weeks earlier, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an unhappy and lonely 12-year-old boy, who is neglected by his divorcing parents, and continually harassed at school by bullies. One evening, when Owen is alone in the courtyard of his apartment complex he is approached by a girl who has moved into the apartment next door name Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz). Abby tells Owen that they cannot be friends, but regardless Abby and Owen grow closer, seeing each other at night in the courtyard, and start communicating by Morse code through the walls of their apartments. At school the main bully, Kenny (Dylan Minnette), scars Owen with an antenna rod; when Abby finds out about this she tells him to defend himself and she will help him if needed.

Meanwhile, Abby’s “father”, Thomas (Richard Jenkins), occasionally goes out to kill local residents in order to acquire blood for the vampiric Abby. During his first murder, he accidentally spills the blood and returns home empty handed; a furious Abby leaves the apartment and then kills and feeds on a jogger who lives in their neighborhood. Abby continues developing her relationship with Owen. One night, Thomas hides in the back of a high school student’s car in order to later subdue him, but the student picks up a passenger, completely altering Thomas’s plans. While the driver stops at a gas station, Thomas subdues the passenger, and tries to flee. He crashes the car in a nearby ditch and becomes trapped inside. Thomas douses his face with acid so that his connection to Abby will not be discovered. He is taken to the hospital; when Abby learns of this from a radio broadcast, she climbs up outside his window to see him. Thomas leans forward to offer his throat to Abby, who drinks his blood. Thomas passes out and falls to his death. The detective later gradually learns of Thomas’s connection to Abby.

The next day on a school outing to a local frozen pond in a park Kenny threatens to push Owen into an ice hole. Owen defends himself with a metal pole splitting Kenny’s ear. Also while at the park, a body is discovered under the ice. Later, Owen takes Abby to an abandoned area of their apartment complex where he cuts his finger to make a blood pact with her. Abby is drawn to the blood falling to the ground; she licks it up and Owen sees her vampiric form for the first time, but instead of attacking Owen, Abby runs away and attacks Virginia (Sasha Barrese), a woman in the complex park. Owen then confronts Abby at her apartment where Abby admits that she is a vampire. Owen also discovers that Thomas was not her father, but a man she has known since he was a boy. Meanwhile at the hospital, Virginia transforms into a vampire, but when a nurse draws the curtains, the daylight causes her to burst into flames, killing them both.

Abby visits one night while Owen’s mother (Cara Buono) is away. Owen opens the door for her and she tells him he needs to invite her in. He asks her why, so she enters without an invitation, which causes her to bleed heavily until he verbally acquiesces. The next morning, the detective finds Abby asleep in the bathtub, but Owen startles him, allowing Abby to grab him from behind. Abby kills the detective and starts to feed off him. Later, she is seen leaving in a taxi.

During an evening gym class, Kenny, his older brother Jimmy (Brett DelBuono), and their friends start a fire outside to distract authorities and clear out the swimming pool. Jimmy tells Owen that if he can hold his breath underwater for three minutes, then he will cut Owen’s cheek; if Owen cannot, Jimmy will poke out one of Owen’s eyes. As Owen is held underwater, chaos ensues as Abby slaughters the four bullies. Abby and Owen then make their escape.

Later, Owen travels on a train with Abby in a trunk beside him. They tap out brief messages to each other in Morse code as the film ends.


It is not a secret that I hate remakes, but I do give a bit of a pass to those that are rehashing of a foreign film…still doesn’t mean I’m a fan of people not coming up with their own ideas, though.

This is where Let Me In comes along. Apparently, many critics nearly had this up for the major awards thanks to the strong performances of its young stars, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moertz.

I would be hard pressed to disagree with them. These two turn in performances rivaling many of today’s most talented thespians. In the day and age when it seems as if all the young talent goes to crappy movies *cough* Twilight franchise *cough*, it is nice to see that not all are brainwashed.

Hell, we’ve seen these two before. Moertz is no stranger to impressing audiences. You’ve seen her as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass. Smit-McPhee isn’t as well known, but he has had some time on the big screen. Next time you watch X-Men Origins: Wolverine, check him out in the beginning as young Logan.

It seems as if I just can’t get away from watching horror flicks involving vampires. I had no idea that this would involve them, but lo and behold, not too far into the flick, there is the vampire scene.

Strangely enough, though, it seems as if this film wants to downplay the vampiric activity and focus more on the relationship between the young leads as well as the whole bullying angle.

If this were a drama, I’d have no problem with that, but seeing as how this is supposedly a horror flick, I think they should have fond some way to give us more bloodshed.

Yes, I know that some of you don’t agree with me on that, but you’ll get over it. Also, I am aware that the only vampire we see is a 12-year-old girl (not counting the woman in the hosital that apparently got trned). Need I remind you of some of the things Kirsten Dunst did when she became a vampire in Interview with a Vampire or even the violent acts Hit Girl pulled off in Kick-Ass. I think she’s more than capable of handling herself in that department. It is the squeamish audiences who want to bitch and complain about everything that probably kept her from doing more.

I mentioned earlier that this is a remake of a foreign film, which it is, but that isn’t the source material. It appears that this is a book. So, perhaps the violence isn’t there. Even so, personally, I would have liked to have seen more killing and less random talking. If I wanted to see that, I’d watch some crap on the CW, but that’s just my opinion.

Let Me In impressed me with how well made it was, but for every point in won for the surprise factor, it lost because of this uninteresting plot or pacing or whatever it was that just could not keep my attention. Having said that, I know there are more than a few of you out there that would eat this kind of film up, and more power to you. While this wasn’t for me, I’d recommend it to anyone that wanted to give it a shot.

3 out of 5 stars

Tripping the Rift: The Movie

Posted in Animation, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2011 by Mystery Man


A routine mission to protect a contentious princess devolves into a seriously warped space adventure in this full-length animated comedy featuring the voices of Stephen Root, Jenny McCarthy, and John Melendez. Chode and his crew are safeguarding a royal pain in the backside when a team of indestructible clown assassins and insanely horny housewives send things spiraling out of control. Now, as a time-traveling assassin threatens to transform a boozy birthday party into a blood-soaked crime scene, it’s up to Gus, Six, T’nuk, Whip, and Bob to ensure that their tempestuous charge arrives at her intended destination in one piece


First off, let me say that I LOVED Tripping the Rift when it was on the air. As with most sci-fi (the genre, not the channel) shows that have a specific audience, it was canceled too soon. The result, it appears, is Tripping the Rift: The Movie.

One would imagine that this would be some sort of awesome closure to the show, right? I mean that’s what we got with The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!…well, that was the idea, anyway.

With this, the filmmakers took the lazy route of stitching episodes together to make a movie. I would say this doesn’t work, but I’ve seen it actually succeed before. Hell, a while back, I reviewed Marvel Knights: Black Panther, which was nothing more than the animated series, but if you watch them back to back it makes a movie.

The problem with this flick is that from the get go, it seems as if it is nothing more than a final attempt to grab some cash from the audience, and doesn’t apologize for what it is. This would work if it was a sequel, but when a show is cancelled, fans want some closure and this hodge-podge of episodes didn’t do it.

I read a review of this the other day that said they should have played up the sex angle more. I can’t disagree with that. The whole Desperate Housewives parody might very well have been the best part. Quite a shame, since they also parody Young Frankenstein and The Terminator.

Instead of playing up the sex angle, they spend a good chink of the film making gay jokes. Much in the same way this past season of Glee became nothing more than gay propaganda. I’m of the belief that once you make that distinction, move along. Sure, a few jokes are fine, but after awhile, they start to get stale.

As far as computer animation goes, this is nowhere near the stuff Pixar and Dreamworks are putting out, but remember, this was a Sci-Fi channel show (back when they actually spelled their name right).

I wish I could say that this was hilarious, but it just isn’t. Now, for me, having seen these episodes before, perhaps it could just be the disappointment and anticipation of something new, but it just seemed as if all the jokes were forced or beating the proverbial dead horse. I was hoping for something new.

I guess I am making it sound like Tripping the Rift: The Movie is the worse film ever made, and it is far from that. This is one of those films that can be watched over and over again, especially when you’re drunk and with friends makin fun of everything bad about it, or it can be a late night treat when nothing else is on. So, yes I recommend it, but not to fans of the show. We’ve already seen it in the form of 3 separate episodes, so why waste the time watching it again, except to hear animated cussing?

3 out of 5 stars

Police Academy: Mission to Moscow

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2011 by Mystery Man


Russian mafia boss Konstantine Konali is laundering money under the guise of a legitimate business.

The business is a highly addictive video game that allows him to bring down almost any security system controlled by a computer on which the game has been played, with a string of major robberies as the result.

Desperate to nail Konali, Russian Commandant Alexandrei Nikolaivich Rakov sends for help from America. Rakov decides to bring in someone he met at a police convention—Commandant Eric Lassard (George Gaynes).

Lassard briefs his team about the mission in Russia, then they head to Moscow. Along with Lassard in Moscow are Sergeant Larvell Jones (Michael Winslow), Sergeant Eugene Tackleberry (David Graf), Captain Debbie Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook), Cadet Kyle Connors (Charlie Schlatter), and Captain Thaddeus Harris (G. W. Bailey).

As they plan to nail Konali, he has cooked up a new scheme—create an even more addictive form of the Game, a version that can bring down absolutely any computer security system in the world, including the systems that protect the databases that belong to world powers.


You know, one wold think that with the last film in a franchise, they would bring back all the pieces that made it work in the first place. Instead, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow takes away Hightower and Hooks and then transports them all to Moscow. They already jumped the shark when Mahoney left and they moved everything to Miami, so this was more of the shark coming back to get them. A definite nail in the coffin of the franchise, that’s for sure.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this is nowhere near as bad as it’s predecessor Police Academy 6: City Under Seige. Whereas that film seemed more like the animated series, this one felt like they were actually trying and succeeded in parts, and in others…not so much.

The plot is actually not bad, if this was a serious cop flick, bt for the Police Academy movies, it seemed a bit to serious, especially considering how that Russian was still somewhat of a taboo subject at the time this was released.

Not to mention, the whole criminal plot about the Russian mafia and taking over the world with “the Game” was barely touched on, save for a mention here and there, but they never really went anywhere with it. Really a disappointment since they could have flown with it.

I do wonder though, why it is they choise to use Game Boys with no game in them as the apparent gaming device. Seems just like the studios being cheap or perhaps it could have been some random joke. That wold make sense and fit the m.o. for this franchise.

The returning cast does what they do best, though they all seem to just be going through the motions at this point. It is really quite sad to see them in this state.

On the flip side, we do get a nice villain in Ron Perlman. Not quite sure if I buy his Russian accent, but then he spoke a bit of Russian in Hellboy, if I recall.

Christopher Lee doesn’t have a huge role here. As a matter of fact, he is really nothing more than a cameo, but it is good to see him away from his usual villain role, and he does a pretty good job in this comedic turn as a guy who is, more or less, the Russian equivalent to Cmdt. Lassard.

Well, it appears that I have now completed the Police Academy movies. As a franchise, it is ok, but it degenerates over time. I suggest sticking to the first 2 or 3…maybe 4, but after that, you’re just wasting your time. As far as Police Academy: Mission to Moscow goes, well…as I sad before, it is better than its predecessor, but doesn’t live up to the original Police Academy. It just isn’t the worthy ending the franchise should have received. Although, the end credits scene was nice. I recommend this with trepidation. If you’re a fan of the franchise, then you’ll love it, but for the common viewer, you’re better tracking down one of the earlier films.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Graeme Willy and Clive Gollings (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) are two English comic book nerds and best friends who have travelled to The United States to attend the annual San Diego Comic-Con International and to take a road trip in their recreational vehicle (RV) to visit all the sites of major extraterrestrial importance. At night along the highway they investigate a crashed car and they meet and discover an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who is in desperate need of their help. Although shocked by the appearance of Paul, Graeme agrees to give Paul a ride, but Clive is not happy about the idea. Later, Lorenzo Zoil (Jason Bateman), a shady government agent, arrives at the site of the crashed car and informs his mysterious female superior over the radio that he’s closing in on Paul, and she recommends using local law enforcement as back-up. Zoil then recruits two inept FBI agents, Haggard (Bill Hader) and O’Reilly (Joe Lo Truglio), to aid in his mission, without telling them the nature of their target.

Graeme, Clive and Paul pull into a motor park run by Ruth Buggs (Kristen Wiig), a Christian fundamentalist, and her controlling father, Moses (John Carroll Lynch). The trio bond around their campgrill and Paul reveals that since he was captured by the government, he had been advising them in all manner of scientific and sociological achievements. Yet Paul had outlived his usefulness as a receptacle of knowledge, and his captors were intending to surgically remove Paul’s brain in an attempt to harness his abilities. With help from a friend inside Area 51, Paul sent an S.O.S. to his home planet, and he was escaping to meet up with them. The next morning, Paul inadvertently reveals himself to Ruth, and the trio are forced to kidnap her and make a hasty escape. Paul then shatters Ruth’s faith by sharing his knowledge of the universe via telepathic link; at first horrified, Ruth suddenly becomes eager to sin, which her father had raised her to fear doing. She initially doesn’t trust Paul, but he heals her eye, as she has been blind in it since the age of four.

Eventually, Paul reveals his intention to return to the girl whose dog he crashed his ship on in 1947 and who subsequently saved his life, who is now an old woman, Tara Walton (Blythe Danner). After spending her life being ridiculed for what she said she saw, Tara seems grateful to see that Paul simply exists. She turns her gas cooker on to make tea, but is interrupted by Haggard and O’Reilly on one side of the house, and Zoil on the other. As the motley crew escapes and drives off with Paul, O’Reilly shoots at them, and the gas ignites, destroying the house. A winded Zoil tries to follow, but Haggard takes off first, running Moses (who’d also been tracking the RV) off the road, and catching up to the RV. However, thanks to an error of judgement, Haggard accidentally drives off a cliff, and is presumably killed, leaving Zoil in hot pursuit. He reassures his superior that he’ll have Paul within an hour, but she declares herself tired of waiting, and informs Zoil that she’s ordered a military response.

When Paul, Graeme, Clive, Ruth and Tara arrive at the rendezvous, they set off a signal and wait. Eventually, eerie orange lights show up over the surrounding trees, and everyone believes that it is Paul’s race. However, it is an army helicopter, with ‘the Big Guy’ (Sigourney Weaver) on board, Zoil’s shadowy superior. As she and three troops move to shoot Paul, Zoil arrives, and it’s revealed that he was Paul’s inside contact who had helped him to escape. Zoil disarms the men, but is shot in the shoulder. Tara punches out ‘the Big Guy’, but Moses appears with a shotgun and shoots Graeme dead. Paul heals him and then collapses, exhausted. Paul seems to be dead and everyone is silent until he coughs, to the relief of all. ‘The Big Guy’ regains consciousness, but is immediately crushed by the arriving alien ship. Paul begins to depart and informs Tara that she is going with him to live a better life and bids farewell to his friends hoping to meet them again one day. Two years later, Graeme, Clive, Ruth and even O’Reily (with a scarred face from the house explosion) are shown again at the 2011 Comic-Con convention, promoting their new mega-successful novel, Paul.


We’ve all seen alien flicks, right? What about alien merchandise? It is kind of hard to have not seen at least something that has been plastered with the default alien image, but that image, according to this film, is Paul.

I really wanted to see this when it came out. These days it seems like people are afraid to make a funny comedy, at least not without it turning into a drama halfway thorough and never getting back to the funny. No worries about that with Paul.

This flick starts off funny, has a few moments of touching bonding that is to be expected from a quasi-buddy movie, and then gets right back to the funny. On top of that, there is some slapstick and sight gags here that really can have you on the floor rolling.

I was a little disappointed with the special effects here. Sure, Paul looks great, but I guess I was expecting some kind of fantastic, over-the-top alien technology like in Mars Attacks, rather than the subdued subtleties as in something like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

Having said that, Paul’s powers sort of make-up for that. It seemed like everytime something happened we learned about some other fabulous power he possessed. No wonder the government wanted to slice him up and get the secrets. Come to think of it, I think they just wanted to slice him up for the fun of it. That seems to be more their style.

Pacing is pretty good. There aren’t any places that drag the film down. I’ve mentioned earlier how there is a scene that breaks from the comedy, but that doesn’t do anything other than help tie up some loose ends in the plot and whatnot. It doesn’t affect how the film moves along at all.

I liked the story. Knowing how cynical people are these days, I’m sure there are people who would have preferred this story to go in a totally different direction, but not me. Although, it would have been nice to see him harvest some farts (a joke Paul makes when they meet him initially).

You know these days when you have a comedy, you pretty much call in any of these actors (not counting Simon Pegg and Nick Frost). Seriously, look at almost any comedy from the past 3-5 yrs and I would bet you’d find someone’s there and here.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.

People said that when Seth Rogen lost weight, he lost his ability to be funny (now they say that about Jonah Hill). That was certainly obvious with The Green Hornet, but here it shows that he can still do it. Of course, since Paul was animated, it is possible he recorded his lines while he was still a fat guy.

British comedic actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are hilarious as these two sci-fi geeks from, yep, you guessed it, England. Their wide-eyed naivite and chemistry with both Paul and Kristen Wiig really made the film click.

In the end Paul is a good time. No, this isn’t you father’s alien flick, but it is hilarious. Sure there are some issues here and there, but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Look for a couple of surprise cameos, one is only a voice, but it is in a very funny scene. Do I think you should see this? Oh yes, most definitely! I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars

The Rite

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2011 by Mystery Man


PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue), disillusioned with his job as a mortician, decides to enter a seminary school and abdicate his vows upon completion, thereby getting a free college degree. Four years have passed, and Michael is being ordained to the diaconate at the seminary. However, after ordination, he writes a letter of resignation to his superior, Father Matthew, citing a lack of faith. Father Matthew (Toby Jones), apparently wanting to talk Michael out of his decision, attempts to catch up to Michael on the street. He trips as he walks over a curb, causing a cyclist to swerve into the path of an oncoming car. The cyclist, a young woman is critically injured and believes Michael to be a priest, after seeing his clerical garb, then asks him for absolution. After initial hesitation and unable to refuse, Michael comforts her and performs the blessing ritual absolving her sins. Seeing how calmly he handled the situation, Father Matthew tells Michael he is called to be a priest, whether Michael believes this or not. He later approaches Michael with an invitation to travel to Rome in order to attend a class on exorcism. Michael reluctantly accepts after being told by Father Matthew that he will be levied a $100,000 student loan if he leaves immediately, but that if he still desires to resign from his position after taking the class, then they will discuss it then (hinting that he may be free to leave).

During classes, he meets a young woman, Angelina (Alice Braga), who is also taking the course. He soon learns that she is a reporter who has been asked to cover the course for an article in a newspaper. Realizing Michael is a skeptic and is very tentative in his faith, Father Xavier (Ciarán Hinds) later asks Michael to see a friend of his, Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who is a renowned Welsh Jesuit exorcist. Michael agrees and meets Father Lucas at his home, where he sees one of the priest’s patients: a pregnant sixteen-year-old girl. It is later revealed that she was raped by her father, which led to her possession. However, Michael remains skeptical, even after witnessing several preternatural events, such as the girl coughing up three long nails and fluently speaking English. She pointedly reminds Michael of the last patient he embalmed and of his loathing for his father. He later speaks with Angelina again, who asks him to relay the information that he gets from Father Lucas to her, as she has tried to get an interview with him many times but has been refused. Michael declines. Meanwhile, the possessed girl’s condition worsens, prompting Father Lucas and Michael to have her taken to a hospital for further care. There, Father Lucas performs another exorcism on the girl while Michael observes. They leave the hospital room together with Michael while Father Lucas stays overnight outside the girl’s room. Late that night, she miscarries; the baby dies from cardiac arrest and the mother from blood loss. Disheartened, Father Lucas feels he has failed her. After Michael sees this he decides to confer with Angelina.

After the death of the young woman, Father Lucas begins behaving strangely, exhibiting signs of demonic possession. Michael and Angelina later find him sitting outside of his house in the rain. Father Lucas takes them into his house and, knowing himself to be possessed, tells Michael that he needs to find Father Xavier in order to perform the exorcism. Angelina and Michael try desperately to contact and find Father Xavier; however, they learn that he is out of contact for three days. Learning this, Michael decides to perform the exorcism on his own, with Angelina present. After constant rebuking by the demon and a long, drawn out fight, Michael regains his once lost faith and is able to force the demon to reveal its name, which is Baal. He completes the exorcism, and the powerful demon leaves Father Lucas. Successful, Michael leaves Rome, returning to the United States and to his life.

The final scene of the film shows Michael, now Father Michael Kovak, entering a confessional and beginning to hear a girl’s confession, revealing that he has found his calling as a priest and did not resign.


I heard one of my friends bemoan this film as “a waste of good talent such as Anthony Hopkins and Ciaran Hinds”, and yet, I felt they were the only ones worth watching in this film.

Now, before you get the wrong idea about this film…yes, it is a horror film, but it barely can be called. I would put this more in the category with flicks such as Season of the Witch and, to a lesser extent, Constantine. It isn’t necessarily horrifying, but it does have those elements.

The effects here are few and far between, but that is because this is apparently based on something that happened in real life, so there very well can’t be these random demons flying all around the screen. Today’s audiences apparently are either too cynical for that, or just don’t have the ability to suspend disbelief that way folks used to in order to fully enjoy something like that. This is why we have to deal with a leathery looking Anthony Hopkins and a pregnant chick who is literally spitting nails.

Storywise, I think this could have been better. I’m not sure why, but I sort of just lost interest a little before the midway point. I think that was more of a pacing issue, but it felt like things were already barely moving, and then they just got murkier.

As far as exorcism films go, The Rite is alright, but it is no The Exorcist. With that being said, the performance of Anthony Hopkins after he gets possessed brings to mind the greatness we know him for in The Silence of the Lambs.

We can all but forget the rest of the cast. With the exception of some nice convolutions by the pregnant chick that was possessed and of course the eye candy that is Alice Braga, they were all forgettable. Even Ciaran Hinds turned out a dull reading. It just seemed as if there was no life to any of them. Hell, even Hopkins was a bit wooden until he got possessed. Maybe that’s what should have happened to them all?

Final verdict on The Rite…well, it is ok, but not great. The biggest flaw with this film is that the exorcism aren’t anything to write home about and they really should be. There is a line when we first meet Hopkins and he says something to the effect of don’t expect pea soup. An obvious nod to the 70s exorcism flicks, and yet something like would have made this more enjoyable for me. That point aside, I know this could have been a much more boring and drawn out flick, not to mention just an all around worse movie than the average outing it turned out to be. I’m not going to say you need to rush out and see this, but it would be something to keep in mind if you’re ever at a loss for what to watch.

3 out of 5 stars

The best of 2011…so far

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2011 by Mystery Man

With Labor Day now passed, is it a sign that the summer movie season is officially over. As I have done for the past couple of years, I bring you the best of 2011…so far.

Just like year’s past, please keep two things in mind with this list….a) this is only my opinion and b) I can only judge the films I’ve seen.

10. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
9. Rango
8. Cowboys & Aliens
7. The King’s Speech
6. Thor
5. Green Lantern









4. Captain America: The First Avenger










3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon










2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II










1. X-Men: First Class




Well, there you have it. I don’t need to tell you this was a tough decision (unlike last year). There are still 3 months left to go before the year is over. Let’s see if any of the forthcoming movies can make their way on this list, or if any rankings change. In the meantime, keep coming back and reading my reviews and remember, comments are always welcome!

Wild Orchid

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on September 7, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Emily Reed (Otis), a young woman, travels to New York City for an interview with an international law firm. The firm is impressed with her credentials and immediately offers her a job, on the condition that she be ready to fly to Rio de Janeiro the following morning. Emily readily agrees and is introduced to Claudia Dennis (Bisset), one of the firm’s top executives, who is overseeing the purchase and renovation of dilapidated beach hotel in Rio.

Emily and Claudia arrive in Rio to put the finishing touches on the deal, but an angry Claudia is forced to fly to Argentina when she discovers that the man they are buying the hotel from has flown to Buenos Aires, ostensibly to attend a niece’s wedding, although she believes he is secretly trying to make a deal with the Argentinians for the property. Claudia instructs Emily to take her date for the night, advising her that she will leave her one of her own dresses. While looking over the hotel by herself Emily sees two locals having animalistic sex, which unnerves her and she returns to her own hotel. She finds the dress that Claudia left for her, and upon going back downstairs is introduced to Claudia’s friend and business associate, a wealthy man named James Wheeler (Rourke). The two, accompanied by his bodyguards, go to dinner, and it is revealed that Wheeler actually bought the dress for Claudia some time ago. She also discovers that Wheeler has taken the time to find out information about her by calling her mother, and as such discovered that she has always wanted children and likes roast beef, mashed potatoes, and creamed carrots. Emily finds herself intrigued by him, as he is quiet and asks seemingly personal questions without being pushy or rude. Following dinner they attend a street carnival, but Emily leaves after a masked man who looks like Wheeler tries to seduce her.

The next morning Emily awakens in her room to find Wheeler silently watching her, and has brought of bouquet of orchids to her. Wheeler tells her that he is not the man who made advances to her, and as a way of apologizing for any offense he might have caused he asks her to allow him to show her the city’s sights. She is initially reluctant but ultimately consents, and that afternoon they attend a beach club with a married couple that they noticed in the restaurant the night before. Some military personnel at the party try to made advances on the wife; Wheeler fights them off and he, Emily, and the couple are all forced to flee in his limousine. It is revealed that the couple are having marital problems brought about by the wife’s infidelity. She obviously wants to patch things up with her recalcitrant husband, and Wheeler encourages the two to make love, which they ultimately do. Emily is disturbed by their actions, and Wheeler asks her if she has never felt as carnal as the couple, to which she doesn’t respond. Emily and Wheeler then visit the hotel that her firm wants to buy, and while there Emily tells Wheeler that she fears he would disappear if she touched him. He tells her to try it and see what happens, but when Emily hugs him he gently pulls away from her, telling her that he doesn’t like to be touched. The married couple gave Wheeler a necklace as a token of gratitude for bringing them back together; he gives it to Emily as a gift, possibly because he knows that he hurt her feelings by pulling away from her.

That night Emily dresses up for the Carnival festivities and is propositioned by a man in a mask, who offers her the key to his room. She initially refuses the offer but is encouraged by Wheeler to accept. It is then that she realizes Wheeler is incapable of acting upon his own emotions, and because of this he tries to experience passion through other people. Emily ultimately agrees to the stranger’s proposal and sleeps with him, but both she and Wheeler seem saddened by the act.

The next day Claudia arrives back in Rio with the hotel owner (whose niece really did get married) and a meeting is set up at the airport. Emily is humiliated to discover that the man’s attorney, named Jerome, is none other than the stranger she slept with the night before; he uses this to intimidate Emily to get a better deal for his client. Emily pulls Claudia aside, but her boss is thrilled when she discovers the truth, as she uses the information to drop thinly veiled threats to Jerome that if he doesn’t stop playing hardball she will tell his wife about the affair. As such Claudia and Emily get a very good deal. The meeting over, Claudia goes to a costume shop to get ready for the celebration that will mark the sale of the hotel to a group of Chinese investors. Claudia begins to question Emily regarding her impressions of Wheeler. She tells Emily that Wheeler was an only child born in Philadelphia, stuttered as a child, and was a completely self-made man. She confesses that she became obsessed with him, but that Wheeler would never touch her. She asks Emily if anything happened between her and Wheeler, but Emily says no. Just as they are leaving the store Claudia’s assistants reveal that a man bought the deed to the old hotel prior to the finalization of the deal, and both women know who it was. When they confront Wheeler he admits that he was the one who purchased, infuriating Claudia. Claudia decides to go ahead with the sale even though she doesn’t own the hotel, hoping that she will be able to circumvent what Wheeler has done. Emily strongly advises her against this course of action, but Claudia will not be deterred. After the paperwork has been signed Claudia arranges a huge party to commemorate the event. Emily spots Wheeler in the crowd and asks him why he bought the hotel, but before he can answer she is swept away in the crowd.

The next morning Claudia invites a young surfer up to her room, but asks Emily to stay since she is able to speak Portuguese and wants her to help translate what the surfer says. Emily is clearly uncomfortable with the idea but agrees. Things get very heated and the three nearly end up sleeping together, but the moment is broken by an angry Wheeler, who interrupts the proceedings. Emily, at an emotional breaking point because of his actions, accuses Wheeler of intentionally setting people up to disappoint him and then throwing them aside when they do. He responds that he never sets anybody up, that they disappoint him of their own accord. As he walks away from her she screams at him that he will always be alone. Later on that day a package is delivered to Emily’s room, and upon opening it she discovers that Wheeler has signed over the old hotel’s deed to her, meaning that the deal with the Chinese can be salvaged. Emily goes to the hotel and finds Wheeler looking out at the ocean. She confesses to him that she loves him, but leaves when he doesn’t respond.

Later that night Emily returns to her room to find Wheeler waiting for her. He reveals that as a child he hardly spoke for years after his father abandoned him, and that his teachers thought he was retarded because he never said anything in class. He tells her that he dropped out of school at a young age and worked himself to the bone, and while still a teenager entered the real estate business by purchasing a run-down house in a terrible neighborhood and fixing it up. After he began to accumulate wealth women began to be drawn to him, and he started playing games to keep things interesting. He tells her that the games became a way of life, and he doubts he would be able to quit even if he wanted to. Emily pushes Wheeler to reach out to her, offering him her heart and body if he makes an effort to simply touch her. Though he at first resists, he reaches out and desperately holds her when he thinks she is going to walk out on him. The two embrace and passionately make love. The final scene of the film shows Wheeler and Emily driving away on his motorcycle, happy together.


Well, well, well…what can I say about this film? I think the first thing to mention is how young and normal looking Mickey Rourke looks here. A far cry from what he looks like these days. More than a few females I have talked to and have seen this flick say they preferred him like this.

This is not soft core porn like some of the other films I’ve been privy to here lately, but it is quite erotic. I would say along the lines of something like Sliver, Eyes Wide Shut, or to a lesser extent, Basic Instinct. If you don’t believe me, wait until the first night in Rio and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Even though this is an erotic film, it doesn’t go overboard with it. There is an actual story to be told here involving characters and their lives. I was actually surprised by that, to be honest, especially since the trailer I’ve seen for this have played up the sexual aspect of this flick, and then there is the whole rumor that this was almost rated X (in the days before NC-17 existed).

Now, it could be that my ears are going bad or the volume between Netflix and my TV was having issues, but it seemed as if everytime Rourke would talk he bordering between mumbling and whispering, which made it very hard to understand him, yet I had no issue with anyone else’s lines, which was odd.

Set during Carnival and in Rio de Janeiro, one would think we’d have gotten a chance to enjoy the scenery a bit more, but instead they seemed to have been stuck in these hotels and such without so much as a glimpse f the beauty the country has to offer.

My final verdict on Wild Orchid is that it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, that’s for sure, but for those that ar into this type of erotic drama, they will enjoy it, especially the last bedroom scene. I can’t recommend this to everyone, as this was made for a specific type of viewer, but if you want to take the chance and watch it, go ahead. It won’t hurt.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars