Sunday, August 31, 2014

For the Love of Scooby Doo: (Part 7) Scooby Doo: Wrestlemania Mystery 2014 6 out of 10

Scooby Doo Wrestlemania Mystery  2014   6 out of 10

This Scooby Doo mystery was one of the more average efforts in the series of Scooby Doo animated movies.  The gang ends up traveling to WWE City after Shaggy and Scooby win a contest on a WWE video game.   When they get there the town is of course being haunted by a Ghost Bear that is threatening to ruin the show.   The typical adventure ensues as the gang meet up with a bunch of actual wrestlers. There was nothing special about this adventure which felt more like an average episode instead of a movie worthy story.  Still a 6 out of 10....Because even average Scooby Doo is entertaining.

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Vikingdom 2013 7 out of 10

Vikingdom 2013  7 out of 10

The story followa a Viking King Erick that is living in exile -being tasked with a quest to defeat the Almighty Thor. Thor is angered by the fact that the gods are being forgotten in a time where Christianity is spreading the globe.   Thor has lead a group of Viking to gather some anicent relics in order to open a bridge between heaven, hell and earth.   Erick gathers some Viking warriors and goes an a low budget (light on the special effects)  quest to put a stop to it.  The movie was surprisingly good.  It was like a poor man's 300,  that actually had some really good action sequences and stunt fighting.  Dominic Purcell did and excellent job in the main rule as Erick the Viking.

    I've seen very mixed reviews online for this film - but I disagree with the reviewers that didn't find it entertaining.   Sure there were some really cheesy looking scenes like when our hero in mythic story fashion descends into hell, that seems like it was straight out of The Beastmaster or the original Clash of the Titans.   Rather than finding those scenes bad -- It brought back memories of scenes from some of those 80's movies like Conan the Destroyer or Krull ---(films that I loved).   He even has to avoid a creature in hell that looks like the beast from Holy Grail in the cave of Ahhhhhhhh!.   It may not be the Viking adventure for everyone -- but I enjoyed this film.  The battle scenes were exciting and the finale was satisfying.

This movie was made by the same people that made Big Ass Spider --which I also liked ---so I'm looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.   Zombeavers and Killer Mermaid....Sound good to me.

The Darkest Hour 2011 5 out of 10

The Darkest Hour 2011   5 out of 10

The Darkest Hour gets off to a great start.  The movie follows several young Americans that are in Russia after a business deal goes wrong,  when all of a sudden these mysterious jellyfish like objects start descending from the sky.  
It turns out these objects are alien beings that start striking and disintegrating people.   The concept for these aliens was orginal as the aliens remain mainly unseen until they approach and lights flicker before they strike as beams of light.  The interesting concept quickly turned into a dull end of the world type movie with only a few cast members wandering around empty streets.  A big problem with the plot was the timeline --as the characters try and make there way across the city they encounter other survivors that seem like they have been around and battling the creatures for months.  It is just sad because the movie seemed like it had a lot of potential and as the movie went along that potential fell apart with dull scenes and a meandering storyline. It almost felt like the movie started out with a decent budget and they ran out of money halfway through the film and started cutting corners.


Darklight 2004 4 out of 10

Darklight  2004   4 out of 10

The plot for Darklight sounded interesting enough to record it on the DVR. The movie had several Sci-Fi  names in it like John De Lancie (Q from Star Trek-: Next Generation) and David Hewlett (Stargate & Stargate Atlantis) and the story centered on a secret society teaming up with a demon that doesn't know her past to fight another demon that is out to destroy humanity.  The girl (Shiri Appleby)  teams up with an agent (Richard Burgi)  from this secret group called the Faith and starts to learn about her past and trains to use an ability called Darklight.

The movie had a definite made for TV movie feel to it and very well could have been a pilot of a sci-fi TV show.    The special effects are totally goofy (2004 Bad CGI) as the two demons battle.  The acting talents of  John De Lancie were wasted by an underwhelming story and lackluster action sequences.

(Animated movie # 11 and 12 ) Rio 2011 7 out of 10 Rio 2 2014 6 out of 10

Rio 2011 7 out of 10
Rio follows the adventures of Blu, one of the last of his kind) . A Cerulean Parrot that is stolen from the jungle as a baby bird and exported out of the country as an exotic pet. 
He ends up falling off a truck in Minnesota and being raised as a domestic pet by young girl. Years later a researcher drops by the shop and convinces his owner to take him to Rio so that hopefully he can breed with the last female of his kind.

Well Blu and Jewel (the female bird)  end up getting kidnapped--by some smugglers and their angry White Bird (the main villain of the film). They escape which is made more difficult by the fact Blu never learned to fly and along the way of trying to get back to his owner they have a bunch of colorful adventures along his several other birds and a slobbering Bulldog.

The film was definitely colorful...Made by the same folks that did the Ice Age movies...this film for me lacked the level of humor of those movies with the exception of the cool Birds vs Monkeys fight scene. The action sequences were good especially through the Carnival parade near the end and the flying scenes. The film captured a lot of what you hear about Rio including its darker aspects such as pickpocketing and the slums outside of the beach hotels. I'm surprised that it didn't get a backlash for being so honest about the city in this politically correct world we live in. 

The kids loved this picture...I felt it was missing that extra something that all the Pixar movies have--but still found it enjoyable.

Rio 2 2014 6 out of 10

In Rio 2 Blu and Jewel now have a family.  Blu is still the neurotic mess of a bird he was in the first film which comes out even more once they discover on TV that they aren't the last of their kind.  Jewel convinces Blu to take the entire family in search of their kind.  They are followed by the old white bird  from the first film (thought to be dead) that is out for revenge.   They find their fellow birds, which happens to be Jewels family she hasn't seen since she was a child.  Blu has difficulty fitting in and adjusting to this new situation, since he still has too much of a domesticated bird in him.   There is also a handsome and daring bird from Jewel's childhood that he has to worry about and a plot about human deforestation that is shoehorned into the movie as well.

The animation is once again very colorful and the visuals are excellent as well.  The movie once again has several really good action sequences and several big musical numbers that look like they are directly patterned after someone that watched the Circle of Life segment from the Lion King.  There was also a really cool action piece involving a mid air soccer match between the Blue and Red Parrots of the jungle.   Once again the story and humor just didn't really capture me.   I liked the first one a little better, because I felt the action sequences were more exciting and the story was a little stronger.   That being said if you and the kids liked Rio --you will probably like Rio 2 as well -

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

(Animated movie # 10) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2009 6 out of 10

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs  2009  6 out of 10

Having just recently seen the sequel (which I actually enjoyed quite a bit)  I figured I would check out the first film which I had recorded on the DVR.   I liked the Lost World feel and storyline of the sequel and was hoping the first one would be equally entertaining.   Although it had some good fun action packed scenes the first movie was pretty much what I thought it would be. 
 A whole bunch of different foods falling from the sky.   I guess it was hard to base an entire movie on a children's picture book, thus the plot was pretty simple.   Flint Lockwood created an invention that could turn water into any kind of food.  This invention could solve the world's hunger problem if it worked correctly.  The food came falling from the sky onto Flint's hometown  of Shallow Falls.  The town had been struggling ever since the sardine factory went out of business.   At first this invention was loved by everyone as the people of the town ran out into the streets to eat whatever dish was falling from the sky that day. But by the time the greedy little   mayor had an idea to turn his invention into an idea to lure tourists to the island --a giant Spaghetti Hurricane formed as the invention mutated.  This Hurricane pretty much would have killed everyone in town.    Luckily this was a animated family film - so apparently nobody died or cared that there homes were destroyed by giant pizzas plummeting from the sky. 

 Our hero saves the day in an action packed series of scenes as he attempts to stop the machine before it destroys the world.  It was a good film -just not a great one and I found the concept behind the sequel much more interesting than the simple story of the original.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 2014 9+ out of 10 (A Pleasant Surprise)

Guardians of the Galaxy 2014  9+ out of 10
Guardians of the Galaxy was Pretty f…ing Epic and a big surprise.  So many movies disappoint or under delivery nowadays.  It is great when one can really pleasantly surprise you (the same way Pirates of the Caribbean did years ago) .   When Disney/Marvel first announced they were doing a Guardians of the Galaxy movie…I had no idea what to expect.  Not being a huge comic book guy (outside of Indy and Star Wars comics) I had no clue who the Guardians of the Galaxy even were.   Marvel has done such a great job with all the Avenger characters that I figured I’d eventually see it—just maybe not in the theaters. Then I saw the kick ass 4-D sneak peek at Disneyland last week and it became a must see and still somehowexceeded my expectations.

Other films need to take notes:
After Guardians of the Galaxy –Star Trek may as well head back to the small screen and Star Wars better step up to the plate.  Disney owns Marvel and Star Wars— so this actually only makes me feel more confident that the new Star Wars movies will be good.  Industry experiments were worried that this obscure comic meet be a risk, yet I'd say that only The Avengers from the Marvel universe is better than this flick.  A little bit Raiders (the opening sequence was totally Raiders in Space)  and a lot Star Wars.

The movie itself:
 Guardians was the perfect mix of action and humor with a little bit of emotion when you didn’t expect it.  The visuals were fantastic, from the stunning set pieces to the Revenge of the Sith worthy spaceship battles.  This movie really had a little of everything.  The background scenes looked like the cantina scene from Star War and there were many delightful Star Wars style scenes like the chicken fighting creatures in the bar.  The plot as a whole was excellent and tied into a lot of hints from previous Marvel movies and gave us clues about future Marvel adventures as well. 

The characters:
The Characters were great. I lovedDrax The Destroyer (Mr Literal) and the talking tree Groot that can only say “I am Groot”.  The coolest bunch of losers in the galaxy.   Chris Pratt (who seemed like an odd casting choice at the time the movie was announced) was great as Star Lord and has probably just transformed himself into a movie star with this role and his upcoming role in Jurassic World.

One of the best parts of the movie was the storyline that tied into the great soundtrack.  Starlord’s Awesome Mixed tape was a great concept and a wonderful part of this film.
Definitely see Guardians of the Galaxy in the Theaters.  I can’t wait for a sequel or to see what Disney does with Star Wars

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Horror of it All 1963 5 out of 10

The Horror of it All 1963  5 out of 10

It is listed as a horror comedy....Well there really wasn't much of what I would call comedy in this horror comedy.  I've definitely seen this story before in many forms including The Old Dark House which came out the same year from William Castle (which was a remake of a 1930's movie).   It is the old story where an American Salesman crashes his car and ends up in a spooky mansion with a bunch of weird relatives.  The relatives start to get killed off during the night and the mansion is cut off from the regular world.  So it is basically a who dunnit  murder mystery in a creepy mansion movie.  It is very true to the formula of this type of movie.   Pat Boone is decent in the lead role of the salesman, which in this case has come to the mansion to marry one of the relatives.  The best parts would have to be the creepy family museum in the basement with the trash compactor crushing machine that almost takes out our lead and the creepy song Pat Boone breaks into in the middle of the movie (which is completely out of place). 

Here is a clip from this flick

(Animated movie # 9) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 2013 8 out of 10

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 2013 8 out of 10

I never saw the original Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  
An animated movie about food falling from the sky just didn’t get me to the theaters.  It was kid’s choice - movie night and so the sequel is what they picked and I was actually surprised that it was pretty good and creative.  

The story follows the inventor Flint Lockwood from the first movie as he joins an inventors group called Live Corp in hopes of becoming a great inventor.  He ends up being embarrassed at the annual inventors awards show—but is recruited to lead an expedition back to the town from the first movie where his invention has turned into a magical world where the food has turned into living creatures.  The movie was basically a twisted  version of Jurassic Park: The Lost World.  Using Jurassic Park as the blueprint the movie is at times exciting and visually interesting as the main characters explore this world of living "Food Monsters"  The subtext of the story was basically about not forgetting the people that are always there for you and doing the right thing. The kids loved it and there is stuff for the parents to enjoy as well.  I may actually have to go back and check out the original film now. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sharknado 2 Vs Sharktopus 2: Battle of the bad shark movies

LET the battle of the bad Shark Movies begin!

Sharknado 2 : The Second One 2014 6 out of 10

 The first Sharknado was just the perfect storm, A So Bad that it was Good masterpiece. So many things went wrong (right) all at the same time in the first groundbreaking Shark/Storm movie.
 It has a terrifically bad story ---a random non-sense plot and some super cheesy effects.   It just worked in all the wrong ways and somehow caught fire with the public and on social media. So of course there was going to be a second one and the second one hit just the other night millions of people watched it…. And it garnered a billion tweets (I don’t even know that is possible). 
So Lightning can strike twice…or at least a Sharknado can.

 The movie itself……Well it started off great with Ian Ziering on an airplane having a William Shatner Twilight Zone moment.   Then we get the first of many cameos –Robert Hayes of Airplane fame was flying the plane which was classic.  He even had a line about what he had for dinner (a perfect throwback to Airplane).
But this storm just didn’t have the same so bad it is good feel. 
So Bad it is Good just happens it can’t be forced. Sure you can try to be cheesy---but you just can’t create on purpose that special SO BAD it is Good feel. I don’t think it is possible to recreate the terribleness of the first one.  The problem with Sharknado 2 was that it was actually decent in its intentionally over the top cheesiness and therefore was just a decent –bad sci-fi Storm/Shark movie. Another problem with the film was the overuse of recurring cameos . It was funny to see Al Roker and Matt Lauer discussing the Sharknados the first time, but by the 4th time it just took away from and slowed down the movie.   Lighting can strike twice, but the second one isn't as big of a jolt.

Here is what I thought of the first one.

Sharktopus vs Pteracuda 2014 5 out of 10 

So the plot is basically this:  Some evil genius (played by former Revenge of the Nerds  star Robert Carradine)  has created a Pterodactyl/Barracuda hybrid as a weapon.  The government didn't want it, but he created it anyway.   The testing goes badly and it takes off and starts killing people instead of responding to its programming.    Meanwhile a marine biologist has found and egg sack that survived from the first Sharktopus that got blown up in the original movie. So the new Sharktopus ends up an attraction at her uncle’s sea park.  The bad guys decide to buy and release the Sharktopus in order to battle the Pteracuda.   In between scenes of the two digital creatures battling in what looks like video game CGI –we get a dull filler plot about the  bad guys and marine biologist tracking the creatures.  As much as I like the idea of Sharktopus, he kind of disappoints in this boring sequel that was missing some of the qualities that made the first one much more watchable

The Verdict:   A weaker storm front full of Sharks is still better than some video game level Sharktopus battling another mutant 

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