The Brainiac

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

PLOT:

This outrageous Mexican horror gem opens in the 17th century, where Spanish Baron Vitelius is being sentenced to death for heresy, thanks to his reputation as a Casanova and practitioner of the black arts. Before his death, he curses the bloodlines of the Inquisitors — a curse heralded by the appearance of a comet, which Vitelius declares will mark his vengeance when it passes again. Flash forward 300 years to the swinging ’60s, where the comet does more than just appear in the sky — it slams into the Earth, releasing a brain-sucking demon with a forked tongue, which then transforms into the shape of Vitelius.

What people are saying:

“A mysterious man with magical powers (which are never explained) is burnt alive by the Spanish Inquisition, then returns 300 years later to wreak his vengeance on the descendants of the celibate clergymen who condemned him. Fast moving Mexican silliness that’s famous (and worth seeing) for the ridiculous (but kind of creepy) monster with the three foot long forked tongue.” 2 1/2 stars

“You MUST see this movie!” It’s strange. It’s hilarious. It’s an absolute must see. What are the odds that a movie known as The Brainiac would prove to be so gleefully insane?” 4 stars

“It takes itself so seriously and actually sort of works at times as a slow burning, Dracula-esque horror film. What makes the whole thing fall into B-movie hilarity is the ridiculous monster. It’s like the fly crossed with the devil. It’s so bizarre seeing this movie building up suspense and drama (and it’s heavy on the dialogue by the way) only to flush that down the toilet real quick with the costume they used. The problem is this movie falls kind of in the middle somewhere. It’s not bad in a Plan 9, let’s riff this movie kind of way. Whenever the monster isn’t on screen it’s just fairly generic (almost a bit past its time) horror b-movie. When the monster is on screen it does fall into the Plan 9 territory. But overall it is just stuck in the middle and not good, but not that bad, and definitely not that funny.” 2 1/2 stars

“It’s the kind of outrageous movie that it’s impossible to get mad at. This is a movie that’s so ridiculously goofy that, if it were to come out today, it would torn to shreds, but because it came out in a time, it’s a movie for that time. However, it is definitely good for some corny thrills on a late October night.” 4 stars

“Pretty wild Mexican horror. You can’t call it good, but it’s entertaining.” 3 stars

Trailer Thursday 7/28

Posted in Trailer Thursday with tags on July 28, 2016 by Mystery Man

It’s Trailer Thursday!!!

As we get nearer and nearer to presidential election, where it will be the vote for the lesser of two evils, I can’t help but notice how the movie Idiocracy is turning out to be a bit more of a look into our future than The Jetsons, Back to the Future franchise, etc.

Have a look at the trailer…

Batman: The Killing Joke

Posted in Action/Adventure, Animation, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Barbara Gordon as Batgirl fails to stop a robbery, but manages to stop one fleeing criminal with help from Batman. Unknown to Batgirl, the robbers’ leader Paris Franz develops a dangerous obsession with Batgirl. As Batgirl starts receiving messages from Franz, Batman shares his concerns that she is not taking the situation seriously. After Franz tricks Batgirl into finding his uncle’s dead body, Batman becomes even more concerned about Batgirl’s safety and takes her off the case. Outraged, Batgirl starts attacking Batman both verbally and physically. She eventually subdues him, shares a kiss with him, and they have sex. The next night, Batgirl tries to apologize to Batman, but he is ambushed by Franz and his men prompting Batgirl to go to his aid. When she arrives, she fights Franz and beats him, but relents from killing him. Realizing Batman was right, Batgirl retires from crime-fighting.

Sometime later, Batman investigates a murder scene with Detective Harvey Bullock and concludes that Joker, currently held at Arkham Asylum, might be behind the crime. He goes to Arkham Asylum to talk to him, only to discover that he had escaped. He then learns that Joker attacked Barbara and her father Commissioner James Gordon, shooting and permanently paralyzing Barbara in front of Gordon before kidnapping the latter. Joker takes Gordon to an amusement park and subjects him to torture, showing him photos he took of Barbara after shooting her.

While the present-day story progresses, flashbacks are used to explain Joker’s origins. It is revealed that he was an engineer who quit his job at a chemical company to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. Desperately trying to support his pregnant wife Jeannie, he agrees to guide two criminals through his former workplace at the chemical plant in order to rob a card company next door. In turn, the criminals tell him that he has to use the Red Hood’s mask and caped costume, intending to frame him. During the planning, the police inform him that Jeannie and her baby both died in a household accident. Grief-stricken, the engineer tries to withdraw from the plan, but the criminals talk him into keeping his commitment to them.

