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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 8:22 am 
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  Movie: Monster from a Prehistoric Planet


  Director: Haruyasu Noguchi


  Year: 1967


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

This movie has a very strange vibe to it, which I think can be attributed to the fact that I've never seen an even reasonably clear copy of it. I own this on DVD and have streamed it from a couple of different sites and the picture quality has made it almost not watchable in every instance.

From what I have been able to see, a group of explorers visit an island of natives in the South Pacific who fear and worship a god called "Gappa". So this is basically stealing from the original "King Kong". Eventually they find an egg that hatches, producing a cute baby Kaiju. Against the natives wishes, the explorers take the baby back to Japan. Then, a Mom and Pop pair of kaiju, that look like a cross between Rodan, Godzilla, and Woodsy the Owl, attack Tokyo or some semblance of a Japanese city. This is more or less a swiping of the plot of the British monster flick, "Gorgo".

The attacking kaiju couple wreak havoc and cause mass destruction until the stubborn cradle robbers give the baby Gappa back to its parents. Once reunited, the baby Gappa is taught how to fly by spreading its wings. This lifts it and the grownup Gappas off the ground, where they glide without ever flapping their wings, into the sunset.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:03 am 
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  Movie: Without Warning


  Director: Robert Iscove


  Year: 1994


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

This is a Made-for-TV movie that can be considered as an early entry into the Found Footage genre. It was created in the spirit of the Orson Welles radio broadcast,"War of the Worlds".

This all begins with a slasher movie playing on network broadcast TV that is interrupted by a Special Report. Former real-life news anchor Sander Vanocur informs us that three meteors have struck the U.S., France and China. From this point on, "Without Warning" spins into a whirlwind of live on-location reports from the meteor strike sites, Nasa, the White House and many other locations.

Even though this movie is clearly operating with a low budget, it is very clever in the way that it uses its reporters and what they're witnessing to relay the total chaos of the strikes' events. In other words, if you're looking for spectacular footage of destruction, this movie isn't going to give it to you. But it does a fantastic job of relaying escalating horror on an evening of unimaginable frenzy. As a point of reference, this plays very much like the better known BBC faux-broadcast of a supernatural encounter in 1992's "Ghostwatch".

There are more ups and downs to be found in "Without Warning" than a day's worth of elevator rides in a skyscraper and if you want twists, this delivers them. I found myself more and more anxious and on edge as things spun out of control during the movie's 100 minute run time.

"Without Warning" is clearly not a masterwork of art and it certainly will not win any "best acting" awards, but it is a very effective thriller with a shocking ending.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:59 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:
TZ DZ Fan wrote:
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Well thanks, TZ! I have my own selfish reasons for posting these reviews, and I've probably mentioned it before. It has helped me to become a better writer. I'm never going to become an author of any sort, obviously. But it has helped me in my current job.

I don't know that I look upon TV series with scorn (well, maybe "Lost"), but I just don't like seeing 100 episodes of the same characters and story lines. That's all it is, really.



Not to hijack this thread, but it seems like a good place to ask.

Do you plan on giving any of the newer "slated to come forth" sci-fi shows this year a good chance???
I don't know if you have been following any of the other threads, but there looks to be some damn fine sci-fi coming out this year on TV.
Much more than in the last few years at any rate.
I'm actually excited early in the year, for the first time in many years to be honest.
There are a few threads on some, and "The Expanse" is one, and also "what are you currently watching", and notably the "Finally!! Some hope for good sci-fi on tv again....." thread.



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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:37 am 
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I do follow the "what are you currently watching", and the "Finally!! Some hope for good sci-fi on tv again....." threads.

Honestly TZ, I watched the trailer for "The Expanse". It looks like an attempt to cross "Total Recall" with "Silent Running". Yep, the production values look high but I'm sorry, these shows are all the same to me. Everything is some sort of resistance force battling "the Man" or some alien race that's taken over. The story goes on and on for like, THREE OR FOUR SEASONS!!!

That's why I liked "X-Files" so much. It had the same characters, but it wasn't always about their struggles through a continuing story-arc for 10 friggin' years. They actually put them in different situations ("monster -of-the-week" episodes) in different settings with different side characters, practically every week. When they did focus on the mythology, it got weighed down in the personality dramas (i.e. soap operas) and turned stale. What is the main gripe about "The X-Files" in hindsight? The mythology was a mess! And this is precisely what happens to these TV shows. Viewers like the characters and the story line, at first. The show gets popular. The writers soon run out of ways to make the characters double-cross each other or can't find new ways to put them in perilous situations. Then, as soon as the popularity drops, the series is cancelled and the viewer is left hanging.

At least with movies, I'm in and out in two hours. Of course, everything becomes a damned trilogy, but that's another rant for another time.

I haven't watched anything on SyFy because, well...they're soap operas.

I got about halfway through "The Strain" last year and it turned into a show about people in bad relationships and not about the F**king STRAIN!!!

I tried watching "Falling Skies". Just more people arguing endlessly, like "The Walking Dead" which were more people arguing and cheating on each other while shooting things that they used to argue with and cheat on.

I don't know what it would take for me to have any interest in TV again. Everyone says it a "new Golden Age of Television" but to me, everything is the same. It's all so overwhelmingly character-driven. The shows don't fall far from reality shows. The same people put into a difficult situation, add personality differences, then argue for like, three seasons.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:00 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:
I do follow the "what are you currently watching", and the "Finally!! Some hope for good sci-fi on tv again....." threads.

Honestly TZ, I watched the trailer for "The Expanse". It looks like an attempt to cross "Total Recall" with "Silent Running". Yep, the production values look high but I'm sorry, these shows are all the same to me. Everything is some sort of resistance force battling "the Man" or some alien race that's taken over. The story goes on and on for like, THREE OR FOUR SEASONS!!!

At least with movies, I'm in and out in two hours. Of course, everything becomes a damned trilogy, but that's another rant for another time.

I got about halfway through "The Strain" last year and it turned into a show about people in bad relationships and not about the F**king STRAIN!!!

I tried watching "Falling Skies". Just more people arguing endlessly, like "The Walking Dead" which were more people arguing and cheating on each other while shooting things that they used to argue with and cheat on.

I don't know what it would take for me to have any interest in TV again. Everyone says it a "new Golden Age of Television" but to me, everything is the same. It's all so overwhelmingly character-driven. The shows don't fall far from reality shows. The same people put into a difficult situation, add personality differences, then argue for like, three seasons.


Some snippage. :D

The reason I brought it up, wasn't only for "The Expanse", there are actually several projects I think has some promise.
One that I think sounds pretty good, is.............

Childhood’s End-
"Mini-series, 6 hours. Based on Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi classic, follows a breed of aliens called the “Overlords,” who manage to peacefully invade and rule Earth, and create a pseudo-utopia that comes at the price of human identity and culture. Premieres 2015."


Thats a mini-series. Generally I don't much go for mini series type projects, sort of for the opposite reasons you don't much like TV shows.(thats not why I'm pointing this out though)
Clarke's work is so well respected, I bet it turns into something pretty good.

I was pretty stoked about "The Expanse" in the last few months, but after seeing the trailer.... I'm not quite as gung ho, but I am sure to watch it.
"Dark Matter" sounds as good as anything to be honest, but its tough to gauge anything on a few written words.
I keep waiting on the next space opera along the lines of "Battlestar Galactica" but it will likely never happen again.

I liked "Falling Skies" at points, but it was always just one notch below "excellent" in my opinion. There was just something about it, I never could quite pinpoint it honestly. It was good, very good at times, but overall it lacked something and I never could figure it out.
Don't worry, its already widely known this is the final season of that one upcoming.

I guess part of the reason I keep wanting you to try some of these shows, is so we can compare thoughts on the select ones I am very high on, but its probably not going to happen. I do like reading your likes and dislikes on many of these movies, but generally its on movies which I will never, ever take the time to watch.

FOR WHAT ITS WORTH- I thought I *may* check out "The Strain" someday. It really isn't in my wheelhouse of favorite programming, but some of those type shows are decent. But after reading what you wrote, it will probably be one that I never get around to watching to be honest.

EDIT- I may actually move these last few posts to one of those more appropriate threads, so if it vanishes from here don't panic.
Its been so long since I have moved anything, I don't remember how. :ROTF:



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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:22 pm 
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  Movie: Insidious: Chapter 2


  Director: James Wan


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 2 - Poor

"Insidious 2" tested my patience. It tried to be scary and thrilling but was neither. It was, however, a convoluted mess with characters that were boring. The whole movie was nothing more than people peering into rooms, opening creaking doors, and making scary faces. It couldn't even execute a successful jump scare (which I hate). Oh, and it was impossible to follow because it kept hopping between the real world and a dream world where the dead live in purgatory, or something like that. And yes, I have seen the first "Insidious".

Prepare for lots of dirty rooms and dry ice but zero scares.


I brandish my mighty Whitsbrain Axe and thrust it down...down upon the neck of thee, "Insidious 2"!
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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:45 pm 
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I notice you have been using the axe a bit more frequently whit.

Could it be a growing distaste for subpar movies? (well, more so than in the past)
Or possibly you have just seen a few more shitty movies recently.....

I'm betting on the latter.

I think seeing this and the axe, is sort of one of the reasons I don't watch many movies generally.
(I actually love reading these reviews, so don't take it that way)
I don't know. But I think when a TV show starts to suck I can tell pretty early on and I just change it or turn it off and give up for good.
On movies, I tend to sit through it until "the bitter end". Its only a couple hours right????? and I "stick with" everything else, why not slog this out too. More on this below.
When a movie sucks, I feel cheated afterwards. I ask myself "seriously????? , well there goes another three hours of my life I can't get back". :ROTF:

As I get older, I think I am learning more and more about myself, and why I am the way I am.
I am a very anal/weird person about many things, and probably a fair bit of OCD.
(like I can't relax if there are dirty dishes in the sink........LOL, but that is another story)
When I do something, I tend to do it 100% full bore, no half assing.
Its always been that way. Golf, sports when I was younger,collecting TZ autographs, you name it . I applied everything in something and I always have.

When I decide to watch a movie, I make myself sit through it until the very end.
I suppose over the years I have just tended to not watch many, since you never really know what you are going to get.
And for the most part, after 15 minutes, if I am not enjoying it I make myself finish it all the way through.

Now, you might say "well what about TV shows then dude??"
Its the same thing really, though it may seem hard to believe.
I typically don't f@%k with any unless I know there is a great chance I will really go for it. That in turn leads to watching that show in question through till the bitter end. SEASON AFTER SEASON. Like I said, when I start something, I pretty much go full bore.
Most shows I watch, I watch from beginning to end, no interruptions. No outside interference.

I don't know how many shows I have started over the years, then just "gave up on" half way through, or say after a single season. Its been damn few thats for sure.
FRINGE- was a very prominent but odd example. I stopped that one 2 or 3 times during season 1, and eventually came back.
And man am I glad I did. The ending and later seasons were unbelievable.


Anyway, I'm rambling.
At some point, I am going to look back and say "Man what a boatload of good movies I have missed over the years" and I will begin to go back and watch some of them.
I'm betting that happens sooner rather than later too.




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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 5:36 am 
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Well, I woke up this morning and it's -5 below with a -30 below wind chill.

My job is also driving me crazy.

So it's probably affecting my tolerance for movies and everything else.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:31 am 
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  Movie: Galaxy Quest


  Director: Dean Parisot


  Year: 1999


  My Rating: 6 - Good

An occasionally funny space adventure that parodies Star Trek, Trekkies, and the convention culture. With such a great cast, I was actually expecting more. Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver needed more to do and even though I'm okay with Tim Allen, his Shatner-like ego wore out its welcome.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:09 am 
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  Movie: Non-Stop


  Director: Jaume Collet-Serra


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

I guess Liam Neeson has found his groove. Just how many Action flicks has this guy been in over the past few years? From memory, I can recall "Taken", "Taken 2", Taken 3", "The Grey", "Unknown"...there may be more. It is a pretty cool thing that a 60+ year old man can become the hottest action hero in the Movies. That may be overstating it a bit, but again, look at how many Action films he's starred in recently.

"Non-Stop" is nothing original. All of the action takes place within the confines of a plane, albeit a rather large plane. Liam's character Bill Marks does some pretty incredible things for a washed-up, alcoholic cop but his skills aren't at the level of his "Taken" character. His sidekick is played by the almost always overrated Julianne Moore. She's sort of tolerable in this, but her presence just irritates me. That's my problem and I'm sure many will like her here.

The external shots of the plane are all CGI. It's noticable and I don't think they spent a lot of time on it. But that's just the way effects are done these days. It takes away most of the authenticity of the environment but I'm sure the film makers saved a lot of money over what it would have taken to do practical effects.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:03 am 
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  Movie: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug


  Director: Peter Jackson


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

I'm finding that I'm actually enjoying "The Hobbit" series more than I did the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I think I can attribute that to the casting of Martin Freeman as "Bilbo". He is a much more enjoyable character than Frodo and Elijah Wood's portrayal of him. Sure,the two have different personalities and one is much more influenced by the Ring than the other, but I'm finding Freeman's Bilbo to be endlessly entertaining. Not to mention how wonderful Ian McKellen remains as Gandalf.

I do prefer Gimli and Aragorn from the "Rings" trilogy to the Dwarves of the "Hobbit", but the adventure to reclaim the Dwarve kingdom of Erebor is less dark than the quest to destroy the Ring in the previous series.

Now, I can't leave out the best thing about "The Desolation of Smaug". Yes, I'm taking about Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel. Wait...no I'm kidding. Don't get me wrong. It is great to see her getting a regular gig again after "Lost". No, the real star of the show is the amazing Smaug the Dragon. I was just in awe of how great Smaug looked. It was practically giant monster porn for me and if you've ever read any of my other comments on movies, you know I love me some monsters, kaiju, whatever you want to call them. The dragon in "Dragonslayer" was great and so were the beasts in "Reign of Fire", but none of them compare with Smaug. And then to top it off, they cover him in gold. It was just plain awesome.

There is much more CGI in these "Hobbit" films than there were in the "Rings" trilogy but that's just a sign of the times. The CGI in this film is distracting at times, but not as distracting as a movie rooted in gritty realism like "Non-Stop" and it's faked jetliner. I'm actually kind of fond of the CGI used in "The Hobbit" series because it's giving us some amazing monsters. The giant spiders, the "man-bear", the Orcs, Smaug...there's a lot for a monster-loving moviegoer to enjoy.

There were some great action scenes including a raging river chase with Dwarves in barrels and naturally, the battle with Smaug. A few scenes dragged on a bit and I was bothered by some lesser quality CGI-generated Elves. I'm also becoming more and more annoyed by absolutely zero Dwarves getting killed or even injured during all of these battles. It's almost to the point where the suspense is non-existent. Oh sure, there are thrilling sequences, but it seems none of the good guys are ever truly in danger. It's sort of like watching Superman. You know no harm can really come to him.

Regardless, "The Desolation of Smaug" exceeded my expectations and contrary to what I had anticipated, I am looking forward to seeing "The Battle of the Five Armies" as soon as I can.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:39 am 
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Hard Times 1975, Walter Hill director
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This is a great Charles Bronson vehicle about a depression era street fighter on the move in New Orleans, La. Cheney, the fighter, teams up with Speed, James Coburn and Poe, Strother Martin to pick up street fights for money. This is a sparse no knuckle, except in the fight scenes, film which was Walter Hill's first directorial debut. Jill Ireland plays Cheney's love interest a part time hooker and confidant. The city of New Orleans and parts of surrounding Louisiana also play a role in the film. I rate this film 8.5 out of 10 for it's gritty portrayal of what it must have been like during the LAST great depression. The film is well cast and directed for a first time outer and I think most here on this board would like it. :clap:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:33 pm 
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TZ DZ Fan wrote:
At some point, I am going to look back and say "Man what a boatload of good movies I have missed over the years" and I will begin to go back and watch some of them.

TZ DZ fan


Im starting to get tired of watching crap movies now. (finally) I think Im starting to come around to your concept of feeling cheated after 90+ minutes of a really terrible film because a good one can so easily go unnoticed....and trust me that there alot of great films out there that nobody will ever know about. A flashy cover or interesting premise of a movie can still really disappoint. Maybe its this whole blu ray effect of wanting to see the best possible version of a movie thats starting to seep into my conscience.

Now dont get me wrong, Im still nostalgic about some really bad films...but in the past few years it seems like they are releasing tens of thousands of movies that really suck to the masses ....and its just not a good thing. :o


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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:23 pm 
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:? You are right Salvadore. You cannot constantly watch crap movies all of the time because you will become numb to it's backhanded humour. Also you cannot watch great movies all of the time for you will raise your expectations for all films to follow that cannot be met. The best way is to intersperse them. Like a pitcher, fastball, curve, slider etc. etc. Mix em up. That goes for Genres too! And I will be seeing ALL of you at the MOVIES! :D

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Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:59 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:

  Movie: Non-Stop


  Director: Jaume Collet-Serra


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

http://zardoz.cf.letterboxd.com/resized ... 2-crop.jpg?" width="125" height="100%">
I guess Liam Neeson has found his groove. Just how many Action flicks has this guy been in over the past few years? From memory, I can recall "Taken", "Taken 2", Taken 3", "The Grey", "Unknown"...there may be more. It is a pretty cool thing that a 60+ year old man can become the hottest action hero in the Movies. That may be overstating it a bit, but again, look at how many Action films he's starred in recently.

"Non-Stop" is nothing original. All of the action takes place within the confines of a plane, albeit a rather large plane. Liam's character Bill Marks does some pretty incredible things for a washed-up, alcoholic cop but his skills aren't at the level of his "Taken" character. His sidekick is played by the almost always overrated Julianne Moore. She's sort of tolerable in this, but her presence just irritates me. That's my problem and I'm sure many will like her here.

The external shots of the plane are all CGI. It's noticable and I don't think they spent a lot of time on it. But that's just the way effects are done these days. It takes away most of the authenticity of the environment but I'm sure the film makers saved a lot of money over what it would have taken to do practical effects.


Just watched this one - not bad for a Saturday afternoon movie. Had the typical action, thrills and suspense required for base entertainment. I do like Liam Neeson as an action guy - would never expect him to be one, but after 'Taken', he's just f@%king badass. I'd agree with Whit on rating....6.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:05 pm 
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:?


Speaking of critics, you bring up a good point Creeper. "Stars" and other various ratings should not be the standard for how good or bad a movie is....especially....thumbs. Remember the whole Eye of the Beholder thing.




Oh well....we all have our favorite genres to depend on.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:38 am 
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  Movie: Ragnarok


  Director: Mikkel Brænne Sandemose


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

It's safe adventure time! This is a light little story about an archaeologist who finds true love (awwww) when he and his family are off exploring tales of a beast that used to terrorize the Vikings. There isn't much here and the beast is so underwhelming. Maybe younger kids will enjoy this. I didn't.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:52 am 
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  Movie: The Machine


  Director: Caradog W. James


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

There's a neat story here about a genius programmer (Toby Stephens) who assists the military in developing a cyborg super weapon. But he's doing it to get funding to do research that will help him save his daughter who is suffering from some kind of severe brain trauma. He hires an assistant (played by Caity Lotz), whose brilliant work in artificial intelligence will help him reach his goal.

Lotz is really good here, first as the lovely scientist and later as a butt-kicking but tender cyborg. The movie feels like it was done very cheaply as most of the movie takes place in dark labs and other small areas. It's a pretty good science fiction story without any gore that stands out.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:48 am 
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whitsbrain wrote:
Birdman]


I also consider this unworthy of Best Picture, but Keaton did deserve his best Actor nod. What did you think of the ending?


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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:23 am 
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StillValleyBard wrote:
whitsbrain wrote:
Birdman]


I also consider this unworthy of Best Picture, but Keaton did deserve his best Actor nod. What did you think of the ending?


I guess out of everything "Birdman" offered up, I liked the ending the most. But man, I did not like the movie.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:46 am 
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  Movie: Maleficent


  Director: Robert Stromberg


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

It would be great to write paragraph after paragraph of reasons why this was a good movie. But there are so many of these type of CGI extravaganzas produced nowadays, they just all seem to blend together in a mash of colorful pixels. "Maleficent" is just another one to add to the list.

Re-imagining "Sleeping Beauty" was a bit of an inspired idea. I don't know if it was to create a vehicle for Angelina Jolie or not, but she is by far the best thing about this movie. They couldn't have cast a more perfect live-action Maleficent. She is beautiful, especially as the darkest incarnation of the fairy. The scene where she enters the King's castle and curses his newborn daughter is really good. Not so good is Sharlto Copley as King Stefan. He's just brutal and his accent is equally as bad.

The rest of the movie is sometimes sparkly and sometimes sad. It seems to take issue with the male gender as well, but I'll leave that to people who look deeply for allegories at every opportunity.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:41 pm 
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  Movie: I’ll Follow You Down


  Director: Richie Mehta


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

I have to admit that I watched this just to get another glimpse of that Science Fiction crush of mine named Gillian Anderson. The bummer of it was that she wasn't really in this much. Her character was also a depressed mess. But yeah, she looked good. Rufus Sewell of "Dark City" fame was also a draw for me but he basically only book-ended things.

In a surprise, I discovered that Haley Joel Osment was still alive and as a bonus, still able to act. He and his lady friend "Grace" (Susanna Fournier) carried this time travel story, keeping it interesting and as accurate science-wise as my limited skills demanded.

I considered for a moment that I might have just been in the mood for a Drama, but the fact that the vast majority of my movie watching consists of Horror flicks and Godzilla movies really kind of put that theory to rest. It was actually very good.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 4:58 pm 
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  Movie: Equinox


  Director: Jack Woods


  Year: 1970


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

The hope was the possibility of personally discovering a lost Horror classic named "Equinox". The reality was that even with evil demons, a book of the dead, and stop-motion monsters, the best thing about this turned out to be watching the guy who played Herb Tarlek on "WKRP In Cincinnati".

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:29 pm 
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  Movie: Gamera vs. Barugon


  Director: Shigeo Tanaka


  Year: 1966


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

"Mystery Science Theater 3000" could have picked a much worse Gamera movie to send up than this one. I'm shocked at how entertaining the Japanese version of "Gamera vs. Barugon" is. There was never a dull moment and this contained absolutely zero annoying kids. In fact, there isn't a single child in it.

It is surprisingly adult and I'd even go so far as to say it's a rare effort to make a dark, moody, monster movie. That doesn't mean it's easier to take the miniatures and rubber suits seriously, but I've always loved the craftsmanship and imagination on display in these Kaiju films. Anyone that tries to watch this but doesn't already love the genre will laugh it off and watch "The Avengers" for the hundredth time anyway.

There are some terrific wide shots of the beasts traipsing across landscapes and cities. There's a blood drenched monster battle and some pretty wild and extended fisticuffs between human characters, too. And don't forget a turbo-charged, flying turtle that can breath fire and another beast that can freeze things with its tongue and shoot a rainbow laser from its back. What more do you need?

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:55 pm 
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  Movie: Late Phases


  Director: Adrián García Bogliano


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

I'm a fan of the practical effects of "The Howling" and "An American Werewolf in London". I'd even take it a little further and confess that I like "Dog Soldiers" and in a pinch will even tolerate "Underworld" and its lycans. So it stands to reason that "Late Phases" would be of interest to me.

I knew going in that it was a low-budget affair, but that was of little concern as there have been so many good Horror films created on the cheap lately. However, I was not prepared for the underwhelming transformation scenes and man-in-suit creations that this movie brought to the table. It was disappointing.

Funny thing is, I was enthralled by the story and the performances of Nick Damici and Tom Noonan. They made me care enough about their characters' fates that by the time the movie got to its final attack sequence, the pack of practical effect werewolves were, well...effective.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:30 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:
[film]Maleficent ; It seems to take issue with the male gender as well, but I'll leave that to people who look deeply for allegories at every opportunity. ; [/film]


:bell: :bell: :bell:
Not every opportunity, theres just so much underlying stuff in films these days it feels like. Plus its that evil Disney empire. :D
It must be that youtube phenomenon, where everybody is over analyzing movies to death.

I did notice the

Spoiler

rape theme in Maleficent
but that was intentional


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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 3:31 pm 
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  Movie: Tommy Boy


  Director: Peter Segal


  Year: 1995


  My Rating: 5 - Good

I remember liking this a lot more when I watched it years ago, closer to its release date. Farley and Spade were clearly in the mainstream at that time and I'm sure that didn't hurt my initial take on "Tommy Boy".

I didn't remember much about this during my recent viewing and that's probably because it's not really memorable. I can watch reruns of Saturday Night Live and still find Farley and Spade funny when they performed their skits on that show. Stretched out to a full length movie, their act wears a little thin. This is a good movie. Good meaning just okay.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 4:43 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:

  Movie: Tommy Boy


  Director: Peter Segal


  Year: 1995


  My Rating: 5 - Good

http://oblivion.cf.letterboxd.com/resiz ... 2-crop.jpg?" width="125" height="100%">
I remember liking this a lot more when I watched it years ago, closer to its release date. Farley and Spade were clearly in the mainstream at that time and I'm sure that didn't hurt my initial take on "Tommy Boy".

I didn't remember much about this during my recent viewing and that's probably because it's not really memorable. I can watch reruns of Saturday Night Live and still find Farley and Spade funny when they performed their skits on that show. Stretched out to a full length movie, their act wears a little thin. This is a good movie. Good meaning just okay.




Link
This is my favorite scene from that movie.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:18 pm 
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  Movie: John Wick


  Director: Chad Stahelski, David Leitch


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

This is a perfect example of believing too much of the hype. I sat there watching this and expected to see something special. It really wasn't even that different. "John Wick" is good, it looks nice and there's lots of action. Keanu is lean and mean, but I just never bought into him being a real badass. The bad guys were flat and uninteresting.

Watch a Daniel Craig Bond flick or "Die Hard" again, instead.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 6:00 pm 
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  Movie: Into the Storm


  Director: Steven Quale


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 4 -Fair

"Into the Storm" is an impressive special effects show with tornadoes that are actually frightening. My home and neighborhood was struck by a F2 strength twister about 10 years ago and while that is a small to mid-sized tornado, I can attest that it is scary. It makes me wonder if it would be possible to make a movie about a big storm, complete with Horror-genre tone.

This contained some amazingly violent strikes by huge tornadoes ripping through a small mid-western city. I don't know why a city of its size would have an airport with jumbo jets sitting on the runway, but it sure looked cool.

The acting was awful and all of the characters were uninteresting. The build up to the big storm was almost non-existent and there was really no suspense to speak of. Some teenyboppers almost drown in the basement of an abandoned paper mill which was about the only real nail-biting segment of the movie. There was a shocking moment when a man gets lit on fire and is sucked up into a vortex. I laughed uncomfortably over the craziness of it. I absolutely despised two drunken idiots who somehow managed to elude certain death. This comic relief was not necessary and was ridiculous.

It's been said too many times before but it is possible to turn off your brain and take in the spectacle of disaster presented by "Into the Storm".

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 5:48 am 
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  Movie: It Follows


  Director: David Robert Mitchell


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

"It Follows" is a respectably scary movie that benefits greatly from an amazing score. The score recalls those that were so memorable back in the Horror-crazed 1980s. That's not to say it was a total throwback because several musical moments reminded me of those created by James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer. But there's no mistaking the creative musical influence of John Carpenter, especially during the "Old Maid" sequence. I haven't enjoyed a movie score this much since 2013's "Under the Skin".

I suppose I should mention the actual movie. It's very good but not as impactful as recent scaries like "The Conjuring" or "The Babadook". I think it's because teenagers being pursued just isn't very frightening anymore. Don't get me wrong, there are some very effective moments and the "It" monster is a great concept. Once it finds you, it comes after you in as straight of a line as possible. This led to some great instances where I found myself actually searching to find "It" on the screen and once I did, it was satisfying to watch "It" approach the cursed character. The monster seemed to mindlessly pursue, but at times did inexplicable things like choosing to throw household appliances at the main character. When "It" was more calculating, the menace and dread established was lost.

The biggest gripe I have about "It Follows" is not being able to place the time that it's set in. Was it the 1980s? Is it current but with a dated look due to the batttered, dilapidated look of the surrounding neighborhoods? I know I saw an old 1980's Chevrolet Caprice station wagon but also what I thought was a mid-2000's model Malibu. Maybe the whole mashup of decades was intentional. Either way, it did take me out of the movie momentarily a few times. And the wardrobe confused me also.

"It Follows" didn't blow me away but I did enjoy it and it did occasionally scare. It is not a gory film and doesn't over use jump scares. It succeeds with its music and extended sequences when it compels the viewer to locate the pursuing evil on the screen. And I've never typed the word "it" so many times in a review before.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 6:21 am 
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  Movie: Airplane!


  Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker


  Year: 1980


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

I’ve laughed at the slapstick, scattershot humor of “Airplane!” many times over the years. It’s endlessly quotable and mercilessly stupid and some would say entirely offensive. This movie holds a special place for me as it’s one of the earliest examples of a comedy that I can remember that wasn’t popular with my parents. Its humor was a breakaway from the Carol Burnett/Red Skelton/Odd Couple humor that surrounded me as a youngling. It was dirty with its sex and drug references. I didn’t understand half the jokes but I loved it anyway because it wasn’t something that belonged to my parents.

Watching it again recently, it’s still funny and I love the road it paved for more dumb comedies like “Police Squad” and “The Naked Gun”. But some of its jokes aren’t exactly timeless and a few are even groan-inducing.

I could sit here and type out my favorite gags and quotes, but if you are reading this you probably know them all anyway. “Airplane!” is undoubtedly a movie that I’ll always have a soft spot for.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 6:59 am 
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  Movie: Ex Machina


  Director: Alex Garland


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

I was pretty high on the idea of seeing this so I made sure to attend on opening weekend. I think that’s because I am still naïve enough to think that if I buy a ticket on the first weekend, I’ll boost box-office receipts, thus influencing movie-makers to create the types of films that I like. So, I sat down and watched “Ex Machina” on opening Saturday and noticed all of about a half-dozen others in the theater. So much for that theory.

After seeing this, I wonder if I could be losing my love for high-brow Science Fiction films. This was a movie that I’ll personally rate as Very Good, but it didn’t impress me that much. It was similar to my reaction to “Interstellar”. Certainly not dismissive, but somewhat underwhelmed.

There was much to like about “Ex Machina”. The pacing was slow but there’s no crime in that. I was appropriately disconnected from the characters, something that I consider a must for good Science Fiction. It’s about the discovery of “Something…wonderful”, after all.

I enjoyed the story but honestly, the Artificial Intelligence storyline only ever really goes one way. That is, the “machines” will take over. I did like the ending even though it was predictable.

There were a few twists that surprised somewhat, and I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this to “Twilight Zone” fans. Maybe it could have been whittled down to fit within an Anthology film format. A Twilight Zone movie, perhaps.

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 5:55 am 
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  Movie: Gamera vs. Gyaos


  Director: Noriaki Yuasa


  Year: 1967


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Gamera has to battle a formidable opponent in the giant vampire bat named "Gyaos". The menace gets his name from a little boy named Eiichi, friend of Gamera (of course), and hero of the movie. You see, Eiichi is a tubby little problem solver. He is one step ahead of the scientists and the military. He has learned Gyaos's weaknesses and understands Gamera inside and out. If it weren't for Eiichi, Gyaos would be at the top of the food chain these days.

There is a lot of monster fighting with three separate battles between Gamera and Gyaos. The scuffles get bloody with this easily being the goriest kaiju movie I've seen (so far). There's even a moment when Gyaos cuts off it's own foot with its laser breath to escape Gamera. Gamera also nearly loses an arm as Gyaos fires repeated laser shots at the same wound. It's actually pretty brutal.

Gyaos is another swiss-army knife of a monster. It's got laser breath, can generate hurricane-force winds with its wings and has built in fire extinguishers that eject some kind of yellow vapor. The thing is mean, too. It picks up and munches a number of helpless victims.

The Gyaos suit is weird and lacks detail. I don't think I've seen a giant monster suit with so little personality. That's not to say it's a lame monster, it's just oddly simple. And I'll just leave the observations about the way it flies alone. Flying kaiju are always a problem.

Overall though, this is a pretty good flick. It's got a lot of action and imagination, fun miniatures and little Eiichi, the not-too-annoying "Kenny" of the story.

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 6:57 am 
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  Movie: Oculus


  Director: Mike Flanagan


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

Maybe my expectations were too high. I got bored with "Oculus". The premise was nothing original. There was a nice setup of the mirror as an ominous haunted object. When the main character describes why the mirror is to blame for up to 45 murders over a few centuries, it really holds your attention. Then, as the mirror starts to play tricks on the woman and her brother, the movie falls flat.

There are some good moments, like when the main character is tricked into biting a light bulb (ouch!!!), but I was lost trying to figure out exactly what was happening. The movie keeps switching between the woman and her brother in the present, and then flashing back to when they were young and being terrorized by their mother and father (and the mirror). There are even times when the young characters see themselves as their grownup selves within the flashbacks. It makes zero sense. I'm confused just writing about it. Maybe the film makers needed to define the mirror's haunting techniques better. I don't know.

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 7:47 am 
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  Movie: Deep Star Six


  Director: Sean S. Cunningham


  Year: 1989


  My Rating: 5 - Good

Miguel Ferrer is everywhere! I'm surprised at myself. I don't understand how a movie like "Deep Star Six" got past me. It's right in my wheelhouse. There's a monster. It's Sci-Fi. It's Horror. I certainly knew of the movie for years, but never sat down to watch it. But now that I did, I've found that it wouldn't have mattered if I never had gotten around to it.

I think the movie stars Miguel Ferrer. I say I think because it also stars Greg Evigan. Was he a hot property at the time? This was made about 10 years after he would find fame and cult celebrity as a trucker with a monkey in the hit TV series "B.J. and the Bear". What's sad is that "Deep Star Six" looks like it's the most notable work he's done outside of his role as B.J. Actually though, he may be the second best thing about this movie. He's pretty good in it.

Oh yeah, back to Miguel Ferrer, i.e., the best thing in this movie. He seems like he's always cast as a bad guy, but here he seems to be cast as the stupid guy. Thinking back on how the plot of this shook out, he was the cause of almost all of the bad things that happen. He literally does everything wrong. I gathered that he was the "doer" of the team. The one that handled all of the dirty work around the facility. But I honestly don't know how they all survived previous to the sea monster showing up. How his character didn't accidentally kill them all beforehand is mind-boggling.

The monster isn't seen too much but when it is, it varies in its effectiveness. I have to give it an "A" for originality, but about a "D" in execution. There are several scenes when the monster is swimming around in flooded spaces where the rest of the humans are standing in chest deep water. I have no idea how something the size of the beast could stay hidden or not cause a ripple in such a tight space. The look of it is kind of a cross between a frog with the jaws of the alien in "Predator". It's a neat practical effect but we never get a comprehensive look at it.

As the plot goes, I like the premise of a monster released by an explosion. After that, it falls into a story very similar to "Alien". The last scene features a surprise that caught me totally off guard. I didn't like the happy ending but I have to give this an extra point for the shock.

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 8:20 am 
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  Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy


  Director: James Gunn


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

I've watched this three times now and each time it's gotten less enjoyable.

The first time I watched this, I thought "Wow! I haven't been this visually blown away by a space flick since I watched "Star Wars" as a kid. I was really impressed by what I'll call the universe building. The galaxies, the planets, and so on. I would like to follow these characters around an established system of galaxies in future movies. Kind of like how we explored with the cast of "Star Trek". I also enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters and the humor that was injected into the ominous threat from bad guy, Ronan the Accuser.

My second viewing revealed that Ronan was a bland and underwhelming villian and that the humor seemed to try and cover that up. Seriously, Starlord defeats Ronan in a dance-off?!?!

The third and final watch uncovered that the quirkiness of the characters actually annoyed me. The movie that first struck me as a visually satisfying tale of galaxy-hopping explorers turned into a comedy about goofy, twitchy characters. And Peter Quill's mixtapes from his Mom is sappy as Hell. I'm not saying the songs aren't competent staples of '70's AM Radio, it's just that there's no way kids today would give them them the time of day if they didn't have this movie to give them context.

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Unread postPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 6:53 pm 
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  Movie: Leprechaun


  Director: Mark Jones


  Year: 1993


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

"Leprechaun" was entertaining. Warwick Davis and Jennifer Aniston are really pretty good in their roles because they know the movie itself is ridiculous. This isn't scary or gory or even the slightest bit suspenseful. It's not good, either. But it was funny and I had a good time watching.

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Unread postPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 7:12 pm 
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  Movie: Leprechaun 4: In Space


  Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith


  Year: 1997


  My Rating: 2 - Poor

I knew going in that "Leprechaun 4" was going to stink, but it stunk even worse than expected. I didn't think it would be so over-the-top stupid. And by stupid, I don't mean just dumb humor, because there was plenty of that. It's just that nothing was even the least bit clever about this. The original "Leprechaun" had a bit of charm (and Lucky Charms) because it gave you a wink along with its silliness. But "Leprechaun 4" was just loud and baffling. The Marines in this were the absolute worst.

There are so many things that don't make sense, the most glaring is why the Leprechaun himself is even in the movie. He's not even the main villain and the biggest bummer is that he's not nearly the wise-cracking jerk he is in the original. He's just kind of a greedy little pervert. Warwick Davis gives him none of the spunk he did in the first movie.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 7:28 am 
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  Movie: The Last Days on Mars


  Director: Ruairi Robinson


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 6 - Good

This is a movie that I kept putting off. I love Science Fiction so I knew it was something to check out. I just thought it looked low-budget and that's something that can cause problems within the genre. My delay in viewing kept the plot entirely unknown to me, which surprisingly ended up hurting my overall rating. Because as it turns out, the threat to the astronauts is zombies.

You see, I am sick of zombies. I've always found them to be totally boring. Disgusting and slow, the only thing threatening about them is that they keep coming. However, that's neutralized by how easily they are stopped. Contrast that against other truly unstoppable forces of Horror like "The Shape" in the original "Halloween", the alien being of "The Thing" or even the sexually transmitted entity of "It Follows". They all can't be stopped. Zombies, though great in number, are usually defeated en masse with a shot or stab to the head. The evil in this movie are basically zombies. They are a little more determined but still escapable.

There is much to like here. The score is quite good. It's atmospheric and electronic with elements of a building dread, but with none of the screeching cues found in most Horror scores. I do hear the usual Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard shadings. Mash up "The Dark Knight" and "Signs" with moments of "2001: A Space Odyssey" and you'll have the recipe.

The design of the mothership, the mobile transports, the Aurora, were all very good. The Tantalus Base outpost was what I imagine a functioning Mars laboratory and living quarters would look like. A lot of this is very imaginative and creative.

What isn't so good is the dull, zombie-oriented plot and the just serviceable cast. There are no memorable characters other than Kim, played by Olivia Williams. Her character's strong leadership and resourcefulness is impressive.

I did like the ending. It caught me off-guard and ticked up my overall satisfaction with the film.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 8:26 am 
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  Movie: The Offspring (or "A Whisper To a Scream")


  Director: Jeff Burr


  Year: 1987


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

It was great to discover this Horror anthology film. I had no previous knowledge of it. This movie is comprised of four stories, loosely tied together by a wraparound starring none other than Vincent Price. The wraparound is the only bad thing about this anthology. I was surprised by the shocking content of these stories.

I'm not going to spoil the four tales, but will try to relay my thoughts without giving the endings away because three of the four truly surprised me. None of the stories are titled, so I'll refer to them numerically.

The first entry is the most demented. It features a social oddball who falls in love with a beautiful woman where he works. He somehow manages to secure a date with her, even though he is weird and unattractive. Let's just say the date doesn't go well. There is also a very uncomfortable relationship with his live-in, sickly sister. He very reluctantly gives her nightly sponge baths. On one occasion, she dresses up for him, complete with poorly applied makeup that is disturbing. Add to this story some implied necrophilia and an out-of-left-field conclusion and this one makes me feel guilty about how much I enjoyed it.

Story two focuses on a greedy loser who lives in the South, nearly dies, but is saved by a man that practices voodoo. I am not a fan of black magic, voodoo story lines, but the ending of this is grotesque, dark and absolutely merciless.

The third entry features a man who can eat glass, metal, razors and not suffer a single scratch. He works as a circus freak. A circus that is run by a practitioner of witchcraft or some sort of black magic. The witch claims ownership of everything in the circus. When the man falls in love with a woman and they try to escape the big top/freak show together, well, I'll just say things come apart for them. This is another story with an overwhelmingly dark finish.

The fourth and final tale features some Civil War soldiers that come upon a band of self-sufficient children at a dilapidated plantation. This was the weakest story of the group but still packs a brutal punch. "Children of the Corn" this ain't.

One other note...I watched this on YouTube and it was an absolutely awful rip of the movie. I think the grainy, dark quality of this stream may have actually embellished the creepiness of it.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 9:04 am 
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1965
Directed by James B. Harris
8 very good


Basically the entire Cold War in 102 minutes. If you want to know what the political tensions were like then, this film is for you. It's also a psychological drama and has a twilight zone type of ending. You will know what I mean when you see it. It's a pretty good film done in old style with lots of dialogue. It has some good action scenes but is not an action war movie. Richard Widmark and Sidney Poiter are the two main characters and do a superb job. I give this film an 8 out of 10 rating.

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Unread postPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 7:03 pm 
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[film]Deep Star Six ; Sean S. Cunningham ; 1989 ; 5 - Good ; Miguel Ferrer is everywhere! I'm surprised at myself. I don't understand how a movie like "Deep Star Six" got past me.


Whit, the fact that this movie gets overlooked is one of the reasons I like it so much. While its easily brushed off by pretty much everyone, that allows me to treasure it more...like a hidden gem. The average fan of movies or even sci fi horror will not enjoy this. You have to really appreciate the genre to ever getting around to watching this movie (people like to easily dismiss this as it as an ABYSS ripoff even though it was released 6 months prior and is really nothing alike)...and Im not even saying its a great film at all! Its cheesy as hell but it has sleeper cult film written all over it. To me is symbolizes the end of 80s horror from one of the directors who directly influenced the decade of 80s horror. The casting is good, the plot is irelevent but the charm is its attempt at being serious. Its a fantastic ALIEN ripoff. I can still see it getting shrugged off though. It could have been better.
I am one of the very very few patiently awaiting this to debut on bluray. (Ill keep holding my breath har har ;) ) The US dvd is pure shite made when dvds first came out. Still no ABYSS on blu but LEVIATHAN just got released last summer.


oh ya.....Miguel F'kn Ferrer owns this flick . You could make the argument that he kills more people then the monster does.
Truthfully the first time I attempted to watch this I got bored and fast forwarded through most of it until getting to

Spoiler

Miguels death scene
I mean wow. Best part of the movie.The second time I watched the movie... I ONLY watched the scenes with miguel Ferrer in them. just skipping to his parts. Because hes the man. This was arguably his greatest role ever. It wasnt until my third viewing I sat through it all. I was probably better off the first time around.


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Unread postPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 4:59 pm 
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1965
Directed by James B. Harris
8 very good


Basically the entire Cold War in 102 minutes. If you want to know what the political tensions were like then, this film is for you. It's also a psychological drama and has a twilight zone type of ending. You will know what I mean when you see it. It's a pretty good film done in old style with lots of dialogue. It has some good action scenes but is not an action war movie. Richard Widmark and Sidney Poiter are the two main characters and do a superb job. I give this film an 8 out of 10 rating.


Good recommendation, Creeper. I'm adding it to my list!

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 5:00 pm 
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StillValleyBard wrote:
whitsbrain wrote:
[film]Deep Star Six ; Sean S. Cunningham ; 1989 ; 5 - Good ; Miguel Ferrer is everywhere! I'm surprised at myself. I don't understand how a movie like "Deep Star Six" got past me.


Whit, the fact that this movie gets overlooked is one of the reasons I like it so much. While its easily brushed off by pretty much everyone, that allows me to treasure it more...like a hidden gem. The average fan of movies or even sci fi horror will not enjoy this. You have to really appreciate the genre to ever getting around to watching this movie (people like to easily dismiss this as it as an ABYSS ripoff even though it was released 6 months prior and is really nothing alike)...and Im not even saying its a great film at all! Its cheesy as hell but it has sleeper cult film written all over it. To me is symbolizes the end of 80s horror from one of the directors who directly influenced the decade of 80s horror. The casting is good, the plot is irelevent but the charm is its attempt at being serious. Its a fantastic ALIEN ripoff. I can still see it getting shrugged off though. It could have been better.
I am one of the very very few patiently awaiting this to debut on bluray. (Ill keep holding my breath har har ;) ) The US dvd is pure shite made when dvds first came out. Still no ABYSS on blu but LEVIATHAN just got released last summer.


oh ya.....Miguel F'kn Ferrer owns this flick . You could make the argument that he kills more people then the monster does.
Truthfully the first time I attempted to watch this I got bored and fast forwarded through most of it until getting to

Spoiler

Miguels death scene
I mean wow. Best part of the movie.The second time I watched the movie... I ONLY watched the scenes with miguel Ferrer in them. just skipping to his parts. Because hes the man. This was arguably his greatest role ever. It wasnt until my third viewing I sat through it all. I was probably better off the first time around.


Agreed on your spoiler, SVB. Nasty...

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 5:02 pm 
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  Movie: TerrorVision


  Director: Ted Nicolaou


  Year: 1986


  My Rating: 2 - Poor

The 1980's were culture prime-time for me. Much of my teenage, high school and college years were contained within this decade. Not surprisingly, I am fond of many of the Movies and TV of this period.

I think I'd seen "TerrorVision" before, likely when it first came out in theaters or on VHS way back when. It seemed familiar but I have no idea if I disliked it then as much as I do now.

This is a B-movie. I get it. It's stupid on purpose. But I don't really like when bad movies know that they are bad. I've never liked anything by Troma studios or more recently, Asylum. "TerrorVision" wasn't produced by either one, but it's just as rotten.

The only thing that keeps me from scoring this piece of crap as low as I can is Jon Gries as heavy-metal rocker, "O.D.". He's a lot of fun and every laugh I had was supplied by him. Everything and everyone else was lame.

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 31, 2015 12:21 am 
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  Movie: Mad Max: Fury Road


  Director: George Miller


  Year: 2015


  My Rating: 9 - Excellent

I really liked this film. I am going to be disappointed in the other films I end up seeing this year. The action is amazing and the visuals are endlessly impressive. I also could not get over how effective the sound was. After seeing the film with my son, I told him at times my heart was racing and I was gripping the arm rests of my theater seat.

I've heard the complaints that "Fury Road" is anti-male. Geez, it is no more anti-male than "Commando". And why is everyone so obsessed with measuring how "strong" the female characters are in action movies? I didn't even think about how fine a leader or how tough Furiosa was. She was what she was, regardless of gender. I actually think George Miller did a disservice to the character because her image was more "manly" than that of the brides she was saving. I'm not certain why Charlize Theron's normal look wasn't acceptable for the part. Maybe I missed the reason...

I realize that Women in film have often been undercut, misrepresented and minimized. But that isn't present in EVERY movie. I suppose this movie could be viewed by some with men being the cause of all of the problems with the world, but the lead male characters were ultimately generous and integral to Furiosa's success. I actually enjoyed seeing the tough old ladies mixing it up with the men during some of the later chase scenes. But am I required to read that presence as a promotion of Feminism? I don't want to. I'd rather promote equal-not-special if equality is truly what society desires. Do strong female characters need to be pointed out all of the time? Why can't they just "be"?

"Fury Road" also contains commentary on religion that is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. I can't speak for other religions, but as a Christian, I have been taught to glorify God with confession of sins, good works, praise and contentment. I'm generally coming up short on all of those things, but I'm bummed about the implication that Nux isn't "right" until he sacrifices himself for someone else. Glorifying God includes good works, which I personally think would include sacrificing yourself in a car wreck if it came to that.

The still photos taken from this movie are amazing. I can't believe how so many of them look like separate works of art.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:44 pm 
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Mad Max Fury Road

2015

Directed by George Miller

My rating 7.5

If you are looking for Shakespeare you are going to be dissapointed. This film is non stop action and adventure but would leave me puzzled if I hadn't seen George Miller's Road Warrior in the 80's. I recommend you see it first. The Road Warrior set up the Post Apocalyptic Outback but this film barely touches on that or any other story. To me it almost felt like a cartoon with the non-stop relentless action sequences. I guess I'm too old fashioned but I like a beginning, middle and an end. Killing off almost all of the Bad Guys is an ending of sorts, but not really. This film is going to make multi-millions but it leaves me a little wanting. I do recommend seeing it though for the iconic visions this film will bring to the culture.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:41 pm 
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  Movie: Extraterrestrial


  Director: Colin Minihan


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

This was like watching a clip show of other alien/Horror movies. I saw it a while ago but I can barely remember the key moments, scares, or anything else for that matter.

Immediately after this ended, I watched the "Slumber Party Alien Abduction" segment of the "V/H/S 2" anthology. It's only about 15 minutes long, but it's ten times better than this.

I would recommend alternate views, like Robert Lieberman's 1993 alien abduction winner "Fire In the Sky" or frankly any of the "X-Files" mythology episodes.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:50 am 
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  Movie: O Brother, Where Art Thou?


  Director: Coen Brothers


  Year: 2000


  My Rating: 9 - Excellent

Nearly as funny to me as the Coen's "The Big Lebowski", this ranks in my Top 5 Coen Brothers films.

"O Brother..." is hilarious. George Clooney's rapid fire delivery as Everett is one of my favorite comedic performances. Setting aside that he's a "Dapper Dan Man", his endless expounding about anything and everything is the very best part of the film. You can see him trying to hold back a smile during his theorizing. It fits Everett's personality that he would be grinning, but I'll bet Clooney caused a lot of re-shoots. If he didn't have fun making this film, I'd be shocked.

A close second is the performance of Tim Blake Nelson as Delmar. He's big-hearted and not so dumb as Everett claims. Delmar is the glue that holds the trio together and quickly establishes relationships with the quirky and possibly insane characters they encounter during their escapes from the law.

This is much more a combo of set pieces than it is a cohesively told story. The "Soggy Bottom Boys" encounters with nasty fellers like Big Dan Teague (John Goodman) and Baby Face Nelson (Michael Badalucco) are hit and miss, while the baptism scene and the first burning barn escape are pure gold. But the inclusion of Everett's wife Penny (Holly Hunter) feels unnecessary. It diminishes Everett's character to me, although it does help explain that he's a magnetic personality but a very questionable decision maker.

Overall, I'd describe "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" as a dusty, dirty Southern fantasy. It's a film I can watch anytime.

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