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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , on February 25, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A veteran U.S. Senate Democrat, Bulworth is losing his bid for re-election to a fiery young opponent. Bulworth’s leftist views, formed in the 1960s and 1970s, have lost favor with voters, so he has conceded to moderate politics and to accepting donations from special interests. In addition, though he and his wife have been having affairs openly for years, they must still present a happy facade in the interest of maintaining a good public image.

Tired of politics and his life in general and planning to commit suicide, Bulworth negotiates a $10 million life insurance policy with his daughter as its beneficiary in exchange for a favorable vote for the insurance industry. Knowing that a suicide will negate his daughter’s inheritance, he contracts to have himself assassinated within two days’ time.

Turning up in California for his campaign extremely drunk, Bulworth begins speaking his mind freely at public events and in the presence of the C-SPAN film crew following his campaign. After ending up in a night club and smoking marijuana, he even starts rapping in public. His frank, potentially offensive remarks make him an instant media darling and re-energize his campaign.

Becoming romantically involved with young campaigner Nina (Halle Berry), Bulworth hides out in her family’s home. He is pursued by the paparazzi, his insurance company, his campaign managers, Nina’s protective drug-dealing brother, and an increasingly adoring public, all before his impending assassination.

Nina reveals she is the assassin he indirectly hired and will now not carry out the job. Bulworth happily accepts a new campaign for the presidency right before he is shot in front of a crowd of reporters and supporters by an insurance representative fearful of Bulworth’s push for single-payer health care.


A true test of an actor is how they can completely change themselves and/or the perception they portray to the public. With Bulworth, Warren Beatty, who is best known for playing the conservative, laced up, straight man to his more free spirited co-stars get the chance to flip the tables.

This is a film about a senator who is about to lose his re-election. So, he hires someone to kill him. There is some insurance related reason having to do with his family causing him to not commit suicide. Somehow, Bulworth, played by Beatty, ends up on the “wrong side” of town, where he not only learns about the plight of his African-American constituents (and insults them), he falls for an attractive campaign worker. From this point forward, the film just spins around and around with various bouts of Bulworth seemingly losing his mind and trying to get this girls, not mention stopping his pending assassination.

If you’re into politics, then you know that almost every word that comes out of their mouths is nothing but offensive to someone. For instance, if John Doe, the senator from the great state of Texas said the sky is blue, I would bet that someone would take offense to it, and those news channels would read way more into it than what was ever meant. By the way, have you ever looked at the sky, it is blue!

That sort of ridiculousness is the driving force behind Bulworth. There is a scene where he’s just spouting off the most mindless drivel, and yet it drives his poll numbers up, as does dressing like a thug. We all know that, for some reason, we expect out politicians to be in a 3 piece suit and looking “professional”. Any break from the norm, and America freaks out!

Beatty really surprises here, especially in the scenes of complete nonsense. I think he does this because it is unexpected. Had this been someone we’re used to it from, like say, Jim Carey, it might not have the same effect.

Halle Berry is a bit of a wasted character. Sure, she has some nice moments, and you can tell why they cast her, and she went on to bigger and better things, but they seemed to focus more on Oliver Platt and the gang leader who was harassing her brother, rather than her, save for a few scenes where we learn some stuff about her that is pertinent to the film.

You can guess that this was a controversial film when it was released, and yet today, it seems so tame. As a satire on the politics of this country, I fond it to be great entertainment, especially Beatty’s performances, which I cannot stop talking about. However, as a film, it does not stand up. There is nothing here worth mentioning, so I cannot recommend this. You’d do better looking on youtube for Warren Beatty Bulworth raps, if you must see this. Otherwise, it is best to stay away from the film that brought us the hit song, “Ghetto Superstar”.

2 out of 5 stars

Calamity Jane

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , on February 25, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Calamity Jane (Doris Day) rides into Deadwood, South Dakota on the stagecoach. The local saloon bar, the Golden Garter, sends for beautiful women to appear on the stage and entertain the residents of a town with few females. Unfortunately, the men are anything but pleased when the latest “woman” turns out to be a man named Francis Fryer (Dick Wesson), who does a stage act in drag (reluctantly) and goes under the name Frances Fryer. The saloon owner was misled by the girlish-sounding name when reading an advertisement in the newspaper. The men begin to storm out. Calamity, thinking quick in all the panic, vows to get them the one woman they are all drooling over: singer Adelaid Adams (Gale Robbins), who is in Chicago. The Golden Garter receives a letter from Adams that she wouldn’t be seen dead in that town but Calamity is still determined to bring her. Wild Bill Hickok (Howard Keel) laughs at the idea and tells Calamity that the night Adams steps on the stage, he will come to the opening dressed as a Sioux squaw lugging a papoose.

