Archive for February, 2012

Puss in Boots

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Years before Puss (Antonio Banderas) meets Shrek and Donkey in Shrek 2, he goes on a heroic adventure teaming up with mastermind Humpty Dumpty and street-savvy Kitty Softpaws. He learns that the outlaw couple Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris) have the magic beans he’s been looking for most of his life, beans that can lead him to a giant’s castle holding valuable golden goose eggs. When Puss tries to steal them from the outlaws’ room, a masked cat (Salma Hayek) interrupts. Both fail and escape, and Puss follows the cat back to the Glitter Box, a club, where they have a dance-off and a sword fight, ending when Puss hits the masked cat in the head with a guitar. He learns that the masked cat is Kitty Softpaws, and is shocked to learn she is a girl. She is allied with Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), a talking egg and Puss’ long-estranged childhood friend from the orphanage where he was raised. Puss tells Kitty of his feelings of betrayal for a youthful misadventure when Humpty tricked Puss into helping commit a crime. Humpty attempts to convince Puss to join them in finding the beans and retrieving the golden eggs, which he does.

The trio steals the beans from Jack and Jill and elude the angry outlaws in a canyon chase. As Humpty leads his compatriots to the spot where they must plant the beans, Puss and Kitty’s relationship begins to grow from rivalry into friendship. The trio ride the fast-growing beanstalk into the clouds where, Humpty explains, they’ll find the castle of the late giant, while trying to avoid a fearsome monster called the Terror who guards the Golden Goose. When they realize the golden eggs are too heavy to carry, they steal the Goose — which is just a gosling — and escape the castle and the Terror. While celebrating their victory, the group is ambushed by Jack and Jill, who knock Puss unconscious.

When Puss wakes up, he tracks Jack and Jill back to his old hometown, where he learns that the entire heist was a plot by Humpty to lure him home to be captured, as revenge for abandoning him to the authorities when Humpty’s youthful heist went bad. Jack, Jill, and even Kitty were involved in the con. After pleas from his adoptive mother, the head of the orphanage, Puss turns himself in to the guards while Humpty donates many golden eggs to the town and becomes a hero.

While in prison, Puss meets the original Jack from the “Jack and the Beanstalk” (a.k.a. Andy Beanstalk) story who warns him that the Terror is in fact the Golden Goose’s mother, and it will stop at nothing to get its child back. A repentant Kitty helps Puss break out of prison and tells him that she loves him more than gold. Puss convinces Humpty to help him fight off the Terror, saying he knows Humpty is a good person at heart, and he will be forgiven if he helps save the town. The Terror arrives, revealing itself to be a giant goose, aka Mother Goose. Using the Golden Goose as bait, Puss and Humpty lure the Terror out of the town, but Humpty and the Goose are knocked off a bridge with Puss holding on to them. Humpty knows Puss cannot hold both of them, and he lets go, sacrificing himself to save the Goose and the town. Humpty’s shell cracks open to reveal that he was a golden egg on the inside. The Terror then takes the Goose and Humpty away back to the giant’s castle.

Puss is forced to flee because he is still an outlaw, but his efforts to save the town make him a hero among the townspeople. Puss and Kitty escape the guards once more, and Kitty says she will see him again soon, showing that she has taken his boots. In the epilogue, Jack and Jill are recovering from their injuries after being crushed by the Terror, Humpty is shown once again in his regular egg form, wearing a golden egg suit, as he rides the Terror into the clouds, and Puss and Kitty head back to dance at the Glitter Box, where they finally kiss.

REVIEW:

From the moment we were first introduced to Puss in Shrek 2, it was quite obvious this was a character destined for bigger and better things, such as his own spinoff. The wait for this film has been a long and tedious one, filled with a couple of exceedingly bad and unnecessary Shrek film, but finally we have Puss in Boots!

I don’t recall what the original tale of Puss involved, but I’m pretty certain it didn’t involve an orphanage, Humpty Dumpty, and of course Jack & Jill. However, while this isn’t a Shrek picture, it is still taking place in the same universe where fairy tale creatures all live together. There are some out there who thought this was going to really deviate from the franchise’s formula, so rest assured it doesn’t.

