Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: The Return of the Living Dead





I am and have been a big fan of zombie movies for a long time. From the more serious (Night of the Living dead) to the more comedic ( Shaun of the Dead) , I can never turn down a zombie movie. When I stumbled upon this movie , I didn't know what to expect from it. After viewing it , it falls somewhere between the two categories. Not quite serious, not always going for a laugh but always interesting...here's Return of the living dead.

Plot (taken from IMDB): When a bumbling pair of employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to re-animate as they go on a rampage through Louisville, Kentucky seeking their favorite food, brains. 

Thoughts : The plot is actually original as opposed to most zombie movies. Another interesting thing to this movie is it actually acknowledges the original "Night of the Living Dead" movie, and makes as though it was based on a real life event, but changed the facts around for the movie. I did appreciate the fact that this film
tried some new things unlike the typical zombie movie and it made it fun to watch. 

Acting: While the characters themselves were really generic, it was the actors who gave the characters life. The actors seemed to be having fun with their characters and it made them that much more memorable. A great example of this is Don Calfa as "Ernie Kaltenbrunner" . All the actors did a great job in the film, even the few actors portraying zombies that had speaking lines. 

What I liked : As I said before this movie did some things very differently from the other zombie movies of the day. Having the zombies speak , and actually hearing why they were eating brains is what made this film unique.

 Another thing that I liked was the scene where Frank (James Karen) is telling Freddy (Thom Matthews) about the real life zombie outbreak from the 1960's. Its delivered perfectly and is actually the scariest part of this movie , that's how chilling it was.

What I disliked : There wasn't a whole lot that I didn't like with this movie , but if there was one thing I had to point out , it would be the ending. It was just so anticlimactic , but at the same time was something different so it wasn't really that bad. 

Overall: If you're looking for a fun horror comedy with a decent story great special effects, check this one out. Entertaining from beginning to end , Return of the living dead will have you laughing and jumping out of your seats while having a frightfully good time. 

Final Grade: A-




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Documentary Review: Hitman Hart- Wrestling With Shadows



In the world of professional wrestling , the event known as the "Montreal Screw job" is among the most controversial moments in its history. The match between Bret "Hitman" Hart and Shawn Michaels is still to this day one of the most hotly discussed matches of the last 20 years. This documentary doesn't solely focus just on those events , but on the last year of Bret's run in the WWF.

Thoughts: This documentary gave an interesting look behind the scenes of the day to day life of Bret Hart, and the world of a pro wrestler. Other documentaries often give a look at the experience of being on the road, but this was the first time I recall seeing a contract dispute with a wrestler. That's the main draw of the film, the internal fight Bret goes through when deciding to stay with the WWF , or move to WCW.

What I liked: I love that this documentary gave a more personal look into Bret's world . Showing his family, ranging from his mother and father, his brothers and sisters and his own wife and kids. It made you more emotionally invested in the people and want to keep watching.

What I disliked: While this was a film focused on Bret hart , I wish it would have shown more about the WWF, specifically Vince McMahon . While he more than likely would have come off as a bad guy, it also could have given his side of the tale and could have dramatically changed the film.

Overall:  I loved how in depth this documentary was. It could have just focused on Bret hart during the year time frame, but instead went back further , to Bret's childhood and training. The look into his family life was interesting as well, seeing not only the performer, but the man himself. This is a film I would suggest not only for fans of Bret Hart, but for any wrestling fan.

Final Grade: A-

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review : Stuart Saves His Family


Taking a sketch from Saturday Night Live and turning it into a full blown movie has provided mixed results over the years. Some times they're a hit (The Blues Brothers) most of the time they bomb (The Ladies Man) and some surprise you and are entertaining, but underrated or forgotten. This is one of those films.

Stuart Smalley is the creation of Al Franken, and I must say on SNL I found the character entertaining , So how does the 5 minute sketch translate into an hour and a half film? lets find out

Plot summary (Taken from IMDB) -Stuart Smalley, the Saturday Night Live character, comes to the big screen. Stuart, the disciple of the 12 step program, is challenged by lifes injustices. He loses his Public Access Cable Television Show, must beg his manipulative overbearing boss for his job back, rehabilitate his alcoholic father and drug abuser brother, and support his over-weight mother and sister in their lack of ability in handling their relationships with their husbands. Stuart is supported by his 12 step sponsors as a he regresses back to his negative behaviors each time he faces these challenges.

Acting - Bringing this outlandish story to life took one heck of a cast to pull it off. Of course Franken portrayed Stuart, and did a great job doing so. One of the stronger points of the film, was the fact that the "supporting cast" did just what it should and supports the story. Perhaps my favorite supporting actors in the film are Harris Yulin as "Dad" and Vincent D'Onofrio as "Donnie". The rest of the supporting cast is great as well featuring Shirley Knight, Laura San Giacomo and Lesley Boone.

This is the rare case of the stars being aligned and having the perfect cast for the film. Not one role feels out of place and I cant imagine any other actors playing these roles. 

What I liked - The thing i liked best about this film is the way everyone treats him like some kind of lunatic because he follows new age techniques. I especially love his fathers reactions to how Stuart acts and it adds such a contrast to the characters and how different they really are.

Another high point of the film was how the Stuart character was put into situations that you normally wouldn't see on SNL. That's a great thing as it gets far from the basic concept of the show and could be its own standalone movie.

What I disliked  - There was only one thing that I did not like about the film and that was some of the dialog. Specifically the times when Stuart was attempting to insult or curse at someone. It just felt awkward and out of place. Just my opinion though, that could have been the whole point of those moments. 

Overall: I really did enjoy this film. It took some chances and did some things you really never see in movies especially comedies. The risks might not have payed off at the box office, but its still an enjoyable film nonetheless. 


Final Grade: A 

Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) Review

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