Calamity travels to Chicago, where Adams is giving a farewell performance {she was on her way to Europe directly after the performance} Adelaid, sick of the ‘primitive’ Chicago, gives her costumes to her maid, Katie Brown (Allyn McLerie), who dreams of becoming a stage singer. She tries on one of the dresses and starts to sing. When Calamity walks in, she mistakes Katie for Adelaid. Katie takes advantage of the error and poses as Adelaid Adams to make her dream come true.

The ride back to Deadwood is rocky, as they are chased by Indians. Later, when Katie gives her first performance, Calamity says she didn’t sound that way in Chicago. When Calamity tells Katie to sing out, she bursts into tears and admits that she is not Adelaid Adams. The Golden Garter falls silent. Everyone present is on the verge of rioting, but Calamity fires a shot into the air and defends Katie. They allow Katie to carry on, and her performance wins them over. On the balcony above, Bill Hickok, dressed as an Indian woman, ropes Calamity and hangs her high and dry.

Calamity and Katie become good friends, and Katie moves into Calamity’s cabin with her. At first the cabin is shabby and in disrepair but Katie suggests they fix it up with the help of a “Woman’s Touch”. In order to attract Lieutenant Danny Gilmartin (Philip Carey), the man she’s madly in love with, Calamity dresses, looks and acts more like a lady. One day, Danny and Wild Bill Hickok (who are both in love with Katie) pay a visit to Calamity’s cabin. Katie manages to lure Bill out of the cabin for a few minutes; while alone with Danny, she tells him straight out that Calamity loves him and that she, Katie is trying to stay away from him in return for her appreciation of Calamity’s friendliness. However, Danny tells Katie he is not interested in Calamity. Later, Katie tells the two men that Calamity has changed and had a makeover proving she will be accepted at a local ball the following weekend. They draw straws and Danny wins, meaning he’ll go with Katie. Now looking more like a lady, Calamity pretends to be fine with the arrangement but is stung when Danny gives her a soft kiss on the forehead. On the way to the ball, all the attendants riding in their wagons sing about the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota. Calamity becomes increasingly jealous while watching Katie and Danny dance together. They adjourn to the garden where, as Danny holds her and moves in for a kiss, Katie can no longer resist him. Betrayed, Calamity fires a gunshot near Katie’s location in the ballroom and everybody looks at her in horror. Back at the cabin, Calamity throws out Katie’s things and threatens to shoot her if she ever sees her again, but the scene ends with Calamity in floods of tears.

Calamity later confronts Katie while she is performing, and warns her to get out of town. But Katie is not intimidated. She borrows a gun from one of the cowboys, and tells Calamity to hold up her glass. Taunting her about being too afraid, she boldly holds it up. A gunshot finally rings out, and the glass falls from Calamity’s hand, but it wasn’t Katie who fired; it was Bill, who lets Katie take all the credit. Humiliated, Calamity storms out. But before she can mount her horse, Bill grabs her, throws her onto his horse-drawn cart and rides off.

In the woods, Bill tries to talk some sense into Calamity, and reveals that he shot the glass out of her hand to teach her a lesson and that scaring Katie out of town would not stop Danny from loving her. Calamity is heartbroken, and reveals she was crazy about Danny (whom she had earlier saved from capture by Indians), while Bill admits that he was in love with Katie. Calamity tells Bill there won’t be another man like Danny, not for her, however she and Bill end up in a passionate embrace and kiss, and she realizes it was he she loved all along. And when Bill asks her what happened to that lieutenant she was telling him about, she answers “I’ve never heard of him.”

The sun rises on a new day where a much happier Calamity sings “Secret Love” before she rides into town, but when she talks to the people, they just ignore her. She finds that Katie decided alone to leave for Chicago, feeling guilty about betraying her best friend. Danny is furious with Calamity for driving Katie out of town and demands she listen to him read a note Katie left. Calamity leaps back onto her horse and chases after the stagecoach, eventually catching up with it. She tells Katie she isn’t in love with Danny and is marrying Bill, and the two women become friends again.

A double wedding follows. When Bill finds Calamity’s gun under her wedding dress, she jokes it’s just in case any more actresses roll in from Chicago. The movie ends with the two happy couples riding out of town on the stage


A few of my fellow movie bloggers have said that I’ve been neglecting my western and musical roots. Well, here is a film that combines the two…sort of.

Calamity Jane is a film I added to my Netflix queue some time ago, intending to watch it as a filler when nothing else was available, or move it up when everything I really wanted to see was on wait. Just for kicks, though, last week I moved it up. Ironically, it went on wait until this week.

So, this week it came in and I must say that I enjoyed it much more than I expected. As well versed in the old west as I am (or claim to be), I am not that familiar with the legend of Calamity Jane. If you’re in the same boat, then this is not the film you should be watching for historical accuracy.

In a matter similar to Amadeus, they took many liberties with her history in order to forge a better, more entertaining story. Once you get past those inaccuracies, though, and just view this as a film, you’ll be caught up in this pretty great film.

This is a musical, so let’s start by talking about the music. The songs are good, but not exactly Gershwin, Porter, or Lloyd Weber. With that said, a couple of these songs really stand out. The first is our intro to Jane, “Whip Crack Away”. You can hear the leitmotif of this tune throughout the entirety of the film, and why not, it is quite catchy.

The other song that catches one’s attention is the haunting melody of “Secret Love”. If I’m not mistaken, Doris Day went on to make this a big hit on the pop charts. As I sat here listening to this song, I was reminded of the opening scene of The Sound of Music. No, it isn’t on the same level, but the melody, for some reason put me in that mindset. I can’t tell you why, though.

Moving on to the plot, it is basically Calamity and her love/hate relationship with the men in town, especially Wild Bill Hickock. Running her mouth, she makes a promise that she may not be able to keep, which leads to her having to go up to Chicago to bring back a singer, but she gets the wrong one. When this is found out, all hell is about to break loose, but the two end up becoming best friends, until they start vying for the same man!

A bit cheesy? Yes, but hey, it’s a musical, what do you expect?

I really don’t have any issue with the story, except for how long it took to unravel, if you will. Once things got going, it was great, but there was some dead time before where it seemed like they just used a montage or some ludicrous situation as filler. I’m not a fan of using such techniques. Most of the time, this filler is put in while better scenes end up on the cutting room floor.

The scenery isn’t that great, which is a rarity for a western, but unlike most westerns, this was apparently shot in a studio, because it is obvious that they are in front of a painted background when they step outside. There may be one or two scenes where they actually shot on a location somewhere, though.

Doris Day has a great voice, but as an actress, I’m not so sure I care for her. Granted, Calamity Jane isn’t the most likable character around, but for some reason I didn’t really take a shine to Day in this role. However, I applaud her chemistry with Howard Keel and Allyn McLerie, Wild Bill and Katie, respectively.

Speaking of those two, Howard Keel’s Wild Bill is the male lead here, but for a good chunk of the film he is nowhere to be seen. However, when he does appear, he has some nice scenes with Jane, especially in the later parts of the film.

Allyn McLerie brings all that youthful naiveté that maid who wants to be a singer and is masquerading as her boss should. My problem with her, though, is in her first time on stage. She seemed so nervous, as can be expected, but then after a few words from Calamity, she suddenly starts singing with the power and poise of a seasoned stage veteran. WTF?!?

If you’re in the mood for a fun film, then you really should check out Calamity Jane. I think this is one of the underrated gems in the musical genre, as it has a little something for everyone. Watch and enjoy!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part I

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film starts out as Bella Swan plans her wedding with the Cullen family. The wedding takes place, and Edward Cullen tells her that he has murdered people in the past, undaunted by this, Bella and Edward go ahead with the wedding. During the reception following her wedding to Edward, Bella is visited by her friend Jacob Black. When Bella admits that she and Edward plan to consummate their marriage during their honeymoon, Jacob becomes angry and is held back by his pack. He then runs off into the woods, and Edward takes an upset Bella back to the reception.

The couple spends their honeymoon on the Cullens’ private Brazilian island. Although hesitant, Edward has sex with Bella for the first time. After Edward realizes that he bruised Bella’s arm, back and shoulders during sex, he vows to never be intimate with her again, much to her disappointment; he later gives in to her seductions. Two weeks into their honeymoon, Bella discovers that she is pregnant with the fetus growing at an extraordinarily accelerated rate. After consulting with Carlisle, they rush back to Forks. Bella refuses to consider having an abortion, and enlists Rosalie’s help to protect her wishes.

Opposed to Sam Uley’s plans to kill Bella and her child, which is thought to be a demon, Jacob angrily leaves the pack and arrives at the Cullens’ to protect Bella; Seth and Leah Clearwater join him, forming a new wolf pack. As the pregnancy progresses, Bella’s health severely deteriorates. As a last resort, she begins drinking blood, which satisfies the fetus and allows her to regain some strength. Soon afterward, Bella goes into a painful labor and gives birth to her daughter, Renesmee. To save her life, Edward injects Bella’s heart with his venom to transform her into a vampire, but nothing happens, and Bella is thought to be dead. Greatly distraught, Jacob attempts to kill the baby, but stops when he realizes he has imprinted on the child, becoming her protector.

When the werewolves learn of Bella’s “death”, they attack the Cullens’ house in an attempt to kill the baby. They are forced to stop after learning Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee, which, under their wolf law, means Renesmee cannot be harmed. Bella’s wounds heal; she remembers her entire life as the venom reaches her heart. The Cullens all look at each other in shock. Bella’s heart finally ceases, and she awakens with red eyes, a newborn vampire. The film cuts to the credits.

In a post-credits scene, the Volturi hear about Bella’s conversion; Aro notes that it does not end their dispute with the Cullens, proclaiming, “They have something I want.”


*SIGH* Yes, another Twilight movie. If you’ve read any of my other reviews involving vampires and/or werewolves, then you are aware of what I really think about this crap. That being said, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, part I isn’t the worst entry into this franchise.

I still don’t understand why they insist on calling this a saga. Doing so is an insult to other franchises that have gone on to become saga, most notably the Holy Trilgoy (Star Wars for those of you not in the know), hell, all 6 movies (even though most people hate the prequels) are a true saga and these….things…just spit on their legacy.

So, let’s talk about the good…–crickets chirping–

Wait, there is some good. Once the film gets past the hour spend in the honeymoon cabin with absolutelt nothing going on, there is a slight bit of intersting-ness happening, but the best parts are the scenes that sandwhich the credits.

I will admit that the wedding was beautiful, even if I could care less.

Now, the bad…

First off, the first thing we see is Jacob running out of his house, tearing his shirt off (because heaven forbid he keep his shirt on in one of these movies). Was this really necessary? No, it just serves to get all the females in a tizzy.

As I mentioned before, they spent over an hour at that stupid wedding cottage with absolutely nothing going on but more of their emotional non-acting. I realize this is supposedly a big climactic point of the film, but it just felt like they were just padding this out to justify splitting this book into two movies.

Look, splitting a book worked for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but if you recall, even with those there was dead space in the woods that they could have just grazed over, in favor of more important things (like say Dumbledore’s funeral), but the second film made up for it. On top of that, it feels like they split this up for no other reason than to make more $$$ out of desperate housewives and teenage girls (not to mention their unwilling boyfriends and husbands). From what I hear, there isn’t anything interesting that happens in this, so the second film is going to be nothing else than more of these people sitting around staring at each other trying to show some kind of emotion.

This franchise is not specifically known for being humourous, yet in this one, whether it is done on purpose or not, they seem as if they are trying to be funny. The problem with that is they don’t work, at least for me.

After all this time, you would think this cast would have learned how to act by now, yet it seems as if they are getting worse! Now, I’m talking specifically about the leads, especially Lautner and Stewart. Watching them made me want to see Megan Fox read the phone book. It couldn’t have been worse than this. Ugh!

I think you can tell that I was not a fan of this mess. I realize that I am not in the target audience, but with the previous couple of films, they at least seemed as if they were trying to appeal to the males that are being forced to watch. However, with this one, it was like they did nothing but center in on the females. Who else would care about all a wedding, honeymoon, and emotions? Not any straight guy, that’s for sure. Oh, and that sex scene that is supposed to be so controversial, well, it is quite tame, or should I say lame?

All in all, this is just not for me. Female viewers will more than likely be all ooey-gooey about it. However, this is one of those that franchises that splits people along the gender line. Do I recommend this? Well, no, but I will give credit where credit is due. This is better than I thought it would be, but still not worth seeing. Why did I even bother with it, you may ask? Well, blame that on my OCD. I saw the first film, and now I jst have to see them all, no matter how horribly painful they are to sit through.

1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Necessary Roughness

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Due to NCAA sanctions, the Texas State University Fightin’ Armadillos must start from scratch to build a new team after a tradition of winning. The previous staff and players violated numerous rules and regulations, resulting in a ban for everyone from returning except Charlie Banks, the only “clean” player, who never got to play despite having “heart”.

The new coaching staff, led by Ed “Straight Arrow” Gennero (Elizondo), has nothing to assist them in building the team as no athletic scholarships are available. They must look for volunteers from the student body. Along with this, they must worry about Dean Elias (Miller), who wants the team to fail so he can scrap it. A number of student volunteers are assembled, and soon the coaches have a makeshift team in place.

There are not enough members of the team to have offense and defense due to Dean Elias, so they are forced to play iron-man football. The team lacks experience and talent in all areas, especially at quarterback, placekicker, and the defensive line. Assistant coach Wally “Rig” Riggendorf (Loggia) recruits a 34 year old former high school star Paul Blake (Bakula), who never attended college due to his father’s death. Rig convinces him to enroll and play for the team.

Blake arrives on campus and catches everyone’s attention due to his age, especially Professor Carter (Kozak). Paul then recruits a graduate student teaching assistant named Andre Krimm (Sinbad), who is also enrolled at the school and eligible to play for the team. Blake convinces him to join, and he is positioned on the defensive line, where he excelled years earlier. Even with the new members, the team continues to lose games. Things get so bad that, at one point during the film, announcer Chuck Neiderman (Schneider) covers his microphone with his hands and screams, “SHIT!!!!” at the top of his lungs.

Professor Carter tells Blake that she knows him from years earlier. Carter’s ex-boyfriend was a high school football star, but Blake and his team humiliated him and his team in a championship game. This episode actually caused Carter to become infatuated with Blake. Now, years after the fact, the two begin a romantic relationship, which Dean Elias opposes.

Coach Rig makes one more recruiting move to secure a kicker. He shocks everybody by selecting Lucy Draper (Ireland) from the school’s soccer team. When she is brought on board, the team has its first taste of success, as Draper kicks a field goal in a driving rainstorm to forge a 3-3 tie with Kansas (in real life, Kansas holds the all-time NCAA Division I-A record for number of tie games with 57). After this game, Blake quits the team after arguments with the head coach (Elizondo) and Professor Carter, but convinces himself to come back after a teammate, who is also quitting, inadvertently changes his mind and both come back. With the coaches and players now on the same page, the team plays their last game of the season against the number one ranked team in the country, the University of Texas Colts, with whom the Armadillos were involved in a barroom brawl earlier in the season.

They head into the game as huge underdogs, and without Coach Gennero, who is hospitalized just prior to the game, leaving Coach Rig in charge. After a horrible first half, they come back in the second half to make it a one point game with a few seconds left, and Gennero returns to the sideline, having only suffered from indigestion, though he lets Coach Rig call the final play. The team decides to try to win it all with a two-point conversion. They fake a point after attempt and pass for two. Blake scrambles and finally finds Banks in the end zone. Blake passes, Banks catches, and Texas State wins the game


Football is life down in Texas, as anyone who has ever seen the show or movie Friday Night Lights can tell you. However, as a native Texan, I can tell you it really is like that…to an extent. Necessary Roughness is one of my favorite sports movies, but for some reason, people tend to hate this film, and I’m not really sure why.

Most football films seem to be dramas, but with the exception The Replacements, this is the only comedy that I can think of, though I’m sure there are others. What is it about though?

Well, the Texas State football teams just won the National Championship, but it turns out hat they broke pretty much every NCAA rule to do so. This results in the team and coaching staff being removed, as well as the school being stripped of its championship and being placed on probation.

After hiring a new coach, who was criticizing them on some sports show, the school announces tryouts for the team. In other words, it will be made of walk-ons. After seeing how bad they are destined to be,  assistant coach Wally goes out to find a quarterback, a (not so) young man he recruited some 16 years ago when he was working for Notre Dame, but because of his father’s death, he never made a committment, gave up football, and never went to college. From there on it goes into the predictable sports movie route, so you can all but guess what happens for the rest of the picture.

It is quite interesting how that the school they used, Texas State, didn’t exist at the time, but the first team they played, the Southwest Texas State Bobcats did, and went on to become, ironically, Texas State University. The Texas State used for the film was, in fact North Texas State. I think it was even filmed over there in Denton, but don’t quote me on that.

The football scenes are great, albeit unrealistic. However, given the tone and feel of this flick, one can’t get over that.

Of course, there has to be a love story in a football flick, right? While it isn’t part of the major plot, there is a love affair between Paul and Dr. Carter. Dr. Carter, as it turns out went to his rival high school and was a cheerleader dating the quarterback at the game where he threw 5 touchdowns. Since then, she had the biggest crush on him. There is also a sweet lovey-doveyness between female kicker Lucy and Center Manu, but it just hinted at, never really showed.

Why is it all deans seem to be evil in movies? Have you ever noticed that? For that matter, since when does a dean have more power than the school president? Something just isn’t right about that, if you ask me. When you see the film, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Final verdict on Necessary Roughness? This is a football flick for those that don’t really want to have their football bogged down with drama like we tend to see in other films of this nature. There is plenty of comedy and football to go around here and you will find yourself cheering on the Armadillos in the final game. I highly recommend this to any and everyone!

4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The New York Knicks are also-rans in the NBA, their roster filled with players who either lack talent or are too distracted by off-the-court issues. Nonetheless, limousine driver and rabid fan Edwina “Eddie” Franklin (Whoopi Goldberg) attends every Knicks game in the nosebleed section of Madison Square Garden.

During halftime of a game, Eddie wins a contest to be honorary coach of the Knicks for the second half. She quickly gets on the nerves of head coach John Bailey (Dennis Farina), whom she had heckled earlier. Eddie’s popularity piques the interest of the new Knicks owner, “Wild Bill” Burgess (Frank Langella). After he forces Bailey to quit, Burgess names Eddie the new head coach.

At first, she is treated with skepticism and derision. However, she understands that the Knicks have the talent to win, but the players’ individual problems have caused the team to underperform. Russian center Ivan Radmonovich focuses only on scoring, and his lack of defensive technique leads him to frequently commit unnecessary blocking fouls. Superstar forward Stacey Patton’s me-first approach causes him to force low percentage shots because he is unwilling to pass, and his poor attitude hurts the team’s morale. At a pivotal moment in practice, Eddie earns the team’s respect by taking a hard foul from Patton in order to demonstrate proper defense to Ivan. Eddie also begins to bench Patton in favor of veteran Nate Wilson, who was generally considered washed up because of chronic knee injuries. Wilson experiences a late career resurgence, the Knicks begin to win, and New York embraces the team and Eddie’s colorful personality.

The team’s winning streak eclipses their abysmal start, and as the season winds down, the Knicks are within reach of the playoffs. In order to qualify, they will need to beat the Charlotte Hornets, now coached by John Bailey, in the last game of the season.

The night before the game, Burgess tells Eddie that if the Knicks win, he will sell the team to a group that intends to relocate the team to St. Louis, Missouri (this is a veiled reference to Georgia Frontiere’s similar move of the Los Angeles Rams to St. Louis upon her assumption of the Rams ownership in 1995). A conflicted Eddie doesn’t show to the game until right before tip-off.

During the game, Hornets forward Larry Johnson proves difficult to contain, but strong play from Wilson keeps the score close. Bailey responds by telling Johnson to foul Wilson hard in the hopes of knocking him out of the game. Johnson makes an unsuccessful attempt right before halftime: Wilson is hurt, but he is able to hit both foul shots and continue playing. In the fourth quarter, however, Johnson blows out Wilson’s knee, forcing him out of the game. Stacey Patton enters the game and shows a new team-first attitude, particularly on the Knicks’ last offensive possession. Eddie begins to diagram a play to get Patton the ball for a final shot, but assistant coach Carl Zimmer instead suggests that Bailey, remembering Patton’s tendency to force low percentage shots, will swarm him with defenders. The Knicks instead inbound to Patton, who passes to an open teammate after three defenders come to him. The Knicks take a one point lead with seconds left in the game.

Now, with the Knicks on the cusp of winning, Eddie realizes that a victory will cause the team to be relocated to St. Louis. She decides to get on the Garden’s PA system and reveal the entire plan to the world. The fans react with shock and anger, and a frustrated Burgess is forced to promise the crowd he won’t sell the team or move them out of New York City.

When play resumes, the Hornets have one last chance to win. Bailey tells his team to get the ball to Johnson and have him drive the lane, expecting Ivan to commit a blocking foul. Instead, Ivan remains set in his defensive position and Johnson is called for charging, which nullifies the basket, giving the Knicks the win and the playoff berth.

The film ends without explaining what happens to the Knicks in the playoffs that year.


With all this talk about the New York Knicks and “Linsanity”, I figured why not watch a basketball movie, one that just happens to feature the Knicks, as a matter of fact. This is how I happened across the obscure “gem” that isEddie.

Some people may not remember the time when Whoopi wasn’t one of those chatty ____ on The View, but it wasn’t that terribly long ago that she was an actress and comedienne. If you need further proof of her talents, then this, while not her best work, would be a good example of what she is capable of doing.

So, what exactly is the point of a film like Eddie? Well, the struggling New York Knicks have a just been bought by a Texas millionaire who wants them to become more relevant and entertaining. Upon his arrival to New York, he is taken to his hotel by limo driver Eddie, unbeknownst to her. At a game that day, he spots (or should I say hears) her and sees to it that she is entered in the coach for a day contest.

The current coach is none too happy about this, especially when it appears that the fans are more behind her than him or the team. The new owner also takes notice and sees to it that she is brought back, which infuriates the coach so much that he quits, which makes her the de facto coach. The team isn’t exactly thrilled about this, but given the fact that they want to get paid, they go ahead and play, but not without typical athlete diva antics.

I think you can guess what happens from here on out, right? The players warm up to the coach, start winning, and the film ends with a climactic confrontation with the previous coach. There’s some other stuff thrown in there, as well, though, such as the benching of the star player in favor of the grizzled veteran who ignites the team in the process, the owner trying to see the team to St. Louis, etc.

I actually liked this story. Who doesn’t dream of taking over their favorite team and doing a better job than the current coach. Trust me, with some of the team I like, there have been som pretty lean years, but they’re all doing fine now. Although, I still wouldn’t mind sitting on the bench of my San Antonio Spurs, or just being the locker room of my Dallas Cowboys!

I will say, though, that there is there are a few things that seem out of place. First, there is the scene where Eddie is coaching a kids team. Nothing wrong with this, but it seemed like they just used it as filler and a way to make a point about a player should concentrate more on their academics than sports.

Also, it is quite obvious that there is some kind of attraction between Eddie and Nate, but it is never addressed. I realize it would be weird and all, but it just seemed as if this would have been a nice direction to veer off into and make for an even more impressive climax.

Lastly, usually in films like this, we find out what happens to the team, or at least the players, but not this time. I’m curious to know if they made it to the playoffs, what happened to everyone, and did the team eventually get sold after all. It kind of defeats the purpose of a sports movie to not let us know what happens, y’know?

Being a basketball movie, you know there are a ton of cameos by NBA players. I won’t sit here and name them all, but the ones that aren’t cameos actually do have some acting chops. You may be surprised, but don’t expect anything to blow you out of the water, obviously.

Aside from the great performance by Whoopi Goldberg, we get a great (albeit mostly silent) turn from Richard Jenkins as the assistant coach. He does seem to come alive in the last few scenes, though.

Frank Langella really plays a character as Wild Bill. This is not a Langella type performance, as most of the characters I’ve seen him play are the quiet, intimidating type, so for him to play a loud, bombastic, rambunctious one is quite the departure from the norm, but not a bad one.

In conclusion, Eddie is actually a pretty good film, but this is not one you should watch if you want to see some basketball. Hoosiers would probably be more your choice if you’re looking for a true basketball film. For those looking for a fairly clean comedy that just happens to have some basketball in it, then this is the one for you. Give this underrated film a shot, why don’t you? I highly recommend it!

4 out of 5 stars


Die Hard with a Vengeance

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on February 22, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

On a summer morning in New York City, a bomb detonates destroying the Bonwitt Teller department store. Later, a man calling himself “Simon” phones Major Case Unit Inspector Walter Cobb of the New York City Police Department, claiming responsibility for the bomb. He demands that suspended police officer Lt. John McClane (Bruce Willis) be dropped in Harlem, wearing a sandwich board that says “I hate Niggers”. Harlem shop owner Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson) spots McClane and tries to get him off the street before he is killed, but a gang of black youths attack the pair, who barely escape. Returning to the station, they learn that Simon is believed to have stolen several gallons of a bi-chemical agent explosive. Simon calls again demanding McClane and Carver put themselves through a series of “games” to prevent more explosions.

McClane and Carver are instructed by Simon to travel to Wall Street station 90 blocks south, within 30 minutes to stop a bomb planted on a Brooklyn-bound 3 train. McClane succeeds in locating and throwing the bomb off the train but it detonates, causing the rear car on the train to derail, demolishing many of the station’s support columns. FBI agents tell McClane that Simon is Simon “Peter” Gruber (Jeremy Irons), brother of the Hans Gruber killed by McClane in the first film. The agents believe Simon wants revenge on McClane for his brother’s death. During the debriefing, Simon calls again claiming that another bomb is planted in one of the city schools, and is sensitive to police radio signals. As McClane and Carver are forced to complete more riddles to identify the school, the police organize a citywide search of schools, and shut down the police radio band.

While playing at Simon’s games a chance remark by a shoplifter makes McClane realize that they are being distracted to keep them away from Wall Street, and Simon’s revenge motive is a cover for a heist. Returning downtown, he finds Simon’s men disguised as policemen and security guards have raided the Federal Reserve Bank and made off with $140 billion of gold bullion in 14 stolen dump trucks. After killing Simon’s henchmen at the bank, McClane trails the dump trucks to an aqueduct in the New York City Water Tunnel No. 3, capturing one of the trucks, but Simon destroys a cofferdam flooding the tunnel; McClane is thrown clear and regroups with Carver. They continue to follow the dump trucks to a tanker, but are captured attempting to board. The police locate and attempt to evacuate the school they think the bomb is in (which is the one Carver’s nephews attend), but McClane and Carver find that Simon has instead used the remaining explosive to rig the tanker to explode, which would send the gold to the bottom of the sea. Simon leaves the tanker, leaving McClane and Carver tied up next to the bomb, but they manage to escape the doomed ship just before it detonates.

As they regroup with the police and have their wounds tended to, McClane theorizes that there was no gold on the ship, which ultimately proves correct as it was replaced with scrap metal, and Simon has likely escaped. While phoning to make amends with his estranged wife Holly, McClane realises an aspirin bottle given to him earlier by Simon gives an address in a bordertown of Quebec. McClane alongside the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raid the warehouse where Simon and his men are preparing to distribute the gold. Simon escapes in a helicopter, attempting to shoot McClane from the air, but McClane shoots a power line which hits the helicopter and destroys it. Carver joins McClane and convinces him to finish his call to Holly at a nearby pay phone.


The third film in the Die Hard franchise takes us someplace new…away from Christmas! Yes, film fans, Die Hard with a Vengeance finally has our anti-hero, John McClane nearly getting killed trying to save the day on a day other than December 25th, but is it worth watching?

Having seen what thing guy can do in the previous films, one has to wonder what else can they do to him? Well, how about we bring in a sadistic, Riddler type villain, who just happens to be the brother of the antagonist from the first film? Couple that with explosive mixtures and a plot to steal the gold from the New York Federal Exchange Bank.

Other than that, things are pretty much the same. McClane is just doing his thing, but gets roped into being the hero by no fault of his own. Well, this time, the crooks actually ask for him specifically. It is his “reluctant partner” who gets roped in by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but still wanting to do the right thing.

The action is what you would expect from this franchise, which is a good thing in this case. Other than the riddles and explosions, I was actually a little disappointed, though. It seemed like they were trying to do something the first two didn’t, but for some reason, it felt like they should have been following the formula set forth by its predecessors. I know that sounds a bit confusing, but there it is. I can totally see these soldiers holding up somewhere and keeping hostages, one of which is McClane who is going to end up saving the day.

All in all, Die Hard with a Vengeance is a pretty good film. Is it the best in the franchise? I won’t go that far, but it is pretty good. From what I hear, it is far better than the one that follows. If you’re looking for that mixture of fun, comedy, violence, and romance, well, you’ll get most of it here, with the exception fo the romance. Give it a shot sometime!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars