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.

Why I am Here...

Hey Kids,

Being an entertainment fan one of the tasks I have been wanting to do was give my take on the films I have seen over the years and most recently.  So, each movie I see, whether new or old, I will give a quick review to.  Give my opinion on why I think you might like the film and why you might hate the film. 

That's it.  Just a quick idea on whatever movie I am watching and a link to their web page.

Hope you enjoy.