End of the World 2013 6 out of 10
So Bad that it was almost Good.
The End of the World stars Greg Grunberg (Heroes) and Brad Dourif (Deadwood). It is a cheesy disaster film that focuses on the end of the world as a result of giant Plasma Balls that are bombarding the earth. A couple of video store clerks that are really into disaster movies---try to use everything they have learned from those movies to survive the end of the world. This gives us as the viewer a bunch of giant plasma balls taking people out left and right in spectacular fashion. The video store clerks reference and repeat a bunch of famous movie lines --which must have helped the writers of the film cut down on quite a bit of dialogue. The clerks then decide to break sci-fi writer out of the mental hospital to help stop the end of the world ---which leads to a great Deep Blue Sea moment. The movie didn't feel the balls of plasma alone were a good enough antagonist so they add in a cousin he is only out to save himself as a extra human antagonist.
The movie is silly and preposterous and kind of fun at moments.
It was almost SO bad that it was Good---but didn't quite get there.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Total Recall 2012 8 out of 10
Watching the new Total Recall was like going The Magic Kingdom when you have grown up going to Disneyland your whole life. It is fun and everything was really familiar --but somethings are in different places, the Pirates of the Caribbean is missing the drops and you can't find the Indiana Jones ride at all. It feels like if you had never been to Disneyland you would love it ---but since you have all you can do is compare it. On its own the new Total Recall is a good solid Sci-Fi action adventure movie and if the original with Arnold hadn't existed I probably would have liked it even more. However the original does exist and was a classic and the question as to why they even remade such a classic is one that will probably be asked for awhile. Why not just do another Phillip K Dick book rather than redoing one that had already been done right. Phillip K Dick books all have very similar themes and subject matter and I'm sure more of his work would be worth bringing to the big screen. Watching the new one was like watching the remake of Halloween or Psycho---you just wonder why? Why not just watch the original again? The script was so similiar that the only thing new about it was the special effects which were great. As a result of this there were no twists or turns from the original as it follows the essence of the story so closely. While watching it I was conflicted as to whether I should be enjoying it or whether I should just turn it off and watch the original. The cast did a good job, Kate Beckinsale takes over the role of Michael Ironside and Sharon Stone's wife character from the original as a combined character. Collin Ferrell does a good job --but seriously Arnold's shoes are too big for him to fill. Jessica Biel is good as well as the agent that Collin Ferrell teams up with. All in all it was a good film, but if you only see one Total Recall watch the one with Arnold.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Fantastic Voyage 1966 7 out of 10
A great concept movie that was a precursor to a better more modern film Innerspace starring Dennis Quaid and Martin Short. This 1960's Voyage into the human body in a miniature craft with a human crew now seems cheesy with its plastic ship and green screen backgrounds and odd sets -- but at the time it was made it was an adventure. The crew of this miniaturized vessel must go inside of a diplomat's body in order to save his life.
I s found this journey enjoyable if for no other reason than Donald Pleasance's performance as the (spoiler alert ) saboteur. The film also stars Raquel Welch. The movie takes a little while to get going as they detail the whole shrinking process so it isn't as Fantastic as its title suggests --but it was still an enoyable one with some good dialogue and colorful sets.
Skyline 2010 5 out of 10
A group of friends wake up after a night of partying to strange blue lights and alien invaders. This movie is a poor man's War of the Worlds meets Independence Day. Sure they spent a lot of money on special effects for the giant strange alien invaders---but the world is pretty much devoid of humans. For some reason pretty much the whole movie is them hiding in an apartment watching the aliens through the blinds or running around on empty roof tops. After creative films like Cloverfield or major alien invasion movies like Speilberg's War of the Worlds----this film despite its special effects feels like a small film. As for the story it is pretty pointless.
Friday, February 15, 2013
The Golden Compass 2007
After Harry Potter every movie studio wanted to find its very own Potter like cash cow. The Golden Compass was meant to be the first of a 3 movie series based on Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials book series. It is an interesting film that focuses on the first book in this series which features a story based around the adventures of a orphan living in a parallel universe where the world is ruled by the Magisterium. The people of this world all have demons (animal spirits that follow them around). The story follows her adventures using a magic golden compass that helps her see the truth to find and save her friends that have been kidnapped. It features talking animals, Polar Bears with armour and magic. The Digital polar bears were the most interesting part of the movie and the battle to see which polar bear would be king the best action sequence in the film. The film although interesting didn't successfully connect with audiences so the 2nd and 3rd books in the series were never made. The fact that this was to be the first of 3 films leaves the audience with what seems like an unfinished story. Characters so up out of nowhere (like the band of witches that show up out of nowhere) and disappear from the story (like Daniel Craig's character).
The film features Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Sam Elliot.
Frankenweenie 2012 9 out of 10
I just recently reviewed Dark Shadows---which was quite possible one of my least favorite of Tim Burton's films. Well Frankenweenie is probably one of his best. Tim Burton has recreated his 1980's short film into a fantastic and beautiful black and white stop motion masterpiece. Capturing the magic of Nightmare Before Christmas once again with stunning visuals and great storytelling. Sparky is by far the cutest re-animated dog I've ever seen. The animators were able to create a wonderful little dog that the viewer will fall in love with. The film has a Danny Elfman soundtrack (of course) which adds to the greatness of the film and the ending is action packed. I suggest also watching the original black and white live action short Frankenweenie that inspired this feature length version as well. The one thing I love about Burton is his visual style which is uniquely his own. Even a so-so Tim Burton film will look amazing... so all Tim Burton films from a visual standpoint are worth seeing. When you can match up those visuals with a great story and characters you care about the result is pure gold. I would rank it just below Nightmare Before Christmas which was a 10 out of 10.
Here is another blog I did about the Frankenweenie exhibit that toured the country when it was in DCA last fall as well. This exhibit had some excellent samples of the puppets used in the film.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The Hobbit 2012 9 out of 10
When they first announced that they were going to be making The Hobbit I was thrilled. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was an epic piece of work that changed the scale and possible scope of fantasy films and what could be done. Anything was now possible in the Fantasy world. From Harry Potter to Chronicles of Narnia....to remaking Clash of the Titans... none of which quite got it right as good as Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit however was basically a children's book that didn't have the same epic nature of the Rings Trilogy. How would balance they handle this difference against the expectations set by the other three films?
Well I finally got my answer this past weekend. I was quite possibly the last person in Middle Earth to see the film. It had a much lighter tone and sense of humor that wasn't in the Lord of the Rings series and since they basically turned one book into three movies it took The Hobbit a bit longer to get into the main story which follows Bilbo Baggins on an adventure away from The Shire to see the world as a part of a group of Dwarves and Gandalf the Wizard to reclaim their homeland from a Dragon. Even with the lighter tone of the film it quickly brought you back into the world of Middle Earth that was captured so well in the previous 3 films. The movie had the typically great scenery from all over Middle Earth (New Zealand such a beautiful country). The music and epic nature of the film took over by the third act. Some of the action was way over the top (like Temple of Doom over the top), but still really exciting and fun. The scene with Golem in the cave where Bilbo finds the ring was perfect and couldn't have possible been done any better.
Being only the first portion of a 3 film series it did feel that way, much more than say the Fellowship of the Ring did, but I'm definitely along for the ride as far as Middle Earth will take me. I would rank this one probably 4th among the Tolkien films, simple because of the more childlike aspects of The Hobbit itself ---but it is definitely worth the journey.
The Walking Dead Returns....and it is as good as ever.
Honestly at this point there is really no reason to go and ever see a Zombie movie in the movie theaters anymore. No movie can capture the level of emotion and tension and back story and character development that this great TV show has now achieved. It took me awhile, but this show continues to grow in its greatness and its audience appeal the longer it is on the air. Why see World War Z starring Brad Pitt that looks like a digital mess when you can tune into this amazing world of zombies on TV. The interactions between the different groups of survivors are just as interesting if not more so than the zombies themselves. It is like great sci-fi show where the sci-fi itself is just he backdrop for some really deep and amazing human stories that are told like on Battlestar Gallactica or the original Star Trek.
Battlestar Gallactica: Blood and Chrome 2013 9 out of 10
This prequel to the excellent re-envisioned epic TV Series was exactly what the sci-fi gods ordered. Begin the Cylon War Has!..
It follows the first mission for William Adama in the war against the Cylons that predates the ground breaking TV series. It was Fracking excellent!! A great and well written movie that had a great and compelling story. The visuals were beautiful the soundtrack compelling. Some of the Viper scenes were as good as something out of a Star Wars movie. The movie had emotion and thrills and was worthy of the big screen. I really wish this was being turned into a series --because I could watch this level of quality Battlestar action for years to come. Again there will be dozens of bad sci-fi and action movies that come out in 2013 that will not even hold a candle to what this direct to TV movie achieved. I hope that if a Star Wars TV is ever done the producers and writers from Battlestar will be hired to helm it and Sheppard it to the level of Fracking excellence that Battlestar has become. Definitely a most see for sci-fi fans and fans of the show. To think that this was originally a 10 part online series just blows me away.
Check it out
Monday, February 11, 2013
Heebie Jeebies 2013 3 out of 10
As bad syfy channel movies go this one is pretty bad.
Starring no one I have ever heard of in a movie where there is a gold mine that some greedy slime ball has reopened in search of his greed for gold. Well apparently his ancestors were just as greedy and as a result 5 Chinese Mine workers back in the day died in the mine and a witch did a spell that created one of the goofiest looking movie monsters ever. A creature that looks like some kind of digital turtle person with 5 heads and a giant stomach with teeth that when it attacks people has the special effects blood experts working overtime. The movie has below average acting and writing and the digital monster is not even remotely scary because it looks so bizarre. This movie didn't give me the Heebie Jeebies at all, I made me want to take a nap.
Bone Eater 2007 5 out of 10
What do you get when you cast Tron, Buck Rogers, Checkhov from Star Trek, and the Greatest American Hero in a movie with a cheesy digital Skeleton???? You get a cheesy sci-fi movie with a digital skeleton . The digital skeleton has horns like Darth Maul and one touch from him makes humans digitally disintegrate. It breathes green mist and rides a ghost horse as it murders everyone in sight. The movie was shot up near Bishop and Lone Pine (gas stops on the way to Mammoth Lakes) which once saw a lot of filming in the Alabama Hills back in the Western movie days.
There is even a Movie museum there that is worth checking out if you every make it up that way and are a Western movie fan.
Here is a blog about the museum I did awhile back.
Okay back to the Bone Eater or The Cheesy Skeleton as the movie could have been called.
The Sci-Fi start heavy cast mentioned at the beginning really adds nothing to the film.
Checkhov and William Katt just have cameos as minor characters and Gil Gerad (Buck Rogers) looks so old I didn't even recognize him until half way through the movie. Bruce Boxleitner actually does a decent job as the half breed sheriff of the small town where all of these bad digital skeleton killing takes place.... A lot of people die in cheesy fashion until Bruce finally gets in touch with his half breed Indian roots puts on some war paint and walks out into the middle of the highway to take on the Skeleton on a g with some special Tomahawk in (Spoiler Alert) one of the most anti-climatic battles in movie history.
Bad quote of the movie " You hear so much as an owl fart --shoot first and ask questions later" Classic....
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Raiders of the Seven Seas 1953 5 out of 10
Raiders of the Seven Seas stars John Payne and Donna Reed as a notorious pirate and a Spanish Countess. It is a typical of the old school pirate movie. There are cheesy sword battles scattered throughout a lackluster story that meanders with no real purpose. Barbarossa the pirate steals a ship and frees some slaves at the beginning of the film after romancing a Sultan's harem girl. He then does what pirates do, robbing and stealing and gathering treasure. He takes the Countess as a prisoner for ransom and she hates him at first and then eventually falls in love with him. Most of the old school pirate movies just feel exactly the same. Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl really changed the genre. It was everything a pirate movie should and could be and when compared to the old school pirate movies where the sword fights look like something from a play....the old pirate films just don't hold up.
Here is a sample of some of the Pirate action
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Super Bowl Movie Trailer Grades
The Lone Ranger B+
The movie will definitely be one of my must see movies for 2013 --just because of Johnny Depp and Gore directing. The trailer was good---but I actually liked some of the previous trailers better
World War Z D+
It looks like an overly Digital Zombie Mess......Skip it an watch Walking Dead
Oz The Great and Powerful A+
I just hope the movie is as good as the trailers have been. It looks incredible, but I'm not a big James Franco fan.
Fast and Furious 6 B
Really the Fast and Furious 6??? Well the trailer actually made it look pretty good and it does have the Rock in it
Star Trek into Darkness C
Really another Khan wannabe.....come up with something new already.....I'll probably see it, but I don't have high hopes for what I call Alternate universe Trek
Spaceflight 1C-1 1965 6 out of 10
Spaceflight 1C-1 is a low budget Sci Fi film out of England that follows the adventures of a deep space flight into the outer reaches to establish a new earth. This short film i basically using the Sci-Fi setting as a background for story about free will versus dictatorship and government control. Nothing really exciting takes place on screen, it is mainly dialogue driven film. The crew has been selected specifically for the mission. Husband and wife teams that are only allowed to have kids when they gets orders to. The crew wear name badges that say their job rather than their names. One of the crew comes down with an illness and the crew wants to head back so that she can be cured. The captain under orders refuses to head back --The Rule which gives him his orders doesn't want the new population to have disease in their DNA that will start the new earth. When she is denied permission to have another child she ends up taking her life which starts a chain of events that leads to mutiny and the crew choosing free will over the government controlled life for their future. Although the film played out like a TV episode of rather than a movie the underlying subject matter was worth the otherwise underwhelming nature of the film.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Let the Battle of 2 more bad Yeti movies begin
Up first Snow Beast 2011 2 out of 10
Starring John Schneider (of Dukes of Hazard fame) as a researcher trying to research the Canadian Lynx. Instead he stumbles across the worst looking Yeti or Bigfoot to be put on the screen since silent movie days. I'm so used to cheesy digital monsters these days that when a movie goes old school and puts a man in a rented white Yeti/ Gorilla costume where the zipper is visible in the back and has him rolling around on skates in the background it is really shocking. The movie is really dull with boring dialogue scenes between John Schneider's character and his daughter as he repeatedly tells her to stay behind...and then scenes of the silly man in a gorilla costume that could have been used in an Ed Wood movie attacking people. The researchers couldn't even guess what made those ape like tracks in the snow----really? They are animal researchers and they mistake Yeti tracks for possibly a bear? This movie was just really --really bad and John Schneider is gathering a pretty impressive list of cheesy +Syfy movies including 2 bad shark films, a terrible Yeti movie and an Ogre film.....and I haven't even seen him in Return of the Killer Shrews yet.
Oh here is the exciting Snow Beast --that looks like they glued some horrid mask on a gorilla costume.
Up next in our battle
The Abominable Snowman 2013
5 out of 10
When I first think Abominable Snowman I think of the silly character from the Ruldolph the Reindeer stop motion classic, definitely not some killer half wolf looking creatures that flash across the screen so fast you can barely see them. That is what we get in this movie. A guy returns to the moutain that his dad died on years ago to take out the snowy bastard that killed his dad. Not a great plan. When he gets lost his sister and a bunch of military friends go up on the mountain in search of him (or for a snowboarding trip---it is really unclear since their search includes skiing without much of an actual search). Well they find him and some Abominable friends and a battle for survival occurs with several bloody digital deaths. As Yeti movies go I've seen much worse.....(Snow Beast, Rage of the Yeti, the list goes on) The Abominable Snowman wasn't good---but as I continue to search I've haven't seen a good Big Foot/Yeti movie yet.....and thanks to Syfy the search will probably continue for quite awhile. As the trailer says, "What exactly are we dealing with here?" Apparently yet another bad Yeti movie.
To learn more about bad Yeti Movies----Go here
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Rock Monster 2008 4 out of 10
A college student is lured to a little town in Europe where he has supposedly inherited a house. Their bus breaks down and as they hike to the village they come across a sword in a stone. The sword is pulled out of the stone by our main character but instead of becoming a king of something he unleashes a giant cheesy digital Rock Monster. The movie plays out like a bad episode of Hercules or Xena---but not as funny. It is a silly movie from start to finish. The movie even has a Jaws moment --where the crusty old drunk general steps up in the town meeting to declare that they take on the monster. So what we get from this point on is a bunch of cheesy corny acting, a Rock Monster stomping around while people shot bullets at it and our hero swinging his sword at it. The movie should have embraced its level of cheese more fully and just gone for laughs.