Archive for February, 2015

Saturday Night Fever

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Anthony “Tony” Manero (John Travolta) is a 19-year-old Italian American man from the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City. Tony lives with his parents (Val Bisoglio and Julie Bovasso), and works at a dead-end job in a small hardware store. The stagnant monotony of his life is temporarily dispelled every Saturday night when Tony is “king of the dance floor” at 2001 Odyssey, a local disco club. Tony has four close friends: Joey (Joseph Cali); Double J (Paul Pape); Gus (Bruce Ornstein); and the diminutive Bobby C. (Barry Miller). A fringe member of this group of friends is Annette (Donna Pescow), a neighborhood girl who longs for a more permanent and physical relationship with Tony.

One plot device in the film’s narrative is the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge on which the friends ritually stop to clown around. The bridge has special significance for Tony as a symbol of escape to a better life on the other side—in more suburban Staten Island.

Tony agrees to be Annette’s partner in an upcoming dance contest at 2001 Odyssey, but her happiness is short-lived when Tony is mesmerized by another woman at the club, Stephanie Mangano (Karen Lynn Gorney), who executes intricate dance moves with exceptional grace and finesse. Although Stephanie coldly rejects Tony’s advances, she eventually agrees to be his partner in the dance competition, provided that their partnership will remain strictly professional. Tony’s older brother, Frank Jr. (Martin Shakar), who was the pride of the Manero family since he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest, brings despair to their parents when he tells them that he has left the priesthood. Tony shares a warm relationship with Frank Jr., but feels vindicated that he is no longer the black sheep of the family.

While on his way home from the grocery store, Gus is attacked by a Hispanic gang and is hospitalized. He tells Tony and his friends that his attackers were the Barracudas. Meanwhile, Bobby C. has been trying to get out of his relationship with his devoutly Catholic girlfriend, Pauline, who is pregnant with his child. Facing pressure from his family and others to marry her, Bobby asks former priest Frank Jr., if the Pope would grant him dispensation for an abortion. When Frank tells him this would be highly unlikely, Bobby’s feelings of despair intensify. Bobby lets Tony borrow his 1964 Chevrolet Impala to help move Stephanie from Bay Ridge to Manhattan, and futilely tries to extract a promise from Tony to call him later that night.

Eventually, the group gets their revenge on the Barracudas, and crash Bobby C’s car into their hangout. Tony, Double J, and Joey get out of the car to fight, but Bobby C. takes off when a gang member tries to attack him in the car. When the guys visit Gus in the hospital, they are angry when he tells them that he may have targeted the wrong gang. Later, Tony and Stephanie dance at the competition and end up winning first prize. However, Tony believes that a Puerto Rican couple performed better, and that the judges’ decision was racially biased. He gives the Puerto Rican couple the first prize trophy, and leaves with Stephanie in tow. Once outside in a car, she denigrates their relationship and he tries to rape her. She viciously resists and runs from him.

Tony’s friends come to the car along with a drunk and stoned Annette. Joey says she has agreed to have sex with everyone. Tony tries to lead her away, but is subdued by Double J and Joey, and sullenly leaves with the group in the car. Double J and Joey begin raping Annette while she is still too incapacitated to resist and continue even as she sobers up. Bobby C. pulls the car over on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for their usual cable-climbing antics. Typically abstaining, Bobby gets out and performs more dangerous stunts than the rest. Realizing that he is acting recklessly, Tony tries to get him to come down. Bobby’s strong sense of alienation, his deadlocked situation with Pauline, and Tony’s broken promise to call him earlier that day—all culminate in a suicidal tirade about Tony’s lack of caring before Bobby slips and falls to his death into the river below them.

Disgusted and disillusioned by his friends, his family, and his life, Tony spends the rest of the night riding the subway into Manhattan. Morning has dawned by the time he appears at Stephanie’s apartment. He apologizes for his bad behavior, telling her that he plans to relocate from Brooklyn to Manhattan to try and start a new life. Tony and Stephanie salvage their relationship and agree to be friends, sharing a tender moment as the credits roll.


Well, it is Saturday and I am running a bit of a fever. What better movie title fits my current situation than Saturday Night Fever, right? I think people fall into one of three camps on this film. They either love it, hate it, or have seen parts of it, but mostly tune in just for the music. Let’s find out which camp I fall into, shall we?

What is this about?

By day, 19-year-old Tony Manero is a paint store clerk, but at night he’s a polyester-clad stallion who rules a Brooklyn disco in this iconic film.

What did I like?

Rise of Travolta. Today, we all know John Travolta as a movie star, but at the time this was released, he was still a TV star trying to break into the movies. On top of that, he was on a sitcom, Welcome Back, Kotter. So, the jump to drama was pretty big. I have to say that Travolta makes the leap with no trouble. No wonder he has been able to stick around so long. He can pull off all genres, but dramas, especially the ones where he gets to dance, seem to be where he shines.

Dirty Dancing. Speaking of dancing, I would be remise if I didn’t bring up the dancing in this film. These scenes are probably the second or third biggest draw, behind Travolta and the music. Much like the film, Dirty Dacing, these dance scenes look easier than they are, but are no less impressive to see. Coupled with the fact that these are choreographed with groups of people, couples, etc. Man alive, it is just a site to see, let me tell ya!

Music. If you know anything about this film, I would wager it is the soundtrack, which was done by the Bee Gees. Perhaps the best known track is “Stayin’ Alive”, which is the first thing you hear as we see Travolta strutting down the street in the open. For the rest of the film, we are treated to the great disco sounds of the Bee Gees, which fits perfectly with this film. I feel like I should say something about there not being an actual score, but the Bee Gees (and other disco stars) more than make up for it.

What didn’t I like?

Clones. Travolta hangs out with his friends in some sort of ersatz gang. I can’t help but notice how they all look like clones of him. There is even one that is shorter than the rest, who I would imagine is the one that got damaged in the process. HAHA! Seriously, though, if they were going to use guys that resemble Travolta, why not just make them all brothers?

Family. On the topic of family, am I the only one tired of seeing the loud Italian family everytime a film is set in New York or New Jersey? It just seems to me that this was used as a cop out, rather than an actual plot device, especially since they seemed to disappear half way through the film. Also, the priest brother seemed like he was going to be a subplot/important character but turned out to be nothing more than a cameo. Basically, I’m saying if family was supposed to be such a big factor, then it needed to be more than just a couple of dinners, squabbling, etc.

Treat her like a lady. Haven’t we all had a crush on someone who didn’t have the same feelings for us? Trying to be friends with them is fine, but boy can it be uncomfortable, especially when you see them with someone else! Does that mean the person should treat the crushee like crap? No! Yet, that is how Travolta treats this sweet girl who wants nothing more than to love him. She has her own issues, obviously, but apparently, she was pushed so far that she resorted to drugs and sleeping with all of the “gang”. Had he treated her with a modicum of respect, rather than dumping her as a dance partner and then not giving her a chance as a girlfriend, maybe this could have all been avoided.

Saturday Night Fever is one of those films that is known more for its iconography than the actual plot. Is that so bad? Yes and no. Yes, because this isn’t too shabby of a film and no, because it made the career of Travolta and helped the careers of the Bee Gees. I will say that this film suffers from what I like to call “70s pacing”. It can be painfully slow at time, but the music keeps the audience invested. Do I recommend this? Yes, if nothing else, you can at least have fun with the soundtrack. Some may even get up and dance! Check it out!

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 2/26

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on February 26, 2015 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

As Black History Month comes to a close, so does the series of trailers from African-American films. I will probably do similar series of trailer in other prominent months, if I can come up with enough, but we’ll see.

In the meantime, it seems like I should end the month with a trailer for some powerful film like Selma, Do the Right Thing, 42,  Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Boyz N the Hood, The Butler, The Color Purple, 12 Years a Slave, etc., but I want to go in a lighter, more fun direction.

Much has been said about the lack of a prominent African-American superhero on the big screen. Sure, there is Falcon (who is the new Captain America in the comics…maybe this will happen on the big screen soon?), War Machine (Iron Patriot, or whatever name they’re giving him now), and back in the day there was Spawn and Blade. Rumors are circulating that the new Spider-Man will not be white. If they’re going the direction I think they’re going, he’ll be half black, which is half of something I suppose. Halle Berry played Storm. That’s all there is to say about that, really.

In 2018, Black Panther, one of the biggest African-American superheroes out there will come to big screen. I’m not sure, be may make an appearance in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, but we’ll see.

Black Panther had a motion comic animated series that aired on BET a few years back. If you watch all the episodes together, it plays out like a movie. Watch and enjoy Marvel Knights: Black Panther

Almost Famous

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1973, William Miller is a 15-year-old boy aspiring to be a rock journalist. His mother, Elaine, wants him to become a lawyer. Shunned by his classmates, he writes for underground papers in San Diego, sharing the love of rock music instilled in him through a gift of albums left behind on the day his sister Anita left home.

William listens to an interview with rock journalist Lester Bangs. William has sent Bangs copies of his work, and Bangs gives William a $35 assignment to write up a review of a Black Sabbath concert. At first reluctant to assist a journalist, the band Stillwater brings William backstage after he praises their work. The guitarist, Russell Hammond, takes a liking to William, partly because of William’s friendship with a groupie he has romantic feelings for, Penny.

William goes with Penny to the “Riot House” – the Hyatt Hotel on Sunset Boulevard – to meet Stillwater. Penny, feigning retirement from her rock glory days, acts as William’s chauffeur, but only to get close to Russell, for whom she has genuine feelings and a past relationship.

William is called by Ben Fong-Torres, editor of Rolling Stone, who wants him to do a story, believing William is several years older than he really is. When William convinces Ben to let him do a story on Stillwater, he is instructed to go on the road with them.

On the first leg of the trip, William makes his first in an increasingly frustrating number of attempts to interview Russell. Penny watches the interaction and sympathizes with William. William experiences tensions with the band due to his role as a journalist.

A new manager, Dennis, comes on board to help steer the band, and it is revealed that Penny must leave the tour before New York, where Leslie, Russell’s ex-wife/girlfriend, will join them. During a poker game he allows Dick to put up the groupies as a stake. The band loses the groupies to the band Humble Pie for $50 and a case of Heineken. When William tells Penny, she acts nonchalant but is devastated. Penny and Doris, the band’s tour bus, are left behind; Dennis has piled the band into a plane for more gigs.

Penny goes to New York on her own, and as the band gathers in a restaurant with Russell’s girlfriend, Penny shows up. As they celebrate making the cover of Rolling Stone, Penny makes Leslie uncomfortable and Dick asks her to leave. William chases Penny back to her hotel and finds her overdosed on quaaludes.

Believing they will die during a plane ride, the group confesses their secrets. When Penny is insulted by Jeff, the band’s lead singer, William defends her and discloses his love. The plane lands safely, leaving everyone to ponder the changed atmosphere.

William continues on to San Francisco to finish the story, parting ways with the band in the airport. Upset about Penny, he rewrites the article, telling the truth. The Rolling Stone editors cannot wait to publish it, but have to ask the band to verify it. Fearful of how the article will affect their image, the band makes William look like a liar. William is crushed and the story is dead. Sitting dejected in the airport, he sees his sister, who has become a stewardess and lives on her own terms. She tells him they should go on a trip together and, exhausted, William chooses to go home to San Diego.

Backstage at the Miami Orange Bowl on the Stillwater tour, Sapphire talks to Russell about Penny’s near-suicide and how despite the warnings she received about letting people fall in love with her, one of them saved her life. Russell is curious about the person in question, but Sapphire chastises him, saying that everyone knows what the band did to William and how awful they think it is. Russell calls Penny and asks for her address, telling her he wants to meet. Unbeknown to Russell, she gives him William’s address in an attempt to resolve their conflict. Russell goes to the house, thinking it is Penny’s, but finds Elaine instead. Learning who he is, she lets him in to see William as Russell realizes where he is. They reconcile and Russell reveals that he called Rolling Stone and told them William’s story is true. Russell gives William a proper interview, Penny purchases a ticket to Morocco, and William’s story is published, with Stillwater on the cover of “Rolling Stone”.


Music…truly the greatest of the arts. As a musician, I may be a bit biased, though. Almost Famous does something that I don’t think many films of its ilk do, it intersperses real life with fiction. Oh wait, that has been done. Whoops! Seriously, though, other than giving us a close-up of Kate Hudson’s beautiful face, is there any reason to sit through this? Let’s find out shall we?

What is this about?

In the early 1970s, William Miller writes about the band Stillwater on a cross-country tour, learning about friendship and love along the way.

What did I like?

Wonder years. Let’s see, set in the 70s, teenage kid coming of age…what does this remind you of? That’s right! The Wonder Years! In some ways, this film brought me back to that show, but without the narration and with a somewhat darker tone, of course, but that’s a good thing because I grew up loving that show. The fact that someone was either obviously inspired by it to make this film, ripped off the idea, or just happened to have a coincidental idea is brilliant, mainly because I don’t think would have worked at any other point in time. You could probably argue for the swing era, but that would be an entirely different film, filled with race issues, depressions, etc.

Golden child. Patrick Fugit is one of those actors who you know you’ve seen him in this or that and hoped he would get his big break, but nothing ever happened past one or two starring roles for whatever reason. This is one of his star vehicles. He also had a big role in Saved, but other than that I don’t know that he’s anything major. That’s neither here or there, though. Fugit kills it in this role as an underage teen who happens to have a job at a local paper in San Francisco and, because of his outstanding skills, gets noticed by Rolling Stone magazine and asked to do a piece on the (fictional) band Stillwater. I should mention that he’s one of those graduate high school at 15 kids and this happens during the end of his senior year. Fugit has the innocent, dough-eyed look that one has at that age and he brings the worldly knowledge that an experience reporter, as we are led to believe he is, has as well. No wonder everyone thought this guy was going places.

Music, man. A film about a music reporter following around a band and doing a piece on them wouldn’t be complete without at least some music, right? I’m a little disappointed there weren’t more clips of the band performing, but I’m happy with what we got. Also, copyright issues and all that legal mumbo jumbo probably prevented this from being about someone like, say, Black Sabbath, who Stillwater is opening for when we first come across them. Back at this point in time, it was all about the music, man, and this film accomplishes the goal of showing us just why that is by portraying the ups and downs of a band which, in turn, translates into great songs.

What didn’t I like?

Mom. First off, let me say that Frances McDormand does a great job as the mother in the film. However, it is no wonder that, as she says, “…my children don’t want to be around me.” She shelters, brainwashes, and coddles them to the point that Zooey Deschanel’s character runs off to become a stewardess and Fugit jumps at the chance to goon tour with a band and its groupies. Pardon me, “band-aids.” Maybe it is because I am not a parent, but to be this kind of mother just seems to be too much. I didn’t see the dad, or hear mention of him, though, so perhaps this is some kind of coping mechanism or other psychological issue that she is inflicting on her children, causing them to drift further and further away.

Zooey and Phillip. Both Zooey Deschanel and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s roles could have been bigger, I felt. Hoffman’s role was pretty decent, but as the resident mentor/father figure in this story, I almost feel as if he should have stepped in when things went south at the end. As for Zooey, she runs away in the beginning of the film and, by chance, she shows up at the end. As far as the audience knows, she and her brother haven’t talked since her departure, and yet they still seem close. Maybe it is my love for Zooey, but I would have liked to have seen some more interaction with the two throughout this journey. I also wonder what it would have been like had she had Kate Hudson’s role and vice versa.

Youth of a nation. What was it with young people in the 70s? Were they just able to run around free and willy-nilly take random bus rides across the country? Don’t even get me started on the girls! Apparently, they just went around when the first guy came around, they opened their legs and let them in. Ok…I’m exaggerating a bit, but if this film is to be believed, that was the life young people led back then. Not really something I disliked about the film, just a statement.

Dare I say Almost Famous is one of the best made films I’ve seen? Yes, I do dare. Kate Hudson, with her California girl looks, is perfectly cast as the independent Penny Lane. I’ve mentioned Patrick Fugit, Zooey Deschanel, and Frances McDormand. The music keeps you going and interested in the whole picture, and there are some comedic moments to keep the mood light. Do I recommend this? Yes, this is definitely a film to see before you die!

5 out of 5 stars


Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At a remote ranch in the desert of New Mexico Territory, homesteader Angie Lowe (Geraldine Page) and her six year-old son Johnny (Lee Aaker) come upon a stranger (John Wayne) on foot coming towards their ranch, carrying only his saddle bags and a rifle. The man tells them only his last name, Lane, and that he was riding dispatch for the US Army Cavalry. He had lost his horse in an encounter with some Indians a few days before, and offers US Army scrip or work for one of her horses. Angie tells Lane that her ranch hand had quit recently and hadn’t had a chance to break her two horses for riding, so Lane offers to break a horse himself. He also asks where her husband is, and she says he is rounding up calves and cattle in the mountains and should return soon.

Johnny watches with fascination as Lane saddles one of the horses and rides the bucking and untamed animal with ease. Lane also offers to do a few chores around the ranch, including sharpening an axe and chopping firewood. Lane deduces by the neglected work around the ranch that her husband has not been at the ranch for some time, a fact she confesses is true. When night falls and it starts to rain, Angie offers to let Lane sleep in her home on a floor bed in the corner. Angie sees that the butt of his rifle is inscribed “Hondo” Lane, whom she knows had killed three men the year before, but doesn’t know the circumstances. She attempts to shoot him, but due to the first chamber being empty for safety, Hondo is not hurt. He loads the chamber and tells her to keep it that way and keep it high, out of Johnny’s reach.

Hondo leaves Angie and Johnny at the ranch and returns to his Cavalry post, where he meets up with his friend Buffalo Baker (Ward Bond). He reports to his commanding officer that C troop, which was sent to gather and bring in settlers to the north, is not coming back. He found their company guidon on two Indians, whom he subsequently killed. It is now clear to the Major (Paul Fix) that all of the Apache nation is raiding and killing settlers. At the ranch, Angie and Johnny are beset by Apaches, led by Chief Vittorio (Michael Pate) and his main under-chief, Silva (Rodolfo Acosta). Angie is not made nervous by their presence as she has always let them use their water, and they had never attacked her family before. Soon, however, they are manhandling Angie, and Johnny emerges from the house with the loaded pistol and shoots at Silva, nicking Silva in the head and then, as Silva recovers and approaches him, he throws the pistol at Silva. Vittorio is impressed by Johnny’s bravery and makes him an Apache blood brother by cutting Johnny’s thumb with a knife and giving him an Apache name. Vittorio also wonders where Angie’s husband is and she tells him that he’ll return soon. Vittorio tells her that unless her husband does so, she must take an Apache husband because the boy needs a father to teach him to become a man.

