Wednesday, November 5, 2014

30 for 30: No Mas

For people in the 70's, 80's and 90's, combat sports was all about boxing.  Sugar Ray Leonard, after his gold medal win in the '76 Olympics, was at the top during that time.  Leonard had two arch rivals during that time.  Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran.  The ESPN documentary, 30 for 30: No Mas, is all about the second bout with Duran.

In1980, Leonard and Duran had two epic bouts.  The first was in Montreal, Canada.  A hard fought war with a razor thin result.  Duran was named the victor.  The second bout was completely different.  Duran ended the fight on his own in the 8th round, supposedly saying 'No Mas.' 

The documentary explores what really happened leading up to both fights and why Duran decided to not continue in the second fight.  Both Duran and Leonard speak candidly.  ESPN also brings in the trainers, family of the fighters and members of the press that were present at the time.  Oh, Mike Tyson is interviewed as well.

If you are a boxing fan and were always curious on why Duran decided to stop that fight, this documentary is definitely worth the time. 

30 for 30: No Mas is currently on Netflix.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Book of Life (2014)

The Book of Life hit theaters this past week and I have to say it was very charming.  It is not your normal Halloween cartoon.  Based of the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration, the movie follows two friends as they try for the hand of Maria. 

Joaquin and Manolo are in love with Maria.  As kids they are touched by the rulers of the Land of the Remembered and the Land of the Forgotten.  Manolo is generous and helps an old woman.  She blesses him with a pure heart.  Joaquin is not so generous and is offered a trade instead.  The trade is for a medal that will keep him from harm.

The kids grow up.  Joaquin and Manolo in Mexico and Maria back in Spain.  Once she returns to Mexico the game for Maria's hand begins.

I have to say there were times, I was the only person laughing.  The reason was there was songs that musically were appropriate, but who actually wrote the songs was just wrong.  There is a Biz Markie tune.  The one that almost had me on the floor Creep by Radiohead.  Don't get me wrong, the music worked very well in this film.  Just caught me off guard and I could not help myself from laughing very loud.

Your kids will very much enjoy this movie.  There are voice that you will recognize, but most you will not.  I recommend this film.  Very much worth the money.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Major League Basball Championship Series on Fox and TBS

This will be an odd review.  I don't think there has been anyone that has reviewed a sports event to the general public.  So, let me say this...if you are a sports fan and like games that are close and nail-bitters, this year's postseason for Major League Baseball are for you.

Kansas City Royals are leading the American League series 2-0.  Two more wins and the Royals will be the American Leagues reps for the World Series.  Baltimore Orioles are trying to come back from two games down.  Not an easy task.  As I am watching game 3, it is tied at 1 run a piece.  These are the types of games that are exciting.  The funny thing with sports is that the wheels can come off for a team in a second.  In game 2, that is what happened to the Orioles.  The game was tight and then bad things happened.  Game 3 was actually suppose to be last night, but mother nature had other ideas.

In the National League, San Francisco Giants took a 2-1 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals in a 10 inning game 3.  All the games in this series have been nail-biters.  All have been 1 run games.  Game 2 saw the Cards win the game on a home run.  Game 3, the Giants scored the winning run in the 10th because of an error made by the Cards.

This season's playoffs are exciting and nerve-racking.  Even if your team is not in the post season, spend some time and watch these games.  They are exciting. 

And yes, I am hoping that the San Francisco Giants win it all. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Walking Dead (AMC TV)

AMC is about to embark on its 5th season of the Walking Dead and I finally got on the bandwagon.  When this series started I was not in a position to watch due to the fact that I was never home and did not have access to a TV where I was.  This past weekend AMC had a Walking Dead marathon.  I watched a bunch of episodes and now I am hooked.  Will be going back on Netflix and starting from the beginning.

While the beginning of the series was all about surviving the dead, what it has become is how can those that survived the disease survive each other.  From all the advertisements about the upcoming season, that is what the show will focus on.

What I know is this...the writing of the show is amazing.  The actors have done wonderful work with the script.  The direction and cinematography is amazing as well.  If you have not watched this show yet, like I did, it might be time to start.  I know.  ZOMBIES!  Zombies are a vehicle of the show.  The show is about surviving and navigating a world that has lost its mind.

Catch up on Netflix and watch the new season on AMC Sundays at 9p.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gracepoint (Fox TV)

Gracepoint on Fox.  Wow, first episode landed a bunch of twists and turns that I did not think was going to happen.  If you have not started watching this show yet, get started.  It is on Fox Thursday nights at 9p and of course On-Demand and

Gracepoint is a sleepy Northern California coast town where nothing really happens.  Then out of nowhere, a boy is found face down on the beach dead.  The new detective in town has a past he will probably like to hide.  The resident detective was passed over the job the new detective got and is not happy.  The big twist happens after the dead boy's best friend is told that he is dead.  If you have not watched the first episode yet and even if you have, I will not spoil that here.

David Tennant plays Det. Carver and is the new detective in town.  If Tennant's name rings a bell, he played Doctor Who for a couple seasons.  Nick Nolte is in this show as well.  Have not seen him in much recently.  There are many familiar faces in the show.

As I said, watch this show.  The series will only last ten episodes.  All will be revealed by the end. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Flash (CW TV)

Just finished watching the pilot episode of The Flash.  Not bad.  Not great, but it has potential to turn into something really good.

The producers laid down a good foundation with endless possible villains and friends to find due to the 'accident' that gave Barry Allen (The Flash) his powers. 

Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen.  As a huge fan of the animated Justice League, they do take a lot from the Wally West/Flash character's background. 

There are a couple familiar TV faces in this film.  Jesse L. Martin plays Detective Joe West who is a father figure to the Flash.  And Tom Cavanagh plays Harrison Wells.  Wells knows the Flash's secrets, but also is revealed to the audience at the end of the pilot as something other than what he is portraying. 

Martin spent several season on Law and Order.  While Cavanagh played the title character in Ed. 

The cast is good.  I expect that they will get better as the season progresses.  The writing is about the same as the acting.  This is the first episode of the season folks, what did you expect?

The show has potential and is placed very well following Arrow on Wednesday nights.  My suggestion is to be patient and see how the season progresses.  First impressions are not always the best.  Especially, for TV shows.   Flash is on the CW Wednesday nights at 9pm.  Give it a shot.

Wow, if only I could get paid for this?  Nah.  While getting paid would be nice, this is fun.

Hey, tell me what you think.  Leave a comment and play nice.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Arrow (CW TV)

Again, as you can see I am a comic book hero fan.  Arrow is now going into season 3 and with Slade now out of the way, what will be next for Oliver and the gang.

Thea has found out that the man she thought was her dad, was not.  She is now with her real father Malcolm Merlin.  Oliver and Felicity are about to have a thing.  And who will be the new villains be this season?

From what I was able to find, some people from Oliver's time on and off the island before heading back to Sterling City will be making an appearance.  Count Vertigo is suppose to make an appearance and cause havoc in episode 1.

There were rumors that Ra's al Ghul will be in season 3. Would only make sense with all the talk of the League of Shadows through the entire series so far.  And I was able to find an article saying that Matt Nable of Riddick fame will play the part.

This series does have a cartoonish feel and look to it.  However, the story line is interesting and the actors are good with what they are working with.  The only criticism that I would give is that the writing has become a bit predictable.  Oli makes a decision, Felicity and Diggle argue with him about it.  He does what he decided to do, fails.  Apologizes in someway to Felicity and Diggle.  They help and all is fine in the world.  Problem is that this keeps happening.  Could we change it up a bit please?

Arrow is not unique to this problem of writing style.  Most TV series that I have watched in the last several years use this exact formula.  So, the story line still works.  Just a bit predictable on how the problem in the story is going to be solved.

Arrow is a good show.  Will be worth your time and don't be surprised if the DC movies coming out and the TV shows start syncing up.  Similar to what Marvel has done with Agents of Shield and the Thor/Captain America films have done.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Haven (Syfy TV)

I guess you can see what my preference has been for TV shows.  I started watching Haven during the first season and wasn't too sure whether I liked it or not.  Part of the reason I started watching was due to Eric Balfour.  Always thought he was a good actor.  First time I saw Balfour was on the pilot episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Problem with that was his character was killed.  Next time I saw him was on an episode of West Wing.  Kept thinking that this kid needed to get a featured role somewhere then I saw the ads for Haven.  Liked Stephen King to a degree, so, started watching.

The series itself has done well from a story telling point of view.  The mythology leading to where they are now in the 5th season.  I would say things are getting weird, but that would depend on I consider weird.  With the change of Audrey to Mara and the introduction of William a new wrinkle has been added to the show.  I am just not sure if these wrinkles work yet.  Last season with the havoc that William was causing and the production looking like it might be wrapping up soon, I figured that the show would try and wrap everything up in a nice little bow.  Boy, was I wrong. 

I have really liked this show.  Just do not have any idea where it is going.  Normally, I would like the guessing.  However, this time around just not sure if I really care.  Will give it a few more episodes to see if some of my assumptions are true and certain people that they believe are dead happen to not be. 

Oh, and some of the 'troubles' that people are having are really starting to be ridiculous.  One woman had laser beams coming out of her body.  What?  I think they can do better than that.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sleepy Hollow (FOX TV)

Sleepy Hollow on Fox has returned for its second season and like the other TV shows that I have posted about this past week, this is another show that has potential. 

We are now into the second episode of the season and things are getting a tad tense.  Everyone is out of purgatory.  Crane has left his love in the clutches of the Headless Horseman who happens to be an old friend.  Well, maybe not friend, but they knew each during the revolutionary war.  Abigail's sister has been arrested with a small arsenal of firearms and someone signed a contract in blood.  And you know those never end well.

This is another show that keeps you guessing.  Some of the story can be a bit out in unbelievable world, but if you can work past that it is a really good show.  With the new sheriff, however, kind of don't like the hard ass character that will not believe the paranormal at work in my town thing.  This was the first episode this character was in, so I could change my mind in the coming weeks.  Seems a bit predictable and formulaic, but as I said...I could be wrong.

Things are about to get really crazy.  With certain characters in play a large event should be happening soon in the show.  I would expect a large mid season cliffhanger and a couple others during the first part of the season as well.  Just a feeling I have.

I watch via On-Demand, so time and day of airing I do not have.  It is on Fox as stated.  Can also watch on

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Marvel's Agents of Shield (ABC TV)

We are in season 2 of Marvel's Agents of Shield.  Not bad of a start.  Still trying to find out where this is going, but I like the mystery.  Makes we want to watch more.

As I mentioned with Gotham, Agents of Shield does have that stigma of being a comic book story.  And as with Gotham, the story is so much more than that.  There IS a great mystery going on.  If you are familiar with Marvel Comics, you know that there is so many different factions that can be a part of the story lines. 

We know about Shield.  We know about Hydra.  But who is Raina working for?  We know that she has had ties with Hydra, but she seems to now be working for someone else.  This is why it is a good mystery.  The show leaves you guessing each week.

If you are not a comic book fan, I ask that you still give this show a chance.  Yes, it does lend itself to science fiction and fantasy story telling.  That being said, the actors are wonderful and the writing will keep you guessing. 

I say give it a shot if you haven't already.  If you focus more on the story and the quest of the agents to do what is best for mankind, the super power silliness might just make sense and end up adding to the story and the stakes that face the agents.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gotham (FOX TV)

I rarely watch network TV these days.  Not much has peaked my interest in the last decade or so.  In an earlier post I took a look at Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Well, a look back.  It was that type of show that has kept my interest.  However, most of the shows that would share a Buffy story line or style were not on network TV.

Fox, on the other hand,  has tried to work with the Buffy style.  Fringe, Firefly, and Dollhouse with Fringe lasting the longest.  Firefly and Dollhouse, both Joss Whedon creations, lasted just one season each.

Now we have Gotham.  Gotham is the prequel to the Batman universe.  So far I have only seen the first episode.  Waiting for the next to be available On-Demand.  Like I said, don't watch much network TV. 

The first episode follows Jim Gordon on his quest to be honest in a city where corruption is everywhere.  All the other cops have their hands in the till is someway and the criminals run the city. 

Jim Gordon takes on the task of trying to find the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents only to be led to the wrong conclusion.  That conclusion was a fence that was set up.  (The fence happens to be a college buddy of mine.  Good to see Danny getting bigger and bigger gigs.)

This first episode sets up what Jim Gordon is going to have to deal with.  Will be interesting to see how the characters are set up and how Bruce Wayne slowly goes on his quest to become Batman.  There has been a tease to that story line.

While some may want to avoid this show due to the comic book theme.  I have to say that the writing is not cheesy.  These stories have a lot of depth to them and the intrigue is fun to watch.  Set up the DVR or be a regular to your On-Demand access if you can't watch when scheduled.  I recommend this show.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Solomon Kane (2009)

Maybe it is me, but I liked this movie.  Solomon Kane is based on the books and short stories written by Robert E. Howard.  Howard is also the creator of the character Conan the Barbarian. 

For the purposes of this movie, Kane begins as a his tale as a mercenary bent on destruction.  However, once he learns that his soul has been claimed by the devil, Kane renounces violence and becomes a puritan.  Yes, his life as a pacifist does not last long.  Kane witnesses several members of the family that he has been traveling with be slaughtered and the daughter kidnapped, Kane goes on his quest to rescue the girl and redeem his soul in the process.

The most notable name in the film is Pete Postlethwaite as William Crowthron.  The man that helps Kane on a path to peace.  James Purefoy stars as Solomon Kane.  Game of Thrones fans will recognize one of actors in this film, but I will keep who that is to myself.

Solomon Kane is a decent sword and sorcery film.  I think if you are a fan of the genre that you will enjoy Kane.  A little dark.  The fight scenes are pretty good.  Solomon Kane is not a bad film if you like a enough story plot to be believable.  Give it a shot.  Currently on Netflix.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hellboy (2004)

Going to do a two-fer on this one.  Hellboy is another of the many comic book movies that have hit the screens in the last decade or so.  Did well enough for Hellboy II, but the two films did not garner a third. 

Hellboy is a demon summoned by Rasputin in the 1940's to try and win the war for Hitler.  Rasputin's plan is foiled and Hellboy is raised by Profession Bruttenholm.  Rasputin is resurrected to try and bring the end of the world.  And you can guess where the film goes from there.

Ron Perlman is charming as Hellboy and John Hurt is brilliant at anything he does.  The rest of the cast is good. However, the story is lacking a bit and the movie pacing lacks as well.  The comic book was popular enough to get people to the theaters.  My criticism here is that I don't feel that this film is good enough to watch over and over again.  And that is what you want from a movie like this.  People to buy the DVD, rent or watch on Netflix.  Yes, I watched on Netflix.

I mention Hellboy II in regard of it being watchable a second time.  Saw the movie once and really don't care to see it again.  If there is nothing else on TV and Hellboy II happens to be on, OK.  That being said, I might opt to find something else to do.  Hellboy II was really lacking a story.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Coriolanus (2011)

Was searching Netflix on what to watch next and ran across a bunch of Shakespeare films.  Coriolanus caught my eye first.  Two reasons.  First, I have not read, performed or seen this play yet.  Second, Ralph Fiennes stars and directs the film.

One thing about Shakespeare.  It is hard to do.  On stage and on screen.  Especially on screen.  The pacing of this film is slow.  You will need a lot of patience to get through it.  That being said, the performances are outstanding.  One of my issues with doing Shakespeare is that many actors cannot handle the language.  All the actors in this production handle the language well. 

The story itself is about a military leader of Rome that is asked to take civilian leadership and is ultimately banished due to his brutality on the battlefield and his lack of civilian subtlety. 

This film is placed in modern time and is crafty on how it handles the text and delivering the plot devices.  Meaning, if you have seen a Shakespeare play live, the descriptions of how wars and other actions off stage are delivered to the audience.  Very well done.

If you are a Shakespeare fan, you will love this film.  If you are a Ralph Fiennes fan, you will love this film.  While the pace is slow, this is a well crafted film. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Justice League (TV Series 2001-2006)

Yes, I am posting another animated selection.  This one, however, is a classic.  At least for me it is. 

As a long time fan of comic books, finding the TV equivalent was difficult for many years.  As a kid I had Super Friends.  Looking back on that show and the many others of the time, those shows were pretty bad.  However, as a kid I didn't know any better.

But things started getting better in the 90's.  Batman the Animated Series came out.  It was dark and more realistic and not campy or cheesy.  The Superman had his own series for a few seasons.  Then Justice League

Now there are two separate series that are part of the Justice League story line.  The first focuses on the main seven.  Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, J'onn J'onzz, Flash and Hawkgirl.  The second season brings in many more heroes and follows a story line that involves Lex Luthor, the government and a clone.

This is a good entertaining series.  And if I can get my 7 year old daughter into the show, any parent that is a fan of the comic book world should be able to pass the enjoyment on to their kids. 

Now I know that the live action version of Justice League is coming out in a couple years.  Don't wait.  The animated Justice League is a good way to introduce your kids to the DC universe to get them prepared for what they will see when Justice League is finally released in live action.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Citizen Koch (2013)

Citizen Koch is a documentary about the Citizen United Supreme Court decision in 2009 and how money has influenced politics since then.  And the main beneficiaries of the Citizen United case has been the Koch Brothers.

Now I hate to get political, but with the 2014 midterm elections coming up the nation should be getting involved in some way.  Learning more about the candidates, the issues and registering to vote.  Whichever way you (as a reader of this post) lean politically, you have to admit that money has a corrupting affect on everything.  Most of all money corrupts the ability to lead effectively and effectively for all.

Watch this documentary.  I will say it is slanted as most documentaries are.  That being said, several of the people who were affected most happen to be republican.  What I think the ultimate point of this documentary is was to show that ALL citizens are affected by this court decision.  All levels of politics are now corrupted by high dollar donors.  And with the focus on Wisconsin, while the Gov Scott Walker and his campaign say that they are fighting union money trying to discredit them, the truth was that the money that came to his aid was in a ratio of 8 to 1.  Not exactly honest, but he is a politcian.

You can find Citizen Koch on Netflix.  With an election coming up very soon, might be a good time to see what the process is like these days.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is another one of those movies I just love.  Yes, I am a dork.  I freely admit this.  Roger Rabbit is just pleasant to watch. 

The late Bob Hoskins was absolutely wonderful in this film and Christopher Lloyd was pleasantly creepy and Judge Doom.

We follow the mystery of who killed Marvin Acme.  Acme was set to will Toon Town to the toons, but no one could find the will.  Eddie Valient (Hoskins) gets drawn in (no pun intended) to the intrigue. 

This is a rare film to watch because this movie is the only place where you would see Warner Brothers and Disney characters on the same screen.  How the producers pulled that off, I will never know.  Well, I could probably do the research, but would take to long.

Anyway, this is a wonderful film to share with the family if you have not already.  And yes, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is on Netflix.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tombstone (1993)

Tombstone (1993) starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer is another one of those films that is at the top of my list.  Not sure where it would be, but this is a film that I can easily watch over and over again. 

Based on the life of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday and the wild west, Tombstone gives a glimpse of what life was like in the late 1800's.  The performances by the entire cast was excellent and the gunfights were masterful.

A version of Tombstone has been attempted several times.  Both before and after this version of the story.  I found this one to be the best and what I would say would be the most authentic.  The writing, direction and acting are outstanding. 

However, this version does not need a reboot.  Unlike Abyss and Krull where special effects could be improved and make the movies better if there were remade, Tombstone does not have that problem.  My opinion is that there is nothing about this film that would need improving.  This, I think, is the best version of the story.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mirage Men (2013)

Ok conspiracy theorists, this one is for you.  And for the UFO people as well.  Mirage Men is a documentary about how the UFO rumors and stories about Rosewell, NM and many others were perpetuated in the late 70's and 80's.

Turns out that is was all a ruse to get one guy to stop looking into things he was not suppose to be looking at.  Problem was that the guy started to believe what he was being told and ended up in an institution.

The documentary centers around one man, Richard Doty.  Doty was a counter intelligence office from the Air Force's OSI unit.  This man was paid to lie and obfuscate and, according to the documentary, did his job well.  Very well.

The information is this documentary is outlandish and at times hard to believe, but by the end it makes a lot of sense on how the public was lead to believe that we had aliens among us. 

Mirage Men is on Netflix.  Give it a shot.  They also talk about the cow mutilations.  That should be a hoot for you to watch.  Oh yeah, this documentary has won multiple award from various film festivals.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

A friend of mine from high school could never get enough of the original Starship Troopers.  When I saw Starship Troopers: Invasion on Netlfix, I had to take a look. 

This is an animated film in the franchise.  Probably the best way to go forward if the franchise is to be continued.  However, this is not for kids in anyway.  Bare breasts are shown, cursing happens and lots and lots of blood and guts.  Again, even though this is animated, not for the kids.

The movie does bring in the three main characters from the original film.  Rico is now a general.  Carmen is a captain of a starship and Carl is still a researcher with psychic powers causing problems.  And that is where the movie goes with its story line.  Carl commandeers Carmen's ship, the bugs invade and lots of people die.  The twist here is that somehow the queen takes over the ship.  That is about all that I will say about the story.  Anymore and I will give away way too much.

The voice acting is pretty good.  The animation itself is ok.  Doesn't completely suck.  Has more of a video game feel to it.  If you want to see a good amount of digital death, this is the movie for you.  And as I said at the top, you can find this movie on Netflix.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dragonfyre (2013)

Why is it that almost every D&D style movie is bad?  Besides the fact that they have no budget, no one that can act and the script is beyond help...can they at least come up with some way for the film not to suck so bad?  Dragonfyre turned out to be a complete waste of time.

I knew going in that this was going to be horrible.  This was on a whole new level of bad.  The effects sucked, save for the one dragon they had.  That was not a bad job with the dragon CGI.  The rest...oh dear god.  The fight sequences were beyond sucky.  They really needed to teach these actors how to fight and hold the various weapons. 

And the story, portals between realms through a cave?  Well, it can work for Asgard and the Marvel Universe.  So, it might have worked here.  But geez. 

Now I know that we should be a bit more appreciative that an effort was made.  There is only so much that can be done with a script.  And the actors can only do what they are ultimately directed to do.  But people do need experience to possibly move on to the next level.  So, not seeing anyone move on to the next level here.  Well, one of the Orcs might, but the rest.  Hell no.

Beyond the Movie: The Lord of the Rings - Return of the King

Aside from watching sword and sorcery, I really enjoy learning about the background of a writer, how a film was made and anything else that might seem interesting.  National Geographic's Beyond the Movie look at the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is quite interesting.

This documentary takes a hard look at some of the reasons possible that the Rings trilogy was written.  The parallels between the characters and history.  Plus, many other aspects.

With the Hobbit Trilogy soon to come to a close, this might be a film that you will want to look at.  So you know, I am an information geek.  When something interests me, I can go a bit overboard and learn way too much and become a bit savant like.

And as usual, you can find this documentary on Netflix.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Blacklist (TV-NBC)

Yes, binge watching again.  This time it is NBC's The Blacklist staring James Spader.  The premise of the show is wonderful and has such potential to wonderful dramatic mystery.  Only if there was mystery to it.

Well, I am not going to give anything away if you have not watched the series yet.  The first season is on Netflix.  From what I read, Netflix is paying a pretty penny for the privilege of streaming the show.  All that being said, the show on the whole is good.  Well acted and well directed.  The script writing needs some help.

After watching the first 3 episodes then jumping forward in the season to follow the husband as a possible spy story line, I figured out one of the major plot lines before it was really addressed.  Who is Liz's real father?

Figured that out within the first three episodes and confirmed in a later one that I watched.  Don't get me wrong, this will be a hit show for NBC for sometime, but keep things a mystery for a bit longer people.  Will ya?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Heavy Metal (1981)

Yes, I am a dork.  Can't help it.  Heavy Metal is a true cult classic.  The movie follows the Locnar (if I am spelling that correctly), a glowing orb that causes chaos through time and space.  Kind of like Sauron's ring in Lord of the Rings.  Where the stories and animation look and style came from is the graphic magazine of the same name, Heavy Metal.  Lots of boobs and other craziness for the demented person of the 1970's and 1980's.

This is not a film I would suggest sharing with the offspring.  While it is wonderful and the sound track is very early 1980's hard rock, the sexual content might not be something you want to share with your kids.  Wait until they go off to college, but not before then. 

As I said, I am a dork and this is a wonderful movie to watch and relive some of those altered nights with the friends watching very strange animation.  And it happens to be on Netflix. 

So, grab whatever gets you a bit altered and watch this classic.  Just make sure the kids are at a sleepover or something.  This might confuse them and you trying to explain what they saw will most likely fail.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Hobbit Trilogy

I have now seen two of the three in The Hobbit Trilogy, but after finally seeing Desolation of Smaug I wonder if a trilogy was needed.  The reason I say this is that I found a great amount of the film was left to travel shots and other scenery.  Don't get me wrong, Unexpected Journey and Desolation were beautifully shot.  However, the ending of Smaug was a let down.

If the movie had left off after (spoiler here) Smaug started to lay waste to Lake Town, then the name of the Movie would have made sense.  But that is not what happened and I am feeling very disappointed by the film.  The last thing I saw in Desolation of Smaug was the dragon flying away.  No destruction, no desolation, just disappointment.

Now don't get me wrong.  The first two films are wonderful and I will always recommend watching.  That being said, I think the same amount of detail to the story itself could have been done in a shorter period of time.  Could have condensed into one film, but two would have been better.  I think three was way too much and spent more on cinematography and less on the story.

I very much look forward to The Battle of Five Armies.  Again, this will be brilliantly shot and a visual wonder and we will finally get the conclusion we all know is coming.  But I still wonder if Peter Jackson stretched The Hobbit films out just because The Lord of the Rings was a trilogy?

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are very different in literary structure.  The Lord of the Rings was a three book trilogy.  The Hobbit was one book.  I never felt there was enough material for three films.

All this being said, I could be completely wrong in my assessment.  I will go back and watch all three movies once they are release in the trilogy set that you all know everyone will buy.  I will do a marathon day of watching The Hobbit Trilogy and then I will come back on here and most likely state that I am an idiot and ignore my earlier post about The Hobbit.  I just felt such a let down from the ending of Smaug.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Abyss (1989)

Abyss (1989) was another one of those sci-fi films that did not get a lot of respect in the theaters.  However, it did really well in rentals and on movie channels. 

Abyss follows a group of deep water divers searching for a lost submarine.  What they discover is some type of life form that can control water.  Of course there is deep conflict within the group between the military and civilian members.

As I mentioned with Krull, this is one of those films that should get a remake.  The difference between remaking Krull and Abyss is that I feel that Abyss could use some tweaking of the story.  The end of Abyss was a bit anticlimactic, but if they went with the original script the movie would not suck at all.

Abyss is not on Netflix at the moment.  Will probably have to be something you will have to buy online or be lucky and find it in a Best Buy or another store like that.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (2008)

About 2 or 3 years ago, I got my daughter into super hero animation.  We started out with the most recent Justice League series.  Not the new Justice League that were the sidekicks and Superboy, but the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series.  We have watched the various Marvel live action films and most of the DC animated movies.

What we watched recently was Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow.  Descendants of Captain America/Black Widow, Thor, Black Panther, Giant Man/Wasp and Hawkeye with the help of an elder Tony Stark and eventually Hulk look to end the rule of Ultron.

We both liked this movie.  My daughter is not nearly as versed in Marvel lore as I am, but she caught on quick to what was going and the movie did a lot to help fill in the past enough for her to understand what was going on.

The Pym character was a bit annoying, but tell me that we all didn't know someone like that as a kid.  Which pretty much stands for all the kid characters.  Trying to find their way in the world and making huge mistakes along the way.  They are kids, what did you expect?

Anyway, this would be a good movie to sit and watch with the kids.  Struggle and triumph win the day and can be a good moral lesson to talk with your kids about.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tomorrow When the War Began (2010)

I have decided that I will be watching more foreign films.  Tomorrow When the War Began is the Australian version of Red Dawn.  However, this version is really good.

Ellie and Corey decide that they want to have a friends only camping trip out in the bush.  After the trials of getting the group together all the teenagers try to impress each other.  Usual teenage stuff.  Then one night, several planes fly overhead.  However, unlike both versions of Red Dawn we do not see the carnage until the kids head back to town and find all their homes abandoned. 

Another difference between Red Dawn and Tomorrow is that there are no attempts to fight back until the end of the film.  This story deals more with the psychological state of the group and how they finally come to the decision to fight back.  Red Dawn was all about the action and showing that no matter what Americans will fight back no matter what their age.

I was very impressed with this film.  The acting was wonderful.  Storyline was very well thought out.  Wonderful cinematography and direction.  It was just well done.  Currently on Netflix and I say it is a must see.

Curse of the Dragon Slayer (2013, among many other titles)

Yes, I watched another sci-fi/fantasy film.  And Curse of the Dragon Slayer was bad.  First, the story really didn't have anything to do with dragons.  Second, the acting and script were pretty bad.  The special effects were cool and can we just say thank god for technology.  No longer need multi-million dollar set ups to make effects on people and scenery.

Anyway, if you enjoy bad fantasy films for a good laugh, you will get a kick out of this one.  I don't like giving too much away about a film, but there are so many holes in this script I am surprised it made any sense at all.  I will say the dwarves were funny and got a kick out of them, but that was about it.

You can find this on Netflix and be glad the Netflix bill covers all the good stuff that is coming to the service.  Not sure what else I can say about this film...or what else I want to say about this film.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Princess Bride (1987)

This has got to be in my top 5.  The Princess Bride has everything.  Yes, the movie can appear cartoonish.  Yes, the movie is a bit campy.  But here is the thing.  The fight scene between Westley (played by Cary Elwes) and Inigo (played by Mandy Patinkin) has no rival.  I have seen a lot of sword fighting over the years and this fight is the best. 

As you can see I will have nothing buy praise for this movie.  I recently sat my 7 year old daughter down to watch it with me and she absolutely loved it.  For a 7 year old, it was a bit scary in the fire swamp scenes and she really wanted Prince Humperdink to die.

I highly recommend this film be passed down generation to generation.  And yes, this truly is a film for everyone.  If you do not like this film, please seek therapy.

Oh, one other has Andre the Giant in to.  If you don't know who Andre is, look him up.

Again, brilliant film.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lost Girl (SyFy TV)

As you have probably noticed by most of the movies and TV that I have posted, I am a sci-fi geek.  I had heard from a couple friends that Lost Girl was a show that I should watch.  At one point I had caught a random episode and really didn't care.  But then, as usual, I saw that it was on Netflix and decided to give it another whirl.  This time from the beginning.

Ok, I got hooked.  The storyline is not bad.  The acting is a bit weak at times, but otherwise pretty good.  And I do have to say that the acting got better as the series went on.  And yes, I did some serious binge watching.  There are four seasons on Netflix at the moment.  The show producers have announced that there will be another season which will end the show.

Anna Silk plays Bo the sex crazed succubus that actually has a good heart.  Knesia Soto plays the best friend Kenzi.  They meet at a bar after a guy tries to drug Kenzi so he can get some nookie.  Then the insanity goes from there.

The show is produced in Canada.  Seems to be a bit low budget, but like I said this is a pretty fun show.  And again, I love me some Sci-Fi.  Throw in women in tight clothing and I am really happy.  Yes, I just had a sexist moment.  Please forgive me.  I am male.

If you have not watched this yet and you happen to be a Sci-Fi fan, hop on Netflix and give it a shot.  you might be pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Craft (1996)

You know....the more I think about what I am doing here the more I realize what I am actually doing.  I am given you ideas of what to watch tonight.  Or what to watch some other night.  Looking through Netflix, the channel guide on the TV (does TV Guide even publish a listing anymore?) or wherever else I watch video content, there is just so much to choose from that have some sort of idea of what to take a look at just might help.  I am sure other people are doing this as well, but are they going back in time and reminding you what was fun to watch.

The Craft hit theaters in 1996.  Was not received well.  The box office take barely covered the budget for the film.  For me, however, I enjoyed this film.  First, Catholic girl skirts.  Yes, I am overly male sometimes.  Close to 20 years ago, what do you want from me?

Next, the cast was actually really good.  There was a wonderful chemistry among the coven and they played off each other extremely well.  Now, if you want to be nit picky, you could say that he story was weak.  What I felt was weak was the special effects.  But it was 1996.  What we are use to now is light years away from where special effects were in 1996.

This movie is on Netflix and I think it is a lot of fun.  High school girls dealing in forces that really shouldn't and then going after someone that can harness the power?  I think if you watch this film with low expectations that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV 1997-2003)

I know.  This is not a movie.  The show started out as one and I thought the movie was horrible and cheesy and a giant waste of time.  That being said, the TV show made up for it.  And I thought that I would throw in some of my favorite TV shows on this blog as well. 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer hit TV back in 1997.  For me, I was hooked.  The dialog was clever.  The acting was good.  The cast had great chemistry.  The only draw back was that the make up was not the best, but the fight scenes kind of made up for that.

The reason I write this is I really wanted to focus on three episodes that should have won Emmys, but were never nominated.  Or at least should have given nominations for performances.  First is Hush.  Mid season 4, Sunnyvale loses its voice.  Literally the whole town cannot speak.  So, for about 20 or so minutes of screen time the cast does not speak to each other.  Was very interesting to see how the group would communicate.  Secrets were revealed and awkwardness came about after the baddies were eliminated.

Next in season 5, The Body.  This episode was brilliant.  If you really listen, you will realize that there is no background music at all through the entire episode.  Buffy finds her mom dead in the house and how the group handles the death is on full display.  The performances on this episode are the best throughout the series.

Finally, season 6.  Once More With Feeling... This is the musical episode.  Again, brilliant. The singing performances are decent enough that you don't really want to turn it off.  This is a big reveal for the storyline as well.  Near the end of the episode Buffy lets the group know something that stuns everyone.  For those that have scene it, you know what I am talking about.  For those who haven't, get Netflix and watch the entire series.  Especially season 5.  There is context that you need to understand the reveal.

The entire series is done incredibly well.  Does not really stand the test of time, but if there were to give it a reboot I am sure improvements can be made. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Krull (1983)

The next few posts will be all about the movies I would live to see remade.  The reason is that the effects of the day were not all that great and I feel that the current technology will make what was a cult film more widely appreciated.

The first is Krull.  This film hit theaters in 1983.  The audience was the scifi fantasy geeks like me and did not do all that well.  The thing is when the film was syndicated on TV and the pay channels the viewership was pretty good. 

I really enjoyed this film.  The story has great potential and the action had great potential as well.  With a complete redesign of the various environments, make-up and stunts, I think this film could do a killing at the box office.  I even think they could pull this off with the exact same dialog. 

Krull stars Ken Marshall and Lysette Anthony.  Krull also happens to be the first movie Liam Neeson appears in.

Now I have to ask those 5 people that will read this post...Do you think Krull could do well with a remake?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Final Fantasy VII: Avent Children (2005)

As I have mentioned before, I am an animation fan.  Can't help it.  I am an adult and I still like watching cartoons.  Especially due to the fact that animation in whatever form it is allows for so much more spectacular story telling and effects.  Live action is catching up, but when it has come to super heroes and the sci-fi/fantasy world nothing beats animation.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is based of the video game franchise of the same name.  I was a bit distracted today, but this one was kind of a disappointment.  The story was a bit fragmented and was hard to follow.  Some of the story elements were kept in the dark about until the end.  Even then I was confused.

I action was fun although seemed a bit repetitive.  Multiple motorcycle chases and battles that seemed to be pretty much the same sequence each time.  The final battle was cool though.

Watched this particular version with English subtitles and that could have been a part of the problem as well. Anyway, the main reason I watched this one was due to my enjoyment of the 2001 release of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.  The version of that film that I watched was in English and I felt that the storyline was much better and easier to follow.  There were times with Advent Children that I was just confused as to what the objective was.

Watched on Netflix.  You might like this you might not.  There are some good fight scenes.  I could be wrong about my assessment, but just not really thrilled about this film.

Red Dawn (2012)

Way back in 1984 a movie came out that played into the psyche of the time.  Red Dawn placed a band of high school kids against the Cuban and Russian armies attempting to invade the USA.  Everyone I knew at the time could not get enough on that film.  In the theater, on TV when it was replayed and renting at the local video store.  Two years ago, they decided it might be a good idea to remake Red Dawn.  This time it is the North Koreans invading the USA with a tiny bit of help from the Russians.

There are a couple key plot lines that were kept.  The drinking of the deer's blood and Darryl leading the Russian forces to the group's location.  This time both scenes are under different circumstances and results.

The actors did the best they could with the script they were given.  The action sequences were a lot of fun to watch.  However, the overall story line does not play well.  A massive power outage turns out to be the way to get into the USA without being seen way ahead of time?  Yeah, not so much.  And the North Koreans do not have the resources to make an invasion like that happen.

All that aside, if you see it on Netflix or one of the pay channels, sit down and watch the film.  You just might enjoy it if you are not expecting much.  I will say this.  There is a scene that did take me quite by surprise. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

If you have not figured things out yet, Netflix is my friend.  When Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow came out ten years ago it got panned pretty bad.  In my opinion, I have a feeling that many of the reviewers really didn't know what they were dealing with.

Here is what I mean.  The movie is darkly lit.  It has a film noir feel to it because of how darkly lit it is.  Plus it is set in the 1940's.  The actors are performing in a similar style as 1940's actors.  And the entire movie is shot with green screen.  If you are not familiar with what green screen is, all the big sets, robots and most everything else is computer generated.  And you can tell.  In the movie's defense, it was one of the first to go entire movie green screen.

I actually like the story.  Kind of cheesy, but that is film noir for you.  I recognized what they were trying to do early and made adjustments for it.  In this film, Angelina Jolie's accent is pretty bad.  Usually when she does Brit the accent is more or less believable.  Not this time.  Jude Law is Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow plays the overly curious reporter/damsel in distress.

The rundown is that if you can get past the look of the movie and suspend your disbelief with what you are looking at in regard to the story, you could enjoy this film.  If you have Netflix and have not seen the film yet, give it a shot.  You might be surprised.  Or I am completely wrong and the film will suck.  Either way, and this is for the guys and maybe some girls, looking at Jolie in tight leather is not a bad thing.

Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)

Lauren Bacall passed away yesterday (August 12, 2014) just about one month shy of her 90th birthday.  Bacall was born Betty Joan Perske September 16, 1924 in New York City.  Her career spanned over 70 years.  Her early work includes Key Largo (1948) and The Big Sleep (1946).  Her co-star just happened to be the man she would marry, Humphrey Bogart.  She was married to Bogart until his death in 1957.

Bacall was the quintessential beauty of the golden age of film.  She started her career as a model as a teenager.  Then went on to study acting at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York in 1941.  One of her classmates happened to be Kirk Douglas.  Her first acting gig was a Broadway walk on role in 1942.

Her list of credits is long and illustrious.  And she was working till the day she died.  Most recently she did work on the animated show "The Family Guy" and was rumored to be cast in the film "Trouble is My Business."

Lauren Bacall is a true icon of film and television.  Thank Ms. Bacall for your legacy.

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat hit theaters back in 1995 to modest success.  As I was flipping channels, I ran across Mortal Combat on Cinemax and thought I would watch for a bit.  The movie stars Christopher Lambert of Highlander fame.  The other name in the film that you might know is Bridget Wilson. 

This film does not stand up to the test of time, but it is a wonderful reminder of how the 90's tried so many different ways to get you into the theater.  Based off the arcade game success the studio was hoping to build off that success.  Mortal Kombat did well enough to spawn a sequel, Mortal Kombat Annihilation.  However, Annihilation did not fair well and a third film, Devastation, was shelved.  There is talk of a reboot to the, but the story line sounds really bad.

If you are in the mood for something mindless and a bit of fun.  Yes, the film can be viewed as fun.  Watch Mortal Kombat again.  Oh, for the sports fan that would go to NBA and NHL games...Mortal Kombat supplied the soundtrack to the fan adrenaline rush before and during the games.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dear Mr. Watterson

Alright Calvin and Hobbes fans, this one is for you.  Dear Mr. Watterson takes an in depth look at the legacy of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes and newspaper comics in general.  Bill Watterson does not appear in the film.  According to the film maker and others interviewed in the film, Mr. Watterson does not like to do interviews.

The documentary takes an interesting look at how Calvin and Hobbes raised the bar for those writing comic strips at the time as well as the influence Mr. Watterson has had on future artists and his contemporaries.  They also talk about the business side of the comic strip world and the choices made in regard to Calvin and Hobbes. 

This is a documentary.  Please bare that in mind when watching this film.  The pacing is slow, but is a documentary.  However, seeing the comic strips again brought back many memories and reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading the newspaper comics everyday.  You can find Dear Mr. Watterson on Netflix. 


Saw this film a few weeks ago with my daughter and a friend and I was pleasantly surprised.  Maleficent is a re-imagining of  the Sleeping Beauty story and the motivation behind Maleficent's actions against Princess Aurora.  

I will admit that I am not much of a fan of Angelina Jolie's work.  She is gorgeous, but her work hasn't really impressed me as of late.  This performance, however, was wonderful.  If you have not seen this film yet, I do not want to give much away.  So, let me say ready for something a little different and be ready to cheer for the character you thought you would not cheer for.  

The visuals are outstanding and film as a whole is well done.  Maleficent is still in theaters.  DVD is due out soon.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Assassins

The Assassins stars Yun-Fat Chow and is one of those Chinese epics we have become use to as of late.  Not nearly as majestic as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but still wonderfully shot and wonderfully acted.

Actually, this film is based in truth and covers the later years of Cao Cao's life.  Cao Cao tried to unify China under his rule, but was unable to do so. 

No gory violence was shown, but plenty was implied.  This film was more about intrigue and tactics than about the violence that has been associated with Chinese films of the past.  As I mentioned with A Man From Nowhere, if you can get past reading the subtitles, you will enjoy this film.  Very male dominated, but remember that we are talking about Ancient China.  So, woman are subservient.  Nature of the day.

Robin Williams (1951-2014)

I was thinking about listing my top 5 movies that Robin Williams appeared in.  The problem is his body of work is so vast and most of it so good that there is no way to choose just 5.

All I can say is that Mr. Williams will be greatly missed.  But here is what I plan to do and I hope you all (like the 5 of you that read this site) will do as well.  I plan to remember his work.  Remember the laughter he brought.  Remember the talent he brought to stage and screen.  I was lucky enough to meet him once.  Exchange a quick word with him.  We happen to have the same professor.  I was there 20 years later, but we still had something in common.  I will remember that day and that handshake as long as my brain continues to function.

I thank you Robin Williams for sharing your life with us.  You brought us great joy.  God speed on your journey.


Alright MMA fans.  This one is for you.  Actually, anyone who has ever been curious about why people choose to fight.  I caught the last 45 minutes of this documentary on one of the pay channels.  Dustin Poirier is one of the featured fighters in this film.  Poirier is currently a top ranked fighter in the featherweight division in the UFC and is about to have one of the biggest fights of his life on Sept. 27th, 2014.  

Fightville shows what these fighters put themselves through and how hard it is to get into the upper ranks of the fight world.  One of the other featured fighters had a bout coming up, but was not training.  Once he came back to training a couple weeks out from the fight, he paid the price.  Not just from being out of shape, but by having his head handed to him in a sparing session.  Was a hard lesson, but a lesson nonetheless.

Fight fans who want to see the behind the scenes world of what makes a fighter will enjoy this film.  I also recommend it for the curious about mixed martial arts and to those that would like to see a story about perseverance.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is based on the Xbox video game franchise Halo.  Surprisingly enough, there are actors in this cast that you just might recognize.  Anna Popplewell from the Narnia films and Darren O'Hare from Battlestar Galactica and Eureka.  So, if you were thinking this would be a poorly produced film, you would be mistaken.

This film is also surprisingly well written, directed and acted.  The characters are developed well throughout the film.  The special effects are well produced and you get some bloopers after the credits finish.

If you are a fan of the Halo franchise, I think you will enjoy this film.  It is also a bit of a coming of age story about overcoming diversity and all that goes along with it.   Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn is available on Netflix.

The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects has to be one of the best films I have ever seen.  One of the best ensemble casts ever put together.  And it was the last good acting gig by Stephen Baldwin before he went nutty.  I hate to poke at him, but has he done anything good since this movie?  Just saying.

The story is so well written and contains some of the best plot twists ever, that just watching the film once will not satisfy.  There were aspects of character tendencies that I did not pick up on until the 3rd or 4th viewing. 

If you have not seen this film yet, go find it now.  It is currently on Netflix, but I am sure you can find it at your local Best Buy for cheap.  Or anywhere else that might sell videos.  You will not be disappointed.

Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore

For those people that know me they know that I am a huge animation fan.  I am also a huge comic book fan and a huge super hero fan.  Yes, I know I should grow up, but I refuse.

Anyway, Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore is an anime style film that pits Iron Man against the son of Obahdia Stane, Ezekial.  Plus, Tony Stark also decides to tick off shield at the same time.  Other Marvel characters in the film are Black Widow, The Punisher, Hawkeye and War Machine.

I enjoyed this movie.  For some reason I find the stories written for anime a bit underwhelming, but this is fun and the story line has some interesting, yet predictable anime twists.

If you are a fan of the Marvel universe, I think you will enjoy this film. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Man From Nowhere

A Man From Nowhere is a film from Korea and I have to say it was quite entertaining.  A couple aspects you will have to get over first.  Dealing with subtitles, random English from one character and lots of blood and guts.  However, the blood and guts factor is about the same as Judge Dredd (a movie that I reviewed a day or so ago).  Once you get past how they are speaking the dialog and you are okay with reading subtitles (unless you understand Korean), the performances are very good.  What I enjoyed most about this film was that they did not reveal too much at any one time.  The action sequences are very well done.  Not sure what else to say about this film other than if you are okay with subtitles and violence, you will enjoy this film.  Oh yeah, this is a well written, well directed and well acted film.  A Man From Nowhere is available on Netflix.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is another Marvel/Disney hit.  I use to be an avid comic book reader, but this was not one that I read.  So to compare it to the comic book, I cannot.  That being said, with what Marvel has been doing as of late with the Avengers characters and their various story lines expect crossover with the various characters soon.

Now, as for the Guardians...this was a fun movie to watch.  The acting was fun and believable.  The story was well written.  The action was intense and well generated.  Most of the action was CGI.  Go figure.  All in all, a fun ride for all.  Oh, you will want to stay till the end of the credits.

Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd is the remake of the bad Sly Stalone flick. While this one is bad, it is not nearly as bad as the Sly Stalone. The story was basic and believable. Still bad, but believable. What this movie was is pretty easy to identify. That identity was kill porn. Lots of dead bodies. Lots of body parts flying around. Literally. And lots of bullets. Want some mindless death for two hours, watch Judge Dredd.  Watched this film via Netflix.