Let’s cover the good first, shall we? It was great to see, um, hear Antonio Banderas back with Salma Hayek. With the great chemistry these two have, you’d think we’d see them together as often as audiences of yesteryear got to enjoy Ginger Roger and Fred Astaire.

Animation is top-notch, though not Pixar level, and just goes to show how far technology has come since our first introduction to the character.

The action scenes are awesome! Seriously, do you expect less from Puss in Boots? The best one, though, has to be the initial, for lack of a better term, catfight between Puss and the mysterious masked cat (who turns out to be Kitty Softpaws).

Some may not agree with me on this, but I like how this film was totally removed from anything to do with Shrek. There wasn’t a cameo, poster, or anything involving any of those characters. While some may think it may have been nice to see them, I happen to think it would have been nothing more than beating a dead horse, especially after the last two films proved that Shrek should have been left alone after 2 films. There is also the little fact that this takes place long before Puss is hired to assassinate Shrek, and is also in what appears to be a different country, so why would Shrek be foisted upon us in Puss’ feature film?

Now, onto the bad…

The story was alright. I actually liked it, but when they started going into flashback mode, I started dozing off. Ironically, Kitty does the same thing. I’m not saying anything needed to be changed in the way the plot went, but they could have done something to make the flashbacks more interesting.

Humpty Dumpty just did not appeal to me. Firstly, he doesn’t quite fit in. If you will notice, everyone speaks with some sort of Hispanic accent, yet Humpty is as American as they come! This really took away the believability of his character for me. Couple that with the fact that Zach Galifianakis is slowly but surely becoming more annoying than Jack Black, if that’s possible. As much as studios seem to like using George Lopez, Cheech Marin, or even Danny Trejo, you would think they’d have used them instead.

Keeping on the topic of Galifianakis, the guy just does not have any kind of charisma and definitely lacks chemistry with Hayek and Banderas. In other words, he’s severely miscast, in my opinion.

Jack & Jill are the secondary antagonists, but they are underused. With this gross re-imagining of them, one would think the filmmakers would have taken advantage and done something really interesting with the characters, but that wasn’t the case.

If there was one flashback we could have used, I think we all agree seeing Humpty Dumpty fall off the wall and learning how he got put back together again would have been great. Also, I’m curious how the goose survived up there on the beanstalk if the giants have been long dead.

So, as you can see there are plenty of good and bad things about this film, but the most important thing is that, despite its faults, it really is an entertaining flick, and a much-needed breath of life in the Shrek franchise. I haven’t heard of any sequel in the works, but if they do decide to go that route, they better not ruin Puss in the same way. All in all, this is a great film that I hope you all take the time to check out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Mysterious Island

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film centers around Union soldiers escaping in a gas balloon from a Confederate prison camp during the American Civil War. They end up crashing in the ocean, only to find themselves washed up on an unknown island where gigantic animals abound. It would later be revealed that the animals were the result of experiments by the presumed-dead Captain Nemo. He has been an unknown benefactor to the castaways as they struggled to survive on the island. The island’s volcano threatens to erupt. After a skirmish with pirates, the stranded group manages to escape from the island on the pirates’ ship as the volcano destroys the island.

The highlights of the film were Ray Harryhausen’s animation sequences. The different animated “monsters” that the castaways encountered included a giant crab, a giant flightless bird (a prehistoric species called a Phorusrhacos), giant bees and a giant cephalopod resembling a prehistoric ammonite.

REVIEW:

The love I have of stop motion animation knows no bounds. I still hold fast to the belief that this is far superior that CGI crap they shove down our throats today, but that is a topic for another time.

Mysterious Island is a flick whose main purpose is to showcase giant creatures, as the very thin plot is not worth mentioning. There is an appearance fo Captain Nemo, but this is not, in any shape, a sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It isn’t even the same actor, if I’m not mistaken.

Let’s get to the good…the creatures are masterfully done, especially the giant crab. not only are they well done, but the actors do a good job of making it believable that they really are engaging with these beasts, as opposed to just a ball on a string, or whatever method was used to fill-in until they could be added in post-production.

There is plenty of action to go around, but if you’ve seen any film on an abandoned island (with the exception of Castaway), then you know that there is plenty to go around, what with tracking down food and avoiding nature and whatnot.

The bad…the lack of a story to go along with the great creatures. How can a film with such great work in the special effects departments fall so flat when it comes to the actual film? That is a real head scratcher for me, and many other who have seen this film, I would imagine.

Captain Nemo was a great addition, especially when you find out how critical a part of the film he is, but he was just in a previous film, so why couldn’t the get same actor, and also, why was he nothing more than a bit of a cameo? Is that how he was written in the book?

I was a little disappointed with how this film turned out, as  had such high expectations. Unfortunately, they just fell flat. This is a good Saturday afternoon flick, but in the end, it comes off as nothing more than average entertainment that has more bad than good parts. You shouldn’t avoid it, as it isn’t a bad film, but be wary of its mundane existence.

3 out of 5 stars

Howard the Duck

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , on February 29, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Howard (voiced by Chip Zien) lives on Duckworld, a planet just like Earth but inhabited by anthropomorphic ducks. One night, as he reads the latest issue of Playduck Magazine, his armchair begins to quake violently and propels him out of his apartment building and into outer space, where he eventually lands up on Earth, in Cleveland, Ohio. Upon arriving, Howard encounters a girl being attacked by thugs and decides to help her out with his unique brand of “Quack Fu”. After the thugs scamper, the girl introduces herself as Beverly (Lea Thompson), and decides to take Howard to her apartment and let him spend the night. The next day, Beverly takes Howard to a supposed-scientist by the name of Phil Blumburtt (Tim Robbins), who Beverly hopes can help Howard return to his world. After Phil is revealed to be only a lab assistant, Howard resigns himself to life on Earth and rejects Beverly’s aid. With the help of a no-nonsense secretary (Virginia Capers), he soon lands a job cleaning up at a local romantic spa. Due to unfair treatment by his boss (Sheldon Feldner), Howard ultimately quits his job and returns to Beverly, who plays in a band called Cherry Bomb. At the club where Cherry Bomb is performing, Howard comes across the group’s sleazy manager (Richard Edson), and confronts the manager when he badmouths the band. A fight ensues in which Howard is victorious, before getting the manager to force Cherry Bomb out of their unfair contract.

Howard rejoins Beverly backstage after the band’s performance, gives the band their money and accompanies Beverly back to the apartment, where Beverly chooses Howard to be Cherry Bomb’s new manager. The two begin to flirt and joke at the idea of sexual intercourse, but are interrupted when Blumburtt and two of his colleagues, Dr. Walter Jenning (Jeffrey Jones) and Larry (David Paymer), arrive and reveal how Howard came to Earth: earlier, the scientists had been working on a dimensional-jumping device that just happened to be aimed at Howard’s universe and brought him to Earth when it was activated. They theorize that Howard can be sent back to his world through a reversal of this same process, so they drive Howard to the lab with the intention of sending him back. The device malfunctions upon being used a second time, and Jenning’s body is taken over by a lifeform from a region of space called the Nexus of Sominus. When the police arrive, the resulting chaos leads Howard, Beverly and Jenning to escape from the police as Jenning’s transformation becomes more apparent. After eluding the police, they arrive at a Cajun sushi diner where the lifeform introduces itself as a “Dark Overlord of the Universe” and demonstrates its developing mental powers by causing the table condiments to explode. Chaos ensues when a group of truckers in the diner begin to insult Howard, resulting in a fight. This results in Howard’s capture and near-decapitation at the hands of the diner chef. Meanwhile, the truckers are scared off when the Dark Overlord destroys the cafe, kidnaps Beverly, and escapes in a semi truck.

Howard then finds Phil and frees him from the police car he had been held in after being arrested for his role in the science center explosion. On the run, the two discover an Ultralight aircraft, which they use to search for the Dark Overlord and Beverly. Meanwhile, having returned to the lab, the Dark Overlord ties Beverly down to a metal bed, hoping to transfer another one of its kind into her body with the dimension machine. Howard and Phil return to the lab and apparently destroy the Dark Overlord with an experimental “neutron disintegrator” laser. However, it had only been knocked out of Jennings’ body. The then Dark Overlord reveals itself as a monstrous creature. Howard fires the neutron disintegrator at the beast, obliterating it, and destroys the dimension machine, preventing more Dark Overlords from being brought to Earth, but also removing Howard’s only chance of returning to his planet. Howard then becomes Beverly’s manager and hires Phil as an employee on her tour.

REVIEW:

Often viewed as one of the worst films ever made, Howard the Duck has eluded me for quite some time. Well, since it is being taken down tomorrow, I figured why not give it a shot today.

For those of you wondering if it really is worthy of being called “the worst film ever made” I wouldn’t say that, mainly because I’ve seen much worse than this. However, that doesn’t mean that this thing is any good.

First off, there is a bit of a controversy revolving around the fact that this was live action as opposed to animated. While I think that it would have worked better in animated form, it wasn’t the worst part of the flick. The main reason they said this was because Howard didn’t look “believable”. Fact is,  there is no difference between his look and that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in their movie (which was released 4 years later, btw),  and pretty much any movie character created by Jim Henson. For goodness sakes, he’s a giant duck, people! Get over it!

Howard is not a likable character. As a matter of fact, he’s kind of a douche. If you’re a fan of Family Guy, you might notice that he is similar to Brian.

I wish I could say that this was some kind of riveting story with great special effects, but it isn’t. This story makes no sense and is pretty close to an insult to the audience’s intelligence. Couple that with the shoe horned in space villain (which was one of the other good things about the film, once he showed his true form), and you just wonder why it is that George Lucas put his name on it.

As far as the effects go, they are pretty much the norm for mid 80s cinema, which is fine with me, but I can imagine someone has issue with how cheesy and fake they look. The Dark Overlord, in his true form, could be quite the menacing beast, which makes him the perfect antithesis to Howard.

The humans that Howard encounters aren’t exactly the most memorable. Lea Thompson is a cutie, but she just seemed so wooden and unfeeling here that I had trouble with her character. Jeffrey Jones seems like he was going to be a villain, but turned out to be a good guy, until he was taken over by an alien life form, which actually made for the best performance of the film, if you ask me.

I guess when all is said and done, it has to be said that Howard the Duck isn’t the worst film, but there are plenty of reasons to think so. I won’t say it is the worst, but it sure is down there in the gutter. There are very few redeeming elements and when it was over, I found myself wondering why I wasted the time to watch. Other than morbid curiosity, I honestly don’t know why, but I can say that you would be best served avoiding this thing like the plague.

1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Vacation time…but do we need it?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 by Mystery Man

A friend of mine posted this the other day about a possible reboot to the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise and I figured some of you may want to check is out. Enjoy (and please don’t shoot the messenger…lol)

Get ready to head back down that holiday road. It looks like ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation,’ the seminal family road comedy, is getting a reboot. New Line has been planning a reboot for a while with a script already finished. Apparently the studio execs liked the script quite a bit because they’re now negotiating with writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein to direct the film as well. Daley and Goldstein also wrote New Line’s highly lucrative ‘Horrible Bosses’ last year and will also be penning the upcoming sequel. The reboot will evidently center on a now grown Rusty Griswold who experiences mishaps and hijinx as he tries to take his own family on vacation. No official deal has been made as of this posting.

