Friday, January 16, 2015

Netflix Recommendations (January 16th 2014)

Looking for something to watch this weekend? Heres a few things that I've enjoyed watching recently on Netflix!

The Rocketeer - Pilot Cliff Secord finds a jet pack stashed in his plane, and decides to use it to make some money in a stunt show. Cliff doesn't know that there are people looking for it with more sinister plans in mind. A fun action adventure film from the early 90's which had everything you look for in an exciting movie: thrills, drama and a great story. Adapted from the comics of the same name, it was released to modest success but only recently has it attained classic status. Definitely a film well worth the time spent watching it.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure- When high school underachievers Bill and Ted are told they will either ace their year end presentation or flunk out, they are given the aid of a time traveling phone booth. While the 80's had already given us "Back To The Future", this film stands apart for not being too serious. It has laughs as well as it's share of stupid moments, but it's entertaining all the way through.

The Wolf of Wallstreet- The story of the rise and fall of stock broker Jordan Belfort and his company Stratton Oakmont over the course of the late 80's and early 90's. It's a story thats been done before many times, but Leonardo DiCaprio brings a ton of charm and humor to his character that makes this one fun to watch. It may not be for everyone, but if you want something like a cross between "Wallstreet" and "American Psycho" you may want to check this out.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker- Often referred to as the father of the "X Files", this series follows reporter Carl Kolchak as he investigates many supernatural and mysterious crimes involving everything from zombies to Jack The Ripper. It's an unusual series that despite only lasting one season, has had a ton of impact and staying power.

The Living Daylights- Timothy Dalton stars as James Bond in a film where Bond must protect a defecting Soviet general from a beautiful sniper. This was one of the first Bond film's I saw and it's also my favorite. It took a tired out old series that had become joke and revitalized it for a new generation. With great performances and thrills, The Living Daylights delivers on all levels.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Netflix Recommendations (12-15-14)

Knights Of Badassdom (2013) - an odd little movie that had its release date pushed back a few times to the point where most people never expected it to see the light of day, Knights Of Badassdom was quite the surprise for me. It's a movie about a group of friends who are live action role players, who soon find themselves fighting for their lives when they summon a demon. Sure some of the jokes did feel a little too cheesy, but really it fit the film. It's a great film to watch if you're looking for something off the wall and fun

Olympus Has Fallen (2013) - A disgraced secret service agent must come to the rescue when Korean terrorists descend on the White House and take the president hostage. I wont lie, this movie is exactly what it appears to be: Die Hard with Gerard Butler, but in reality thats all it needed to be. With great acting from Butler and fun action sequences, you may want to check out Olympus Has Fallen if you want a little excitement.

Lilyhammer- After turning state's evidence against a powerful Mafia boss, former gangster Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano trades the mean streets of New York for the icy fjords of Norway. The relative calm suits him at first. But it's not long before Frank's ruthless methods resurface, stirring the suspicions of his next-door neighbor, the chief of police.  It's a quirky little show with great actors and a good story. With the newest season just recently released, it's a great time to check out Lilyhammer.

Galaxy Quest(1999)- Decades after the success of a sci-fi series, the show's washed-up stars are recruited by actual aliens to pull off an intergalactic rescue mission. One of the films that I rarely hear people mention, Galaxy Quest is a fun sci fi comedy that pokes fun at not only the actors of cult tv shows, but the fans as well. The story is predictable, but still entertaining. The cast works like a well oiled machine and they play off one another really well, especially Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver. If you're looking for a hilarious adventure, check out Galaxy Quest.

Red Dawn (1984)- Made towards the end of the Cold War, Red Dawn is a film about a group of teenagers who survive Soviet and Cuban paratroopers descending on their small Colorado town and systematically setting off World War III. It stars then up and coming stars Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey. The story may seem ridiculous now, and the effects may be dated, but if you're looking for some action, you can do a lot worse than Red Dawn.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fright Night (1985)

Fright Night
Released: 1985
Director: Tom Holland
Starring: Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Roddy McDowall

Plot (taken from IMDB):  For young Charlie Brewster, nothing could be better than an old horror movie late at night. Two men move in next door, and for Charlie with his horror movie experience, there can be no doubt that their strange behavior is explained by the fact that they are a vampire and his undead day guardian. The only one who can help him hunt them down is a washed-up actor, Peter Vincent, who hosts Charlie's favorite TV show, Fright Night. Vincent doesn't really believe that vampires exist, but does it for the money... 

Story wise, Fright Night is damn near perfect. It came out at a time when, as the Peter Vincent character put it, people "prefer a movie where a masked loony kills virgins". At the time this was true, with movies like "Friday the 13th" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" dominating the box office. This story knew what it had to be, and it capitalized on its strengths. It has a good story flow as well, there were no dull points, and there was always something happening on screen. 

The cast of the film is as great as its plot. An actor like Chris Sarandon playing a vampire was perfect. He could be charming one minute, and intimidating the next. William Ragsdale did a great job as teenager Charley Brewster and Roddy McDowall brought an old school Hollywood feel to the Peter Vincent character, which made it feel authentic and added quite a bit to the film. My one complaint with the cast was Amanda Bearse, at times her performance felt forced and it hurt a few scenes in my opinion.

For its time, Fright Night also had some great effects. They didn't look too cheesy and were well done. Also it's interesting to note that the prosthetics used for Amy's vampire form were originally going to be used for the library ghost in Ghostbusters, but was decided against as it wouldn't fit the tone of the film. 

Fright Night is my favorite vampire film of all time. I would go so far as to say that it's the best vampire film of the 80's, with  "The Lost Boys" coming in at a close second. It's the best kind of horror film, because it's fun even when its scary. If you haven't seen it, check it out. 

Final Verdict: king of 80's vampire films


Monday, October 27, 2014

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2011)

Released: April 28th 2011
Director: Kevin Munroe
Starring: Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Anita Briem, Taye Diggs

Plot: Supernatural detective Dylan Dog is called out of retirement to track down a valuable artifact before vampires get a hold of it and unleash its power.

The story of "Dead of Night" is actually pretty interesting and has several elements that make it fun to watch. The idea that theres a single person that was hired to keep peace between the zombies, vampires and werewolves is a pretty cool idea for a story. I can't compare it to the comic books as I have never read a single page of it, but from a film viewers standpoint I feel this film hit the points it was aiming for story wise.

This film also has a solid cast from a performance point of view. When he is brought up, Brandon Routh is always looked at as a "boring actor" but in my eyes he is anything but. He has a great chemistry with all of the actors in the film, especially Sam Huntington who plays his sidekick. The entire cast worked like a well oiled machine I can't think of a single performance from this film that I thought was bad.

One big highlight from the film was the creature effects on the various vampires, zombies and werewolves. All of the effects were great, but the one that really stood out to me was the effects on the zombies. The effects range from subtle with hazed eyes and decaying skin, to the more extreme "hulked up" zombies. 

I'll admit, when I bought this film a few years ago I was skeptical about it. Once I watched it though I had a fun time with it. It's a shame this film didn't perform so well at the box office, I would have loved to have seen where the story could have gone with a sequel. It's not a perfect film, but the fun aspects of the film made it really easy to overlook its negative points. If you overlooked this one, or didn't even know it existed, you should check it out if you're looking for a good horror/ buddy comedy.

Final Verdict: Enjoyable horror comedy