Archive for Zoe Bell

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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Game of Death

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The story is told in flashback as the story of CIA agent Marcus Jones’ final mission unspools in the form of a confession to a Catholic priest played by Ernie Hudson. The mission began when Jones’ mentor in the CIA, Dietrich, informed him that having successfully eliminated an Iranian agent in New York City, his next assignment is to gather intelligence for the possible prosecution of American citizens Frank Smith, an arms dealer, and John Redvale, a hedge fund manager. Jones succeeded in being hired as Smith’s bodyguard and was accompanying Smith to the Redvale building, where Smith was supposed to obtain $100,000,000 in cash, when several things happen at once. Unknown assailants attack the vehicle in which Smith and Jones are travelling. While Jones is distracted, Dietrich, flying above them in a helicopter with several other CIA agents, discovers that the others are traitors when they kill him. They are after the $100,000,000.

Jones and Smith survived the attack partly because Smith had a heart attack just as it began and their heads were out of sight of the rear window, which was shot out, resulting in the death of their driver. Jones takes the wheel, loses the killers, and drives Smith to Detroit Medical Center, where he is provided with lifesaving care. Rather than give him time to recover properly, however, the CIA mutineers show up and begin killing hospital staff. Jones, their primary target, eludes them for twenty minutes, killing five of them, until Floria (Zoe Bell) takes him prisoner and takes him to new team leader Xander (Gary Daniels). Jones is knocked unconscious and left to take the blame for the heap of dead bodies while Smith is taken, along with one miraculously spared doctor (Aunjanue Ellis) to meet Redvale (Quinn Duffy) so that the killers can get his $100,000,000.

More violence ensues when Redvale decides the best course of action is to let the killers have the money, then hunt them down and kill them many years later (a plan he unwisely explains to them). Meanwhile, Jones steals an ambulance and drives to Redvale’s building to save the doctor and eliminate his former team members. Accomplishing both of these missions, Jones then miraculously eludes scores of Detroit Police Department officers whom he told Redvale’s employees to summon for some unknown reason (presumably he wanted to escape, after all, which he does with approximately $25,000,000). As Jones leaves the cathedral and the priest to whom he made confession, a young man tosses a basketball to him, which helpfully reminds Jones that God isn’t through with him yet. He walks off into a beautiful morning.

REVIEW:

Please excuse the briefness of this review, I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow and need to get to bed ASAP!

How is it that a film about a rogue CIA agent can be so boring? I really would like to know, because this film, Game of Death, nearly put me to sleep.

The plot revolves around a CIA agent and what appears to be a confession about what has happened since he was last in church. He was recently a bodyguard for a wealthy arms dealer, until he had a heart attack and rogue CIA agents killed his boss in an effort to get the old man’s money.

Yes, the plot does sound interesting, but it doesn’t come off that way on the screen. As a matter of fact, the action scenes in here are rather tame. Now, this may just be the fact that I was trying to not be up too late watching this film/writing this review, but it just seemed as if this film was made simply to give Wesley Snipes something to do while he was facing tax evasion charges.

I hate to say that, bt it was true.

Now, while this film was about as boring as watching paint dry, it was a decent enough picture that those that are into this kind of stuff wold enjoy. For me, it wasn’t that interesting, so the crafting of the film as a whole was lost on me a bit. Should you see this, though, I guess is the big question? Well, I won’t say you shouldn’t, as well have different tastes, but this is one of those films that the second after the credits roll, you are sure to forget and/or have feelings of remorse for even wasting your time on it.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Whip It

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The movie takes place in the 1990s in the Austin, Texas region. Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) is a misfit in the small town of Bodeen, Texas, with no sense of direction in her life. Her mother, a former beauty queen, pushes her to enter beauty pageants despite her lack of interest. Bliss and her friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) dream of escaping, Pash planning on attending an ivy league school in a big city, but Bliss is uncertain as to what she wants for her future. During a shopping trip to Austin with her mother, Bliss encounters three roller derby team members. Intrigued, she and Pash attend a roller derby event under the pretense of going to a football game, where they see the Holy Rollers defeat the Hurl Scouts, a perennially unsuccessful derby team. Bliss tells the Hurl Scouts that they are “her new heroes” and is suddenly drawn to the idea of being in a roller derby herself when one of the Hurl Scouts, Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig) replies, “Well, put some skates on. Be your own hero.”

Returning to Austin, Bliss lies about her age and tries out for the Hurl Scouts, discovering her natural skating abilities in the process.

After realizing she needs to be ruthless in a roller derby, Bliss sees she needs to take charge in other aspects of her life, revealed through various sub-plots. One involves Bliss’s love interest, a lanky young rock guitarist and singer named Oliver (Landon Pigg) whom she meets via her exposure to roller derby. They enjoy a whirlwhind romance and underwater making out, until Oliver leaves for a tour, taking Bliss’ T-shirt with him. She later finds a picture of him at a gig with another girl, who is wearing her t-shirt. She breaks up with him following his return, although he vehmently denies anything happened. Another sub-plot examines Bliss’s relationship with her parents, a loving but controlling mother and an amiable but clueless father who seldom opposes his wife’s parental decisions, although preceding her parents discovery of Bliss’ involvement in roller derby (right before the championship roller derby match), he convinces her mother to let her out of a pageant which is at the same time and gets the Hurl Scouts to come get her for the match. Various other sub-plots include her relationship with Pash, and confrontations with a stuck up snob at school. Pash is fine with Bliss’ new path, until she gets arrested with an open container of beer while she is waiting for Bliss, who has left to go make out with Oliver. Eventually, Pash gets together with their slightly pathetic coworker and forgives Bliss. The movie ends with the Hurl Scouts narrowly losing the championship match and everyone finally getting along,; the team chants “We’re number two!”, the same thing they chanted when they lost their first match (the coach pointed out that there were only two teams involved).

REVIEW:

 Something they keep alluding to in this film is that these are “tough chicks in nylons”[sic]. I guess some guys get turned on by this. I’m not one of them, but I did enjoy this film, surprisingly.

Admittedly, I wasn’t expecting much from this. As a matter of fact, I have been avoiding this flick since it was released.

Whip It begins at a beauty pageant, where we can all but tell why our young heroin, for lack fo a better term, is destined for the roller derby ranks. Wouldn’t you need some sort of release after being subject to that rigomoro on a constant basis? Not to mention her overbearing mother. I wonder if she was as bad as the Toddlers & Tiaras parental units.

I don’t know much about roller derby, but from what I can tell these filmmakers do a pretty good job of capturing the excitement that goes into these matches, without going too far overboard in a sad attempt to create some dramatic moment. The plot does a good enough job of handling all the drama.

Speaking of the plot, it is about as simple as can be. The aforementioned beauty pageant contestant gets fed up with the pageant scene and tries out, sans her parent’s knowledge, for a roller derby team in Austin, TX. She soon becomes the league’s star, but along the way her best friend gets arrested for underage drinking which leads to her parents finding out about her secret roller derby life. On top of all that, there is the typical boyfriend drama that accompanies any film involving a teenage girl.

Ellen Page really embraces this character, but I am kind of getting the feeling from her that she’s being typecast as this rebellious teen, since every other role has been similar. I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

Marcia Gay Harden really shines as the overbearing, pageant queen mother. Her performance was so believable that I have to wonder if she drew from any real life experiences.

Newcomer Ali Sawkhat turns in a solid supporting role, as do the roller derby girls, mainly Kristin Wiig, who seems to be the “maternal” one. Of course, the fact that she turns out to have a kid of her own may be the reason for that.

Juliette Lewis is once again the bad guy, of sorts. Anyone remember the days of The Other Sister, when she actually portrayed a nice girl?

While watching this film, you may think that the coach is Owen Wilson with his nose fixed, but in reality, it is the other Wilson brother, Andrew.

Whip It is one of those sports movies that is what you think it will be. The only thing that isn’t what you think is the pageant stuff. I enjoyed this film and think that pretty much anyone who watches it will, as well. Drew Barrymore did a bang up job with her directorial debut!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Grindhouse: Death Proof

Posted in Action/Adventure, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Three friends – Arlene (Vanessa Ferlito), Shanna (Jordan Ladd) and radio disc jockey “Jungle Julia” Lucai (Sydney Tamiia Poitier) – are driving down Colorado Street in Austin, Texas to celebrate Jungle Julia’s birthday, unknowingly followed by a man in a souped-up 1970 Chevy Nova. While drinking at Güero’s Taco Bar, Jungle Julia reveals that she made a radio announcement earlier that morning, offering a free lap dance from Arlene in return for calling her Butterfly, buying her a drink and reciting a segment of the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”. As the night goes on, the girls run into Pam (Rose McGowan), a childhood adversary of Jungle Julia’s, who is being studied by Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell), a stunt double for Hollywood action films. He spends the night flirting with the women, working his way up to Arlene, who realizes that he’s been following them all day but accepts his excuse because of his charm. After giving Mike the lap dance, Arlene finally leaves with Jungle Julia, Shanna, and their marijuana dealer, Lanna Frank (Monica Staggs).

Stuntman Mike agrees to give Pam a ride home in his car and stays sober all night. Up to this point Stuntman Mike seems to be a normal guy, and when Pam is presented with a plexi-glass sealed passenger seat with no seatbelt, he simply explains that the camera is sometimes set up in that area and assures her that his car is “death proof”. It’s at this moment, Stuntman Mike looks directly into the camera, and grins from ear to ear, foreshadowing the mayhem to come. In the car, he asks for directions, and when Pam says right he sighs and says they’re going left, and he wished she had said left so she wouldn’t get scared right away. He reveals himself to be a sadist, and begins to ride at extreme speeds and swerve the car around, thrashing Pam around the box. She pleads with Mike to let her out of the car, but Mike ignores her and informs her that the car is only death proof for the driver, but “to get the benefit of it honey, you really need to be sittin’ in my seat”. He then slams on the brake, causing her to smash her face on the dashboard, killing her. Then it’s “time to find me my other girlfriends”, and he tosses his voyeur photographs of the girls out the window so the police don’t find evidence of premeditation. Mike then chases after the other four girls. Finding their car on an empty road, he speeds past them and spins his car around. He proceeds to race at the girls’ car head-on at full speed with his headlights off, and turns them back on at the last moment. Mike crashes into them, killing them.

At the hospital, it is revealed that Mike suffered only minor injuries. Because the girls were driving while intoxicated and Mike had not consumed any alcohol or marijuana, he is cleared of all criminal charges (Pam’s death is likely attributed to the collision), angering Texas Ranger Earl McGraw (Michael Parks), who knows the stuntman is guilty, but decides not to investigate due to the lack of evidence and energy he thinks could be better spent elsewhere, such as following the Nascar circuit. He vows to bring him down next time he does it in Texas, however due to barriers in cross-state police communication, Mike is soon in Tennessee looking for victims again without fear of being caught.

Fourteen months later, Lee Montgomery (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Abernathy Ross (Rosario Dawson), and Kim Mathis (Tracie Thoms) are traveling through Lebanon, Tennessee and stop at a convenience store where Mike has stationed himself. When Kim goes inside, Lee moves into the driver’s seat and starts listening to her iPod with Abernathy still trying to sleep in the backseat. Mike then gets out of his car and begins playing with Abernathy’s bare feet which are hanging out of the car window. When she wakes up, Mike pretends he bumped into her while looking for his car keys. He gets into his car and takes off. Abernathy catches one last glimpse of Mike’s car speeding off, which the other two don’t notice, before the three depart. The trio pick up their friend, stuntwoman Zoë Bell (playing herself), at the airport, who informs them she wants to test-drive a classic white 1970 Dodge Challenger. Later, she reveals her true motives: she wants to play a game called “Ship’s Mast,” in which she will hang onto the car’s hood with two belts while someone else drives at high speeds. When the girls reach the barn where the Dodge is being sold, Kim reluctantly agrees to help with the stunt and Abernathy tags along, while Lee finds herself left behind to placate the car’s owner, Jasper (Jonathan Loughran).

During this game, Mike arrives suddenly, and targets them with his 1969 Dodge Charger, repeatedly crashing into them, and eventually Zoë is thrown from the hood. Kim, who carries a gun for protection, shoots Mike in the left arm, causing him to flee. Zoë, due to her training and agility, is unharmed except for a “bruise on her bum.” The three girls decide to take revenge against their attacker. At this point the character roles abruptly switch, as Stuntman Mike becomes hysterical. His intended victims, on the other hand, become enraged in their pursuit, jeering and laughing at their foe’s efforts. Stuntman Mike’s injury forces him to stop and attempt to tend to his wound. In doing so, he releases his safety harness. Kim crashes into the back of his Charger and Zoë attacks him with a pipe, but Mike flees again without refastening his harness. An extended chase scene follows; just when he thinks he has escaped, the pursuing vehicle blindsides him and he crashes to a stop, breaking his right arm. Screaming in pain, he is hauled out of the car and the three women administer a vicious beating. Stuntman Mike is knocked to the ground, and the women leap in celebration, caught in a midair freeze-frame as the film ends. After a moment of credits, the film returns to show Abernathy delivering an axe-kick to Mike, crushing his head with her boot.

REVIEW:

I really wish films would take hint from this film and strip the CGI to minimum in the film and use real stunts and action. It seriously would be better, and possibly cheaper, but these days everything has to be done with computers I guess, and we, the viewers just have to deal with it.

This is actually the first part of the Grindhouse double feature, preceding, Planet Terror. While i liked this one, I think I preferred the other film. Of course, when/if I watch these again, my opinion is totally opt to change.

It is obvious that this is a Quentin Trantino film. On top of the nods to his other films here and there, there is the snappy Tarantino dialogue and old school soundtrack filled mostly with lesser known songs/artists. He does an excellent job of capturing the essence of car scenes from yesteryear, without the use of CGI *GASP* I’ve always respected Tarantino, but the direction he took with film, really upped my respect for him.

The real star(s) of the film has to be the car that Russell is driving. It is a true beast of a machine, and I would not want to be on the receiving end of a head on collision with it. Now the second incarnation of it isn’t as fearsome, but still is a force of man and machine, as the girls found out.

Kurt Russell doesn’t have much to do in this film other than drive. Well, he does have a few lines and the forst time we see him is a very gross close up of him eating nachos. He is very convincing as a grimy stuntman stalker who gets his jollies by killing his victims.

Jordan Ladd and Syndey Tamiia Poitier may not be household names, but their parents are. These aren’t the best roles for these actresses, Ladd especially, but it does get them out there in the public. Poitier really shines, though, in her role as Jungle Julia. Although, I was wondering if she would ever shut up.

Ladd and Poitier are accompanied by Vanessa Ferlito. Ferlito isn’t a well-known actress by any stretch of the imagination, but she shows some real acting chops in her role, going toe to toe with Russell, and giving a pretty nice lap dance.

The crash scene between Stuntmn Bob and these girls is epic, especially from the  many angles they show it from.

The second half of the film brings us Zoe Bell, Tracie Thoms, Rosario Dawson, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.  all are very competent actresses, especially Rosario, and nice bits of eye candy, but they just seem to talk on, and on, and on, and on…until they decide to go look at the white Dodge Challenger and take it for a test drive. Similar to the first half of the film, that’s when the real action starts.

After some real car chase action, the girls finally catch up with Stuntman Bob and give him his comeuppance. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but I kind of felt that he should/could have fought back rather than drive around whimpering. I understand that he didn’t kill them, because Zoe Bell was playing herself. That was pretty much a dead giveaway that she was going to live.

Similar to Planet Terror, Death Proof  has the look of a classic projector film, complete with pops and scene jumps, though they aren’t as prevalent in this one as they are in its counterpart. While it seems that this film is meant to be a serious piece of cinema, I couldn’t help but crack up at the cheesy factor of some of it, especially the ending. Despite its ups and downs, from the luscious eye candy that is the female cast, to the testosterone filled REAL car chase scenes, this is a pretty solid film, that any red blooded male (and I’m sure a few females) will enjoy.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars