Sunday, December 23, 2012

End of the World Movies

Now that we know that the Mayans were wrong and the world is not going to end / change in some drastic way, we can celebrate! What better way to celebrate than watching some movies that deal with the end of the world /Judgement day/Armageddon , what ever you want to call it. Here is a list of some of my favorites.

2012 - As I type this , 2012 is actually on television. This 2009 film starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet is one hell of a special effects movie. Now it can be filed under comedy I suppose, but its still an entertaining movie to just shut your brain off and enjoy it for what it is.

Ghostbusters - Might seem like an odd choice but the main villain of the film, Gozer is summoned to bring about the end of the world, so it counts! The cast is a perfect combination of actors , all feeding and playing off one another making this one of the best films of the 1980's if not of all time.

I Am Legend - Not so much a film about the end of the world as it is about the end of humanity. Still an entertaining tale of one mans survival in New York city after the entire human race is wiped out by a virus. Will Smith does an excellent job in the film, carrying about 3/4 of it by himself as the only human character for a majority of the movie. I would also recommend the other two films based on the book "I Am Legend", The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man.

Armageddon / Deep Impact - These two films have similar plots and were released roughly around the same time. An asteroid / comet is heading to earth and unless its destroyed everything on the planet is dead.

Personally I prefer Armageddon since its a more of a fast paced film. Featuring a great cast including Bruce Willis , Ben Affleck and the late Michael Clarke Duncan. Michael Bay directed the movie, so you know there will be tons of action and explosions happening.

 Deep Impact focused more on the story and had less of an emphasis on action. It had a great cast including Robert Duvall, Elijah Wood and Tea Leoni. You cant really go wrong with either film.

The Day After Tomorrow- Another good special effects movie, but also with a good story. While it deals with the climate changes to the world , it also focuses on one mans journey to find his son who is trapped in the storm. It may seem like a boring plot but the action and special effects in the movie more than makes up for the basic story.

These are just my favorites , there are a ton of other movies out there with different themes. You have aliens in Mars Attacks and Independence Day, Zombies in Dawn of the Dead and The earth itself in movies like The Core. Surprising we like to make so many movies about our world ending, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Film Review: Darkman

While searching the local Walmart to see if there were any good movies on the cheap, I found the Darkman trilogy for only 5 dollars. Darkman was one of those films I grew up seeing my brother watch and think "that's lame" then I'd go about my business. As I got older I began to look at films differently and let me tell you this film is a gem in my opinion.

First let me say that Sam Raimi did an amazing job with the film. Its even based on a short story of his. Since the studio was unable to secure the rights to the shadow or batman, Raimi made his own superhero. While it may not be as well known as Spiderman or The Flash, this film and its sequels have gained quite a cult following over the years.

While there are obvious parallels to films like Robocop, its more of an homage than rip off from what I've seen. The story is fairly basic but effective. Dr. Peyton Westlake is a scientist working on a technique to synthesize skin and is on the verge of a major breakthrough. That is until the Villain of the film, Robert Durant   kills him, or at least thinks he does. Instead he brings about the changes to Westlake that turns him into Darkman. Equal parts scientist,monster and hero he sets out on a path of revenge against Durant and his goons.

Like i said basic plot but what makes this so interesting is the unstable nature of the character. Liam Neeson played this character to a T with the facial expressions and the tones he just did an outstanding job. Just take a look at this scene from the film, you see the change in the character and his surroundings. Subtle at first not wanting to alarm or frighten his girlfriend, but towards the end it gets intense and he just snaps. Going from one extreme to the other takes great skill, Neeson's ability shines here.

 Larry Drake portrays Robert G.Durant, a ruthless mob boss with a sadistic nature. Durant's trademark is to sever his victims fingers off with a cigar cutter and collect them as trophy's. He treats killing people like its just day to day business, with an almost calm attitude about it and it was pulled off masterfully in this film by Drake.

With a great supporting cast , great makeup and special effects Darkman is what I consider a total package of a film. With its sometimes surreal atmosphere and darker tone, this one a must see for fans of superhero or just plain old action movies. Definitely check it out!

Final Grade: B+


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fun Halloween movies part 2

Part two of my favorite Films to watch during the Halloween season. Just a reminder these are in not particular order.

Recap from part one - Elvira Mistress of the Dark , Monster squad, Leprechaun and Hocus Pocus.

Freddy vs Jason-Now here is a movie that really had an interesting premise, what happens when two titans of terror go head to head? who will win and who will lose? well the fans won with what I feel was a good film. Sure it wasn't the end all be all bad ass fight we were hoping for but it was fun to watch. Watching the two horror legends go at it made for one hell of a fun time and it makes me sad we never got a sequel or saw any spin offs.

The George Romero "Dead" Trilogy-The three films, "Night of the Living Dead" , "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the dead" are 3 of the best zombie movies ever made. They focus more on the people than the Zombies for the most part, but they are always a looming threat. That's not to say that there isn't plenty of gore, especially in "Day" which has some of the best special effects of any horror film zombie, or otherwise. It should be mentioned that they did do remakes of these films. The only two that are worth watching in my opinion are the "Night of the Living dead" remake helmed by Tom Savini, the special effects guy for Dawn and Day. The other is the Zack Snyder directed "Dawn of the dead" which was more about gore than the original , but still had solid story telling none the less.

Fright Night - Ah the 80's classic. Fright Night was one of the first films that made vampires seem "sexier" Casting Chris Sarandon as "Jerry Dandridge", the vampire of the film did just that. The plot is thrilling with great moments and the film is extremely entertaining to watch. The characters are all interesting and dynamic in their own ways, but Chris Sarandon stole the show in my opinion. Able to be charming one minute, then a vicious monster the next showed great depth on his part.

Killer Klowns from outer space - I remember seeing bits of this film as a kid . It never really struck me as being scary as much as it was funny. Seeing as its designated as a horror comedy , my judgement was right on the mark. A crazy story filled with some outlandish events and one crazy cast of characters . Killer Klowns will make you laugh and shock you at the same time , great film for this time of year.

Army of Darkness- The third film in the "Evil Dead" trilogy took the series back to medieval times. AoD continues the story of Ash, who finds him self being sucked into a portal which transports him back in time. The only way to return to his time is a spell which is hidden in the Necronomicon. Ash embarks on a quest to retrieve the book, but doesn't complete the actions as told and unleashes an evil army upon the earth. This one has tons of action and comedy , and that signature style of director Sam Raimi. Not to mention the acting talents of the legendary Bruce Campbell who reprises the role of Ash once again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fun Halloween movies part 1

Halloween is a fun time of year , for those young and old. You can have costume parties and take the kids trick or treating , and just have a great time over all. Personally one of the things i love to do this time of year is watch "scary" movies as well as some older favorites from my youth. So here's my List of my favorite films to watch this time of year (in no order).

 Elvira Mistress of the Dark - At first glance from the cover and poster for the movie , it appears to be a soft-core porn flick. In reality its really a great mix of cheesy horror and comedy. The plot is very basic and the acting isn't anything to brag about, but it doesn't stop the film from being entertaining. Definitely recommend for any fans of films that have a dark sense of humor.

Monster Squad - This is one of those films which could have been very, very bad.Thankfully it turned out great! I remember watching this movie when I was younger and thinking of how awesome it was. While technically this film was a flop, it is held with such high regard and people remember it very fondly. It was finally released a few years ago on dvd, and it still holds up in my opinion. Sure the music is a little dated , but its an outstanding movie to watch if you want a funny movie that blends just enough horror with the right amount of comedy.

The Leprechaun- On paper this has the potential to be a scary movie. What it ended up being is one of the funnier movies from the early 90s. This spawned a long series of movies, and practically launched a full genre of films featuring scary characters in a more humorous light. The first is still the best since it didn't try too hard like the sequels did, plus it was Jennifer Aniston's break out film....what a way to start.

Hocus Pocus- Now this might not have monsters or be scary in any sense of the word , but its a fairly entertaining film for both young and old alike. There are a ton of plot holes in the film, but despite that fact, its still a fun movie to watch during the Halloween season, and will more than likely be on television. As a side note , this is the first and only time Sarah Jessica Parker looked attractive >.>

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Brainsmasher:a love story - Review

One night I was browsing the selection of new comedies on Netflix, and this popped up. At first I didn't know what to think, it has Teri Hatcher and Andrew dice clay as the main characters.This is one of those "opposites attract" type films, which were really popular in the late 80's and early 90's but unlike most of the pairs in those films Dice and Hatcher actually have chemistry together.

The plot, as outlandish as it is was fairly entertaining. The story goes that there is a mystical flower that a botanist finds and sends to her sister to bring to her. Her sister (Teri Hatcher) brings her the flower , but doesnt give it to her as its hidden outside, claiming she "forgot it". Well her sister didnt mention that there were monks, who everyone refers to as ninjas (the big running joke of the film), who want the flower for its ability to unlock "the ultimate power". She escapes with her sister, they split up and she runs into andrew dice clay , a bouncer known as "Brain smasher" and this is where the film takes off.

The action is pretty decent for what it is, with Dice's character being a bouncer and being more of a street fighter vs the martial arts used by the monks. It's explained that Dice's character, Ed Molloy, doesn't like to use guns sayings "theres no honor in it". So he takes on the monks hand to hand and it leads to some fairly decent fight scenes. Nothing too spectacular but it gets the job done for the film and doesn't hold it back.

where this film really shines in my opinion is Dice's delivery of jokes. For a comedy with a standup comedian in it , thats the one thing you would expect to work , and it does.The one liners, and how he interacts with his parents alone are funny as hell. Sure the rest of the dialog and interaction between dice and hatcher is corny, but even at its worst I found it to be fairly entertaining.

My only real complaint with the film was its over use of the "tossing the guy through a door" stunt. I know most action / martial arts films use this cliche, but damn there were so many fake doors in this film that they threw people thought that I'd swear they got some kinda deal on em or just stumbled on a warehouse full of em. They aren't even the good kind of "fake doors" they are clearly made of light weight balsa wood.

Overall this film is fairly decent for what it is: a B movie romantic comedy. Sure the acting isn't Oscar worthy and the dialog is extremely corny, but if you're looking for a good cheesy 80s comedy with plenty of action , you cant go wrong with Brain Smasher.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Film Review: Night of The Living Dead (1990)

Plot : The plot of the film isn't changed too much from that of the original. The basic premise is that there is a group of 7 people in a farm house , struggling to survive the night. Instead of banding together to survive they're split into two different groups : Harry Cooper and everyone else. Harry wants to hide in the basement and the others , Barbara, Ben, Tom,Judy and even Harry's wife Helen want to be upstairs and try to escape as soon as they can.

As humans do , the characters begin to argue , and start losing their fight for survival. In the end only Barbara survives the ordeal as everyone else either gets killed by stupidity or zombies or in Harry's case by anger and revenge from Barbara.

Review - When I first started getting into the zombie film genre, I always heard about the George Romero Classic "Night of the Living Dead". So to my surprise it wasn't until long after seeing the original that I actually learned of this remake.  This is one of the few remakes that not only does the original film justice , but also surpasses the original. The plot was changed in subtle ways and the effects are better done, but it doesn't become a special effects film.

Tom Savini, who worked on the makeup for Dawn of the Dead , and Day of the Dead as well as had a role as a biker in Dawn, is now sitting in the directors chair. Its apparent that Savini has an affinity for the original film as its remake is made with a love and respect for the source material.  Considering his relative inexperience as a director , having at least according to my research only 3 episodes of "Tales from the Dark Side" under his belt before this, He does a fantastic job as director and must be given his praise for it.

The Actors must have had a huge amount of pressure on them in order to perform on this film , with the original being such a beloved classic in many horror fans eyes. I think they did an outstanding job , Especially Patricia Tallman who played the character of Barbara. She has to show a wide range of emotions and is very adept at doing so. We see her looking like she can break down one minute after being chased by zombies, to taking them down with a gun and showing she is stronger than they likely believed she was.

Not to sell the other actors short , they did a fantastic job as well. You believed they were those characters. You could sense that Ben , played by Tony Todd , was a strong willed and determined man who wanted to save these people as well as himself , so he was an easy "good guy" to cheer on. On the flip side of that , you absolutely despised Harry cooper , played so brilliantly by Tom Towles. If anything these are the three major players in the film, and the other characters are just supporting characters. this doesn't mean they were horrible , you just didn't really get enough time to "get to know them"

So I'm gonna say if you're looking for a great zombie film , or are just looking for something different and love a good story , give Night of the Living dead a chance. It's well worth the time to view the film.

Final grade - A

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review of "Chasing Ghosts"

I was a big fan of the movie "King of Kong : a fist full of quarters". It was a movie that really showed how big the rivalry was over the Donkey Kong world record. Its also a movie about the little guy going after his dream , seeing him fight and claw to overthrow the , at the time , current record holder. The man chasing the dream was Steve Wiebe , and the villain of the story so to speak was Billy Mitchell.

"Chasing Ghosts : Beyond the arcade" is a different type of movie. While yes it does show the competitive nature of gaming , it focuses more on the arcade scene as a whole. From the boom of its popularity , to its untimely demise. For some people , like myself who were born after the big arcade era , this is an interesting way to look back and see how gaming used to be.

The movie focuses on the select group of gamers that held world records with Twin Galaxies as well as the establishment of Twin Galaxies , and Walter Day as official game score keepers. Getting to see all of these gamers on a more intimate level is certainly a different experience. You think "my god , this persons a world record holder in pacman / millipede/donkey kong" or what have you , when in reality , they are no different from you and I.

Picture courtesy of Life Magazine

The interviews give these people a more human quality than ever before , showing not only what they did in the heyday of arcade gaming and competition gaming , but what they did in the following years. As the arcades closed up, some moved on , and went on in life, some didn't,but that's what makes the film so interesting. Seeing how they dealt with the "fall from fame" as it were and how they went on with life gives you an upclose look at their world, as well as makes you think about the overall role games play in our lives. I highly reccomend it if you are even remotely interested in looking back at an era gone by, that we are never going to see again or even just a fan of video games in general.

Final grade : A

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Movie Review : Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse is your typical Syfy quality movie, nothing outstanding , but it has the possibility to be entertaining. Starting in the most vague of ways , it begins with three people walking from the woods into an abandoned town. these three characters are Ramona , Billy and Kevin played by Taryn Manning , Eddie Steeples and Gerald Webb. They are soon joined by Henry, Julien, Mack and Cassie who are played by Ving Rhames, Johnny Pacar, Gary Weeks and Lesley-ann Brandt.

The plot is pretty standard fare , bunch of survivors in a land where the dead walk trying to make their way to a safe haven , Catalina island in this case. Over the course of their journey , the characters really do nothing to make you get attatched to them until about the half way point. This is a major flaw with any movie , if you dont care about the people IN the movie , why even bother to watch it? I pressed on , cause I'm a sucker for crappy movies!

Along the way there are several refuge points setup , the one they go to is a nearby high school.
Well the saftey zone isnt so safe to say the least. The weird thing that the zombies do is they seem to set a trap for the people coming in. Zombies are really not known for being able to do complex things like this in movies , so it was unusual to see.

Leading up to the finale, Our band of survivors meets a group of other survivors who are known as "the archers" seems to be an obvious choice for a name since they wield crossbows and bows and kill zombies with , you guessed it , arrows. Anyway they get split up and head into the city , and this is quite possibly where the movies biggest consistency issues pop up. There is a scene where the archers , who are now with Ramona , Julien and Mack say "we need to conserve arrows , if you can safely do so , retrieve them!" ....Well they kill three zombies , run right on by them without picking the arrows out of them.

The next , and more outlandish issue is after Henry and Cassie come across an abandoned military post. They find and take a turret gun , in a shopping cart of all things with 10 or so rounds of ammunition. They fire off about 25-35 shots with this...and the digital effects for the .

All in all , nothing really spectacular from this one , but if you're a fan of Zombie movies , or just bad movies in general you might want to check it out.

Final grade : C-

Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) Review

As a gamer and self professed nerd, I was excited when the news broke that a Warcraft film was finally moving ahead past the script stag...