Archive for October, 2017

Teeth

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

High school student Dawn works hard at suppressing her budding sexuality by being the local chastity group’s most active participant. Her task is made even more difficult by her bad boy stepbrother Brad’s increasingly provocative behavior at home. A stranger to her own body, innocent Dawn discovers she has a toothed vagina when she becomes the object of violence. As she struggles to comprehend her anatomical uniqueness, Dawn experiences both the pitfalls and the power of being a living example of the vagina dentata myth.

What people are saying:

“Smart, original, and horrifically funny, Teeth puts a fresh feminist spin on horror movie tropes” 4 stars

“Teeth is both different enough from the usual teen trash to earn itself distinction and bold enough to go where other horrors wouldn’t dare venture.” 3 stars

“I must begin by saying that if male frontal nudity bothers you… especially when it comes into contact with toothed female parts… then just skip this movie altogether. If you can handle those kind of visuals, have a twisted taste for gore, or if you’re recently a woman scorned this movie is highly entertaining! Teeth may truly be for those who enjoy horror spoofs. I think this would fit nicely into those films aired on USA Up All Night during the 80s-90s… but generally better because the quality is fantastic and the acting is great — something similar movies lack. The humor throughout the movie was very dark and campy, which I consider to be a good thing and one reason I rated the movie so highly. Last but not least, for all you guys out there that watch scary movies so your girl will grab onto you for dear life, avoid this movie at all costs. ” 4 stars

“I watched this movie with my then-boyfriend, thinking we’d have a fun night with a corky dark comedy. I say “then-boyfriend” because we aren’t together anymore. I’m not saying that this movie ended our relationship, I’m just saying is that for a stretch of time we were dating, then one day we watched this movie, and now we’re not dating. Whether or not this movie was the direct cause of our not dating anymore, I’m not sure. One thing is certain though, we did not have sex afterward.” 1 star

“A film about a vagina with teeth, what’s there not to enjoy? A lot actually. This was a terrible film in all aspects. I’ve never been a horror type of fan although ironically my favourite film is alfred hitchcock’s psycho but seriously, who came up with this idea? It’s just a really weird film that I’ve wanted to see for a while due to some critics giving it decent reviews.. However I don’t get why at all. The acting, the story, the everything is terrible.” 1/2 star

Trailer Thursday 10/26

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on October 26, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

Tuesday is Halloween, so this is the end of this series of horror themed trailers. I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

I thought about sharing one of the trailers for those Michael Myers Halloween films, but then I remembered Trick ‘r’ Treat might be the better option.

This is a film that has garnered some cult status over the years and actually isn’t half bad. Check it out…

 

Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 26, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

An African-American scientist develops a formula to regenerate dying liver cells, but it has the unfortunate after-effect of turning him into an albino vampire with a mania for killing prostitutes. A tough police lieutenant investigating the murders discovers the existence of the dual-personality killer, and determines to bring him in.

What people are saying:

“Blaxploitation classic tells the story of Dr. Henry Pryde (Bernie Casey) who is working tirelessly to find a cure for liver disease. He develops a serum that shows potential but, he can’t perfect it without human experimentation. After a failed test on a dying woman, Henry decides to test the serum on himself. The result transforms the valiant doctor into a super strong, violent tempered… white man. Directed by Blacula‘s William Crain, this 70s horror treats it’s story with respect despite how silly it is and Crain, as with Blacula, gets good performances out of his cast that also includes Rosalind Cash (The Omega Man) and Marie O’Henry as Pryde’s love interest, a local hooker named Linda. Sadly, Larry LeBron’s script from an idea by Lawrence Woolner doesn’t nearly make as much use of the classic story it’s based on as did Blacula, nor is Crain able to give this film the Gothic flavor and style he did with that film. It’s pretty much a generic monster movie with Mr. Hyde stalking and killing Linda’s fellow hookers and their pimps and the police trying to find and stop the killer. The obvious blaxploitation elements are present but, seem a bit forced here as opposed to Blacula where they were just part of the characters and their life at that point in time. Still the film does have that 70s nostalgia and is worth a look for those interested in the blaxploitation era of filmmaking. Also noteworthy as, the Mr. Hyde make-up effects on Bernie Casey are by the legendary Stan Winston.” 2 1/2 stars

“Intriguing and entertaining, the film suggests — visually and thematically, if not in so many words — that being white causes a person to become aggressive, brutal and evil, and that the very state of whiteness is a state of corruption.” 3 1/2 stars

“The black Dr. Henry Pride (Bernie Casey) takes a formula that turns him into an evil white man. Here’s another blaxploitation film but this one here is actually pretty good thanks in large part to the very good performance by Casey. The film is over the top in every way possible from the non-stop Kung Fu fighting to the wonderfully funny pimp. The first scene where the evil white guy is about to get jumped by three hoods is priceless.”1 1/2 star

“We watched this on YouTube and found ourselves to be compelled by this ‘so bad it’s good’ 70s flick. Some of the acting in this film is near awful, LOL. (You will recognize the main character.) However, the storyline makes up for it. In addition, it has a funky soundtrack and some moments that are funny if you pay attention to all the little nuances and subtleties.” 3 1/2 stars

“Just so people realize, this film’s title is misspelled. Dr. Black & Mr. Hyde has a great trailer, but the movie itself could’ve been better. VERY strange to see Stan Winston, Johnny Pate, and Tak Fujimoto all worked on this movie, however. Crazy as hell. Fun for blaxploitation B-movie weirdness, and definitely better than Blackenstein. But it’s no Blacula.” 2 1/2 stars

The Beast Must Die

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 24, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this little horror film, a wealthy sportsman (Calvin Lockhart) invites a house full of guests to a big-game hunt that he’s devised. He’s sure that one of the guests is a werewolf, and he intends to stalk it, find it, and kill it. As a film viewer, you are alerted at the outset that a mystery awaits and that clues will be unveiled that can point to the identity of the werewolf. In fact, near the conclusion, the film has inserted a 30-second interlude during which you must decide, once and for all, who the hunted beast is. This film is based upon a story by James Blish titled There Shall Be No Darkness.

What people are saying:

“The non-anthology output of Amicus Productions tended to be hit-and-miss, but The Beast Must Die is an interesting if lightweight horror-mystery hybrid from the studio.” 3 stars

“The Beast Must Die is worth a look, as long as you enjoy unintentionally campy kitsch from the swinging 70s and werewolf myths.” 3 stars

“Unbelievably nonsensical, this film has two things (only two) going for it: a cast that’s game, and the “Werewolf Break,” an absurd concept that is, somehow, kind of cool.” 2 stars

“this film is just fantastic. it’s about five genres within one – a blaxploitation, an exploitation, a lowbudget, made for television-looking, british, mystery, werewolf movie. that itself is quite the feat. and on top of it all, it has a werewolf break. perhaps the most genius idea in the history of cinema, they tell you at the beginning that, right before the end of the film, they will pause everything so that you, the audience, can spend thirty seconds finalizing your guess as to who the werewolf is. this is pure camp fun. watch this with friends and you are guaranteed a great time.” 4 1/2 stars

“Undemanding and completely silly fun where the audience is asked towards the end to guess the identity of the werewolf. A hopeless lead with an equally hopeless gun aim is determined to find out which of his guests are a furry killer. Dig that score too, no atmospheric chills here, the emphasis is on funky percussion! Big dumb fun.” 2 1/2 stars

The Wayward Bus

Posted in Classics, Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on October 24, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

This drama was adapted from a novel by John Steinbeck and chronicles a fateful bus ride. Much of the tale centers around the interactions between the passengers and the driver as he attempts to safely navigate the bus through a series of potentially dangerous storms.

What people are saying:

“Rather good adaptation of the Steinbeck novel although Victor Vicas’ direction is somehow nondescript, but the film is worth seeing for its cast. Jayne Mansfield was a good actress and she shows it in this unglamourous role.” 4 stars

A motley group of passengers travel in a rundown bus from a small bus stop town called Rebel Corners to San Juan De La Cruz, another small town but with a mission that attracts tourists. The journey proves quite intense, both physically (landslides, floods) and emotionally (romance and conflict). Based on a lesser John Steinbeck novel, the film plays out like one of those 1970s disaster films: a group of disparate characters are thrown together as fate toys with them and by the end of the journey, they’ve all learned a lesson. The execution is rather trite and, as written, the script doesn’t deal a fair hand to its cast. The 23 year old Joan Collins looking quite lovely is hopelessly miscast. Clearly, the role was written for an older woman (probably late 30s) whose looks are fading and has turned to booze. The part cries out for a Jan Sterling or Ann Sothern. Jayne Mansfield as a stripper involved in a tabloid scandal surprisingly gives the film’s best performance. The film could have used more grit instead of polish.” 3 stars

“You would expect a total bitchfest with a movie starring both legendary bombshell Jayne Mansfield and soap opera diva Joan Collins….but what you get is a fascinating film based on the John Steinbeck novel of a bus driver and his passengers and their adventures as they get detoured and sidetracked…both on the bus and in life. Joan Collins is the wife of driver Rick Jason (so gorgeous). It’s a small and run down little bus that makes side trips. Joan Collins is the owner of a little restaurant who likes the bottle a bit too much. Unhappy with what has become of her life, she decides to “surprise” husband Jason mid-way through his bus trip. Jayne Mansfield is the shamed burlesque dancer on the way to a heavy paying gig in San Juan and gets caught up in the flirtation by a traveling salesman, played by Dan Dailey. Delores Pritchard gives a great performance as the “fast” daughter traveling with her parents on this trip” 5 stars

“This is not a terrible movie, but I would not recommend it if you’re looking for a classic Steinbeck story. The book was a fascinated nuanced look into how people perceive themselves and others, often wrongly. A big part of the book was exploring the thoughts of the various characters as they are judging each other silently (or openly!). All of this in a story of a crowd of completely different people stuck on a bus. Making a movie of the book must have been a hard task, and it seems like they opted to go for streamlined versions of the characters, focusing on the melodramatic aspects of the book. However, without the thought of the characters explaining the motivations behind their actions, the movie ends up being about Thing Happening. Because there’s such an ensemble of characters involved, you only briefly get to know each character. I know I’m judging this movie a bit harshly, and it’s unfair to hold the movie up against the book – after all, the book is (almost) always better. But when the movie misses the point of the book and only keeps the uppermost layer of it, it’s doing itself (and the book) a great injustice.” 3 stars

“Well done! This is 1957 black & white movie and it has everything! Thrill, comedy, romance, danger, action, sad, shock and surprise!” 5 stars

Trailer Thursday 10/19

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on October 19, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

This week, I want to share with you the first horror film I ever watched, Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Dead. This thing was so scary to little me that I had nightmares for a few nights afterwards.

I haven’t watched it since…I wonder if I’d still have nightmares. Hmm…

In the meantime, check out the trailer…

Trailer Thursday 10/12

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on October 12, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

Continuing with our horror theme this week, I bring you the trailer for the 80s flick, House. I don’t know much about this flick, other than it looks like something I may be checking out at some point in the future.

Have a look and see what you think…

Hidden Figures

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1961, mathematician Katherine Goble works as a human computer in the segregated division West Area Computers of the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, alongside her colleagues, aspiring engineer Mary Jackson and their unofficial acting-supervisor Dorothy Vaughan.

Following a successful Soviet satellite launch, pressure to send American astronauts into space increases. Supervisor Vivian Mitchell assigns Katherine to assist Al Harrison’s Space Task Group, given her skills in analytic geometry. She becomes the first black woman on the team; and in the building, which has no bathrooms for non-white people.

Katherine’s new colleagues are initially dismissive and demeaning, especially head engineer Paul Stafford. Meanwhile, Mitchell informs Dorothy that she will not be promoted as the bureaucracy is not planning to assign a “permanent supervisor for the colored group”. Mary is assigned to the space capsule heat shield team, and immediately identifies a flaw in the experimental space capsule’s heat shields. With encouragement from the team lead, she submits an application for an official NASA engineer position and begins to pursue an engineering degree more assertively.

At a church barbecue, widow Katherine meets National Guard Colonel Jim Johnson, and they are attracted to each other, but she is disappointed when he voices skepticism about women’s mathematical abilities. He later apologizes, and begins spending time with Katherine and her three daughters.

When Harrison invites his subordinates to solve a complex mathematical equation, Katherine develops the solution, leaving him impressed. The Mercury 7 astronauts visit Langley and astronaut John Glenn is cordial to the West Area Computers.

Katherine becomes better acquainted with her colleagues. Harrison finds Katherine not at her desk one day, and is enraged when she explains that she must walk a half-mile away to another building to use the colored people’s bathroom. Harrison abolishes bathroom segregation, personally knocking down the “Colored Bathroom” sign. Regardless of Stafford’s objections, Harrison allows Katherine to be included in their meetings, in which she creates an elaborate equation to guide the space capsule into a safe re-entry. Despite this, Katherine is forced to remove her name from all the reports, which are credited solely to Stafford. Meanwhile, Mary goes to court and convinces the judge to grant her permission to attend night classes in an all-white school to obtain her engineering degree.

Dorothy learns of the impending installation of an IBM 7090 electronic computer that will replace her co-workers. She visits the computer room to learn about it and successfully starts the machine. Later, she visits a public library, where the librarian scolds her for visiting the whites-only section, to borrow a book about FORTRAN. While congratulating Dorothy on her work, Mitchell assures her that she never treated her differently due to the color of her skin; Dorothy is unconvinced. After teaching herself FORTRAN and training her West Area co-workers, she is officially promoted to supervise the Programming Department for the IBM, bringing 30 of her co-workers to do the programming. Mitchell eventually addresses Dorothy as “Mrs. Vaughan,” indicating her new-found respect.

As the final arrangements for John Glenn’s launch are made, Katherine is informed she is no longer needed at Space Task Group and is being reassigned back to West Area Computers. As a wedding and farewell gift from her colleagues (Katherine is now married to Jim Johnson), Harrison buys her a pearl necklace, the only jewelry allowed under the dress code.

The day of the launch, discrepancies arise in the IBM 7090 calculations for the capsule’s landing coordinates, and Astronaut Glenn requests that Katherine be called in to check the calculations. Katherine quickly does so, only to have the door slammed in her face after delivering the results to the control room. However, Harrison gives her a security pass to the control room so they can relay the results to Glenn together.

After a successful launch and orbit, the space capsule has a warning light indicating a heat shield problem. Mission control decides to land it after three orbits instead of seven. Katherine understands the situation and concurs that they should leave the retro-rocket attached to heat shield for reentry to which Harrison agrees immediately. Their instructions prove correct and Friendship 7 successfully lands in the ocean.

Following the mission, the mathematicians are laid off and ultimately replaced by electronic computers. Katherine is reassigned to the Analysis and Computation Division, Dorothy continues to supervise the Programming Department, and Mary obtains her engineering degree and gains employment at NASA as an engineer.

An epilogue reveals that Katherine calculated the trajectories for the Apollo 11 and Space Shuttle missions. In 2015 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The following year, NASA dedicated the Langley Research Center’s Katherine G. Johnson Computational Building in her honor.

REVIEW:

We all know that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have worked for NASA over the years, many of which were instrumental in getting the space program off the ground, as it were. With that in mind, I would be willing to bet no one knew about the three remarkable women that Hidden Figures is about. Let’s find out if the film taught us something about them, or should have left well enough alone.

What is this about?

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers”, we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history’s greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.

What did I like?

Who knew? As I said in my opening, the amount of people who know anything about these women can probably be counted on your hand. This film brings their story to us and also shows little girls that they too can grow up to work at NASA. It truly is amazing how this part of history has never been taught or even mentioned. Sure, they aren’t up there with the likes of George Washington, Martin Luther King, and Walt Disney, but these women paved the way for future generations!

Music. I was digging the soundtrack, I must say. On top of the score, we have some soulful period music, a couple of new tunes that were composed for this film and fit the era and, most importantly, there is some jazz on the side. A little something for everyone and these tunes aren’t depressing and morose, but rather upbeat and fun. I’m going to go track down the soundtrack and just sit back and listen to it. If I can keep from dancing, that it.

Tonality. Most biopics these days tend to focus on the negative side of a person’s life, totally ignoring that they did enjoy living at one point. These are human beings. Are you seriously going to tell me that they didn’t joke around with some friends at least at one point in their lives? Thankfully, this film takes note of that and shows these women in a way that represents who they were as human beings, rather than just characters in a movie. The film itself has an almost comedic tone at parts that I’m sure some will not care for, but it works for me, at least.

What didn’t I like?

Is that you, Sheldon? I feel bad for Jim Parsons. The guy has created a character so iconic and recognizable that he can’t play anything else without comparisons being brought up. His role as the head engineer, at least to me, felt like what Sheldon would have been doing were he “normal”…and then throw in the racism and sexism that this guy displays. I don’t want to say that he shouldn’t have been cast, because he did a fine job. I just couldn’t help but make the obvious comparisons to his character from Big Bang Theory

Race. I have two opposing viewpoints on how race was handled in this picture. On the one hand, I am glad it wasn’t the focal point of the film. On the other hand, we have here a picture set in the 60s, some things just can’t be ignored. This is the problem with this film. Race isn’t a big issue for the film, and I applaud it for instead focusing on the main characters, but there are times when we get some heavy stuff, such as any scene with one of the women’s husband, who seems to be more of a militant than the caring, peaceful types in the rest of the film.

Make it personal. I keep praising how the film focused on our 3 leads, Taraji P. Henson’s character, especially, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed in how we were shown their lives outsides of work. It is almost like they go to work and back home with maybe a side trip to church if it was convenient. A few more scenes of their home life would have been nice. The whole romance angle with Henson’s character could have been shown, rather than an introduction in one scene, a second meeting, and then they were getting married. Where was everything else?

Final verdict on Hidden Figures? Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect going in. I assumed this would be another one of those films that pushes the race angle down our throats. That was not the case as this turned out to be a fun film in which I learned something about these women and the space program, as well as had a few laughs. Do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! This is the kind of flick that everyone can enjoy and learn from.

4 out of 5 stars

Extraction

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on October 10, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

When a terrorist group kidnaps retired CIA field operative Leonard Turner, his son Harry Turner, a government analyst who has been repeatedly turned down for field service, launches his own unsanctioned rescue operation. While evading highly skilled operatives, deadly assassins, and international terrorists, Harry finally puts his combat training to the test in a high stakes mission to find his father and to stop a terrorist plot.

What people are saying:

“It’s a rare movie that can’t be saved by Bruce Willis single-handedly killing all the bad guys. And yet, here it is: Extraction.” 1 star

“It takes confidence to put out a movie whose single-word title is also the procedure by which a dentist gets rid of a rotten tooth.” 1 1/2 stars

“It took me a little bit to get into this movie. The thing that was slowing me down was the acting. Once I quit worrying about the sub-par acting, mainly from Carano and started to pay attention to the positives from this movie like the fight sequences and the cinematography I was able to enjoy it more than I thought I would have after the first 15-20 minutes in. It also had a couples of good twists and turns which increased my viewing pleasure. I’m a big fan of director Steven C. Miller’s work and I think this isn’t his best effort and most importantly not his worst either. I would recommend it for action fans or for anyone wanting to support independent filmmaking.” 3 1/2 stars

“Ehnn… Not horrible, but not great either. Predictable. I saw the “twist” coming a mile away. Willis really needs to catch a good script” 1 1/2 star

“You may be tempted to watch this because (like a lot of less critically acclaimed films) it still looks fun. It isn’t. It is the epitome of cringeworthy; I’m not sure they knew what they were trying to achieve. It doesn’t work as a spy film, action film or revenge film. They try to chuck in some comedy (possibly to distract from the massive plot holes and nauseating script) which also fails. Watch anything else.” 1/2 star

Trailer Thursday 10/5

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on October 5, 2017 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

It’s October, so my goal is to share some horror trailers with you this month. To begin, we have some kitschy, sci-fi horror in The Green Slime

The Secret Life of Pets

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Living an easy life, happy terrier Max sees his world upended when his owner brings home Duke, a mongrel Max regards as a loser. But the two soon find themselves allied against a horde of abandoned pets looking to turn the tables on humans.

What people are saying:

“In much the same way that the smash Zootopia demonstrated that creatures of different culture and class and species are better off when they come together, The Secret Life of Pets is a testament to teamwork and friendship and fixing the rifts that divide us. Let the fur – and the warm, fuzzy feelings – fly.” 3 stars

“Draws on the universal experience of pet ownership to draw out the “awww” in all of us. But the film butt-scoots by on its premise. There’s not much more going on, thematically or emotionally below the surface.” 3 1/2 stars

“Quite disappointed. Not at all what I was expecting from the trailer! I thought this was going to be a cute, funny movie about the trouble that pets will get into everyday but then hide all evidence of it just before the owners get home. No not at all. It’s a movie about a big dumb bully who goes out of his way to destroy the life-style of the main character. But wait, it changes to “oh let’s work together and we can all be friends BS”. Ugh. more moral crap. And don’t forget, there’s psycho bunny who wants to kill all humans! At least he’s funny.” 1 star

“It certainly won’t be winning any awards for originality and you’ll probably feel like you’ve seen the story a thousand times before, but with its colorful animation, great voice cast and enough funny moments sprinkled throughout, particularly when it comes down to finding clever ways of portraying the typical animal behavior that all pet owners will recognize, it may be just charming and cute enough to hold your attention.” 2 1/2 stars

“The problem with The Secret Life of Pets is that we’ve seen it before. This movie borrows most of its tricks from Toy Story, Oliver & Company, Flushed Away and other animated features that came before it. It doesn’t really have anything to make it stand out from the crowd. This isn’t a bad movie, it just isn’t anything special.” 3 stars