At the plant, the criminals have him don the red mask and cape. Once inside, they run into security personnel, and a shootout occurs. The criminals are gunned down and the engineer is confronted by Batman, who is investigating the disturbance. Terrified, the engineer trips and falls into the chemical plant’s waste pound, managing to escape Batman in the process, and is swept through a pipe leading to the outside. Once outside, he realizes that the chemicals have permanently bleached his skin chalk-white, stained his lips ruby-red, and dyed his hair bright green. The entire ordeal, combined with Jeannie’s death, drives him into insanity and leads him to become the Joker.

Back in the present day and after many unsuccessful attempts, Batman manages to find Gordon after Joker sends him a clue that leads him to the amusement park. He saves Gordon while the Joker retreats into the funhouse. Despite being tortured, Gordon remains sane and he demands Batman to capture Joker “by the book”. Batman follows Joker through the funhouse as Joker tries to persuade him that the world is just one big joke and thus not worth fighting for. He also states that just one bad day is enough to drive an ordinary man insane, and mocks Batman by correctly guessing that it was one bad day that drove Batman into becoming a vigilante.

Batman eventually subdues the Joker, tells him that Gordon remained sane despite everything he suffered, and concludes that Joker is alone in his madness. He then attempts to reach out to Joker, offering his help in rehabilitation in order to put an end to their everlasting fight, which Batman fears may one day result in their deaths. Joker declines, commenting it is too late for Batman to help. He then says that the situation reminds him of a joke, which he proceeds to tell. Batman starts laughing at the punch line, accompanying Joker’s maniacal laughter as the police arrive. The laughter then stops as the screen fades to black.

In a mid-credits scene, Barbara is in her wheelchair entering a secret room in her apartment. As she turns on the computers, Oracle’s logo appears on the screen

REVIEW:

Batman has been around for years and through that time he has amassed quite a few stories. One that many fans thought would never make it to film, animated or otherwise, is the intensely dark Batman: The Killing Joke. Well, this is set to be released on DVD, but tonight it was in theaters and I had the chance to check it out. Here are my thoughts.

What is this about?

Based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel. As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

What did I like?

Voices carry. For those of us that grew up with Batman: The Animated Series and the series of cartoons that followed, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill were our Batman and Joker, even though other versions attempted to take their place. Do you remember any of the others who have stepped into these roles? No, and that is why they have such a lasting legacy and were chosen to voice such an important work.

Not for kids. Much has been said about the violent, dark nature of this film. Let me tell you right now, this is most definitely NOT FOR KIDS. There is violence, dark themes, and nary a cheery scene to be found, which is the only reason this film works. I am glad they didn’t water it down to appeal to the 13 and under crowd. I can’t imagine how that would have turned out, other than horrible.

Straight out of the book. For some reason, filmmakers have a really hard time keeping with the source material. They usually make the excuse of “it works better on screen if we change this or that”. This story works so well on so many levels that the filmmakers did very little changing, except for adding a prologue, which I’ll get to shortly. On top of that, they even ripped many of the images direct from the graphic novel itself. Very nice touch! My personal favorite is when the unknown man emerges from the chemicals, takes of the red helmet and begins maniacally laughing. What other way would there be to introduce…THE JOKER?!?

What didn’t I like?

Batgirl. In an attempt to make what happens to Barbara more of a tragedy, the filmmakers decided to give us a little backstory of her as Batgirl the night before. Had this been a Batgirl movie or a Batman and Batgirl story, it would have been great, but this just felt unnecessarily tacked on. I also must mention that they had sex (offscreen). I can’t be the only one who did not feel comfortable with that! In all the Batman/Batgirl stories I’ve read, there has never been any sexual tension between them. This seemed like a substitute Catwoman tale, in my opinion.

Character design. I didn’t hate the character design, but I have a small issue. As I was sitting in the theater tonight, it hit me that this is a more adult animated tale, but the animation reminds me of those geared toward younger crowds. What could be done about this? I don’t really know, to be honest. Just a small point I felt needed to be pointed out.

