Sunday, June 29, 2014

Curse of The Dragon Slayer AKA Saga: Curse of The Shadow (2013)

When I saw the cover art for "Curse of The Dragon Slayer", images popped in my head of every generic fantasy B movie I have seen over the years. At a closer look, the plot really didn't sound like it involved dragons at all, which usually is a bad sign considering the title. Despite the potential of wasting time on it, I gave it a watch and I have to say I was actually surprised with how good it turned out to be.

Plot Summary: Medieval knight Keltus and elfin bounty hunter Nemyt trail a sinister secret cult conspiring to unleash the god of the undead from the underworld.

I'll admit the generic sounding plot didn't help stop my initial fears about this movie, but my thoughts changed within the first few minutes of watching. Yes it is still a simple and straightforward story, and yes it has all the cliches you would expect from a fantasy film, but to be honest that's kinda what made it so fun. This film felt like a role playing game come to life and it embraced it and turned a simple by the book fantasy tale into a fun and exciting film.

The acting is hit or miss, but for the most part the actors did a great job of bringing their characters to life. While personally I found Richard McWilliams performance as Keltus felt bland at times,  Danielle Chuchran and Paul D. Hunt as Nemyt and Kullimon impressed me. They made their roles feel more unique and they stand out in a film with so many generic characters. The biggest issue I had was the actors playing the villains, none really stood out to me and just felt like that had no impact or importance in the film, so I didn't really care enough to remember them.

I loved how this film felt like you were watching a Role playing game unfold. It had the epic feeling to it that made it fun to follow each of the steps of the films heroes quest and you actually cared what happened to them. It's something I really feel is missing from most fantasy films these days, as they go the route of having more characters instead of focusing on a smaller number of them and actually making you get invested into them and their stories.

There was really only one thing I disliked about the film, but it didn't really hurt my enjoyment, and that was the generic side characters. They felt like the stereotypical characters you would find in a fantasy setting, but oddly I feel that actually helped the film make the 3 main characters more memorable and stand out that much more.

Overall if you're looking for a big budget blockbuster fantasy film, you can look somewhere else. Curse of The Dragon Slayer however is a well produced film when you consider the budget it had since it was a kickstarter funded project. I can honestly say I had more fun with this film than I did with the recent Hobbit films. So if you're looking for a film that captures the spirit of old Dungeons & Dragons games or just want a fun fantasy film to view, I think Curse of The Dragon Slayer is a very solid choice.

Verdict: An enjoyable fantasy film, well worth the time to view.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Netflix Recommendations (June 12 2014)

Looking for something to watch? Here are some of my picks currently streaming on Netflix..


Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy- An outstanding documentary that takes a look at the the Nightmare on Elm Street series, as well as how it helped build New Line Cinema into the power house studio it is today. With cast interviews and behind the scenes footage, Its a must watch for fans of the franchise and horror films in general.


Star Trek: Enterprise - While I never was a big fan of Star Trek, this series actually grabbed my interest. It not only shows the human race's desire for adventure and exploration, it does so in a manner that is exciting and fun. With a great cast of actors lead by Scott Bakula and Jolene Blalock this one is worth giving a chance, even for general Sci Fi fans.


Drunken Master- This is one that I've only recently viewed, but I have to say out of all the Jackie Chan films I've watched this might be my favorite. It has fast paced action and the humor you can expect from Chan's films, but also a great story with a ton of stand out characters. Definitely worth the time to view it.


Sneakers- Don't let the unusual name mislead you, Sneakers is an espionage comedy about a group of security experts who are blackmailed into stealing an encoding device from Russian agents. It has great actors including Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd and Ben Kingsley. It's mix of comedy, action and drama makes Sneakers fun and entertaining from beginning to end.


Reign Over Me- This film tells the story of a man grieving the loss of his family from the 9/11 attacks and how reconnecting with his old college roommate starts the healing process. With outstanding performances by Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler this movie is both interesting and thought provoking and in my opinion it's definitely worth checking out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Netflix 5 Star Challenge: Stitches

The tale of a clown killed by little kids, who then comes back from the grave to kill them as teens.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Battle of The Damned (2013)

Dolph Lundgren stars in "Battle of The Damned", which tells the story of a group of survivors stranded in a city filled with zombies as they attempt to escape. we live in a time were zombie movies are insanely popular to make, specifically in the direct to video market. Is there anything that really sets this movie apart, or is it just another generic film filed with the undead?

Plot Summary (from IMDB): Following a deadly viral outbreak, private military soldier Max Gatling leads a handful of survivors and a ragtag band of robots against an army of the infected.

The plot, for what it is, was decently entertaining. Sure aside from the addition of robots it follows the zombie movie formula closely with all the stereotyped characters you would expect. It was actually more interesting than most of the movies of the genre that are released. The idea of throwing the robots in really was unique and I feel it made an already good film even better. It has a few twists and turns, one of which I was actually a little surprised by. The story isn't perfect, but it was good enough that it held my interest without getting boring.

The acting is where this film lacks the most in my opinion. Lundgren plays his part well as Max Gatling , a mercenary, which is right up his alley as an action movie vet. Melanie Zanetti was alright as Jude, there were points where she annoyed me, but that's just my opinion. Matt Doran played Reese, who I hated at first but his performance makes the character more likable over time. The rest of the cast includes David Field, Jen Sung, Lydia look and Oda Maria. They ranged from over acting (Field) to dull (Maria)

This film did something unusual for a zombie film which I really liked: it didn't focus on survival. Instead the film was driven more towards action, which was a great choice. Too many zombie movies focus on the survival aspects of the zombie apocalypse, and it gets boring since they do a bad job with it most times. Having more action sets this film apart and makes it more entertaining than the rest of the crowd.

There was one thing that bothered me about this film though, the characters were too generic. Hell, Lundgren's character had one of the most generic sounding names for a mercenary that I have ever heard. Luckily it worked with Dolph, but with another actor I may have found  it hard to take a character named "Max Gatling" seriously. None of the characters really stood out, which is normal for a film like this, but they really had no personality aside from the main trio of characters. This makes it hard to really care when one of them is killed, thus making their deaths almost meaningless.

At a glance you might say this film looks like a mess that should be avoided. I say that really depends on how you answer this question : does the idea of robots kicking zombie ass sound awesome or stupid to you? Personally I loved the idea because it was something different in a genre that I love. Little things like this can spice up a movie and make it more fun to watch, as well as break the normal routine. It's not a perfect film by any means, but I found it to be an entertaining one despite its flaws.

Verdict: Like zombies? Like robots? If the answer is yes then check this out!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ambushed (2013)


Dolph Lundgren stars in Ambushed, a film that tells the story of a group of drug dealers and the DEA agents trying to take them down. With a great cast also including Vinnie Jones and Randy Couture, this film has some potential. Does it live up to it, or fall short?

Plot Summary: As a veteran DEA operative closes in on an international cocaine-smuggling ring, the case becomes personal when a fellow agent ends up in danger.

The plot itself has its share of interesting points, but it also has more issues. It's a bit messy with the almost constant change of characters the film is focusing on at certain points.I feel as if the film could have done with out the two drug dealers and instead had more focus on the drug kingpin at the center of the ring. It would have given more time to flesh out the DEA agents characters as well as the kingpin's and it would have made you get more invested in the story and care about what happens to the characters. I really feel this would have improved the film greatly, but it is what it is. As is the film's plot is average, but passable.

The acting in the film was great in my opinion. I particularly love Dolph Lundgren in this type of role since it allows him to not only show his acting ability, but also display his martial arts skills . Vinnie Jones was barely in the film with about 10 minutes of screen time total, but when he is on screen it's entertaining. Randy Couture was good considering how few films he as done in his acting career. At times he does have a wooden delivery, but he does have some great moments in the film, particularly the darker scenes with his character and the fight scenes and also really plays off of Lundgren in their shared scenes.. My main complaint with the acting is Gianni Capaldi and Daniel Bonjour as drug dealers Eddie and Frank. most of their scenes they feel annoying and just don't come across as interesting to me.

There were a few things I liked about this movie, most notably were the fight scenes.If there's one thing you would expect an action film with actors Lundgren and Couture to have its good fight scenes, and this movie doesn't disappoint...for the most part. Despite being few and far between and a little too fast paced, the scenes were good. The action in general was good in the film, from the shoot outs to the brawls and its definitely a highlight of the film in my opinion. I also feel that I should note that I really liked the scene transitions used in the film, it made the changes to other characters less annoying at points.

The one thing that I really disliked about this film was that it felt too bloated with characters. Had the film been longer than an hour and thirty six minutes it may have worked, but its too short for all that story and it just feels crowded. You don't get enough exposure to some characters and too much to others.

Overall I feel its not a great film, but it's decent for what it is. It has a bare bones plot, some good performances and some average ones. If you can get past the films shortcomings you might enjoy it, but really unless you're a big Dolph Lundgren fan you can give this one a pass in my opinion.

Verdict: Potentially good movie that turned into a jumbled mess.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Netflix Recommendations (March 6th 2014)

Welcome to the first installment of Netflix Recommendations, where I pick movies available on Netflix streaming that I feel are worth watching. Today we have a little of everything from comedy, action, horror and science fiction. In the future I may do some genre specific posts, but for now enjoy these great films!

Comedy: Hit and Run

 Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell star in Hit and Run, which surprisingly went under my radar when it first came out. The films plot centers around Charles Bronson, a man who ignores the fact that he is in witness protection in order to get his Fiance to L.A. for a huge job opportunity. Along the way all hell breaks loose and the chase is on with not only the feds, but also Bronson's old running buddies. It's a fun movie and it was apparent to me that Dax not only had fun making this movie but that it was a labor of love for him. With a great cast and a ton of laughs and action, I'd say this is worth a watch.

Action: Bounty Killer:

Bounty killer is one of those movies which at first glance looks like a waste of time, but it was actually an entertaining action film. The film takes place in a post apocalyptic world  where business tycoons are brought to justice by bounty killers, since the rich were seen as the cause of the collapse of civilization. I won't ruin the plot since there was a good story to the film, but Bounty Killer is one of the most fun action films I've seen in some time. It's got a little bit of everything: comedy, drama , action and a bit of romance just like every great form of entertainment does.

Horror: Night of The Living Dead (1990)

This 1990 remake of the classic zombie film is notable for two reasons. First its a damn good remake, it's also a film which can stand on its own. This is a tale about a group of survivors in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania, trying to stay alive as the dead rise from the grave. While its similar to the original in many ways, there were enough plot and character tweaks to make it feel fresh. I would actually say that this film is superior to the original in many ways. With great effects and story telling you might want to check this out, especially if you're a fan of zombie films or even just horror films in general.

Sci Fi / Fantasy: Dredd

To say I loved Dredd, would be an understatement. This movie was great, not just as  a comic book film but as an action movie in general. The plot of the film is simple, but its the kind of story you would see in the Judge Dredd comics and it's simply Judge Dredd vs. The Ma-Ma clan: a group of vicious thugs and drug dealers.  It has great acting from a cast including Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey. Most people didn't give this movie a chance because of the 1995 Judge Dredd movie, but I feel it's worth a look. If you're looking for an excellent action sci fi film, give Dredd a shot and you wont be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

RIP Harold Ramis

I was deeply saddened to hear the news that Harold Ramis passed away on Monday. He was a massive part of my childhood and teen years and he is part of the reason that I really fell in love with movies. He is one of the few actors/ directors/ writers who I can honestly say that I enjoyed their entire body of work, Harold also really helped shape my taste in comedy and humor

It didn't matter if he was in front or behind of the camera, Mr. Ramis always added his own special touch to any project he was a part of. His works are among many peoples favorite films, from Animal House and Ghostbusters to Vacation and Groundhog Day, people loved his films. That's one thing I have noticed about the films he acted, directed or wrote, they seemed to connect with people on several levels.

To me personally, the first time I was introduced to his work was from his role as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters. His performance was outstanding as the genius / mad scientist of the group and I loved every second of it. Growing up, I became more familiar with his other works suck as National Lampoon's Vacation and Stripes and it seemed like as I got older, I just seemed to appreciate his work more and more. Even to this day I still consider him one of the best comic actors / writers of the last 50 years. My condolences go out to Harold Ramis's family and friends.

"Life doesn't care about your vision. You just gotta roll with it."- Harold Ramis (as Ben's father in Knocked Up)