movie, movie review, sci-fi

February 23rd, 2018 Movie – The Time Travellers

the time travellers

When watching a sci-fi movie, the most common theme is obviously some sort of alien invasion/visit to an alien planet. I think the second most common theme tends to involve some sort of time travel. Time travel movies are always interesting because you can either see the director’s or writer’s vision of a future, or their imagining of the past. Now I have never seen this movie before I bought it and the only reason I own it was because it was part of a 4-movie DVD set that I had bought. So let’s see how good of a movie I have on my hands as I watch The Time Travelers.

The plot: In a university lab, Dr. Erik von Steiner, Dr. Steve Connors, and their assistant Carol White, are working on their experimental time viewing device. As the test the device, Danny McKee, a worker for the local power plant stops by and tells Carol that he was chewed out for running the extra power cables to their lab and he is supposed to cut the power to the lab, but agrees to wait a while so they can finish their test. After testing the device on looking into the past, they decide to look into the future, and Steve decides to increase the power to it’s maximum settings, despite the protests of Erik and Carol. The dial for the machine ends up reaching 100,000 years into the future and as they dial it back, Carol notices some strange shadows quickly come and go. When the computers overload and fuse some of the circuits, the portal ends up stopped at the year 2071 and they see the university has become a barren wasteland. As Erik, Steve, and Carol work on repairing the circuits, Danny notices the screen is actually a doorway and brings it to their attention. Danny decides to go through and investigate the landscape and Erik heads after him to bring him back, telling Steve and Carol to man the controls and try to keep the portal stable. As they are working, Steve and Carol notice some strange, mutated humanoid figures moving about the screen and heading in the direction Erik and Danny went. Steve goes through the portal to try and find them and bring them back and when two of the strange figures notice the portal and head towards it, Carol uses a fire extinguisher to fend them off. Suddenly the power dies off in the building and Carol goes through the portal to alert the others that the portal is collapsing. Steve and Erik hear her and head back but just as they get there, the portal collapses. Seeing more of the mutated beings coming towards them, the three scientists run off and meet up with Danny, then start throwing rocks at the mutants until the back off. Danny takes them to a cave he discovered, where they prepare to fend off the humans again, and as they get ready, they find the mutants are unable to enter the cave and quickly run off. Going to see what happened, they discover that the opening has been sealed off by an electric barrier just as they are approached by a woman named Gadra and several androids. Gadra says not to worry and invites them into their city for safety and, seeing little choice, Erik and the others follow her. In the city, Gadra takes them to the city council, where the explain their situation to the city’s leader, Dr. Varno. Varno explains that they are in the year 2071 and the planet is dying due to nuclear war. Most of humanity was destroyed or mutated to the creatures they saw outside. The last remaining humans are in the city but know they won’t be able to survive so they plan to travel to another planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. As Varno shows them the rocket on a view screen, an explosion occurs in a fuel station and one android is damaged while a second is damaged. Varno takes them to the chamber where androids are built, explaining how the voyage to the new planet is so long, that the only way they will make it is to travel in suspended animation. He also explains that the mutants are constantly attacking and trying to find ways into the caves, so the androids also serve as their protections. As they leave, Danny stays behind to talk to Reena, one of the workers, who is attracted to him and asks him to meet her in her cubicle after her shift ends. Returning to the council room, Varno says that he will offer what ever help and supplies they need to build a new time viewing device so they can get back but warns them that they only have a month to do so, as that is when the rocket will blast off. Carol says they have to get back and warn humanity to try and stop the war but Councilman Willard, a pessimistic member of the council, says that they never make it back as the war obviously happened. Erik agrees that they can’t change the past and Varno suggests that they go with them on the rocket, which Erik and the others accept, but after they leave, Willard asks for a report on their supplies and what would happen if additional passengers where on the rocket. Erik joins Varno, who shows him the viewing room where they receive all of the data for the planet they hope to arrive on. Meanwhile, Danny heads to Reena’s room and watches as she plays a strange musical panel, while Steve and Carol follow Gadra, who works to explain the rocket and their flight plan. As she is explaining the engines, they will be using, she asks Willard to help but he refuses, being rude towards what he perceives as unwanted additions. Suddenly, an alarm sounds and Willard tells Steve to join him, saying they might need his help, while Carol is told to go to the council chamber for her safety. Carol ends up getting lost and discovers a deviant human in a storage chamber. She attempts to talk to the deviant and learns that he can understand her but can’t speak. Willard shows up and wants to shoot it but she refuses to let him, as Steve, Erik, and Varno arrive. Varno tries to explain the situation but they refuse to let them kill it and Varno agrees to let it be sent outside the barrier. Later, as Varno shows them their food supply/additional oxygen makers, Willard asks to speak with him privately and the two walk off. Later, Erik, Steve, Carol, and Danny are summoned to the chamber and given the bad news; that there is not room on the rocket for them to travel with the survivors and Willard refuses to delay the rocket’s launch to accommodate them as Steve argues that he is condemning them to their deaths. Realizing their only chance of survival is to rebuild their time viewing device, Varno offers whatever help he can, even showing them some new ways to improve the device. As the launch date gets closer, the mutants attack the city, overpowering many of the robots and humans in the city. Steve and Danny go out to rescue Carol and Reena, and bring them back to the lab, where the surviving humans and androids quickly barricade the room. Inside, the survivors watch as an explosion occurs on the launch pad and the rocket attempts to take off but explodes. Realizing their only chance is the portal, Erik activates it just as the mutants break through the barricade and start attacking them. Many of the survivors, along with Willard, are killed but Erik, Steve, Carol, Danny, Reena, Varno, Garda, and several other humans escape, then destroy the machine before the mutants can come through. As the surviving human stare at the campus grounds, Erik, Steve, Carol, and Danny head back to the lab to turn off the machine there only to discover that their past selves are still there but they are unable to affect anything. Varno and the others arrive and Varno says that they are somehow moving at an accelerated rate, and will soon die. Steve says their only hope is the portal, where the dial is stuck at 100,000 years into the future, and decides to test if the portal is open. Steve heads inside then returns and has the others follow him into the portal, where it is revealed to lead them to a lush landscape where they can rebuild a city for themselves. After they pass through the portal, time resumes on their past selves, with the accelerated people moving through the portal explaining the shadows Carol saw, and it is shown that they have ended up in a repeating loop of events.

This was a pretty decent movie but to be honest, felt a little generic. The acting was ok, with Preston Foster (Erik), Philip Carey (Steve), and John Hoyt (Varno). I also liked Joan Woodbury (Garda) but thought Merry Anders (Carol) and Delores Wells (Reena) parts were too stereotypical, while Steve Franken (Danny) was simple comic relief. The story was pretty good and honestly kind of reminded me a little of H.G. Wells “The Time Machine”, which I am sure was some inspiration for the story. The special effects were admittedly not the best, especially the androids, which had some very rubber-like masks on over the actors heads. It’s a decent time kill of a movie but there are some better stories out there to watch, or read for that matter.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

adventure, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review

February 22nd, 2018 Movie – Time Bandits

time bandits

With both my mom and step-dad working, I ended up having to go to day care after school and during the summers as a kid. Apparently I was not trusted to stay home by myself until I was in junior high (lame). The good thing about this, especially when I got older, was that I had a little more freedom at the day care than the other kids. Case in point, during the summer while all the other kids had to do nap time, I spent the time playing cards with the day care workers or watching TV. Anyways, One of the times that I was watching TV, I remember watching part of this movie and thought it was one of the craziest movies I had ever seen. I would see it many other times over the years and decided to buy it on DVD after catching part of it on TV a few years ago. So let’s have a bit of ridiculous to start the day as I watch today’s movie, Time Bandits.

The plot: 11 year old Kevin is busy reading about Ancient Greece and telling his parents various facts but his parents essentially ignore him and tell him to go to his bed. As he lays in bed, he imagines seeing a knight on horseback come crashing out of his wardrobe and go riding off into the woods where his wall was. Ducking under the covers, Kevin peeks back out to find everything is normal and goes to check the wall just as his father pokes his head in the room and asks what the noise was. The next day, Kevin’s mom complains about several appliances going haywire and Kevin makes plans to try and take a picture of what ever comes through his wardrobe that night. As he is about to fall asleep, 6 dwarves (Randall, Fidgit, Strutter, Og, Wally, and Vermin) step out of the wardrobe. When Kevin signs his flashlight on them, the dwarves get scared but after realizing that he is just a kid, they attack him and demand he show them the way out. When they accidentally push against the bedroom wall, it moves outward and the dwarves, realizing they found the way out, begin pushing on the wall and reveal a long hallway. Kevin watches them continue pushing on the wall when a ghostly face appears and tells the dwarves to return the map they stole. Frightened by what is happening, Kevin ends up helping the dwarves push on the wall until it opens up into a black void, which they all fall into. Kevin and the dwarves land in a farmhouse and as Randall (their leader) pulls out the map to figure out where they are, Kevin uses the opportunity to run away. He soon runs into some soldiers, as well as a group of injured men and women fleeing a city, and learns that he is in Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. Randall and the other dwarves catch up to Kevin, revealing that they had stolen the map from the Supreme Being, who they used to work for, and are now traveling through history to steal various treasures. Entering the nearby town, they make plans to steal Napoleon’s treasures, much to Kevin’s shock. Seeing Napoleon watching a theater production, the dwarves end up on stage and entertaining Napoleon, who ends up dismissing his generals and having Randall and the others replace them, due to their being shorter than himself. While they are eating dinner, Napoleon falls asleep and Randall has Strutter go look for the time hole out of there while he and the others begin looting the room. After Strutter finds the portal, they quickly leave but the guards get suspicious and chase after them only for Kevin and the dwarves to disappear in the portal. They end up crashing into a carriage and as the occupants quickly run away, Kevin realizes that they have landed in the middle ages. Fidgit and the others want to have Kevin join them and Randall asks Kevin if he really wants to before he agrees. Remembering that he has a camera, Kevin takes a picture of the dwarves holding the map when they hear a scream and find a group of bandits robbing the carriage occupants. Kevin and the dwarves follow them but end up being captured and, as Randall talks to the bandits and convinces them to let them go, asks to see their boss. The bandits take them to their camp, where Kevin and the others discover that the bandits’ leader is Robin Hood. Robin Hood invites them to join his gang but as Randall and the others see Robin Hood handing out their recently stolen treasure to the poor, they decide to leave, taking Kevin with them. Unbeknownst to Kevin and the dwarves, they are being observed by Evil. Evil feels the Supreme Being wasted his chance in creating reality and he wants to use the map to recreate it in his own image. Evil possesses Og and convinces Randall and the others to head to a place where the most fantastic item in the world is kept. Before they can head off, the Supreme Being appears in the woods and they are forced to try and find a way out. As they head for the portal, two of them open up but the dwarves find themselves stuck and Kevin ends up going through a portal on his own. Kevin ends up in Ancient Greece, landing on top of King Agamemnon, who was in the midst of fighting a warrior wearing a bull’s head. With the bull-headed warrior distracted by Kevin’s arrival, Agamemnon is able to kill the warrior and then asks Kevin if the Gods sent him. Thanking him for saving him, Agamemnon invites Kevin to head back to his city and Kevin refuses at first, saying he has to wait for his friends, but when Agamemnon goes to leave him in the desert, Kevin changes his mind. Agamemnon takes Kevin to Mycenae, and, with Kevin wanting to stay there, decides to adopt him and make him his heir. As a celebration is held in Kevin’s honor, Randall and the others show up, disguised as part of the entertainment, and claiming to be magicians, grab various treasures and Kevin and, hiding behind a cloth, disappear into a portal, with Agamemnon and his court believing it to be part of the act at first. Kevin and the others land on board the Titanic and Kevin is upset that they didn’t leave him in Ancient Greece, as it is his favorite period of history, but Randall tries to comfort him by saying he really didn’t belong there. When the Titanic sinks, Kevin and the dwarves find themselves floating on some of the debris and Evil takes the opportunity to have them reach the portal to his realm, the Time of Legends. Kevin and the dwarves are captured by an ogre and his wife and brought aboard their ship. As the wife heads down to make preparations to cook them, the ogre works on scaring Kevin and the dwarves while placing them in a pot but his back is bothering him. Kevin offers to help him and he and the dwarves start stretching the ogre’s back before throwing him overboard. When the ogre’s wife goes to check on him, they knock her overboard as well, then sail off in the ship. Suddenly, they find the boat is stuck on the head of a giant, who makes his way onto shore. Pulling up the planks to expose the giant’s head, Kevin uses the ogre’s sleeping potion and pours it into some fireplace bellows, then he and the dwarves jab it into the giant’s head and pour the potion into it, causing the giant to fall asleep. Leaving the boat, Kevin and the dwarves end up wandering through a desert until they come across an invisible barrier and Randall excitedly exclaims that the Fortress of Darkness is on the other side. Wally and the other dwarves think Randall has gone mad and want to leave, grabbing the map from him. As Randall and Wally argue, Randall throws a skull at Wally and ends up smashing the barrier, revealing the Fortress of Darkness. They head inside and a game show host appears, offering them the most fantastic item in the world. Randall and the other dwarves are overcome by greed and, despite Kevin warning them it is a trap, quickly rush off to reach the prize. When they get there, the host asks for the map and when Randall shows it, he grabs it, revealing himself to be Evil, then has Kevin and the dwarves trapped in a cage and suspended over a bottomless pit. As the dwarves despair over being captured, Kevin is looking through his pictures and sees the one with the dwarves holding the map. Showing it to Randall, they realize that there is a hole in the fortress they can use to escape. They manage to escape the cage and using some shavings from the rope holding the cage, manage to get to safety. Randall and the dwarves want to leave but Kevin convinces them that they have to get the map away from Evil. They manage to grab the map but Evil spots them and transforms Og into a pig-man, then sends his minions after them. Kevin and Og stay behind to distract Evil while he sends the others to go get help throughout time. Evil captures Kevin and Og, then destroys his creations as he gets the map back. Evil transforms Og completely into a pig and is about to kill Kevin when Randall and the others show up with the help they acquired. Evil easily kills the cowboys, archers, and knights that attack him, then takes control of the tank and space ship that Randall and Wally are in, making them attack each other. Fidgit is killed during the fight and Evil is about to kill the rest of them when he is suddenly engulfed in fire and reduced to an ashen statue. The Supreme Being shows up and, after restoring Og to human and reviving Fidgit, the Supreme Being orders them to start cleaning the mess up. As they work, Randall apologizes for stealing the map and the Supreme Being says that he allowed them to take it as he wanted to test his creation, Evil. When Kevin asks him why he created Evil, the Supreme Being tells him that it has to do with free will. When the dwarves knock over the statue of Evil, the Supreme Being says to pick up all the pieces, as it is concentrated Evil and could be deadly if not contained, but one piece goes unnoticed as it rolls under the tank. With all of the pieces picked up, the Supreme Being says that it is time to go and they leave but when Fidgit asks about Kevin, the Supreme Being says he can’t come with them as he has to continue the fight. Kevin asks them not to leave, as the last piece of Evil begins smoldering and filling the area with smoke. Suddenly, Kevin finds himself back in his room, as firefighters break down the door to rescue him. As one of the firefighters asks if Kevin is ok, Kevin is surprised to see that he looks just like Agamemnon. As the firefighter heads back to put out the fire, Kevin checks his satchel and finds the pictures that he took, realizing that the adventure that he had with the dwarves really happened. One of the firemen shows Kevin’s parents their new toaster oven, which was the cause of the fire, and when they open it, the piece of Evil is found inside. Kevin sees it and warns them not to touch it but they ignore him and as they touch it, they suddenly explode. As Kevin calls out for his parents in shock, the camera pans up from Kevin to show the neighborhood, planet, and eventually the map, which the Supreme Being then rolls up.

Time Bandits met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.” While filming the scenes in Sherwood Forest where Kevin and the dwarves crash through the carriage and land on Vincent and Pansy, Terry Gilliam had a scaffold built and was trying to instruct them on how to jump and land around Michael Palin without actually hitting them. However, when he decided to show them how to do it, he ended up landing on Shelley Duvall. The movie was a box office success, earning $42.3 million off of a $5 million budget, and would gain a cult following, especially among fans of Monty Python.

I know the critics love it but I honestly feel like this movie is somewhat under appreciated by the average movie goer as this is a really funny movie. The acting was really good, with Craig Warnock doing a great job as Kevin. The dwarves all had some good moments and bad, with my personal favorites being Kenny Baker (Fidgit), Malcolm Dixon (Strutter), and Jack Purvis (Wally), and this has nothing to do with the fact that they were all in the original Star Wars movies. The story was pretty interesting and honestly just showed Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin’s brilliance in comedy. I loved how they essentially made a movie from a child’s point of view and even though Kevin was meant to be the central focus of the movie, there were plenty of times that he was intentionally made out to be the secondary character in order to focus more on the dwarves. The somewhat biblical aspect of the Supreme Being, Evil, and the aspect of free will being the reason to have Evil, was written out very well and I liked how they wrote that plot line into the movie. The special effects were surprisingly good, especially considering the limited budget they had. A really good movie that is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

action, martial arts, movie, movie review

February 21st, 2018 Movie – Tiger Love (1977)

tiger love

This should be an interesting movie to watch. It has been a while since I watched a movie from the Martial Arts box set and after seeing the title, I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I mean, I know that some Asian films can be pretty…..out there as far as subject matter goes and I am pretty sure there is nothing disturbing in the subject matter on this movie. So I am curious as to how the tiger works into this movie, as it is quite prominently featured on the poster/video box. Only way to find out is by watching today’s movie, Tiger Love (1977).

The plot: Two recently eloped lovers, Xiaohou and Shinlian, are running through the jungle, being pursued by Shinlian’s father and several of his men. When they find themselves cornered at the edge of a cliff, Shinlian’s father tells her to come home and marry her cousin but she refuses, saying she loves Xiaohou. When Shinlian’s father grabs her, Xiaohou begins fighting with his men and ends up being overpowered and severley beaten and Shinlian, breaking free of her father’s grasp, rushes to his side. Thinking the Xiaohou is dead, Shinlian chooses to jump off the cliff and kill herself and her father and his men quickly head down the cliff to try and find the body, unaware that Xiaohou is still alive, as he crawls to the cliff’s edge and looks down to where Shinlian had jumped. Shinlian, had managed to survive by landing on a tree branch but when she regains consciousness, she sees a tiger staring up at her at the bottom of the tree, causing her to wet herself, some of which lands on the tiger. Shinlian passes out again and when she regains consciousness, she finds that the tiger had taken her to a cave and realizes that it has somehow become her slave. Making a home for herself in the jungle with the tiger, which she calls Uncle Tiger, Shinlian, who was pregnant with Xiaohou’s child, gives birth to a son, whom she calls Xiaochang. Twenty years pass and Xiaochang develops a martial arts style based on Uncle Tiger’s attacks and movements. Realizing he deserves to know the truth, Shinlian talks with Xiaochang and tells him the truth about his father and the events of what brought them to this valley. Xiaochang decides to go visit the village and see how other people live their life but as he watches from behind a cart, some villagers spot him and, noticing his leopard skin clothes, call him out for being a wild man. Several villagers begin harassing Xiaochang and as he tries to get away, start fighting with him, forcing Xiaochang to defend himself. The fight is eventually broken up by an older man, who questions Xiaochang about why he came to the village. Xiaochang said that he was there to see how people lived and technically he was a villager as his father lived there. When the man asks who his father was, Xiaochang tells him about his father and mother and the man reacts in shock, and it is revealed that he is Xiaohou. Xiaochang brings Xiaohou and his wife and son to the valley to see Shinlian, who is shocked to see her former husband. Xiaohou explains that he thought she had died so he married another woman and his wife says that they are all one family and asks Shinlian to come live with them. Shinlian refuses, saying she has grown used to living in the valley, but asks that they take Xiaochang with them so he can live with other people. Overcome with emotions, Shinlian heads back into her home and Xiaohou starts to go talk with her some more but Uncle Tiger appears and lays down in the doorway, preventing him from entering. Sometime later, a group of villagers, lef by Shinlian’s family, is going on a tiger hunt and two women, noticing a rabbit moving through the brush, become separated from the main group. As the women split up to look for the rabbit, one of them, Xiaoling, ends up being jokingly captured by Xiaochang and pulled up into the tree with him. Teasing her about capturing a lovely animal and planning on keeping her, Xiaochang talks with Xiaoling and eventually lets her free. Xiaoling attempts to kill Xiaochang but is eventually won over by his friendly manner and continues talking with him. Xiaochang tells her he is from the Lin family just as the hunting party starts calling out to try to locate Xiaoling. Xiaoling says that he has to go, as she is part of the Shi family and their families are enemies and she doesn’t want him to be killed, and then heads back to her family. Xiaochang heads back home, running into some of his family, who warn him to be careful as the Shi family is about. Xiaochang stops at a restaurant to get some food and overhears some of the Shi family discussing a celebration for their success in the hunt. Xiaochang decides to sneak over to the celebration and, locating Xiaoling watching some of the festivities, sneaks up to her and grabs her hand. Xiaoling is shocked to see him there but he motions her to keep quiet and she lets him drag her off to so they can be alone. Away from the rest of the family, Xiaochang admits that he has fallen in love with her and Xiaoling tells him that she has feelings for him as well. As they discuss possibly having a future together, Xiaoling’s cousin, who is in love with her, goes looking for her and eventually finds them. Learning that Xiaochang is from the Lin family, Xiaolin’s cousin starts attacking him, joined by several other family members, and Xiaochang is forced to defend himself, accidentally killing one of them before he is able to escape. Xiaoling’s father chastises her for talking to Xiaochang and has her confined to her room, ordering her cousin to keep watch over her. Meanwhile, Xiaohou chastises Xiaochang for falling in love with Xiaoling and when Xiaochang comments that Xiaohou had done the same thing, Xioahou says that it almost cost him his life. Xiaohou smacks Xiaochang and continues to chastise him, prompting Xiaochang to run off. Back at the Shi house, Xiaoling’s father and mother mourn the loss of their son, the man Xiaochang killed, and Xiaoling’s cousin suggests they enact a swift retribution on the Lin family for the death. A group of Shi men head to the Lin household and begin attacking and killing several of the Lin family. When Xiaohou shows up, he is confronted by Xiaoling’s father, who demands he turn over Xiaochang for the death of his son but Xiaohou refuses. As the fight continues, Xiaohou is killed and as they search for Xiaochang, Xiaoling’s cousin kills Xiaohou’s wife and other family members. When Xiaochang returns to the house, he discovers the memorials to Xiaohou and his family and drops to his knees, as the surviving members of the Lin family, who had been looking for Xiaochang, return as well and ask what happened. Xiaochang and the surviving Lin family members go to face the Shi family and when they confront them, Xianchang learns of Xianling’s brother’s death and says he didn’t kill him but if he did die it was an accident. The Lin and Shi begin fighting and, finding themselves overwhelmed, Xiaochang rescues his uncle and tells him to run, continuing to fight and hold off the Shi, then leaves as he himself starts to become overwhelmed. Xiaochang’s uncle makes his way to the valley and tells Shinlian what happened and she goes to the Shi household to try and stop the fighting and rescue Xiaochang. When she gets there, she is confronted by Xiaoling’s cousin, who says that Xiaochang isn’t there but when he learns who she is, plans to keep her there to use as bait. Shinlian attempts to fight free but is struck down before Xiaoling’s father appears and stops the fight. Recognizing Shinlian, he invites her in to talk but she says she must leave and he lets her go and when his nephew asks why he let her go, as she is Xiaochang’s mother, he responds that it is fate. Xiaochang returns to the valley and finds his mother near death from her wounds. She begs him not to seek revenge, as he is both a member of the Lin family and the Shi family, and when he promises not to fight anymore, she says that she can die in peace. After Shinlian dies, Uncle Tiger heads off and kills one of the Shi night watchmen. Returning to Shinlian’s grave, Uncle Tiger says that for 20 years he has not killed anyone and been happy but with her death, and her spell on him broken, he is free to kill again. The night watchman was his 100th human killed and he is now turned into a demon, intending on killing all of the Shi family for revenge. At the Shi household, they find the body of the night watchman and realize it is a tiger that killed him so they go looking for it but Uncle Tiger, now able to transform into an old woman, kills several of the men, including Xiaoling’s cousin. As news spreads about the tiger attacking them, Xiaoling’s father goes looking for it but is killed by Uncle Tiger, as is his wife several days later. As Uncle Tiger continues to kill the Shi family, Xiaoling and her sister are soon the only ones left. One night, Xiaoling is woken up by a crunching sound and finds Uncle Tiger, in his old woman form, feeding on her sister. Uncle Tiger then starts chasing after Xiaoling and attempts to kill her but Xiaochang appears and pleads with Uncle Tiger to leave her alone, as she is innocent. When Uncle Tiger refuses to back down, Xiaochang tells Xiaoling to run while he attempts to fend off Uncle Tiger, but Uncle Tiger easily knocks him away. Xiaoling sees a pot of boiling oil and as Uncle Tiger attempts to kill her, she pours the oil on him, killing him. Xiaochang goes to Xiaoling and expresses sorrow at seeing Uncle Tiger dead but says he doesn’t hate Xiaoling, as he feels that maneating tigers should be killed and they can be happy together.

First of all, I am surprised that there was not one, but two movies called Tiger Love. Second, in regards to today’s movie, it wasn’t that bad of an old martial arts movie. The acting was ok, and the dubbing was actually pretty decent, much better than what you usually find in these films. The story was kind of bizarre, not the whole warring families aspect but the whole part about the tiger. First of all, the whole peeing on the tiger making it fall under a spell was probably the most ridiculously plot line I have heard in a long time, and those of you who read my blog and knowing the movies I watch, that is REALLY saying something. Then you have the tiger transforming into a demon woman, which was just bizarre in it’s own right. The main story, that of two warring families and their children falling in love with each other, really was something taken straight out of “Romeo and Juliet”. The fight scenes were pretty well choreographed and while I felt like there could have been more, they had a good ratio of fight scenes and non-fighting to build up a good story. Definitely some bizarre elements to it, but a decent 70’s martial arts movie that is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

crime, drama, movie, movie review, thriller

February 20th, 2018 Movie – The Ticket Of Leave Man

the ticket of a leave man

Ahh, a nice little Tod Slaughter movie is a good way to start the day. This is another movie from the Legends of Horror box set and another one that I have never seen before. I have to admit that the Tod Slaughter movies I have seen in this box set have all been pretty entertaining and I really am interested in seeing some more of his films once I finish all of the ones in this set. But that is a story for another day, so let’s get on with today’s movie, The Ticket Of Leave Man.

The plot: In 1930’s England, Detective Hawkshaw and some other officers arrive at the house of a wealthy family and Hawkshaw tells the patrolman outside the house to keep a look out for anything suspicious, as a thief known as The Tiger is planning to rob the place. Hearing a scream coming from the house, Hawkshaw leads some of his men inside, leaving the patrolman and another detective to keep watch. Meanwhile, The Tiger sneaks out of the house and strangles the patrolman, then clubs the detective over the head several times before running off. Hawkshaw and the other detectives hear the commotion and race outside to find the bodies and Hawkshaw vows to catch The Tiger. The next day, Hawkshaw meets with some of his men at a public garden and, under the guise of having some drinks, discuss the case while keeping an eye on the people there. They especially keep an eye on Melter Moss sitting at a far table, as he is a money lender who also doubles as a fence for stolen merchandise. Meanwhile, The Tiger shows up and sits with Moss, who is nervous about them being seen out in the open together. The Tiger says he is considering getting out of the game, as the pressure has been increasing and Hawkshaw is making things more difficult. After watching an incident where most of the waitstaff complaining to the manager about a coworker being a former convict (referred to as a Ticket of Leave Man), the man begs to be given a chance as he is trying to go straight but the manager fires him, The Tiger and the money lender watch May Edwards start singing and The Tiger becomes infatuated with her. After May finishes her set, The Tiger starts to approach her but stops when he sees her fiance, Robert Brierly, approach her and they sit down to start talking. The Tiger sits back down with the money lender and plans to frame Robert and have him arrested, then seduce May while he is gone. The Tiger has the lender give him some fake bank notes and as Robert is listening to May sing, he starts a conversation with Robert and uses it to slip the fake notes into Robert’s jacket while taking the envelope of real ones out. The former convict notices this as he is leaving and attempts to tell the manager but he refuses to listen and tells the man to leave. The Tiger convinces Robert to buy some cigars, then disappears as Robert is completing the purchase. Meanwhile, the lender is speaking with Hawkshaw and tells him that Robert is passing around counterfeit money and Hawkshaw approaches the cigar shop and asks to see the money Robert paid with. As The Tiger and the lender watch the proceedings, the former convict approaches them and says he saw what they did and wants half of the money, and The Tiger tells him to step into the alcove so they can discuss the matter. Hawkshaw approaches the table and arrests Robert for forgery when they hear someone cry out and, leaving Robert under the care of two officers, he goes to investigate and finds the former convict has been killed. When Hawkshaw says The Tiger has been there, a panic ensues and May ends up fainting, only to be carried out of the garden by The Tiger, to help him escape. Some time later, the money lender is revealed to be the actual forger and The Tiger meets him at his shop and they discuss their next plan. After several years, The Tiger sets himself up as a charitable foundation and has people donate money to him, which he uses to determine their wealth and rob them or kill them if necessary. He also controls the various criminals in the area, forcing those that attempt to go straight into becoming criminals for him by reporting to their bosses that they are Ticket of Leave Men. The Tiger is planning to commit a massive robbery and is trying to find a man to place inside when he is visited by May. The Tiger sends the lender away and greets May and kisses her, which shocks May, and when The Tiger says he wants to proceed further with her, she refuses as she is still in love with Robert and plans to be with him when he gets out of prison. Robert is released from prison and given a 10 pound note as his earnings from the workshop while incarcerated. He heads off to see May, who is living with Mrs. Willoughby and her grandson Sam, who owned the cigar shop Robert had bought the cigars from. May introduces Robert as her brother who had been in the military and Robert learns that the Willoughby’s lost their cigar shop because of the incident that got him arrested. Meanwhile, The Tiger approaches the bank owned by Joshua Gibson and tries to see if there are any openings there, explaining that his foundation tries to find jobs for Ticket of Leave Men to help them get back on their feet but the manager says that they can’t risk it due to the amount of money they keep there. At the Willoughby’s home, Mrs. Willoughby is worried about being able to pay their rent, as she is short on the money, when they find a note on the table with Robert’s money inside, which he secretly left for them saying it was to pay off an old debt. Outside, Robert and May meet Mr. Gibson, who was going there to collect the rent, and Gibson offers Robert a job but warns him that he expects honesty and says that if anyone is caught lying, they will immediately be fired without exception and Robert, reluctantly, continues the charade of being May’s brother. As time passes, Robert proves himself to Gibson, who gives him a promotion at work to being his personal clerk. When a messenger delivers a letter saying that they have lost some money due to forged bills, Gibson tasks Robert into tracking down the man who used the forged bills and getting their money back. Gibson and the other tellers leave as May enters the building and she talks with Robert, who feels bad for continuing to lie to Gibson and wants to come clean. The two share a kiss but unknown to them, The Tiger had stopped by and sees them. After May leaves, The Tiger enters and goes looking for a loan while talking with Robert and Robert recognizes the company name that The Tiger gives as the one that had used the forged bills. The Tiger leaves and returns to his business, where he speaks with Moss about Robert working for Gibson. The Tiger wants to send Robert back to prison so he can seduce May but Moss says they should use him to rob Gibson before that and The Tiger agrees. Robert had contacted Gibson about The Tiger, who contacted Hawkshaw to arrange a sting. When Hawkshaw arrives, Robert is nervous when Hawkshaw appears to recognize him and questions Gibson about him but Gibson assures Hawkshaw that Robert has been a trustworthy employee. Gibson leaves to take a deposit to the bank as The Tiger and Moss approach the building. The Tiger has Moss go inside to see if it is safe before he enters and Moss notices Hawkshaw and tries to leave but he is stopped by Gibson, after Hawkshaw says he could be trouble. The Tiger enters and Moss secretly passes him a note warning him about Hawkshaw just as Hawkshaw approaches and invites The Tiger into Gibson’s office. Inside, The Tiger says he discovered the forged notes had been used and had come there to pay the debts occurred as a result of them, playing off that he is innocent in the matter. Robert returns to the office to find Hawkshaw and Gibson talking and Gibson explains that The Tiger was caught off guard by the forgery and repaid the debt in full. When Robert enters Gibson’s office, he finds The Tiger trying to open the safe with a key and questions him about it but The Tiger, revealing he knows Robert’s real name, tells Robert that he will reveal the truth to Gibson unless Robert keeps quiet. When Gibson enters the room, Robert says he has something to tell him in private after he concludes his business with The Tiger. After Robert leaves, The Tiger tells Gibson the truth about Robert and says he saw Robert making a wax impression of the safe key. Gibson doesn’t believe him at first but when Robert enters and Gibson calls him Brierly, Robert admits that he is Brierly. He tries to explain himself but Gibson accuses him of trying to rob the place and orders him to leave before he calls the police. Later, May goes to see The Tiger, telling him that Robert lost his job and she is worried that he might become a criminal. The Tiger tells her to have Robert meet him at the garden and after she leaves, he has one of his men go fetch some supplies, then proceeds to start trashing his office. Moss sees him and questions what he is doing and The Tiger replies that after he robs Gibson, he will have enough money to do what he wants and no longer has to put up the charade. Moss threatens to tell Hawkshaw if The Tiger double crosses him and The Tiger kills him, then continues to ransack the office as his employee returns. The Tiger then sets the office on fire, then locks his employee inside with Moss’ body to be burned alive. At the garden, Robert is lamenting about being unable to find a job because he is a Ticket of Leave Man and May tells him not to give up before leaving to perform. The Tiger sits at the table and starts talking with Robert and convinces him to help him steal the money from Gibson’s safe and Robert agrees, telling him he will leave a note for May explaining that he is leaving her. He hands the note to the waiter to give to May but the waiter is a disguised Hawkshaw and the note actually tells her to contact Hawkshaw and explain that Gibson’s building is going to be robbed. When Robert and The Tiger enter the building, The Tiger reveals his true identity to Robert, who says he had contacted the police but plans to get his revenge himself. The two fight outside and The Tiger starts to strangle Robert but is interrupted by the arrival of Hawkshaw and the police. The Tiger pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot whoever approaches him but he slips into an open grave and breaks his neck. As Robert comes too, he apologizes to Gibson for lying and had hoped to pay back the kindness he shown him by stopping the robbery.

This was a really good movie, though it could only marginally be considered meeting the criteria for being in the Legends of Horror box set. The acting was really good, with Tod Slaughter putting in his usual over the top brilliant performance as The Tiger. I also liked John Warwick (Robert) and Robert Adir (Hawkshaw) but thought Frank Cochran was great as Moss but Marjorie Taylor (May) was kind of bland. The story was pretty good and I liked the idea of how The Tiger was basically taking advantage of other criminals to further his own greed, forcing them to continue being crooks even if they wanted to go straight. The mood and tone of this movie are pretty good and definitely helped sell the narrative of the story. Definitely something worth watching a credit to Slaughter’s career.

Rating: 4 out of 5


comedy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

February 19th, 2018 Movie – Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle

thumb wars

Man, 1999 was a crazy year for Star Wars fans. Everyone was getting ready to see The Phantom Menace and the marketing and merchandising for it, and Star Wars in general, was being promoted like crazy. One day before the movie came out, a TV special aired that had to be the absolutely craziest thing I had seen in years. I was honestly caught off guard by how ridiculous this thing was, but I ended up laughing at it the entire time I watched it. I ended up buying it on DVD sometime after it came out, as well as a couple of the other short spoofs that came out several years ago, so let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle.

The plot: In outer space, a pair of Thumbellion ships are attacked by the evil Thumbpire. One of the ships is destroyed and the second one is captured and brought on board the Thumbpire ship, where soldiers breach the ship’s doors and begin attacking the Thumbellion soldiers inside. Two digits, Prissypeo and Beeboobeep, are trying to figure out a way to save themselves and decide to use Princess Bunhead as a bargaining chip. The tell her that they are escorting her to safety but secretly lead her towards Black Helmet Man and his soldiers, then quickly jump into a escape pod, after one of the soldiers reveals that they had led Bunhead to them, and launch themselves towards the planet’s surface below. When a soldier asks if they should follow after them, Black Helmet Man says no, as the freaky little hooded creatures will capture and sell them. He then turns to Bunhead and says that it is time for her to turn to the Nail Side of the Thumb but when she refuses, he says she will die and walks back to his ship, tripping over some debris as he does. On the planet’s surface, Prissypeo and Beeboobeep are captured by the freaky little hooded creatures and, after being dragged along behind their vehicle, are sold to Uncle Soondead. Inside their house, Loke Groundrunner is complaining to his Uncle Soondead and his Aunt Gonnabiteit about not feeling needed and Soondie tries to console him by saying that he needs him for the harvest but Loke just whines some more about how they don’t understand him and runs out of the house. Outside, Loke is crying as he stares at the sunset when he is approached by the man with the silliest name in the galaxy; Oobedoob Scoobi-Doobi Benubi. Benubi calls out Loke for being a cry baby and when Loke asks what he wants, Benubi says he is there to collect his digits and has Loke follow him back to his place. Inside, Benubi smacks Beeboobeep on the head a few times until he starts playing a video recording of Bunhead, who was picking her nose because she didn’t realize the recording was on. Bunhead then tells Benubi that the Thumbpire has built a big, dangerous weapon thing and she needs his help, but Benubi and Loke are busy looking up the hologram’s dress. Loke says that he would like to help but Soondead and Gonnabiteit need him and when Benubi calls attention to their names, Loke quickly rushes home only to find that they have been “clipped”. Loke says he will join Benubi to fight the Thumbpire and Benubi, after mocking Loke for joining after everyone he knows has died, tells Loke to touch his tongue to his (Benubi’s) to make it official but when Loke balks at it, he says to just come one. They head to a nearby settlement and meet up with Hand Duet and his copilot Crunchy, who is trying to keep a low profile as he owes Gabba the Butt a lot of money. Hand says he only accepts girly giggles and, seeing some Thumbpire troops approaching, Loke and Benubi quickly start giggling and Hand says that’s enough for the the advance and leads him to his ship, Hand’s Hand. As the Thumpire soldiers begin shooting at them, they quickly board it and take off. Above the planet Daldar, Black Helmet Man threatens to blow it up unless Bunhead tells him where the Thumbellion base is located and she reluctantly does so but Black Helmet Man still orders an attack on the planet, telling his men to make it spin. Inside the Hand’s Hand, Benubi feels the people of Daldar all getting nauseous from the spinning just as they are captured by the Thumbpire’s giant space station. Inside, they are confronted by Black Helmet Man and he and Benubi begin fighting with thumbsabers (which emerge from the top of their heads). As they fight, Black Helmet Man asks if Benubi is still easily tricked, and when Benubi says no, Black Helmet Man yells out “Touchdown.” Benubi throws up his hand and Black Helmet Man quickly slashes him with his thumbsaber. Loke and the others all scream out at the death but Loke hears Benubi’s spirit telling him to run and they do, joined by Bunhead, who escaped somehow. They quickly get onto Hand’s Hand and leave, hiding out in an asteroid until the heat dies down. Inside the asteroid, Loke feels a presence calling out to him and meets a Puppet, who offer to teach him the ways of the Thumb, asking Loke to touch his tongue to his in order to start the training. On board the Hand’s Hand, Loke starts training and the others all laugh at how awful he is doing but when Loke asks if he is a master now, the Puppet laughingly agrees. Heading to the Thumbellion base, they learn that the space station has a built in self destruct button, which is at the end of a corridor on the space station. Loke leads a group of fighters to take on the station but are attacked by the Thumbpire’s Fist Fighters. With the Thumbellion fighters being destroyed, Loke makes a run at the button and ends up being confronted by Black Helmet Man. The two engage in a thumbsaber battle on top of Loke’s fighter and Black Helmet Man reveals that he is Loke’s mother, revealing a pink dress underneath his cape but before he can attack, Hand’s Hand flies by and knocks Black Helmet Man off of Loke’s ship. Loke then says that he will trust his feelings to destroy the space station but he hears Benubi’s voice saying to use the instruments, as they are designed to hit small targets like the button. Loke uses the system to destroy the space station and they return to the Thumbellion base, where they hold a chili cook-off to celebrate their victory.

This is such a ridiculous spoof that you can’t help but find yourself laughing at it. The voice acting was great and I liked the way they imposed the actors faces onto the thumbs. The story was a great spoofing of Star Wars, mixing a little bit of Empire Strikes Back into it as well. One of my favorite parts was the introduction of Hand Duet, whose opening monologue was a a nonstop name drop of several Harrison Ford Films, while Gabba the Butt referred to him as Indiana Ford. The visual effects were pretty funny, doing their best to make everything possible finger/thumb/hand shapped. I thought the “fist-fighter’s” design of just being a fist holding a dumbbell was pretty ingenious. Definitely something that Star Wars fans will want to own just for the laughs out of it, while it is good for laughs even if you don’t like those movies.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Hitchcock, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

February 18th, 2018 Movie – The Thirty-Nine Steps

the thirty nine steps

Sunday morning and I find myself in for a treat with today’s movie. Today I find myself watching another of Hitchcock’s early movies from the Legends Of Horror box set. Seriously, they should have just called this set “Hitchcock & Friends”, as it seems like a high percentage of movies from here are Hitchcock movies. Based on the novel by the same name, today’s movie is actually the first of several film versions and yet another Hitchcock movie that I have never seen. So let’s see if this movie is as good as most of his earlier works have been as I watch today’s movie, The 39 Steps.

The plot: At a London theater, the audience is being entertained by the act of “Mr. Memory”, a man with an exceptional talent for recall, when a fight breaks out among the crowd. As the stage manager calls for everyone to calm down, shots ring out and the crowd panics and starts to flee. Richard Hannay, a man from Canada who is in town on business, ends up leaving the theater with a young woman named Miss Smith, who asks to come back to his place. When they get there, Smith acts very nervous, staying clear of the windows and asking Hannay not to answer the phone when it rings. Making their way to the kitchen, with Smith pulling the curtains closed before allowing Hannay to turn on the lights, she tells him she is a spy named Annabella and believes that assassins were after her in the theater. She tells him that she uncovered a plot to steal British military information, with the man in charge missing the tip of one of his fingers. She tells him that she plans to leave for Scotland in the morning, as there is a man there that can help her and Hannay offers to let her stay the night. That night, Smith bursts into Hannay’s bedroom and warns him to run or he will be next, then collapses onto the bed, having been stabbed in the back. Suddenly, the phone starts ringing and Hannay moves to pick it up when, recalling Smith’s words, he checks out the window and sees a man outside at the payphone across the street. Hannay goes over to Smith’s body and takes the piece of paper she was holding, discovering it is a map of the Killin area of Scotland, with a particular farm house circled on it. Feeling paranoid that someone might try to kill him too, Hannay convinces the milkman to trade jackets and hats with him so he can slup out unnoticed, then boards a train heading for Scotland. As the train stops at a station, one of the passengers in the car Hannay is in buys a newspaper, which has a story about the murder. Hannay asks to see the paper and after reading the story, he gets off the train and attempts to talk to a police officer but when he overhears the officer saying that there was enough evidence to hang him, he changes his mind and heads back to the train. Realizing that the police might be searching the train, Hannay ducks into another compartment and kisses the woman inside as they pass, then apologizes to her, but the police return and she tells them that Hannay is who they are looking for. HAnnay manages to give the police the slip and as the train is stopped on a bridge, manages to get off and cling to one of the bridge supports in order to avoid being seen until the train starts moving again. Making his way on foot, Hannay eventually reaches a farm house and learns that there is a professor staying at the house he is heading towards. Since he still has 40 miles to travel, Hannay pays the crofter to let him stay there the night and the crofter agrees and introduces Hannay to his young wife. As the wife gets Hannay’s bed ready and starts preparing for supper, Hannay asks to read the newspaper and sees a story about his escape from the police on the bridge. The crofter has him sit down for dinner and as he says grace, his wife notices the story in the paper and stares at Hannay but he mouths to her that he is innocent. Noticing the glances between Hannay and his wife, the crofter goes outside and looks in the window to see them talking. The next morning, the crofter’s wife notices a police car approaching down the road and she sneaks downstairs to warn Hannay, as he told her the situation. Before he can leave, the crofter enters the room, suspecting his wife of cheating on him, but they argue that it isn’t the case. Hannay offers the crofter some money to stall the police but as he goes to sneak out the back, the crofter’s wife says his light colored coat will stand out in the dark and gives him the crofter’s dark coat to wear. Thanking her, Hannay slips out the back and makes his way across the hillside, putting some distance between himself and the police before they find him. With the police hot on his tail, Hannay makes his way to the home of Professor Jordan, telling the maid that answers the door that he is there on behalf of Annabella Smith. After conferring with Jordan, the maid lets him in and when the police arrive, she tells them that they have guests there but no one has entered the house in the last half hour. Inside, Jordan tells Hannay to give him a few minutes to get rid of his guests and then they prepare to talk. Hannay tells him what Smith learned and the spy ring stealing the secrets and Jordan shows that he is missing the top half of his pinky, revealing himself to be the leader of the spy ring called the 39 steps. Jordan discusses what he should do with Hannay and ends up shooting him in the chest. However, it is revealed that the crofter’s coat that Hannay was wearing contained his hymn book, which ended up stopping the bullet. After Jordan had Hannay’s body moved, Hannay escaped out the window and made his way to the local sheriff’s station to tell him what happened. The sheriff doesn’t believe him, as Jordan is his best friend, and had summoned the London police to pick up Hannay. As they start to handcuff him, Hannay manages to get away and jump out the window, hiding among a Salvation Army march in order to avoid the police. After the bulk of the police pass him, he leaves the march but is forced to duck into a building in order to avoid some stragglers. Inside, Hannay is mistaken for a introductory speaker for a political candidate. As he is giving his speech, Pamela, the woman he had kissed on the train, enters the room and, recognizing him, goes to summon the police. After giving a rousing speech, Hannay is grabbed by the police when he heads offstage and he confronts Pamela about her turning him in and bags her to place a call to warn London about the secrets being stolen but she refuses. The police ask Pamela to accompany them to the station so she can formally identify Hannay and she reluctantly agrees but as they head out of town, she voices her displeasure when they say that they have orders to take Hannay to another station 2 hours away. When they reach a crossroads and proceed to go the wrong way, Hannay gets suspicious about the police actually being police. When a flock of sheep block the car, the “police” handcuff Pamela to Hannay while they leave the car to clear the sheep from the road. Hannay drags Pamela with him as he leaves the car and carries her with him, where they hide from the police. Making their way down the road, with Hannay constantly whistling a tune that is stuck in his head, Hannay plays upon Pamela’s suspicions about him to scare her into cooperating. The soon reach an inn and get a room for the night, doing their best to hide the handcuffs around their wrists. When they get to their room, Hannay tries to accommodate Pamela to the best of his ability and they talk briefly before they both end up falling asleep. During the night, Pamela wakes up and manages to slip her hand out of the handcuffs. She sneaks downstairs and, noticing the “police” starts to call out to them but she overhears them talking and realizes that Hannay was right. After the innkeeper’s wife kicks the men out for being there after hours, Pamela heads back to the room and lays down on the sofa. When Hannay wakes up, he is shocked to find Pamela no longer handcuffed to him but she sits up from the sofa and dissuades his fears. When Hannay asks why she didn’t run away, she tells him she was originally but heard the “police” talking and realized that Hannay was telling the truth. She tells him everything she overheard, about Jordan meeting someone at the London Palladium, and Hannay heads there to catch Jordan, telling Pamela to go to the police and tell them of the theft. Pamela tells the London police but they say they called the military and learned that no papers were missing so they dismiss her story and want to question her about Hannay’s location. Pamela says she doesn’t know and leaves the station but the chief has some men follow her, believing she will lead them to Hannay. As Hannay sits in the theater, he spots Jordan sitting in a balcony just as Pamela spots him and sits next to him. As they discuss what they should do, the orchestra plays the tune for the next act and Hannay recognizes it as the act for Mr. Memory, which was the tune he had stuck in his head. Realizing that they plan on using Mr. Memory to sneak the secrets out, Hannay approaches the police to tell them but they refuse to listen. Hannay yells out to Mr. Memory to tell him what the 39 Steps are and Mr. Memory, out of reflex, says that they are a spy organization working on behalf of a Foreign Office. Before he can say which country, Jordan shoots Mr. Memory, then tries to escape but he ends up being captured by the police. Hannay approaches the dying Mr. Memory and asks him about the secret he was carrying. Mr. Memory recites the specs for a silent aircraft engine, saying that he is glad to get it off his mind, then dies. As a dance line entertains the crowd, Hannay and Pamela watch from the side of the stage and their hands move towards each other until they are holding hands.

The 39 Steps met with high praise from modern critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Packed with twists and turns, this essential early Alfred Hitchcock feature hints at the dazzling heights he’d reach later in his career.” Coming off the success of The Man Who Knew Too Much, the movie was just as much an international success and would cement Hitchcock as a true box office draw. Since it’s release, the movie has been listed as one of the top British films of all time, and, even though there are some changes between the two formats, it is considered one of the best book-to-film adaptations of all times.

This is such a great movie, having all of the suspense and intrigue that you have come to expect out of a Hitchcock movie. The acting was really good, with Robert Donat (Hanay) and Madeleine Carroll (Pamela) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was great, with a lot of intrigue following around Hannay from the moment a dying Smith stumbles into his bedroom, as you wonder how he will be able to escape the police while alert the authorities to Smith’s mission. The suspense and drama in the movie were incredible and really helped propel the movie forward while keeping the viewer invested in the movie. Definitely a must see movie for any fan of cinema.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, horror, movie, movie review

February 17th, 2018 Movie – The Thirsty Dead

the thirsty dead

I hate admitting that I am getting old and am no longer able to do some of the things that used to be no problem for me. Case in point today is the fact that I am still somewhat groggy after my long day Thursday and my in an out sleeping yesterday. Hopefully today’s movie will do a decent job of waking me up. Today I get to watch a movie out of the Pure Terror box set. A decent horror movie might be just the thing to get the blood pumping (unintended pun there) so let’s see what is in store for me with today’s movie, The Thirsty Dead.

The plot: In Manila, a young woman named Claire is performing a cage dancing act in a club and when she is finished, she is helped out of the cage and heads backstage. As she is changing, Claire is listening to a news report about the disappearance of another young woman in the area and the newscaster is urging women to be careful. Claire’s date yells at her from behind the door to hurry up, as he has a cab waiting, and as she finishes getting ready, Claire hears a scuffle outside the door and the latch starts jangling. When Claire opens the door to yell at her date for being impatient, she suddenly screams as someone grabs her and forces a rag over her mouth. Elsewhere, Laura is walking along the street with her boyfriend and as she kisses him goodbye before heading into the courtyard for her complex. After closing the door, she is subdued by three robed figures, who take her down into the sewers. Making their way through the sewers, they come to a canoe, where another woman, Ann, sits bound inside, and they force Laura in and begin paddling their way out of the sewer. Making their way from the sewer into a river and up through the jungle, the robed men eventually pull the canoe up to a secluded area, where Claire and another woman, Bonnie, are sitting. As the robed men work on hiding the canoe, Claire introduces herself and Bonnie to Laura and Ann, who ask how long they have been there. The robed men then remove their robes and have the girls stand up, leading them further into the jungle. As they make their trek, Ann scratches her arm and tells one of the men not to worry about it but the man grabs a leaf from a pouch on his side and places it over the scratch, instantly healing it. As a helicopter passes by overhead, Bonnie tries to get it’s attention but, at a signal from the leader, two men grab her and drug her back into compliance. The women are brought to some caves, which house a secret tribe of natives, and taken to a hot spring to bathe in. Meanwhile, the tribe leader, Ranu, speaks with Baru, their high priest, and Hala, a female attendant, if the preparations and the girls are ready. Afterwards, they head to a chamber, where Hala begins praying to their god, a disembodied head encased in red glass, asking who he has chosen and the head starts calling out “Laura”. Meanwhile, Laura and the others are dressed in native gowns and lead to a chamber, with rooms containing other women, and placed into a room of their own. As the 4 women start eating the fruit left for them, Claire makes a joke about one of them being intended as a sacrifice for a pagan god when one of their captors appears and motions for Laura to follow him, causing Claire to feel bad about the joke. Laura is guided through some tunnels and taken to see Baru. Baru questions Laura, then explains that he had seen her image and carved it out years ago, and Laura is shocked to see a painting Baru had carved in stone looks just like her. Laura is led to a bed chamber and told to rest but while she is sleeping, an old woman comes into her room and startles her by feeliong her face. The next day, Baru takes Laura to a chamber, where a performance is happening indicating the death and resurrection of their high priest 500 years ago. Laura is uncomfortable, as the woman who resurrects the priest is wearing a blonde wig, and noticing the looks the natives in the crowd are giving her, asks if they can leave. Later, Laura is escorted to see Ranu, who says they have been waiting a long time for her. Laura is then led outside and taken to a seat where Baru and Ranu stand next to her. Laura watches as Ann, Claire, Bonnie, and all of the other girls are led outside and placed on tables, with a native woman standing next to each of them with a knife. At a signal from Baru, the women all use the knives to cut the captive women’s throats and collect the blood in a bowl, then use a leaf to instantly heal the wounds. As Laura looks on in horror, Ranu explains that they blood of a woman in her prime is used to make an elixir that grants immortality and eternal youth. As the women are all led away, Baru takes one of the bowls up to the stage and hands it to Laura, telling her to drink. Laura refuses and argues with Ranu over what she is doing and Baru tries to talk her into doing it but when she still refuses, he has her placed in a cell filled with aging people who had also refused to drink the potion. As the decaying women begin to claw at her, Baru waits for a few minutes before ordering his guards to get her out of there. Baru apologizes and says he wanted to show her the joy of living forever but Laura says she can’t do it as their life is dependent on others’ suffering. Laura speaks with Ranu, saying she won’t go against them but asks that she be allowed to rejoin her friends and Ranu has her sent away. In their chamber, Ann and Claire are arguing about Laura when the guards shove Laura into the chamber. As Ann goes to check on her, Laura looks at the scar on Ann’s neck and apologizes to them, explaining what is going on and how the tribe wants her to join them. Laura says they need to find a way out of there when suddenly, the old woman appears outside their chamber and offers to show them a way out, as thanks to Laura for stopping Ranu from hitting her. The old woman shows them a secret passage out of the caves and the 4 women thank her and make their way out, though Claire is reluctant to leave. Making their way through the jungle, they eventually come to a small village, and the people there offer them some food and shelter. When Ann’s wound reopens, Laura calls out for help and is shocked when Baru shows up and heals her. Baru and his guards take the women back to the caves and Baru admits that his feelings for Laura had caused him to allow her to escape. Hala arrives to take the women back to their chamber but leads them on a different path, which Baru questions and is told that Ranu ordered them to go this way. They soon come to a chamber to find the old woman being lowered into a rat infested pit and Laura screams out and stops them from lowering her and Baru orders them to let her go. Seeing what Ranu had ordered done, Baru tells Laura that he will help them escape and will go with them. That night, Baru sneaks down to the prison and opens up the cells containing the decaying people, who begin crawling out of their cells. Meanwhile, Claire tells Laura she doesn’t want to leave, as she feels she has a good thing going there, being attended to hand and foot in exchange for some blood every now and then. Claire and Laura argue and Claire runs out of the chamber, planning on warning Ranu what is going on, but she ends up falling into the pit and dying. Meanwhile, the decaying people begin attacking the tribesmen and Baru uses the distraction to lead Laura, Ann, and Bonnie out of the mountain, saying they will have to take the back way down the cliff. Tying a rope around their waists for their safety, they carefully make their way down, with Bonnie falling off the cliff at one point before she is pulled to safety by the others. Back at the village, the guards manage to subdue the decaying ones and place them back in their cells, then Ranu sends them out to find Baru and the others and bring them back. Back in the forest, Ann and the others need a rest and Baru finds a small cave they can use to rest for a short while but then says they have to keep moving, as the others know they jungle as well as he does and their only escape route. As they make their way through the jungle, they pass a tree with some carvings on it, which Baru ignores. As they continue on, he begins to lose strength and collapses, and starts to rapidly age as Laura cradles his body. Baru stands back up and continues moving as best he can, wanting to lead the three women to safety. Meanwhile, the guards and priests continue chasing after Baru and the women and when they reach the tree, the priests stay back, sending the guards on ahead, as they do not drink the elixir. Baru goes as far as he can before collapsing and tells Laura where to go and the girls reluctantly leave him, as Baru continues to age where he lies. When the guards reach Baru, he begs them to kill him and one of them does, then grabs the amulet from around his neck. The girls continue making their way through the jungle and Bonnie collapses, saying she can’t go any further, but they hear the sound of a car nearby. Laura runs forward and, seeing a jeep coming towards them, quickly flags it down and her, Ann, abd Bonnie climb in and the driver takes them back to town, as the guards just miss them and head back to the village. Some time later, Ranu uses a spyglass to watch as the military attempt to locate the mountain village but have no success. The man in charge speaks with Laura, who had gone with them to show them where they were being held, and tells her that there is no way up that mountain and he doesn’t know what had happened to them. Back in her village, Ranu smiles as she observes Laura dejectedly looking up at the mountain, saying she was there.

I was hoping that this would wake me up and it actually almost put me back to sleep. This was such a boring slow paced movie to watch. The acting was not that good, actually feeling pretty stiff and wooden for most of it. The plot actually sounded interesting, though I feel like the story itself was not entirely original. Of course, there were some plot holes that were not quite explained, such as how the guards could travel beyond the tribe’s borders safely. I also didn’t like how quiet the movie was, as I had to turn the volume up quite a bit in order to hear any of the conversations. The special effects, such as there were, were not that good and could have been removed with no loss at all. A let down of a movie that isn’t really worth watching.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5