Reviewing one movie at a time…

Horror

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant (2017) Trailer

Starring:  Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup

Director:  Ridley Scott

Runtime:  2 Hr 2 Min

Genre(s):  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Review by:  John Dixon

Spoiler Free Review: (read if you have NOT seen this movie)

Following the outcomes of the movie “Prometheus” Alien: Covenant takes place about 10 years afterward. A colonizing crew with 2,000+ bodies are on their way to colonize a new world still 7 years away. Everyone is trained on what to do, everything is planned on how to do it. When they get a strange transmission from a habitable planet only a few weeks away they decide to consider this their new home. A decent entry into the Alien franchise, definitely ranked towards the top of this franchise. This movie will explore the origin of the “Aliens” we all know.

Spoiler Filled Review: (read only if you HAVE seen it and don’t care about spoilers)

Seeing aliens walk upright always creep me out. Watching a white one walk upright and just stand there? Best scene in the movie. For me, anyway I thought it added a layer to these creatures knowing that they don’t just run around and tear up humans. I liked to see the aliens evolve in a way to see how they reproduce. To us, its the old fashioned way but this movie introduces the actual old fashioned way. By spore, initially evolving to a more efficient “implant eggs in your mouth” method. Which is what we are used to seeing in an Alien movie. Glad to see Ridley Scott back and in the Alien Directors chair. Following up his Prometheus “comeback” to the Alien franchise he keeps it rolling.

The casting is a confusing one for me. I’m ok with their main cast. Although the biggest parts went to Fassbender (2 roles) an unknown, and an unproven in this genre. The unknown being Katherine Waterston (Daniels) and the unproven being Danny McBride (Tennessee) more famous for his roles in anything with James Franco and his “Eastbound & Down” TV comedy series. It was the small roles by bigger named actors. Like Guy Pearce? I get the fact that his character was in Prometheus (much younger) via flashback. How about James Franco? He was in a 10 second video to his “wife” then gets burned up in his stasis pod. Was that even him in there? That was weird. Maybe McBride had him drop him off at work one day and he decided to hang out and act a bit. I’m throwing Billy Crudup’s role in there for a bit role, because honestly his role was shorter than a 2 year olds attention span during an episode of Matlock.

The plot was simple and straight to the point. Colonists that get detained by John Denver and a “rip your face off and then rip your buddies face off” killer species. The simple story-line is not what bothered me the most about the writing. It was the idiotic characters. Apparently in the future we emulate the movie Idiocracy because these people are pretty clumsy and dumb. 1. Why would anyone visit a new planet without wearing face-masks? Did they not learn anything from War of the Worlds? I understand a Quarantine situation. I don’t think these people quite got it. T’s wife lose’s it and goes back to the “quarantined” room to shoot the Alien? But first there’s blood to slip on. Same idiot then loses containment and then has a chance to shoot and slips on some more blood! Seriously, then she decides to shoot explosive containers. Idiot! I guess Tennessee did marry her for her looks. How about lowering the entire ship below “Safety precautions” and then after things calm down, they take another smaller ship to the planets surface. Why didn’t they just do that to start with without using so much time. How about the new captain shooting the alien over David’s shoulder? That was actually a smart move. What was stupid was the fact that he saw David wanting to trust these Aliens, and then he goes all Captain Dumb-ass and bites when the Android David asks him to look into the Alien egg. Idiot! And finally after being attacked by the last crazy android (David) they just assume that the android that is with them is Walter. Don’t they have some sort of Serial Number? I know when the future comes along and my Fassbender Android steps out of his box, I’m checking for a serial number.

I’m all for Ridley Scott being the director here. But honestly I think he did the best for the way it was written. Jack Paglan should have been spot on. Even Michael Green wrote “Logan”. But he does have the credit of writing Green Lantern. So… there’s that. I’m clueless at who to point the finger at. Maybe it was just better from their point of view because Ridley’s believe it or not story was believe it or not not so wonderful. Cohesive story? Well I really dug all of the interactions of the characters and story prior to John Denver. I was invested. Even with the side step to another planet, I was on board. When we met the Android David and he started just spouting off random crap. I lost interest. Seriously the “recorder/flute” scene had me like WTF is this?! Then we went into the events that followed the last movie and from there it was just a spectacle of seeing how Aliens were made. The special effects were grandiose and I appreciated that. But, Ridley was average on this day.

I didn’t think about it. I just watched it. The ending was predictable. C’mon we all knew that it was really David. The movie was sort of easy to watch, I mean, It didn’t piss me off for any real reason… except for the idiots. They upset me. Greatly. Seriously, didn’t they know it is the #1 rule to NOT have shower sex in a horror genre styled movie? That’s like auto-death right there. Nah, kidding. I liked the simplicity and more than anything it was neat to find out how the Aliens were birthed. The next one should tell us how they got to the planet Ripley found them on in the original movie right?

3.0

STARS

Comic Book Connection Michael Fassbender: X-Men Franchise – Billy Crudup: Watchmen, James Franco: Spider-Man 1,2,3 – Guy Pearce: Iron Man 3
Nudity Bonus Amy Seimetz (Faris) during the Shower scene.  Very small but it still counts!  (the scene not the other… c’mon!)
Favorite Moment Any scene with the Black Long Head Alien in it really.  The standing Alien was cool but I’m a sucker for the OG.
Most Hated Moment Tennessee’s Wife with a shotgun.  That’s all I have to say.  I’m getting heated up just thinking about it.
THIS Movie reminded me of THAT Movie This movie reminded of the original, maybe it was Daniels haircut but something took me back to the original.
What did my wife think of this movie? I really liked it.  It was a well told origin story that tied well into the Alien franchise.
Box Office Budget 97 Million
How much it made Domestically $74,213,560.00
Was it a Box office Success? Or Failure? Failure
Did you notice? 1.  The Xenomorph “Alien” was last seen 10 years ago in the Aliens vs. Predator movie.  Before that was 10 years as well.
2.  When Daniels fought the Alien she said the same thing Ripley said in the original.   “I got you, you son of a bitch.”
3.  Even though it only made 74 million domestically it did pull in 232 Million Worldwide.  I guess the world loves Aliens.
Rotten Tomatoes Score
Critics 71%
Audience 59%

Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Trailer: Victor Frankenstein (2015)

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay

Directed by: Paul McGuigan

Runtime: 1 hr 50 mins

Genre(s):  Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Review by:  John Dixon

Spoiler Free Review: (read if you have NOT seen this movie)

A re-imagining of the classic horror filled tale of Doctor Frankenstein and his assistant? Yes, his assistant (Daniel Radcliffe) takes center stage here not to upstage the obvious side character that actually is the main character. I’m talking about Doctor Frankenstein folks! There are many tales of Frankenstein, this is one of the many lower on the list. Now, if you’re really wanting a movie on Igor, then I think you’ve found your movie!

 

Spoiler Filled Review: (read only if you HAVE seen it and don’t care about spoilers)

Before I get started, I felt that I needed to give you a brief back story of the Igor character. Did you know that his first appearance in Media was not a movie at all? Not even a book. It was the song “Monster Mash”. You know you’ve heard it. Unless you sleep the entire month of October. The first Frankenstein movie did not contain Igor. The Bride of Frankenstein didn’t either. He had an assistant but his name wasn’t Igor. I will get more into his name later. Lets talk about another name real quick. Victor Frankenstein wasn’t in the first film’s either. In those movies his name was Henry. Just so we are straight here, Victor was the original name for the good doctor. It was a total Bruce Banner / David Banner moment. Which is why I’m guessing they threw in the easter egg of Victor’s “older” brother Henry. The best part of this movie came from its originality and the particular path it took as a story.

You can’t get any better than James McAvoy as Doctor Frankenstein. There were times that he took it to a 10 when it should have been a 9 but he melded the Mad Scientist character with the tortured soul character. Brilliant. Daniel Radcliffe was fine as well as anybody else in the movie. I didn’t have any “acting” complaints from him. Now his character? We will touch on that in a bit. The character of Lorelei I had felt was going to be a damsel in distress character. I thought she would mirror the Elizabeth character that was fiance to Henry Frankenstein in ’31 but this time around possibly fiance to Igor since he was getting a major overhaul. The Barnaby character played by Daniel Mays was convincing but again, the writing didn’t help his cause.

The plot was something that I thought was promising. I remember hearing about this movie before it even filmed. I was excited to see what could happen when they took the story from the point of view of Igor, Frankenstein’s trusty assistant. By the time it made it to theaters though the name had changed most likely because Igor wouldn’t pull in audiences like a trustworthy Movie title such as Frankenstein. Maybe it was named that the whole time, I’m not sure but from the way Radcliffe had described the story, you would think the same thing. Igor taking the name of another man? Maybe this was another Easter egg to the fact that Igor really wasn’t Igor in the earlier classic movies. The Name of this movie should not have been Victor Frankenstein yet it was and they tried to throw the brother connection in there to make this movie tilt more towards his salvation. It was more so Igor’s film and rightfully so, since it was his come up. It made more since to have Igor be a savant when it came to medicine. Why else would Frankenstein choose to have him aid? To get dead bodies John. Oh yeah. There’s always that. They may want to reconsider re-classifying this movie. This isn’t a horror film in any sort of way.

I think Doctor Victor Frankenstein… wait. He never graduated. He wasn’t a Doctor. Did they call him doctor? Anyway, maybe he could have become a great chiropractor. Seriously he fixed a 18-year-old back disorder in the matter of minutes. With only a slam to a pillar and a back brace he had lying around. Oh, and he totally could start-up his own YouTube channel siphoning (by mouth) Cyst’s from People’s backs that are so large that they think they are hunchbacked. So much ridiculous writing. The Hunchback gets the Pretty girl to fall in love with him how? How about how young Igor scaled the side of a mountain after being in bed for like a week and he did it all with no problem! Igor the 1st body encased in Ice? What was the purpose of that? Why did he steal the eyes? Was this to make Igor not trust him. I just don’t know. The crazy Religious Police detective was a one note pony. Would he really gather a bunch of Officers and try to break down this guy’s door when he didn’t have a warrant? Nobody thought to check that out? He was more focused on the fact that he felt he was doing god’s job in this thing. I get that, but c’mon give him some proper reasoning. He was not smart. Can we talk about the “Monster”? My, my that thing was hideous. Not hideous as in scary. But hideous as in this is what they put their best foot forward with. Listen, if you make any form of a Frankenstein movie. Your “Monster” has to be good. This thing was a joke. Lasted about 4 minutes of screen time too. Boo! The monkey abomination was cooler than the actual Frankenstein monster. There! I said it!

I didn’t like this movie. James McAvoy carried my torch, but I carried the pitchfork. Mainly because it could have been so much more than what it turned out to be. I went in thinking that it was going to be the Frankenstein story told through the eyes of Igor. Instead it started that way but got confused halfway through and didn’t have enough steam to make up its mind by the end of the film.

 

1.5

STARS

 

Comic Book Connection James McAvoy (Wanted, X-Men: Origins, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Dark Phoenix)
Nudity Bonus That could have helped this movie out a bit.
Favorite Moment Watching Victor work in the castle (lab).  It reminded me of the classic movie.
Most Hated Moment Sucking crap out of Igor’s back.  Disgusting.
THIS Movie reminded me of THAT Movie This movie reminded me of a subpar Sherlock Holmes movie for some reason.  Not as good.  Not even close.
What did my wife think of this movie? She liked it.  She thought it was good.
Box Office Budget $40,000,000.00
How much it made Domestically $5,775,076.00
Was it a Box office Success? Or Failure? Failure
Did you notice? 1.  Igor does actually say “Yes, Master” in the film.  Monkey showcase at the school.
2.  The movie made Worldwide:  $34,227,298.  Which didn’t even make its budget back.
3.  Max Landis wrote this movie.  He wrote movies like Chronicle, American Ultra, and that’s the decent stuff.
Rotten Tomatoes Score
Critics 24%
Audience 35%

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

 

Trailer:  The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Starring: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive

Directed by:  James Whale

Runtime:  1 hr & 15 min

Genre(s): Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Review by: John Dixon

Spoiler Free Review: (read if you have NOT seen this movie)

4 years following the original “Frankenstein” movie we get a direct sequel that starts by having Mary Shelley describe that her characters were not actually killed off in the movie. From there we discover that Frankenstein’s monster had much more living to do, finding friends, more enemies, and a potential mate.

Spoiler Filled Review: (read only if you HAVE seen it and don’t care about spoilers)

The Bride of Frankenstein is a movie that you must see if you are a fan of old monster movies. Much more character building for Frankenstein’s monster and I love that it connects to the 1931 Frankenstein movie seamlessly. We are introduced to a new menacing “mad scientist” in Dr. Pretorius. More evil than his college Dr. Henry Frankenstein and he steals the scenes he is in with his mere presence. If you are worried about being scared though, you have nothing to worry about. There is no fright in this movie.

The over acting is a staple for the 1930’s Hollywood picture. They had to over act like this in silent films so, the acting had carried over well after they started including audio. During the beginning of the film I’m assuming they were going for levity and the inclusion of some comedic elements to make the scarier more horrifying. Instead they made the sillier almost unwatchable. I’m pointing my Frankenstein finger at one character exclusively. Minnie was a distraction. For instance when she is running from the monster it takes away from everything Frankenstein is supposed to be. Several times I expected to hear the Munsters theme music, which made me sad. Because like many, I’m sure I’ve built these classic monster movies up in my head to scarier than they actually are. There isn’t an Igor character here but we do have a “Karl”. Karl is an idiot, Don’t be like Karl. Unless he made it out of there at the end, then I suspect that Karl is smarter than his eyebrows make him look.

 

Frankenstein is a living creature that is made from the bodies of dead people. He just wants to be human and help others. His appearance keeps people from reacting anything close to civil. You attack the monster, you get thrown to the ground. Frankenstein comes across an old blind man to reiterate the fact that if you can’t see him you won’t be afraid of him. They become friends and in a short period of time (I assume) the old man teaches his friend to speak. Good, Bad, Friend, ya know, the basics in everyday speech. Phil Hartman’s portrayal of Frankenstein in SNL came to mind when Frankenstein’s Monster had uttered the words “Fire, Bad!!”. We even saw ole frankie puffin’ away on a stogie! That’s a sight of disappointment let me tell you. Its like walking in on Superman as he is taking his hairpiece off. The friendship of the old man allowed Frankenstein’s monster to open up and be controlled by Dr. Pretorius. Which after some strong arming by the evil doctor he got Dr. Frankenstein to agree to make the monster a mate. Only to realize that this woman saw him as everyone else did. A monster.

The story is lacking in payoff in my opinion. I went into the movie assuming that I would see The Bride of Frankenstein for at least half of the movie. I mean, its her movie! No, that is not the case here folks. The final 4 minutes of the movie is when Frankenstein’s mate is revealed to the world. I really liked her mannerisms and there was so much there to build on. 2 seconds later it was over. It was easy to take note of the famous line spoken by Dr. Frankenstein. “She’s Alive!” which is foreshadowed earlier in the scene. (look for it) As for Dr. Pretorius’ introduction I felt the “tiny” people were over the top unnecessary to the movie and we could have established his crazy mad scientist background another way that had a closer tie to Dr. Frankenstein. Cinematography was pretty cool especially when they would try to make Dr. Pretorious look menacing and mad. Tilting the camera with electricity in the background is always a win.

I felt they could have put so much more into the ending. We were just introduced to the Title character and 4 minutes later the movie ends leaving our characters (minus one Dr. Frankenstein) dead. Frankenstein assuredly dead just as in the first film. The story was put together well, but I must say that the title of the film was completely off. I’m renaming this one to Frankenstein 2: The Blind Friend. Reason being it was the old blind man that moved the Frankenstein’s monster character along to allow him to side with the evil doctor and in turn die again. There was two alternative titles that were used in the USA release. Frankenstein Lives Again! & The Return of Frankenstein which fits the story so much better than what it ended up being known for.

3.5

STARS

 

Comic Book Connection n/a
Nudity Bonus n/a
Favorite Moment When we get to see The Bride of Frankenstein unveiled to the world.  Very cool.
Most Hated Moment Frankenstein smokin’ a stogie while bouncing with joy listening to his friend play the violin.
THIS Movie reminded me of THAT Movie This movie reminded me of the original but with more Frankenstein talking.
What did my wife think of this movie? She didn’t watch this movie.  Could I blame her?
Box Office Budget $397,024.00
How much it made Domestically $2,000,000.00
Was it a Box office Success? Or Failure? Success
Did you notice? 1.  Christian imagery is seen throughout the film.  Ie. Monster on a crucifix?
2.  Dr. Henry Frankenstein is seen in the castle while the building is collapsing, yet he escapes in the end.
3.  When the bride see’s the Monster for the first time she actually smiles.
Rotten Tomatoes Score
Critics 100%
Audience 87%

Man-Thing (2005)

Trailer: Man-Thing (2005)

Starring:  Jack Thompson, Matthew Le Nevez, Steve Bastoni  – Directed By:  Brett Leonard

Running Time: 1hr & 37 mins – Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

 

Big JD (Host)

Movie Selection Relevance

This movie is a Marvel comics based character movie.  That’s all I need to say.  But additionally this will be my last chance to pick a bad movie for the crew.  More on that in the coming weeks.

Synopsis:

Murders and citizens gone lost are a major problem in this Louisana swamp town.  Not to mention the local businessman is hard at work pumping oil out of the earth into his pockets and destroying the Swamp environment while doing it.  Enter: New sheriff in town to get down to business.  In this movie Man-Thing doesn’t appreciate people that desecrate his land.  For he is guardian and protector of the Nexus of All Realities.  They all are responsible.  They all must pay.

Review:

Man-Thing had so much potential to be a very interesting and good movie.  You can figure out right away that this movie wasn’t released in theatres in the US but internationally was instead.  Direct to DVD was its purpose here but not before airing on the Sci-Fi network first.   Like any movie though if there is boobs present then I will definitely give it at least a half star rating.  Boob-tacular!  And this movie starts off like an 80’s slasher flick with the two kids running off into the forest (replace with Swamp) to bake some cookies.  Along with his bad hick accent.  And as to be expected you get the boob scene.  It lasts for a couple seconds but has to be the best part of the movie sad enough.  It wouldn’t be so bad but we don’t get a full clear shot of the Title character until 1 hour and 13 minutes into the movie.  He is hinted and teased the whole movie.  Did I mention that this movie runs 1 hour and 37 minutes.  If you are going to have a movie based on a character then have the character in the movie at least 50% of the time.  5% screen time does not work fella’s.

Speaking of the main character lets touch on some points of Source Material.  Man-Thing is from the Florida Everglades and that is where the Nexus of all Realities is located.  For what reason did this need to be changed?  Ted Sallis was not of Indian origin.  He was not an Elder Shaman he was a scientist.  I guess it really doesn’t matter since we never see him.  But that brings in all the Indian lore that I’ll touch on shortly.  Man-Thing did not go on killing sprees.  He is empathetic.  Very much to the point that someone that is expressing Fear disturbs him greatly and freaks out.  Also, Man-thing does not have these Tendrils of destruction that seem to go anywhere in the swamp.  The moving tendrils really bothered me because it takes away from the look of Man-Thing.  Although they did do a good job bringing him to life.  Even though it wasn’t correct.  Quick question to the writer’s.  Where did Man-Thing get the Oil that he made pour out of Schist?  That doesn’t make sense.  The Seminole Reservation was near the fictitious town of Citrusville in the comics.  So it doesn’t seem cliché if source material is kept right?  We don’t know what city this movie takes place in actually.  So, having this “green”, “let’s save the planet” type of feel to this movie you almost expect to see a crying Indian walking across the screen at some point.    Don’t litter or Man-Thing will rip you in half.

The acting at times is over acted and at others under acted.  Over and Under this seems to be bad.  It may be the writing.  Because as an example the teacher Teri Richards in the beginning is protesting and she shoves the Sheriff into the mud.  I don’t care what “reality” you are living in but that is assaulting a police officer which is not excusable.  Even though he takes her to the pokey he lets her go for other reasons so that maybe possibly one day he can…. Pokey.  “I want to see my lawyer!  I have rights!”  Right.  After you assault a sheriff you lose all those rights lady.  There are other times that her acting is good but for the wrong movie.  Way too dramatic when it doesn’t fit the scene.  Like the goodbye save our lives scene for instance.  It just seemed like the perfect time to give the audience a screen kiss because the first one was interrupted.  One comment I would like to clear up for the good Sherriff.  He mentioned that Life magazine went out of business.  Well, maybe when the script was Written but Life magazine started back up in 2004 and went to 2007.  This movie was released in 2005 so at that time He was telling a lie.  Just thought you should know.

If you don’t have anything to do for an hour and a half and you don’t mind wasting your life then check this movie out.  If you are a Marvel Comics fan then you need to check this movie out simply because you’re a fan.  It’s fun to see what they change for no good reason.  For example Ted Sallis wa s the only character kept from the comic books.  Here is a Easter egg for ya.  Ted Sallis’ wife Ellen Brandt is a character in Iron Man 3.  It’s the lady that attacks Tony in the Bar.  Interesting?  Yes, because originally Ted Sallis was working on recreating Erskin’s Super Soldier Serum along with the infamous Curt Conners (The Lizard).  To adapt to the story she is still an agent of AIM and after Man-Thing burns her face off (after she attempts to steal the formula) she goes into the special testing led by Killian.  Ok, Ok… that is a different movie.  Go watch this one now.  …or not.

Comic book Connection:  None.

Nudity Bonus:  Imogen Bailey (T)(4:28, 5:14)

 

2.0‘s

Ran-Dizzle

Well where do I begin…. First of all I didn’t think any Marvel movie could be worse then Elektra…and then I watched this. What fresh hell had Lionsgate Films brought to me this time. Oh they killed a not so popular 70’s-80’s Marvel Character….Man-Thing.

At first it kept my attention, then it kind of faded off…especially when the Sherif Kyle Williams was getting no where in his investigation other then someone or something was in the swamp killing people…the real part where I almost shut this movie off was right after he investigates the girl in the Psyche ward who sits there calm and then screams for no reason…had no real importance other than she witnessed the boy who she was rocking the boat with die. And they didn’t persue anymore…or ask the doctors any questions it was scream in my face move along…I thought WHAT?! nothing?

If I remember right Man-Thing’s role was Ted Sallis was a Scientist that injected a serum into his body and then later during a crash that landed into the swamp where mystical powers take over with the serum and turns him into Man Thing…where in this movie he’s a spiritual being that is ANGRY….and we all know Green Angry things are not good. So I am glad they kept Ted Sallis and the Nexus of All Realities in this movie but seriously I didn’t like how they made Man-Thing more of a avenged killer instead of the “Hero” he’s supposed to be, let alone an angry spiritual defender with a bloodlust.

The story was ok, I think after half way it kind of dragged along as you see people randomly die. I think it had a solid idea but that was all it was, an idea. I kind of half thought this was a thought in the head of the director and fed the actors the lines from his head before the camera.  Like it was all being written while it was in process. I think had the story been more detailed and given a little more depth this could have been better than Ghost Rider. (Of course it wouldn’t have Nicolas Cage but who would stop him from trying?)

For actors I’ve never heard of playing the roles they didn’t do bad but I really don’t see them getting much of a career after this…

Sadly this movie made Elektra worth watching again. Thanks Lionsgate

2.5‘s

 

Kimmay!

So I can’t say that I LOVED this movie but it was rather enjoyable for what it was. In the opening scene all I could think was this is a total B-rated horror film. With boobies and blood galore.

The special effects were, well, rather special. The Man-Thing was scary in it’s own right and if I were ever to meet him in the dark of the swamp, he wouldn’t have to stab me to death with his branches of doom, I would just die of fright. His ruby red eyes from the pits of hell were rather fun to look at whenever they did a close up of the face.

I have to say this movie did not go by the rules I thought Marvel played by. I was sure the creature in the swamp was evil and not just trying to protect all the universes and that the new sheriff was going to become some crazy super hero and save the day. Well that did not happen. The sheriff stayed human and the Man-Thing was just doing what it was meant to do, even if it was a lil extreme.

I have no recollection of the music at all so it couldn’t have been that great.

So for all of its glory I give this movie…

 

2.5‘s


Frankenstein (1931)

Trailer: Frankenstein (1931)

Starring:  Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, Boris Karloff  – Directed By:  James Whale

Running Time: 1hr & 10 mins – Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi

 

Big JD (Host)

Movie Selection Relevance

Happy Halloween!  What better time to watch a classic horror film than now.  It was a toss up between Dracula & this movie.  I figured since last week or so the new I, Frankenstein movie trailer premiered than this was an automatic lock.  It is a movie I’ve never seen and “frankly” I’ve always been curious.

Synopsis:

Henry Frankenstein was a very accomplished scientist that his obsession on “creating life”  had taken over his life.  Even when he was engaged to be married he still had to complete his life’s work on creating life with his bare hands from an assembled mess of dead body parts.  When he finally achieves his goal he finds that it is not possible to play god and that happy endings don’t come cheap.

Review:

Disappointing.  My first thoughts rang out during this entire movie.  Knowing that this movie had been made over 80 years ago I was prepared to give it some leeway.   Although, there were some things I couldn’t let slide no matter how much of a classic this movie claims to be.

The acting was very typical of 1930’s cinema.  Overacting in all of its grandeur.  I let this go due to the period of which this film was made.  I felt that Colin Clive did very good with the character of doctor Frankenstein.  (minus the fainting attacks)  Casting was superb with the likes of Boris Karloff playing a classic monster.  Go figure.  He did what hes good at I guess.  The directing was not to my liking although I will be nailing James Whale in the Editing portion so, I don’t want to double ding.  In this category also exists Lighting and Wardrobe.  The lighting gave a fantastic feel to this film, and the wardrobe only helped add to the feel and tone of the movie.  Well done.  I guess you might throw set pieces in there as well.  You could tell they were set pieces but I felt they were done very well and I especially liked the dark skies backdrops.

The editing of the film let much to be desired.  It started with bad cuts before and after the “digging up the grave” scene.  Then the bad editing and smooth transitions were all over the place.  Again, I was going to let it slide until I got to the “Monster meets Maria” scene.  Which I feel had tremendous potential of showing that the Monster had a large heart.  But after he tosses the little girl in the water it goes into a jumble of cut scenes showing the monster freaking out.  But what happened to the little girl?  Oh we see the father carrying her later on and we just have to assume that she’s dead.  I’m guessing the studio didn’t allow James Whale to show Frankenstein killing the little girl.  But if that was the issue he could have cut the film better with additional scenes to stronger convey what happened.

So, the father of Maria carries her lifeless body all the way into town and up to the doorsteps of the town mayor. (I’m guessing he’s the mayor).  And the mayor says why did you bring her?  With his reply being “she was murdered!”.  Now, stop right there.  What in the world makes him assume that she was murdered?  He left his young girl all by herself so that she could play right next to a lake.  He comes home and is surprised that she drowned?  Seriously?  Better parenting might have saved her life.  How could she not know how to swim when she lives right next to a lake?  So, then the town gets all upset and takes to fire & pitchforks after a person they’ve never seen before if he even exists.  Then Frankenstein joins the search in which after his fiancé was attacked he assumes his monster is in town.  But did he tell the mayor at all about this?  Nobody knows.  Quick question:  Was Fritz suppose to be Igor?  Or was Fritz the original character from the Shelley book?  I’m thinking he was.  The soundtrack was hardly there.  Wait, I might have to go check to see if there was a score…

Overall plot to me was very weak.  Man creates monster, monster gets loose, monster kills creator, town kills monster.  Actually that small synopsis felt like it had more depth than what I spent an hour and 10 minutes watching.  They give up on the “monster” after one incident that he was actually provoked into (fire).  That doesn’t seem like the Dr. was actually obsessed with his “experiment”.  Maybe he was just obsessed with the experiment itself and once he finished it he grew tired.  The Monster of Frankenstein was creepy at best.  I’ve seen this character my whole life and I thought he would be scarier than what he actually was.  He was quite agile for a Frankenstein monster.  Ninja-like at times.  I guess I was expecting more of the zombie stiff walking/creeping to show up but we get very little of that.

On the whole, I’m glad I watched it.  I was pretty terrified to start it up but once I did I realized there was nothing to fear.  Seriously, nothing at all to fear.  It’s not that the movie was cheesy, it’s more of the fact that it had so much potential to be more than what it was.

*Sidenote* I think I know where George Lucas got some of his character inspiration for his Yoda character.  Please see Baron Von Frankenstein.

Comic book Connection: n/a

Nudity Bonus:  n/a

 

2.0‘s

Ran-Dizzle

After finally getting a chance to sit down and watch a Halloween Classic video all these years I finally get to see what the fuss is all about.
Boris Karloff the grand-daddy of monsters and playing multiple monsters being type casted just like Lon Channey and Bela Lugosi as the classics of horror, Boris plays the tall lanky giant of a man(or monster if you prefer) who says very little, much like my beloved Chewbacca. In this movie I feel there isn’t much of an acting part however he does bring the monster to life like when he is with the little girl and tosses the flowers to float in the water.
The rest of the cast did well but no one really stood out.
Classics like this for me are slow starters I feel like I am going to be bored but they are great sleepers they eventually grab my attention and keep me involved, for example for me with this movie it was a slow pace at first watching them collect everything for the monster. I know this is an adaptation but I felt they should have explained more about why he was so set on proving his point, who told him he was crazy in the first place ( Obviously the Professor/ Doctor who suddenly jumped on board then wanted to explore more before he “killed” the monster, and then the father Baron von Frankenstein obviously wasn’t too worried about his son because it had been how long then he wants to go get him, and was sure it was another woman “his experiments” Lots of things that would have been good scenes if more was produced.

I am sure we’ve all heard “Time is money” and if figure that is why the movie was a measly 1hr 10min long, to me it just gave me a taste with a chipper happy ending…? I mean the monster is dead right? and the maid staff wanted to bring wine for the recently wounded Young Henry Frankenstien, but I felt that it should have added more scenes that went into more detail, Also why did they call Igor “Fritz” a midget hunchback who looked like he could have been a ginger…even little guy.
Well over all the movie for a classic was ok, I don’t really see myself going out and watching it again, but it does leave me curious to see The Bride of Frankenstein. I was told it was much better, but like always that is one’s opinion.

2.50‘s

 

Kimmay!

In the last post, if you read it, I mentioned that I do not like old horror movies. I guess I should have said that I do not like the ones from the 60’s to the late 80’s. But the classics…I absolutely love them. Actors like Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff really knew how to draw their audience in. The acting was not cheesy and to me, had just the right amount flair to make it fun to watch.

I must say I felt sorry for the monster in Frankenstein. This kind of brings up the question of nature over nurture and which one is more of a factor of how one is in life. Fritz, Doctor Frankenstein’s assistant. tormented the monster as much as he could. It was almost like he was the only child that got replaced by a new baby. He teased and teased even though “daddy” told him not to. The monster wanted to be good, that was shown when we was playing with the little girl. He just wasn’t taught how to be gentle, or the fact that throwing a person in water could kill them in 10 seconds or less.

So it was decided when the little girl was found dead that the monster must be taken care of. Dr. F takes it on himself to find and kill his own creation. But kinda gets his butt kicked in the process.

I really do like this movie. It has drama, romance, death and intrigue. So I give this movie…

4.0‘s


Children of the Corn (1984)

Trailer:  Children of the Corn (1984)

Starring:   Peter HortonLinda HamiltonR.G. Armstrong 

Running Time: 1 hr and 32 min – Genre: Horror

 

Kimmay!  (Host)

I think it is important to go back and watch the classics no matter what genre it is. I love old musicals, comedies, and even some of the dramas. But when it comes to the horror movies, I have been surprisingly disappointed. This goes for It, The Exorcist, Halloween and now Children of the Corn. I don’t know if this is because I am now to jaded when it comes to horror flicks or if I am not the big pansy I always thought I was. I’m thinking it has more to do with the first and not the second.

I’m not really going to go into the plot because I don’t think it is really all that important in the movie. I just hope it was way better in the book or otherwise I’m sadly disappointed. Guess I might have to read this book soon.

Some of the music was pretty epic in all of its 80’s glory, my favorite was the gloriously computerize bits, but the rest was just mediocre .

When it came to the scare factor of this movie there were two major aspects of the movie that got to me. One,the creepy kids that followed Issac blindly and two, the creepy ginger kid who kept trying and succeeding in killing people. Everything else was just cheesy. The other thing was that the little girl, who couldn’t have been more than 5, helped bandage the wanna be doctor with little to no problem.Malachi

The man who walks behind the rows is not scary at all but just looked like a scene from Trimmers with the ground moving around. And when he gathers his powers into the retro storm with the absolutely fabulous lighting it made my heart giggle with glee.

So, with a drum roll please…

1.5 ‘s

Ran-Dizzle

So perhaps this would have been better watching when I was younger but this movie just did not interest me at all.  It just goes to prove that Gingers devour peoples souls.

As for the writing I am sure this is better in book format since Stephen King is an awesome writer however this movie just the acting wasn’t that great of course most of the actors are children and a midget.  Linda Hamilton did ok but she plays a victim well between this movie and Terminator.

The Special effects was horrible again for the time it might have been ok, but seeing it now vs when it was more popular that tends to kill it for people who never saw it before so it’s hard to compare the special effects like that but to me they were very cheesy.

The score/soundtrack kept the horror edge, except for when Burt was running away from the child cult mob and the 80’s sound kicked in.

Overall not my cup of tea for horror/halloween movies but perhaps you should check it out yourself.

1.5 ‘s

 

Big JD

To say that I love Stephen King is neither an overcompensation nor a underwhelming lie.  I think his books are great.  His movies that are usually “loosely” adaptations are hit or miss.  Children of the Corn provides the “creepy” but ultimately delivers a “miss”.

Not that you should expect excellent acting in a Horror genre styled movie but this is just too much.  Linda Hamilton overacts and Peter Horton underacts most of the movie.  Example:  Oh Sh*t I just hit a kid with my car!  Are you ok?  Here let me check out your bump on your head and then

proceeds to get out of the car to “check” on the kid he just hit.  I think I would be acting a bit more concerned if I hit a kid going 50-60 mph.  That’s just one example.  I’m sure you can find more.  I almost don’t want to blame the actors entirely.  I mean, this was based from a short story so, you know much was added into the movie as filler.  Like the “non-commitment” issue that Burt (P. Horton) has. Ok, I don’t care if it was in the story or not.  It was just annoying.  I have a question though.  So, all the kids were like enthralled with the will of Issac so, why wasn’t Joby or Sarah?  Is it because she had the gift of vision?  Strange.  How this movie got 6 sequels is beyond me.  Usually a good guy lives to tell the story.  Not here folks.  Sorry spoilers.

The soundtrack was good and creepy.  Probably the best asset of the movie.  It keeps you feeling creeped out.  If you’ve ever been in a corn field then you will understand how cornfields are just plain creep-tastic.  There weren’t too many scenes that really stand out except for the beginning Massacre scene and the Boy getting hit by a speeding car part.  The rest of the movie just kinda mosie’s along with the threat of seeing “The one who walks behind the rows” or should I say “Sa-tan?!”  Ok, that was my best church lady impersonation.  Too bad you didn’t hear it.  I didn’t like the plot.  I thought it was weak to put it lightly.  So, how did all these kids survive without having grownups there?  They did their own farming.  Yeah, right.  Give me a break.  So, the kids are killing the grownups for being… over 18 and basically grownups yet, they are trying to be grownups anyway?  Shouldn’t the babies then in turn kill all the kids then?  Just following the logic here.  I also, would have liked to have a better look at the “Lucifer in charge”.  It was always hinted towards and had some dirt fly up like a giant bugs bunny scene but no real evil.  Ok, Malachi was pretty evil but that’s as good as it gets.  Best actor in the movie.

In summation.  Weak, Creepy soundtrack, bad acting/writing, typical 80’s horror flick.  Plot doesn’t need to make sense.  Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna go draw stick figures and listen to my record player.  Why?  Because it’s forbidden!

1.5‘s


World War Z (2013)

index

Trailer:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXuC_v0KWaU

Starring: Brad Pitt, Mirellie Enos    – Directed By:  Marc Forster

Running Time: 1hr 56 min  – Genre: Action, Adventure, Horror

 

Ran-Dizzle (Host)

Movie Selection Relevance-

There are actually a few reasons why I picked this movie this month.

1.) It’s October and it’s the time to be festive with Vampires that don’t sparkle, Ghosts that are not friendly and with Cherub faces, Monsters, and anything else that goes bump in the night, or stab you with steely claws in your dreams, Zombies actually are an interesting horror film for me to choose I normally don’t care for zombie movies but this one stuck out for reason # 2….

2.) Double Tap….oh wait that’s another movie, #2 reason why I picked this movie… Brad Pitt in a Horror film. Last time I saw him in anything related to horror was Seven and that was a great movie, so hopefully he will do good in this one.

3.) and the most important reason of all… because I want to. So sit down strap in, grab your popcorn boy/girlfriends hand and hold on tight we are getting ready to watch the most interesting Brad Pitt movie since Fight Club.

Synopsis:

Gerry Lane (PItt) a United Nations employee travels the world in a race against time to save his family and stop the Zombie pandemic that is taking over humanity as a whole destroying every things in it’s path.

Review:

This movie was interesting and kept my attention however I didn’t see why they call them Zombies, yes they are infected so technically are zombies but these “Zombies” were more able to move faster then regular humans, it was more a virus infection then it is zombies, I think of undead people in motion when I think about zombies, not like resident evil super zombies creatures. I did like how the zombies were attracted to sound, and how they solve how to get around the zombies without killing them.

What I did like is how they did keep it more realistic by creating flaws in systems like knowing zombies are attracted to sound so why did they have people singing in celebration in Jeruselem? Also Gerry being able to piece together everything together so fast just seemed a little odd but do-able. Then the little mistakes that they make like making noises even in the moments you tend to forget your surroundings but carboard and magazine gauntlets are going to prevent a flesh devouring infected person from biting you…I think not.

One thing that bothered me it’s very little, the sound of the teeth chomping from the Staff at the W.H.O facility, and the fact that Gerry should have died by being impailed by the piece of metal in his middle.

Actors were ok, Brad Pitt did well but the others seemed pretty ok nothing specatcular I felt that Mireille Enos was not really a huge role nor did I feel she was nothing but to keep Gerry moving in his search to keep his family alive so basically to me she was bait, in that manner the she did great, but other then that I don’t see her purpose.

The score was decent didn’t really stand out but it did set the mood to keep you engaged so I think that was done well.

Overall it’s a great movie but I was expecting more from the hype I heard about.  Worth a watch.

3.5‘s

Kimmay!

 Wow, let me say it again…Wow. This is probably another one of my favorite Brad Pitt movies. Of course he is the hero that figures out the clues left by mother nature to solve the slight issue on how not to get eaten by the infected people. He is quick on his feet and can survive anything that is thrown his way. The scene that stuck with me the most was when he saved the Mossad agent, Segen, by chopping her hand off after she got bitten. I think if I was her I would have just curled up and died but she kept going and even helped save the day.

For a “Zombie” this one was rather good. Not a whole lot of blood and gore but still intense. I think the thing that disturbed me the most were the mannerisms of the undead. How they would chatter their teeth when they were in their calm mode and just glitch around. But the slightest noise will send them tearing around searching for the next victim. The makeup on the zombie was done well and they were appropriately creepy.

The music was ehh, some of it was good but most of it was lost in the film. To me the music should enhance the movie and if you can’t remember it then it did not enhance it.

 I did do a lot of jumping and squirming around so if that is something you look for in a scary movie, this is a go. 

3.0‘s

 

BIG JD

If you like the “infected people” movies such as 28 Days Later then this is your movie.  But, if you are looking for a true Zombie flick then you may need a “Pitt-Pass” on this one.  What bothers me is when people call this a Zombie movie.  It is NOT a Zombie movie.  Zombies don’t act like world class athletes.  These are true runners.  The infected?  Yes, I can say that.

You start this movie with the normal everyday life that everyone has until that one moment when Pancakes hit the fan.  Then from that moment on you are on ride with the survivors as they try to figure out how to find a cure.  …and survive.  Not much different than any Zombie/Infection movie we’ve all seen.  That’s about my biggest beef with this movie.  You just about know what’s gonna happen as it is happening so, there isn’t much of that surprise factor.  Speaking of Cliché… “I use to be the best in my field and now I’m retired, now I’m being pulled back into my job” cliché.

The reason these “infected” movies are such a success is that it is so believable that this type of thing can happen.  Everyone has that fear that one normal day may be the last normal day you may experience because some crazy virus strand could hit the populous.  The government would even seem like they are helpless.  Even if you get Brad Pitt to save the day.  The casting was decent.  I didn’t really understand how the “wife/mom” got married to Brad Pitt.  Didn’t seem plausible but I can deal with that.  Maybe his feet really stink and that’s something that she “deals” with because of his looks.  It was cool to see Jack (Matthew Fox) from Lost in there but sort of disappointing that his role was absolutely one line.  Word is that his part was much bigger before they essentially reshot the entire the movie.  His part had something to do with an affair with the “wife/mom”.  That would have been interesting.

A couple points of interest.  Spoilers ahead.  How does Brad Pitt see the first infected person turn when they are like a block or two away and like all these people running everywhere?  Our best hope comes from a kid that doesn’t have the coordination needed to wield a firearm?  That’s scary.  The wife has issues with her husband going back to his “old” job?  Not really a time to be petty.  In Jerusalem why weren’t they monitoring their outer walls?  Seems like that would be the standard protocol.

This movie really hits home the point that if you are deemed as an “important” person by the ones that are in charge then you can count on you and your family being safe.  Even if they make you leave their secret aircraft carrier I’m sure they’ll dump you in a safe spot.

With the occasional WTF this movie is pretty good.  Even though not much was actually accomplished. (just found a way to fight the infected).  I am looking forward to the sequel.  No Pitt-Pass needed.

Comic book Connection:  James Badge Dale: Iron Man 3

Nudity Bonus:  n/a

3.50‘s


Blade II (2002)

Trailer: Blade II (2002)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman  – Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

Running Time: 1 hrs & 57 mins – Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

 

Big JD (Host)

Synopsis:  Blade is in search of his father figure after he was taken by Vampires.  After finding him he is propositioned by the council of Vampires to help them defeat a New breed of vampire.  This Reaper Vampire is stronger and more deadly but most of all he feeds on Vampires.  So, why would Blade help his enemy?

Review:

I wanted to choose this movie this week with Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim now in theatres.  Most people would say that Hellboy was his claim to fame but this movie was made just before that.  His first comic book based movie helped him cut his teeth but still shows that his love is first and foremost Monsters.

With better production than the original movie you can definitely tell a difference.  It’s brighter and more visual effects.  Visual effects that come off as very noticeable.  Back in 2002 I’m sure it was top notch but now it’s very Video game’y in places.  I couldn’t be talking about visual effects if I didn’t speak about the fight scenes.  The fight scenes with Wesley Snipes are fantastic.  It’s something that is very much missed in films of today.  His martial arts’ training really shines through.  Probably my favorite part of this movie.  Although his last fight scene with all of the vampire troopers with electric batons gave me serious flashbacks of Snipes in Demolition Man.

I love this movie but still had issues with certain aspects.  I never have liked Kris Kristofferson playing Whistler.  I don’t know.  I think it’s probably just me but, he always seems like a whiny old man that annoys the heck out of me.  Scud played by Norman Reedus is equally annoying in this movie.  Every scene has him smokin’ a cigarette and just being a young annoying kid that thinks he knows everything.  Including betrayal.  But he gets his in the end.  Some of the bloodpack members where just there and didn’t do anything for the story.  Ron Perlman was a joy to see.  I’m curious if this is what sold Del Toro on Perlman playing Hellboy?  His relationship with Blade was fun to watch.

With Vampires being led by Blade to kill these Reaper Vampires is one thing.  But when the Vampires don’t act like vampires at all?  I mean, the special ops team acted more human than superhuman vampire.  They have all of these acrobatic powers and strength but yet they all stayed very well grounded and even had troubles trying to turn a knob on a “bomb”.  With having super speed didn’t really play much into this special lame team.

I’m glad they continued to show different parts of the country (Prague) which stays true to the Blade character.  He’s all over the place.  The reason these movies have really succeeded was because they used a character that didn’t have much comic book history.  Just from the pages of “Tomb of Dracula” and a couple mini series here and there but not much.  This allowed them the freedom to make a really great character.  Some of that is owed to David S. Goyer.  Yes that’s right, the guy that wrote this movie is also famous for penning The Batman Trilogy, Man of Steel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Blade, Blade III, and finally his worst comic book TV movie was Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  So, he has had some experience with the source material and its just too bad that he’s finally coming into his own now in 2013 instead of 2002.  I guess you can say that he “cut his teeth” on Blade just as Guillermo did.

 

Comic Book Movie Plus: Wesley Snipes: Blade Franchise – Ron Perlman: Hellboy franchise, Thomas Kretschmann: Wanted – Luke Goss: Hellboy II, Kris Kristofferson: Blade Franchise – Karel Roden: Hellboy

Nudity Bonus:  Not today.

 

3.0‘s

Ran-Dizzle

 This to me is probably the better acting and interesting story of the Blade trilogy.

Acting wise the casting was done rather well, it was nice seeing Norman Reedus in the movie as a Boondock Saints fan he did very well in this role, but his character

actually shocked me in this movie, but no spoilers for me. Wesley Snipes invented Blade…I really can’t see anyone else now play the role of Blade, Ron Pearlman to me his acting never changes he’s just a bad ass that gets to wear prosthetic make up in certain roles (Hell Boy)Kris Kristofferson played his Whistler role, but to me honestly they should have left him out in the first movie.  Danny John-Jules for you Sci-Fi (British) fans would know him as The Cat from Red Dwarf so it’s interesting to see someone from that TV series eventually made a way out and in to Hollywood.

The Story was decent, very much Underworld story style to me so not very original but enjoyable.  The CGI fights were noticeable but for 2002 it wasn’t horrible, X-Men was far worse with the CGI then this was. Not that I don’t mind watching Wesley Snipes kicking some ass but his martial arts in this movie was a little much although for the action scenes they did well..The one liners weren’t overly cheesy but could have been better.

Overall I don’t mind the movie, and again not a Blade comic book fan but what I do know the character stays true to form which is rare anymore in Hollywood Comic Book movies. I enjoyed the movie however it’s not at the top of my list of must watch comic book films. However it is above Green Lantern 😀 *JAB at Ryan Reynolds*


3.0‘s

 


Zombieland (2009)

Trailer: Zombieland (2009)

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone  – Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

Running Time: 1 hr & 28 mins – Genre: Comedy, Horror

T-Bird (Guest Host)

Review:

Twinkies.  Little did we know how insightful this movie was until recent.  Just like Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson) we will have to fight tooth and nail to track down these ridiculously sweet snack cakes.  Luckily we won’t be hunting down and killing Zombies to get these treats like the crazy hillbilly with a cowboy hat we lovingly come to know as Tallahassee.

Columbus (played by Jesse Eisenburg) is your typical loner.  He’s without many friends while away at College and stuck in his dorm room playing video games while the whole outside world starts falling apart . Poor lonely Columbus is greeted by his hot neighbor “406” who states she was chased by a creepy homeless guy on her way home from the bar.  While sweetly drifting to sleep comforting this dorm room princess, Columbus is awakened by a newer hungrier version of “406”.

Cut to a short time later and Columbus has luckily survived the masses all due to his 31 rules for surviving the zombie apocalypse.  Columbus has started his trek on foot to Ohio (his hometown) when he comes across gun toting bugged eyed hillbilly Tallahassee.  Tallahassee trying to forget the fact that he has lost his son has determined life will be better the more zombies he slaughters; all the while in search of the infamous Twinkie.

While on their journey they come across two sisters Wichita (played by Emma Stone) and Little Rock (played by Abigail Breslin).  The sisters dupe the guys into thinking they are helpless and need rescuing, the tables are then turned and these two twisted sisters rob the duo of their armored Cadillac SUV loaded with guns and ammo.  They soon run into the girls a few miles down the road after some additional thievery the foursome end up together as a team fighting to survive the apocalypse while in search of anything that will remind them of a better time, a time before the world fell apart.

Long story short (and by short I mean really short with this movie coming in at 88 minutes), guy meets girl, guy saves girl and they all live happily ever after in Zombieland.

While filmed mostly in Georgia I think director Ruben Fleischer did a superb job of creating a world torn apart by flesh eating zombies. Along with an exciting and unique soundtrack featuring songs like “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult and the always familiar “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” by the red headed stranger himself; Willie Nelson.

The script written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick was fitting but I feel unrealistic.  I know I know it’s a zombie movie how much realism did you expect?  I for one would like to see an apocalyptic movie that’s a little more realistic.  I mean yes most people would probably not make it leaving the survivors far and few between.  But how many people would really travel all the way across the United States just to go to a crappy theme park?  It’s almost predicable what’s going to happen when you start with a guy like Jesse Eisenburg and match him up with Emma Stone.  Obviously there’s going to be some kind of romantic gesture in the near future. Rumor has it there will be a Zombieland 2 possibly sometime in 2014.  Could this be Reese and Wernick trying to make up for an uninventive script the first time around?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Casting for the movie was very well played.  I mean who can play a better gun toting bug eyed hillbilly better than Woody Harrelson? Abigail Breslin playing kid sister has almost become a type cast for this young actress.  Luckily we all grow up and so did Abigail leaving her kid sister years behind her.  Speaking of type casting Jesse Eisenburg is your quintessential loner/nerd guy who always wins in the end.  This of course works out perfectly for this comedy/horror flick.  Last but not least Emma Stone playing the older sister/girlfriend was very expected.  I would have liked to see them do a little more with her character in this film, but who knows what the future holds with Zombieland 2 in the horizon.

Overall I really liked this movie, but I am partial to zombies and Woody Harrelson (don’t judge me).  While the ending left you feeling somewhat adrift it was still a good addition to the genre.

 

4.0‘s

Big JD

First I would like to welcome our Guest Host this week.  T-Bird.  Well, I call her my wife.  I’m so excited to have her be a part of this.  Please make her feel welcome.

This is a pretty good movie.  I’ve always liked it.  Any Zombie movie can be easy to watch and when you throw some great comedy in there, it makes it a classic.  I especially liked the rules to live by as seen as floating text throughout this movie.  I thought the narration by Jesse Eisenberg was quite natural and helped the audience feel closer to this character.  I didn’t think the role wasn’t quite a stretch for Jesse at all.  Same character he’s played before but with the addition of zombies.  This was the first role that I remember seeing Emma Stone in.  I think this was her break through movie.  She did fantastic.  Hard on the outside but soft on the inside.  Which is a great contrast to Columbus (Eisneberg):  Soft on the outside and soft on the inside.  Breslin & Harrelson have some great banter between each other.  Heck! Tallahassee (Harrelson) has great banter with each character.  He is the saving grace in this one.  The acting was great which is a direct result of excellent casting.

Which brings me to the writing and the plot of this movie.  What happened?  Wichita (Stone) & Little Rock (Breslin) are 2 tough and very smart girls that have been making their way in this world before the zombie apocalypse had even started.  They are written as smart, ruthless, & always able to get out of a jam.  Now, why in the world would both of these characters suddenly become just the opposite towards the end of a movie?  They go to this amusement park and light it up like Times Square unaware that this would bring every zombie in a 10 mile radius?  Then they trap themselves on a ride?  I found this to be annoying since the first half of this movie these characters wouldn’t have done something this stupid.  About as pointless as the plot.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked this movie but when you sit down and think about what you just watched, It isn’t much to remember.  The story in 2 sentences.  1.  Boy showing rules to survive and runs into a reluctant friend that loves Twinkies.  2.  The 2 friends run into 2 more very reluctant friends and they all go to an amusement park.  If you want to throw in another sentence you can say.  3.  Ran into Bill Murray.  So, the plot is very, very thin sad to say.

My number 1 rule in making any Zombie movie:  Zombies that are athletic aren’t really zombies.  I understand that this is a comedy and running zombies work for this movie.  But I felt that this movie should have been called “Infected-land”.  These weren’t zombies.  I guess if these were “wandering” zombies then the number 1 rule of Columbus’ would have been for not.  Cardio.

In summation, if you want an excellent movie then the script really doesn’t matter.  Just surround yourself with really good actors, intriguing characters, and lots of zombies.  Did you get that?  Script no.  Actors yes.  Zombies a must.    Double Tap!

Comic Book Movie Plus:  Emma Stone – The Amazing Spider-Man

Nudity Bonus: n/a (tassel’s don’t count)

4.0‘s

Ran-Dizzle-

This to me is a pretty creative, zombie-rom-com I’ve seen.  Even though it’s not the major point of the movie, the principle is the 4 stories and how they combined to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. The best actor of the whole movie hands down is Tallahassee(Harrelson). He to me brings the entertainment in the movie, he is gruff looking, but ends up being a nice guy.  Columbus(Eisenberg)  is pretty good he plays the shut in nerd well, Wichita(Stone) did rather well, and I love her acting I’ve never seen anything that she wasn’t good in. Little Rock(Breslin) I’ve only seen her in a few movies but her acting seemed much more mature then what I’ve seen her in so she’s grown very well into the roles. Even a cameo by Bill F***ing Murray even though that’s not his real middle name. His role in the movie was short but done rather well and we all can agree with his regrets.

The Story to me wasn’t completely original, however how they meshed it together I can give them props for, like adding in the “Rules” and “Zombie kill of the week” to me that added some comedic flavor to it which made it better. Special effects were rather well done for the film, I mean there is a lot of zombie make up and fake blood, and broken limbs.

Overall it’s a fun, zombie movie

Fun Fact: From what I remember they originally wanted spin a TV show off the movie that’s why the “Zombie Kill of the week.” But it fell though.

4.5‘s

 


The Bay (2012)

Trailer: The Bay (2012)

Starring: Kristen Connolly, Kether Donohue, Frank Deal  – Directed By: Barry Levinson

Running Time: 1 hrs & 24 mins – Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

 

Big JD (Host)

A small town in Chesapeake Bay seems like any normal American town but, the chicken factory has added a bit of crap to the water supply.  Mixed with Steroids and many other factors an organism is mutated and decides to feed on the inhabitants of The Bay town.

 

Review:

No, no this is not a review over a movie documenting the life & times of Michael Bay.  But if it were let me first add I would have changed his first name to Simon.  Just because I can.  And I would have had Morgan Freeman play the part of Michael Bay.  Just because I feel its something he would want.  Ok, off topic a bit.  I didn’t come here to trash on Michael Bay.  It just seemed fitting.

The Actual Review:

This “found footage” movie seems to have all of its footage in place to make a decent movie.  But what it lacks is a fulfilling story.  There could be many factors that will add to your story and give it depth and feeling.  We will find what it is I tell you!  And I will not call the CDC because they are of no help.

The Acting was decent.  A bit overacted at times by the young reporter played by Kether Donohue but she does fine.  The top billing actress didn’t even seem to have much of a role.  Kristen Connolly played Stephanie.  (The woman with the baby)  I will say that everyone did ok with acting.  Maybe this was a design led by Barry Levinson.  If you do not give actors a ton of screen time then you can’t have any bad acting cluttering your film.  Maybe?  Well, the footage was all put together very well.  Filmed as such too.  It was very believable.  You didn’t find yourself saying “Oh c’mon you wouldn’t have a camera there!  You wouldn’t still be filming!!”  well, maybe a couple times but nothing too crazy.  On the part of the footage there was one thing that I did not like.  It was the 2 news anchors and how their broadcast was like all “bubbly” or “walleyed” looking.  It was very distracting and extremely different than anything else in the movie.  In all I think Barry did a fine job.  And no I did not plan on reviewing back to back Barry Levinson films.  I was actually shocked when I saw his name because this movie is such a departure from Rain Man.  It didn’t hold up to his reputation.  Although he did take 2nd place at the Toronto International Film Festival in the “Midnight Madness” category.  Yeah, I don’t know what that is either.  Let’s move on.

It was written with good dialogue and the story flowed well.  The scenario of what would happen if this really happened was really focused hard on.  But does that make this an original plot or even a good plot?  I have to say no.  In fact I felt a very mild resemblance to the movie Piranha and Piranha 3D.  Not as cheesy but very similar in story.

The special effects were very limited but believable.  Except when they found the dead body by the fountain.  I thought that looked very fake.  I mentioned limited effects?  Yes, I did.  There were actually tons but Barry had them woven in very subtlety.  He made them work for him instead of the Special Effects working the movie.  The score could have worked for the movie but I think needed some time off.  It was very not noticeable either.  As far as this movie sticking to the Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller genre I don’t think it nailed any of it.  Horror:  It wasn’t scary.  Sci-Fi:  It was all explained scientifically enough to make you think it could really happen.  Thriller:  It was kinda thrilling in parts but not really a thriller kind of movie.  Most movies get the Genre score from me but this one needs to be in a genre of its own.  The Found Footage genre.

The casting was all mediocre.  This is where this movie could have shined bright.  This is freakin’ Barry Levinson!  He couldn’t get 1 actor that is well known or up and coming to push his movie?  This is confusing.  It was kind of like watching a B film movie because of this factor.  C’mon Barry!  If you put 1 actor in there that people can relate to it can change this movie that grossed $30,668 domestically to something that would at least gross $70,000.  Which will probably cover the well known actor’s fee but so what?  Go for it!

My final criticism’s over The Bay end with the ending.  It sucked.  It was an hour and a half long which didn’t feel that long at all. (Which is a good thing)  But it ended way to fast and it tied everything up way too quickly.  I guess it’s a drawback in having a movie based on film footage of an event that when the event is over than so is the movie.  I could have done with more closure.  But with all that said it wasn’t a bad movie.  I felt “meh” the entire time.  It was decent.

 

Comic Book Movie Plus: n/a

Nudity Bonus:  Almost but not quite.

2.50‘s

Ran-Dizzle

For a mad epidemic style movie this was done pretty well.  The writing and acting was done ok, but I have to agree with JD on it not being original….there are aspects of it being original like the Chicken Feces and the Steroids mutating an organism that is out to get everything in the bay. To me since I’ve not seen Piranha or Piranha 3d, it felt more like Cloverfield or Paranormal Activity, What I do like about this genre that is forming (dating all the way back to Blair Witch Project) is that it gives it a sense of reality, when watching these movies it feels more realistic, then the average horror/thriller/zombie movie.

For the budget of the film, the acting, and special effects were decent nothing out landish but for an indie film I think it was done well.

I disagree with JD on the putting in the big star, with these style of films, Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity things like that to me keeping hollywood out is a good call, it keeps it more realistic, the only way I would want to have a huge star in it, is if Hollywood was taken over by zombies…oh wait they are kind of doing that with James Franco…Seth Rogen ect. I think it’s called This is the End.

With all that said, over all my experience with the movie wasn’t horrible, but wasn’t great either. I think it did rather well in the indie cult circle and indie festival, however as far as my expectations I think it was done ok.


3‘s