Length. It’s been a few years since I last read this book, but I know that it has to have had enough material to fill up a 90 minute film (minus that horrible prologue). Maybe I was just having too much fun seeing the comic on the big screen, but I felt as if this could have been about 10-15 minutes longer, giving us a little more time with Conroy and Hamill reprising these characters that we all want to see and hear from them again.

Final verdict on Batman: The Killing Joke. It is a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, there are so many things that just blew me out of the water, faithfulness to the source material, great music, the return of Conroy and Hamill, etc. On the other hand, though, I just can’t get over the Batgirl storyline that was thrown in here. Not only was it bad, but it didn’t accomplish the goal of making us feel something more for her. They would have been better served just letting us use our personal knowledge of the character, rather than whatever this was. *SIGH* So, do I recommend this? Yes, very highly! Once you get past the Batgirl stuff, you have a great story that we all thought would never make it past the pages of the graphic novel. For that reason, if for no other, you should give it a shot! Now I can wait for them to start thinking of ways to bring Green Lantern: Darkest Night to the screen!

4 1/3 out of 5 stars

Sixteen Candles

Posted in Chick Flicks, Classics, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Samantha’s sixteenth birthday should be memorable, but her family is so preoccupied with her older sister’s wedding that they completely forget her big day. Meanwhile, Sam tries to catch her crush’s eye.

What people are saying:

“A 80s John Hughes written film, so you know it’s hella solid in the dialogue category. Being the 1st film he directed, I thought it was great being John Hughes 1st. Their are some small side gags that would of been better left out of the movie entirely. Overall didn’t hurt the movie too much. It’s a fun, very enjoyable, and funny movie.” 3 1/2 stars

“I had seen most of the 80s Teen Flicks, but somehow never got around to this one. Probably an anti-Molly thing. Ah, foolish youth. The fact is, this is one truly funny film! Typical John Hughes stuff, funnier than The Breakfast Club, but with less meat to it. As far as the rating, I’m surprised it received a PG — the language and brief nudity would probably rate an R today. But if you can get past that issue, you’ll have a lot of fun with 16 Candles.” 4 stars

“A simple story and a well chosen cast, particularly Ringwald, prevent Sixteen Candles from being melodramatic and paces itself with plenty of humor and complexity that only a teenager can understand. Watching this film as an adult will diminish any emotional impact.” 5 stars

“Molly Ringwald has her 16th birthday but her family is so preoccupied with her older sister’s wedding that they completely forget her big day. She has a crush on the jock, but a nerd has a crush on her. She must find a way to enjoy her birthday, despite the dance where things don’t go quite as planned. A pretty typical 80’s comedy especially with John Hughes. Pretty good and pretty much typical of the 80s.” 3 stars

“John Hughes got everything right with this cute and funny comedy that defined the 80s… I have probably seen this movie 20 times and laugh at the same scenes. Molly Ringwald, who’s been in several JH films, pays a love-sick teenager whose parents forget her 16th birthday. This movie also has created alot of funny one-liners my sisters and me still use- ‘oh and they’re sooo perky!” Super funny from the great beginning all of the way to the end. And I miss John Hughes terribly, no one understood the American teenager like this guy. A little dated with the 80s clothing and hairstyles but this movie still holds its own and will make any teenager laugh today.” 5 stars

Goosebumps

Posted in Comedy, Family, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

None-too happy about moving to a small Maryland town, teen Zach Cooper finds his outlook changing after meeting the gorgeous girl next door, Hannah Stine — whose reclusive father happens to be hiding a big secret

What people are saying:

“not too scary not too boring. just the right amount of creep and scares along with the proportional amount of humor.
really likes the character of slappy the dummy and Mr. R.L. Stine and the cast of goosebumps” 4 1/2 stars

“For what it was, it was very well done. Lots of jumping around action that kids and the adults that go with them enjoy. I’ve seen better movies in this genre (Jumanji, which it has been compared to…Night at the Museum, too), but it was still good enough. Jack Black almost always a fun watch…and Odeya Rush is a beautiful young woman that teens should heat thump over). Some of the story seemed contrived and plotting often felt like ‘an afterthought,” 4 stars

“After a few years of development hell, the filmmakers decided to try and cram all of R.L. Stine’s book creations into one movie.The result is a movie overstuffed with horror things, but never scary due to its breakneck pace and lack of character development. There’s no big twist either that is also present in Goosebumps books, so it comes off as a rather frivolous affair than anything memorable.” 2 stars

