Archive for March, 2016

Trailer Thursday 3/31

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on March 31, 2016 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

This week, we are going back to the Blaxploitation era for a film that is often overshadowed by its contemporaries, particularly the Shaft franchise, Dolemite.

Words can’t explain this film, so just check out the trailer (and enjoy the rhyming and jive talking)


Posted in Comedy, Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a high school senior. He and his best friends, Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons), are described by the narrator as “geeks”. They live in a neighborhood of Inglewood, California called “The Bottoms,” where there is much crime and violence. Malcolm is confident he will be admitted to his dream school, Harvard University, on the strength of his SAT scores and straight-A grades, but his school counselor calls Malcolm arrogant for thinking that Harvard would find his grades impressive, since their school is in a run-down L.A. suburb. He suggests Malcolm take the process more seriously, starting with his upcoming interview with businessman Austin Jacoby (Roger Guenveur Smith), a Harvard alumnus.

While biking home, Malcolm is stopped by a drug dealer named Dom (A$AP Rocky) who instructs Malcolm to invite a girl named Nakia (Zoë Kravitz) to his birthday party. Once there, Malcolm relays Dom’s request and gives her advice on her math homework. Finding him charming, Nakia tells Malcolm to tell Dom that she will only accept his invitation if Malcolm is going. Despite his initial reluctance, Jib and Diggy talk Malcolm into going to the party and taking them with him.

During the party, Dom and his crew meet in a back room to buy high-grade, powdered molly. Suddenly, the transaction is interrupted by rival gang members. Dom hides behind the bar where he finds Malcolm’s backpack, which he fills with drugs and a gun. Then he finds Malcolm, gives him the pack, and shoos away from the club just as the police are sweeping in.

Nakia drives Malcolm home. Malcolm offers to help her study for her GED test, and she says she’ll think about it. The next morning the gun in Malcolm’s backpack sets off the school metal detector, but the security guard knows Malcolm’s good reputation, lets him go and assumes that the metal detector is malfunctioning. At his locker, Malcolm looks in his backpack and discovers the drugs, gun, and an iPhone. He deduces that Dom slipped them into his bag during the shootout. Immediately, an unknown man calls the iPhone. The man reveals that he knows Malcom’s identity and whereabouts, and demands that Malcolm turn over the drugs to him after school that day. After school, Malcolm begins to undertake the handover as instructed, but is interrupted by another call, this time from Dom, who is in custody. Dom warns Malcolm that he’s being lured into a trap, and advises him to flee. He texts Malcolm an address and tells him to ask for AJ.

Malcolm, Jib, and Diggy flee to the address that Dom sent them. They find themselves at the doors of a mansion, greeted by young man named Jaleel (Quincy Brown) and his sister Lily (Chanel Iman). Since their father, AJ, won’t be home until later, Jaleel invites the three inside. Jaleel takes Jib and Diggy out to get food while Malcolm stays with Lily, who seduces Malcolm and offers to take his virginity. Lily finds the molly in his backpack and gives herself a heavy dose. She straddles Malcolm and vomits on his face. Malcolm then gets a phone call reminding him of his alumni interview. Lily offers to drive him there, though she is still high and drives recklessly through the streets until she passes out. As Malcolm desperately tries to wake her Lily springs up, yelling that she has to pee. She runs out of the car and squats to pee on a bush in front of a coffee shop while bystanders stare and record the incident. Malcolm takes her car and drives to the meeting himself.

Malcolm arrives at the office of Austin Jacoby for his interview. While waiting for Jacoby, he notices photos of Dom, Lily, and Jaleel in the man’s office. Realizing Austin Jacoby is AJ, Malcolm relays Dom’s instructions to deliver the drugs to him, but Jacoby denies any knowledge. Jacoby suggests that since Dom can no longer sell the drugs, it is now Malcolm’s responsibility to do so. Jacoby implies that if Malcolm succeeds, he will see to it that Harvard admits Malcolm. He then reschedules the interview, with the implication that if Malcolm has not sold the drugs by then, Harvard will be the least of his worries.

With no other options, Malcolm, Jib, and Diggy seek help from a college student, Will Sherwood (Blake Anderson), whom they met at band camp years ago, a stoner and a master hacker. Will helps the three set up a black-market online store to sell the drugs through bitcoin transactions, which are virtually untraceable. Before long, Will’s viral marketing campaign has turned the trio’s website into the go-to source for L.A. college students. He manages to link their store to a meme from the footage of Lily peeing in public.

Malcolm helps Nakia study and she opens up to him about the stress of dealing with guys like Dom. Malcolm pushes her away, accusing her of being sent there by Dom to gather info on the drugs. Offended, Nakia leaves and says Malcolm is just like all the other guys after all. The next day, he consults with Will to figure out how to extract cash from the bitcoins they’ve amassed, and he tells Malcolm that he will arrange a meeting with a money-laundering gangster named Fidel (Kap-G). The meeting goes as planned, and Malcolm leaves with a bag full of cash.

While returning with the bag of cash, Malcolm is assaulted by the school bully who quickly overpowers him and takes the bag of money. Malcolm, desperate, decides to defend himself by pulling a gun, getting the money back, and earning the bully’s respect.

Malcolm returns to Jacoby’s office and reveals that he linked the bitcoin account to Jacoby’s personal accounts. He has brought with him the bag with cash worth 10% of the earnings. Malcolm has programmed a fail-safe, if anything happens to him the money will automatically be transferred to Jacoby’s account on its own. Malcolm then insists that Jacoby get him into Harvard or lose everything to the government.

Malcolm types his college application essay. He describes two students – Student A is a music geek that plays in a punk band and gets straight As, while Student B suffers in the hood and makes money in immoral ways. He asks, “Which student do you think I am?” Malcolm waits for Nakia at the prom, but she does not show. Nakia waits for Malcolm at his home and thanks him for helping her pass her GED, gives him a pass to Six Flags, and kisses him on the cheek.

Malcolm enters his room to find a large envelope from Harvard on his bed. He opens it and looks to the audience for a moment before smiling


Throwback to the 90s for a little while with me, will you? Remember the outlandish outfits and haircuts we all had? The Afro-centric culture that wanted so bad to take over? Don’t even get me started on the pop/rock scene. How about the notion that everything was “dope”, “fly”, or “fresh”? Well, Dope sort of takes that idea, but is that what the title really means?

What is this about?

In the tough neighborhood of the Bottoms, high school senior Malcolm sports his own funky style while working hard to gain admission to a top college. But his clean-cut perspective take an unexpected turn when a local drug dealer befriends him.

What did I like?

Music appreciation. Young people today just don’t seem to have any kind of respect for music that hasn’t come out in the last year or two, unless they are hipsters, then they just appreciate it “ironically”, as they say. The central characters of this film have their heads on their shoulders. Not only do they love 90s rap/hip-hop, affectionately referred to as the “Golden Age”, but they know why they like it, as compared to this filth that poisons the airwaves today. The soundtrack reflects a similar taste in music, consisting of mostly old-school hip-hop, but mixing in some rock, punk, funk, etc.

Fresh faces. If you look at the cast of this film, the only name you recognize is Zoe Kravitz. She’s a bit of an up and comer, but far from being a big star. The rest of this cast is new to the scene, including A$AP Rocky, who is mostly known to those in the current hip-hop scene. In case you haven’t noticed this year, but celebrities are dropping like flies. Soon, this epidemic, for lack of a better term, is going to reach the likes of Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson, etc., and they will need to be replaced. This is why it is good to develop fresh faces. I need to some more work from this cast, but they could very well be the future of Hollywood if they play their cards right. I mean they carry this film with no name recognition. Imagine what they’ll be able to do when they do make a name for themselves!

N word. If you’ve made it this far in life without knowing the repercussions, history, and bad feelings behind the “N” word, then I truly feel sorry for you and the educational system in which you were brought up in. That being said, there is a dialogue about why certain people can use is and others can’t. Personally, I’ve always wondered why there has seemed to be a double standard. For instance, if a white guy says the word on their radio show, they’d be suspended/fired, but any other race, except maybe Asian, were to say it, and society goes about their day. Weird, huh? Well, listen to the truth being laid out about halfway in this film. Trust me, it doesn’t get too deep, there is a comedic resolution. This isn’t Dear White People or a Spike Lee joint, after all.

What didn’t I like?

Long in the tooth. Clocking at nearly 2 hrs, this isn’t an overly long film. The tone is one that bounces back and forth from comedy to drama, which works given the source material. However, it is the way the film comes to a conclusion that bothers me. I felt as if 5-10 minutes could have been cut out or perhaps the speech he gives that seemed like it came from a Spike Lee movie could have been placed nearer the conclusion, because it felt like that was the end, making the rest of the film just feel added on.

Metal detector. I have had the “privilege” of visiting to a couple of schools with metal detectors and, from what I’ve seen, they don’t care who you are when that thing goes off, they carry you to some back room somewhere. This is why it is so perplexing that they just let these kids go through with that thing going off everyday. Once or twice is ok, because that could just be a glitch, but when it becomes an everyday habit, something needs to be done. What if he had actually wanted to do something with those guns, I mean he was being bullied and having his shoes stolen, after all.

Are you gonna go my way? Zoe Kravitz’ character felt to me like the token hot chick in the neighborhood, which she was. I don’t think she has ever looked this good, almost like her mom (Lisa Bonet) in her prime. That said, when they give her character some…um…character, it opens up many possibilities for where she can go. Sadly, the filmmakers decide to have our leading man insult her and cause her to blow up on him and we don’t see her again until the end of the film. I felt as if we could have done with more of her. The audience deserves to see where her story was headed, rather than assume certain things happened to her while she was taking her GED.

Final thoughts on Dope? There are some interesting themes here. Take for instance the plight of the African-American geek growing up in the bad neighborhood, aspiring to escape to Harvard. For about the first 10-15 minutes of this film, or however long it takes for Forrest Whitaker to start narrating, one would think this is set in the 90s. For a minute or two, I questioned whether this should be set in that time period, then I see how it all plays into the plot. Back to the themes, the drug running and corrupt man in power, I forgot what his job exactly was, also was intriguing. With that said, every now and then it shows that this is an independent film, which is sure to turn some people away. Not may people are looking to watch a film that has its nose up in the air and talking down to them. So, do i recommend this? I feel like i should say yes, but I don’t think I can do that. I’m not saying one shouldn’t watch, either, though.

3 out of 5 stars

Three Coins in the Fountain

Posted in Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , on March 29, 2016 by Mystery Man


Three American working women pin their hopes for love on wishes they make as they toss coins into the famous Trevi Fountain in Rome. Their wishes come true … but only after a series of dramatic misunderstandings on their quest for true romance.

What people are saying:

“Great cinematography, great music, and three fun and at the same time quite touching stories. Well acted by a group of dependable stars [including the always great Clifton Webb]. Maybe not one of the ‘great’ movies of the 1950’s, but certainly of of the most entertaining. Presented in beautiful widescreen by Fox with plenty of extras.” 5 stars

“The shes are secretaries Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters and relentlessly cute Maggie McNamara, setting their caps respectively at, improbably, Clifton Webb, tiresomely, Rossano Brazzi, and more believably, Louis Jourdan. Sort of How to Marry a Millionaire, but not funny. And in italy.

The real stars of this comic melodrama, however, are a beautifully filmed Rome and the flogged-to-death title tune.” 2 stars

“Honestly…you just cant take this film seriously. Its the story of three women who have no other goal in life than to get married and move to Italy in order to do so. Aside from the shallow characters and ridiculous plot, the cinematography was good. However, it does not compensate for the rest of the movie. I suggest renting this film for how absolutely laughable it is, its scenery, and the opening song. ” 1 star

“If you know how to kick back, relax, suspend reality, and just enjoy a beautiful, romantic (albeit highly unrealistic) trip to another country brimming with history and culture, then you will enjoy this film. Yet if you are cynical, aged before your time, or too young to appreciate much, then you might want to skip this film. Look, the movie is really a showcase of Italy, with a sweet romantic story line that has a touch of the “fairytale” to it. (Secretaries living in posh villas and dating princes or famous literary authors? More imaginative than realistic for the most part.) So if you prefer movies that drag you through the harsh realities of life, this one might be too much for you. But if you can just use your imagination like you once did when you were young, and escape to another world that is more like a dream, then let it carry you away – and enjoy the view! It is Rome, after all” 4 stars

“Wow, the best thing about this movie is the scenery and (I would have to agree with another poster) the Frank Sinatra ‘theme’ song. The story, although appropriate to the 1950’s, is a bit too backward thinking for my 21st century mind. Three women who only want love and marriage make a wish in the Trevi fountain. The movie displays the role of women in the pursuit of different forms of love; young, forbidden, undying, eternal, and deceitful. Great film for it’s time but not now. Still if you like old fims and the actual pictures of Rome are nice (some are canned stills) and the womens fashions are great” 3 stars


Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Billy Halleck (Robert John Burke) is an obese, upper-class lawyer living with his wife Heidi (Lucinda Jenney) and their daughter Linda (Bethany Joy Lenz). Billy recently defended an underworld crime boss named Richie “The Hammer” Ginelli (Joe Mantegna) in court. The town he lives in is hosting a carnival, run by gypsies that the townspeople hold obvious prejudice against.

One night, while Billy is driving, Heidi performs a blowjob on him. Distracted, Billy accidentally runs over Suzanne Lempke (Irma St. Paule), an elderly gypsy woman, as she leaves a local pharmacy. Since Judge Cary Rossington (John Horton) is a personal friend of his, he soft-pedals the case, and no charges are filed against him. Outraged by the injustice, Suzanne’s 108-year-old father, Tadzu Lempke (Michael Constantine) curses Billy by touching his face and saying the word “thinner”. Billy begins to lose weight rapidly, regardless of how much he eats. Heidi, fearing the weight loss may be due to cancer, brings in Dr. Mike Houston (Sam Freed), with whom Billy suspects his wife is having an affair.

It is revealed that the man also cursed Judge Cary and Police Chief Duncan Hopely (Daniel von Bargen), who helped him avoid punishment in court. Cary, whose curse was “Lizard”, is now growing scales all over his body. Duncan, whose curse was “leper” becomes mutated with large boils and eventually commits suicide. Billy continues losing weight and calculates that he only has a few weeks to live. Billy looks for the gypsy carnival, to get Lempke to remove the curse, but they have gone.

When Heidi continually mentions Dr. Houston, who is repeatedly visiting their home, Billy is convinced of her affair. He lashes out at her and blames her for the accident. He finds the gypsy camp and tries to reason with Lempke, but instead angers him into increasing the curse’s effects. Gina, Lempke’s great-granddaughter (Kari Wuhrer), uses her slingshot to shoot a large ball bearing which goes directly through Billy’s hand. Billy is then forced to leave. After being informed of Cary’s suicide, Billy enlists Richie Ginelli’s help. Richie pays Frank Spurton (Josh Holland), a local man, to track down the gypsy camp. He then kills their dogs, and leaves a message demanding Billy’s curse be removed. In retaliation, Gina and her husband Gabe kill Frank. Richie brings a gun to the camp and begins shooting, then pushes Gabe out into the open to be accidentally shot and killed by his fellow gypsies. The next day, Richie and Billy kidnap Gina and force her to tell Lempke to meet them.

At the meeting, Lempke finds Billy emaciated and near death. To prevent further attacks on his people, he decides to lift the curse. Lempke explains that the curse cannot removed, only transferred to another person. Chanting a spell, he mixes Billy’s blood into a strawberry pie. Lempke states that after being consumed by an unsuspecting person, the pie causes painful but rapid death, and the curse will be lifted. He urges Billy to eat the pie himself and die with dignity, but Billy ignores him. He calls Linda, telling her to spend the night at her friend’s house, so that he and Heidi have the evening to themselves. He arrives home and presents to Heidi the strawberry pie, which happens to be her favorite flavor. She delightedly eats a piece, while Billy heads to bed, exhausted.

The next morning, Billy finds Heidi’s desiccated corpse next to him. He is gleeful to be free of the curse and of his disloyal wife. However, when he goes downstairs, he finds to his horror that Linda, who came home after he went to bed, had eaten some of the pie for breakfast. Wracked with guilt, he prepares to eat the rest of the pie. However, He is interrupted by Dr. Houston who is at the door. Seeing Billy, the doctor grows uncomfortable and struggles to explain his early and unannounced presence. Billy invites Houston in for a piece of pie, and closes the door with a smirk.


In today’s society, there is tremendous pressure to be thinner. Strange, if you think about it, though, because while Hollywood, magazines, and Michelle Obama may want us all to be anorexic looking, it seems as if most men are attracted to curvier women and many women fall for guys that have some muscles on them (not just bones). None of this has anything to do with Stephen King’s Thinner, but I couldn’t think of a better intro.

What is this about?

When an obese attorney accidentally runs over a gypsy woman, the victim’s father puts a curse on him that causes him to drop 40 pounds a week.

What did I like?

Weight concern. Many of my friends are losing weight these days. At least, if you go by the pictures they post daily on social media, that is what we would be meant to believe. I ma proud of them for doing it the right way. If ay of them ended up dropping 40 lbs in a week, there would be cause for concern, as this film steps into the realm of reality, as it were, to point out. No one should lose that amount of weight in the short of time, unless they have a tapeworm, disease, or some other kind of affliction. It just isn’t humanly possible.

Little town. Small towns are great for films like thins because you can focus on one family and occasionally see the other handful of people in town. In this case we see the judge, his wife, chief of police, and some people in a restaurant and that’s all. Compare that to if this took place in some place like New York, Chicago, L.A., or Seattle. We wouldn’t get to know the family as well as we could because there would be so much other clutter with trying to introduce us to everyone and their mother’s uncle’s cousin’s teacher’s mailman’s barber’s daughter’s beautician!

What didn’t I like?

Likability. One thing that I’ve noticed in my years of watching films (in any genre or era) is that there needs to be a likable hero or villain. For instance, in the first Thor, Loki is relatable and charismatic, despite his intentions, whereas Thor comes off as this cocky pretty boy for a good portion of the picture. In the case of this film, there isn’t one likable character, except maybe the daughter, and she only has 3 small scenes, barely enough to be called a character in this flick. I could list how they are all deplorable human beings, but that would take too much time. I’ll say this, Joe Mantegna plays a gangster accused of and shown to be ruthless and sadistic, and yet he is far from the worst character!

Fat suit. I’m a little torn on this. The film starts with the star, Robert John Burke, in a fat suit, because his character is supposed to be obese. Much like Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, I believe the fakeness of this was done on purpose, because we know things are going to change as the film progresses. However, once Burke starts shrinking, we still see the attempt to make it look like he has sagging skin, but it looks more like churros growing from his neck. Speaking of food, why on Earth would they spend a good 5 minutes with him shoving food in his mouth in every scene? That was unnecessary!

Easy as pie. Not to spoil anything, but in the end the daughter has a piece of pie, and that’s almost the last thing we see before the credits roll. Given the nature of the pie, it seems as if something should or should not have happened to her, but nothing is said, mentioned, or shown, leaving us to wonder and theorize, I suppose.

Stephen King’s Thinner is not one of his best works, not is it one of his more popular adaptations. That being said, I can see why people like and hate this film. For me, I fall in the middle. There is potential with the gypsy curse and all, but everything around it, the characters, lack of interest, etc., made this a rather boring outing. Do I recommend it? No, try another King adaptation like It.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Drumline: A New Beat

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2016 by Mystery Man

Drumline A New Beat


The story follows Danielle (Dani) Raymond (Alexandra Shipp), an upper class Brooklyn girl who defies her parents in order to attend a college in Atlanta so she can join – and revitalize – their once-prominent drum line. Dani’s quest to become the first female section leader of the drum line in the school’s history will be hampered by upperclassmen (including her cousin, Tyree (Jeff Pierre), her feelings for fellow band mate and rival, Jayven (Jordan Calloway), and the school’s crosstown rivals.


In the marching band world, Drumline is both revered and reviled for what it did as far as bringing a legitimate marching band film to the mainstream, that is to say, one where the band isn’t full of stereotypical nerds, dweebs, and dorks being pushed around by the football team. No one really asked for a sequel, especially all these years later, and yet VH1 decided to give us Drumline: A New Beat.

What is this about?

A feisty girl defies her parents, classmates and rivals in her quest to lead her school’s drumline and help it reclaim its former distinction.

What did I like?

Honor thy elders. In sequels and reboots we are often privy to these small references to a character from the original. I believe the term they use for that is “fan service”. At first, I was expecting some of that in this film, but lo and behold we get two of the stars from the original, Leonard Roberts and Nick Cannon, to reprise their roles. Also, there is a mention of Orlando Jones’ character, Dr. Lee, as well, which was probably the best part of going back in time that this film could have done, save for the pictures and video we in Roberts’ office.

Familiar scenery. I was just up at my alma mater this weekend and, while much has changed, much is still the same. Take for instance, my dorm. It has now been refurbished into the administration/registrar/scholarship/financial aid office. I doubt anyone will be sneaking girls in through the window now! The football field is still the same, just a newer scoreboard and different turf. The same kind of thing can be said for the fictional Atlanta A & T. Many of the familiar settings can be seen, such as the football field (still no visitors bleachers), the band room (same murals), but we also get new scenery, such as the diner, so a mix of old and new. That’s how it’s done!

Shot out of a cannon. The original film would never have been anything without Nick Cannon. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny him that honor. With that in mind, it only makes sense to bring him back for the sequel. I’m just glad they didn’t try to change and “mature” his character and make our lead his daughter of some sort. Then again, that may have been a better angle for her, but I’ll get to that shortly.

What didn’t I like?

Carbon copy. I noticed this in this rash of sequels coming out many years after their predecessors, they all want to introduce new audiences to what made them great, but forget they need to move the franchise forward. Much of that is the problem here. If you just read the plot synopsis and compare it to the original, the only real difference is the leads have been gender swapped. All the major points from the first film are in this one, as well…daddy issues, fight at the game, relationship problems, friends hooking up, etc. The only thins missing was the rival band trying to steal Dani away, which would have made for a nice subplot, since the directors are brother and have their own issues.

Misogynist punishment. At the first game, it is learned that one of the senior drummers made sure that Dani didn’t get on the line, because he didn’t want “a bitch” on the Senate. If that wasn’t bad enough, he keeps saying stuff like all throughout the movie, even talking behind Roberts’ back (within earshot, mind you). Nothing happens to him, though. As a matter of fact, after the final performance of the film, he gets a big hug from his section leader and Roberts. WTF?!? The closest thing this guy got to a punishment was being shown up by Nick Cannon a la what Dr. Lee did to him in the first film. In most any other band, this guy would have been kicked out, or at least demoted, for such nonsense, but I guess this kind of thing can just slide with this band, or the band that they are based off of.

Low budget. When I was in college, I remember chatting with a girl who was in the original film. She went to Grambling St. University and said that they got paid for those scenes they were in. This time around, I guess they weren’t allowed to use real schools. Even the Georgia Dome appeared to be off limits. I can say that the Southern Classic, or whatever it is called, actually started happening after the first film, hence the change in name for this one…trademark/copyright reasons, I suppose. VH1 just doesn’t have the budget to pay for all this stuff the way a movie studio would.

Final verdict on Drumline: A New Beat? Well, everything that you would want to see in this film is there. High octane performances, over the top choreography, studio musicians playing music for bands that would never sound that good in a billion years, etc. Unfortunately, this film falls into the TV trap of today. What I mean by that is pretty people and their problems. The drama in this film did not need to take up most of its runtime, and then it was resolved almost as fast as a 50s sitcom! In good conscience, I cannot recommend this. Don’t waste your time, instead go back and watch the original with Nick Cannon. It is much more enjoyable!

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

Mad Max: Fury Road

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2016 by Mystery Man


The desert wastelands inhabited by the Road Warrior are still rife with motorized gangs in this fourth chapter of the Mad Max legend. When Max encounters a group of refugees fleeing for their lives, he joins them and their fiery leader, Furiosa.

What people are saying:

“Maybe a better name for it would have been Imperator Furiosa: Fury Road (ft. Mad Max) since Charlize Theron’s character is so prominent in the story line, but it is a great movie and it does feel like it takes place in the classic Mad Max universe. The Rat-Rod style vehicles are so much more over the top in this movie that Max Rockatansky’s V8 Interceptor seems tame in comparison this time. The characters are rich and unique in their deeds and their looks much to my delight. This movie has the best use of chrome paint in much the same way the James Bond film Goldfinger had the best use of gold paint. One critic stated that you will like Mad Max: Fury Road when you see it, but it isn’t until after you let it sink in for a while after you’ve seen it that you start to really love it.” 5 stars

“A movie without a plot or any reason for anything. Basically it’s a car chase across the desert that goes on way to long, then after they finally get away, they decide to go back and have another car chase through the desert that goes on way too long all over again. If you like mindless car chases that just keep on going and going, then you’ll enjoy this. But for us, it never really changed after ten minutes and then it just became repetitive without any purpose.” 2 stars

“This movie was ok it could have been a good comeback for the mad max movies but The story was boring and Tom Hardy never gave max if you want watch a good mad max watch The road warrior or Mad max.” 3 stars

“I didn’t want to like this film. The very first original Mad Max is and always will be my favorite. That said I can see what the people who love this film are talking about. It’s an epic almost operatic car chase film. None of the MM sequels really felt connected to the original MM but this one does a good job of continuing with and improving upon The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunder Dome. In a way this film feels a bit like 300, it has a certain hellish Greek orgy of death feel to it. It’s the kind of movie I want to turn away from, the kind of movie I’d like to say sucked but it sucked me in and for that I’ll forever be ashamed.” 3 stars

“I’ve never seen the original movies and won free passes to an advanced screening of Mad Max: Fury Road, and I thought it was amazing! The effects were stunning, the costumes outstanding, everything was fantastic. I loved how fast paced it was, held my interest the whole time, only glanced at my watch once. That’s how I judge a movie, how many times I look at my watch. It was right under two hours, but it was so fast paced, not boring at all!!! There are a ton of CGI effects, that’s what makes it great, the 3D was awesome, like you could reach out and touch stuff flying at you. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of the original and it looked boring to me. This was way more action packed, fast paced, I hope George Miller makes another new Mad Max movie.” 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 3/24

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on March 24, 2016 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

Since Sunday is Easter, I figured the perfect choice for this week’s trailer would be the classic musical, Easter Parade.



Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2016 by Mystery Man


Cary Grant stars as Peter, who may or may not be a flimflam man who aids the recently widowed Regina in her mission to recover a fortune hidden by her late husband. But three sinister crooks — who’ll stop at nothing — also covet the loot.

What people have said:

“A very cool, taunt, and Hitchcockesque thriller, Charade was one of the last hurrahs of Cary Grant as a Romantic Lead in the early sixties. Even though looking a bit old in this, Grant still exudes charm, urbanity, and a polite, smoldering sexuality. Charade is a complex, yet very hilarious whodunit with an amazing cast, headed up by a personal favorite, Audrey Hepburn. A few years removed from her Roman Holiday triumph, Hepburn shows a litte of her Breakfast at Tiffany’s persona as the very tasty and yet confused widow of a man with a shady past. James Coburn, Walter Matthau, and the wonderful George Kennedy are also on hand as the bad guys after Grant and Hepburn. Although dated, Charade is definitely worth the time of any thriller fan, especially lovers of Hitchcock.” 5 stars

“Charade passes the time, but is only occasionally rewarding. Grant and Hepburn both seem wooden when talking to each other. I was really surprised at how stiffly they read their lines. There are moments of entertaining banter and goofiness, but far too few for a movie with these actors. It could have been much better.” 3 stars

“It was a boring mess. We watched for ~50 minutes, then stopped, and read a plot summary on Wiki to see how it ended. We were curious enough to do that, but not enough to sit through another dull hour of it unfolding. The acting is mediocre and wooden, the dialogue is clunky, and the characters are uninteresting. The twists get stupider as it goes. Then, at the end, Hepburn’s character exclaims that she hopes she has “lots of boys” for her new man. So, it’s got sexism too. That’s common with older movies, but it’s another irritation on top of the movie’s other, various flaws.” 1 star

“Very humorous whodunit centering around a lost $250,000 and 5 shady characters who all want it. Classic dialogue, fast paced plot and a satisfying finale.” 4 stars

“Charade is a nice piece of 60’s entertainment; and thanks to the good production, excellent score and charm of its stars, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, I thought the film held up pretty well after all this time. Obviously, the most notable reason to watch the film is the great chemistry between Grant and Hepburn, which makes their banter of witty one-liners and thinly veiled sexual innuendo very enjoyable. The other reason to see the film is director Stanley Donen’s Hitchcockian sense of building suspense and intrigue, which keeps the film’s mystery angle working at all times. Because of this aspect, I thought the twist at the end was very satisfying. So, whether you’re an old-movie buff or a fan of mysteries, thrillers or romance, check out Charade, you’ll probably like it.” 4 stars

Trailer Thursday 3/17

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on March 17, 2016 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

In honor of the holiday, how about we take a look at something Irish? Check out the trailer for Darby O’Gill and the Little People, a slightly lesser known Disney classic that has a young Sean Connery.

Let me know what you think


Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2016 by Mystery Man


After a group of outlaws kills his lover, Aman (Wesley Snipes) goes after them and kills them. When he is killed himself, his mother, a nun, breaks her covenant with God to save his life, which in turn curses him for life. His curse brings his victims back to life, and as undead, they pursue him endlessly for revenge. Forever suffering this curse and still seeking revenge, before Aman enlists Fabulos (Riley Smith), a young gunman, to fight by his side against his undead victims.


It is Sunday afternoon, so I guess that means I should find something totally random. At least that seems to be the pattern, as of late. This week’s gem is Gallowwalkers, a horror western that was made about the time its star, Wesley Snipes, was headed to prison. Hmm…could be interesting.

What is this about?

After his nun mother makes an unholy deal to guarantee his survival, Aman grows up to become a mysterious and invincible gunman. But the deal includes a curse: Everyone Aman kills will come back to life in this zombie Western.

What did I like?

Wild, wild, west. I’ve seen a ton of westerns. Most of them have been classic, but I have checked out a few modern ones, as well. One of the things that draws audiences into the west, at least that I’ve noticed, is the mystique surrounding that era. That is to say, the violent nature people had, the rugged way they lived off the land, etc. Forget haunted houses, prisons, etc. If you want to truly be frightened, head out west! Now, this film didn’t set out to be a straight up horror film, but I can see the elements there if it wanted to. In the meantime, with the few resources it has, you feel like you are transported to the old west and watching this story play out.

Storytime. Speaking of the story, many who have seen this film have taken umbrage with it. I’m on the other side of the fence, though. Think about it, a mother sacrifices her life to the devil so that her son, who just got revenge on this gang of lowlifes who raped his woman, can live. The catch is that if he comes back to life, so will everyone he ever kills. Typical deal with the devil type stuff, but it worked for me.

Whore. There are 2 or 3 women in here that are your typical western prostitutes. Here’s the thing, though, they don’t aspire to be anything else, but the whores they are. Why do I like this? Is it some male chauvinistic thing? Well, seeing their cups overflow, so to speak, yes! Seriously, though, the reason I like this is because it is not pandering to the feminists. Not every film needs a female interjected into the main plot just because. Case in point, Jonah HexMegan Fox’s character was one of the major reasons people didn’t care for that film….and she was a whore! The point I’m trying to make is, they were eye candy, and had a couple of moments to shine and it worked. Sometimes that all that is needed.

What didn’t I like?

Accidental comedy. Sometimes movies can start out as one thing and end up being totally different. Take for instance this film. The idea was for it to be a western horror film, but there are times when it comes off more as a comedy. I don’t mind a little comic relief here and there, as a matter of fact, I encourage it, but going for the laughs took away from the aura that this film should have had, and ultimately was a big distraction for me, and I’m sure other viewers.

Kick in the side. Sidekicks do a lot of good. Think about it, part of the Batman has been popular for so long is because of Robin and how the various iterations of him have evolved. The Flash, I’m going by the TV show for this example, is nothing without his team. How about Bones, Dr. Brennan and her team of “squints” are perhaps the best sidekicks a FBI agent can have, as Booth learns every week. With all these examples in mind, I have to wonder what Riley Smith’s character’s purpose was. I mean, Snipes could have easily done this solo.

Just for men. I wasn’t going to mention this, but it can’t be ignored. Why is it that Snipes’ beard has this outline of white in it? For that matter, how is it that his hair is perfectly groomed? The white reminds me of a chalk outline that was done on Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, or one of those shows that I watched as a little kid. They had a segment where they were painting and the beard reminded me of that. Before leaving the topic of Snipes’ look, it isn’t explained why he was bald and in war paint when he went on his killing spree. That was just random to me.

Imagine if Blade was in the old west fighting the daywalkers from Game of Thrones. That pretty much gives you an idea of what to expect from this film. The story and concept are great but it fails in its execution, partially because of budget constraints, rewrites, etc. I feel that this could have been a much better film, had it been given a chance by a major studio, but because it wasn’t, we have the equivalent of rookie director or someone out of their genre trying to give a washed up actor a chance (no offense to Snipes). I was expecting a diamond in the rough with this film, but instead it is just a ho-hum direct-to-DVD flick that could have been left in limbo, if you ask me. Do I recommend it? No, not really. I won’t fault you for being curious, but if you watch the trailer you get to see the best parts of this film, minus some of the violence.

3 out of 5 stars


Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , on March 12, 2016 by Mystery Man


Eager for any work that will make ends meet, Lou Bloom joins the flock of camera crews prowling the nighttime streets of Los Angeles in search of scandal and crime. But before long, Lou finds himself caught in the tabloid limelight.

What people are saying:

“A dark side look at the American dream. There’s always a movie about what it takes, and what is “takes”, to make it big, but writer/director Dan Gilroy implies something a bit different here. That maybe what it takes is to be sociopath, have no principles, moral or empathy and that maybe it rubs off a bit, because it is seductive and it is EVERYTHING and that’s how it spreads. Jake Gyllenhaal likened his character to a coyote and it really shows. Eye sockets dark and retreated, a lanking hunched over posture and an instinct for survival. No matter the cost. Also a great satire of TV news (spot-on, obvious, perfect). A character study, modern reflection, satire; single-minded and balanced.” 5 stars

“I suppose this movie is supposed to be a portrait of a disturbed person, as the Gyllenhaal character clearly is. I suppose this movie is supposed to be a comment on the sleaziness of TV news and the sleaziness of the American public that wants, nay, pretty much demands, to see the stuff the Gyllenhaal character shoots. Without any regard for how such footage is obtained or who might get hurt in the process. Personally, I find the Rene Russo character to be just as sick as Gyllenhaal’s. If these were indeed the purposes of the film, I think it succeeds brillliantly. There is probably just enough gore to keep the gore folks happy and for action fans the car-chase sequence will brighten up their day or night. So, on its own level, this movie is top-notch, I reckon. Personally though, I found watching this movie to be a very distasteful experience. Especially as the Gyllenhaal and Russo characters suffer no repercussions from their clearly illegal and immoral actions. And, in fact, are rewarded. Once again, I suppose though, their profiting by their repugnant actions is one point of the movie. One can only hope, watching a movie such as this, that one is maybe moved to try to be a little better than the society the movie is criticizing for watching this stuff. But I think of traffic jams caused, not by an accident, but on the lanes going the other way, as people have to slow down and gawk. Looking to see what, exactly, do you suppose?” 2 stars

“Nightcrawler made my skin crawl- in the best possible way. Jake Gyllenhaal lost like 50 lbs for this role. he said in an interview that he wanted to look “more coyote-like” and boy, does he! He has the bulging eyes, the scavenger tendencies, he lurks around the shadows or in the dead of night, he seems uncomfortable around other humans… I really liked Jake’s portrayal of Lou, he did a very convincing job playing a sociopath! and it was very uncomfortable to watch someone with such an inert, apathetic, and almost robotic person in motion… but man, did he play that well.” 4 stars

“Terrible movie, terrible ending and robotic acting. once you realize that jake gyllenhaal is playing a sociopath, you start to connect the dots real quick, spoiling the movie. Overall, i though this movie was extremely boring–it even made me angry at times. I’m very accepting when it comes to indie films, but this movie plot was just terrible, fantastic cinematographic execution, but just a plain boring plot.” 1 star

“Nightcrawler made my skin crawl- in the best possible way. Jake Gyllenhaal lost like 50 lbs for this role. he said in an interview that he wanted to look “more coyote-like” and boy, does he! He has the bulging eyes, the scavenger tendencies, he lurks around the shadows or in the dead of night, he seems uncomfortable around other humans… I really liked Jake’s portrayal of Lou, he did a very convincing job playing a sociopath! and it was very uncomfortable to watch someone with such an inert, apathetic, and almost robotic person in motion… but man, did he play that well.” 4 stars


Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In a world populated by anthropomorphic mammals, Judy Hopps, a rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow, fulfills her dream of becoming the first rabbit officer in the police department of nearby city Zootopia. After graduating valedictorian upon being presented as the new Zootopia Police Department member by Mayor Leodore Lionheart, she is assigned parking duty by Chief Bogo who doubts her potential due to her being a rabbit and thus smaller than most of the large animals on the force. During one of her shifts, she meets Nick Wilde, a con artist fox, and his partner Finnick.

Hopps abandons her shift to arrest a thief named Duke Weaselton. She is reprimanded by Bogo and nearly fired until Mrs. Otterton arrives pleading for help locating her missing husband – one of many animals recently missing in Zootopia. To Bogo’s dismay, Hopps volunteers and agrees to resign if she cannot solve the case within 48 hours. She sees Wilde in the last known photo of Otterton and tracks him down, coercing him into to assisting her with the investigation.

After acquiring Mr. Otterton’s license plate number, Hopps and Wilde track the vehicle to Mr. Big, an Arctic shrew crime boss. Initially, he orders them “iced,” but after his daughter spares them, Mr. Big informs the pair that his florist Mr. Otterton had gone savage and attacked his chauffeur Manchas. Hopps and Wilde locate Manchas, who mentions “night howlers” were responsible for attacking him before he goes savage and chases the pair out of his home. When Bogo and his reinforcements arrive, Manchas disappears. Bogo demands Hopps resign, but Wilde takes a stand, insisting they have 10 more hours to solve the case. As the pair leaves, Hopps learns from Wilde that he was bullied by prey animals as a pup and became a criminal, believing he would be stereotyped as one no matter what due to being a fox.

Wilde realizes that the city’s traffic camera system may have captured Manchas’s disappearance, and the pair consults Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellwether. They identify the captors as wolves, hence “night howlers”. Hopps and Wilde locate the missing mammals (including Mr. Otterton) at Cliffside Asylum. All are predators, and all have gone savage like Manchas. The two discover Mayor Lionheart consulting with Dr. Madge Honey Badger about the predators’ condition. The pair escape with the evidence and the police swarm the area, arresting Lionheart.

Having developed a friendship with Wilde throughout the case, Hopps requests that he joins the Zootopia Police Department and become her partner, which Wilde happily considers. However, during a press conference, Hopps mentions that the savage animals are predators and argues they have gone back to their “natural state.” Wilde is hurt and angrily walks out on her offer. Fear and discrimination against predators spreads across Zootopia and a guilt-ridden Hopps resigns. During this time, pop singer Gazelle holds a peaceful protest and publicly asks for the harmonious Zootopia she loves to be restored.

Back in Bunnyburrow, Hopps learns from her former bully Gideon Grey that “night howlers” are flowers that have a severe psychotropic effect on mammals. Hopps returns to Zootopia and reconciles with Wilde after being told where he is by Finnick. They locate Weaselton and catch him. With help from Mr. Big, Judy learns that Weaselton has been collecting night howlers for a secret laboratory. The pair discover the lab and find sheep scientists creating a night howler serum which has been injected into predators via dart guns. Hopps and Wilde race to the ZPD with the evidence, but the sheep scientists pursue them.

Just short of the ZPD, the pair encounters Bellwether who tries to take the evidence. Realizing Bellwether is the mastermind of a species-supremacist conspiracy, Hopps and Wilde try to flee, but Bellwether shoots a dart at Wilde and calls the ZPD for help. Wilde becomes savage and corners Hopps, but it turns out the pair were acting and had swapped out Bellwether’s darts for blueberries. With Bellwether’s confession recorded on Hopps’s carrot pen, the two have enough evidence to unravel the conspiracy. Bellwether is then arrested for her crimes alongside her accomplices. When informed and interviewed on the matter, Lionheart explains that he had no knowledge of Bellwether’s plot, but fully confesses his crime of illegally imprisoning the savaged predators during his confidential mission by stating that it was done for the “right reasons.”

Some months later, Hopps is reinstated into the ZPD. The savaged mammals are cured. Inspired by his friend’s faith in him, Wilde joins the ZPD as the first fox police officer and Judy’s new partner. During the credits, all of Zootopia enjoys a performance by Gazelle while Bellwether angrily watches the live streaming from prison.


A man of my age should not be excited for a kids’ film, but I can’t help it. I’ve been looking forward to Zootopia since the first trailer dropped last summer. Why, you may ask? Well, there is so much promise and potential here. Disney isn’t just recycling another princess story, but rather coming up with original material. Hopefully it pays off!

What is this about?

Nick Wilde is a fox with a criminal record. He meets Judy Hopps, a rabbit that is just starting out as a police officer. She is trying to live up to the expectations of her parents, Bonnie and Stu. Judy and Nick must work together to find a missing otter. Along the way, they develop an unlikely friendship and learn about the other citizens of Zootopia. The team discovers the surprising truth about the missing otter, realizing the disappearance goes deeper than they ever expected.

What did I like?

Creativity. A society of all types of animals living in one big city. I really liked how the developers not only gave us different climates for the various animals, but also different sizes, tunnels, entrances, exits, etc. It really felt like a city where animals had just evolved into civilization, rather than another anthropomorphic animated tale.

An offer you can’t refuse. When I heard there was a scene based on The Godfather, I was skeptical. After all, the audience for this film is nowhere near old enough to have watched and appreciated that fine film. However, when I saw the scene and how it fit in with the story, I was relieved. Yes, it is probably there because the writers are fans and it is something for the adults, but the main thing is that the scene works. On another note, there is also a small Breaking Bad reference, if you can catch it.

Relevance. Even in a society of animals, racism (or speciesism) is present. Predators are not looked kindly upon in this society because, well, they could revert back to their killing ways. Because of this, and with someone turning predators back to their savage ways, they have more or less become second class citizens. Yes, this is a theme in a kids movie. The same kind of thing that we are experiencing in society today where people are turning on each other just because they have different beliefs, skin color, or don’t vote a certain way. I give this film a standing ovation for tackling this subject, because it is obvious parents aren’t doing their job anymore and our society is headed to hell in a handbasket!

What didn’t I like?

Exploration. As little Judy Hopps was riding the train into Zootopia, we see the various areas of the city. It kind of reminded me of the first couple of Hunger Games films, where we saw the different districts and how different they were. Here’s my issue with this, though. It seems to me that they could have done more with exploring the city. For the most part, the film stays downtown. They make one trip out to the tundra, a couple of treks to the rainforest, but that’s it. I don’t believe they even went to the desert! If you’re going to have these impressive ecosystems (and go through all the trouble of creating them), then do something with them!

Give it away. If you’ve been keeping up with the marketing for this film, then I’m sure you’ve seen the most popular trailer for it. You know, the one with the sloths at the DMV. The first time I saw that, I laughed for a good 10-15 minutes. It cracked me up! However, that is an actual scene from the movie, with a couple of snippets taken out here and there. While I loved it, I think they should have saved it. Maybe given us a peek, but not the whole thing. The trailer for Captain America: Civil War came out yesterday and they gave away the one thing that they really should have held close to the vest, Spider-Man! What is with trailers these days and giving everything away? As far as the sloths go, it is hands down one of the funniest scenes in the film and it isn’t hard to see why they put it out there, I just wish they’d have shown a little restraint and not given us the whole thing!

Dance, Gazelle, Dance. A trope that was started back with Shrek, if not before, was ending animated films with a dance sequence utilizing all the characters. This has never been my cup of tea and, while this film works it into the story (a concert featuring the biggest pop star of this world, Gazelle), I still couldn’t get into it. Just give me my happy ending and roll the credits. If you must have Gazelle sing and dance underneath that’s fine, but that didn’t do anything for the film to include it in the actual movie.

Final verdict on Zootopia? This is one of the best animated film I’ve seen in the last few years. Each character is developed and given something to do, other than just standing there (aside from the characters that are meant to just stand there). The story isn’t what I initially thought it was and, with the exception of one swerve, nothing was predictable. This is definitely a film worth taking the kids to see multiple times, but please make sure they are well-behaved and not running up to the top, jumping on people so that they can put bunny ears on the screen (yes, this actually happened!) Control your children, people!

5 out of 5 stars

The Inbetweeners 2

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2016 by Mystery Man


In this coming-of-age comedy that picks up where the popular series left off, Will, Simon, Jay and Neil go on holiday to Crete after a series of unfortunate events unfolds during their final week at Rudge Park Comprehensive.

What people have said:

“hilarious!! If you love the series the movie is spot on! The dancing scene is the best!!!!!!! Pure hilarity!” 5 stars

“For those of you saying the movie has no plot, then you must not be familiar with the complete series- there is never a plot other than following a group of socially developing british students through lifes mishaps. In the movie they graduate from school and head out for a vacation together- it is hiliarious!! I am a DIE HARD fan of the inbetweeners series and if you didn’t like the movie the first time you watched it, you should watch it again- it only gets funnier-plus they play off of several scenerios in the series for each character…hahahahaha! Well done!! I bought it from UK before they released on this site because I couldn’t wait to continue this raunchy comedy!!” 5 stars

“So glad I took the time to watch this. Based on the British sit-com, this is the story of four sarcastic and socially awkward young men, fresh out of high school, who decide to take their exploits on holiday in Malia. I have literally no familiarity to this series at all, and I watched this with no expectations whatsoever. Coming from that perspective, this movie totally did its job in that now, upon seeing it, I really want to go and check out the series. It takes about ten minutes or so to adjust to this sense of humor, but when I did, I was completely onboard. It’s snappy, deadpan and fast moving, and I was chuckling throughout and getting a big belly laugh about once a scene. These are all self-absorbed little brats, and sometimes in other movies that bothers me, but I was having such a good time watching this that it didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment of the film. That said, it doesn’t escape the pitfall that 95% of television show-to-movie installments have: it runs out of steam at about the hour mark. The writing is more appropriate for a streamlined 25 minutes, and it feels like all the plot lines are dragged out to fit the length of a feature film. While that is a little disappointing, I am most grateful for having come across this, because otherwise, this show would be completely off my radar. I will be sure to go back and watch the series at my earliest convenience.” 3 stars

“It was ok. I expected a “party” type movie with low brow jokes. It had that. However there was lots of full nudity of men which I could do without.” 3 stars

“Very funny movie, however, I don’t think it was all that great. Sure it made me laugh but, not very good. However, this is just my opinion.” 2 stars