The propensity for movie geeks to automatically bitch about remakes/sequels/reboots notwithstanding, this is a prime example of a reboot we don’t need. It’s really an unfortunate situation for the writers creatively, though I’m sure it will make a killing at the box office, because they’re locked into a damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don’t situation. They can’t follow the formula of the franchise anymore, and yet their only real alternative approach is inherently weak. Fantastic as he is on ‘Community,’Chevy Chase is a little too old to pull off the slapstick that epitomized the original ‘Vacation’ and its progeny, and recasting for a remake scenario would draw nothing but unfavorable comparisons to the original leading man. So they go the only route they have left, let the younger characters age and focus on them. The problem there is that nobody cares about Rusty Griswold. The focus of the original film series was so much on Chevy Chase that they actually recast Rusty several times throughout the franchise and nobody seemed to mind. So how now are we going to be expected to care about the recycled shenanigans he gets into with his own family? Plus, you just know they are going to shoehorn in a sad cameo from Chase that will only remind us of the hilarious ‘Vacation’ films we aren’t watching. I know, I know, I’m judging the film before it’s released and that is admittedly unfair. However my honest opinion is that we categorically do not need this reboot.

What do you guys think? Could this ‘Vacation’ reboot concept succeed? Would you pay to see it?

All I can do is shake my head at the sheer notion of this! *SIGH* Hopefully it won’t happen, though I fear it will. Ugh!

What Dreams May Come

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

While vacationing in Italy, Dr. Christopher “Chris” Nielsen (Robin Williams) accidentally meets artist Annie Collins (Annabella Sciorra), with whom he has an instant connection. They marry and have two children: Ian (Josh Paddock) and Marie (Jessica Brooks Grant). Their idyllic life comes to an end when the children die in a car crash, and while things are at first very difficult with Annie mentally breaking down and the risk of divorce hanging over their heads, they manage to pull through.

However, on the anniversary of the day they decided not to divorce, Chris is involved in a car accident that kills him. Initially confused as to why nobody can interact with him, Chris lingers on Earth, watching Annie cope with the loss and attempting to communicate with her, until he understands how this harms her, and he decides to move on.

Chris awakens in Heaven (where everything is controlled and produced by his mind), where a man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) whom Chris recognizes as Albert, his friend and mentor from his medical residency, is there to guide him. As Albert walks Chris through his new abilities, both are surprised when a Blue Jacaranda tree appears unbidden in Chris’s personal section of Heaven, matching a tree in a new painting of Annie’s, indicating that the couple are a rare case of soul mates. During his tour he also encounters an Asian woman with a nametag reading “Leona”, whom he recognizes as his daughter Marie, living in a section shaped like a diorama she loved. The two share a tearful reunion.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Annie is unable to cope with the loss of her husband and commits suicide. Chris, who is initially relieved that her suffering is over, quickly turns to anger when he learns that those who commit suicide are sent to Hell, as it is their nature to create “anti-fantasy” worlds based on their pain. He is adamant that he will rescue Annie from Hell, despite Albert’s insistence that no one has ever succeeded in doing so. Albert agrees to find Chris a “tracker” (who takes the form of Sigmund Freud) to help find Annie’s soul.

Journeying to Hell, Chris finds himself recalling memories of his son. Remembering how he’d called him the one man he’d want at his side to brave hell with, Chris realizes Albert is Ian: the boy explains that he chose to appear as Albert because he was the only person Chris would ever listen to. Before they part ways, Ian bids Chris to remember how he saved his marriage during the aftermath of the car crash, when Annie’s grief led her to be institutionalized, and to their near divorce.

After traversing a field full of the faces of the damned, they come upon a hellish replica of his and Annie’s house. The tracker, who reveals himself as the real Albert, warns Chris that if he stays with Annie for more than a few minutes, he may become permanently trapped too, and that all that may be done is allow them a proper goodbye. He also explains to Chris that his loved ones have appeared as other people so that he would allow them to guide him.

Chris enters the house to find Annie unable to remember anything, even that she committed suicide. After he is unable to make her remember, he chooses to join Annie forever in Hell. However, remembering the words he says as he accepts the sacrifice as the same ones he’d given her when she’d been institutionalized, Annie comes to, and Chris awakes with Annie in Heaven once more.

Chris and Annie are reunited with their children (who take on their own appearances once again), and while the four are happy to see each other again, Chris suggests being reborn, so that he and Annie can experience the only thing they won’t be able to replicate in Heaven: life. The film ends with Chris and Annie meeting again as young children.

REVIEW:

Let it never be said that I don’t take requests. What Dreams May Come is my best friend’s, who has been with me through thick and thin, favorite movie. I’ve been saying that I was going to do this for her, but it kept getting pushed back. Currently, I’ve been playing theGod of Wartrilogy, but decided to give Kratos a break in favor of this heart wrenching drama. So, this one is for you, Kasey!

I’ve seen this film a few times before, but never knew it was a book. Apparently, though, the film and novel take two totally different directions, especially when it comes to the view of the afterlife and what finally happens to both Chris and Annie. The best way I can explain that without giving anything away is to think of what happens in the Disney version of fairy tales, then go read the Brothers Grimm version. That is sort of what this novel is to the film.

I can easily see why Kasey loves this film so much. The first thing that strikes my fancy is the brilliant, vibrant colors that are used. Of course, Chris’ version of heaven seems to be life in a painting, which explains the colors.

Contrasting, though, the scenes in hell, are so devoid of all color and life, it might as well have been in black and white. That is some great directing, cinematography, and vision to create that effect, if you ask me.

I said earlier that I took off time from God of War to watch this, yet the scenes in hell, reminded very much of Hades in those games, specifically God of War III. I half expected Cronos to pop up and try to start some stuff!

Keeping with the good, I think most people are familiar with Robin Williams’ comedic works. If you aren’t, then there is something wrong with you. However, every now and then he takes a dramatic turn like this or in something like August Rush, that just makes you realize that the guy is a truly talented actor capable of pulling off anything from being a slapstick alien, a big blue genie, or nanny in drag, or a recently deceased husband, all without losing a step.

Seeing some of Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s latest films, one would all but forget that guy does actually have some acting chops. He doesn’t really flex them too much here, with the exception of the scene headed down to hell, but it is good to see him not making a fool of himself.

The emotional gamut this film takes you through has to be mentioned. Name one other film that has you all happy-go-lucky, then before you know it smack you upside the head with some heavy-handed death drama, and then takes you on an adventure to rescue lost love, and ends with a nice resolution that leaves you hopeful. All along the way, the film never goes into that “all is lost” depressing tone that so many films seem to do when they tackle similar topics.

All that is good, but there are a few negative things about the film, as well.

First, the wife, Anne. I think we all can understand why she became suicidal. Hell, you go and lose you two kids to a car crash, then a few months later, lose your husband (on an anniversary, no less), to a different kind of wreck, and see how hopeful you are. However, for some reason I don’t see her as the suicidal type. Perhaps that is just the eternal optimist in me always seeing the best in people, but I just didn’t see it.

Second, the way the kids assumed other forms to see their dad. The son, I’m not so concerned with. That one made sense due to the respect thing. However, the daughter, who reminded me of Alyssa Milano in her Who’s the Boss? days, becomes some Asian stewardess because her dad was nice to her or something like that.

I couldn’t help but think that she had some weird crush on her dad and that was her way of showing it, even though that wasn’t the case.

In conclusion, I have to say that What Dreams May Come is one of those films that will tug at your heartstrings. Even for someone like me who has been told that I have a “black hole where my heart should be” found this story very moving and touching. Everything is well crafted and the story is very well told. Yes, there are some holes here and there, but nothing that you can’t get over. I highly recommend this as a film you must see before you die!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

Women in Cages

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Carol ‘Jeff’ Jeffries (Jennifer Gan) is set up by her boyfriend who she doesn’t realise runs a ship-board prostitution, gambling and drug dealing empire. Thrown into a harsh prison she encounters Alabama (Pam Grier), a sadistic lesbian guard fond of torture. Cell mate Stokes (Roberta Collins) is a heroin addict who agrees to a plot involving Jeff, that will secure her more heroin. Another cell mate Sandy (Judith “Judy” Brown) also agrees to a plot involving Jeff, that could secure her own release. Their other cellmate Theresa (Sofia Moran) is Alabama’s girlfriend.

Realising her boyfriend is not helping her, Jeff hopes to escape through the jungle, but learns that local poachers are paid to track and kill escapers – who inevitably become lost in the wilds surrounding the prison. When Theresa falls foul of Alabama and loses her privileged position in the cell block, escape becomes an attractive option to her. Theresa reveals that she knows the jungle well and can obtain outside help. Despite the fact that two of her three cellmates had previously agreed to covert plots involving Jeff, all three of her cellmates – Sandy, Stokes and Theresa – agree to accompany her on the escape.

REVIEW:

When one thinks of a title like Women in Cages, what pops in your head? For me, I can’t help but think of some sort of skin flick from the 70s or thereabouts. After watching this, I actually wasn’t too far off. However, whereas those film at least have the sex and whatnot to keep the audience interested, this had nothing going for it. So why did I watch? Well, it was suggested to me because of my love of Pam Grier and her movies.

*SIGH* I can’t belive Pam did this. Now, before I go any further, it should be said that Pam is obviously the most talented person in this cast. It was kind of like watching an NFL lineman with a bunch of jr. high football players. They can try as they may, but just don’t matchup. That point aside, this is the absolute worst acting I’ve ever seen from Pam!

At first, I thought this was just a badly acted flick, and trust me, there is some horrible acting going on here. Then I thought, perhaps it is more about this badly written script. I’ve come to the conclusion that it is both.

That isn’t the only bad thing about this nearly unwatchable film. The story, about a bunch of scantily clad women in the jungle who want to break out, should have been a perfect guy flick, especially after being subject to that Twilight crap last night. However, that wasn’t the case, as it made no sense, whatsoever, and when it did somewhat start to gel, it just got boring.

Yes, there is nudity here, but it isn’t as much as you would thing from a flick like this, and quite frankly, it isn’t impressive, even by 70s standards.

Let’s face it, if you’re going to watch a film like Women in Cages, you’re not going in expecting some Oscar winning picture, but there is a certain level of adequacy that you just don’t get from this. Sch a shame, really. I didn’t have high expectations for this, but I didn’t expect absolute crap! This is one of those films that you should avoid like the plague. Even Pam Grier fans should avoid this! I honestly can’t think of any reason to watch.

1/2 out of 5 stars

Candyman

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on February 26, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Helen Lyle is a graduate student conducting research for her thesis on urban legends. While interviewing freshmen about their superstitions, she hears about a local legend known as Candyman. The legend contains many thematic elements similar to the most well known urban legends, including endangered babysitters, spirits who appear in mirrors when fatally summoned, and maniac killers with unnatural deformities.[1] The legend states that while Candyman was the son of a slave, he nevertheless became a well known artist. Yet, after falling in love with a white woman who becomes pregnant, Candyman is chased through the plantation and when caught, has his drawing hand cut off and replaced with a hook. He is then smeared with honey (prompting the locals to chant ‘Candyman’ a total of 5 times- hence the ‘say his name 5 times into the mirror’), stolen from a nearby apiary, and the bees sting him to death. The legend also claims that Candyman is summoned by anyone who looks into a mirror and chants his name five times (similar to the Bloody Mary folkloric tale). Summoning him often costs the individual their own life. Later that evening, Helen and her friend Bernadette jokingly call Candyman’s name into the mirror in Helen’s bathroom but nothing happens.

While conducting her research, Helen enters the notorious gang-ridden Cabrini–Green housing project, the site of a recent unsolved murder. There she meets Anne-Marie McCoy, one of the residents, as well as a young boy named Jake, who tells her a disturbing story of a child who was horribly mutilated in a public restroom near the projects, supposedly by Candyman. While Helen explores the run-down restroom, a gang member attacks her: he carries a hook, and has taken the Candyman moniker as his own to enhance his own street credibility by associating himself with the legend. Helen survives the assault and is able to later identify her attacker to the police.

Helen later returns to school but hears a voice calling her name as she walks through a parking garage. Another man she encounters states he is the Candyman of the urban legend and because of Helen’s disbelief in him, he must now prove to her that he is real. Helen blacks out and wakes up in Anne-Marie’s apartment, covered in blood. Anne-Marie, whose Rottweiler has been decapitated and whose baby is also missing, attacks Helen and she is forced to defend herself from Anne-Marie using a meat cleaver. The police then enter the apartment and arrest Helen.

Trevor, Helen’s husband, bails her out of jail the following day and leaves her in their apartment while he runs an errand. Candyman approaches Helen again and cuts the nape of her neck, causing her to bleed. Bernadette arrives at Helen’s apartment and, too weak from the loss of blood, Helen is unable to stop Candyman from murdering her. Trevor arrives home and after it appears that Helen has murdered Bernadette, Helen is sedated and is placed in a psychiatric hospital pending trial.

After a month’s stay at the hospital, Helen is interviewed by a psychologist in preparation for her upcoming trial. While restrained, Helen attempts to deny culpability in the murders and convince the psychologist that the urban legend is indeed true. After she summons Candyman, the psychologist is violently killed by Candyman, Helen is able to escape to her own apartment. There she finds Trevor with another woman, one of his students. Helen then flees to Cabrini–Green to confront Candyman and to locate Anne-Marie’s still-missing infant.

Candyman predicts that Helen will help carry on his tradition of inciting fear into a community, and promises to release the baby if Helen agrees to sacrifice herself. Instead of holding his end of the bargain, Candyman takes both the baby and Helen into the middle of a massive junk pile which the residents have been planning to turn into a bonfire, intending to sacrifice both Helen and the baby in order to feed his own legend. However, the residents believe Candyman is hiding inside the bonfire pile and set it aflame. Helen manages to rescue the baby, but dies from burns in the process. Candyman also burns in the fire, leaving only his hook-hand behind.

After Helen’s funeral, in which the residents of Cabrini–Green pay their respects and give thanks to Helen, Trevor stands before a mirror in the bathroom of their former apartment. He chants Helen’s name in grief, summoning her vengeful spirit. Helen kills Trevor with Candyman’s hook, leaving Trevor’s new lover Stacey with his bloodied corpse as Helen becomes the embodiment of the urban legend.

REVIEW:

I’ve heard that Candyman is one of the scariest horror films around, so I decided to check it out. Did it live up to the hype? Well, I can’t officially say that, but it did keep my interest from start to finish.

Before I go any further, can you believe that the same director who gave us The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part I, is responsible for this? Use your own judgement as to whether he’s gone up or down in his career since this was released in 1992, but I think he’s on a downslope.

Hearing tales of slaves who were gruesomely killed and have been haunting (and killing) people ever since seems to be popular fodder for films of this nature, just think back to The Skeleton Key. For some reason, though, this one seems to resonate more on a realistic level, for lack of a better term, even though there is no way this could actually happen.

As with most horror flicks, the main character is an attractive young lady, and yes, she is blonde. While it may not be meaning to do so, this film follows all the horror film stereotypes, although, except the African-American dying first. However, since the killer and the community in which most of this film takes place are of that minority, I guess you could flip the rules around.

The murders in this film are quite gruesome, as are the way in which they are done. This is not a flick for those with weak constitutions. What I liked most, though, was how the murders mostly happened off-screen. This was made before those Saw movies came in and made everyone think that they need to see people getting their heads chopped off, rather than believing it happens off-screen. That splash of blood and the sound of the hook digging into flesh is enough for me, though.

The story is really one of those that is just there to fill time between killings, as with every other horror film, however, there is a twist that it presents at the very, so you might want to pay a little bit of attention.

Candyman is one of those characters who you cannot say their name multiple times or else they appear, similar to Bloody Mary or Beetlejuice. I have to wonder how many people went and locked themselves in their bathrooms after seeing this and called his name, just out of curiosity. I know I was tempted!

In the end, this is one of those films that you may not want to watch by yourself, if you’re easily scared, especially once it gets past the first 30 minutes or so. While some have said this film is absolutely scary, I wasn’t startled in the least, but I can see how/why they would say that. Should you see it? Well, if you’re easily scared or not a horror fan, then no, but for those that are fans of this genre, then by all means check it out. I’m sure you’ll be more than satisfied.

4 out of 5 stars