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Flashback Review: January 21st, 2014 Movie – 007: Casino Royale (2006)

007 casino royale

In 2006, Eon pictures decided to do a reboot of the Bond series and cast a new Bond to star in the movie. I was excited for a new Bond movie and curious about how Daniel Craig would do as Bond, but slightly worried about the whole reboot premise. Still, at the time this came out, I was in need of some cheering up and a Bond movie was definitely a good way to cheer up. So on to today’s movie, Casino Royale.

The plot: Having just earned his 00 status, Bond is sent to Madagascar to hunt down Mollaka, a known bomb maker. After killing him, Bond discovers a link between Mollaka and Le Chiffre, a known banker and financier for terrorists. Bond finds out that Le Chiffre has organized the bombing of a prototype airplane in order to take advantage of the stock market surrounding the plane. With his plan foiled, Le Chiffre hosts a poker tournament in order to recoup his client’s money. M authorizes the money for Bond to participate in the tournament in order to bring in Le Chiffre. Alongside Vesper Lynd, Bond proceeded to play and would eventually win the tournament. Le Chiffre kidnaps Bond and Vesper in order to get his money back, but there is a third party involved in this matter and it is unclear whose side they are on.

Critics were overwhelmingly positive about this movie, with it earning a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics praised the script as well as the performance of Daniel Craig. Many critics said that Daniel Craig’s portrayal was the best to embody the character as written in Ian Fleming’s novels. Some critics did criticize the pacing at times and lack of gadgets, but mostly they all loved it. As for the audience, they went to see it in massive numbers. It earned $599 million worldwide, making it the 4th highest grossing film in 2006 and the highest grossing Bond movie of the franchise at that time.

While I admit that I was nervous about this movie before it came out, when it finally did come out, it made me fall in love with the series all over again. I loved the story and how well the action flowed throughout the movie. Daniel Craig makes a great Bond and is second only to Connery in my opinion. I did like the fact that this was showing Bond just starting out so he was not the well polished spy that he has been in previous movies. My only negative thing about the movie is the fact that Judi Dench was M. Don’t get me wrong. I loved Judi Dench as M during the Brosnan years. But this is supposed to be a reboot of the franchise. When Judi Dench started playing M, it was a big in the movies because this was the first female M (in story, not the fact that it was the first female actor playing the character). This point was brought up several times in Goldeneye. So if they rebooted the series to show how Bond is starting out, then you need a male M. Otherwise you are just giving a giant FU to the previous movies.

So if you want to watch a great Bond movie, definitely watch this one.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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November 23rd, 2014 Movie – Eegah

eegah

Greetings from Nashville. Well, depending on read you are reading this I will either be in Nashville, back in Atlanta, or driving somewhere in between. Since I knew I wouldn’t have time to watch this movie today, I decided to watch it  and write as much of the review as I could last night and then finish it this morning. So, a couple of years ago. a friend of mine showed me IMDB’s list of bottom 100 movies, that is to say the movies that have the lowest ratings on their site. Knowing my penchant for watching these sort of movies, she asked how many I had seen/owned. I have seen quite a few of them but do not own all of the ones I have seen. Today’s movie, Eegah, happens to be one of the ones that I own.

The plot: A young girl named Roxy is driving in the desert when she almost hits a giant but nobody believes her. She goes back with her boyfriend Tom and her father to look for proof and find giant footprints leading into a nearby mountain range. Her father decides to head out and find the giant to try and photograph him but winds up being captured by the giant himself. When her father doesn’t come back, Roxy and Tom go looking for him but Roxy finds herself captured by the giant. Tom manages to rescue Roxy and her father and the all escape from the giant, but the giant manages to track Roxy to a local party where a final confrontation occurs.

Yeh, this definitely can be considered one of the worst movies ever. This was just terrible. The director of the movie also played Roxy’s father and his son played Tom. Tom was basically written as some Elvis wannabe, he was playing a guitar and singing almost as often as he was acting, and he sucked at both. The scenes with Richard Kiel and Marilyn Manning (Roxy) are just awkward to watch. The only redeeming thing about this movie was the fact that we got a funny episode of MST3K out of it.

So if you really want to torture yourself, you can try and watch this. But I would recommend watching the MST3K version of it. That way you won’t have to watch all of the movie.

Rating: 1/2 out of 5

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November 22nd, 2014 Movie – Earth Vs. The Spider

earth vs the spider

If there is one thing that the 50’s is known for in the realm of science fiction movies, it was the multitude of giant bug movies. Dozens of movies came out in that decade featuring all sorts of everyone’s favorite arthropods, everything from ants, grasshoppers, scorpions, and of course, spiders. Lots of people tend to have some form of arachnaphobia, so a movie featuring a giant spider attacking people and destroying towns would really be terrifying for them. I’m curious how many people were scared by today’s movie, Earth Vs. The Spider.

The plot: When her father doesn’t come home last night, Carol and her boyfriend Mike head out to look for him. When the discover the wreckage of her father’s truck, the two kids check out a nearby cave to see if he is in there, but what they find is a giant spider’s web, and the spider that built it. Heading back into town, Mike and Carol tell the sheriff what they saw and he agrees to investigate along with their high school science teacher, Mr. Kingman. The group find the body of Carol’s father and are attacked by the spider but they manage to kill it with a large amount of DDT. The spider’s body is taken to the high school gym for study while Mike and Carol sneak back into the cave where Carol dropped the present her father had bought for her. When a band begins to practice their songs for the upcoming dance, the spider is woken up from it’s stunned state and begins attacking the townspeople on it’s way back to the cave. Now the Mr. Kingman and the sheriff must find a way to kill the spider and save Mike and Carol before it is too late.

When this was first released, this was billed as Earth vs. The Spider, but after The Fly became such a huge hit, the studio changed the title on all the promotional material to The Spider to try and cash in on the success. Now aside from all of the giant bug movies, another thing that was featured in a lot of movies from the 50’s was rock and roll, or what passed for it at the time. If you had a bunch of teenagers in a movie, it was almost guaranteed that at some point, their would either be a band playing or a radio playing and the kids would start dancing and having an impromptu party. It started to become so prevalent that the studios began making entire movies dedicated to that premise. Needless to say, rock and roll played a somewhat pivotal part in this movie.

I love the classic sci-fi movies and this movie is definitely one of the good ones. While the story was not as good as in Tarantula, which came out the year before, I think this one had better effects. The acting from the teenagers was ok but I really liked the conflict between the sheriff and Mr. Kingman, the science teacher as they each had their own opinions on what to do with the spider but in the end, put their differences aside to save the kids. One thing that I found especially funny was the mention of two other films that the director made within this movie. A solid example of 50’s sci-fi.

If you are in the mood for a classic bit of sci-fi, then give this movie a try, unless you are afraid of spiders.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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November 21st, 2014 Movie – Earth Vs The Flying Saucers

earth vs the flying saucers

Sometimes, in spite of what you may want to do, your body is simply going to do what it thinks is best for itself. That is definitely what happened to me yesterday. (4 pm) Me: “I think I’m going to play on the X-box for little while.” Body: “Nope, we are going to nap.” (6pm) Me: “I’m going to watch today’s movie and then go hang out with friends.” Body: “Nope, we are taking another nap.” (8pm) Me: “I’m getting some food.” Body: “Yeh, I could eat.” Me: “Ok. Now to watch the rest of the movie.” Body: “Impromptu food coma commencing…..now.” So yeh, I guess I needed to catch up on my sleep. But I did manage to finish the movie last night so I could write about it today. So I present to you, Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers.

The plot: Dr. Marvin and his wife Carol are driving to work when a flying saucer passes overhead. When they get to their work, an American Space Program called Project Skyhook, they are informed by Carol’s father, General Hanley, that several of the satellites they have launched have crashed. The next day, a flying saucer lands on the base and when the soldiers kill one of the aliens, the saucer proceeds to capture General Hanley, destroy the base, and kill everyone except for the Marvin’s. Dr. Marvin realizes that saucer was there to meet with him and schedules another meeting but is followed there by his wife, Major Huglin, and a motorcycle cop. The learn that the aliens are the last of their kind and plan on occupying the Earth. Dr. Marvin develops a weapon to use against the saucers and uses it to stop the alien invasion from succeeding.

Not your average Harryhausen movie but It is still an enjoyable movie to watch. I say it is not your average Harryhausen fim because there wasn’t a giant monster attacking people in the movie. However, there was some very effective use of his stop motion animation used with the saucers, especially the scenes where the saucers would crash into buildings. The plot was pretty typical of the alien invasion movies that were being made at the time. The acting was decent for the time with nobody really stealing the show, or completely screwing it up. All in all, it is just another in a long list of average sci-fi flicks, but the effects of Ray Harryhausen do make it stand out a little.

So if you want to watch a classic sci-fi movie then feel free to give this a try.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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November 20th, 2014 Movie – Dude, Where’s My Car?

dude wheres my car

Today was one of those long ass days that seemed to drag on and on, with no end in sight. After a day like that, you just need to shut your brain off and watch a ridiculous, stupid comedy. You know, one where you don’t have to worry about plot or anything like that, just put it on and laugh. There are hundreds of movies that can fill this need. Today’s movie, Dude, Where’s My Car?, is definitely one such movie.

The plot: Jesse and Chester are two stoners that wake up with no memory of what happened the day before. After receiving an angry phone call from their girlfriends, they plan to head over to their house only to discover that Jesse’s car is missing. In an attempt to find his car, and the gifts for their girlfriends contained within, Jesse and Chester attempt to retrace their steps only to find out that the events of last night were even stranger than they imagined. Now they must deal with a transgendered stripper, an alien worshiping cult in bubblewrap suits, their high school crush and her musclebound girlfriend, and two different groups of aliens seeking the “Continuum Transfunctioner”, As the two friend’s try to make sense of what they did, one question remains to be answered; where is Jesse’s car?

Critics were not kind regarding this movie, giving it an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While some did like the pairing of Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott, most of the reviews commented on how little plot the movie held or how the movie was not funny. However, it still managed to earn the #2 spot it’s opening weekend with over $13 million.

I know this is not a good movie but I enjoy this movie for what it is, a mindless source of entertainment. Let’s face it folks. This movie isn’t some documentary or harrowing tale of heartache and tragedy. This is simply a mindless comedy and that is what I like about it. I am not a big Ashton Kutcher fan but I did like Seann William Scott in this movie. There were a couple of funny lines and scenes that have been used as inside jokes among my friends, especially the “Look, a unicorn!” line. The plot was simplistic but you didn’t really need much plot to this movie. Just some cheap laughs is all that was really needed.

So it might not be for everyone, but if you want a few laughs, you might give this a try.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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November 19th, 2014 Movie – Drunken Master

drunken master

If you want to watch a humorous martial arts film, then all you need to do is find one starring Jackie Chan. starring in numerous films in the 70’s and 80’s, he gained popularity with a new generation of movie goers in the 90’s with his film Rumble In The Bronx. He soon began starring in a series of action comedies alongside comedians Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson. But his earlier films, while funny, were known more for being great martial arts movies. Today’s movie, Drunken Master, ranks as one of the best martial arts films of all time.

The plot: Freddie Wong has been causing a lot of problems and his dad is fed up. He decides to send Freddie to be trained by Su Hua-Chi, a master whose training is so tough, it has been said to cripple his students. Freddie decides to run away but when he gets involved in a fight in a restaurant, he winds up being saved by Su Hua-Chi. Su Hua-Chi begins training Freddie but Freddie is tired of the harsh training and runs away. But when he gets beaten by an assassin named Thunderleg, Freddie goes back and begins to seriously devote himself to the training. A year has passed and he has mastered almost all of the styles of Su Hua-Chi’s form of Drunken Boxing. When Thunderleg is hired to kill Freddie’s father, Freddie goes back home to save his father. Even with his knowledge of The Drunken Immortals, Freddie is almost defeated by Thunderleg, until he finally masters the last style and becomes a true Drunken Master.

You can always tell how much of an impact a movie makes by the sequels/spin-offs and the imitations. I don’t know if it was the first film to feature the Drunken style of kung fu but it definitely was the one to popularize it. Jackie Chan did a sequel in 1994 that was as good as, if not better than, the original. Siu Ten Yuen, who played Su Hua-Chi, would play the same character in two other movies. As for the characters themselves, they have been imitated in several cartoons, such as Dragonball and Naruto, as well as video games, like King Of Fighters and Tekken.

I love Jackie Chan movies because they are such a great blend of action and humor. This movie is definitely one of the best of his early movies. The action and fights were top notch and definitely well choreographed. The dubbing was incredibly funny but then again, so were the subtitles. Jackie’s performance and expressions as he goes through his training are incredibly funny and the interactions between him and Su-Hua Chi showed a true chemistry between the actors.

A great martial arts movie with a lot of laughs included, this is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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November 18th, 2014 Movie – Drive-In Massacre

drive-in massacre

So I was writing my review for this movie last night when I accidentally backed out of the page and boom, all of my work is gone. I had to get some sleep so I just decided to rewrite it today. So today’s movie is yet another one from the Chilling Classics collection. But this was not the first time I saw this movie. I actually watched this movie on my phone a few years ago. I was helping my friend Jason at a BBQ competition and after several hours of drinking and pretending to work (because that is what you are supposed to do at these things), almost everyone was asleep except for me. I decided to watch a couple of movies on my phone and saw this movie was on Youtube so figured “what the hell.” So without further ado, I present to you, Drive-In Massacre.

The plot – During a movie at a L.A. drive-in, 2 people are brutally murdered. Two police detectives are assigned the case and question the owner, Austin, and the custodian, Germy, about the murders and learn of a peeping tom that has been seen on the premises. When a second murder takes place, the police question the peeping tom, Orville, but don’t have any evidence linking him to the murders so they let him go. As the detectives stake out the drive-in, another murder takes place and when they check on Orville, they find that he has been killed as well. As the detectives go to question Austin again, the witness Austin’s murder being projected on the screens and believe Germy to be the killer until they find his dead body in the next room.

For a late 70’s, low budget horror movie, I will saw that it is not the worst movie I have ever seen but that doesn’t mean it was that good either. I did like the idea and I will say that it was an interesting blend of slasher and “who done it” styles, which on paper could have been good. However, the bad acting and train wreck of a plot snuffed out that chance. While it was supposed to help further the plot, the whole scene with the escaped lunatic seemed unnecessary and out of place. And I know it is had a low budget but they still could have done a little bit better with the effects. When your dead bodies look like dummies instead of people, you know you are doing things wrong.

So if you are bored and there is nothing else on, you might want to try this. But I can’t really recommend it.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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