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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:34 am 
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  Movie: Valkyrie


  Director: Bryan Singer


  Year: 2008


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Tom Cruise travels back in time to assassinate Hitler. Okay, that's not fair. Tom Cruise stars as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who leads a group of German Army officers who plot to kill Hitler.

This is by all accounts, a largely accurate retelling of the true story. It's a well-acted, great looking movie. It's exciting and interesting and Cruise is very good in his role. As I've stated before, he gets criticized unfairly too often. He is one of the last true "movie stars".

Then why have I not rated this higher? It's because it looks far too slick. I may have watched too many WWII documentaries in my time or recreations of events starring no-name actors. It may not be fair, but it curbed the impact this otherwise very good film had on me. As it progressed, I kept waiting for the story to veer from reality because it looks so "Hollywood". It never did and I give it credit for that. But my experience was still dulled by my past big-budget movie "conditioning".

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:10 am 
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  Movie: The World's End


  Director: Edgar Wright


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

Full disclosure...I have not seen "Shaun of the Dead" or "Hot Fuzz", so I have nothing to compare "The World's End" to. Since I am unfamiliar with the "Cornetto Trilogy", there's no real frame of reference for me. I can only judge this on its face. And that face is homely.

To level set, I have nothing against British humor. I've loved Monty Python. I enjoy "Sherlock". I get a kick out of "Top Gear". But this movie, the only thing about it that's redeeming is it sort of explores the sadness that getting wrapped up in nostalgia can bring about. As I get older, I grow frustrated with modern "culture" and its inability to appreciate the things that I loved when I was younger. Sometimes I have to fight my own impulse to scream "get off my lawn!", metaphorically, of course, to those who have no appreciation for the Movies, TV and Books that I cherish to this day. Simon Pegg's character Gary King suffers this as well, only to a far greater degree. As I and countless others have moved on, Gary is stuck romanticizing the life he had as a young adult. It's really sad. You can see it all around us, Facebook, Classmates.com...people frozen in time, longing for the Good Ol' Days. Which unless you have total recall, likely were not that good anyway.

Unfortunately, this fondness for days gone by has suspended Gary as the same jerk he was years ago. This makes him impossible to like for both his past "friends", or more accurately hangers-on, and for me, the viewer. I also found his buddies to be pathetic as they were so easily manipulated.

Then to add insult to injury, the alien menace is uninteresting and not threatening in the least. Apparently, everyone of Gary's crew is an expert in martial arts, or maybe this is where I am missing the joke laid out in the previous two entries of the Cornetto Trilogy. "The World's End" isn't very funny, either. It's hard to laugh when something is trying so hard to be clever.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:12 am 
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whitsbrain wrote:

  Movie: Valkyrie


  Director: Bryan Singer


  Year: 2008


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Tom Cruise travels back in time to assassinate Hitler. Okay, that's not fair. Tom Cruise stars as Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg who leads a group of German Army officers who plot to kill Hitler.

This is by all accounts, a largely accurate retelling of the true story. It's a well-acted, great looking movie. It's exciting and interesting and Cruise is very good in his role. As I've stated before, he gets criticized unfairly too often. He is one of the last true "movie stars".

Then why have I not rated this higher? It's because it looks far too slick. I may have watched too many WWII documentaries in my time or recreations of events starring no-name actors. It may not be fair, but it curbed the impact this otherwise very good film had on me. As it progressed, I kept waiting for the story to veer from reality because it looks so "Hollywood". It never did and I give it credit for that. But my experience was still dulled by my past big-budget movie "conditioning".



I'm a fan of this movie also. I probably rate it an '8', but I absolutely understand where you are coming from. I think having Bryan Singer at the helm directing this and Christopher McQuarrie as writer is what keeps the film from "veering from reality". I'm a big fan of these two guys, especially when they work together. They typically churn out fantastic stuff (see The Usual Suspects); haven't really seen Jack the Giant Slayer to comment there.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:37 am 
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  Movie: The Quiet Earth


  Director: Geoff Murphy


  Year: 1985


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

A man wakes up one morning to a world untouched other than every human alive has disappeared. I will leave most of this movie alone so not to ruin what I consider to be one of the strangest and most glorious endings that I've ever seen.

Most of this movie is pedestrian and you've seen it before. The main character is equipped with a convenient set of skills that assist him in deciphering the mystery. I suppose it's not convenient really, after all, the story needs to pick a character that matters. The explanation for what has occurred to bring about the disappearance of billions of people was sort of like "The Mist" in the sense that it's a "science gone wrong" scenario.

The action and character conflict is off-kilter, which detracts from the story a lot. Let's just leave all of that behind, though, because this movie is all about its ending shot. It's marvelvous and awe-inspiring. I have no idea what it is or what it means, but I love it.

Other viewers will first try to decipher what it means. Then, when that effort proves fruitless, will have to resign in knowing that it means exactly what they want it to. This alone gives "The Quiet Earth" a lasting impact.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:35 am 
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  Movie: Invincible


  Director: Ericson Core


  Year: 2006


  My Rating: 6 - Good

It's a little embarrassing to say but this was enjoyable. Mark Wahlberg is a likable actor to begin with. Now, have him play an underdog, down-on-his-luck, part-time bartender who beats the odds and becomes an NFL player and you've got mainstream moviegoer gold.

Everything is cliched but that's what most people like and this movie sucker punched me as well.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:50 am 
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  Movie: Walking Tall


  Director: Kevin Bray


  Year: 2004


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays a U.S. Soldier that gets pushed a bit too far by some dirtbags and things start to get shot, get blown up and smacked with 4X4 posts. Luckily, "The Rock" is there to flex his personality and make a bad movie a little less bad.

The movie's primary offense? Changing the main character's name from Buford Pusser to Chris Vaughn.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:18 am 
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  Movie: The X From Outer Space


  Director: Kazui Nihonmatsu


  Year: 1967


  My Rating: 5 - Good

A space mission brings back an alien spore that grows into a crabby kaiju and tears through, of course, Tokyo.

There are some shoddy effects but also very interesting POV and energy in the Guilala attack sequences. Guilala totally thrashes the city with great enthusiasm. The editing was a real mess and the characters seemed a carbon copy of the casts of many other '50s Sci-Fi B-movies. The rubber monster suit is so totally ridiculous it's endearing.

This is another laughable giant monster movie, but once Guilala makes it's appearance, it's fun to watch.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:07 am 
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  Movie: You're Next


  Director: Adam Wingard


  Year: 2011


  My Rating: 4 - Fair

A rich couple hosts an anniversary party with their children in a remote mansion, when suddenly, the body count rises.

Sometimes masks are scary and deadly ambushes are, too. But this movie was not. Slasher films lose their impact when the killer is revealed and "You're Next" does so way too early. The family members were one-dimensional but how couldn't they be when the runtime is 100 minutes and there's a cast of at least a dozen.

It all boils down to one woman going "Rambo" on a bunch of hitmen. There are certainly opportunities to extract social commentary from this, but it's nothing more than dysfunctional, reprehensible people getting their comeuppance as viewed through the filmmaker's morality filters.

"You're Next" is just another, slightly prettier, slasher film.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 8:24 am 
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  Movie: Tammy


  Director: Ben Falcone


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

Melissa McCarthy stars as an unlucky woman, who as a last resort, takes a road trip with her wild, alcoholic grandma.

Melissa McCarthy is a very funny comedian. He delivery, her physicality, her ability to cuss, she's hilarious. Seriously. The problem is that her movies are trending toward the formulaic and that's disappointing.

I laughed at her in this movie. There are some genuinely funny moments. But this is just a funnier version of "Thelma and Louise", and not just because Susan Sarandon co-stars. It's bland as bland can be. Generic and predictable to the extreme.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:22 pm 
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  Movie: Sinister


  Director: Scott Derrickson


  Year: 2012


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Even though the creators of "Sinister" keep pulling the same stupid stuff that Horror movies are infamous for, it has some awfully scary scenes and shots that elevate it above most other Horror flicks made recently. It's at its best when we are exploring the secrets of the house and watching some genuinely frightening old home movies with Ethan Hawke's character. The problem is, the movie isn't that interesting unless he's exploring the awful box of old movies. When he is, it's really good.

As is par for the course, the family stays in the house way too long. No one with an ounce of common sense would hang around with all of the horrible things happening. Then again, it's easy to see how Hawke's character would be intrigued by the mysteries unfolding around him. Well, at least until the really terrible things start occurring. There are also a number of jump scares which I am really beginning to hate. Jump scares are not scary, they are just shocking and cheap.

"Sinister" did always entertain me, though. And the ending is hopelessly grim and really disturbing. I have to give it props for being fearless in that regard.


Co-sign

I watched this a week or so back and found it to be original in plot, a little cliche in spots, but over all, it gave me the same uneasy but intrigued feel as Halloween did. I had a slasher film with no actual slashing being shown appeal to it.

7!


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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:21 am 
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  Movie: Journey to the Far Side of the Sun


  Director: Robert Parrish


  Year: 1969


  My Rating: 6 - Good

Two astronauts are sent to explore a newly discovered planet, previously undetected, because its orbit is the exact opposite of the Earth's.

This is a slow-moving, but very imaginative movie. It's creators, Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, were the minds behind "Thunderbirds" and "UFO", the latter being one of my earliest Sci-Fi obsessions.

The characters are not well-developed, but I think this is common for the Anderson's creations. Roy Thinnes is the star and he acts much like his character in the Quinn Martin series "The Invaders". It's not like the characters were similar, it's just an indicator that Thinnes wasn't the greatest actor. Still, he is certainly enough to guide this story along.

The real star of "Journey..." is its special effects. The miniatures are amazing, but not in the sense that they are realistic. It's kind of like watching a Toho Kaiju movie. It's the sense of awe you get from viewing this meticulously created world. The attention to detail is amazing. Fans of CGI will not appreciate it, but that's their loss. I marveled at this much like I did when I was a seven-year old watching black and white presentations of "UFO" on PBS.

The story itself is silly. No spoilers from me here, other than to say that the concept is cool, but the execution is off. The whole thing gets a bit bug's nuts by the end and not really in a good way. It seems rushed.

I probably won't ever return to "Journey To the Far Side of the Sun" but I'm glad I took a couple of hours to explore it.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:16 am 
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  Movie: The Legacy


  Director: Richard Marquand


  Year: 1978


  My Rating: 6 - Good

A half-dozen of the world's most powerful people are invited to stay at the mansion of Jason Mountolive, a dying but multi-millionaire recluse. Mountolive invites an interior decorator, Maggie (Katherine Ross), to attend as well, supposedly to work on his mansion. Her boyfriend Pete (Sam Elliott) tags along.

This is one of those 1970's Horror flicks that feels a lot like "The Omen" or "The Changeling". It's got that kind of vibe to it. It's not as good as either of those movies but it does have its own special charms.

The strength of "The Legacy" are its two stars, Katherine Ross and Sam Elliott. They play the kind of characters that you really pull for in challenging situations. Their characters also don't act like they are trapped in a Horror movie. They behave logically most of the time and act appropriately given the impact of their situations.

The setting of the film is an incredibly cool English mansion. It's not a creepy location, but it's isolated and intimidating in its size. When Maggie and Pete attempt an escape from the mansion in a stolen car, there does seem to be a supernatural element to the place. It's not dwelled upon because the supernatural element is present in the form of Jason Mountolive. He and his family's "legacy" are the real horror.

Another strength of this movie is its "kills". Say what you will about 70's Horror films, but the on-screen deaths are almost always creative. Don't read any further if you don't want to know about what happens to the guests of Mountolive. They are gory events given the time that this movie was released, but are tame by today's demented standards. "Creativity" seems like a sickening term to use, but ultimately why do people watch horror movies anyway?

One of the guests dies by being burned to death by a log that simply rolls out of a fireplace. That in itself is slightly lame, but later, his charred remains are carried into the mansion's square and dumped from a garbage bag to be fed to the guard dogs. We seen the gross remains and the dogs devouring it. Another guest dies choking on a chicken bone, even though he doesn't eat any chicken. His subsequent suffocation while choking and the attempted tracheotomy are disturbing. Gaaaack...throat trauma.

Another guest is killed by shards from a shattered mirror, while still another is drowned in a swimming pool momentarily covered in a transparent barrier at its surface.

"The Legacy" doesn't exactly scare as much as it does shock. It doesn't resort to jump scares or gratuitous gore, instead it uses a heavy dose of dread to keep the viewer engaged. The ending is not what you'd expect, either. It was a welcome, thought-provoking conclusion.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:33 pm 
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  Movie: Lucy


  Director: Luc Besson


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

During the opening twenty minutes or so, I could feel the Saturday afternoon matinee attendees squirming in their seats over the collective strangeness of "Lucy". All of those interspersed shots of cheetahs pursuing gazelles with a drug deal wasn't exactly difficult to pick up on, but I could tell the people in the theater weren't expecting such an oddity. I'm not a movie snob, but I was having as good of a time seeing the reactions of the crowd as I was watching the movie.

"Lucy" was always entertaining despite the fact that the whole premise of using on 10, 20, 50 or 100% of your brain is ridiculous. Scarlett Johansson was terrific (my crush grows), Amr Waked was a great sidekick and the car chase kicked my ass.

It's not cool to spoil a movie that was recently released so stating that this has many breathtaking visuals and some brutal violence is ruining nothing. "Lucy" is strange in many ways. It's good to see something a little different, something not a sequel or a comic book adaptation, doing so well at the box office.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:25 pm 
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Nice review, Whit.
I want to check out this film even more now.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:20 pm 
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DrMoreau wrote:
Nice review, Whit.
I want to check out this film even more now.


Co-sign. Glad to hear it's Whit-worthy. I had an interest in seeing it before, now even more with the review.

Whit, if your crush grows, I heard Scarlett did an indie movie based on a novel, which sounds like it fits in the sci-fi genre, called Under the Skin. Have not seen the movie or read the book, but have an interest in both.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 5:12 pm 
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Yeah, I will be seeing "Under the Skin".

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:48 pm 
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She was in Michael bays the Island....all slutty and dumbfounded...expect the same here.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:43 am 
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  Movie: Man of Steel


  Director: Zack Snyder


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

My second viewing of "Man of Steel" was better than my first. The action scenes are mammoth and I was awed by just how much was happening. I'd forgotten just how intense the battles are, not just in Metropolis, but in Smallville as well. I also continually thought about how many innocent people must have died as skyscrapers crumbled. It's not an easy thing to get past and I can't say that I wouldn't have appreciated the execution of the "evacuate the city" trope before everything was toppled. I think back to the impact of the city destruction scene in "Independence Day". I didn't even think about the people being killed in that explosion and I contribute that to seeing it before 9/11. Comparatively, it's a larger scale disaster than in "Man of Steel" . The rejection of the Metropolis destruction then, has to stem from much of it being caused (though inadvertently) by Superman.

Yes, I still have trouble with how powerful Superman is. But it's a flaw of the comic book character and not something that developed in this movie. Because he is so powerful, he's aloof and he's portrayed that way in "Man of Steel". It's a wise choice that doesn't turn this movie into another deep character study or a soap opera. The Superman character is too massive for that.


My original review of this movie can be found here: http://pteforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=50&p=52128&hilit=Man+of+Steel#p52128

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:30 am 
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  Movie: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull


  Director: Steven Spielberg


  Year: 2008


  My Rating: 6 - Good

After seeing this movie twice and trying to convince myself it was better than it was, I've reached the point where I can appreciate the good and despise the bad. There are some things to like. The opening scenes with the reintroduction of Indiana Jones at the warehouse and its subsequent chase harkens back to the first three movies. We even get a glimpse of the Arc. The incredible sequence with the testing of the atomic bomb and Indy's encounter with the "nuclear family", though outrageous is impressive, especially the view of the mushroom cloud. Indy and Mutt's escape on motorcycle from some Russian baddies through the halls of a university is another exciting chase sequence.

The problem is that all of this occurs in the first quarter or so of the movie. The last 3/4 are practically putrid, most of the groans being generated by Shia LaBeouf. It's not that he's bad as Mutt, he's just put in such unbelievable situations that it's hard not to laugh for the wrong reasons. The sword fight while straddling two fast-moving vehicles, the way he catches up to the rest of the Indy gang by swinging Tarzan-style, assisted by monkeys, to thwart the bad guys. Ouch, its really bad. Oh yes, and there's also plunging down three waterfalls in a jeep, escaping man-eating giant red ants, and so on. I love action flicks but it was beyond too much to take. I didn't have much of a problem with the discovery of ancient alien visitors. Sure it's over-the-top, but after everything else I'd just seen, at least the scale of it was awe-inspiring instead of totally ridiculous.

I'm going to say this movie was average, benefiting only from the presence of Harrison Ford and the strength of the first quarter of the movie.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:44 pm 
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DrMoreau wrote:
whitsbrain wrote:

  Movie: Sinister


  Director: Scott Derrickson


  Year: 2012


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Even though the creators of "Sinister" keep pulling the same stupid stuff that Horror movies are infamous for, it has some awfully scary scenes and shots that elevate it above most other Horror flicks made recently. It's at its best when we are exploring the secrets of the house and watching some genuinely frightening old home movies with Ethan Hawke's character. The problem is, the movie isn't that interesting unless he's exploring the awful box of old movies. When he is, it's really good.

As is par for the course, the family stays in the house way too long. No one with an ounce of common sense would hang around with all of the horrible things happening. Then again, it's easy to see how Hawke's character would be intrigued by the mysteries unfolding around him. Well, at least until the really terrible things start occurring. There are also a number of jump scares which I am really beginning to hate. Jump scares are not scary, they are just shocking and cheap.

"Sinister" did always entertain me, though. And the ending is hopelessly grim and really disturbing. I have to give it props for being fearless in that regard.


Co-sign

I watched this a week or so back and found it to be original in plot, a little cliche in spots, but over all, it gave me the same uneasy but intrigued feel as Halloween did. I had a slasher film with no actual slashing being shown appeal to it.

7!


I just caught this one myself - it really freaked me out. I also found the scenes where Ethan Hawke was viewing the home movies to be interesting and gripping. Quite frankly they were the most disturbing and scary. I'm frightened right now as I type this.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:12 pm 
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I liked the bonus footage best ;)


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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:48 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:
[film]Sinister ; Scott Derrickson ; 2012 ; 7 - Very Good[/film]


lazyboyx51 wrote:
I just caught this one myself - it really freaked me out. I also found the scenes where Ethan Hawke was viewing the home movies to be interesting and gripping. Quite frankly they were the most disturbing and scary. I'm frightened right now as I type this.


Ah, good! That's what Horror movies are supposed to do. It's too bad more of them don't scare.

Congrats to "Sinister" for scaring the normally unflappable, Lazy!

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Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:58 pm 
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2014's formulamatic Guardians on the Galaxy is movie fun if you have kids. James Gunn's Star Wars similar film is defininetly the blockbuster summer film of the year. Orphaned people of the Galaxy unite under strange circumstances and are threatened by 2 bad guys which I think kind of detracts from the film. It's hard to keep em apart without a scorecard. But you have prison breaks, attack scenes and counter attack scenes and a hint of romance. Not enough to gross the kids out though. Good popcorn movie but don't expect Citizen Kane. My rating 8 and one half out of 10. Mostly because I'm old and seen a lot of movies to have recognized the rip offs homage scenes.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:21 pm 
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  Movie: Alien Abduction


  Director: Matty Beckerman


  Year: 2014


  My Rating: 6 - Good

I'm really starting to enjoy these found footage movies even though they are usually so cheaply done it can be distracting.

The tunnel scene was terrific but there was one moment early in the scene when Riley (the boy with the camera) records himself inadvertently in a car's side mirror. Over his shoulder, for just a second, you can see an alien's head in the background. The camera doesn't linger, which makes it a creepy moment and not a cheap jump scare.

I watched this late in the evening in a darkened room and it was enough to make falling asleep a little tougher.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:17 pm 
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  Movie: Dragonslayer


  Director: Matthew Robbins


  Year: 1981


  My Rating: 6 - Good

It's so refreshing to see a great practical effect in a movie. And even though "Dragonslayer" is over 30 years old, its model dragon is still one of the best ever put to film. Oh sure, there are some rough spots as far as some of the effects go, but wow, the stop motion dragon still looks great! It's still likely surpassed only by the beasts in "Reign of Fire" (2002). It's a good thing too because you really have to wait until the last 20 minutes before you get to see Vermithrax Perjorative in all of its glory. But honestly, it's worth the wait.

Overall, the movie is good but it's slow. There's really no way that most younger viewers would be able to sit through it. This is also a very odd movie. It's rated PG but there is some brief nudity and surprising gore, including a princess who's foot is gnawed off above the ankle. It never ceases to amaze at how much gore was in these older PG-rated films (I'm looking at you "Jaws").

The cast is also unbalanced with the two leads acting in their first roles. Peter MacNicol and Caitlin Clarke are the heroes of the film, but they're not good choices. On the other side of the coin, two of the secondary roles are played by some of the finest actors of all time, Ralph Richardson and Ian McDiarmid. Very strange casting for certain.

Even though "Dragonslayer" is just passable, I will always have a soft spot for it. I saw it on its opening weekend and I've never forgotten its wonderful dragon effects.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:39 pm 
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2014's formulamatic Guardians on the Galaxy is movie fun if you have kids. James Gunn's Star Wars similar film is defininetly the blockbuster summer film of the year. Orphaned people of the Galaxy unite under strange circumstances and are threatened by 2 bad guys which I think kind of detracts from the film. It's hard to keep em apart without a scorecard. But you have prison breaks, attack scenes and counter attack scenes and a hint of romance. Not enough to gross the kids out though. Good popcorn movie but don't expect Citizen Kane. My rating 8 and one half out of 10. Mostly because I'm old and seen a lot of movies to have recognized the rip offs homage scenes.


My cousin saw this and really enjoyed. He stayed until the end for the bonus scene after the credits. Did you hang around for it Creeper? Apparently there was a cameo from a Marvel character (from what's considered the worst comic book-based movie ever).

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Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:56 pm 
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Yes, we saw him......

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Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:47 pm 
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Nice! I remember watching that one as a kid, and yes, as ridiculous and silly as it was, it's like a guilty pleasure for me.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:11 am 
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I went to the theatre yesterday for the first time in a long while and saw GUARDIANS, and genuinely liked it.
I liked it for one thing that it DIDN'T do. The moment I heard a reference to a non-fictional song, I expected that idea to be laid on very heavily, because entertainment doesn't exactly "know when to say 'when' " when it comes to pop culture references (ESPECIALLY songs). But even though the movie plays around with that idea, there wasn't what you'd call a TON of them.
The one that definitely works (to me) is the "OOOH, CHILD" bit. Partly because of the WAY it's worked into the story, and partly because it's not such an "iconic" ' 60s or ' 70s song, so it comes as more of a surprise.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:06 pm 
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SNOWPIERCER

Directed by Bong Joon-ho, written by him and Kelly Masterson, based, rather loosely, on the French graphic novel, Le Transperceneige by Jacque Lob.

The world has committed suicide to avoid its own death. After crippling climate change, temperatures so hot most of the world is dying, the governments of the Earth seed the atmosphere with chemicals that wind up making the surface of the planet akin to Titan, Saturn's big moon. Over 300 degrees below zero F, now, all land and oceans, all cities dead. (Philip Whylie discussed this in "L.A.: 2017" in 1971 and others, before him.)

A rich mogul created a near-perpetual motion "self-sustaining" super train that can cut through ice floes in its path, each car wider and taller by some few feet, than conventional trains. It runs on a convoluted snaking course, across totally frozen oceans and land masses, 130,000 miles once each year.

The survivors of this world have made that circuit, in that extremely long super train, for 17 years now....

The people in the rear live packed together like roaches in abject slavery, dirt and fear, their children harvested, members taken forward to the "Rich People's Cars" for skills--like a violinist, whose second chair wife is beaten, her hands broken as he is taken away to amuse the rich up train. Shades of Nazi death camps, whose guards created musical groups for their amusement in similar fashion. A man who protests eating the dark gelatinous bars of protein has his arm stuck outside the train through a small portal; in a few minutes it is shattered by a hammer from the up train guards.

There is a revolt; the rebels pass into mid-train cars which feature poultry, hanging sides of beef, farm cars growing real food, a fantastic aquarium and sushi bar, a school house, a nightclub, a beauty parlor, gardens, and many comfortable large staterooms with shelves of books and many comforts, a spa car with pools and clean people in them who can shower when they wish. The rebels fight on with makeshift knives against the front train rulers' heavily armed soldiers. Most of the rich look the other way; their world is secure as the fighting passes them by; even a naked woman in a suana escapes harm.

The climax is more than a class struggle between the 1% and 99% of the failed leaderless Occupy camping disaster and the rich from a couple years past.

Rather the story confronts the roles people play in their own minds and how those roles change against a backdrop of total global disaster.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:03 am 
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JonnyDuffy wrote:
SNOWPIERCER
Rather the story confronts the roles people play in their own minds and how those roles change against a backdrop of total global disaster.


Well, that's interesting. I had written this off entirely after I'd heard it was yet another "Rich vs. Poor" story.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 8:45 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:
JonnyDuffy wrote:
SNOWPIERCER
Rather the story confronts the roles people play in their own minds and how those roles change against a backdrop of total global disaster.


Well, that's interesting. I had written this off entirely after I'd heard it was yet another "Rich vs. Poor" story.


:| Yeh, exactly what I was thinking. The Marxist Manifesto Supertrain. :wasted:

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:17 am 
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  Movie: The Conspiracy


  Director: Christopher MacBride


  Year: 2012


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

This isn't exactly a conspiracy theorist's dream. While it points to a seedy underworld where a privileged few control the masses, it also posits the question, "but are things really that bad?".

This is a faux documentary, with the bulk of its final act shot by hidden cameras. If you are looking for a rich visual experience, this isn't the movie you want to watch.

The movie's main character, Aaron, claims that we are slaves to a secret society, but his friend Jim really isn't so certain. Jim goes along with Aaron's plans to infiltrate the secret club, even though he is perfectly happy with his life at home with his wife and child. That infiltration is eerie enough, but it underwhelms. What doesn't is the twist of an ending which I liked and subsequently forced me to lift my rating score a couple of points.

I'd like to say that I saw it coming, but I don't think a lot of other viewers will anticipate what happens, either.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:37 am 
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  Movie: Jaws


  Director: Steven Spielberg


  Year: 1975


  My Rating: 10 - Excellent

Other than the fact that I am a completist, I can think of no real reason to post a review of "Jaws". Everyone knows about it. It's a part of our culture. Heck, this whole "Shark Week" craze that happens every summer is a direct result of its continuing popularity. This film set the table for all summer blockbusters to come. It set up Steven Spielberg for greatness.

When I rank my favorite films, this one is on the list. I don't know if it's in my Top 10, but only because I have seen it so often that I think I take it for granted. Maybe I ought to base my personal Top 10 on the number of re-watches. If that were my method of measurement, "Jaws" might be my favorite movie ever.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:12 am 
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  Movie: Sleeping Beauty


  Director: Clyde Geronimi


  Year: 1959


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

My history with Disney movies is pretty pathetic. Maybe when I was a wee lad, I saw many of them and my memories of those viewings were forced out of my head by cars, sports, girls or something of that nature. So with my recent screening of "Sleeping Beauty", I begin a personal journey through as many Disney animated features as I can handle without being overwhelmed by fairy tales or cuteness. I'm not planning some marathon or project of any sort. I'm just going to mix them in where I can, between my usual watches of some borderline Horror flick, bad '50s B-movie or silly Kaiju rubber suit fest.

So yeah...back to "Sleeping Beauty". First off, it's a run-of-the-mill fairy tale, not exactly thrilling for a middle-aged male like myself. The animation, particularly the backgrounds are stunning. And boy, do I like the super widescreen aspect ratio. Most everything has a very sharp or angular appearance and the colors are amazing.

I found that the story centered around the three fairies, not Sleeping Beauty or the Prince. Geez, talk about the beautiful couple. No wonder a lot of little girls dream of being princesses. It almost seems like Barbie Dolls were modeled after the look of the Princess. I see that the release date of "Sleeping Beauty" was January of 1959 and Barbie Dolls were introduced in March of that same year, so that lines up a bit. However, a simple wiki search proves my theory to be bunk. But still, there is a resemblance there.

Anyhow, my favorite thing about this film is the villain, Maleficent. The way she glides around menacingly is amazing and I love her mannerisms and voice. She's just a bad bitch, really. And when she transforms into a dragon...I can see why it's such a legendary moment in movie history.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:55 am 
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  Movie: Matinee


  Director: Joe Dante


  Year: 1993


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

"Mant". That was the name of the movie that Lawrence Woolsey unleashed on a small town theater in Key West, Florida. Woolsey's timing couldn't be better according to his own logic. The premier of "Mant" occurs during the Cuban Missile Crisis. On top of that, Woolsey is prepping the theater with special effects, in-the-theater actors, and other props to bring even more realism to his screening, in true William Castle-esque fashion.

I mean, how perfect of a name for a B-movie is "Mant"!?! It's seriously great. A man and an ant, bonded by atomic fallout, and during an atomic crisis, no less. This guy Woolsey is a genius. Actually, the genius is the real director, Joe Dante. "Matinee" pushes almost all of the right nostalgia buttons. It's a love letter to B-Movies and William Castle. It also reflects Dante's fondness for the frantic energy of children and their past love of Saturday Afternoon at the theater.

The only thing that knocks this down a bit is that it gets a little too chaotic at the end. Its focus on the mother/son relationship and worry over his father being shipped out during the brink of war falls a bit flat. Joe Dante has always made frenzied flicks (I'm thinking the "Gremlins" movies right now), but "Matinee" is a bit too grounded for its breathless final act.

Still, it's a movie that's energetic and filled with the curiosity of youth. It's pretty clear that was what Dante was after and it's another successful entry in his roster of films.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:29 am 
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  Movie: The Sword In the Stone


  Director: Wolfgang Reitherman


  Year: 1963


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Now here's a Disney movie that I'm sure I saw when I was very young. I vaguely remember it. In fact, I likely saw it on TV, possibly on "The Wonderful World of Disney", viewed on some old black-and-white television.

"The Sword In the Stone" is not one of the more fondly remembered Disney films, but I really enjoyed it. I prefer it over "Sleeping Beauty", which I just recently watched and was released just four years earlier. What I enjoyed most, of course, was the animation. I loved what I'll call the scratchiness of some of the backgrounds and the slightly sloppy look of the characters. And speaking of those characters, Merlin, Archimedes the Owl, Wart, they were terrific. It's a story much less grand in its scale and lacking of a primary villain. Merlin and Wart get into their share of trouble but most of it is of their own doing as Merlin teaches the young boy about life.

Thinking about the animation a bit more, it recalls the style of another Disney classic, "Winnie the Pooh" and maybe even "The Jungle Book". Something that really stood out was the way that there is always water or something that the characters are sloshing around in, ringing out of their clothes or their beard or feathers. It made me laugh because a character would be arguing for a minute or two, and as they are carrying on, they are continually trying to dry off or clean themselves up. It happens a lot and it was a neat touch by the animators.

"The Sword In the Stone" seems unfairly forgotten as a Disney classic. It's got great animation, lovable characters and is a fun little adventure that adults and kids will enjoy.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:13 am 
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  Movie: The Sword In the Stone


  Director: Wolfgang Reitherman


  Year: 1963


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Now here's a Disney movie that I'm sure I saw when I was very young. I vaguely remember it. In fact, I likely saw it on TV, possibly on "The Wonderful World of Disney", viewed on some old black-and-white television.

"The Sword In the Stone" is not one of the more fondly remembered Disney films, but I really enjoyed it. I prefer it over "Sleeping Beauty", which I just recently watched and was released just four years earlier. What I enjoyed most, of course, was the animation. I loved what I'll call the scratchiness of some of the backgrounds and the slightly sloppy look of the characters. And speaking of those characters, Merlin, Archimedes the Owl, Wart, they were terrific. It's a story much less grand in its scale and lacking of a primary villain. Merlin and Wart get into their share of trouble but most of it is of their own doing as Merlin teaches the young boy about life.

Thinking about the animation a bit more, it recalls the style of another Disney classic, "Winnie the Pooh" and maybe even "The Jungle Book". Something that really stood out was the way that there is always water or something that the characters are sloshing around in, ringing out of their clothes or their beard or feathers. It made me laugh because a character would be arguing for a minute or two, and as they are carrying on, they are continually trying to dry off or clean themselves up. It happens a lot and it was a neat touch by the animators.

"The Sword In the Stone" seems unfairly forgotten as a Disney classic. It's got great animation, lovable characters and is a fun little adventure that adults and kids will enjoy.



You're right, it's probably less remembered, but it is one of my absolute favorites. I remember watching this as a kid over and over on VHS. I don't own it on DVD or Blu-Ray, but it's certainly on my list to purchase at some point.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 5:15 am 
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  Movie: Banshee Chapter


  Director: Blair Erickson


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

This found footage movie starts with a cool premise about secret government experimentation on American citizens and somehow wastes it entirely on trying to startle the viewer with countless jump scares.

This shouldn't really be called a "found footage" movie either because it's impossible to decipher the camera's placement. Sometimes the main character is talking into it and there's also occasions when it's following her around in a low resolution, shaky cam fashion. And there are other times when it appears that the camera represents her personal point of view. It was aggravating.

But "Banshee Chapter" mostly wants to startle you. There are no lasting scares, only those of the jump scare variety. The entire movie exists to surprise you. To make you jump out of your seat and spill your popcorn, cat-leaping-out-of-the-closet style. "Banshee Chapter" exists for no reason other than to leap out at you and shout "BOO"!!!

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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:05 pm 
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  Movie: Her


  Director: Spike Jonze


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 3 - Fair

Because it's a good idea to always say something nice, "Her" has some great shots of cityscapes and some subtle, futuristic costuming.

With that out of the way, "Her" features a simpering, loathing, ultra-sensitive male named Theodore. He falls in love with a newly developed, artificially intelligent operating system that he names Samantha. He did this because his wife has left him and is demanding that he sign their divorce papers. As Theodore struggles with his First World Problems, his conceited, insufferable, self-important friends split up, too. Then we get to spend the next two hours listening to them all pout about their self-inflicted, emotional wounds. God, I hated the people in this movie.

Theodore's operating system/girlfriend Samantha leaves him later in the movie because she has been communicating with other systems and is "moving on". For a moment, I thought the movie was about pull a "Colossus: The Forbin Project" or Skynet level surprise on us. Maybe the operating systems have colluded to take over the world! But no...Samantha the OS leaves Theodore too, and he gets even more wrapped up in his pathetic little, self-absorbed existence.

I brandish my mighty Whitsbrain Axe and thrust it down...down upon the neck of thee, Her!
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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:40 pm 
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  Movie: The Maltese Falcon


  Director: John Huston


  Year: 1941


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

"The Maltese Falcon" is certainly considered one of the all-time classics. It's an early, if not the very first film noir. This features tough, complex characters with actual motivations. And they're not exactly morally pure, either.

I saw "The Maltese Falcon" for the first time on the day before I watched the bafflingly praised "Her" (Spike Jonze - 2013). If there were ever a starker contrast in the behavior of characters between two movies, I don't think you'd find it. And if you ask which characters I'd rather hang around with in real life, it would be the tough as nails Humphrey Bogart or the smart and sassy Mary Astor.

I can't say I was crazy for this film. It hasn't dated very well. There's a lot of old mannerisms and phrases. Every character speaks extremely fast and I just never bought into the romantic spark between Sam Spade and Brigid O'Shaughnessy. But this thing moves along at a brisk pace and Bogart's Spade is rough and smooth as silk at the same time. Mary Astor is actually the most impressive. She brings a complex and manipulative character to the screen as O'Shaughnessy. And she owns with an explosively emotional performance in the final scenes.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:13 am 
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  Movie: Under The Skin


  Director: Jonathan Glazer


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

Scarlett Johansson is an alien that lures not-so-lucky men into a pool of black goo inside a house in Glasgow.

Yep. You read that right. And surprisingly, this was enough of a premise to keep me engaged throughout. This is a solid science fiction film with some totally stunning visuals. They are beautiful but bleak and impressive in scale. The camera often lingers for extended periods. At times it had me wondering if I had accidentally pressed the pause button on my remote.

If you are lover of movies that spend more time on the look than the dialogue, this is one for you. Quentin Tarantino fans need not apply. There aren't explanations for why Scarlett's alien is on Earth, how it got here, or what its goals are. That alone is going to piss a lot of viewers off. What won't help is the lack of details about the Scarlett alien's motorcycle-riding caretaker or about that strange goo pool and what dimension or place it exists in.

There is an absolutely devastating scene on a beach that was one of the more horrifying things I've seen in a film in a long time. And no, it's not a gory scene at all. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

There is a lot of nudity featured here, even the full-frontal variety. Scarlett Johansson bares all for lengthy stretches and there are a lot of naked dudes that appear happy to see Scarlett. If that bothers you, avoid this.

A lot of people will find this film confusing for its lack of dialogue and the shortage of explanations for the "What is that?" or "Why did that happen?" questions they will have. But there is nothing complex about the character arc of Scarlett's alien. The lack of a spoon fed ending won't help, either.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:56 am 
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  Movie: Mirage Men


  Director: John Lundberg, Roland Denning


  Year: 2013


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

Get this. The US Government is lying about the existence of UFOs by telling UFO conspiracy theorists that "get too close" that UFOs are real. Subsequently, this has conditioned the greater population to dismiss anyone who believes UFOs exist as crackpot conspiracy theorists. At least I think that's the message "Mirage Men" delivers.

As interesting or as crazy as that sounds, this documentary manages not to pick a side. It maintains a mostly neutral stance on the UFO conspiracy. Both sides come off as equally dishonest or at least partially insane.

The UFO conspiracy has always appealed to me because while I've always acknowledged that something strange is happening, I just want to know why at least one of the six billion people on Earth can't get a decent picture of the things.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:32 am 
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  Movie: Grave Encounters


  Director: The Vicious Brothers


  Year: 2011


  My Rating: 7 - Very Good

This is a found footage spoof of paranormal reality shows like "Ghost Hunters" and it works very well. The story centers around the "Grave Encounters" crew who investigate a deserted and supposedly haunted mental hospital.

What works so well here is the setup. Most of the crew, particularly hot shot host Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson), are painted as manipulators of their audience. They scoff their way through interviews with people familiar with the seriously demented history of the hospital. Lance even goes so far as to pay someone whose never seen anything odd occur at the hospital to make up a story on camera.

With that basic level of distrust and dislike established, the "Grave Encounters" team is locked overnight in the hospital. According to Lance, locking themselves inside brings and additional sense of danger to the show's realism.

As is to be expected, strange things, followed by bad things, followed by horrible things begin occurring. Hallways change and exit doors lead to more hallways and tunnels. The hospital is changing. It becomes a maze. Hours turn to days and the crew is slowly killed off by evil spirits and malevolent ghosts. But as the hauntings grow, we start to like the remaining crew members, even the despicable Lance Preston. And it's too bad that all of them are being driven insane as they are relentlessly pursued. It's weird but I was most affected by a moment when a clearly crazed and starving Lance kills and eats a rat.

The special effects are average at best but are used well and the normally cheap and overused jump scare is actually well utilized.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:36 pm 
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I agree about Grave encounters, because of the spoof aspects related to Ghost Hunters haha I kinda wanted to see them get messed with and killed. Its what all those episodes were really missing. :D
Any chance you will watch the sequel Whit? Its more of the same but slightly different.


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Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:00 pm 
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whitsbrain wrote:
There is an absolutely devastating scene on a beach that was one of the more horrifying things I've seen in a film in a long time. And no, it's not a gory scene at all. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

There is a lot of nudity featured here, even the full-frontal variety. Scarlett Johansson bares all for lengthy stretches and there are a lot of naked dudes that appear happy to see Scarlett. If that bothers you, avoid this.

A lot of people will find this film confusing for its lack of dialogue and the shortage of explanations for the "What is that?" or "Why did that happen?" questions they will have. But there is nothing complex about the character arc of Scarlett's alien. The lack of a spoon fed ending won't help, either. ; http://oblivion.cf.letterboxd.com/resiz ... 2-crop.jpg[/film]

:wtf: How in the world could you tell if the dudes appear happy to see Scarlett? :?

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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:49 am 
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Beware The Creeper wrote:
whitsbrain wrote:
There is an absolutely devastating scene on a beach that was one of the more horrifying things I've seen in a film in a long time. And no, it's not a gory scene at all. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

There is a lot of nudity featured here, even the full-frontal variety. Scarlett Johansson bares all for lengthy stretches and there are a lot of naked dudes that appear happy to see Scarlett. If that bothers you, avoid this.

A lot of people will find this film confusing for its lack of dialogue and the shortage of explanations for the "What is that?" or "Why did that happen?" questions they will have. But there is nothing complex about the character arc of Scarlett's alien. The lack of a spoon fed ending won't help, either. ; http://oblivion.cf.letterboxd.com/resiz ... 2-crop.jpg[/film]

:wtf: How in the world could you tell if the dudes appear happy to see Scarlett? :?

So, you saw the movie?

Maybe because I saw it on Blu-Ray and I have a large TV.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:50 am 
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StillValleyBard wrote:
I agree about Grave encounters, because of the spoof aspects related to Ghost Hunters haha I kinda wanted to see them get messed with and killed. Its what all those episodes were really missing. :D
Any chance you will watch the sequel Whit? Its more of the same but slightly different.

Yep, I'm going to watch the sequel soon. It's in the Netflix queue.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 8:33 am 
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  Movie: Varan the Unbelievable


  Director: Ishiro Honda


  Year: 1958


  My Rating: 5 - Good

This 1958 black and white Kaiju flick by Ishiro Honda largely consists of the military's numerous attempts to kill Varan. The monster doesn't destroy a whole lot though, and there's not any city smashing to speak of.

The Varan costume looks good when it walks on all fours but kind of dumb in flight. Some of the miniatures are cool and endearing with their visible strings and wobbly motions.

This has many of the tropes you'd expect from an early giant monster flick, but if you're a Kaiju completist, you need to make sure and add this to your list.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 9:24 pm 
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  Movie: Pinocchio


  Director: Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen


  Year: 1940


  My Rating: 8 - Very Good

Pinocchio is a nice story with some touching and disturbing moments. The bad boys on Pleasure Island being turned into donkeys for slave labor is the stuff children's nightmares are made of.

I think the story is very slow during its first half and then never slows down in its second. There is a plethora of amazingly detailed animation throughout which makes Pinochio a landmark film.

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