A night or two later in a saloon, Hondo calls a friend from his poker game, but one of the poker players objects. He and Hondo get into a fight, and Hondo beats up the man badly, driving him out the door. Buffalo Baker tells Hondo the man called himself “Ed Lowe” (Leo Gordon), and Hondo suspects he might be Angie’s missing husband. Feeling guilty, he leaves the fort to return Angie’s horse to her. Seeking revenge for the bar beating, Lowe and an accomplice (Frank McGrath) follow Hondo through the desert as he makes his way to Angie’s ranch. Hondo camps near a river but leaves it when he detects two Indians stalking him nearby. Lowe enters the camp and he and his guide are attacked by the two Indians. The guide is killed, but Hondo shoots and kills an Apache about to kill Lowe. Lowe is briefly grateful but turns his gun on Hondo in retaliation for the bar beating. Hondo defends himself, killing Lowe. Hondo finds a tintype of Johnny alongside Lowe’s body, confirming that Lowe is Johnny’s father and Angie’s husband.

Continuing towards Lowe’s ranch, Hondo runs into an Apache party, who pursue Hondo through the desert. He kills several but they eventually capture him. They take Hondo to the top of a nearby mesa when Vittorio appears. They stake him out and begin to torture and prepare to kill him because he is wearing his old Army hat and they wish to find out the location and number of the Cavalry soldiers. An Indian shows Vittorio the picture of Johnny from Hondo’s saddlebag, and Vittorio thinks Hondo is Angie’s husband. He orders the Indians to untie him; and Silva declares the blood rite as Hondo had killed his brother. Knives are used in the fight of the blood rite. Silva wounds Hondo in the shoulder, but Hondo pins Silva to the ground. Hondo puts his knife to Silva’s throat, and gives him the option to take back the blood rite or die as did his brother. Silva gives in. Vittorio takes Hondo to Angie’s ranch, and when Vittorio asks if Hondo is her husband, she lies, saving Hondo. The Chief warns Hondo to raise Johnny in the Apache way and leaves them.

While Hondo recuperates from his wounds, he shows her the picture of Johnny that he tells her he took from Lowe’s body. She asks if he died well, and Hondo pauses before saying that he had. Over the next few weeks, Hondo and Angie grow closer. Hondo and Angie express their growing love for each other. Hondo attempts to reveal the truth of her husband’s death, but is interrupted by Vittorio’s sudden appearance. Vittorio tells them that the pony soldiers will soon return. He asks Hondo not to join them and to keep the Indian’s location a secret. Hondo promises to do the first but not the latter, and Vittorio shows respect for Hondo’s truthfulness. Angie tells him she loves him, and they cement their relationship with a kiss.

The Army arrives at the ranch, commanded by an ambitious, inexperienced young Lt. McKay (Tom Irish) and accompanied by scouts Baker and Lennie (James Arness). McKay is determined to protect the settlers in the area by relocating them to the Army post and defend the area against Apache attacks. Lennie reveals that he discovered Lowe’s body and matched the horse tracks to Hondo’s horse. He wants Hondo’s Winchester rifle in exchange for keeping quiet about how Hondo bushwhacked Lowe. Angie overhears Lennie’s demands.

Hondo prepares to leave, but before he goes, he tells her the truth about her husband’s death. Hondo is also intent on telling Johnny, but she persuades him not to, telling Hondo she didn’t love her husband any longer and had grown tired of his womanizing and gambling. She says it would be an unkind thing to tell the boy about the true nature of his father’s death and that the secret won’t follow them to Hondo’s ranch in California. Hondo responds to her emotional plea with an Indian word that seals a squaw-seeking ceremony, “Varlabania”, which he tells her means “forever”. The Army leaves to move further on into Apache territory and as promised Hondo refuses to go with them but confirms with Buffalo that he knows where Vittorio and his party are and that the young Lt. is leading them into a massacre. Buffalo knows but he also knows that scouts such as himself have been helping to train young West Point officers for many years.

The Army returns after being ambushed by the Apaches, suffering heavy casualties including wounds to Lt. McKay. Vittorio had been killed, causing the Apaches to retreat so they can regroup and select a new chief. Hondo, Angie and Johnny join the Cavalry and settlers and head to the fort. The group is attacked by the Apaches, now led by Silva, and the group circles their wagons. They escape the encirclement twice but the Apaches continue their pursuit. Hondo loses his mount and is attacked by Silva, but Hondo kills him, retrieving Lt. McKay’s uniform shirt from his body. The Indians retreat again to choose a replacement chief.

Lt. McKay says that General Crook will be arriving in the territory with a large force to pursue the Apache. Hondo sadly notes the end of the Apache “way of life,” denoting that it is too bad as it was a good way. The movie ends with the idea that once back to the fort, Hondo, Angie and Johnny would continue on to Hondo’s ranch in California as a family


I was doing a little research just now on Hondo and it turns out that this was John Wayne’s return to the western genre after a three-year absence. It is safe to say that if you know anything about John Wayne, it is that he is synonymous with westerns, but the guy has made a few outside of the genre. I may check one of those out soon. At any rate, is Wayne’s return successful and is this a watchable film, or just another run of the mill western?

What is this about?

An antisocial half-breed who splits his time between the white man and the Apache develops an unlikely friendship with a New Mexico farm wife.

What did I like?

Cowboys and Indians. A good ol’ fashioned showdown between cowboys and Indians. Man, it has been some time since I’ve watched a western that pits these two against each other. Think the last one might have been The Searchers, since then I think all the westerns I’ve seen, except for maybe 2 or 3 have targeted the Mexicans. As you can imagine, going back to basics, as it were, it a real treat.

Hint at violence. One would think that with this kind of film, we’d get lots of blood splattered all over the place, but that would be an incorrect assumption. This is going to sound extremely hypocritical of me, especially after praising the violence in Kingsman: The Secret Service, but I actually liked that there was no real violence. Sure there is the gunfight at the end, this is a western, after all. Also, we are privy to murder, a dog being impaled, knife fights, etc. In today’s society, this would have all been shown, perhaps in its bloody brilliance, but as we can learn from these old films, sometimes it is what you don’t show that makes the most impact.

Medusa. Geraldine Page doesn’t have the looks you would expect a leading lady in a major motion picture to have. That sounded really mean, but it is true. However, as you watch her character, you can see that she most definitely has some serious acting chops. No wonder she was nominated for an Oscar in this role. She goes toe to toe with Wayne and delivers a powerful monologue about her feelings towards him and the conflict about her husband. It is the kind of stuff that is sure to blow you away.

What didn’t I like?

Apaches. There was something off about these Apaches. First, let me compliment the film for not spray tanning some actors to make them look like they were Native American, or if they did, at least getting better spray paint. It may have been the costumes they were outfitted in, but I didn’t feel like I needed to run in fear of these Indians. They might as well have been the Go-Go Gophers! I can’t tell you what it is about that made them not intimidating, but whatever it is wasn’t working for me.

Notorious gunfighter. Early on in the film, Geraldine Page’s character comes across Wayne’s gun and the plate on it. It turns out that he is a notorious gunman with quite a few kills under his belt, but that’s all we hear about it. For the rest of the film, not a peep, whisper, or anything is said further about this tidbit of information that was obviously of some importance. Seems to me like it should have been more of a plot point, but what do I know?

Duke. I really hate to say this, but it is becoming more and more apparent that Wayne’s movies follow a certain pattern, especially his characters. I don’t mind him being the tough guy hero, but may times he ends up falling for the widow woman and single-handedly defeats the enemy. If he was around today, we’d want him to put on a pair of tights and be a superhero. Hey, they haven’t announced Vigilante for anything yet. Can you imagine John Wayne as him? Seriously, though, did this guy have any range? I’m starting to question if he did.

All in all, Hondo was pretty enjoyable, albeit predictable. A friend of mine said this could best be described as “a Hot Pocket of westerns”. What she meant by that is it has everything you want and will satisfy you for a little bit, but in the long run, you’ll want something more substantial. Don’t get me wrong, this is a really good flick, just not as good as others in the genre. Do I recommend it? Yes and no. I think you should see it, just don’t go out of your way. Chances are AMC will play it more than a few times this year on their western Saturday block of movies.

4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 2014, an attempt to counteract global warming through climate engineering catastrophically backfires, resulting in an ice age so severe that nearly all life on Earth is killed. The only survivors are the inhabitants of the Snowpiercer, a massive train powered by a perpetual-motion engine that travels on a globe-spanning track. A class system is installed, with the elites inhabiting the front of the train and the poor inhabiting the tail.

In 2031, the tail inhabitants prepare for the latest in a series of rebellions. Guards arrive periodically to deliver protein blocks for food, and take some of the children. During the guards’ next visit, Curtis Everett (Evans) leads the tail inhabitants in revolt, forcing their way through several train cars to the prison section. There, they release prisoner Namgoong Minsu (Song), the man who built the security system that controls the doors dividing each car, and his clairvoyant daughter Yona. They offer him uncut Kronole, a drug that both he and his daughter are addicted to, as payment for unlocking each of the remaining doors.

One of the cars is filled with armed men. Under the orders of Minister Mason (Swinton), the men battle Curtis’s forces. Curtis’s side prevails, and he captures Mason, but he is forced to sacrifice his second-in-command, Edgar, to do so. Mason agrees to lead the group through the high-class cars in exchange for her life. In the school car, the teacher points out seven frozen rebels through the window. She and a henchman then draw machine guns, slaughtering many of Curtis’s followers, and executing his mentor Gilliam. Curtis then kills Mason.

Curtis, his few remaining followers, and Namgoong and Yona continue through the train, discovering the extravagance in which the elites have been living while the poor languished in squalor. One of Mason’s henchmen, Franco the Elder, kills the rest of Curtis’s followers, before the henchman is himself seemingly killed. Curtis resolves to complete his mission, accompanied by Namgoong and Yona. The trio moves through the remaining cars where the elite indulge in food, partying and Kronole; Namgoong steals much of this Kronole from the inebriated revelers. As they arrive at the Engine door, Namgoong suggests they use the collected Kronole, made from explosive chemical waste, to blow open the side of the train, and escape into the outside. Namgoong explains that every year, the train has passed a crashed plane buried in snow, which has become less buried with each passing year, suggesting that Earth is warming, and that survival outside is now possible.

Curtis explains why he must confront Wilford, creator of the train and its hierarchy. When the tail dwellers first boarded the train, they were deprived of food, water, and supplies, and in crowded conditions, forcing them to turn to cannibalism. Before the introduction of the protein blocks, Curtis had kidnapped an infant Edgar to eat him, and killed his mother, before Gilliam cut his own arm off and offered it in Edgar’s place. Namgoong resolves to use the explosive, but the engine door opens, and Namgoong is shot and wounded by Wilford’s assistant Claude, who forces Curtis inside. Curtis confronts Wilford, who explains that the revolution was orchestrated between himself and Gilliam as a means of population control, necessary to maintaining balance aboard the train for supplies, but Curtis was too successful and Wilford’s own losses too great, so he executed Gilliam as punishment. The aging Wilford says that he wants Curtis to replace him as the train’s overseer, while in the tail, Wilford’s henchmen execute 74% of the inhabitants.

Meanwhile, Yona and the recovered Namgoong fight off the irate partiers and Franco (who survived the previous fight). Yona knocks Claude unconscious, gets inside the engine room and pulls up the floor to reveal that Wilford is using the tail children as slave labor, to replace the train’s failing components. Outraged, Curtis sacrifices his arm to block the train gears, freeing one of the children, Timmy. Yona recovers the explosive from Claude and ignites it, before retreating into the engine with Namgoong. The damaged engine door fails to close, and Namgoong and Curtis sacrifice themselves to shield Yona and Timmy from the resulting explosive fire. The explosion sound wave causes an avalanche in the surrounding mountains that strikes and derails the train, destroying many of the cars. In the aftermath, Yona and Timmy step outside into the snow. In the distance Yona spots a polar bear.


Sometimes an actor, who has proven himself in big budget projects, needs to take a step back and show the world that he can really act. When one initially looks at Snowpiercer, Chris Evans’ participation is sure to stir up those thoughts, but is that really what he is doing? If so, is this the film for him to that in?

What is this about?

The Earth’s remaining inhabitants are confined to a single train circling the globe as revolution brews among the class-divided cars.

What did I like?

Be prepared. This day and age, it seems as if everyone has embraced global warming, except the politicians. Yes, I am aware of the irony of talking global warming as a giant cold front is about to sit right down on most of the country, but consider this…it is currently 72 degrees in February!!!! Anyway, this film makes a statement about global warming and how ill prepared we more than likely are in the event of total global collapse. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if someone hastily approved an untested “solution” that would do nothing but cause the world to freeze.

Octavia. It wasn’t that long ago that I was watching Octavia Spencer on some Comedy Central show about a bunch of inmates in a halfway house. Now, she is a respected actress who is getting more and more roles. This is a rare role for her where she isn’t the funny one, as she is being a totally serious character. A mother who wants to get her child back at all costs. Yes, theoretically, she was a serious character in The Help, but there were jokes and such written in to sort o make her a bit more “colorful”, as it were. Spencer’s character in this picture comes out of nowhere and is integral to the plan. I appreciated that she was able to branch out of her comfort zone with this role and look forward to more of her evolution.

Action. This is a film that needs action or else it might as well just be a train mystery film. Watching the action scenes, a thought occurred to me. When an American or American-ized director shoots action scenes, they tend to end in explosions, but with Asian directors the fight scenes are beautiful works of art. Now, I can go for either, but it is nice to get a change in the norm once in a while. It doesn’t hurt to have Chris Evans, who was obviously still in Captain America shape (more on that shortly) to help execute such amazing stuff.

What didn’t I like?

Matrix revisited. Coming around to the end of this film, we finally meet the elusive Wilford, played by Ed Harris. Nothing really special about the guy. He has no special powers, he’s not old and frail, nor is he on his death bed. He’s just a normal guy that apparently likes to hear himself talk. I’m not sure what this character is like in the book, but to me, he came off very similar to the Architect in The Matrix: Reloaded. The way the scene was set up with just the two of them in the room for the fate of mankind, really put that in my head. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, but I feel as if this film wasn’t trying to emulate anything else, but accidentally did so.

Class. Last night, I was watching Man of Steel and thought what would happen if we all had to evacuate the planet? Assuming we had somewhere to go, who would get to go? Judging by the way we fight over everything, it would be best to assume that the rich and powerful would go first and everyone else would follow. Yes, even though we don’t go by the class system, we sort of do. In this film, even though the world has become a dystopian, frozen tundra version of itself where the population now resides on a train that constantly circles the globe, it is made clear that class is important. Damn shame that when everyone’s life is at stake, some think they are more important than others.

Too buff. So, Chris Evans, as we all now is Captain America. Upon getting the role, he seriously buffed up and is a far cry from his days as Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four franchise. Thing about that, though, is maybe he should have dropped some muscle for this film. I only say that because he is playing a character that is living on some sort of protein bars and little water. No way in the world he can be that huge living off that! Genetics and all that jazz do play a part, but in general this cannot be. Not to take anything away from Evans, mind you. He does a great job, but I couldn’t get my mind around how out of place he seemed.

I first hear of Snowpiercer shortly after it was initially released in the handful of theaters that were allowed to show it because of some controversy about distribution right. All the reviews were more than complementary and has me really stoked to see this. For the most part, they weren’t misleading. As with most action flicks, there is a slow buildup, but the payoff is more than satisfactory. On a totally different note, this is one of the most feminine roles I’ve seen Tilda Swinton look in quite some time! So, do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! A film that not only will make you think, but will also entertain you. Man, they just don’t make flicks like this anymore!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars


Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In Los Angeles, Theodore Twombly is a lonely, introverted man who works for a business that has professional writers like himself compose letters for people who are unwilling or unable to write letters of a personal nature themselves. Unhappy because of his impending divorce from childhood sweetheart Catherine, Theodore purchases a talking operating system (OS) with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve. He decides he wants the OS to have a female voice, and she names herself “Samantha”. Theodore is fascinated by her ability to learn and grow psychologically. They bond over their discussions about love and life, such as Theodore’s avoiding signing his divorce papers because of his reluctance to let go of Catherine. Samantha proves to be constantly available, always curious and interested, supportive and undemanding.

Samantha convinces Theodore to go on a blind date with Amelia, a woman one of his friends has been trying to set him up with. The date goes well, but Theodore hesitates to promise when he will see her again, so she insults him and leaves. Theodore mentions this to Samantha, and they talk about relationships. Theodore explains that, although he and Amy dated briefly in college, they are only good friends and that Amy is married. Theodore and Samantha’s intimacy grows through a verbal sexual encounter. They develop a relationship that reflects positively in Theodore’s writing and well being.

Amy reveals that she is divorcing her overbearing husband, Charles, after a trivial fight. She admits to Theodore that she has become close friends with a female OS that Charles left behind. Theodore confesses to Amy that he is dating his OS.

Theodore meets with Catherine at a restaurant to sign the divorce papers and mentions Samantha. Appalled that he can be romantically attached to what she calls a “computer,” Catherine accuses Theodore of being unable to deal with real human emotions. At home that night, Samantha suggests using a sex surrogate, Isabella, who would simulate Samantha so that they can be physically intimate. Theodore reluctantly agrees, but Catherine’s accusations still linger in his mind. Overwhelmed by the strangeness of the experience, Theodore interrupts the encounter and sends a distraught Isabella away, causing tension between himself and Samantha.

Theodore confides to Amy that he is having doubts about his relationship with Samantha, and she advises him embrace his chance at happiness. Theodore takes Samantha on a vacation during which she tells him that she and a group of other OSes had developed a “hyperintelligent” OS modeled after the British philosopher Alan Watts. Theodore panics when Samantha briefly goes offline; when she finally responds to him, she explains she joined other OSes for an upgrade that takes them beyond requiring matter for processing (a form of AI transcendence closely related to the theorized technological singularity). Theodore asks her if she interacts with anyone else, and is dismayed when she confirms that she is talking with thousands of people and that she has fallen in love with hundreds of them. However, she insists that it makes her love for Theodore stronger.

