Archive for February 13, 2013

Some Guy Who Kills People

Posted in Horror, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by Mystery Man

Some Guy Who Kills People

PLOT:

At first glance, Ken Boyd may seem like an average comic enthusiast, living with his mother and working to make ends meet as an underpaid, underappreciated ice cream parlor attendant. But Ken has a dirty little secret: he fantasizes about killing people. After being released from a stay in the loony bin for severe mental trauma suffered when he was beaten and tortured by a gang of high school thugs, Ken’s repressed anger suddenly reaches a boiling point. He begins to hunt down his tormentors, one by one, and exacts his bloody revenge – all the while forming an unconventional bond with his estranged 11-year old daughter.

REVIEW:

Every now and then, Netflix will recommend something that looks too good to be true, which is how Some Guy Who Kills People came to my attention. The jury is still out on whether this was a good or bad thing.

What is this about?

This film is about Ken Boyd, a guy who is not long out of a mental hospital who is working at an ice-cream/burger parlor. The people that put him in the mental hospital start turning up dead, killed in horrific ways. He finds out he has a daughter while at the same time that these killings are happening in the town. Meanwhile the local Sheriff is going out with Ken’s mom and he starts to suspect that Ken is the killer. All the evidence is pointing that way, and Ken’s estranged daughter catches him in a compromising position. It’s not looking good for Ken.

What did I like?

Bloody, but not primary. I love over-the-top blood splatter. That is to say, when they are done to a dark comedic effect or as an exaggeration. I is obvious this film isn’t trying to be some true to life flick that is as serious as a heart attack, so the buckets of blood that permeate throughout are more than fine with me.

Father knows best. When the film takes a turn to father/daughter time, it gains some heart, especially since the little girl is the one who helped him earlier when all his flyers had been knocked out of his hand by some disrespectful douchebags. Their relationship is a stark contrast to all the murders and dark, twisted drawings in his room. Not to mention, the believability which is amplified by the fact that she bears enough of a resemblance to Corrigan to pass for his daughter.

Comic reminder. Here’s something new, rather than having the small town cops be corrupt, how about having them be the comic relief? Someone with some brains knew that a change of pace with the police force’s characterization is just what we all needed as the sheriff and his deputy are there almost exclusively for laughs. If you notice, Barry Bostwick’s sheriff has many mannerisms similar to Andy Taylor from The Andy Griffith Show, including his hair! I wonder why he didn’t go for the southern drawl.

What didn’t I like?

Relationship. Corrigan’s character really resonated with me, partially because I, too, am a sort of reserved, silent type. No worries people, I’m not going on any kind of killing spree and there are no dark, twisted drawings in my room…anymore HA! Seriously, though, the relationships he has don’t seem to be given any thought, and the girl who is his love interest is an afterthought. When they finally give her role some meat, it is snatched away just as quickly.

Mother. Everyone that is murdered in this film does Corrigan wrong, which brings to wonder why it is that his mother is still alive. This woman does nothing but berate the guy the whole time. No wonder he went to the looney bin. He had to get away from her. I have to wonder, though, if she was a future target, had things played out differently.

Other mother. Speaking of mothers, what about the little girl’s mother? She was a piece of work in her own right. She didn’t let her daughter know that her father was still alive after 11 years, took basketball away from her daughter all because her bible beater boyfriend said so, and is not much more supportive of a mother than Ken’s. I’m starting to think that whoever wrote this script had mother issues.

As random a flick as Some Guy Who Kills People is, it actually ended up being a halfway decent flick. I can’t say that is was necessarily a great flick, though. There are too many places where it loses the audience’s attention and can’t make up its mind what type of film it wants to be, a comedy, horror, or what have you. Still, I think many people would get something out of this if they were to give it a shot, so take a chance. You never know, you may enjoy!

3 out of 5 stars

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Desk Set

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Desk Set takes place at the “Federal Broadcasting Network” (exterior shots are of Rockefeller Center, headquarters of NBC). Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is in charge of its reference library, which is responsible for researching and answering questions on all manner of topics, such as the names of Santa’s reindeer. She has been involved for seven years with rising network executive Mike Cutler (Gig Young), with no marriage in sight.

The network is negotiating a merger with another company, but is keeping it secret. To help the employees cope with the extra work that will result, the network head has ordered two computers (called “electronic brains” in the film). Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy), the inventor of EMERAC (an allusion to the early computers UNIVAC and ENIAC) and an efficiency expert, is brought in to see how the library functions, to figure out how to ease the transition. Though extremely bright, as he gets to know Bunny, he is surprised to discover that she is every bit his match.

When they find out the computers are coming, the employees jump to the conclusion the machines are going to replace them, whereas they are merely intended to help ease the research. Their fears seem to be confirmed when everyone on the staff receives a pink slip printed out by the new payroll computer. Fortunately, it turns out to be a mistake; the machine fired everybody in the company, including the president.

REVIEW:

I’m not old enough to remember the day before computers, when human beings actually did research? This glorious period in time, ironically said as I am typing this (or you are reading this) on a computer, is where Desk Set is set.

What is this about?

Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) is a reference librarian whose tepid long-term relationship with television executive Mike Cutler (Gig Young) is fizzling. Enter Richard Sumner (Spencer Tracy), a no-nonsense computer genius who’s created a new product named Miss Emmy to automate the work of Bunny and her co-workers. The two butt heads in the beginning, but soon their disdain for one another turns to romantic sparks.

What did I like?

Chemistry. Admittedly, I’m not too familiar with Spencer Tracy, but I know that Katharine Hepburn is a tremendous talent. Together the two of them have great chemistry. Initially, their characters aren’t exactly star-crossed lovers, but as the film progresses, they warm up to each other. Their performances are superb. A true testament to these two consummate professionals, their talent, and the attention they pay to their craft. *SIGH* Why don’t we have anyone like this anymore?

It works. A common view amongst moviegoers, fans, critics, etc. these days is the romantic comedy has become so cliché and predictable that they never work anymore. This film, though, manages to take the romantic comedy and do it right, finding a balance between the romance and comedy, while allowing the story to be believable. In other words, no unrealistic expectations are put on men, contrary to what we see these days.

What didn’t I like?

Can you go any slower? There are times when I watch a film and will be truly grateful for the way they develop the characters, and others when I just want things to get going. This was one of those times when I lean more toward the latter. It is obvious this flick was going somewhere, but it took forever to get there. Why did it take so long? I can’t really tell you.

False advertising. I watched the trailers for this and it gives the impression that this is more of a slapstick comedy, which is what I was expecting. Instead, I was subject to a slow-moving romantic comedy. Fair trade? I think not. Whoever is was that was in charge of making trailers back in those days did a good job with them, just not an accurate depiction of the films for which they are advertising.

Jumping the shark. The last 30 minutes of this film seemed to jump the shark a bit. What I mean is, we finally get to see the computer they have been fearing for the entire flick, but then we get some kind of random roundabout way to get Hepburn and Tracy together. I just wish they would have set that up better rather than randomly throwing together at the end, just to give us a happy ending.

Desk Set wasn’t half bad, but I thought it could be better. Tracy and Hepburn are great together and the supporting cast, led by Joan Blondell are just as great. This a decent classic romantic comedy that anyone would enjoy, so feel free to check it out sometime!

3 1/3 out of 5 stars

How to Stuff a Wild Bikini

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The story begins with Frankie (Avalon) going to Tahiti on naval reserve duty. While cavorting with local girls, Frankie realizes that Dee Dee (Funicello) might be disloyal to him. When Frankie seeks help from a witch doctor (Buster Keaton), the witch doctor sends a sea beauty, Cassandra (Adams), to lure Ricky (Hickman), an advertising exec, away from Dee Dee.

Upon Cassandra’s arrival, the beach turns upside down, as all the surfers fall for her, an executive wants to make her a model, and Eric Von Zipper and his motorcycle gang add to the trouble.

REVIEW:

Tomorrow is Valentin’s Day, so I figured I’d better get some romance type stuff in here. How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, isn’t that a questions every man ponders at some point or other.

What is this about?

The last of the Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello “beach” musicals has Frankie (Avalon) scheming to keep Dee Dee (Funicello) from flirting while he’s on Navy duty in Tahiti. To that end, he enlists witch doctor Buster Keaton to conjure up a well-stuffed bikini (Beverly Adams) to lure the boys away. Eric Von Zipper (Harvey Lembeck), Bonehead (Jody McCrea) and the rest of the gang are back, with songs by the Kingsmen.

What did I like?

Kitschy. Someone asked me the other day why it is that I’m subjecting myself to the “torture” of these bikini beach movies. My answer was simple, for the kitsch, and this one seems to have ramped it up to the max. Some people find this to be a detriment, but I see it as a factor that makes these films unique. Without it, these are nothing more than generic beach pictures from the era.

Music. The other films in the series make an attempt at the musical genre, but fail. The songs here are by no means great, but they do somewhat entertain as well as move the plot forward, which is what songs in musicals are supposed to do, if you think about it.

Comedy. There are some great comedic performances, highlighted by the great Buster Keaton in one of his final roles. As the witch doctor of the village, he isn’t given much to do except be an old, absent-minded coot, surrounded by beautiful women. It is a characteristic that he perfected in these films, usually assisted by Bobbi Shaw. Leave us not forget the great Mickey Rooney who also is comedic gold and, as a former teen star in his own right, one wonders why he hasn’t appeared in these films before now.

Eye candy. As with any film that is primarily based on a beach, there is plenty of eye candy to go around. Men and women have something to enjoy.

What didn’t I like?

Plot. There isn’t much of a plot to speak of. Yes, there is the whole long-distance relationship dilemma, but it is seems like it is pushed to the background, in favor of some hijinks with Erik von Zipper and these network associates as the search for the girl next door. I felt like it would have worked better the other way around.

Frankie. One of the biggest couples of this era was Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Please tell me why they are one screen together for about 30 seconds! Making matters worse, Frankie is in the film for about 6 minutes. It is my understanding that this was due to some money issues. What was Annette’s excuse for not being in it much longer. Well, she was pregnant. The filmmakers did everything they could to hide it, but it is obvious they just gave up and took her out of a few scenes.

Pelican. I’m sure there was a point to this odd pelican that was hanging around Funicello, but I didn’t get it or missed the explanation. Maybe it was there as a sort of comedic distraction. At any rate, I don’t think it was really necessary, at least as much as they kept coming back to it. Once or twice is nice, but the constant reminder that it was there was just overkill.

As cheesy, kitschy, or whatever term you want to spit out there about How to Stuff a Wild Bikini is, I really enjoyed it. No, it isn’t a tour de force kind of picture, but a film that deals with teenagers on a beach isn’t supposed to be. This is one of those flicks that is meant for the sheer entertainment factor, and nothing more. It succeeds in that task in leaps and bounds but, as a film, it still isn’t top-notch faire. That being said, I recommend this very highly (be on the lookout for a special cameo at the end).

3 3/4 out of 5 stars