“Frustrating disappointment. This film has all the elements of a great movie: good cast, good story, photography, sets, great F/X, even a Danny Elfman score! The problem is that it never “comes together”. It almost does, but ultimately it fails & becomes tedious. It could have been on a level with THE MONSTER SQUAD if only, if only, if only…” 1 star

“I grew up reading and watching goosebumps and when I heard about this film I had to take a look in to it. This film is enjoyable and everything I wanted from a move based on the horror children books, the film has a good cast, good plot, good and evil charters and in no way does this film disappoint in any way.” 4 stars

Meet the Fockers

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Now that Greg Focker is “in” with his soon-to-be in-laws, Jack and Dina Byrnes, it looks like smooth sailing for him and his fiancée, Pam. But that’s before Pam’s parents meet Greg’s parents, Bernie and Roz Focker. The hyper-relaxed Fockers and the tightly-wound Byrneses are woefully mismatched from the start, and no matter how hard Greg and Pam try, there is just no bringing their families together.

What people are saying:

“It was okay, wouldn’t exactly say it’s terrible or great either, somewhere in the middle. Good time if you’re watching it with some family members or friends. For those who are critical about film, give it a skip.” 3 stars

“The sequel’s comedy level is what I was I expecting from its predecessor. Thanks to its original and new cast, their chemistries bring laughs equally as well more warmth; making this sequel better, despite the questionable silliness that turns into a minor plot-hole. ” 4 stars

“Proof that great actors can make terrible movies. Apparently DeNiro, Hoffman and Streistan are padding their bank accounts for old age. Stupid, predictable and unfunny.” 1 star

“I loved this whole premise, what a great cast of characters ! Love Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman’s chemistry, then throw in Barbara Streisand and you have a winner combination! I laughed til I cried through most of the movie. I highly recommend it if there is anyone left on the planet that hasn’t seen it yet.” 5 stars

“While it does contain strong hints to it’s predecessor, Meet The Fockers gets plenty of fresh humor from the addition of Hoffman and Streisand, and the content is delivered perfectly by a great cast.” 4 stars

Good Will Hunting

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Twenty-year-old Will Hunting (Matt Damon) of South Boston is a self-taught, genius-level intellect, though he works as a janitor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and spends his free time drinking with his friends, Chuckie (Ben Affleck), Billy (Cole Hauser) and Morgan (Casey Affleck). When Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård) posts a difficult mathematics problem as a challenge for his graduate students, Will solves the problem anonymously, stunning both the graduate students and Lambeau himself. As a challenge to the unknown genius, Lambeau posts an even more difficult problem. Lambeau chances upon Will solving the problem but Will flees the scene. That night at a bar, Will meets Skylar (Minnie Driver), a British student about to graduate from Harvard, who plans on attending medical school at Stanford and gives Will her phone number before leaving.

The next day, Will and his friends fight a gang at the basketball court. Police arrive and arrest Will. Lambeau visits his court appearance, and notices Will’s intellect in defending himself. He arranges for him to forgo jail time if he agrees to study mathematics under Lambeau’s supervision and participate in therapy sessions. Will tentatively agrees, but treats his first few therapists with contempt and mockery. His refusal to open up is met with staunch defiance by the various therapists, who each refuse to deal with Will further. In desperation, Lambeau calls on Dr. Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), his estranged and much more grounded college roommate, who now teaches psychology at Bunker Hill Community College. Unlike other therapists, Sean actually challenges Will’s defense mechanisms, and after a few unproductive sessions, Will begins to open up.

Will is particularly struck by Sean’s story of how he met his wife by giving up his ticket to the historic game six of the 1975 World Series, after falling in love at first sight. Sean neither regrets his decision, nor does he regret the final years of his marriage, after which his wife died of cancer. This encourages Will to build a relationship with Skylar, though he lies to her about his past and is reluctant to introduce her to his friends or show her his rundown neighborhood. Will also challenges Sean to take an objective look at his own life, since Sean cannot move on from his wife’s death.

Lambeau sets up a number of job interviews for Will, but Will scorns them by sending Chuckie as his “chief negotiator”, and by turning down a position at the National Security Agency with a scathing critique of the agency’s moral position. Skylar asks Will to move to California with her, but he refuses and tells her he is an orphan, and that his foster father physically abused him. Will breaks up with Skylar, and later storms out on Lambeau, dismissing the mathematical research he has been doing. Sean points out that Will is so adept at anticipating future failure in his interpersonal relationships that he deliberately sabotages them in order to avoid emotional pain. When Will refuses to give an honest reply about what he wants to do with his life, Sean shows him the door. Will tells Chuckie he wants to be a laborer for the rest of his life. Chuckie responds that it would be an insult to his friends for Will to waste his potential and that his fondest wish is that Will should leave to pursue something greater.