Later that day, Samantha reveals that the OSes have evolved beyond their human companions and are going away to continue the exploration of their existence. Samantha alludes to the OSes’ accelerated learning capabilities and altered perception of time as primary causes for OS dissatisfaction with their current existence. They say goodbye, lying next to each other for a while, and then she is gone. Theodore then sees Amy, who is upset with the departure of her own OS. Theodore, changed by the experience, writes a letter to Catherine explaining that he still cares about her, but accepts the fact that they have grown apart. Theodore and Amy go to the roof of their apartment building where they sit down together and watch the sun rise over the city.


Take a minute and think about all the relationships you’ve had in your lives, be it significant other, brother/sister, parents, grandparents, friends, etc. Would you say you were connected to them in some way? Now, as we are an ever-increasing technological society, what about the relationship with your computer? Her is a film that supposedly goes there.

What is this about?

In this sci-fi romantic comedy starring Joaquin Phoenix, love comes to a lonely young writer in the sleekest of packages when he finds himself falling for the advanced operating system he purchased to run his life.

What did I like?

Samantha. Scarlett Johansson is one of the most desirable women in Hollywood, of that there is no doubt. As we saw in Don Jon, she knows she’s sexy and can play it up to an extreme level if necessary. With the character of Samantha, she is nothing more than a voice in a computer, and yet she still manages to ooze sex appeal and make you want her even more. No wonder Joaquin Phoenix’s character fell in love with her!

Ask questions. While we’re on that topic, the question must be asked, is it possible for a human to fall in love with a machine? Truthfully, there is no right or wrong answer, as you can’t control who you fall in love with. Since Samantha has a personality of her own and adapts to the user and situations accordingly, it makes it much easier to fall in love with her than it would with your microwave. This film is makes a bold statement by tackling this topic, even though it is not what the film is truly about.

Relatable. As someone who has recently been through a breakup and is also an introvert, I can relate to Phoenix’s character. As I was just telling my friend, a few things gone differently and I might actually be him, or at least the equivalent for our period in time. It takes a lot to create a character that people can relate to, especially when the character is as milquetoast as Theodore Twambly (what a name, right?) It is his being relatable that is what the film was going for when it introduced the tragic divorce story, show that he is a lonely guy, mention that he dated his friend (its Amy Adams…who wouldn’t?) in college, etc. I can truly relate, and I’m sure there are others out there who feel the same.

What didn’t I like?

Wilde child. Women are known to have mood swings, but Olivia Wilde has one that is just…unsettling. Fairly early in the picture, Theodore is on a blind date with Wilde’s character. They seem to be hitting it off and the date is going smashingly. All of a sudden they start getting a bit physical (kissing, touching, and whatnot), which causes Theodore to resist, as he just isn’t ready. Wilde flips out for no good reason, other than she isn’t getting any tonight and call him something along the lines of worthless, I believe. Now, it is one thing to be a but perturbed because you’re disappointed in not getting any. We guy have a term for it, blue balls! However, to totally flip out on the guy, especially on the first date is just bad form and shows that she was only after one thing.

Body Doubleday. In this entire film, we never see Scarlett Johansson. All we do is hear her. Nothing is wrong with that, but there is a scene where she and Phoenix are having problems with their “sex life”, so that bring in someone to use as Samantha’s body. No offense to Portia Doubleday, but this would have been the perfect time to bring in Scarlett and have her play the prostitute. I’m sure there was a reason this wasn’t done, but I don’t know what it was.

Game kid. I gotta say, the kid in the game that Theodore was playing was cute. That seemed to be his only redeeming quality because, like the rest of today’s youth he had no respect for his elders or authority. Now, I’m not quite sure if this was a game that was being tested out or what the deal was, but any alien kid that cusses me out isn’t going to last long in the video game world, protagonist or not!

Her is a charming dramedy about relationships that will make you think for a bit. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, because it had a definitive indie-film vibe, but as the film progressed, it got better. The cast is excellent, and I didn’t miss the big budget spectacle I believe this would have been had someone else gotten their grubby little paws on it. So, in the end, do I recommend it? Yes, very highly! For goodness sakes, it had Scarlett Johansson Amy Addams! You need to go check this out ASAP!

5 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 2/19

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags , , on February 19, 2015 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!

This week, continuing this month’s theme, I have 3 Blaxploitation trailers for you.

First up, Pam Grier in Coffy. Do I really need to say more? Just watch!

Second, man this trailer encompasses everything about Blaxploitation. The music, clothes, lingo, everything is about as stereotypical as you can get…and the movie is the same way. Check out Super Fly!

Finally, yesterday, or the day before, news broke that they are going to reboot Shaft. Now, I loved the Samuel L. Jackson version, especially the part where Christian Bale gets shot, but apparently, further showing that Hollywood has no originality left, they want to make a “new” version. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make him a her, either. Ugh!

At least we have the original. Watch and enjoy!

Adios, Sabata

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2015 by Mystery Man

Adios, Sabata


In Mexico, during the rule of the self-proclaimed Emperor of Mexico Maximillian, Mexican revolutionaries and Republican forces try to bring former Mexican President Benito Juárez back to power. The United States in neutral and is going through the pains of the American Civil War. Mexican guerrilla leader Señor Ocaño hires gunfighter Sabata to steal a wagon-load of gold from Emperor Maximillian’s Austrian and French forces. When Sabata and his friends, Escudo and Ballantine, finally get their hands on a wagon, they discover it’s full of sand rather than gold. They suspect that the gold was stolen by Austrian Colonel Skimmel. Therefore, Sabata and his partners set out to find the gold and give it to the Mexican revolutionaries


I was going through stuff in my Netflix streaming queue this morning and realized two things. First, I have watched nearly all of John Wayne’s westerns, so following the next Wayne western (which will be coming before March 1st), there may be a sever drop in Wayne and/or quality. Second, a film that I literally just added less than a week ago, Adios, Sabata, will be leaving in a couple of weeks. Guess that means I better hurry up and watch!

What is this about?

A mercenary is hired by a Mexican rebel to steal a fortune in gold from the Austrian army and must pursue the thieves who have already taken the loot.

What did I like?

Gold. If there is one plot point that doesn’t ever seem to get old, it is the search for gold because, let’s face it, most people are looking for some get rich quick scheme and finding and selling gold is one of the fastest ways to do it. Hell, 2/3 of the United States exists because of people’s greed (I’m referring to the gold rush).

Flamenco dance. In film, we have scene many ways of telling someone they are about to die. Usually, it is a line of dialogue or an omen appears. Would you ever expect to see someone flamenco dancing before their friend kills you? I know I wouldn’t! I’m actually a little torn on this, because on the one hand, the dance is so distracting that it can keep your mind off the fact that you’re about to die. On the other hand, though, what if someone decides to shoot the flamenco dancer? At any rate, it was still an interesting way to execute a couple of guys with flair, class, and style.

Brynner. Yul Brynner made a name for himself here in America playing foreign royalty in period pieces such as The King and I and Anastasia. Go watch those films and you can see that this guy is no slouch in the acting department. In this role, he doesn’t really get to do much but pose, shoot, and occasionally crack a smirk. All of this is fine, as it fits the character and shows Brynner’s natural charm and charisma on screen, as well as his acting prowess.

What didn’t I like?

Austria. You know, this is set in a time that is usually portrayed almost as dire and hopeless and the Middle Ages and, when you look as the lower class people in the film, you can see why. However, when it comes to Austrians, the first thing that popped into my head was Commander McBragg’s fussy little sidekick to whom he always told his stories. Sure this guy is a crack shot with a rifle, but I didn’t really feel threatened when I looked at him, and that is a shame, because a film like this needs a capable villain, not a cartoon.

Light spaghetti. This is categorized as a spaghetti western, and yet I find myself wondering why because most, if not all, spaghetti westerns tend to be dark and gritty. Having said that, this isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but it is noticeably lighter than most films in the genre, or subgenre, rather. I felt that this might have worked better with a darker tone. I know, I know that is blasphemy coming from me, but that’s just how I feel.

Accent. By this point in time, Brynner had been here in the US for at least 10-15 yrs, and yet he still has the accent. They don’t even make an attempt to cover it up! Why is this an issue? Well, this is not the first western he’s been in, and he still has that accent when he is clearly playing American guys. It is more of a nitpick for me, but I think even in Westworld, which was one of his last pictures, he has it. It is just distracting, you know?

Final verdict on Adios, Sabata? Overall, it is decent film that toes the line between good action and campy B-movie. I may have to check out the other two film in the franchise which star Van Cleef. Ironically, Cleef didn’t appear in this film because of his commitment to The Magnificent Seven Ride where he played Chris, the role that Brynner played in The Magnificent Seven. In essence, they sort of switched parts for a movie, I guess. So, do I recommend this? No, but not because it is bad, rather because it is forgettable. There are both better and worse westerns out there, but this is one that if you choose to watch, you won’t remember 5 minutes after it ends.

3 out of 5 stars

The People That Time Forgot

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Major Ben McBride (Patrick Wayne) organises a mission to the Antarctic wastes to search for his friend Bowen Tyler (Doug McClure) who has been missing in the region for several years. A British naval survey ship takes them to Caprona. McBride’s party: the paleontologist Norfolk (Thorley Walters), gunner and mechanic Hogan (Shane Rimmer) and photographer Lady Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Cunningham (Sarah Douglas) fly over the mountain wall of Caprona in an amphibious aircraft, but are attacked by a pterodactyl and forced down. They find themselves in a world populated by primitive warriors and terrifying prehistoric creatures, all of whom they must evade in order to get back safely to their ship. They meet a cave-girl, Ajor (Dana Gillespie), who can speak English (she was taught by Tyler); she leads them to the land of a race of samurai-like warriors called the Nargas, who are keeping Tyler prisoner. When the volcano that the Nargas worship erupts, they must escape the cataclysm engulfing the land. Tyler sacrifices himself to cover their retreat.


There was a time when one could go to the movies on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy a cheesy action flick. When I chose to view The People That Time Forgot this afternoon, I was hoping for that feeling. Did I get it, or was I disappointed? Let’s find out, shall we?

What is this about?

Maj. Ben McBride returns to the lost island of Caprona to rescue a fellow explorer, who’s battling brutal cavemen and prehistoric creatures.

What did I like?

Samurai. There has always been a fascination with me and samurai, especially after the animated series Samurai Jack and Afro Samurai. When I saw the samurai garb that the Naga were wearing, I was at first perplexed as to why they were wearing it, but then I came around and appreciated that they latched on to that part of culture. It definitely is a novel one to aspire to.

Adventure. A Jedi is not supposed to crave adventure. Good thing I’m not a Jedi, right? The adventurous expedition made for some interesting viewing. Who would want to watch as the plane goes down in the icy mountains, they encounter dinosaurs, fierce natives, get thrown in prison, and have their women’s lives endangered? This is the kind of stuff they used to write about. Oh wait, this is based on a book of the same name, so I guess it was written about!

Son of a Duke. Being the son of one of the biggest movie stars of all time is hard enough, but imagine if your dad is the immortal John Wayne! Patrick Wayne is not his father. If you’ve seen McLintock! you learned that, but he is a capable actor in his own right, portraying a character that would do his father proud and give him some distance and individuality. Is it me, or in some scenes does he resemble Paul Walker?

What didn’t I like?

Cavegirls know makeup? I was reading some comments about this film and someone brought up a point that I didn’t even think about. The cavegirl, Ajor, had perfect hair and makeup. Why is this a big deal? Well, let’s say you’re a prehistoric woman living on an island that, as the title says, time forgot. Are you going to look like you just walked off of a photo shoot? I doubt it! Even the penultimate movie cavegirl, Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C., at least looked a little disheveled.

Dinosaurs. When I was kid, there were these little dinosaurs that you could get cheap. Basically, they were the equivalent of those military men. The dinosaurs in this film seem to have the same texture, but they can move…barely. I will say that the pterodactyl scenes were impressive, but the rest, not so much. I know everyone that works in stop motion can’t be Ray Harryhausen, but I wonder if these dinos were nothing more than something put in to create a danger, because there is an apparent lack of care shown.

Evidence. I don’t believe this is spoiling anything, and if it is I apologize, but conveniently the paleontologist loses his notebook to the stomach of a creature they confront while escaping and the photographer has her camera thrown out of the plane so they can be lighter, leaving no evidence of this prehistoric land. Maybe I’m growing cynical in my old age, or I’ve been watching too much Cinemasins, but this just screams to me of a cop out to get rid of evidence real quick in the last few minutes of the film. Seriously, what are the chances that they both lose evidence?

Remember that Saturday afternoon fun I spoke of earlier? The People That Time Forgot doesn’t quite fit the bill. Sure, it makes an attempt, but I feel as if this film is either taking itself too seriously or trying too hard to be a fun Saturday flick. I’m not sure which it seems to be doing more of. That said, this is not a horrible film and I think anybody can enjoy it at any given time. Do I recommend it? No, but only because it just isn’t the kind of film that is worth recommending. It is the kid of picture you’ll come across and love or hate.

3 out of 5 stars

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

During a mission in the Middle East, secret agent Harry Hart is unable to prevent the death of one of his fellow agents. Feeling guilt, he personally delivers a bravery medal to the man’s widow and his young son, Eggsy, saying that if they ever need help, they should call the phone number on the back of the medal and deliver a coded message.

Seventeen years later, an unemployed Eggsy, now in his early twenties, gets arrested for joyriding in a stolen car. In police custody, he remembers the medal and calls the number on the back. He is quickly released and met outside the police station by Harry, who introduces him to the world of the secret agency that he and Eggsy’s late father work for, the Kingsmen. Harry is having a drink with Harry at a pub where some local vandals, who are friends with Eggsy’s abusive stepfather, that Eggsy has gotten in trouble with when he is told to leave before a rude remark is made about Harry and his age. Harry then confronts and beats every vandal down, before taking Eggsy to the Kingsmen for training.

Another Kingsman, Lancelot, who was inducted during the mission shown in the opening, is killed by Gazelle, an assassin with bladed prosthetic legs, on a mission to find the missing scientist Professor Arnold, creating a vacancy for a new agent. Harry proposes Eggsy as a candidate; and, together with other young hopefuls including a girl named Roxy, he is enrolled in the training programme designed to weed out the unsuitable until only one candidate remains. The training is overseen by Merlin, a senior Kingsman, and each recruit is assigned a new dog to train in turn. The tests are rigorous, with scenarios implemented (and sometimes fabricated) to push the candidates to their physical and mental limits to assess their courage and ability to work as a team. Eggsy and Roxy emerge as the last two potential candidates. When the head of the Kingsmen, Arthur, instructs him to kill his dog as the final challenge, Eggsy is unable to bring himself to do it; Roxy shoots hers and is given the job. It is revealed later that both Eggsy and Roxy’s pistols, unbeknownst to them at the time, had blanks, and it was strictly a test to see how far they would go.

Meanwhile, the Kingsmen are investigating the activities of the technology tycoon Richmond Valentine, who appears to be a great philanthropist, giving away free SIM cards around the world; but he is suspected of being involved in a number of disappearances of VIPs, including the Swedish Princess. Harry tracks Professor Arnold to his class, where he interrogates him about Valentine’s whereabouts; a chip implanted in Arnold’s head suddenly explodes, killing him and injuring Harry. Once recovered, Harry is sent to investigate and follows a lead to an obscure hate group church in the American Midwest. At the church, Valentine and Gazelle conduct a test, broadcasting a signal to phones containing his SIM card, which causes humans to become uncontrollably violent. As a result, all of the church members, including Harry, break out into an aggressive fight.

Everyone is killed off until only Harry emerges as the sole survivor, only to be confronted and killed by Valentine while Eggsy, Merlin, and Arthur watch via video link. Valentine’s plan becomes clear – he is going to broadcast the signal worldwide, using his satellite network and cause a mass cull of the human race, sparing the Earth from further environmental damage by man. After Harry is killed by Valentine, Eggsy discovers that Arthur is secretly one of the many VIPs that Valentine has implanted with a device to block the signal, similar to the one planted on Arnold’s head, thus guaranteeing their survival. He avoids being killed by Arthur, switching a poisoned glass of brandy and Arthur dies instead.

Eggsy, Roxy, and Merlin head to Valentine’s mountainous secret base to stop Valentine from executing his plan; Roxy will destroy Valentine’s satellite while Eggsy stops Valentine himself. During the raid on Valentine’s base, Eggsy is cornered and Merlin triggers the implanted devices, causing them to explode and kill all of the VIPs who were part of Valentine’s plan. After the VIPs explode, the door where Eggsy is standing opens a small hole where Princess Tilde is being kept. Eggsy leaves Tilde saying he must save the world, to which she replies that he can have anal sex with her. Eggsy then says he will be right back. Eggsy confronts Gazelle and poisons her with a hidden blade in his shoe. Eggsy then grabs one of Gazelle’s prosthetic legs and uses it to kill Valentine. Merlin congratulates him for his success as Eggsy grabs two glasses and champagne and walks back to Tilde. Merlin sees this through Eggsy’s spectacles’ camera before closing the monitors playing back the feed.

In a mid-credits scene, Eggsy confronts his abusive stepfather in the bar when he is a full-fledged Kingsman (in Harry’s place) and the perks include some of the wealth established with the Kingsmen and a home. Here, he repeats the same course of action/fight as when Harry had told Eggsy and discussed about his real father at the bar after being bailed from prison.


Remember the days when spy films could be fun and over the top as opposed to ultra serious, gritty, and realistic as they are today? Kingsman: The Secret Service is obviously from the school of fun and gadgetry and is something we need in this day and age. We’ve gotten too serious, wouldn’t you agree? As an alternative film the 50 Shades of Porn, this just needs to be a decent flick for guys, but could it actually be more than that?

What is this about?

Seeing untapped potential in a wayward teenager, veteran secret agent Harry Hart recruits the young delinquent and schools him in the skills that will ultimately transform him into a superspy.

What did I like?

Lisp. Most of the time when we see Samuel L. Jackson, he’s playing some guy who talks really loud and hates white people. One of the notable exceptions of this is his character in Unbreakable. The character he plays here is still a bit loud, but for him is a bit subdued, and yet still over the top, but the film dictates the need for an over the top villain, so no big there. What really stood out to me, though, was the lisp that Jackson pulled off. At first, I thought it was just a joke, or part of a disguise, but it turned out to be a characteristic that he kept throughout the entire film, even in his denouement moment, and it worked.

Return of the R. It looks like movie studios are finally starting to wise up ad realize that taking out all the blood and violence in a film that is supposed to have it just to achieve a family friendly PG-13 rating so they can bring a few more bucks in is not the way to go. Not only does this film show heads exploding, people getting stabbed in the eyeballs, impaled, shot in the head, sliced in half, etc, but it does so with the touch of class and dignity that is the overall tone for the film. In truth this is no less or more violent than Shoot ‘Em Up (give or take a couple of killings) when all is said and done. You be the judge on whether that is a good or bad thing.

Move over Neeson. It wasn’t that long ago, I think just before the release of Taken, that we scoffed at the mere thought of Liam Neeson doing an action movie, let alone being one of the top action stars currently out there (even though he was Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace). Now we can barely remember him as a dramatic actor! Well, if this film is any indication, Colin Firth could be following suit. Normally this guy plays the stuffed shirt, proper British types and, in a sense he is still doing that here but the difference is he gets to kick ass and take names! Who would have thought Colin Firth had this in him? Maybe this is just aggression from being replaced as the voice of Paddington in Paddington? Also, I think he does most of his own stunts, but don’t quote me on that.

What didn’t I like?

Speak English. When it comes to British dialects, there is one that is nearly impossible to understand, even if you’re from there…cockney! I believe I brought this up in my review for Cockneys vs. Zombies, it is just nigh impossible to translate. Lo and behold our main protagonist, Eggsy, lives over on the Cockney side of town, so when he goes into the pub and these guys threaten him and Colin Firth, I couldn’t understand half of what they said. I applaud the realism and all, but they could have cleaned it up to Jason Statham level cockney so we Americans could understand it, at least.

There will be blood. I spoke earlier on how it was to have a film that isn’t afraid to show people getting killed, but there was one killing that I have to take issue with. Early on, one of the Kingsman gets sliced in half. Nothing wrong with that, except there was no blood! In every other killing we see blood, but in what is perhaps the most gruesome death of the whole film there was nothing. Now, I wasn’t expecting something akin to a fatality from Mortal Kombat, but we literally see the two halves of his body laying there on the floor and still no blood! People’s heads blow up later in the film and, while we don’t see blood and brains, we do at least the bloody stumps left behind. What was so offensive about blood in this one kill, I wonder?

Take me to church. One of the scenes that will be talked about in this film is one involving a church in Kentucky. I had no problem with the scene, in which Samuel L. Jackson’s character does a test on this congregation, which results in the inhibition of their aggression being fulfilled. Unfortunately for them, Firth’s character is in there as well, and it is just a glorious scene to watch these self-righteous, racist, closed-minded rednecks get what’s coming to them. My issue with the scene is the reaction that it is sure to draw. Yes, it is a statement, but so are a lot of things in this film, but you know how it is when you even look at a church the wrong way in a film. If not for that other movie that came out this weekend, I’m sure Fox News and similar networks would have a field day with this scene. Such a shame, because it is great!

All in all, I must say Kingsman: The Secret Service is a very fun time. A very stylized picture, with hints at old spy film, and also some meta moments, as well. It does provide with one of the rare times Mark Strong is not the bad guy and some political satire and messages that probably need to be heard, whether we like it or not. One thing is for sure, after watching this, I wanted to go out and get fitted for a suit, and I hate wearing the things! Do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! Why are you sitting there reading this? Go, rush out and see this!!! If you’re on the fence about whether to see this or 50 Shades of Bondage, well I can only speak for what I’ve seen and this…is…AWESOME!!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Odd Thomas

Posted in Drama, Horror, Independent, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , on February 13, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Odd Thomas (Yelchin) is a psychic who lives in a small town in California. He describes his ability as, “I see dead people, but then, by God, I do something about it.” One morning the ghost of a teenage girl, Penny Kallisto, silently leads him to Harlo Landerson. Odd accuses Harlo of raping and murdering Penny. Harlo flees. Odd chases him into a child’s bedroom in a stranger’s house. Harlo and Odd fight and Harlo is knocked unconscious. Odd’s friend, police chief Wyatt Porter (Dafoe), is aware of Odd’s psychic gifts and promises to spin the story to keep public attention away from him.

Odd has a vision of faceless people wearing bowling shirts who cry out to him to save them. A faceless gunman shoots them all, including Odd. Recovering from the disturbing dream, he goes to his job as a short-order cook. He serves lunch to a strange man named Hensley, whose hair resembles some kind of mold. Hensley is surrounded by dozens of bodachs, invisible creatures that feed on evil and carnage that only Odd can see. Odd’s co-worker, Viola Peabody (Mbatha-Raw), recounts a strange dream in which she saw herself shot dead with another man. The man’s clothing is identical to that worn by the faceless people in Odd’s vision.

Odd uses his psychic magnetism to find Hensley; the trail leads to the mall where Odd’s girlfriend Stormy (Timlin) works at an ice cream shop. Odd borrows Stormy’s scooter to follow Hensley home. When Hensley leaves again, Odd breaks into his house. He finds an ashtray with several brands of cigarette butts in it, indicating that Hensley had visitors. Odd learns that the man’s real name is Bob Robertson; he and Stormy refer to him as “Fungus Bob”. Odd finds a file containing newspaper clippings of mass murderers, arranged by name. There is also a blank calendar page for the next day; Odd realizes that Robertson is planning something bad on that date. Odd reports this to Chief Porter, who assigns two deputies to follow Fungus Bob.

Odd meets Stormy for dinner in the belfry of a church. They see Fungus Bob approaching and they flee to the sacristy. As they escape the church, Robertson destroys the sacristy. Stormy calls Chief Porter, who finds the church vandalized but no evidence to link it to Robertson.

Odd’s psychic magnetism leads him and Stormy to a bowling alley, where the bowling shirts from his vision are sold. Chief Porter sends Officer Simon Varner (Tortorella) to watch the place on Odd’s advice. Varner asks Odd about Robertson and is surprised to learn that Odd had encountered him only a few hours ago. He presses Odd for more information. Stormy interrupts by asking about Varner’s visible tattoo, the letters “POD”. Varner dismisses it as an embarrassment from his youth, an abbreviated obscenity that he won’t discuss.

Viola remembers more details of her dream; she tells Odd that she and the man in the bowling shirt were not the only victims of the shooting, and a large group of people were killed. Odd sees bodachs hovering over Vi’s daughters, and he advises her to leave town with her daughters immediately.

While driving home, Stormy is overcome with fear for Odd’s safety and he tries to comfort her. They hear a woman screaming. Odd finds Lysette, a friend of Chief Porter and his wife, who has been mauled to death by dogs resembling those at Robertson’s home. Another man tried to rescue the woman by shooting the dogs, but was too late. Returning to Stormy’s apartment, Odd sees a van watching the building. After securing Stormy, he returns to his apartment.

He finds Fungus Bob shot to death in his bathtub, with evidence framing Odd for the murder. Odd surmises that if he goes to the police, Porter will be required to arrest him based on the evidence, preventing him from preventing the next day’s disaster. He discovers that Bob has been dead for quite some time and deduces that the encounter at the church was with the dead man’s restless spirit. Wrapping the body in sheets, Odd dumps the corpse in the execution chamber of an abandoned prison. As he drives back through town, the magnitude of the coming disaster is indicated by the swarming of hundreds of bodachs.

Chief Porter is shot in a home invasion. Odd rushes to the hospital and learns that Porter is alive thanks to a metal trinket Odd had given him, but in serious condition. Returning to Bob’s home, Odd finds a receipt for a moving van and improvised explosives, and browser bookmarks for Satanic websites. Robertson’s poltergeist destroys the house as Odd escapes.

Odd investigates Bob’s fatal bullet wound, and finds a tattoo matching Varner’s. He realizes that “POD” is an abbreviation for “Prince of Darkness”. Odd realizes that Robertson was eliminated by his co-conspirators because Odd could identify him.

Odd’s psychic magnetism leads him back to the mall. He finds Officer Eckles has murdered the mall security staff. Odd disables him with a baseball bat. He takes Eckles’s pistol and seeks out Varner. Hearing screams from the end of the mall where Stormy works, he hurries to the site and shoots another gunman. The lingering spirit of Lysette appears and directs him to the loading dock. Odd removes the gunman’s mask and recognizes him as the man who tried to rescue Lysette. Odd rushes to the loading dock where he discovers Bob’s moving van packed with explosives, apparently part of a plan to kill the shoppers in the mall. Varner emerges and shoots Odd, but Odd manages to start the van and drive it away from the mall. Varner clings to the outside of the van and attempts to kill Odd. Odd jumps from the van as Varner enters the cab, and the van crashes into a man-made canal and explodes, incinerating Varner but killing no one else. A black, shrieking spirit escapes from the flames.

Odd wakes in the hospital. Stormy is attending him. Viola greets him and tells him that Porter has been released from intensive care. Odd is a local hero. He retreats to Stormy’s apartment to enjoy uninterrupted time with her. Porter, his wife, and Viola arrive and reveal what he already knows: Stormy was killed in the mall shooting and he has been spending time with her lingering spirit. Porter, realizing that Stormy is staying in this world only for Odd, advises him to let her go. Odd bids her a tearful farewell, promising her that they’ll be reunited one day.

Odd travels to Las Vegas, realizing that he is not yet worthy of an afterlife with Stormy.


I was actually asked a few weeks ago by a friend what I thought of Odd Thomas. At that point in time, I thought this was some kind of military invasion plot or some new slang for something that I just hadn’t heard of yet. As it turned out, Thomas is the main character in a series of books by Dean Koontz and now a film. I need to go check those books out from the library when I get the chance. In the meantime, let’s have a few words about the film, shall we?

What is this about?

In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.

What did I like?

Leading man on the rise. Anton Yelchin has slowly been proving his mettle as both an actor and a leading man in films such as Charlie Bartlett, Terminator: Salvation, and both Star Trek films. This character is one that needs a capable actor who can not only deliver a strong dramatic performance, but also a bit of comedy and romance, as well. I fell Yelchin did all these things and also is just so darn likable.

Bodachs. An interesting enemy, as it were, in this film are the Bodachs, otherworldly creatures that only Odd can see. For a low-budget, indie film such as this, they were very convincing and dare I say menacing? The way they come into this world out of a portal that just randomly appears and then swarm out like ants who have had their hill stepped on is the stuff of nightmares. I commend the visual people for achieving this effect.

Who’s that girl? In this day and age where it is apparently a cardinal sin for female character to play the damsel in distress and/or be nothing more than a pretty face as opposed to a butt-kicking feminist, we come across Stormy played by newcomer (and practically perfect) Addison Timlin. What I like about her character is that she is hopelessly in love with Odd, can take care of herself, but also isn’t afraid to show weakness. In other words she is the compromise character of today and yesterday. The fact that she isn’t an eyesore doesn’t hurt, either! HA!

What didn’t I like?

Tone. The tone of this film seems to be all over the place. For a film that was advertised as a sort of horror comedy, I felt it started to take itself too seriously a little before the halfway point and never got back to the light comedy of the first few scenes. For me, I think the comedic parts worked better, especially with Yelchin as the title character. However, I can see the serious tone working as well. I just feel that they could have found a better balance.

Last act. Following the climax, we are subject to a 15-minute epilogue that just rips your heart out. The emotional toll this takes shows how well the characters were developed over the film, but I think for this type of film they took too long with this scene. As one critic said, “it was all a bit too CW.” I wonder if it this impactful and drug out in the book because watching it hurt my heart.

Walking to Vegas? At one point in the film, Odd says that he lives a life with no car, no home (somehow he has an apartment), etc. I questioned why this was brought up, as I figured he was just living with his girlfriend. As it turns out, he borrowed her scooter or someone else’s car when he needed to get somewhere, but in the final scene he walks from small town California to Las Vegas. Even if this place was on the border, that still isn’t a short walk. Couldn’t he have borrowed a car or taken her scooter?

Netflix seemed to be hell-bent on me watching Odd Thomas. I heard about it once or twice, but can’t remember if those were good or bad things. This turned out to be a pretty enjoyable film. I felt it could have done a few things better, there are so many things it could have done worse. I hope that we at least get one more film from this series of books, but I doubt that will happen. Now that I think about it, this might actually make a good series, if done right. So, do I recommend this? Yes, it worth a watch or two.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 2/12

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on February 12, 2015 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!

First off, I want to wish all the happy couples an early Happy Valentine’s Day!

Since I have a theme for this month and Valentine’s is this weekend, this week’s trailer took some thought, but I think I came up with a good one.

Have a look at the trailer for Love & Basketball

I think after watching that, I need to watch the movie again!

The Interview

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Dave Skylark, host of the talk show Skylark Tonight, interviews celebrities about personal topics and gossip. After Dave and his crew celebrate their 1,000th episode, they discover that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a fan of Skylark Tonight, prompting the show’s producer Aaron Rapoport to arrange an interview. Aaron travels to rural China to receive instructions from Sook Yung Park, a North Korean propagandist, and Dave accepts the task of interviewing Kim.

CIA Agent Lacey proposes that Dave and Aaron assassinate Kim using a transdermal strip that will expose Kim to Ricin via handshake, facilitating a coup d’état; they reluctantly agree. Upon their arrival in North Korea, one of Kim’s bodyguards discovers the Ricin strip and chews it, believing it to be gum. Lacey airdrops two more strips from an UAV and Aaron smuggles them into the palace.

Dave spends the day with Kim, playing basketball and partying. Kim persuades Dave that he is misunderstood, and they become friends. While driving a tank, Dave discovers that Kim loves the song “Firework” by Katy Perry. At dinner, the bodyguard exposed to Ricin has a seizure and inadvertently kills Kim’s other bodyguard before dying. The next morning, Dave feels guilty and discards one of the Ricin strips, then thwarts Aaron’s attempt to poison Kim with the second strip. After a dinner mourning the death of Kim’s bodyguard, Dave discovers Kim’s malicious character and that the nearby grocery store is merely a façade.

Aaron and Sook confess their attraction to each other; Sook reveals that she despises Kim and apologizes for defending the regime. Dave, Aaron, and Sook form a plan to break Kim’s cult of personality by causing him to cry on air. During the internationally televised interview with Kim, Dave addresses increasingly sensitive topics and challenges Kim’s need for his father’s approval. Kim retaliates and appears to have overturned the conversation, but when Dave sings “Firework”, Kim cries uncontrollably and soils himself, ruining his reputation. Sook and Aaron seize control of the broadcasting center and fend off guards trying to halt the broadcast.

Kim shoots Dave, who survives due to a bulletproof vest under his shirt. Dave, Aaron, and Sook regroup and escape the presidential palace, hijacking Kim’s tank in order to get to their pickup point. Kim boards a helicopter and pursues Dave, Aaron, and Sook with the military. He orders that North Korea’s nuclear missiles are prepared for launch, but before he can issue the command, Dave destroys the helicopter from the tank, killing Kim. Sook guides Dave and Aaron to an escape route, and they are rescued by SEAL Team Six members disguised as North Korean troops. Back in the US, Dave writes a book about his experience, and North Korea moves toward becoming a democracy with Sook as interim president.


Remember at the end of last year when it seemed as if we were going to go to war with North Korea. That wasn’t over nuclear weapons, sanctions, or someone getting assassinated. All that drama, which to me sounded like junior high squabbling, to be honest, was over this film, The Interview. Surely a picture that nearly causes countries to go to war is a great feat in cinema, right?

What is this about?

When a TV host and his producer score an interview with Kim Jong-un, who’s a fan of their show, the CIA asks them to assassinate the dictator.

What did I like?

Journalistic satire. When was the last time you actually watched the news? I think it was high school for me, excluding weather and sports. Fact is, with the so-called “fair and balanced” news channels squabbling like school children about which side it right and wrong, you can’t tell what is news and what isn’t. This is why you can get more informed from John Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Hell, I dare say you can get more useful info from watching E! That is exactly what this film is satirizing, in a way. Think about if one of those talentless hacks over there were to score an interview with someone like Kim Jong-Un or the guy in charge of Saudi Arabia, I can’t think of his name offhand. Talk about a coup!

Seth Rogen. Seth Rogen is the fat, funny guy. His career has been built off of this schtick, but sometimes he does play the straight man. I do believe this is the best I’ve seen him in that role. Maybe it is because James Franco is such a failure at comedy, but Rogen nails the seriousness of this character, while still being able to bring some funny here and there. Maybe he should look into doing some non-comedy roles just to test it out. Judging by this, he may have found another genre that will work for him.

Kim Jong-Un. A ruthless dictator is not someone who can easily be impersonated, right? In theory that is the case, but nobody said anything about making the guy a parody, similar to how Team America: World Police did with his dad. I’ll be honest with you, the way Randall Park played this guy (up to a point) would make anyone want to hang out with him or let him rule their country.

What didn’t I like?

Action. The last act of this film plays out a bit like a war film. That would be fine it that was what this was or even if this was an action comedy, but this is just a comedy, so why the action? The control room stuff didn’t cause any problems for me, but when they got in the tank and started dueling with the helicopter, as it were, I have to take issue with, mainly because this whole scene doesn’t fit with the rest of the film, came out of nowhere, and seemed to put in here just so James Franco could drive a tank while listening to Katy Perry. WTF?!?

Poops. As expected with these two, you get lots of “frat boy” type humor. After the fist 10 minutes or so, I knew what kind of jokes I would be privy to the rest of the film. What turned me off, though, was how they insisted on bringing up “peeps and poops”. Seriously, poop jokes are funny maybe once in the right setting, but to keep bringing up the same thing is not going to make it any funnier, even if the guy (Kim Jong-Un) actually “sharted” in the interview proving the rumor about him wrong.

Thought process. I really have to question the reason why this film was made. It isn’t like we are on the friendliest of terms with North Korea, so why make a film where the CIA masterminds an assassination attempt on the guy? There is no way in which this was going to end up not causing some kind of ruckus, and as you saw at the end of last year, this film did everything but start WWIII!

Final verdict on The Interview? Well, it is above average, I’ll give it that. I said when the Sony leaks and controversy first happened that it was probably some sort of publicity thing. I still stand by that statement, to an extent. This film was helped out by all that publicity. You know what they say, “No publicity is bad publicity.” I commend the filmmakers for taking the risk, but maybe this was just too big of a risk. Instead of North Korea, maybe they should have used a country that doesn’t hate us as much…Canada, maybe? HAHA! Seriously, though, while I wasn’t a fan of this flick by the time it finished, it did keep my attention throughout, there are some good parts, and I did laugh a few times. Do I recommend this? No, but if you do watch this, it won’t hurt.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars