July 24th, 2014 Movie – Conan The Barbarian (1982)

conan the barbarian 1982So there is this trend called “Throw Back Thursday” where people post old pictures of themselves on Facebook. Well in honor of that, I will watch an old movie of my childhood. Today I watched Conan The Barbarian (1982). I didn’t watch this movie in it’s entirety until I was 13. Before that, I had only seen bits and pieces of it when it was on TV.

The plot: As a child, Conan witnesses his family and tribe slaughtered by the armies of Thulsa Doom. Raised as a slave, Conan was trained in the art of war so he could compete in gladiatorial competitions. After earning his freedom, Conan joins up with some thieves and begins seeking out Thulsa Doom in order to get revenge.

This movie was the start for a number of things. First off, while this wasn’t Arnold’s first movie, this is the movie that started his career. If it wasn’t for this movie, you probably wouldn’t have seen him in The Terminator, Predator, True Lies, Jingle All The Way, etc. Aside from launching Arnold’s career, this movie also sparked a wave of fantasy films in the 80’s. Aside from the sequel, you also had Red Sonja, Deathstalker, Hercules and other films that had a flair for swords and sorcery.

I like just about everything about this movie, One reasonis that the movie so closely followed the mood of the books. The warrior ethos of the movie clashes with the almost palpable sense of doom that is prevelant throughout the movie. The battle scenes are dark and gritty without being overloaded with gore and blood which fits the serious tones of the film. Arnold was great in this role. When he uttered his famous line from the film, “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!”, you felt like he really believed that. James Earl Jones was also great in his role of  Thulsa Doom. For me the main thing was because his voice really helped make him seem even more evil. The film’s score also helped with the movies mood by giving it a brooding but powerful feel.

So if you want to escape to a world of swords and sorcery, then there are few movies better than this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5


July 23rd, 2014 Movie – Con Air

con airJuly 23rd is apparently Batman day. Unfortunately, I have already watched all of the Batman movies I own. So instead, I am watching someone who played a different super hero in a movie that has nothing to do with Batman. Today Is the day for me to watch Con Air. I never saw this in theaters, but after watching it several times on TV and getting tired of the censoring and commercials, decided to get it on DVD.

The plot: Cameron Poe, a US Army Ranger, just came home to his wife in Alabama only to accidentally kill someone during a drunken brawl. After serving 7 years, he is finally up for parole and hitches a ride on a prison transport that is transporting some of the worst criminals in the country. During the course of the flight, the prisoners wind up taking over the plane in an attempt to escape. Now Poe, with the aid of US Marshall Larkin, must try to stop the prisoners from escaping, save his friends life, and get home to his wife and daughter.

Ok. I know he is a famous actor. He has numerous films to his credit, probably one of the most well known male leads in Hollywood, and even has an Oscar. Now I have watched, and own, many of his films and there is one thing that I have to say. Why does he always act in the same wooden style in every film. Sometimes it works for the character he is playing. Other times it can be a bit maddening because he seems so one dimensional. Now in Con Air, his wooden style of acting fits the character. He is supposed to be from Alabama and his acting kind of brought it out as a slow, southern drawl. Now as for him being some kind of a bad-ass, that was slightly less believable, but it didn’t take away from the film to much.

As for the movie itself, this was your typical action movie. Straight forward plot, no big surprises, good guys win, bad guys lose. John Malkovich was great as the murderer Cyrus “The Virus”. He was way more interesting of a character than Cage was. John Cusack’s character of Vince Larkin was fairly standard but didn’t particularly stand out. But Steve Buscemi definitely nailed the creep factor with his portrayal of mass murderer Garland Greene. Just the image he gives off as he tells the story of driving through 3 states while wearing some girl’s head as a hat is pretty damn creepy.

So if you want a movie that you don’t have to pay attention to it to be able to enjoy it, then this is something to consider.

Rating: 3 out of 5


July 22nd, 2014 Movie – Colossus And The Amazon Queen

colossus and the amazon queenToday’s movie to watch is Colossus and the Amazon Queen. This movie is part of the SciFi Classics 50 Movie Pack collection. Now with a title like this, you know that this is going to be a classy, dignified picture, or a low budget porno. Unfortunately, this is neither of those, but that could be a good thing.

The plot: After the Trojan War, Glaucos is the winner in a competition to determine the strongest warrior in Greece. His friend Pirros is approached by two strangers to persuade Glaucos to accompany them on their voyage to a distant land. When they arrive, all of the men are drugged and captured by the Amazons. When some pirates invade the island, Glaucos must find a way to rescue his friends and unite the Amazons and the Greeks against a common enemy.

One thing can be said for movies from the 60’s and 70’s, the concept of “PC” does not exist. Sexism. Racism. Exploitation. You name it and there were at least a dozen films on that subject. When watching some of these films, whether you enjoy it or not is up to personal taste. Yes the subject may be offensive to you but is it too offensive to the point where you can’t watch the movie? That dialogue and those scenes are funny but do you feel ashamed that you laughed at them? There is not a simple answer to questions like those because it all depends on your opinion and personal tastes. And sometimes there is no accounting for people’s tastes. After all, you are reading this blog. j/k 🙂

Now this movie is not as bad as some others that I have seen. In fact the only un-PC thing in the movie is in regards to the male prisoners that are busy swapping recipes or complaining about not being able to get their sheets white or waking up early in the morning to clean house all day and not feeling appreciated. Not entirely PC in today’s culture, but it is a little bit funny. The rest of this movie is a mixture of related themes like that and some general slapstick comedy. Still, the bits of comedy in the film were spaced so far apart from each other that you would quickly lose interest in the film.

So would I rush out to rent this movie? No. Would I watch it if it was on TV? Maybe, but only if i was really drunk and there was nothing else on.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5


July 21st, 2014 Movie – Collateral

collateralToday’s movie is the 2004 drama, Collateral. I never saw this in theaters, mainly because I am not the biggest fan of either actor. The only reason I have the DVD is because my ex-wife was once a member of the Columbia House DVD of the month club. This was one of the monthly movies that we received. During the divorce, the DVD wound up staying in my collection so I guess it is mine now.

The plot: L.A. cabbie Max just picked up the fare from hell. Vincent is a contract killer who is in town for one night in order to kill 5 people and Max is unlucky enough to be his driver. As the night progresses, Max is plagued by guilt by what he is helping Vincent do and tries to find a way to stop him. But with both Federal agents and members of the drug cartel after him, will he be able to survive the night?

Now I am not a Tom Cruise fan, but I do like some of his movies. For instance, I happen to like the Mission Impossible franchise. But if someone else played Ethan Hunt besides Tom Cruise, it would not have made much difference to me because I liked the over all movie. The same holds true with Jamie Foxx. I don’t particularly care for him but I do like some of his movies. To me, most of the roles that these two have played have been just that, roles. Nothing they do makes them essential to the character to the point where you can’t see anyone else playing that role. I will say, however, that it is hard to see anyone other than Jamie Foxx playing Ray Charles.

Now aside from my problems with the stars, this is a good movie. The pacing is slow but it really sets the mood for the film. All of the suspense and drama in the movie slowly builds up, kind of like you are running a marathon. As you get to the end, you sprint for the finish line and after crossing it, you are finally able to catch your breath. That’s how the mood is for this film, and it works very well. Tom Cruise’s character is kind of bland. I realize he is supposed to be an emotionless killer, but he is so boring with it that you just kind of zone out when he is there. Meanwhile, Jamie Foxx’s character goes through a whole range of emotions making him much more interesting to watch. In fact, he tends to be more of the focal point throughout the entire movie as he goes from denial about how his life has turned out to actually taking chances and trying to make a difference in his life. There are a surprising number of cameo and supporting actors in this film, almost giving it the impression of an all-star ensemble, but the main focus is really on the interaction between Cruise and Foxx.

So if you want a nice, slow drama that is not overly boring, then you should give this a try.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5.


Flashback Review: January 3rd, 2014 movie – 007: Goldfinger

007-3 goldfingerJanuary 2nd I watched my all time favorite Bond film. January 3rd, I watched arguably the most iconic film of the series, Goldfinger. Released 50 years ago, this is probably the one film of the series that everyone has heard of. At the very least, it has several memorable scenes, lines, and characters, especially the “Bond Girl” in this film. So much so, that this was one of the most profitable movies of the series, even entering the Guiness Book Of World Records for the fastest grossing movie in film history

The plot: James Bond is back and this time he is investigating some gold smugglers. The chief suspect is Auric Goldfinger, a known gold collector. But during the course of investigating Goldfinger and his chauffeur/bodyguard Oddjob, Bond uncovers a plot to cripple the world’s economy by destroying the gold supply in Fort Knox. The only hope he has to stop them is with the help of Goldfinger’s personal pilot, Pussy Galore.

I was probably 10-12 years old when I first saw this film. The main thing I remember from it was Oddjob. He was the first real henchman to a Bond villain and he was awesome in his role. His silent, no-nonsense attitude as he went about whatever task he was given made him seem more evil and villainous than Goldfinger himself. And everyone remembers his steel-rimmed bowler hat which he uses as his main weapon to kill his enemies. The character of Oddjob is usually among the top rankings of Bond villains. He was so popular that he has been spoofed several times, most notable in Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery with the character Random Task, who used a shoe to kill people instead of a hat.

But most people feel the stand out character, or at least the name, was Goldfinger’s pilot, Pussy Galore. I will admit, naive little kid that I was, I did not get the joke in her name. Name not withstanding, her character was able to hold her own with Bond, including using her knowledge of judo to throw him a couple of times. But it is the name more than anything else about this character that people recognize. Even Bond himself was amazed by it, saying “I must be dreaming” after she was introduced.

One other thing this film gave us is a famous film line. The line is from when Bond is captured and Goldfinger is about to use a laser to cut Bond in half. The famous “Do you expect me to talk?””No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” is uttered. Probably the most famous line from the Bond series next to “Bond, James Bond.” This line has been paraphrased and used in countless other moves, as well as various internet memes, videos and other forms of entertainment, just going to show how much of an impact this movie made.

So if you want a Bond movie that is a lot of fun to watch, then definitely sit down with this classic.

Rating: 4 out of 5


July 20th, 2014 Movie – The Cold

the coldToday I found myself watching The Cold, This is another movie from the Chilling Classics 50 Movie Pack collection that I own. I have never heard of this movie before I bought this collection. And after watching it, I don’t feel like I missed anything.

The plot: Three bored millionaires invite 9 strangers to an old mansion in order to play a game. The prize is one million dollars but in order to win it, they must be the last person on the property while surviving their worst fears. But as the contestants start disappearing, the remaining guests start wondering if this is part of the trio’s tricks, or if there is someone else playing an even deadlier and far to real game.

Now my initial impression of this movie after I first watched it was not entirely favorable. For a movie that was made in the mid 80’s, this seemed real grainy and more in line with something from the late 60’s or 70’s. But with a budget of only 65 thousand, one can’t expect too much. The dialogue was rather over dramatic and in some cases incredibly over the top. There is even a narrator who, while his voice over worked for the beginning of the film, it took away from the end of the movie and pretty much killed any suspense that was left. Then you get to the end where you were left wondering what really happened and who were the real bad guys.

After watching it again, there isn’t much that I can say I liked about this film. The bad thing is, for such a limited budget, they did try to make a decent movie. The idea while not completely unique, was different enough where it could make a good film. The first 20 minutes or so were fine with the usual getting to know the characters and general build up of suspense. but after the first person “disappears”, things seem to go downhill. One thing I did find funny is the number of references to a previous film the director made, The Giant Spider Invasion.

In closing, if you are looking for a movie full of nail-biting suspense that will keep you glued to the edge of your seat, this is not the film you seek.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5


July 19th, 2014 Movie – Clue

clueMan, what perfect weather for today’s movie. Granted, there could be some thunder and lightning to go with it, but watching Clue in the rain just makes it better. First time I ever saw Clue I rented it from the local video store at the Kroger my family shopped at when we lived in Texas. I thought a movie based on a game would be funny to watch.

The plot: Based on the popular board game. 6 guest are invited to dinner at a hillside mansion where it is revealed that they are all being blackmailed. The host of the dinner, who also happens to be blackmailing them, gives each guest a weapon and tells them to kill his butler, Wadsworth. When someone kills Mr. Boddy, the host, instead, the 6 guest, along with Wadsworth and the maid Yvette, must try to figure out who killed Mr. Boddy, and where,with which weapon.

Who would have ever thought that a movie based on a board game would have such an impact on generations of movie watchers. I honestly don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this movie. This is one of those movies that you can put in and anyone around will sit down and watch, regardless of which point in the movie it is. Everyone has their favorite scene or line from this movie. I have lost count of the times someone would quote the “1+2+2+1” scene.

Now as for me personally, I love this movie. It is one of my favorite comedies that I own. The word play between characters, not to mention the timing, is great. Plus, this is also a murder mystery so there are some elements of suspense to this movie. But that adds to the charm. The suspense will build just a little bit but before it gets to serious, something will happen that will cause you to laugh. This interplay between suspense and seriousness makes this movie so much fun to watch.

But my favorite part of the movie is one that I did not get to experience. When this was shown in theaters, the films had 3 different endings that were chosen at random. That means the people in one theater could see one ending, people in a second theater would have a different ending, while people in a third theater would have yet another ending. This was meant to play up the aspect of the game where each game was unique because the killer, location and weapon always changed. When it was released on video, all three endings were combined to make one ending.

So if you want a movie with a good mix of comedy and suspense, or you just want to see what happens when a game gets turned into a movie, then definitely watch this movie.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5