Archive for Kurt Russell

The Hateful Eight

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In Quentin Tarantino’s stylish Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming, eight travelers stranded at a stagecoach way station — including bounty hunters, outlaws and former soldiers — become enmeshed in a duplicitous plot as a savage blizzard rages outside.

What people are saying:

The Hateful Eight is a parlour-room epic, an entire nation in a single room, a film steeped in its own filminess but at the same time vital, riveting and real. Only Tarantino can do this, and he’s done it again” 4 stars

“The closing scene, amidst harrowing brutality, is poetically powerful and is without a shadow of a doubt, Tarantino’s crowning achievement as an auteur” 5 stars

“While this movie is definitely worth watching, even at nearly three hours in length, I found it too mannered and self-indulgent to give it any more than three stars. I realize that Tarantino likes to pay homage to his favorite old movies, but sometimes he overdoes it. For example, the lighting in the interior scenes is extremely unrealistic, and I’m sure that was done on purpose because it makes it resemble those old movies. But let’s all remember that they lit scenes that way not because they wanted to but because the technology at the time did not allow them to do it in the more realistic way that we are now able to do. Oh, and then there’s the unnecessary narration that jumps in well after the movie has begun. A silly affectation, at best. But if you do watch it, you will certainly enjoy the many fine performances. I especially got a kick out of Jennifer Jason Leigh.” 3 stars

“Pure Trash! Filthy, nasty language-none of it necessary. I don’t believe people talked liked this during this time period. Overuse of the “n” word. Loads of blood and gore which was totally unnecessary as well. It is like the producer is trying to cover up how awful the story is by splashing blood, guts, and gore around. Very slow moving and it looks like the actors/actress cannot deliver timely lines. You are led to believe it is a movie about the Civil War but it turns out to be about a gang out west. Writer definitely wants to deliver a huge negative bias on Southerners by building a belief that these are post-Confederate soldiers gone wild, but in the middle of the film you learn they are an unlawful gang in the West. He leads the viewer to believe the woman had ties to the Confederacy but it turns out she is the sister to the lead gang member who has come to save her from hanging. I was thoroughly insulted and would not recommend this movie to anyone. ” 1 star

“Crossing a Whodunit with a Western, ‘The Hateful Eight’ is full of completely over-the-top violence and profane language, so much so that it is almost laughable – it’s undoubtedly a Tarantino film. With a running time approaching 3 hrs, there are more than a few lulls and an absurd amount of (unnecessary) dialogue, but with its beautiful cinematography and rising tension, there’s always something going on and it’s never truly boring. The biggest problem here is that it’s in need of some serious editing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining providing you’re not put off by Tarantino’s ridiculous style.” 3 1/2 stars

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Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 2014, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot are renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, has the Guardians protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries. After Rocket steals some for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians’ ship with a fleet of drones. The drones are destroyed by a mysterious figure, but the Guardians are forced to crash-land on a nearby planet. The figure reveals himself as Quill’s father, Ego. He invites Quill, who is accompanied by Gamora and Drax, to his home planet, while Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.

Meanwhile, Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu shows reluctance to turn over Quill, his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard Yondu’s ship and executes his loyalists while Nebula leaves to track down and kill Gamora, whom she blames for all the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos. While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot, together with Yondu’s loyalist Kraglin, frees Rocket and Yondu and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, though not before Taserface tips off the Sovereign fleet.

Ego explains he is a god-like Celestial, an immortal consciousness that manipulated the matter around it to form the planet with itself at the core. Forming a human guise, he traveled the universe to escape his loneliness and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill’s mother Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to collect the young Quill after Meredith’s death, but the boy was never delivered and Ego had been searching for his son ever since. He teaches Quill to manipulate their Celestial power. Nebula arrives at Ego’s planet and tries to kill Gamora, but fails and the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover caverns filled with skeletal remains. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels he planted seedlings upon thousands of worlds which can terraform them into new extensions of himself, but they can only be activated by the combined power of two Celestials. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children; Ego killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power. Ego forcefully uses Quill to activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world. Quill fights back after Ego reveals that he deliberately caused Meredith’s death, as his love for her distracted him from his purpose.

Ego’s pet empath, Mantis, grows close to Drax and warns him, Gamora, and Nebula of Ego’s plan just as Rocket, Yondu, Groot, and Kraglin arrive. The reunited Guardians reach Ego’s brain at the planet’s core, and fight the Sovereign’s arriving drones. Rocket makes a bomb out of the stolen batteries that Groot plants on Ego’s brain, while Quill battles Ego with his newfound Celestial powers to allow the other Guardians to escape. The bomb explodes, killing Ego and causing the planet to disintegrate. Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill, who now realizes Yondu did not deliver him to Ego in order to spare him from the fate of Ego’s other progeny, and that Yondu was Quill’s true “daddy”. Having reconciled with Gamora, Nebula still chooses to set out and attempt to kill Thanos. The Guardians hold a funeral for Yondu, which is attended by dozens of Ravager ships, acknowledging Yondu’s sacrifice and accepting him again as a Ravager.

In a series of mid- and post-credit scenes, Kraglin takes up Yondu’s telekinetic arrow and control fin; Ravager leader Stakar Ogord, inspired by Yondu’s sacrifice, reunites with his ex-teammates; Groot starts growing back to normal size, exhibiting typical teenage behavior in the process; Ayesha creates a new artificial being with whom she plans to destroy the Guardians, naming him Adam; and a group of uninterested Watchers listen to their informant discuss several experiences on Earth.

REVIEW:

Let the summer blockbuster season of 2017 begin! First film out the gate is Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2. Like just about everyone, I still don’t know much about the Guardians. Since the release (and success) of the first film, they have had an increased presence over at Marvel, including an animated series. Will this sequel justify the success they’ve had or are they just a fluke?

What is this about?

Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

What did I like?

What an Ego. The villain this time out is Ego, the Living Planet, whose origin has been changed slightly so that he is the father of Star-Lord. Now, with a name like Ego, you can just about assume the kind of personality he has to have. Well, who better to get than Kurt Russell, someone who has played a few pompous characters in his day (just watched him a couple of days ago in Sky High). I also must mention the creative things the effects department did to show him as the living planet, such as the face on the planet, talking energy, etc.

Too cute. At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Groot sacrificed himself to save the team. As the credits are rolling, we see that he is a sapling living in a flower pot (and dancing to the Jackson 5). Well, this film is set shortly after the first one and Groot is a little older. Let’s not be naïve, here. The filmmakers made him that age to sell merchandise. He’s just so cute! That aside, he’s also vicious, as seen on Yondu’s ship, so be warned!

Source material. Speaking of Yondu, this is another character that I’m not too familiar with. I remember looking him up when the first film was released and seeing that giant fin on his head, wondering where it was in the film. The filmmakers must have had some fanboys pester them about said fin because they put it on him this time. I can’t say it is an upgrade, but I will say it is nice to see some adherence to the source material, rather than changing everything to make it more realistic, or whatever excuse studios have nowadays.

What didn’t I like?

Mixtape. A music connoisseur such as myself is sure to appreciate the diversity of the soundtrack, and I really do. However, in comparison to the collection used for the first film, this one falls short. The biggest reason for this is that there isn’t anything to catch the listener’s attention and bring them in. This mix needed something akin to “Hooked on a Feeling”, but doesn’t have it.

All that glitters ain’t gold. Aside from Ego, and a short Ravagers mutiny, the other villain in the film are a race of gold people, who believe themselves to be perfect, known as the Sovereign. I understand the reason they were after the Guardians, and like how they remote controlled their ships but, to be honest, they just became pests after awhile, especially during the climactic battle with Ego inside the planet’s core where they just show up and interfere while the Guardians are trying to defeat a God-like being who wants to terraform the universe in his image.

Why so serious. Unlike some of the other films in the MCU, the Guardians’ films have never been all that serious. Much like the Fantastic Four (are supposed to be), this is a team that enjoys what they do and doesn’t over analyze it or make every mission a political fiasco, etc., etc. That being said, I feel like this film got a little too serious in parts, particularly during the family parts (Star Lord and Ego and Gamora and Nebula). Yes, there is some conflict there, but those scenes were so serious that it felt like I was watching a different movie. Thank goodness both scenes were interrupted by someone crashing in and interrupting their dialoguing.

Final verdict on Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2? Truth be told, this is an entertaining film. It will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even sing. We get perhaps the most interesting Stan Lee cameo to date and a new character is introduced to us, played by Sylvester Stallone. All of the cast members return from the first film, and we may have gained a new guardian in the innocent, lovable Mantis. So, with all that in mind, do I recommend this? Well, it isn’t the surprise hit that its predecessor was, but I think that has more to do with expectations, but it is fun from beginning to end. I highly recommend it for all!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

Sky High

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Will Stronghold — the son of two superheroes known as the Commander and Jetstream — is the only kid at Sky High who hasn’t developed superpowers yet, which means he may be relegated to the less-than-thrilling role of a sidekick.

What people are saying:

“With a crisp and snappy visual style and its smartly paced story, Sky High pulls an incredible feat in an age of dumbed-down kids comedies; it’s as down-to-earth as it is super.” 4 stars

“A surprisingly fun and humorous look at superhero tropes by way of a high school designed specifically for the gifted vigilantes’ offspring. Though some of the humor skews a bit too young and many of the movie’s visual effects are dated in the worse way, there’s plenty of wit and pointed comic book skewering to go around — making this one pleasant surprise of a Disney family flick.” 3 stars

“It’s Disney! Written by and for High School freshmen. If you can suspend your adulthood for an hour and a half you will enjoy it. A more entertaining story on a very similar theme is found in the comic “PS 238″ The protagonist is the son of two superheroes without any superpowers (except the knack for survival)…” 3 stars

“Though the film gives some good laughs, cool sequences, a great cinemontography, and a surprisingly original story, Sky High falls flat for me. I forgot the characters, I was often bored, the CG SUCKED, and was left thinking, “Eh.” 3 stars

“Sky High is one of Disney’s best films of this decade so far. I don’t know why a lot of people are comparing it to The Incredibles. It is not like that movie at all. It’s more like a cross between X-Men and Fantastic Four. Everyone had different superpowers. I enjoyed this movie. This movie did show a lot of references to other movies and TV shows based on comic books (like Wonder Woman, Batman, Spider-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). If you are in the mood for a good, family movie, watch Sky High.” 4 stars

Escape from L.A.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The year is 2013 and Snake Plissken is back from Escape From New York. An earthquake has separated Los Angeles from the mainland. In the New Moral America, all citizens not conforming to the new laws (no smoking, no red meat, no Muslims in South Dakota) are deported to L.A., now a penal colony. The President’s daughter has stolen a doomsday device and has fled to L.A. It’s up to Snake Plissken to find the President’s daughter and retrieve the doomsday device before its too late.

What people are saying:

“A dreadful belated sequel to the entertaining Escape From New York. Perfectly epitomizes how Carpenter’s skills have eroded since his late ’70s, early ’80s heyday.” 2 1/2 stars

“It’s preposterous and there’s nothing particularly new that wasn’t introduced in the last one, Escape From L.A. is nonetheless an extremely fun and entertaining watch with plenty of social commentary strewn throughout.” 2 1/2 stars

“Set in a not too far dystopian future , this movie is a sequel to John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York.” Although not a very popular film, I actually liked it. I love the way movie gives you the real deal about politics and our society in a humorous and adventurous way. But at the same time, it is a warning of the totalitarian government that continues to rise. Despite bad special effects, the movie still delivers a lot of action and interesting characters.” 3 1/2 stars

“Pretty bad movie. It tries to be cheesy, B-movie entertainment, and it succeeds, except for the entertainment part. It’s too cheesy, the effects are not good, even for the time, the action is ok, and the performances are bland, especially Russell. One of the moments that proved this movie’s quality was when Russell and Fonda surfed a tsunami in downtown LA to chase a car.” 2 1/2 stars

“While not as gritty as “Escape From New York” this movie still manages to be very entertaining. It may be a tad bit campy in comparison and some parts feel like carbon copies from the first. There was even a point in the beginning when I checked to make sure I was Watching the right movie. This movie is still a good time and I definitely recommend a watch, especially if you enjoyed the first movie.” 3 stars

Big Trouble in Little China

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Truck driver Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) and his friend, restaurant owner Wang Chi (Dennis Dun), go to the airport to pick up Wang’s fiancee Miao Yin (Suzee Pai), who is arriving from China. A Chinese street gang, the Lords of Death, tries to kidnap another Chinese girl at the airport who is being met by her friend Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall), intending to sell her as a sex slave. After Jack intervenes, they take Miao Yin instead. In Jack’s big-rig truck, he and Wang track the Lords of Death to the back alleys of Chinatown, where they find a funeral procession that quickly erupts into a street fight between the Chang Sing and Wing Kong, two ancient Chinese societies. When “The Three Storms” (Thunder, Rain, and Lightning) appear, slaughtering the Chang Sing, Jack tries to escape but runs over Lo Pan (James Hong), a powerful and legendary sorcerer, as well as the leader of the Wing Kong. Horrified, Jack exits his truck, only to find Lo Pan, who is merely annoyed. Wang hurriedly guides Jack through the alleys, escaping the carnage and mayhem, but Jack’s truck is stolen.

Wang takes Jack to his restaurant, where they meet up with Gracie, Wang’s friend Eddie Lee (Donald Li), and magician Egg Shen (Victor Wong), a local authority on Lo Pan. They try to explain to an incredulous Jack some of the ancient knowledge and sorcery the Chinese brought with them to America, eventually devising a plan to infiltrate a brothel, where they think Miao Yin is being held. However, the Storms make off with Miao Yin, bringing her to a front owned by Lo Pan. Trying to rescue her, Jack and Wang are quickly subdued by Rain and taken to see Lo Pan, now in the form of a crippled, old man. Wang tells Jack that Lo Pan needs a special green-eyed girl to break an ancient curse, and he intends to sacrifice Miao Yin. When Jack and Wang’s friends attempt to save them, they are also captured, and Lo Pan notes that Gracie has green eyes, too. Lo Pan decides to sacrifice Gracie, while making Miao Yin his unwilling wife.

After getting the drop on Thunder, Jack and Wang escape, also freeing many women kept in holding cells. Wang and Jack go to see Egg Shen, and, with the help of the Chang Sing, they enter an underground cavern to return to Lo Pan’s headquarters. Egg pours each of the group a potent potion that Jack says makes him feel “kind of invincible.” During the wedding ceremony, a huge fight ensues, which Jack misses, due to accidentally knocking himself out. Wang kills Rain in a sword duel, while Jack and Gracie try to catch Lo Pan. Wang joins them, and, just when all seems lost, Jack kills Lo Pan, with a skillful knife throw. Thunder, enraged and dishonored at his failure to protect his master, starts to inflate to an enormous size, exploding and killing himself. Jack, Wang, Gracie, and Miao Yin are cornered by Lightning in a corridor, which he makes collapse. Egg rescues them with a rope and kills Lightning, when he tries to follow. After finding Jack’s truck, they escape back to Wang’s restaurant.

Lo Pan having been defeated, the group celebrates in a warm and family-like way: Wang and Miao are obviously about to marry; Margo, Gracie’s journalist friend, seems to be about to pair-up with Eddie; and Egg decides to go on a prolonged vacation, saying China is in the heart. Jack, instead of starting up a new life with Gracie, (as everyone was expecting up to that point), bids farewell to the group and hits the open road, with an unknown-to-him stowaway – one of the remaining monsters from Lo Pan’s labyrinth

REVIEW:

A couple of movie review podcasts that I frequently listen to are constantly referring to Big Trouble in Little China as one of the greatest cult 80s action films out there. I remember seeing this in the video store as a kid and always passing it up, but being curious. The same has held true when I see it on Netflix. Sure, it has an interesting cover, but sometimes the artwork can be deceiving. Still, I wonder if this is worth all the hype.

What is this about?

When an ancient magician kidnaps his friend’s fiancée, a two-fisted trucker and a sexy attorney must navigate a shadowy realm to capture the culprit.

What did I like?

Supernatural. I woke up this morning with an urge to watch something supernatural. Don’t ask me why because I really can’t give you an answer. Having said that, though, I wonder if it is because my best friend has recently started watching Supernatural on Netflix and makes sure I know that is what she’s doing. All that aside, perhaps it is because I was in the mood for it, but the supernatural element of this film really struck a chord with me and made me wish for more. Chinese deities, creatures in a labyrinth, etc. keep the audience’s attention.

Wong fu. A somewhat smaller role, or so we are led to believe, is Victor Wong’s Egg Shen. Introduced as some guy driving a tour bus, we learn that he is quite the capable sorcerer in his own right. Much wiser than he looks, Wong’s character is also powerful enough to go toe to toe with the villainous Lo Pan. While Kurt Russell is the big star of this film, it is Wong that can be truly considered the hero.

Rapid fire. As someone who has spent quite some time watching old films, I notice the rhythm of how people talk. In this film, I happened to notice in some spots that the dialogue, not counting the cheesy one-liners, is as rapid fire as a 30s film noir. I was digging the retro vibe to the way these lines were delivered. It gave me the mindset of those old serials from that era, which I kind of feel this film would have worked better as, but I may touch on that a little later.

What didn’t I like?

Getting ready for her next role. Some people think Kim Cattrall is a fine actress. I am not one of those people. To me, she is nothing more than the token hot chick in the 80s who disappeared in the 90s and resurfaced as a deformed version of herself when Sex and the City started. Watching her “act” in the few scenes she has was painful. I think it would be more fun to watch mushrooms grow out in the yard. Cattrall is so wooden, it made me wonder if she was just getting ready for her next role, Mannequin. Maybe I should rephrase that as Cattrall is so plastic. Ha!

Weak storms. There are these three powerful warriors that appear out of nowhere and start wiping out the warring gangs. When it comes to the final showdown, they are taken out quite easily. Why is it such powerful henchmen, for lack of a better term, go down so easily? Shouldn’t these storms have shown the true power they have and merge together as one giant, all-powerful storm? Or would that have been too over the top for a film that is already there. While I’m thinking about it, is it me, or did anyone else think of Raiden from Mortal Kombat when the lightning storm guy showed up. Also, was he really using lightning as a fireman’s pole, of sorts?!?

Genre bending. The original concept for this film was for it to be a western, but some bigwig at the studio decided it needed to be a modern-day tale. Don’t you just love it when they do that? I’m a little biased, being a fan of westerns and all, but I think this would have been more interesting as a western, perhaps even better. Mixing the American West with Oriental mysticism was sure to make for some intriguing situations.

Upon its initial release, Big Trouble in Little China did not fare so well. Director John Carpenter took its failure so hard that he left Hollywood and went into independent filmmaking. However, it has gained a cult following over the years and is listed on many “Best of…” lists. Perhaps it was just ahead of its time or audiences at that time didn’t fully appreciate what they were seeing. Make no mistake, this is not a great film, but it falls into that category where you can overlook its flaws and just enjoy the film for what it is. As such, I say this worth a viewing whenever you’re in the mood for some 80s action. Give it a shot sometime, why don’t you?

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Thing

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , on December 21, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

An American Antarctic research team stationed at the United States National Science Institute Station 4 or Outpost 31 is alerted by gunfire and explosions. An Alaskan Malamute is trying to evade a Norwegian helicopter with an on-board rifleman frantically trying to kill the dog. The helicopter lands and the rifleman attempts to volley a thermite charge but accidentally drops the grenade. The pilot tries to pick it up but dies in the subsequent explosion, destroying the helicopter in the process. Unable to communicate with the American team in English, the rifleman fires at the dog, grazing Bennings, one of the researchers. The man is then shot and killed by Garry, the station commander.

Not knowing what to make of the incident, the station crew adopts the dog, placing it in the hands of Clark, the sled-dog handler. Unable to contact the outside world via radio, helicopter pilot R.J. MacReady and Dr. Copper risk a flight to the Norwegian camp for answers, but find the entire compound in charred ruins. MacReady and Copper enter the charred building to find an axe stuck in the door, the Norwegian personnel missing, and the body of a man (named Colin in the prequel) who appears to have committed suicide in the radio room. While Cooper collects videotapes and documents for evidence, MacReady searches the rest of the camp and discovers a large block of excised ice with a hollowed cavity in a room with a large hole in the roof. Outside the camp, the two also discover the burned remains of a mangled humanoid corpse with two faces. They bring the twisted body back to the camp, but an autopsy by Dr. Blair is inconclusive aside from the fact that the creature’s body contains a set of normal internal organs.

At a request by Bennings, Clark kennels the stray with the rest of the station’s sled dogs. Once alone, it transforms into a chaotic biomass that violently assaults the dogs with acidic fluids and whip-like tentacles. Alerted by the noise, MacReady and Clark summon the crew to the kennel with weapons, and Childs burns the creature with a flamethrower. A subsequent autopsy by Blair reveals that the stray dog was a mimetic extraterrestrial life form that assimilates and imitates other life forms on a cellular level. Realizing the implications of this, Blair quickly becomes withdrawn and suspicious of the others. Using the Norwegian research materials, MacReady, Norris and Palmer inspect a field site to discover a massive crater formed by an alien spacecraft. Norris and MacReady inspect the craft, which Norris estimates to be at least 100,000 years old, due to the age of the surrounding ice. Palmer, who remains at a distance, discovers the area from which the Norwegians had cut the large block of ice.

The burned corpse from the Norwegian camp is revealed to be still alive when Windows finds the carcass assimilating Bennings and alerts MacReady. The team corners the Bennings-Thing in mid-transformation and burn it with fuel, along with the corpse from the Norwegian camp. Blair, meanwhile, has calculated that the creature will assimilate the entire planet within three years should it ever reach civilization, and suffers a psychotic episode, destroying the helicopter and radio with an axe and killing the remaining sled dogs. The team manages to corner and overpower him, and locks him outside in the tool shed.

To determine which members of the team are infected, Copper recommends a blood serum test, but finds that the medical blood supply has been destroyed by sabotage. Suspicious, MacReady puts Garry, Copper, and Clark into isolation, and orders Fuchs to continue Blair’s work. An approaching snowstorm forces them inside tight quarters and MacReady makes a tape recording of the events in case he or the crew do not survive.

As a blizzard approaches, Fuchs goes missing shortly after a power failure. His burned remains are found outside, with his death suspected to be self-immolation. Station chef Nauls returns to the others after finding MacReady’s torn clothing in his shack’s oil furnace. During a heated debate about MacReady’s fate, MacReady breaks in and commandeers dynamite, forcing the others into a standoff that causes Norris to suffer a heart attack.

When Copper attempts to revive Norris by defibrillation, Norris is revealed to be the Thing when his torso transforms into a giant sharp jaws and bites off Copper’s arms, who quickly bleeds to death. MacReady quickly torches Norris’s body, but the creature’s head detaches itself from its torso, grows spider-like legs, and tries to crawl away. Fortunately, MacReady kills the creature and orders everyone to be tied up for a new improvised blood test. Clark tries to stab MacReady, but is shot and killed.

By observing the Norris-Thing, MacReady explains his theory that every individual piece of the alien is a distinct unit with its own survival instinct and a sample of the alien’s blood will react defensively and try to move away when touched with a heated metal wire. Drawing samples from each member, the test reveals that MacReady, Nauls, Childs, Garry, Windows, and the deceased Copper and Clark are human. But Palmer is revealed to be the Thing and transforms and kills Windows before MacReady burns it; MacReady then burns Windows’ body as it also begins to transform.

Leaving Childs behind for security, the others head to the tool shed in order to force Blair to take the blood test, only to find that he has escaped by tunneling underground. They find that Blair has been infected and has been scavenging parts of the helicopter and radio equipment to build a small spacecraft in a cavern beneath the tool shed. Childs is then seen inexplicably leaving his post just before the entire camp loses power.

MacReady concludes that the alien intends to freeze itself in the storm and await the arrival of the rescue team in the spring. Resigned to the probability that they will not escape alive, the team begins to dynamite the entire complex, hoping to force the Thing out in the open.

While rigging the generator room to explode, Garry is killed by the Blair-Thing. Nauls then disappears after he hears a noise and goes to check it out. As MacReady finishes setting the explosives, Blair transforms into a larger monster, demolishing the generator room and taking the detonator. Before being attacked, MacReady blows up both the Blair-Monster and the base with a stick of dynamite.

MacReady wanders the burning ruins to face his fate with a bottle of scotch and encounters Childs, who claims to have been lost in the storm after pursuing Blair, but MacReady is unconvinced. With the harsh weather closing in around them and without the energy to test which of them is really human, they acknowledge the futility of their situation. They sit sharing the bottle between them, as the camp burns. MacReady says, as the movie’s final line: “Why don’t we just… wait here for a little while… see what happens…”.

REVIEW:

Not too long ago, a remake or prequel, not sure which, was released. I’m not exactly in a rush to see it, but I’m sure that at some point I will decide to give it a shot, so I figured why not check out the film that started it all. There is also the fact that Netflix only has it available on instant streaming until January 1. 

Please note, that while this is the film that almost everyone refers to when talking about the The Thing, it is actually a remake of a 1951 film, The Thing From Another World, but is apparently closer to the source material.

We have hear yet another example of why 80s movies tend to be so popular. I say this because of the way this film is paced and how the story develops. Had this been released today, there probably would have been some long expositional backstory and needless drama that lasts 3/4 of the film, whereas in this film, we get the basics and then move on to the good stuff. Thank goodness!

Now, the plot and story could do with a little more development, in my personal opinion, but I think the mystery of the Thing is what makes this film so creepy. Think about it this way, how scared are you of the lies of Freddy Krueger, Jason, Michael Myers, Pinhead, Leatherface, and even Chucky now that we’ve gotten like a gazillion films from all of them, as compared to the way you felt when you saw them at first. That is why it is good that we don’t know too much about the Thing, even though I’m sure there are those out there that feel we need to know everything about the creature, including what color its feces are!

The special effects in this flick are pretty good, especially for 1982. They don’t look hokey or cheesy, but at the same time, they don’t look as if the special effects artists were trying too hard to make them look “real”.

The acting is what you would expect from a film like this, nothing special, but you have to sit back and be impressed with how the cast captures the near madness of these men as the yare cooped up in Antarctica and then suddenly have to deal with this creature that is killing them off and replicating. Oh, and yes, this is an all male cast. There is nary a female in sight, although T.K. Carter’s character has some mannerisms that lead one to assume he may be playing for the other team, if you will.

Regarded as a cult classic, The Thing is much deserving of all its good press and whatnot. Is it worth the hype? I would say so. There is much to like about this film, and I’m sure there are also thing that many of you will not like so much, but isn’t that what makes us all unique? I didn’t necessarily love this flick, but I did enjoy it, and I recommend you give it a shot.

4 out of 5 stars

 

 

Tombstone

Posted in Action/Adventure, Drama, Movie Reviews, Westerns with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell), a retired peace officer with a notable reputation, reunites with his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) in Tucson, Arizona, where they venture on towards Tombstone, a small mining town, to settle down. There they encounter Wyatt’s long-time friend Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), a Southern gambler and expert gunslinger, who seeks relief from his worsening tuberculosis. Also newly arrived in Tombstone with a traveling theater troupe are Josephine Marcus (Dana Delany) and Mr. Fabian (Billy Zane). Meanwhile, Wyatt’s wife, Mattie Blaylock (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), is becoming dependent on a potent narcotic. Just as Wyatt and his brothers begin to profit from a stake in a gambling emporium and saloon, they have their first encounter with a band of outlaws called the Cowboys. Led by “Curly Bill” Brocious (Powers Boothe), the Cowboys are identifiable by the red sashes worn around their waists.

Wyatt, though no longer a lawman, is pressured to help rid the town of the Cowboys as tensions rise. Shooting aimlessly after a visit to an opium house, Curly Bill is approached by Marshal Fred White (Harry Carey, Jr.) to relinquish his firearms. Curly Bill instead shoots the marshal dead and is forcibly taken into custody by Wyatt. The arrest infuriates Ike Clanton (Stephen Lang) and the other Cowboys. Curly Bill stands trial, but is found not guilty due to a lack of witnesses. Virgil, unable to tolerate lawlessness, becomes the new marshal and imposes a weapons ban within the city limits. This leads to the legendary Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, in which Billy Clanton (Thomas Haden Church) and other Cowboys are killed. Virgil and Morgan are wounded, and the allegiance of county sheriff Johnny Behan (Jon Tenney) with the Cowboys is made clear. As retribution for the Cowboy deaths, Wyatt’s brothers are ambushed; Morgan is killed, while Virgil is left handicapped. A despondent Wyatt and his family leave Tombstone and board a train, with Clanton and Frank Stilwell close behind, preparing to ambush them. Wyatt sees that his family leaves safely, and then surprises the assassins; he kills Stilwell, but lets Clanton return to send a message. Wyatt announces that he is a U.S. marshal, and that he intends to kill any man he sees wearing a red sash. Wyatt, Doc, a reformed Cowboy named Sherman McMasters (Michael Rooker), along with their allies Texas Jack Vermillion (Peter Sherayko) and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson (Buck Taylor), join forces to administer justice.

Wyatt and his posse are ambushed in a riverside forest by the Cowboys. Hopelessly surrounded, Wyatt seeks out Curly Bill and kills him in a fast draw gunfight. Curly Bill’s second-in-command, Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), becomes the new head of the Cowboys. When Doc’s health worsens, the group are accommodated by Henry Hooker (Charlton Heston) at his ranch. Ringo sends a messenger (dragging McMasters’ corpse) to Hooker’s property telling Wyatt that he wants a showdown to end the hostilities; Wyatt agrees. Wyatt sets off for the showdown, not knowing that Doc had already arrived at the scene. Doc confronts a surprised Ringo and kills him in a duel. Wyatt runs when he hears the gunshot only to encounter Doc. They then press on to complete their task of eliminating the Cowboys, although Clanton escapes their vengeance. Doc is sent to a sanatorium in Colorado where he later dies of his illness. At Doc’s urging, Wyatt pursues Josephine to begin a new life. The film ends with a narration of an account of their long marriage, ending with Wyatt’s death in Los Angeles in 1929.

REVIEW:

 I’ve seen quite a few westerns in my time…some good and some not so much. By the time Tombstone was released in 1993, the western genre had been long forgotten. Watching this film this afternoon, I applaud them for the attempt, but there is something about this film that just doesn’t stack up the those westerns of the genres heyday.

The film’s plot revolves around the later life of Wyatt Earp, after his retirement from being a peace officer. Along with Earp, notable western characters such as Doc Holliday and Earp’s 2 brothers, are present, as is the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Also present is the Earp vendetta and the sad death of Doc Holliday.

I love westerns that have lots of shootouts. The thing about this film is that you have to sit through a good hour or so of talking, character development, and other boring things before we finally get the big payoff. I realize this had to be done in order to get he audience behind or against all the characters and all, but good grief did it seem to drag on…and on…and on…and on….and on.

The infamous gunfight at the O.K. Corral lasted all of maybe 2 minutes. Granted, this is Tombstone and not Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but it just seemed that they rushed through something that should have been a major focal point of the film. 

They did spend some time on the Earp vendetta ride, which I thought was a bit of a trade-off, especially since it wasn’t as popular as said gunfight.

Kurt Russell does an ok job with his role as Wyatt Earp, but for some reason he just seemed cold and aloof to me.

Sam Elliott fit perfectly in this role, even if it was a small one. We’ve all seen this guy in films before. He is just built to be a wild west gunman, and this is proof.

Val Kilmer is the highlight of the cast, of that there is no question. However, I have issue with how he portrayed Doc Holliday. I don’t ever recall reading anywhere that Doc was this flamboyant or that he resembled Guy Fawkes (the guy who face V wears in V for Vendetta). At times, I thought Holliday was homosexual. Kilmer may have done some of his best acting here, but at what cost to the legacy of Doc Holliday?

Bill Paxton and Dana Delaney are also good in their supporting roles, yet nothing memorable.

See if you can spot Jason Priestly and Billy Bob Thornton in the cast. Here’s a hint, Billy Bob is not the near skeleton he is today.

I’m not really into drama, for the most part, and that was a good chunk of this film, so I really couldn’t get too involved in Tombstone as much as I would have liked. Not to mention the fact that these filmmakers just don’t possess the skills to make a great western the way people were once able to pull off. Would I recommend this to anyone? Sure, while this film isn’t the most exciting western in the world, it is far from the worst. Still, if you’ve never seen a western, don’t judge the genre by this subpar entry into the genre.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars