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December 14th, 2014 Movie – Evolution

evolution

It is getting to the end of the year and things are getting hectic. I think I need a good laugh to so I don’t get too stressed out from everything that needs doing. Luckily today’s movie can give me just such a laugh. I remember watching this in Savannah when it came out on video and thinking it was equal parts funny and ridiculous. So here is to today’s movie, Evolution.

The plot: When a meteorite falls to Earth, Ira Kane and Harry Block, two professors at the local college, investigate the meteor site and find that the meteor contains nitrogen based single celled organisms that are multiplying at an astonishing rate. Wanting to get a second look, they discover that the site around the meteor is now filled with fungus and flatworms. The army soon arrives to seal off the area and contain all the research themselves, including stealing Ira and Harry’s research. Wayne, a fireman trainee, brings Ira and Harry an amphibious creature that killed a local country club owner, and several more creatures are discovered behind a nearby neighborhood, they realize that the alien life forms are making it out of the army’s containment area. The three men go to meteor site to inform the army and governor of this when the site is attacked by blue primates from within the meteor site. General Woodman, the general in charge, suggests using napalm to destroy to aliens and the governor agrees, despite the protests of Ira and CDC’s Dr. Allison Reed. Ira and Allison discover that heat will only accelerate the aliens growth cycles and that since they are nitrogen based, selenium might be poisonous to them. When the napalm attacks cause the aliens life to transform into a giant amoeba-like life form, Ira and the others must hurry to stop it before it separates and starts the whole process again.

It wasn’t panned, but it did get mixed reviews from the critics, only earning a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic stated that the director tried to recreate Ghostbusters but failed due to comedic misfires. It did make over $98 million dollars which was more than enough to cover the $80 million dollar budget. It even spawned a short lived cartoon series, although I will admit that I never heard of it before now.

This is probably not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I did enjoy this movie. I thought David Duchovny and Orlando Jones were pretty good and tended to work well in their scenes together. Sean William Scott seemed like he was trying to escape his previous roles, but there were too many times where Stifler or Chester seemed to be in the movie. The effects were definitely the best part of this movie as they wound up creating some interesting and unique looking aliens to invade Earth. The comedy was hit or miss at times with Duchovny and Julianne Moore, but Orlando Jones and Sean William Scott more than made up for it. I also liked Ethan Suplee’s and Michael Bower’s role as comic fodder by playing the two dumb kids in Ira’s class. In short, it had enough in it to keep me entertained.

So if you want a sci-fi movie that will make you laugh, you might want to give this a try.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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December 13th, 2014 Movie – Evil Remains

evil remains

Getting to the end of the letter E and today’s movie is another one from the “Blockbuster going out of business so I will buy a bunch of their movies for cheap” pile. I am amazed by the number of movies I bought back in that time frame. I am also amazed by how many of them I probably would not have bought normally if they hadn’t been cheap. Come to think of it, that really isn’t a good reason to buy a movie. I can’t even blame my friends for this one. This is all on me. So let’s see what I got myself into with today’s movie, Evil Remains.

The plot: Mark is a grad student who is doing research on contemporary myths. He interviews a psychiatrist that was treating Carl Bryce, a teenager that killed his parents 20 years ago. Carl’s body was never found and there is a legend surrounding the house that anyone that trespasses there is driven insane. Mark and his friends decide to go and investigate the house and it’s surrounding area in order to help Mark with his project. But as the tensions start to rise the longer they stay, someone starts picking off the friends one by one and the group must try to find a way to survive.

So this was a pretty boring movie. A lot of talking, some more talking, a little bit of action, more talking. The characters were fairly 2-dimensional with no real depth into their characters. The story itself sounded like it could be promising, but nothing was really cleared up so it was left too open ended to be entertaining. There were one or two decent scenes but all in all, it was just to boring of a movie to keep me entertained.

So I can’t recommend this movie to anyone but it might be enjoyable for someone else.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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December 12th, 2014 Movie – Evil Dead (2013)

evil dead 2013

Time for me to say my standard remake chant. “Please don’t suck. Please don’t suck.” So in 2013, Raimi decided to produce a movie called Evil Dead, that was co-written and directed by Fede Alkvarez. Part remake, part reboot, this would be the first film of the series to not be directed by Sam Raimi or star Bruce Campbell. But Sam Raimi chose this director for the project so he must have had some idea for this. So let’s see what happens as I watch today’s movie, Evil Dead (2013)

The plot: Five friends (Mia, her brother David, his girlfriend Natalie, Eric, and Olivia) have gone to a old cabin in the woods in order to help Mia overcome her addiction to heroin. As Mia starts going though withdrawal, she starts complaining about a smell in the cabin, which leads the friends to discover the cellar full of rotting animal corpses, a shotgun, and a book called the Naturon Demonto. Eric reads a passage from the book and unleashes a demon that possesses Mia. With the demon trying to kill and possess the remaining friends in order to collect the souls it needs, the kids must try and find a way to stop this nightmare before they wind up dead.

Critics were pretty mixed on this movie, giving it generally average reviews and a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While the positives reviews talked about it being the most unrelenting horror film to come from a major studio in some time, the detractors focused on the movie’s unoriginality, the character’s lack of intelligence, and the film’s reliance on gore to produce cheap scares. Audiences didn’t seem to mind as it would earn $97.5 million worldwide, making it the most profitable movie of the franchise so far. Fede Alvarez has mentioned that he plans on making a sequel as well as a tie in to the original series so we can only wait and see what happens.

So when the first Evil Dead movie came out, it was a horror movie with a little bit of humor thrown in. With the remake, they decided to get rid of the comedy and add more blood and gore. In fact, they used 70,000 gallons of fake blood for this movie, most of it used in the final scene. As far as the acting went, nobody really stood out. Even Mia, the heroine of the movie, seemed like a pretty boring character, outside of the whole demonic possession of course. This movies main selling point was in its special effects, and they did a great job with those. I did like the various nods to the original trilogy that they had throughout the film. The necklace on the ground in the shape of a skull. The cellar door with the chains to lock it closed. They even had a girl getting raped by trees in this movie. Seriously, what is with the trees in these woods getting all rapey. Anyways, as far as a horror movie goes, this was decent, but it doesn’t compare to the original in my opinion.

So if you want to watch the reboot/remake, make sure your stomach can handle it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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December 11th, 2014 Movie – Army Of Darkness

army of darkness

While the Evil Dead series was already considered a cult classic, this movie here solidified that standing in grand fashion. I couldn’t wait to see this when it came out. Unfortunately, since I was not able to drive myself anywhere at the time, I didn’t get a chance to see it in theaters so I had to wait until it came out on video to watch it. Still, it was worth the wait, so let’s dive right into today’s movie, Army Of Darkness.

The plot: Having been sent back in time to the middle ages, Ash finds himself captured by Lord Arthur, who believes Ash to be a servant of Henry the Red. Ash is taken to Arthur’s castle to face execution by being thrown into a pit with some deadites. Ash manages to fight off the Deadites, escape the pit, and set Henry the Red free before he tries to figure out how he can get back home. The wiseman tells Ash that only the Necronomicon can send him back so Ash is sent to retrieve it, Along the way, Ash is assaulted by an evil force in the form of miniature versions of Ash, one of which is swallowed by Ash so that it can grow into a full sized person. Ash manages to kill his clone and makes it to the cemetery where the Necronomicon is kept, but when he fails to speak the correct words that will release the book, he winds up unleashing an army of the skeletons, with his revived clone as their leader. Now Ash must try to keep the book from the hands of the Deadite army in order to protect the kingdom and get back to his own time.

Critics were actually mixed about this movie, giving it only a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is much lower than the 98% the previous two films earned. Most of them felt that it wasn’t as funny as Evil Dead 2 and that it lacked some originality. As far as the box office goes, it earned a total of $21.5 million worldwide, which was not as much as the original Evil Dead, but still a financial success. But it wasn’t until it was released on video that it truly became the cult classic that it is today.

This is a ridiculously funny movie and definitely one of my favorite comedies to watch. Bruce Campbell was great and had some of the best comedic timing in his scenes with the Deadites. The story and effects were both very well done. One thing I was surprised with was that they focused more on the comedy and took out almost all of the horror aspect in this movie. I’m not saying all the horror was gone, but compared to the previous films, it was definitely toned down a couple of notches. Still, that did nothing to take away from this movie and I still recommend it to everyone who is interested.

So a great way to end a trilogy and well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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December 10th, 2014 Movie – Evil Dead 2

evil dead 2

After The Evil Dead was released, Sam Raimi was approached to do a sequel but he opted to work on a different movie instead. But when that movie failed to do as expected in the box office, he decided to get the funding and make The Evil Dead 2. With a bigger budget at his disposal, Raimi was able to do more with this movie than he could in the original. But did it make it a better movie? You will have to judge today’s movie, The Evil Dead 2, for yourself.

The plot: After a brief recap/rewrite of the first movie, this movie picks up with Ash being assaulted, and briefly possessed, by the evil force in the woods. He manages to make it back to the cabin but later that night, Linda returns from the dead and bites Ash with her severed head. Ash manages to deal with Linda’s body but realizes that his hand is now possessed and cuts it off before he begins to crack up. Meanwhile, Annie and her friend Ed are heading to the cabin to meet up with Annie’s father, whom they have lost contact with. When they get to the destroyed bridge, they meet Jake and his girlfriend Bobby Jo and with their help, they head for an alternate trail to the cabin. When they get to the cabin, they find Ash and thinking he killed Annie’s parents, lock him in the cellar. But after listening to her father’s tapes, they realize what happened and free Ash right before he is attacked by Annie’s resurrected mother. As the evil force starts attacking the group, Annie realizes that the only way to stop it is to use the incantations in the pages she found to send the into a portal. She manages to complete the spell, but Ash is caught up in the portal and finds himself stuck back in the dark ages.

Much like the first movie, critics were very positive about this movie as shown by it’s 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Evil Dead 2 has also ranked high on numerous lists, anywhere from Top Cult Films to Greatest Movies Of All Time. And while this was considered a financial success, it did not get an international release so it only earned just under $6 million in the US. Originally, Raimi planned on having Ash go back in time to fight demons as part of the plot for this movie but when he didn’t get as much money as he wanted for filming, he decided to scrap it, but left it setup for a third movie.

I love this movie. It is one of my favorite Horror/Comedy films. Bruce Campbell was amazing in this film. This film let him show off everything he can do, from comedy to drama, action to horror. All the other actors really were there just to help Bruce showcase his talents. There was a lot more comedy in this film than in the previous film, primarily of the slapstick variety. The scene where Ash’s hand is possessed and starts beating up Ash is hilarious. Even though they had a bigger budget, I didn’t think the effects were as good as they were in the first movie, but I think that was intentional. Still, one minor gripe does not stop me from enjoying this movie every time I watch it.

A great sequel that matches the original in it’s own way, this movie is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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December 9th, 2014 Movie – The Evil Dead (1981)

the evil dead

In 1981, a rookie director filmed a low budget horror movie and released it to an unsuspecting audience. I wonder if Sam Raimi had any idea just how much of a cultural impact The Evil Dead, and its sequels, would have on society. Not only would this movie start Sam Raimi’s career and lead him to eventually direct some of the most successful films in Hollywood, but also make Bruce Campbell one of the more recognizable actors in Hollywood. Not bad for a movie that was originally rated X. So let’s get on with today’s movie, The Evil Dead (1981)

The plot: Five friends (Ash, Linda, Cheryl, Scotty, and Shelly) decide to travel to a deserted cabin in the Tennessee woods for a vacation. While eating dinner, the door to the basement suddenly opens and when Ash and Scotty go to investigate, they discover the Naturon Demonto, an ancient Sumerian book of the dead, as well as some tapes of a professors research into the book. While listening to a tape of some translations, they unknowingly unleash an ancient evil into the woods. One by one, they all become possessed by demons, with sh the only one unchanged, and the only one left who can stop this evil from spreading.

Critics were very positive about this movie, with it receiving a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of them agreed that the low-budget gore and shock effect mixed with the black comedy made this an instant classic. The budget for this film was somewhere between 100 and 400 thousand but it would more than make that money back. It only earned about $2,4 million in the US but made $27 million in the foreign box office so the total earnings was $29.4 million. The funny thing is that in spite of the success, The Evil Dead didn’t quite establish itself as a cultural standing like it is considered now.

The first time I saw this movie, the one thing that stood out was how creepy it was. The scene where Linda was just sitting in the doorway and laughing at Ash freaked me out when I was a kid. As an adult, I can appreciate it a lot more. Considering that this was essentially an “indie” movie, the acting and effect were pretty decent. Actually, the effects were way better than some other horror films that came out that year. I thought the scene with the blood pouring out of the walls and fixtures in the basement was incredibly well done. The story was definitely the best part about this movie. I don’t know if Raimi originally intended to make this into a trilogy but this movie was definitely able to fill the role of a stand alone horror movie, or the opening number to a series.

So the first film in one of the best cult trilogies out there is definitely worth watching, so long as you don’t mind the blood.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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December 8th, 2014 Movie – Evil Brain From Outer Space

evil brain from outer space

Oh boy. This is going to be good. Once again, I am watching a movie that was originally a Japanese TV show that was cut and pasted together to make a movie. Last time I watched something like this, it was Attack Of The Super Monsters and that was one of the funniest things I have watched in a long time. Will this movie be as good? I guess I will find out as I watch today’s movie, Evil Brain From Outer Space.

The plot: An evil genius from the planet Zemar named Balazar has managed to preserve his brain after his assassination so that he could not die. Now his followers are trying to help him take over the universe, which includes unleashing monsters on Earth to spread disease. Earth’s only hope is the outer space superhero, Starman to defeat the monsters and the agents on Earth that are controlling them.

This is no Attack Of The Super Monsters, that’s for sure. And while it was entertaining at times, this is not a good movie. So this was originally 3 separate movies that had a total run time of 2 and 1/2 hours in Japan. When it was cut and dubbed for American audiences, it was transformed into a 78 minute movie. That means that half of the footage was cut out for this version. The alien council at the beginning of the movie was some of the funniest looking aliens I have seen in a while. The effects were were laughable, like using jump cuts to make it look like Starman and the monsters were jumping really far. The plot was kind of a mess since three different movies were used, it honestly seemed like some of the characters didn’t belong there.

So if you are really interested in watching this, go for it. But I would honestly pick something else.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: January 23rd, 2014 Movie – 007: Skyfall

007 skyfall

It is with deep sadness that I post this review because it means that I have watched the last of the official Bond films. I know some of you are wondering about that statement and don’t worry, I will explain it later. Now 2012 was the 50th anniversary of Dr. No so it only seemed natural for them to do something big for the anniversary. Many of my friends saw this movie before I did and all I heard from them was how good this film was. So when I finally saw Skyfall, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. Did it manage to live up to the hype? Well keep reading as I review today’s movie, Skyfall.

The plot: While chasing a mercenary that has stolen a hard drive with the details of Nato undercover agents in terrorist organizations, Bond is shot by friendly fire, falls off a moving train, and is presumed dead. Back in London, M comes under fire over the failure to recover the hard drive and is under pressure to retire when an attack on MI6 offices occur. Bond, having survived his injuries, sees the news about the attack and heads back to London and, even though he fails the physical and psych exams, M puts him on the case to find out who is behind the attacks. Bond manages to track down the man responsible, an ex MI6 agent named Raoul Silva, and take him into custody. But when the MI6 servers get hacked, Bond realizes that Silva wanted to be captured so he could get close enough to kill M. Bond takes M to his family home so that he can have an advantage in the final showdown with Silva.

With high expectations for the 50th anniversary film, the studio went all out and it payed off for them big time. Critics loved the film, as shown by the 92% rating it earned on Rotten Tomatoes, praising just about everything from the actors to the writing and even the action. As for the audience, oh did they ever like this movie. Not only is Skyfall the highest grossing film in the Bond series, but with it’s $1.1 Billion (that’s Billion with a B) worldwide gross earning, it was the second highest grossing movie of 2012, losing out only to The Avengers. Skyfall also set some franchise records at the 2013 Academy Awards as it’s 5 nominations were the most for any Bond film and it’s two wins is also more than any film in the series.

When I went to see this movie, I was worried that it would not live up to all the hype surrounding it. Luckily for me, I was not disappointed. While I am not quite able to say that this was the best Bond film of all time (for my money it is still From Russia With Love), this is a fantastic movie and definitely one of my top 5 Bond films. Daniel Craig really came into his own with his role of Bond and will probably give Connery a run for his money as to who is the better agent. Judi Dench had one of her best performances in years with her portrayal of M in this film. I know some people criticized the whole Bond/M relationship in this movie but I liked it. It showed the determination of both characters to stick by the characters that they know they can trust no matter what. Silva could be a little over the top at times but he was a very good villain. I thought both the writing and the action scenes were well done. I also like the nod to some of the older Bond films that they did. I especially liked the scene with Bond and M in the Aston Martin and Bond threatens to use the ejector seat on M. My only problem is not so much with this film, but simply how future films are going to top this one.

A great movie and definitely a worthy tribute to 50 years of entertainment, everyone should go see this film.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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December 7th, 2014 Movie – Eurotrip

eurotrip

Ugh. I was not feeling well this morning but I still had to go into work. In all honesty, that was a bad idea as I now feel even worse. Well normally when I am feeling this bad, I will take some medicine and lay down on the couch or in bed and watch a Godzilla movie, which I admit doing. But I also watched today’s movie, Eurotrip, as well because when you are taking a bunch of cold medicine, watching a stupid teen comedy sounds like the thing to do.

The plot: On the day of his high school graduation, Scott Thomas is dumped by his girlfriend. His German pen-pal offers to come visit and cheer him up but Scott, drunkenly believing it is a guy, tells him not to contact him anymore. When he realizes that his pen-pal is actually a girl and that he is in love with her, Scott and his best friend head off to Europe so that Scott can find Mieke and express his feelings. Meeting up with two of their classmates in Paris, the four teenagers embark on a crazy tour through various European countries in the quest for true love.

Eurotrip was met with mixed reviews when it came out as critics would give it a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. One of the more positive reviews stated that Eurotrip is satire at its most brazenly self loathing and audaciously entertaining.” It wound up fizzling at the box office; earning only $20 million off of a $25 million budget. It was set to premier on HBO on April 2, 2005 but, because of some scenes involving the Pontiff and the Vatican, the studio cancelled the premier when Pope John Paul II died that same day.

I won’t lie and say that this is a good movie, but as far as your typical teenage quasi-sex comedy goes, it is pretty entertaining. At the beginning of the movie, a band is playing a song about Scott’s relationship with his girlfriend and how that she had been cheating on him without his knowledge, and as the kids are going through Europe, they keep hearing that song playing, kind of like an inside joke for them. The actors were decent at playing the typical horny teenagers and the dialogue was nothing special. In all honesty, there is nothing really special about this movie and yet I always find myself laughing when I watch it.

So it’s not an original source of comedy gold, but it can be good for some laughs.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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December 6th, 2014 Movie – Escape From L.A.

escape from l.a.

Escape From New York was one of the biggest cult films to come out of the 80’s. 15 years later, John Carpenter and Kurt Russell teamed up to bring Snake Plissken back to the big screen. With a bigger budget and several famous co-stars, they hoped to recapture the success of their original creation. But would they be successful or is this a case of being to late for their own good?  Feel free to judge for yourselves as I review today’s movie, Escape From L.A.

The plot: The year is 2013 and after a massive earthquake causes part of California to break away from the mainland. the new land mass becomes an offshore prison where people who do not comply with the new moral laws of the land find themselves deported. Snake Plissken has been captured by the authorities and is on his way to the L.A. prison when he is given a proposition by the President and the warden. Head into L.A. and retrieve a doomsday device that was stolen by the President’s daughter and he will receive a pardon for all of his crimes. To give him further incentive, Snake is infected with the Plutoxin 7 virus, which will kill him in 10 hours, and told that he will receive the cure when he returns with the case. Snake works his way through the dangers of L.A. and manages to regain the doomsday device, but will he give it back to the President, or use it himself?

Compared to the original, Escape From L.A. was a disaster. It only earned a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with critics saying that the gratuitous action scenes were a step up from the original but they added very little to the movie. As far as the box office goes, It only earned a little over $25 million, which was about the same as it’s predecessor but only half as much as the $50 million budget for the film. Perhaps the only good thing to come from this movie was the soundtrack.

There is almost always no comparing to the original, there just isn’t. This is a fact that has been proven over and over again. Where Escape From New York was dark and gritty, Escape From L.A. was more jokey. They tried to make up for the lack of originality by trying to add in more jokes and one-liners (I will say that Bruce Campbell’s “My God, they’re real” line did have me cracking up). The action scenes did benefit from the bigger budget but there were times where the effects didn’t seem as good, or the scenes just seemed stupid. No offence, but that surfing scene was pointless and just looked stupid. All in all, this is a decent action movie but a far cry from the original movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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