Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spiders 3D 2013 6 out of 10

Spiders 3D  2013 6 out of 10

A meteor crashes through a Russian space station and brings with it a secret government experiment into the subways of New York city.   About 40 minutes into this giant spider movie I was having a Jeff Goldblum moment and was about to ask "You are actually going to have giant mutant spiders in your giant mutant spider movie? ".   The movie gets off to a slow and misguided start as the entire first half of the movie is wasted on a secret government  military experiment storyline that is later dropped.   Yes the government is responsible for the giant attacking spiders and the main characters spend most of the movie trying to escape from the government.   The movie was definitely heading to dudsville even when some big spiders began to show up and there is a cheesy battle between Patrick Muldoon and a spider using a forklift.  Then the stupid scientist that wants to predictable protect the spiders gets killed be them -just like in every movie like this.    The story of the movie never really gets any better as they spend the last half of the movie looking for their daughter in a quarantined zone, but a giant mutated spider does finally show up to wreck havoc on the city.    The giant spider is actually pretty cool and basically single handedly redeemed this movie from being a 4 out of 10  into being a 6 out of 10 as it brought back memories of Ray Harryhausen as it menaced the city causing more damage then the villians in Superman 2.   The Giant spider walked around battling machine gun fire and screaming like Godzilla.   If only the Giant Spider had been in more of the movie to hide its lackluster plot.

What is up with Patrick Muldoon and giant bugs?

This is his third time around running away from giant bugs.   First in the classic Starship Troopers  --in which he doesn't fair so well and then in Ice Spiders  (where he battles them at a ski resort).  Apparently he has never seen a giant bug script he didn't like.

Attack of the Sabre Tooth: 2005 2 out of 10

Attack of the Sabre Tooth  2005   2 out of 10

Attack of the Sabre Tooth has to be one of the the worst in the Jurassic Park Rip off genre.  The story features a greedy owner of  a island zoo and hotel  called "Primal Park" that will feature some Genetically cloned Sabre Tooth Tigers.   Well as you can guess he invites some investors to check out the place before it opens and everything goes wrong.  The bad CGI tigers are on the loose and start killing off some college kids that sneak into the unopened zoo section on a frat scavenger hunt.  The plot has the typical "Jaws Scenario" moment where the owner is warned to shut down the resort while the tigers are on the loose, but instead because of money keeps it open anyway.   The CGI tigers look unfinished --but this is a low budget film from 2005 so I'll give it a pass.   It also using the "When in doubt of how scary your monsters are always resort to Predator vision" concept of trying to create tension.  The plot however is just all over the place and really boring.  Bad dialogue and unnecessary and out of place scenes are abundant.  For example --the dangerous tigers are already on the loose and killing people at the beginning of the film and then the college kids break into the zoo and cut the power.  It is almost like the film makers forgot that the tigers were already on the loose and felt the need to create a 2nd reason that they were on the loose??   After being warned by his lackluster security which features a horny (Stacy Haiduk from Seaquest hat seduces one of the employees for no apparent reason in the middle of the crisis)  the greedy owner takes  his investors on a tour of the zoo area ----and none of them get killed???  It is almost like they tried to piece together parts of the movie in editing and it just didn't work. 

Watch the Trailer and skip  this cheesy low budget Jurassic Park rip off.   

Instead check out Age of the Dinosaurs 2013  a much more exciting cheesy Jurassic Park rip-off

Or Mummy Theme Park  one of the best  SO BAD That it is GOOD movies ever.

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The Troll Hunter 2010 8+ out of 10

The Troll Hunter 2010   8+ out of 10

This a great entry in the Lost Footage horror genre.  It follows a group of students that are documenting a series of mysterious bear killings --but instead stumble across a hunter that is hunting more than just bears.   This guy is out looking for Trolls.   The film was done in a very effective fashion much like Cloverfield ---yet letting us actually see the Trolls themselves. 
I've seen numerous Lost Footage films such as the overrated  Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity and this is a much more enjoyable film than those. 

      It was a well executed film.  If the subject matter hadn't been so crazy unbelievable it could have actually been believed.   The documentary style of this film felt really authentic.   The film is out of Norway and is subtitled as a result, yet this didn't hamper my enjoyment for the film.  The story was interesting enough that I almost completely forgot that it has subtitles by the end of the film. 

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Thor: The Dark World 2013 7 out of 10

Thor: The Dark World 2013 7 out of 10

I watched Thor: The Dark World over the weekend.   I don’t know what it is about the individual Thor's solo movies , but for some reason I just never get fully involved in them.  Maybe Thor just works better as part of an ensemble and isn't meant to be the lead in his own movies?  I really can’t put my finger on it. Thor: The Dark World has some great action sequences and some thrilling  visuals so I should be more engaged in the film.  The movie was good, it just wasn't as good as the Avengers.  Iron Man was capable of keeping the same level as the Avengers and I just felt that despite its special effects  Thor dropped off from that level a little. 

Disneyland vs Magic Mountain analogy?
The best way I can explain it is like the difference between a trip to Disneyland vs Magic Mountain.   When you go to Disneyland you leave that experience with memories.  You fondly remember your trip and all the little moments of magic that happen there.   Disneyland just has something special about it that is hard to explain.   When you go to Magic Mountain you have a  great time while you are there riding thrilling roller coasters all day long.  I mean who wouldn’t enjoy riding one of the world’s tallest wooden roller coasters, but when you leave and the immediate experience is over it seems to be missing something.   You don’t remember it the same way you remember that trip to Disneyland.     I feel that way after watching Thor.  It was a fun roller coaster while I was on it,  but it didn’t leave a lasting impression.  

Maybe it just suffers in comparison
A day later I watched a marathon of the final 13 episodes of the Clone Wars and was far more invested.   I couldn’t wait to watch the next episode and I was excited thinking about all the answers the TV show was answering.  Getting many of the questions in the Star Wars universe answered in 6 hours of entertainment .   I was still thinking about it the next day….where as Thor on the other head was drifting out of my thoughts.   I was surprised by this???   I mean Natalie Portman is in Thor and she is one of my favorite actresses (Star Wars connection).   Why did Thor fade so quickly from my thoughts when it seemed enjoyable at the time of viewing?  Maybe I’m just not that big of a fan of Thor as a lead character.

That being said
 If you liked the first Thor –you will  probably like this one  (especially Loki's role in it).  I'm liking the way the Marvel universe is  forming as an interesting universe . I'm actually interested in seeing more of these Marvel comic book movies as well as watching Agents of Shield each week on TV.  The Avengers was excellent and with Whedon still at the helm I can't wait for the next Avengers.  I'm sure I'll have to check out the next movie in the series leading into Avengers 2 as well which is the Captain America: The Winter Solider.  

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

End this Clone War Has: An Amazing journey it was.

I just streamed the final 13 Episodes of The Clone Wars on Netflix.   The final episodes after the show was canceled right after the new upcoming Star Wars movies were announced and shortly before the Rebels TV show was announced to basically take its place.   I couldn’t be happier as a long time Star Wars fan of the movies, books, comics and animated TV series with how these final episodes turned out.

A possible minority opinion? 
 I am  excited about the fact that there are going to be at least 5 new Star Wars films thanks to Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm…..(A thought that seemed unthinkable just a few years ago)   What Star Wars fan wouldn’t be excited about 5 more films?   But after watching the last 13 episodes of The Clone Wars in marathon fashion,   I’m not sure that any of these 5 films on their own is going to be able to give me as much satisfaction as this 286 minutes worth of TV programming.    That is not to say that I won’t be excited when all 5 films come out (I’ll probably be frothing at the mouth in anticipation).    It is just I’ve come to realize lately that no film can have the same power and  impact as really good TV show .   Take the Walking Dead for example:  What individual 2 hour zombie movie can ever again compete with the character development and storyline that this landmark TV show has built.   I’ll never be able to care about or feel as invested in any character in a zombie movie as I do about the characters I’ve followed for years on a TV show version.  Will any of the Star Wars films be as fulfilling as this animated gem?

If you like Star Wars and haven't seen Clone Wars------WHAT IT NOW
 Some Star Wars fans didn’t even give Clone Wars a chance because it is animated and on a Children’s TV channel, but those fans have really missed out on something special.   I watched this show from the beginning and have loved the depths and additions it has made to the Star Wars Universe.    The show was visually stunning and cinematic from the beginning and only got better as it went along.   I would recommend this to anyone that calls themselves a Star Wars fan.

The Final 13:    Spoiler Alert ---don’t read this unless you want to know major plot points
The final 13 episodes effectively answered many questions left by the Prequel trilogy and even though they weren’t intended to be the last episodes ending,  the series on a great high note.  

The first story arc involved a story that explored the secrets behind the infamous order 66.  One of the Clone Troopers named Fives ---wants answers  as to why one of his fellow Clones turned on a Jedi.   He gets to the truth and uncovers the secrets of Order 66 and tries to warn the Jedi, but to no avail.   We learn that the Clones were implanted with an organic chip while they were just infants and every Clone has this chip.   Another revelation is that the Kaminoans have been knowingly involved with Darth Sidious from the beginning.   It is painful to watch as Fives tries to reveal the truth only to not be believed.   

The Second story arc involves politics and the Banking Clans.   A less exciting arc –but an important one as it involved dark side behavior from Anakin when he becomes jealous of an individual that Padme is working with that she once dated long ago.  It also involves more Palpatine political maneuvering.  

The next short arc Follows  Mace Windu in action.  The story line despite having the hated Jar Jar was actually pretty good.  It involved a Temple of Doom type cult that ended with Mace Windu battle a Dathomir witch.   

The next arc  follows the Jedi uncovering the truth about Sifo-Dyas (the Jedi in Attack of the Clones that ordered the Clone troopers in the first place).   This was a major mystery from the films that is finally answered with a cool lightsaber battle between Dooku, Anakin and Obi Wan.  Also this episode introduces to me some more cool characters that deal in spice called the Pikes.

Yoda kicks ass----and needs his own movie
And finally we get three episodes starring Yoda.   Three great episodes that like much of the series I would have gone to the theaters to see.   Yoda seeks the secret of how Qui-Gon Jinn  is able to communicate with him despite having passed on.  Yoda travels to Dagobah and we learn another unanswered question about why he went there after Revenge of the Sith (a question that many have wondered for years)    We get to see Yoda enter the infamous cave that he sent Luke into in Empire.   We then get to see Yoda travel to the planet the Midi- Chlorians come from and learn new secrets of the Forve and then visit the Sith home world and face a long dead Sith Lord.   So many answers to lingering questions were revealed it was very satisfying.  It was also very bizarre and creepy.    I would have paid movie prices to see just the Yoda arc alone,  but getting to watch all 13 episodes in a row was beyond satisfying to me.   I guess I  myself had  taken for granted that I was able to watch Star Wars on a weekly basis for 5 plus years.   Waiting a year after the shows cancellation and getting to see 13 episodes in a row makes me grateful for the experience.  The Clone Wars is a part of the Star Wars Universe that I will forever treasure.   I can only hope that Rebels  and the new films will be ¾ as good as this amazing show.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

13 Eerie 2013 5 out of 10

13 Eeire 5 out 10

The movie is about a group of forensic students that are taking a field test with their teacher  (Played by Michael Shanks --of Stargate SG1 fame).   This field test takes place on a remote island where apparently some illegal biological testing took place on some dangerous criminals. I recorded this film on the DVR off of Chiller TV  ---(the TV channel for low budget horror movies that back in the day we would find at local Music Plus VHS rental store). It was described  as a bunch of students that come across mutant creatures.  The movie was a mixed bag of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

The Bad

1.  The movie got off to a slow start establishing the forensic students taking their tests on corpses at this remote location.  The movie took its time setting 
up the story. 

2.  The movies description wasn't very accurate as its budget didn't really allow for an island full of mutant creatures.   I was expecting actual creatures.....not just a couple of prison inmates in what looked like muscle bound Toxic Avenger makeup.    I was really hoping to  see a bunch of weird creatures.

3. It was the typical:   It isn't a zombie movie----but it is really a zombie movie plot.    Just because you call something a mutant creature,  doesn't mean that it isn't just a zombie.   I mean they are undead  (zombie)---if they bite you turn into one of them  (Zombie) they crave human flesh (zombie).  If you are going to make a Zombie movie ----just call it a Zombie movie.    Of course a lot of low budget Zombie movies like this that can't afford a bunch of extras  --call themselves non-zombie movies so that the people that can watch quality Zombie action every week on Walking Dead---don't actually expect a ton of zombies stalking the victims in the movie.

4.  The ending was very abrupt and Michael Shanks ---the one actor I actually know disappears from the story for a good 20 minutes near the end.  

The Good

1. If you like gore the movie once it got going actually delivers with numerous gory death scenes.  It did a good job of providing some nasty visual footage
and some interesting death scenes.  At this point I feel like I have seen everything that could be seen in a horror movie,  so if a film can deliver something disturbing that you haven't seen or show something you have seen already in an interesting way that is good.

The Ugly

These Toxic Avenger flesh eating mutants sure were ugly.

Here is the trailer

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