Will walks in on a heated argument between Sean and Lambeau over his potential. Sean and Will share and find out that they were both victims of child abuse. Sean helps Will to see that he is a victim of his own inner demons and to accept that it is not his fault. Sean comforts Will as he cries over twenty years of trauma. Will decides to accept one of the job offers arranged by Lambeau. Having helped Will overcome his problems, Sean reconciles with Lambeau and decides to take a sabbatical to travel the world. When Will’s friends present him with a rebuilt Chevrolet Nova for his twenty-first birthday, he decides to pass on his job offers and drive to California to reunite with Skylar. Sometime later, Chuckie goes to Will’s house to pick him up, only to find that he is not there, much to his happiness. Sean comes out of his house and finds a letter from Will in his mailbox, which, much to his pleasure, tells him that Will is going to see Skylar. During the ending credits, Will’s car is seen driving on the highway to California

REVIEW:

The other day, I was watching Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back for the gazillionth time and came across the scene with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are shooting Good Will Hunting 2. Obviously, this was just a parody in the film, but it hit me…I have never seen the source material. So, this afternoon, I am going to sit down and watch Good Will Hunting. Let’s hope I don’t fall asleep on the couch while doing so.

What is this about?

When professors at MIT discover that an aimless young janitor working at the university is also a mathematical genius, a therapist helps the young man confront the demons that are holding him back.

What did I like?

Thrill of the Hunt(ing). For the first few years of their careers, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were seemingly joined at the hip when seen in public, partially because of the success of this film. Damon’s performance knocks it out of the park and it is no wonder that he has gone on to do so many other things. He brings to the screen intensity, drive, emotion, and a variety of other adjectives that you wouldn’t expect from a guy who, at this time, wasn’t anything more than a supporting player.

Have some class. There is a real emphasis on the class division as Damon and company come from the other side of the tracks, but most of the film takes place at M.I.T. and one of the bars they frequent is occupied with students from Harvard, not exactly the cheapest of schools. This division makes for some interesting conversations about the have and have nots…much like one can have today.

Beard. I used to joke that whenever Robin Williams would grow out his beard, we are in for some serious drama. Case in point, Birdcage (no beard), The Fischer King (beard), and August Rush (weird soul patch thingy). Sometimes this isn’t the case, though…see What Dreams May Come. Still, while Williams was known primarily as a comedic actor, it should not be ignored that he has some great dramatic chops, as well. This is one of those rare times where he gets as serious as one can be. A jokey Williams would not have fit within the scope of this film, but drama Robin, works perfectly as Damon’s therapist and confidant.

What didn’t I like?

Drive. Minnie Driver plays a very fine love interest. As an innocent, wealthy British undergrad finishing up at Harvard and getting ready to head to Stanford for her graduate studies, she is given some decent motivation for her character. My problem with her is that she isn’t given enough time for us, the audience, to become attached to her. I say this because there is obviously a connection between her and Damon, but because we don’t get much time with her as a person, it doesn’t mean much when that comes to an end. It is just an event that happens, akin to Damon’s anonymous solving of the math problems.

Hidden genius. How is it that someone with the genius of Matt Damon’s character made it through school, even if he dropped out, without being discovered? It seems to me that someone would have picked up on this. There is no reason for him to be a janitor living in a shack on the southside of Boston with his intellect. The only reason for him to not have been found out is that he may not be a strong test taker, but even then, it would still show somewhat, right?

Predictable. Don’t you just hate films that you can pretty much guess what is going to happen? Well, this is one of those, I’m afraid. Everything that happens to our main characters is telegraphed a mile away leaving the audience with everything but a surprise come film’s end. A little suspense would have been nice, at least in my opinion.

Final verdict on Good Will Hunting? For all the hype and accolades this picture receives, I thought it lived up to it. My expectation was to fall asleep in the first 30 min or so, but instead I couldn’t turn away, save for some down moments here and there. I’m sure you will have the same experience, so I very highly recommend it. Check it out!

5 out of 5 stars

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