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December 19th, 2014 Movie – Eyes Behind The Stars

eyes behind the stars

So not only is today’s movie another film from the Sci-Fi Invasion set, but it is also an Italian movie. I might have to go through and see just how many Italian movies I own. While the Italian horror movies have a tendency to be some of the most disturbing movies I have seen, the sci-fi movies tend to be different, which is odd because usually sci-fi and horror can go hand in hand. Still, let’s see what today’s movie, Eyes Behind The Stars, has in store for us.

The plot: Peter, a photographer, and his female model Karin are taking doing a photo shoot in the woods when they get the feeling they are being watched and decide to leave. After developing the pictures, Peter heads back out to the woods to take some more pictures and finds himself captured by aliens. Karin goes by Peter’s place and after seeing the developed pictures, calls her friend Tony to look at the pictures and after seeing the pictures, Tony decides to take the negatives for further study. Later that night, Karin is also abducted by aliens. As Tony tries investigating what is going on, he finds his efforts hindered by the military, while a mysterious group known as the Silencers try to keep quiet the mere existence of the aliens.

Not quite what I was expecting, but this was a halfway decent movie. The story was pretty good and actually had an X-Files type feel to it. However, that was really the only good thing about the movie. Since it was an Italian film, it was obviously dubbed into English and the dubbing was terrible. The actors were mediocre at best and none of them really stood out. One surprising thing was that there wasn’t any nudity and hardly any violence in this film, which is odd since Italian films tend to go for the shock value to the point of being almost exploitative at times. I’m curious how this movie could have turned out if they had a better budget.

So while the story was good, the other aspects of the film did not help this movie so it is up to you if you want to watch.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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December 18th, 2014 Movie – Eye Of The Beast

eye of the beast

Sometimes I miss having the Syfy channel. I used to love binge watching all of the movies that they would air over the weekends. Of course, since I don’t have cable, I have to wait until the movies come out on DVD so I can get them. Luckily, they tend to be cheap so I can usually get a bunch of them for a couple of bucks. Today’s movie, Eye Of The Beast, is another from the Maneater Series of films, so one killer animal coming up.

The plot: Dan Leland is a scientist that has been sent to a small Canadian town to do research into why the fishing has declined in the area. At the same time, a number of strange deaths have occurred around the lake, and some people are blaming them on the “lake monster”. As racial tensions rise between the townsfolk and the local Indian tribe, one of the local fishermen is attacked by a giant squid, but manages to cut off one of it’s tentacles and get away. Now the townsfolk and tribe members must work together and help Dan capture or kill the beast before it decimates the town.

Awww. Look at James Van Der Beek trying to be someone other than Dawson. I think they were trying to get some sort of name recognition to help boast the audience for this film. I don’t think it helped much but you never know. Anyways, this was a decent movie to watch although a bit unoriginal. To be honest, I thought it seemed like a cheap knock off of Peter Benchley’s The Beast. Now for low budget movie, the effects were pretty decent as far as the squid was concerned. But the dialogue and the plot itself were very weak. I feel bad for James Van Der Beek because this was an attempt to play a different role than he normally played, but it still seemed like it was Dawson trying to be a scientist and get the girl.

So it is a decent movie but don’t expect an award winning performance out of this film.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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December 17th, 2014 Movie – Extra Terrestrial Visitors

extra terrestrial visitors

You know, I should just go ahead and accept the fact that most of the movies from the Sci-Fi Invasion pack are not going to be great. I mean, judging by the movie poster alone, I can tell that today’s movie is really going to be a high class film. However, since I know that today’s movie was featured on MST3K, I can expect to be laughing at how bad it is. So let’s get on with today’s movie, Extra Terrestrial Visitors.

The plot: Three poachers are hunting in some woods when one of them notices a meteor crash to Earth and goes looking for it. He discovers a glowing cave filled with strange eggs and proceeds to smash them but is attacked by an alien creature before he breaks the last one. A group of people are camping nearby and when one of the girls runs into the creature and fall off a cliff, the rest of her friends grab her and try to find some help. Meanwhile, a young boy named Tommy discovers the cave and takes the egg back to his house where it hatches into a strange creature. As the mother alien continues killing people in the retaliation for it’s broken eggs, Tommy and the alien, who Tommy named Trumpy, make plans to hide so that Trumpy won’t be killed by mistake.

Wow. That’s all I have to say about this movie. So originally, this was supposed to be a straight up horror movie but with the success of E.T. in theaters, the producers wanted to involve a kid and a lovable alien in the film. They honestly should have left that part out. This movie is terrible. It is a Spanish film so the dubbing is just awful at times. The aliens looked like some weird cross of a bear’s body with a deformed elephant’s head. And the kid was the worst. I got so sick of hearing his dubbed voice that I actually muted my television whenever he was on screen. I can understand how this made it onto MST3K but I don’t know if I could even stand watching it under those conditions.

Don’t waste your time. Just don’t.

Rating: 1/2 out of 5

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December 16th, 2014 Movie – The Exorcism Of Emily Rose

the exorcism of emily rose

Today’s movie is one of the more interesting movies that I own. Not so much because of the subject, although the subject is interesting too, but because of the two conflicting themes in the movie. In movies, there are romantic comedies, horror comedies, dramadies (dramatic comedies), etc. Well I guess you can call this one a court room horror, since it has elements of your typical court room drama mixed with a horror movie. So let’s get one with today’s movie, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose.

The plot: After a young girl dies, a priest is placed on trial for negligent homicide for being responsible for the failed exorcism that led to her death. During the course of the trial, the events that happened to Emily are told through flashbacks. The prosecutor’s theory is that Emily suffered from a form of epilepsy and that had she received medical treatment, Emily would have survived, and he has the medical experts to back up that theory. The defense claims that Emily did not suffer from a medical condition but rather a spiritual possession, but proving it in a court of law will not be the easiest thing to do.

Regarding this movie, the critics were of a mixed opinion, as shown by the 45% rating it has on Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the critics praised Jennifer Carpenter’s performance but had problems with one aspect of the movie. The fact that the film “asks a secular institution, the court, to decide a question that hinges on matters the court cannot have an opinion on.” Still, audiences had a desire to go see it as it would wind up earning $144 million worldwide.

Like I said, this was an interesting movie but one that was very well written. The courtroom drama parts of the movie seemed to move at a rather slow, methodical pace, but that tends to be the case with such movies. The flashback scenes involving Jennifer Carpenter were more intense, especially when you consider that she was actually contorting her body in almost all of the scenes where she was possessed. This movie doesn’t really go for the blood and gore horror, but rather more of a creepy tone. The one issue I have is the same one that some of the critics had. In regards to the separation of church and state, this movie touched on a tricky subject that has actually come up in real life; that being, can you try someone for their religious beliefs. But aside from that, I still think this is a good movie.

Not your average horror movie or court room drama, but worth watching none-the-less.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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December 15th, 2014 Movie – Excalibur

excalibur

I love the legends of King Arthur. T.H. White’s The Once And Future King was one of my favorite books to read in high school and The Sword In The Stone was one of my favorite Disney movies as a kid. So as I got older, it seemed only natural for me to get a more adult movie based on the legend. I had seen bits and pieces of this movie when I was a teenager but never saw the whole thing until about 10 years ago. I had been listening to some classical music at work and my boss at the time walked up as “O Fortuna” was playing and he mentioned this movie and how that song made him want to ride around chopping people’s heads off. Yeh, he was a little bit on the weird side. Anyways, here is today’s movie, Excalibur.

The plot: It’s the legend of King Arthur. In case you have no clue, here is the condensed version. Merlin helps Uther make peace with a nearby duke, but Uther’s lust for the duke’s wife ends the truce and results in further war, the duke’s death, and a son for Uther. Years later, young Arthur pulls the legendary sword Excalibur from the stone it was in and becomes the new king. As he works to build his kingdom, he recruits other knights to his court, including Lancelot. Lancelot happens to be in love with Arthur’s queen, Guenevere, and when their feelings become known, it throws the inner court into turmoil. Arthur’s step-sister Morgana uses this opportunity to steal Merlin’s power and sleep with Arthur in order to bear a son that will take over the kingdom. Arthur and Mordred go to war with the fate of the kingdom in the balance.

In spite of the fact that it has an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the reviews for this movie were pretty mixed. Almost every critic stated that the film was visually spectacular, but while some would say the whole move was a fantastic film, other’s commented that aspects of the film were a mess or even atrocious. There was also a lot of criticism about how the women were portrayed in the film, especially Morgana and how she was portrayed in a Satanic light in the film. All this aside, it did manage to be a moderate success, earning over $34 million in the US.

While it can be a bit dark at times, I thought this was a pretty good movie. Visually, this is one of the better fantasy films to come out of the 80’s. I was also surprised by a couple of actors who, while not as well known before this film, are definitely pretty famous now (Liam Neeson and Patrick Stewart). I also thought they did a decent job of sticking to the Arthurian legends for the most part, although there were some creative liberties taken I am sure. The one thing I didn’t like was the dialogue. At some times it was completely bland and lacked any drama that you would expect from such a film, and other times it was even worse. Still, you tend to focus more on the visual in this film so that isn’t a total deal breaker.

So a fun movie to watch if you are in the mood for some knights and battles.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Flashback Review: January 24th, 2014 Movie – Casino Royale (1967)

casino royale 1967

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “I thought he was done with the Bond films. And didn’t Casino Royale come out in 2006?” Well, let me explain. Dr. No and all of the Bond films that I have reviewed so far were all produced by Eon Studios (and later MGM) and are considered the official Bond films. However, there were three movies starring James Bond, one of which pre-dates Dr. No, that were done by different studios. Those three movies are considered the unofficial Bond films. Today’s movie, Casino Royale (1967) is the second of those films.

The plot: James Bond, long since retired, is visited by the heads of MI6, CIA and other intellegence agencies and asked to help deal with SMERSH, who has been killing off agents. Bond refuses at first but when his mansion is destroyed and M is killed, takes over as M in order to deal with the problem. James renames all the surviving agents “James Bond” in order to confuse SMERSH and begins training them in how to ignore the seductive charms of women. But all of his plans are compromised when it is discovered that Bond’s nephew Jimmy is leading the operation for SMERSH.

Charles K Feldman obtained the rights to make this movie in 1960 and wanted Eon Studios to produce it, but Eon chose not to make this film. Thinking that he could not compete with the Eon series, Feldman decided to make his movie into a satire. With a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics obviously did not care for the film, many criticizing the confusing plot. However, it was considered a commercial success, earning over $41 million worldwide.

While I did find several parts of the movie funny, I have to say that overall, it was too confusing to be entertaining. The acting was good, especially Peter Sellers, Orson Welles and David Niven. But the plot was such a train wreck. The first time I watched this movie, I kept having to rewind it just to make sure I could understand what was going on. It jumps around all over the place so much that it really is hard to follow and does not make for an entertaining movie.

So it is a Bond film, but not one you will probably want to watch more than once.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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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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