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May 23rd, 2015 Movie – Heavy Metal 2000

heavy metal 2000

19 years after the original movie came out, a direct to video sequel was released, with some similarities and some differences. For the similarities, there is the fact that this was inspired by a print media, in this case a graphic novel. The differences are that instead of several short stories linked together, this is only one story, and the hard rock/alt metal music in the film actually fit more with the title of the film than it’s predecessor’s did. However, did these differences make it as successful of a film? Judge for yourself as I write about today’s movie, Heavy Metal 2000.

The plot: While on a mining expedition in an asteroid, Tyler comes across a green crystal which happens to be the key to a legendary fountain of immortality, but drives the one who holds the key insane. After grabbing the key, Tyler kills his companion then heads back to the main ship where he kills the captain and most of the crew. On his search for the fountain, Tyler comes across the planet Eden, whose inhabitants, the Edenites, have traces of the immortality fluid in their bodies. Tyler has his ship invade Eden, killing or capturing all of the Edenites, but when one of his men, Germain, tries to save one of the Edenites, Kerrie, Tyler leaves him stranded on the planet. Julie, Kerrie’s sister, managed to survive the attack and after finding and threatening Germain, agrees to team up with him to locate Tyler. They track Tyler to a space station and when Julie finds him in a club, she proceeds to shoot him several times but Tyler’s wounds manage to heal due to the ampules he is drinking. A gunfight ensues and Tyler winds up blowing up the club but Julie manages to escape. Julie and Germain get in their ship and manage to use a tractor beam to latch onto Tyler’s ship as it makes a warp jump. Tyler tries to shake off the their ship but his efforts cause both ships to drop out of hyperspace and crash onto the planet Oroboris. When Julie wakes up, she finds herself alone but soon meets up with the sage Odin and his companion Zeek, a small rock creature. Meanwhile, Tyler has discovered that most of his crew have died in the crash and almost all of his ampules of immortality fluid have been destroyed. He orders Dr. Schechter to extract the fluids from Kerrie’s body while he and the rest of the surviving crew explore the planet. They locate a race of reptilian creatures and manages to take control of them when he kills their leader. Julie, Odin, and Zeek track Tyler to the city and Julie manages to infiltrate the city and once again tries to kill Tyler but before she can accomplish this, Zeek breaks in, grabs Julie, and flees with her. On their way back to the citadel, where the fountain is located, the trio discover Tyler’s ship and Julie is able to rescue her sister before blowing up the ship. When they make it to the citadel, Julie and Kerrie are reunited with Germain and Julie learns that Germain had tried to save Kerrie. Preparing themselves for war, Julie, Kerrie, and Germain stand with the guardians of the fountain as Tyler’s reptilian army storms the citadel. During the fighting, Tyler’s second in command, Lambert, is injured and when he tries to take Tyler’s last ampule, it shatters and Tyler kills him in a fit of rage. Tyler heads towards the fountain but Julie manages to reach him and the two fight, with Julie stabbing Tyler several times but he eventually is able to knock her down and use the key to open the fountain. However, before he can enter, Odin manages to distract him, which allows Julie to finally kill Tyler. Julie tries to destroy the key but Odin stops her, revealing that he is the last of the Arakacians, the creatures that created the fountain, and goes to claim it himself. Zeek gets there and takes the crystal, sealing Odin inside the fountain chamber, and after saying goodbye to Julie, heads to outer space where he buries the crystal inside another asteroid.

Heavy Metal 2000 was pretty much despised by the critics, as shown by the 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 0%. That’s just sad. Many of the critics felt that the sequel failed to catch the energy or magic of the first film and that instead of dragging it out to a full length feature, it would have been better as a shorter story that was part of an ensemble. Like it’s predecessor, the movie did release a soundtrack but it also failed to get any recognition outside of the fans of the bands involved in the soundtrack.

This was a rather disappointing sequel. Aside from the various scenes of nudity and gore, there really wasn’t anything different than what you would see on your average cartoon. For a feature film, you would expect more effort into the animation. I did like the some of the voice acting as Michael Ironside did a great job with Tyler and Billy Idol and Julie Strain were decent as Odin and Julie respectively. The story was ok but I agree with the critics that it seemed stretched out too long and would have been better as maybe a 25-30 minute short instead. The music used in the film didn’t really have the synchronicity that the first movie had. It mainly seemed to just be put there because it was loud and had some harsh tones to the music. If you really want to watch it go ahead, but this is definitely a far cry from the original film.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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May 22nd, 2015 Movie – Heavy Metal

heavy metal

Years ago, I was up late watching TV and during the course of my channel surfing, landed on an anime movie. Now we will get into that movie at a later date because today’s focus is on the movie that aired afterwards. Now when I first saw today’s movie, the first thing that hit me was that the soundtrack was really good. The second was that I needed to get a copy of this on VHS (yes, this was before DVD’s) because I felt like some stuff had been cut out in order to show it on TV. So I bought it and watched it many times over the years and have enjoyed it every time. So kick back, relax, and enjoy today’s movie, Heavy Metal.

The plot: A space shuttle orbiting the Earth opens it’s bay doors and an astronaut driving a convertible corvette is released and descends to the planet below. Once the car lands, the astronaut drives off to his house where he greets his daughter with a gift, the Loc-Nar. However, the Loc-Nar disintegrates the astronaut and speaks to the young girl, claiming to be the sum of all evils that has influenced societies throughout time and space. Instructing the girl to look at it, the Loc-Nar proceeds to show her several examples of what he has done. First is a futuristic New York City where a cab driver, Harry Canyon, must help a young woman escape from some gangsters that are after the Loc-Nar. But when she sells it to the gangster and agrees to split the money with Harry, the Loc-Nar’s influence causes her to turn on Harry, forcing him to kill her. It then shows her the story of Dan, a young boy who has been transported to the land of Neverwhere and transformed into the warrior Den and finds himself caught in the middle of a revolution with the two leaders fighting over the Loc-Nar while Den tries to save another Earth girl named Katherine. It then shows the trial of Captain Sternn, where key witness Hanover Fiste has picked up the Loc-Nar and it transforms him into a rampaging brute who is going after Sternn until Sternn pays Hanover the bribe money he promised him befor ejecting him from the space station. The Loc-Nar then shows the fate of the crew of a WWII B-17 bomber that has finished a bombing run but the only survivors of the attack are the pilot and co-pilot. The Loc-Nar rams into the plane and reanimates the dead crewmen as zombies, which kill the co-pilot but the pilot manages to bail out only to land on an island filled with downed airplanes and even more reanimated corpses. Next, an alien ship accidentally abducts a young woman from the Pentagon and while the ship’s robot manages to convince the girl to have sex with him, the alien pilots get high on “plutonium nyborg” and wind up crash landing into a space station. Finally, the girl is shown the Loc-Nar transforming a tribe of outcasts into mutated barbarians who ravage a nearby village. Before their death, the village elders summon Taarna, the last member of a warrior race known as the Taarakians. Taarna searches for the barbarians so she can avenge the villager’s deaths but winds up being captured. She is able to escape but when her mount is wounded, she is forced into a one on one duel with the barbarian leader. She manages to kill him and then flies to the volcano where the Loc-Nar has landed and then sacrifices herself to destroy the Loc-Nar. Back on Earth, the Loc-Nar is destroyed, demolishing the house in the process. As the girl watches, a young Taarakian mount lands near her and she climbs on it’s back and flies away, with her hair changing color and a Taarakian mark appearing on her neck, revealing her to be the next Taarakian and destined defender of the universe.

Heavy Metal was met with mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus among the critics was that “it’s sexist, juvenile, and dated, but Heavy Metal makes up for its flaws with eye-popping animation and a classic, smartly-used soundtrack.” The audiences seemed keen to see it as it would make over $20 million in box office sales. Unfortunately, legal problems with the copyrights for some of the songs in the film would cause an almost 15 year delay before the movie was able to be released for sale. The soundtrack had a similar problem, being released on LP in 1981 but then not released on CD until 1995.

Teenage me thought this movie was awesome. Adult me still likes the movie, but has to admit that he likes the soundtrack a little more than the movie. For a movie based on a magazine, this is a good movie to watch. Yes, there are a lot of animated boobs in this movie, but there were a lot of cartoon boobs in the magazine so it is merely the animators imitating the source material. The plot revolving on one central story being broken up by several short stories was interesting although I will admit that I have no idea what the “So Beautiful And So Dangerous” had to do with the main plot except for the fact that the Lo-Nar was in the girl’s necklace. The soundtrack was awesome and the songs really fit with the scenes they were used in, making for a great blend of music and animation. The animation wasn’t the best around but again, it really seemed to fit with the original drawings from the magazine so I will give it a pass. A good movie that should be watched at least once.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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May 21st, 2015 Movie – Heathers

heathers

Why is it that dark comedies tend to become cult classics? Is it because they use humor to showcase a darker aspect of humanity that most people don’t deal with? Or is it because they use the dark side of humanity to find new ways to make us laugh. Who can really say. I will say that these movies tend to receive a lot of praise from the critics. If you doubt me, let me remind you of a little film from 96 called Fargo. Now today’s movie, Heathers, was also well received by the critics, but whether it was worth it is up to you.

The plot: Veronica Sawyer is friends with the Heathers, the most popular and feared clique in Westerburg High, but as the school year progresses, she is tired of them and wants to return to her old life and friends. When she meets Jason “J.D.” Dean, she becomes drawn to the newcomer and winds up starting a relationship with him. When Veronica embarrasses Heather Chandler (the leader of the Heathers) at a frat party, Heather vows to ruin Veronica’s reputation at school. The next morning, Veronica goes to Heather’s house with J.D. with the intention of making Heather puke but she gives Heather a cup full of drain cleaner by mistake and accidentally kills her. Not wanting to be arrested, Veronica forges Heather’s handwriting to write a suicide note. Heather McNamara asks Veronica to go with her on a double date with Ram and Kurt, two members of the football team, but while Heather is having sex with Ram, Heather leaves Kurt lying drunk in a field while she goes off with J.D. The next day, Veronica learns that Kurt had spread a rumor that she performed oral sex on both him and Ram. Wanting some revenge, she makes plans with J.D. to embarrass them by faking their deaths as gay lovers, but to her horror, she realizes that the bullets they used were not fake and she and J.D. have really killed the two jocks. As the students and faculty seem to be elevating the status of the dead teenagers, other students begin to attempt suicide, including Heather McNamara. Meanwhile, Heather Duke has been assuming the leader’s role left by Heather Chandler’s death and has been assisting J.D. in getting a petition signed by every student at the school. Veronica is fed up with J.D.’s actions and breaks up with him. When J.D. shows up at her house to kill her, he finds Veronica hanging from a noose in her room. Thinking her dead, he tells her about his plan that the petition is actually a mass suicide note and he plans on blowing up the school during tomorrow’s pep rally. Veronica goes to the school and finds J.D. setting up the bomb in the boiler room. The two struggle and Veronica winds up getting J.D.’s gun and shooting him, causing J.D. to inadvertently stab the bomb, which deactivates it. Veronica heads outside and is shocked to see that J.D. has followed her out and has the bomb strapped to his chest. When J.D. asks what Veronica would have done if he had blown up the school, she pulls out a cigarette and sticks it in her mouth, causing J.D. to laugh as the bomb goes off, killing him and managing to light Veronica’s cigarette. As Veronica heads back inside, she briefly confronts Heather Duke before talking to Martha Dunnstock, a girl that was bullied by the Heathers, and invites her to watch movies with her on prom night.

Heathers was highly praised by the critics, earning a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics was that it “took a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie, changing the game for teen comedies to follow.” However, it did not fare well at the box office, earning a little over $1 million off of a $2 million dollar budget. However, when it was released on video, it had strong sales and rentals which helped make it the cult classic that it is.

This is a great movie which shows the darker side of high school, one which most movies at the time shied away from. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater had pretty good chemistry together, which actually wound up with them getting into a real life relationship during the filming of the movies. The plot was pretty good and the writing, while corny at times, did make for a lot of the laughs in the movie, as well as having several memorable lines that came out of this film. The theme of teenage suicide was definitely a bit dark but the film did a good job of pointing out that it is something that happens in high school. A great movie that is worth watching.

Rating:4 out of 5

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May 20th, 2015 Movie – The Headhunter

the headhunter

Ok, for once I am somewhat excited to watch one of the movies in this Martial Arts collection.Why, you may ask? Because today’s movie stars Chow Yun Fat. That is a pretty good reason right there. Now, granted, this is one of his earlier films so there is a chance that It will suck. But when you consider what the actor will accomplish in the long term, it seems to be worth the risk. Of course, it was still a giant pain in the ass to find information on this movie since it has 3 different titles, but that is a horse of a different color. So let’s get right into today’s movie, The Headhunter.

The plot: Nguyen “Andy” Dich is a refugee from Vietnam that is living in Hong Kong and working as a stuntman in the film industry. Wanting to make enough money to help his family, he also works as a hit-man for a local syndicate. After performing a hit, he notices reporter Vicky Lee and winds up falling in love with her. After getting news that his family was killed while trying to get out of Vietnam, Andy becomes tired of his life and wants to change. Wanting to get out from under the syndicate, he tells Vicky about the syndicate’s head and about poison gas that he is creating. When he finds out that a reporter is onto his operation, he orders Andy to kill her but Andy refuses, so he has an accident occur on the film Andy is working on, with Andy suffering burns to his face and body. While he is in the hospital, Andy is attacked by Kim Tai-Yung, his former c.o. in the Vietnam army, who blames Andy for his capture during the war. Andy and Vicky manage to escape but Andy’s friend Kenny is killed by the crazed former officer. When Andy has recovered, he meets with the syndicate’s head and winds up involved in a fighting another hit-man while the syndicate’s head goes after Vicky. While Andy kills the other hit-man, Vicky winds up being saved Kim Tai-Yung but he goes after her as well. Andy kills Kim and then, wanting to stop his killing life, forces Vicky to kill him so that he can finally be free.

This could have been a lot better, but alas, it was a let down. The dubbing was ok but none of the actors were really exciting to watch. The plot was a confusing mess and rather difficult to follow. The camera work and editing were also pretty bad as was the lighting. The action was ok and while it was about the only good thing this movie had going for it, there wasn’t enough of it to really help this movie. Worth watching if you really want to watch every movie that Chow Yun Fat but otherwise you can probably pass on this one.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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May 19th, 2015 Movie – The Cyclops

the cyclops

This is somewhat of a common occurrence for me. Every now and then, one of my friends will ask me if I have seen a particular movie. Nine times out of ten, I will have seen the movie in question but occassionally there will be a movie that I have not seen, which usually prompts me to go see it. Anyways, two months ago, my friend Mark asked me if I had seen this particular movie. I had to think about it for a bit but the answer was that I had. Now I happen to own several movies by this director but did not own this. So I fixed that and now I bring you today’s movie, The Cyclops.

The plot: Susan Winter is organizing an expedition into the mountains of Mexico to try and find her fiance Bruce, whose plane had crashed 3 years ago. She is accompanied by three men, scientist Russ Bradford (who is a friend of Bruce’s), pilot Lee Brand, and mining expert Marty Melville. Ignoring the orders of the Mexican authority, the quartet heads towards a restricted mountain area. As they fly around the area, a series of downdrafts unnerves Marty and he attacks Lee and tries to force the plane down but Russ holds him back while Lee recovers and lands the plane. When they get out, Russ spots a giant lizard but when he calls Susan and Lee over, the lizard is no longer in view. Meanwhile, Marty has found some uranium ore and wants to leave right away to file a claim for it but Susan refuses to leave. While Russ and Susan go searching for Bruce, Marty convinces Lee to fly him out of there but before they can leave, Susan and Russ return and take the keys to the plane. As they go searching for Bruce, they see several gigantic animals which unnerves the men to where they all agree that they should go home the next day, despite Susan’s protests. The next morning, Susan spies of piece of wreckage from a plane but before she can do anything, she spies something that causes her to scream out. The three men go looking for her and find her in a cave but as they check on her, a giant cyclops blocks the entrance with a boulder. Russ tries to see if Susan can communicate with the cyclops and though it looks like it is working, Marty tries shooting it with a rifle, which angers the monster and he kills Marty. When a giant snake appears, the cyclops battles the snake which allows the three people to escape. The manage to make it to the plane but before they can start it, the cyclops appears. Russ lures the monster away and manages to stab it in the eye with a flaming spear. The three then get on the plane and leave as the cyclops succumbs to the injury.

The second movie directed by Bert I. Gordon (a.k.a. Mr. B.I.G.) is an entertaining movie to watch, and while it did show that he needed to improve with his craft, those imperfections actually make this movie more entertaining. The actors were pretty decent, especially Lon Chaney Jr. (of Wolfman fame) who played the role of the self interested Marty really well. The special effects primarily involved the use of a backscreen projection but a lot of the scenes involving the animals resulted in transparent animals. There was also a scene where the cyclops grabs Susan, and inadvertently grabs some of the background as well. The design for the cyclops itself was rather unique, and one that Gordon would use in a later film. Instead of the classic single eye in the middle of the head look, he chose to have one eye look slightly bigger while having the other side of the monsters face be deformed. Like I said, an entertaining movie to watch, even with the bad special effects.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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May 18th, 2015 Movie – The Head

the head

It’s time for another movie from the Sci-Fi Invasion box set that has absolutely nothing to do with a sci-fi invasion. I think I make this complaint just about every time I watch a movie from this set but it really irritates me. I consider it a bit of false advertising that every movie does not have to do with a sci-fi invasion. Well, bitching about it won’t solve anything so let me just get right into today’s movie, The Head.

The plot: Professor/Dr. Abel has succeeded in creating a serum that is able to keep a dog’s head alive after it has been removed from it’s body. He hopes to use the serum to help with his upcoming surgery but he dies of a heart attack before the surgery can take place. One of his assistants, Dr. Ood, proceeds to remove the professor’s head and use the serum to keep it alive. The reason for this is because Dr. Ood wants to force the professor to help him with his crazed experiment of switching the head of Irene, his hunchbacked nurse, onto another woman’s body. When another assistant, Dr. Burke, tries to stop him, Dr. Ood kills him and buries him in the back of the house. Dr. Ood goes to a local bar and finds Lily, a striptease dancer and decides to use her body for his experiment. He takes her to his lab and after drugging her, proceeds with his operation. When Irene awakens, Dr. Ood tells her she has been in “hibernation” for 117 days while he operated on her spine. However, Irene begins to get suspicious when her body looks different and she begins doing things, like smoking a cigarette, which she has never done before. Irene goes to the bar that Lily used to dance at and meets Paul Lerner, who is intrigued by Irene because she looks so much like Lily. When he comments on a birthmark on Irene that is the same as Lily’s, Irene realizes what Dr. Ood had done and confronts him about it. He confirms what happened which scares Irene who goes back and tells Paul everything that she learned. Dr. Ood kidnaps Irene and plans to take her with him when he flees but Paul arrives with the police and Dr. Ood winds up jumping to his death to avoid arrest.

This was an odd movie. I would say I liked it better when it was called The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, but that movie actually came out after this one. This was a German film which meant that it was dubbed, and rather poorly at times. I don’t know if it is just my copy or the actual movie but the lighting and editing were really bad. At one point Irene was totally in the dark while the rest of the scene was lit. The plot seemed decent on paper but the final product looked real sloppy. All in all, I would pass on this movie.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review February 15th, 2014 Movie – Alien 3

alien 3

I’m curious. Who do people think was the bigger female bad-ass in the 80’s/90’s; Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor. They both fought against some of the most dangerous creatures in film history. And they generally are some of the only survivors of said creature attacks. Oops. That’s not quite true. There was one time that the heroine did not make it out alive. And wouldn’t you know it, it happens to have happened in today’s movie. That might go quite a ways to skewing the vote here. Anyways, let’s get right into today’s movie, Alien 3.

The plot: When the Colonial Marine spaceship U.S.S. Sulaco experiences an onboard fire, it jettisons the escape pod containing Ellen Ripley, Newt, Hicks, and Bishop, all still in cryonic stasis. The escape pod crash lands on the planet Fiorina ‘Fury’ 161, a penal colony that also houses a foundry facility. Some of the inmates inspect the crashed pod and discover Ripley is the only one who survived and they take her and the other stasis pods back to the prison. After they leave with the bodies, a facehugger attaches itself to a dog that was with the inmates. Ripley is woken up by the prison doctor and told that she was the only survivor of the crash. Fearing that an alien made it onto the escape pod, she asks for an autopsy to be performed on Newt but nothing is discovered so the bodies of both Newt and Hicks are cremated. Meanwhile, an alien hatches from the dog and begins killing some of the inmates. Fearing the worst, Ripley searches the wreckage of the pod and reactivates the damaged Bishop, who confirms that an alien had made it onto the escape pod with them. The warden and doctor are skeptical about Ripley’s story and the prisoners want nothing to do with the matter but after the doctor and warden are killed by the alien, they agree to help. However, when the alien confronts Ripley but doesn’t kill her, Ripley examines herself and discovers that she is housing an alien queen’s embryo inside her. She asks Dillion, the “spiritual leader’ of the inmates to kill her and he agrees on the condition that she helps them kill the alien that is currently loose. They make a plan to lure the alien to the foundry and pour molten lead on it and though almost every inmate is killed in the process, they succeed in killing the alien. While this was going on, a team from Weyland-Yutani arrives along with a man that looks like Bishop. Claiming to be the creator of the android, Bishop II tries to convince Ripley to undergo an emergency surgery to remove the embryo and destroy it but Ripley doesn’t trust him and instead has Morse, the only surviving inmate, to move the platform she is on over the furnace. When a member of the Weyland-Yutani team shoots Morse in the leg, Aaron, the warden’s assistant hits Bishop II over the head with a wrench and is immediately shot dead. Bishop II pleads with Ripley to let him have the embryo but Ripley steps off the platform instead. As she falls into the furnace, the alien bursts out of her chest but Ripley holds onto it as they both fall into the fire below.

Alien 3 met with mixed results from the critics, earning only a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A lot of this was probably due to the problems facing this movie during production, including going through several screenwriters and directors before it was finished and studio execs continuously interfering with and overruling the director throughout the filming. Many cast and crew members associated with the series were disappointed with the movie, with Cameron especially feeling like the killing of Newt, Hicks, and Bishop as a slap in the face to him. In spite of the poor ratings, the audiences did go to see this movie as it would make over $159 million in worldwide box office.

This was such a disappointing movie. I mean, the first two movies were some of, if not THE, best sci-fi/horror movies to ever come out, and this was what we get as a sequel. Ripley’s character actually seemed pretty meek in comparison to the previous movies and aside from Dillon (Charles S. Dutton), no other character really stood out. The story was pretty lame although I did like the heroic sacrifice that Ripley made at the end. The special effects were rather tame compared to the previous movie’s award winning efforts and did not really help this movie at all. Good to watch to complete the series but otherwise I’m rather “meh” on this one.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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May 17th, 2015 Movie – Haunts

haunts

Time for another really bad movie. I know that sounds a bit harsh, and somewhat funny considering the movies I like, but that tends to be the truth regarding some of the movies from this box set. I’m not saying that the movies from the Chilling Classics box set are all bad, because there have been a couple that were surprisingly good. Today’s movie, Haunts. is not one of them.

The plot: Ingrid lives on her farm but tends to shun away from men. When a girl is killed by a masked stranger, the whole town is sent into an uproar and Ingrid begins to suspect several men of being guilty. One night she is attacked by the masked killer but she manages to escape. The killer then kills the town’s female lush and leaves the body in Ingrid’s chicken coop. The next day, Ingrid is raped by the towns local “bad boy”, Frankie, who threatens to kill her if she talks. All of the recent events have slowly caused Ingrid to lose her sanity and she begins having flashbacks to her mom having sex with a stranger before killing herself. The killer attacks Ingrid outside of the church cemetery but the commotion alerts the Reverend so the killer leaves again with Ingrid swearing it is Frankie. The sheriff catches Frankie with his daughter and plans on booking him for the murders but his deputies spot the killer attacking another woman and have cornered the killer in a building. The killer turns out to be a stranger that just moved to town but Ingrid can’t accept that. Frankie shows up at her house and, after tying up her uncle Carl, goes after Ingrid but she winds up stabbing him. Carl disposes of the body and then makes a pass at Ingrid but leaves after she yells at him and goes to the sheriff. The next day, the sheriff and doctor/coroner go to dig up Frankie’s body only to discover that a goat was buried there and Frankie is still alive. The sheriff goes back to the house and discovers that Ingrid has committed suicide. After the funeral, Ingrid’s uncle Carl arrives from New York and, despite Ingrid’s claims to the contrary, has not seen Ingrid for years. After talking with the sheriff, Carl goes back to the house and thinks back to when he slept with Ingrid’s mom and then killed her after Ingrid caught them. As the steam rises from the sink, Carl spots a figure behind him in the mirror and turns to discover it is Ingrid.

Ok, this movie could have been decent but alas, it isn’t even that. This was somewhat of a train wreck and a lot of that was due to the editing. The actors were nothing exceptional. The main star, May Britt, had an accent that was poorly explained at the end of the movie as due to her being in a “European orphanage upstate.” The movie was honestly too long and again, poorly edited. The movie could have ended with Ingrid’s suicide and it would have been fine. If they wanted to include the whole scene with her uncle and the sheriff, they could have done that at the beginning and then made the bulk of the movie as a flashback. It would have worked a lot better. There are a lot of great psycho-thrillers out there, but if you want to watch one, pick a good Hitchcock movie because this isn’t really worth it.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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May 16th, 2015 Movie – Hatchet

hatchet

If I were to mention Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Candyman, you would probably think I was talking about the killers in a bunch of 80’s and 90’s horror movies. And you would be right. However, do you know the one thing they have in common? That’s right. they all had roles in today’s movie. It seemed like the new millennium spawned a bunch of movies that were trying to make their niche in the horror genre. Today’s movie, Hatchet, is one such movie and managed to spawn two sequels for it’s efforts.

The plot: Taking a break from the Mardi Gras festivities, Ben convinces his friend Marcus to join him on a haunted swamp tour. When they get there, they join Misty and Jenna, two girls that are continuously showing their boobs to Doug Shapiro, the director of “Bayou Beavers”, Jim and Shannon Permatteo (a married couple from Minnesota), and Marybeth, a quiet woman that keeps to herself. As their tour guide, Shawn, proceeds to take them on the tour, it becomes apparent that he does not know what he is doing. While floating past some of the houses on the river, Shawn points to one house, claiming it belongs to a local legend, Victor Crowley, a deformed youth whose father hit him in the face with a hatchet. After crashing the boat into a rock, the people are forced to abandon it before it sinks when Jim is bitten in the leg by Alligator. Marybeth shoots the alligator which causes everyone to question why she has a gun. She explains that she is using the tour to look for her brother and father, who went missing the night before. She also accuses of Shawn of not knowing what he is doing because the burnt out house that they are in front of is the real Crowley house, and Victor’s ghost haunts the swamp around her house and kills anyone. Hearing sounds coming from the house, Shannon takes Jim there to try and get some help but Victor emerges from the house and proceeds to kill the both of them. As the rest of the group runs, Marybeth shoots Victor in the chest before running herself. Doug gets separated from the group and while trying to hide, winds up getting killed by Victor. Ben and Marybeth head back to the house to try to find some weapons while the others wait near Doug’s corpse. As Ben and Marybeth return, Victor attacks Jenna but is knocked down by Ben. Shawn tries to grab a weapon but gets his leg cut off by Victor. As the others run, Victor kills Shawn and then Jenna. Ben decides to go back to the house to use some gasoline to set Victor on fire. While Marcus and Marybeth try to distract Victor, Misty stands guard while Ben looks for the gas. However, Victor kills Misty and throws her body parts at Ben. Ben douses Victor with gas and sets him on fire but a sudden rain shower begins to douse the flames. The three people try escaping through a cemetery but Victor catches up to them and kills Marcus. While Ben and Marybeth head towards the river, Victor throws a gate pole and impales Ben’s foot. As Victor rushes towards them, Marybeth pushes the pole down so that it winds up impaling Victor. Marybeth finds her father’s boat and she and Ben head down the river when she winds up going overboard. Seeing Ben’s hand reach for her, she grabs his hand only to discover that Victor is using Ben’s severed arm to pull her up while Ben is bleeding to death in the boat.

Maybe I am jaded but the newer “slasher” movies just don’t seem to have the oomph that the older movies do. That being said, this wasn’t that bad of a movie. The plot was your typical slasher movie story with nothing really different from any other slasher movie. None of the actors really stood out although I did like the nod to previous slasher movies by having Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger) and Tony Todd (Candyman) having cameos and Kane Hodder (Jason) as Victor Crowley. I did like how the director did not use any CGI in the movie except to remove wires and camera set-ups. There was also a lot more gore than some previous entries into the genre, which seems to be the trend for newer movies. Not a bad movie but I wouldn’t go rushing to see it.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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May 15th, 2015 Movie – Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

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When going to see this movie, it kind of reminded me of when I picked up the final book. Once again, I attended the midnight release party for the book, only this time I had company with me. As I watched all the excited fans waiting to pick up their copies, socializing with others, and having a lot of fun. a sad thought occurred to me. I realized that there probably will never be this much excitement and fandom over a series of books in my lifetime. Like I said, a sad thought. So let’s finish the series with today’s movie, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

The plot: Picking right up from where the last movie ended, after burying Dobby, Harry speaks with both Griphook and Ollivander and begins to plan his next move. Realizing that a Horcrux may be hidden in Bellatrix’s vault, Harry makes a deal with Griphook for his help in breaking into Gringotts and getting into Bellatrix’s vault in exchange for the Sword Of Gryffindor. Using Polyjuice potion to disguise Hermione and Ron as Bellatrix and another Death-Eater, Harry uses his Cloak of Invisibility to hide himself and Griphook as they make their way to the vault. Inside the vault, Harry spies the Horcrux as a cup belonging to Helga Hufflepuff but as he tries to get it, a trap inside the vault causes the items inside to begin multiplying, threatening to crush them all under the weight. Griphook grabs the cup and exchanges it for the sword, but runs off and raises the alarm as the three kids struggle to escape the vault. Trapped by the security guards, Hermione frees the dragon that was guarding the vault and the trio cling to it’s back as the dragon smashes through Gringotts and flies off. As the dragon passes over a lake and the three friends jump into the water, Harry has visions of Voldemort killing everyone in Gringotts as well as Hogwarts and Rowena Ravenclaw. He realizes that Voldemort knows what they are looking for and that a Horcrux is hidden in Hogwarts. They try to sneak into Hogwarts through the secret passage in Hogsmeade but a siren sounds as soon as they apparate into the village. Aberforth Dumbledore, Professor Dumbledore’s brother, hides them in his shop and, after trying to dissuade them from finishing their task, uses the portrait of Ariana, his dead sister, to summon Neville via a secret passage. Neville leads the three friends through the passage and into the Room of Requirements, where they discover many of their friends hiding out. Harry tells his assembled friends that he is trying to find something linked to Rowena Ravenclaw and Luna tells him of Rowena’s Lost Diadem. Snape learns that Harry is at the school and assembles all of the students in the Great Hall where he threatens to punish any student caught aiding Harry when Harry steps forward. After Harry confronts Snape about Dumbledore’s death, Professor McGonagall duels Snape and chases him out of the school. As McGonagall and the other professors prepare a defense around the school, Luna persuades Harry to speak to the House Ghost of Ravenclaw, Helena Ravenclaw, about the diadem. Helena tells Harry that she knows what Voldemort had done to her mother’s diadem and tells him where it is hidden. Meanwhile, Ron and Hermione manage to make their way into the Chamber Of Secrets and Hermione uses a basilisk fang on the cup to destroy it, finally kissing each other afterwards. Harry heads back to the Room of Requirements and locates the Horcrux but is ambushed by Draco, Goyle, and Blaise. Hermione and Ron arrive to help but when Goyle loses control of the Fiendfyre curse, he winds up setting the entire room ablaze, killing himself in the process. Harry, Ron, and Hermione rescue Draco and Blaise, then Harry stabs the diadem with the basilisk fang before Ron kicks it into the room. While Voldemort’s forces clash with Hogwart’s professors and the remaining members of The Order, Harry looks into Voldemort’s mind to locate him and the three friends head towards the boathouse where they hear Voldemort and Snape conversing before Voldemort has Nagini attack Snape. Harry tries to save Snape’s life but Snape tells him to collect the memory tears he is shedding and to take them to the Pensieve. Voldemort calls a ceasefire and tells the defenders to bury their dead and then challenges Harry to meet him in the Forbidden Forest for a final duel. After seeing all of the bodies of those that died, Harry uses the Pensive and sees Snapes history with his mother and learns that Harry is a Horcrux and must be killed in order for Voldemort to be defeated. As Harry heads to the Forest, he uncovers the Resurrection Stone hidden in the Snitch and uses it to speak with his parents, Sirius, and Remus one last time. Harry arrives where the Death-Eaters have gathered and Voldemort uses the Elder Wand to kill him. Harry finds himself in Limbo where Dumbledore’s spirit tells him that the part of Voldemort that was inside Harry has been destroyed and he is now free to choose his own path. Voldemort has Harry’s body carried back to Hogwarts and says he will kill anyone that defies him. Neville stands up to him but before Voldemort can attack him, Harry reveals himself to be alive and, after attacking Nagini, proceeds to duel with Voldemort throughout the castle. Ron and Hermione fail to kill Nagini but before it attacks them, Neville uses the Sword Of Gryffindor to decapitate the snake. With the last Horcrux destroyed, Harry is finally able to defeat Voldemort. He explains to Ron and Hermione why the Elder Wand would not work for Voldemort before snapping it in half and throwing it into a chasm. 19 years later, Harry and Ginny meet up with Ron and Hermione as they watch their children board the train to Hogwarts for their own adventures.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire: Part 2 received almost universal acclaim from the critics, earning a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics felt that this was a truly fitting finale for the Harry Potter franchise and the battle between good and evil showcased in the film equaled that of Star Wars or Lord Of The Rings. Roger Ebert stated that “The finale conjures up enough awe and solemnity to serve as an appropriate finale and a dramatic contrast to the lighthearted (relative) innocence of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone all those magical years ago.” The audiences were excited to see the film as it would become the highest grossing film in the Harry Potter series, earning over $1.3 billion in worldwide box office. It also set or tied several box office records (at the time) such as highest opening weekend, highest opening weekend for an IMAX and 3-D film, and fastest to $1 billion.

This was a great film. That’s it. The actors did an amazing job and showed just how much the characters have grown throughout the years. The story, well the second half of the novel if you want to be precise, was great and had a ton of action and excitement almost from the beginning. This movie really felt like a 2 hour climax and not just another movie. The special effects were incredible and helped make this movie to become the phenomenon that it is. That’s it. there really isn’t much more you can say because the whole thing was just a great movie to watch. One of the best endings to a series that I have ever seen.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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