movie review

September 30th, 2015 Movie – Killer Klowns From Outer Space

killer klowns from outer space

So yesterday I jokingly said that I would be reviewing Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Well, it wasn’t really a joke…more like jumping the gun. See, years ago, I caught the tail end of this movie one day and thought it was one of the most ridiculously funny movies I had ever seen. So I scoured the TV schedule to see when it would air again and when it did, I was able to watch the whole thing and I still found it to be ridiculously funny. So today, I am going to watch this cult classic and probably laugh my ass off again.

The plot: At the Top of the Word, the local makeout point in Crescent Cove, California, several of the couples spot an object falling from the sky and land in the nearby woods. Curious about what it was, Debbie, and her boyfriend Mike, decide to go find out what the object was. Meanwhile, a nearby farmer had seen the object as well and, believing it to be Haley’s Comet, goes into the woods searching for it, only to discover a circus tent in the middle of the woods. As he tries to find an opening into the tent, an opening appears and a net grabs the farmer’s dog, and when the farmer looks for his dog, he comes across a clown that attacks him with a strange gun. Mike and Debbie come across the tent and decide to look inside. As the explore the inside of the tent, they realize that the tent is actually the shooting star they were looking for. Hearing something approach, they hide in a chamber that appears to be full of giant cocoons made of cotton candy but when Mike pulls off a piece, they find a human face inside. When a giant clown enters the chamber with another cotton candy cocoon with someone they know inside, he drops the bottle he was carrying, alerting the clown to their presence. They run from the room and head towards the ship’s exit but the clown fires a gun at them, which sends a cloud of popcorn racing after them,. Covered in popcorn, the two make it outside but they are chased by two clowns, who use a balloon dog to chase after them. As Mike and Debbie head into town to get the police, several clowns begin heading towards town. When Mike and Debbie get to the police station, Debbie tries to convince her ex-boyfriend Dave about what they saw, but Dave’s partner, Curtis Mooney, believes the whole thing to be a hoax. Dave decides to take Debbie home and then he and Mike go to where Mike and Debbie saw the spaceship. Meanwhile, the clowns begin appearing throughout the town, using various pranks and gags to kill or capture the townsfolk. In the woods, Mike leads Dave to where the tent was, only to discover that the tent is gone, causing Dave to believe Mike was playing a joke on him and placing him under arrest. As they are returning to town, Dave drives through Top of the World, and finds the place ransacked, with cotton candy strands all over the cars, Dave decides that Mike may have been telling the truth and so he releases him. Back in town, Mooney is getting several calls about clowns but he still believes it to be nothing more than a hoax and so he chooses to do nothing about it. Meanwhile, Debbie is taking a shower before she goes to be, unaware that the popcorn the clowns had shot her with is moving across the floor. As they make their way back into town, Mike and Dave see a clown, making shadow puppets for a group of people at a bus stop when the clown has his shadow swallow the people, somehow managing to shrink them down, where it then places the shrunken people into a bag full of popcorn. Mike presses down on the gas in order to try and hit the clown with the police car, but the clown manages to jump out of the way and disappear. Dave tries radioing Mooney to call for help, but Mooney ignores him. Seeing his friends, the Terenzi brothers, Mike decides to go with them to warn people while Dave goes to the station and calls for backup. At the station, one of the clowns shows up and squirts Mooney in the face with a flower, so Mooney places the clown in jail but as Mooney taunts the clown, the clown kills Mooney with a party streamer. When Dave arrives at the station, he finds a trail of clown shoe prints all over the floor, and two cotton candy cocoons containing prisoners in the cells. When he leaves the cells, he finds a clown sitting in Mooney’s chair, using Mooney’s corpse as a puppet. As the clown moves towards Dave, Dave shoots it with little effect, until he manages to shoot it’s nose, causing the clown to spin rapidly before it explodes. The state police call the station and Dave is able to get them to send help to the city. Meanwhile, Mike is having trouble convincing the Terenzi brothers about what is going on until the see an army of clowns marching through the streets, as they load the cotton candy cocoons into their vehicle. Debbie finishes her shower but finds herself under attack by miniature clowns that grew out of the popcorn. When she tries to escape her house, she finds the house surrounded by clowns and she ends up captured in a balloon. Mike and the Terenzi brothers arrive just as they see the clown loading the balloon containing Debbie into the back of his clown car. and they chase after it, eventually followed by Dave but when the Terenzi’s see the cop car and stop, Dave ends up wrecking into the back of the ice cream truck. Dave gets into the ice cream truck and they head to the nearby amusement park, where the clowns have relocated their tent. At the amusement park, a security guard attempts to stop the clowns, but they attack him with pies, which end up melting the guard like acid. Dave, Mike, and the Terenzi brothers head inside the funhouse but the Terenzi brothers end up getting separated and fall into a ball pit, where they wind up being sexually assaulted by two female clowns. Meanwhile, Mike and Dave wind up in the tent, and make their way to the cocoon room, where they witness a clown using a straw to suck all of the fluids from one of the cocoons. Mike and Dave manage to find Debbie and get her out of the balloon but they wind up being chased by the clowns. They wind up surrounded by the clowns but suddenly, the Terenzi brothers crash through the wall in their ice cream truck and manage to surprise the clowns long enough for the others to get in the truck. Suddenly, a giant clown appears and proceeds to destroy the ice cream truck. Dave attracts the giant’s attention, allowing Mike and Debbie to escape through the hole in the wall. As the tent prepares to take off, the giant grabs Dave, but he uses the pin from his badge to pop the giant’s nose, causing it to explode and take the tent with it. As Mike, Debbie, and the state police watch, a clown car drops down from the explosion, and Dave and the Terenzi brothers emerge safe and sound. As small debris begins falling from the sky, Debbie asks if it’s over, but after Mike answers, they find themselves pelted with pies while the clowns’ laughter is heard.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space was well received by the critics, earning a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The concensus among the critics is that the title offers darkly goofy fun and more often than not, the movie delivers. The movie was a box office success, grossing over $43 million off of a $1.8 million budget, and quickly wound up becoming a cult classic. The movie was the only film to be written and directed by the Chiodo brothers, though they have both done other projects, and there has been talk of a sequel though whether it will actually happen is debatable.

When you think of B-Movies and cult classics, this movie tends to end up near the top of people’s lists. This movie is a lot of fun to watch. The acting was probably the weakest part of the movie. Grant Cramer (Mike) was kind of annoying at times but Suzanne Snyder (Debbie) and John Allen Nelson (Dave) were pretty good. The Terenzi brothers (Michael S. Siegel and Peter Licassi) were pure random comic relief but John Vernon really stole the show in the few scenes he was in. The story was more or less your basic alien invasion story but the idea of using clowns was a bit genius, given how many people are scared of clowns. The various gags used by the clowns, such as balloon animals, shadow puppets and real puppets, driving an imaginary car, plus the use of cotton candy, pies, popcorn, and balloons as weapons was very imaginative. As for the clowns themselves, you will be hard pressed to find some creepier looking clowns than the ones in this movie. A great movie to watch just to relax and laugh, unless you are coulrophobic, in which case this movie might be traumatizing.

Rating: 4 out of 5

movie review

September 29th, 2015 Movie – Kill Bill: Vol. 2

kill bill vol 2

Holy cow. I got so much sleep yesterday. It was awesome. I got to leave work early, though since I had clocked in early, I still wound up working 9 hours. Then I came home, ate some lunch, and fell asleep on the couch while attempting to play a game. 3 hours later, I woke up, had a snack, then went to bed and fell asleep for another 8-9 hours. But enough about my sleeping issues, it’s time to get on with today’s movie. So yesterday I watched Kill Bill: Vol. 1 so of course today’s movie is going to be Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Just kidding. Today I am going to finish watching The Bride get her revenge as I watch Kill Bill: Vol. 2.

The plot: The movie starts with The Bride driving a car and breaking the fourth wall as she explains out loud to the audience what happened to her and that she has killed everyone but one man, the last name on the list, and when she finds him, she’s going to kill Bill. The movie then goes to the wedding chapel, where The Bride is there with her future husband, Tommy, and their friends going over the rehearsal. When The Bride goes outside for some air, she sees Bill sitting outside playing a flute. After speaking with Bill for a few minutes, Bill goes inside and meets Tommy, then he stands back to watch the rehearsal, just as the other members of the Deadly Vipers Assassination Squad arrive and shoot everyone. Back in the present, Bill has gone to warn his brother Budd that The Bride is seeking revenge on them all and she is coming for him but Budd refuses his help. When Budd returns home from his job as a strip club’s bouncer, he pauses and looks out towards the hills before he heads inside. The Bride crawls out from underneath his trailer and rushes inside, only to have Budd shoot her in the chest with a shotgun loaded with rock salt. After using a syringe to knock The Bride out, Budd proceeds to call Elle Driver, the last member of the Deadly Vipers, and offers to sell her The Bride’s Hattori Hanzo sword, to which she agrees. When The Bride comes too, she finds herself in a cemetery, where Budd proceeds to close her in a coffin and bury her alive. After freaking out at first, The Bride begins to calm down and thinks back to when Bill sent her to Pai Mei for martial art’s training. When The Bride first meets Pai Mei, he insults her and easily defeats her when he asks her to demonstrate what she knows, but he agrees to train her. The next day, Pai Mei punches through a wooden beam, then has The Bride practice doing it. As The Bride continues her grueling training, she gradually begins to earn the master’s respect. Back in the grave, manages to get free from her bonds, then, recalling her training, punches through the lid of her wooden coffin and digs her way out. The next morning, Elle arrives at Budd’s trailer with the money for The Bride’s sword. Elle asks Budd for the details on what happened to The Bride, then gives him the money, but as he starts to count it, he is bitten by a black mamba that Elle had hidden in the suitcase. After reading some facts about the black mamba to Budd as he dies, Elle proceeds to call Bill and tells him that Beatrix Kiddo, The Bride’s real name, killed Budd but she killed Beatrix. As Elle starts to leave, she is ambushed by Beatrix and the two begin to fight throughout the trailer. When Elle manages to get the upper hand, she grabs Beatrix’s sword, but when she turns around, she finds that Beatrix has found Budd’s Hanzo sword, which everyone believed he had pawned. As they face each other, Beatrix asks Elle what she said to make Pai Mai take her eye, and Elle tells her, as well as telling her that she poisoned Pai Mei. The two clash swords and as they are locked in a stalemate, Beatrix plucks out Elle’s remaining eye. As Elle blindly thrashes around in pain, Elle squishes the eye beneath her foot, then grabs her sword and, walking past the black mamba, she leaves trailer, leaving Elle in the trailer with the snake. Beatrix heads to Mexico to speak with Esteban Vihaio, a retired pimp who is somewhat of a father figure to Bill, in the hopes that he will tell her where to find Bill. After Esteban tells her where to find Bill, Beatrix arrives at the house but when she confronts Bill, she is shocked to see Bill there with a little girl named B.B., who was their daughter. As Beatrix hugs her daughter, Bill tells Beatrix what he told B.B. as to where she has been. Beatrix ends up spending the evening with Bill and B.B. and after B.B. falls asleep while watching a movie with Beatrix, Beatrix tucks her daughter into bed before going to speak with Bill. Wanting to get some answers from Beatrix before they fight to the death, Bill shoots Beatrix with a dart containing a powerful truth serum. He then questions Beatrix about why she ran away when she was pregnant. Beatrix explains that on he last assignment, she got sick on the plane and when she got to her hotel, she took a pregnancy test. An assassin sent to prevent Beatrix from completing her assignment shows up to kill her but when she tells her that she is pregnant, the assassin decides to let Beatrix live. Beatrix explains that the reason she left was because she wanted to keep her baby out of the lifestyle that she lived and didn’t want Bill to have a claim on her. After they finish talking, Bill and Beatrix fight, and Beatrix uses the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, a secret move that Pai Mei taught her. Bill forgives Beatrix, then takes five steps before he drops dead onto the yard. Beatrix grabs B.B. and drives off, ready to start a new life with her daughter.

Kill Bill: Vol. 2 was highly praised by the critics, earning an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics that while it was “talkier and less action-packed than Vol. 1, Kill Bill Vol. 2, nevertheless, delivers the goods for those expecting a satisfying conclusion to this two-parter.” Uma Thurman received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress, and David Carradine also received one for Best Supporting Actor. Just like the first film, the movie was box office success but it only earned over $152 million, almost $30 million less than the first part. Tarantino had initially said that he would film a Volume 3, but since then, the likelihood of that coming about is highly doubtful.

I realize that this was originally all one movie but if it wasn’t and Tarantino had filmed two separate movies, I don’t think he could have done a better job in making a sequel. This movie was just as good as the first one. Uma Thurman did a great job, as did David Carradine, Daryl Hannah, and Michael Madsen were equally good. My favorite character was Pai Mei, as Gordon Liu’s performance was highly entertaining. The writing was very well done and Tarantino did an excellent job in bringing a resolution to his epic movie. I did like how he was able to make Beatrix go from revenge seeking killer to loving mother as soon as she sees her daughter. There wasn’t as much action as the first movie but the fight scenes were very well done. I think the fight between Beatrix and Elle was probably the best one on one fight in the movie, though it does lose out on the ridiculously awesome fight between Beatrix and the Crazy 88’s. It definitely earns its reputation for being highly recommended.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

movie review

September 28th, 2015 Movie – Kill Bill: Vol. 1

kill bill vol 1

I have been trying to go to sleep for the past 3 hours without success. I finally just decided that if my body is going to reject the need to sleep today, then I might as well be somewhat productive and work on today’s blog until I pass out from exhaustion or have to go to work. So today’s movie is one of those movies that had everyone talking about it back in the day. Unfortunately for me, I did not get to see this in theaters due to a lack of interest on my wife’s part. In fact, I actually wound up watching the second movie before I watched this one. But since I own them both now, I’m going to go ahead and watch them in order so let’s get right into today’s movie, Kill Bill: Vol, 1.

The plot: A woman in a wedding dress, The Bride, is lying wounded and bleeding on the floor of a church when she is approached by a man named Bill. After Bill talks to the woman for a while, he shoots her, but not before she tells him that she is carrying his baby. Some time later, The Bride shows up at the house of Vernita Green, a former teammate of The Bride’s in the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and one of the people that attacked her in the church. The two women begin fighting through out the house but stop when a school bus drops off Vernita’s daughter and, after Vernita sends her daughter to her room, the two women head to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. Agreeing to Vernita’s request that they night continue fighting in front of her daughter, The Bride agrees to meet her later that night to settle things but when Vernita tries to kill her with a gun hidden in a box of cereal, The Bride throws a knife into her chest, killing her. Finding Vernita’s daughter staring at her, The Bride tells the young girl that when she grows up and if she still wants revenge, to come find her, then she goes out to her car, where she crosses off Vernita’s name from a list, a list which already has one name crossed off. The movie then flashes back to 4 and 1/2 years earlier, where the police have arrived at the scene of a massacre at a church in El Paso. As the sheriff examines the bride, she spits out some blood, letting them know that she is still alive. That night, Elle Driver, a woman with an eyepatch, whistles a tune as she enters the hospital where The Bride is located, changes into a nurses uniform, then prepares a syringe before entering The Bride’s room. Just before she plunges the syringe into The Bride’s iv, Elle receives a call from Bill, who tells her to abort the mission, much to Elle’s displeasure. Four years later, The Bride regains consciousness and, remembering what had happened, she realizes that she has lost her baby and cries out. Hearing somebody coming, The Bride pretends to be asleep as an orderly comes in accompanied by another man. The orderly had apparently been charging people to have sex with The Bride while she was comatose but the latest client learns to his misfortune that she is awake and pissed off, as proven when she bites off his tongue. The Bride tries to get off the bed but realizes that the muscles in her legs will no longer support her so she crawls over to the dead man, retrieves a knife from him, and waits by the door for the orderly to return. When the orderly comes in, The Bride slices his achilles tendon and slams the door into his head while questioning him about Bill, but then she has memories about what the orderly, Buck, did to her and she kills him with the door. Stealing Buck’s keys and scrubs, The Bride uses a wheelchair to head down to the garage, where she locates Buck’s car and after getting inside, she begins working on getting her legs to work again, starting by wiggling her big toe. As The Bride works on this, she decides to get revenge on the people who did this to her, starting with O-Ren Ishii, who is now the leader of Tokyo’s Yakuza. The Bride then tells the origin of O-Ren, starting with the fact that O-Ren had witnessed the murder of her parents by the Yakuza when she was nine. Two years later, she killed the Yakuza boss that had killed her parents then became one of the top assassins in the world by age 20. Back to The Bride, after finally becoming able to walk, she heads to the airport and books a flight to Okinawa. When she arrives there, she goes to a sushi shop where she seeks out a man named Hattori Hanzo, a legendary swordsmith. She asks him to forge her a sword but he initially refuses, haven taken a blood oath to never forge another instrument of death again, but when she tells him that she plans to kill Bill, his former student, he agrees to forge his finest sword for her. After receiving the sword, the bride goes after O-Ren, tracking her down to a nightclub in Tokyo. The Bride grabs, Sofie Fatale, O-Ren’s assistant, and calls out O-Ren. When O-Ren appears, The Bride cuts off the Sofie’s arm, causing the club patrons to flee. O-Ren sends her men to kill The Bride but the Bride kills all of them. The Bride then faces off with Gogo Yubari, O-Ren’s sadistic schoolgirl bodyguard. who nearly manages to strangle The Bride with her ball and chain, but The Bride is able to kill her. The Bride then prepares to face O-Ren, when the rest of O-Ren’s army, The Crazy 88’s arrive. The Bride battles her way through the entire army, killing most and maiming the rest. After telling Sofie to stay put, The Bride heads up to the roof, where she faces off with O-Ren in the rooftop garden. Already tired from her earlier battles, The Bride winds up being slashed across the back by O-Ren’s sword, but as O-Ren goes for the killing stroke, The bride is able to counter and slashes O-Ren across the stomach. As the two clash in a final attack, The Bride succeeds in killing O-Ren by slicing the top of her skull off. After torturing Sofie to find out where the other members of the Deadly Vipers are, The Bride sends Sofie tumbling down a hill in front of a hospital, wanting her alive in order to give Bill a message. At the hospital, Bill speaks with Sofie and asks her if The Bride is aware that her daughter is still alive.

Kill Bill: Vol, 1 was well received by the critics, earning an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics was, “Kill Bill is nothing more than a highly stylized revenge flick. But what style!” The movie was originally intended to be released as one feature, but with a run time of almost 4 hours, Tarantino decided to split the movie into two parts. The movie was a box office success, earning over $180 million off a $30 million budget. Uma Thurman would receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress and Empire Magazine ranked The Bride at 66 in their list of 100 Greatest Movie Characters.

This is a fantastic movie to watch. Uma Thurman did a phenomenal job as The Bride and Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, and Sonny Chiba were also good, despite the brief appearance that they had. The writing was some of Tarantino’s best and the only flaw I saw was that you could tell this was meant to be one complete movie as the way it ends as, while it obviously sets up for a second movie, the movie just kind of stops, albeit on a cliffhanger. The fight scenes were well coordinated and even though the fight with the Crazy 88’s was ridiculously over the top, they did a good job choreographing a fight with that many people. A great movie to watch but you really should make sure you have the time to watch both parts together.

Rating: 4 out of 5

movie review

Flashback Review: March 6th, 2014 Movie – Art School Confidential

art school confidential

Seems like it is a comic book kind of day. Watched Kick-Ass earlier, then decided to watch some episodes of The Flash as I finished writing the review. Then after doing some laundry and dishes, I played through some of the Lego Batman 3 DLC that I have not played yet before writing the review for this movie. This is one of those movies that I had heard about but never saw in theaters and even when it was available to rent, I never got around to renting it. Then when all of the various Blockbusters were closing, I decided to go ahead and buy Art School Confidential so I could finally see it.

The plot: All his life, Jerome has wanted to be an artist so he decides to enroll at an urban college called Strathmore. When he gets to his dorm, he finds himself rooming with Mathew, a fashion major, and Vince, a film major who wants to shoot a movie about the Strathmore Strangler, a killer who has been terrorizing the campus area. During his art class, he meets Bardo, who tries to help him figure out the college scene, but also meet a girl. However, though he goes on several dates, Jerome has his heart set on Audrey, an art model who was in the brochure for the school. One night, Bardo takes Jerome to meet Jimmy, a failed artist who is now a rather belligerent drunk who tells Jerome that the only way to succeed in the art world is if he learns to “suck cock and lick assholes.” During a class one day where they evaluate each other’s paintings, Jerome gets frustrated and winds up mocking one of the student’s paintings, causing most of the class to think he is a jerk, but one guy, Jonah, tells Jerome he agrees with him. While at a classmates gallery, Jerome finally gets to meet Audrey and they end up hanging out the rest of the night. As the weeks go by, Jerome finds himself becoming more disillusioned with his art class and finds himself in a competition with Jonah, not just in the class, but also over Audrey. Feeling lost on what to do, regarding his art, Jerome talks to his professor’s advise, who tells Jerome to experiment more with his style. Jerome takes his advise and feels good when he sees that he received an A for his art but when he notices everyone else got an A, he feels even more disillusioned. As he reads his professor’s critic, he is joined by Audrey and Jonah and as Jonah brags about getting an A, Jerome lets him know that everyone received an A. When Audrey mentions a showing for a successful school alumni that she is attending, Jerome manages to get a job as a bartender for the event, but he is heartbroken when he sees that Audrey brought Jonah as her escort for the event. Feeling depressed, Jerome pays a visit to Jimmy, and Jimmy winds up showing Jerome his paintings, which happen to be paintings of the Strathmore Strangler’s victims and then gives Jerome one of his paintings as a gift before he leaves. Jerome heads back to the campus art gallery and posts the picture Jimmy gave him on his wall before he breaks down and kisses the picture he drew of Audrey. Meanwhile, Audrey finds another painting that Jerome did of her and realizes that she might have feelings for him. After talking with Bardo in a local bar, Jerome returns to the gallery, only to find Jonah there taking pictures of the painting that Jimmy had given him. When another student tells Jerome that Jonah was interested in the painting, Jerome attempts to recreate Jimmy’s painting, but when he fails at that, he goes back to Jimmy’s and asks for the rest of the paintings. Jimmy agrees and Jerome grabs the other paintings, but accidentally lets his lit cigarette fall onto Jimmy’s floor. Meanwhile, Jonah is working on a painting at his house when his wife starts questioning him before telling him some people are here to see him. Jonah heads upstairs, where it is shown that Jonah is actually an undercover cop and he suspects Jerome of being the Strathmore Strangler, but the chief of police wants more proof before they proceed any further. The next day, Jerome posts his picture up for a competition but when Jonah wins it, he admits defeat to Jonah. When Jerome leaves, he heads to Jimmy’s apartment, only to find that the building had burned down, killing everyone. Meanwhile, Jonah is walking with Audrey to a meeting when he sees someone appear to be shot and he attacks the shooter, only to realize that it was merely some students shooting a movie. Just then, Jonah’s supervisor appears and Audrey realizes that Jonah had lied to her about who he was. As the police begin searching for Jerome, Jerome heads to the roof of a building and prepares to jump when he is tackled by the police and arrested as the Strathmore Strangler. Becoming an infamous celebrity, Jonah now finds himself wanted by the art world, and his manager decides it is best for Jerome to stay in prison followed by a lengthy trial, in order to keep his name in the spotlight. After speaking with his manager and lawyer, Jerome is visited by Audrey and the two share a kiss through the glass.

Art School Confidential was viewed negatively by the critics, earning only a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The director, Terry Zwigoff, said that “Everybody hated that film. I didn’t think it was so bad. At least compared to all that other shit out there, anyway.” Aside from the critics, the audiences also didn’t care for the film as it only made over $3 million off of a $5 million budget.

You know, I honestly don’t remember what I was expecting when I first watched this movie but it wasn’t what I watched. Regardless, I didn’t think this was that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty good, primarily between Max Minghella and Sophia Myles. I think Max did a good job in showing Jerome’s becoming further disillusioned by how the art world really is rather than what he expected it to be. The writing was decent and the story moved along pretty well. There wasn’t much in the way of action or suspense, merely the typical drama you would expect to see concerning a college freshman. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a decent film worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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September 27th, 2015 Movie – Kick-Ass

kick ass

Bleh. Another dreary day outside and a possible migraine coming inside. What a wonderful weekend this has turned out to be. Oh well, at least I can lay down on the couch and watch a movie. Today I get to watch a comic book movie, which is always fun to watch….well…maybe 90% of the time because there are some bad ones out there. This particular movie generated quite a bit of controversy due to the fact of the amount of violence and language displayed by one of the leads, which happened to be an 11 year old girl. However, That was actually one of the things that made me want to see Kick-Ass, not necessarily because it happened but because the director had the balls to actually film it and put it in the movie.

The plot: Dave Lizewski is just an ordinary teenager but he wonders why nobody ever decided to become a super hero. So he decides to buy a costume and become one himself. Meanwhile, Damon Macready is training his daughter Mindy on how to handle being shot in the chest while wearing body armor, while Mob boss Frank D’Amico is questioning one of his associates about some missing drugs and has him killed when the guy claims a man “dressed like Batman” stole them. One day, Dave comes across two men trying to steal a car and he attempts to stop them, but ends up being stabbed, then struck by a car. When the paramedics arrive, Dave begs them to not say anything about the costume before he passes out. At his penthouse, D’Amico is informed by his right hand man, Joe, that someone, pretending to be the man they killed, is selling their stolen drugs to the Russians so he has Joe question one of the Russians but they end up killing him. After 6 months of therapy, and having several metal plates and screws inserted into his body, Dave returns to school, but with two differences about him. The first is that due to some damaged nerve endings, he doesn’t feel pain. The second is that, due to the rumors that he was found naked at the crime scene, he is now believed to be gay, but this actually works in his favor as his the girl he has a crush on, Katie Deauxma begins talking to him. Deciding to continue his attempts at being a super hero, Dave dons his costume and goes out to help people, beginning with attempting to find a missing cat. As Dave tries to retrieve the cat from atop a sign, he ends up falling, and tripping a guy that was running from three thugs. When the thugs start beating up the man, Dave attempts to stop them while several people take video of what is going on. When Dave succeeds in chasing off the attackers, one of the onlookers asks who he is, to which he replies “Kick-Ass”, and he ends up becoming an internet sensation. When Katie tells Dave about some problems she has with a drug dealer name Rasul, Dave, as Kick-Ass, decides to deal with the problem. Kick-Ass confronts Rasul, and uses a taser on him, but Rasul’s men tackle him and Rasul is able to pull the barbs out. Rasul is about to kill Kick-Ass when he is suddenly stabbed by Mindy, who calls herself Hit Girl. Hit Girl takes out the rest of Rasul’s men but as she is talking to Kick-Ass, one of Rasul’s men attempts to sneak up on her but he is killed by Damon, who calls himself Big Daddy. Hit Girl proceeds to take the drug money and drugs then leaves, telling Kick-Ass to follow her but he is to scared to jump to the next building. Later that night, Big Daddy and Hit Girl show up at Dave’s house, and although Dave tells them he is thinking of quitting, Big Daddy tells him that if he needs them, to put a message on his Myspace page that he is on vacation. Meanwhile, Frank believes that Kick-Ass is the one that is stealing his drugs and so he has a hit put out on him. Frank’s old partner, Marcus, breaks into Damon’s safehouse, where he reads a comic Damon drew, depicting what happened to Damon and Mindy, and when Damon confronts him, Marcus informs Damon that D’Amico is after Kick-Ass. After D’Amico kills an entertainer dressed like Kick-Ass, his son Chris comes up with a plan to capture the vigilante. Donning a costume and calling himself Red Mist, Red Mist meets up with Kick-Ass, and drives him towards a trap but when they get there, they find the place in flames. Later, Chris plugs in a nanny cam that he had hidden in the lumber yard, which shows Big Daddy killing all of the men and torching the building. Dave decides to come clean to Katie about being Kick-Ass and not being gay, and she forgives him and decides to become his girlfriend. Dave receives a message from Red Mist and when he meets, Red Mists tells him that people are out to kill them, forcing Dave to contact Big Daddy. Big Daddy directs them to a safehouse but when Kick-Ass and Red Mist arrive, Red Mist shoots Hit Girl out a window, while D’Amico’s men capture Big Daddy and Kick-Ass. D’Amico has his men broadcast live the torture and unmasking of Big Daddy and Kick-Ass before they are killed, Hit Girl arrives to save them. During the battle, Big Daddy is set on fire but he continues to yell out instructions to Hit Girl as she kills the remaining men. Damon is able to say goodbye to Mindy before he dies, and though she initially blames Kick-Ass for her father’s death, she agrees to let him help her finish off the D’Amico family. Hit Girl infiltrates D’Amico’s apartment building and proceeds to take out his security. When she runs out of ammo, D’Amico’s head of security grabs a bazooka, which he stole from Big Daddy’s safehouse, but Kick-Ass arrives on a jet pack armed with gatling guns and kills the rest of the security, leaving just D’Amico and Red Mist. Kick-Ass battles Red Mist and the two teenagers end up knocking each other out. Meanwhile, Hit Girl takes on D’Amico, but due to his larger size, D’Amico is able to get the upper hand. Just before D’Amico kills Hit Girl, Kick-Ass recovers and uses the bazooka to blast D’Amico out of the building, where he explodes. Kick-Ass and Hit Girl leave the D’Amico’s penthouse, and after they land, introduce themselves as their real names. Mindy winds up being adopted by Marcus, who raised her while Damon was in jail, and enrolls her into the same school as Dave. Meanwhile, Chris D’Amico, quoting Jack Nicholson as he dons a new mask, says “wait till they get a load of me.”

Despite the controversy about the young age of Hit Girl, Kick-Ass was well received by the critics, earning a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics was that it was not for the faint of heart and took comic adaptation to new levels of visual style, bloody violence, and gleeful profanity. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the fact that Chloe Grace Moretz was only eleven when the movie was filmed but that seemed to make people interested in seeing it. The movie was a box office success, earning over $96 million off a $30 million budget.

I will never be able to listen to the Tra La La song the same way ever again. This was just all out, over the top action that was really entertaining. The acting was really good among the main characters. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Mark Strong were all good in there rolls of Kick-Ass, Hit Girl, and D’Amico respectively. I will be honest that it is hard to see Christopher Mintz-Plasse as anything other than McLovin but Nicholas Cage was actually good in this role. The story was definitely darker than most other comic adaptations which led to much of the controversy but it was well written. I liked all the various jokes/comments about Batman in the movie and even Nicholas Cage decided to pattern his character somewhat off of Adam West’s portrayal. The action was pretty fast paced, well choreographed, and definitely bloody. This is not your average comic book movie but it is still well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

movie review

September 26th, 2015 Movie – The Kentucky Fried Movie

the kentucky fried movie

Hooray for a dreary, rainy Saturday morning. Add to that the fact that I feel like crap and it makes for a not so fun morning. So I think I should make this morning more fun and, luckily for me, today’s movie is just the thing to do that. I think everybody has seen the movie Airplane and almost everyone recognizes it for the comedy gold that it is (yes, there are those rare people that don’t like that movie). But before they made movie history with that masterpiece, there was another movie written by the Zucker brothers and Tim Abrahams that showed audiences just how funny they were, The Kentucky Fried Movie.

The plot: The movie is made up of a collection of short sketches and parodies with the longest of them being a spoof of Enter The Dragon.

  1. The movie starts with a newscaster stating that “The popcorn you are eating has been pissed in. Film at eleven.”
  2. Next there is a commercial for Argon, an oil company that is able to produce oil from unusual sources, such as teenagers faces, combs from Italian people, and fast food.
  3. Next is an A.M. morning show segment where an onsite reporter can’t hear the studio as he winds up scratching his butt and picking his nose on camera, a point/counter-point segment devolves into profanity laced insults, an astrologers report meant for people who can’t take responsibility for their lives, and an animal segment where the handler shows an Australian hamster and a gorilla named Dino. As the handler comments about having trouble getting the gorilla to mate, the gorilla rips off the handler’s shirt before going on a rampage throughout the studio.
  4. A man gets into his car as a series of alarms go off, forcing him to lock the door, buckle his seatbelt, and finally zip up his pants to silence them all.
  5. A parody preview of a sexploitation film called Catholic School Girls In Trouble. Among the clips shown are three topless girls chained up and being whipped by a dwarf in a clown suit, and a girl’s boobs being pressed against a glass shower door while she is having sex.
  6. A man goes into a theater to watch a movie in “Feel-A-Round”, where an usher physically acts out what happens in the movie to the viewer, culminating in holding a knife to the viewers throat at the film’s climax. When the theater announces the next movie is Deep Throat, the patron runs screaming from the theater.
  7. A commercial for a headache medicine that cures people by making them unconscious.
  8. A talk show called High Adventure where the boom mike operator continuously messes with the host and his guest.
  9. Another quick headline from the newscaster, stating that “Moscow is in flames. Missiles heading toward New York. Film at eleven.”
  10. Bill Bixby hosts a commercial for headache drug Sanhedrin, where he shows researchers in a clinic hitting people on the head with various objects in order to get test results.
  11. A commercial for a home deodorizer where people that don’t use it have guests tell them upfront what the house smells like.
  12. A couple put on a record of a how-to guide for sex. As the couple follows the record’s instructions, the man experiences premature ejaculation so the record company sends Big Jim Slade to satisfy the woman.
  13. The feature film parody titled A Fistful Of Yen. A detonated nuclear missile has been revealed to be Chinese made, but the Chinese government denies any involvement. The real mastermind is a man named Dr. Klahn, who has stolen famed nuclear physicist Ada Gronick. The British government hires Loo to infiltrate Dr. Klahn’s fortress, a mission which Loo initially refuses until he learns that he can kill 50 or 60 people. Loo arrives at Dr. Klahn’s base, where he meets up with Ada before infiltrating Loo’s underground lair. When Loo is discovered, he defeats several of Dr. Klahn’s men before he is captured and forced to fight Klahn’s bodyguard. When Loo defeats the bodyguard, Klahn sends the rest of his army after him, but Big Jim Slade appears and frees Klahn’s prisoners, who proceed to fight with Klahn’s army. Loo faces Klahn and defeats him by throwing a bucket of water on him, causing him to melt. Loo then wakes up at his home in Kansas, believing it all to have been a dream.
  14. A commercial for Willer beer, featuring Hare Krishna monks.
  15. Another headline with the newscaster stating, “Rams plagued by fumbles as earthquakes rock Los Angeles. Film at eleven.”
  16. A commercial for Scot Free, a board game based on the John F. Kennedy assassination
  17. A parody preview of a disaster film called That’s Armegeddon. Starring George Lazenby as the architect, Barbara Radnitz as the nurse, and Donald Sutherland as the clumsy waiter.
  18. A commercial for United Appeal for the Dead, an organization that supports keeping the corpses of their dead loved ones around and treat them like family.
  19. A courtroom parody where they treat the trial like a game show and take every word literally. Wally and the Beaver make comments from their seats in the courtroom while a newscaster broadcasts what is happening. There is a brief commercial where a girl is frying a cat in Nesson oil, before going back to the courtroom. Back in the courtroom, the witness points to the driver of the vehicle which turns out to be the newscaster
  20. A parody preview of a blaxploitation film called Cleopatra Schwartz, featuring a Pam Grier like woman and her husband, a short Jewish Rabbi, who work together to clean up the streets.
  21. An education film called Zinc Oxide and You, where a woman is at her home where everything that uses zinc oxide begins disappearing, including her car’s brakes, her kitchen sink, her husband’s pacemaker, and even her artificial limbs.
  22. A parody of the TV show Thrill Seekers called Danger Seekers, where a man named Rex Kramer walks up to a group of African-Americans and yells out a racial slur, before running off with the men chasing after him.
  23. A couple turn on the news before they begin to have sex. When the woman is topless, the newscaster starts stumbling over his report as he begins to focus more on the couple. Members of the news crew appear on the screen to watch the couple and they begin to cheer them on but when the couple turn back to the TV, the crew disappears and the newscaster resumes his report. The couple resume having sex and the crew returns to the screen, with all of them sharing a collective orgasm with the couple before the newscaster signs off.
  24. The movie ends with the newscaster stating, “I’m not wearing any pants. Film at eleven.”

The Kentucky Fried Movie was well received by the critics, earning an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some critics felt that though it was juvenile and tasteless, the film showed some genuine wit and had excellent production values. The movie was a box office success, earning $20 million off of a $650 thousand budget. Aside from launching the careers of the Zucker brothers and Jim Abrahams, this movie also helped launch the career of John Landis, who would go on to direct other classic films such as National Lampoon’s Animal House, An American Werewolf In London, and The Blues Brothers.

This is such a funny movie to watch, so long as you aren’t easily offended. The actors all did a good job in their roles but the writing and imagery were the stars here. The writing was incredible and really showed the comedic timing of the writers. Add to that the various sight gags that were used to enhance the humor and it just made the movie that much funnier. Yes there were some parts that some would find offensive but overall, this is simply a funny movie that promised better things from the people that came up with it.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

movie review

September 25th, 2015 Movie – Kaw


So a couple of years ago, I was wandering around Movie Stop, like I am want to do, and I happened to see this movie on the shelf. So I picked it up and looked at the back and the description piqued my interest. I do like me some Hitchcock and the description said that this was in the tradition of The Birds (coincidentally it even stars Rod Taylor, who starred in said movie.) That was honestly all the prompting I needed to buy this movie, but was it as good as The Birds? Well I guess I will find out when I watch today’s movie, Kaw.

The plot: When a farmer goes out to his barn to start his tractor, he fails to notice a raven eating behind the wheels and he runs over it. Several more ravens suddenly appear in the rafters and when he gets off the tractor to look, the ravens attack him. Even though it is his last day at the job, Sheriff Wayne is called in to check on the farm, where he discovers the body of the dead farmer. At the same time, the school’s bus driver, Clyde, is working on his bus when he is attacked by the birds but he manages to get to safety. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s wife, Cynthia, goes out to another farm to see her friend Gretchen, the daughter of a Mennonite farmer, and give her a gift. When she doesn’t get an answer at the house, she checks the barn and finds Jacob, the family patriarch, who refuses Cynthia’s gift and rushes her off of the property. Back in town, Clyde is questioned by Wayne about his firing a gun and after Clyde explains that he was attacked by a flock of birds, he leaves in order to take some of the high school’s female basketball team and their coach to a basketball workshop. After they leave, Wayne and Betty, the local diner’s owner, notice an unusual gathering of ravens outside which prompts Wayne to check Clyde’s home, where he discovers several dead ravens as well as a live raven feeding on Clyde’s dog. Meanwhile, John and Rachel,a couple that wound up lost in the town, come across a truck blocking the road underneath a bridge. When they check to see if the driver is alright, they find the driver, Rachel, dead and a raven flies out from inside the truck. Deciding to leave, they find their car and the road surrounded by ravens and as they attempt to drive away, the ravens swarm the car, forcing it off the road where it winds up catching on fire. Seeing the smoke from the car, Wayne arrives and finds Racheland John’s bodies but manages to rescue Rachel, who is seriously injured and being pecked at by ravens. Back at the Mennonite’s farm, Cynthia refuses to leave without saying goodbye to her friend so she goes back to see her. Heading back to the barn, she discovers a stall full of dead cattle and watches Jacob and another Mennonite, Oscar, burning several dead ravens while arguing about what is going on. When some ravens alert the two men to her presence, she runs but winds up falling into an offal pit. Arriving back at town, Wayne takes the injured Rachel to the doctor’s office, where Doc notes that the dead farmer had similar lacerations on his face. His deputy, Stan, calls his attention to the window, where they notice ravens gathering all over the place, and a young boy trapped out on the road. Wayne goes out to rescue the boy but when Stan grabs a shotgun and goes out to help, the ravens attack and kill him before leaving, knocking out the phone lines as they leave. Meanwhile, Clyde is driving the girls back from the workshop when one of the girls, Doris, accidentally knocks the bus out of gear with her basketball, causing the bus to stall out. As Clyde attempts to get the bus started, Doris argues with her coach about just walking home when the bus is attacked by a flock of ravens. Gretchen and Connie manage to use the bus horn to scare off the birds then go outside, where they find Doris and Clyde under the bus but their coach, Emma, was severely injured and ends up dying. Back at the farm, Cynthia repeatedly tries to climb out of the offal pit but is unable to get out. When night falls, Jacob finds her and helps her out of the pit, then reluctantly tells her about how his herd began to die, then the ravens fed on the dead cattle. Back at the bus, Clyde tries to get the bus started again but the ravens return, forcing him to get back on the bus. The ravens then begin pelting the bus with rocks in an attempt to break the windows but Wayne arrives and manages to rescue everyone. As they head back into town, the ravens pursue them and end up forcing them off the road and into a corn field, where they wind up stuck in the mud. Trying to make their way to Betty’s on foot, Connie is killed by the ravens but the rest of them manage to make it to Betty’s, where they are met by Betty, Doc, Cynthia, and Oscar (Gretchen’s father). Once inside, Oscar comes clean about what happened, telling them that some of their cattle had become sick with mad-cow disease and the ravens fed on the dead cows. When Jacob and his family burned the dead cows, the ravens began to turn and attack the people. Outside, the ravens begin breaking all of the lights so the people begin to use whatever they can to board up the windows but some of the ravens manage to break in. When Betty is killed by the ravens, Clyde goes outside and sets the fuel pumps on fire, causing a massive explosion that kills many of the birds. The next morning, the survivors go outside, where they see the remaining birds on the ground where they appear to be dying for some reason. Feeling the danger has passed, Wayne and Cynthia return home only to be attacked by some ravens that were inside their house.

Not quite what I expected but this wasn’t a bad movie. The acting was pretty decent among all the characters, which is not something you usually see. I am not saying they are all Oscar winning performances, but every character did a good job in their individual roles. The story was pretty good. There really aren’t that many killer bird movies and this one did a good job with the idea. I did like how they showcased ravens as being highly intelligent, such as their picking up rocks and using them to attack the bus, but I don’t know if that was an accurate depiction. The effects were surprisingly decent for a Syfy original movie but I have seen a lot worse. A decent movie from a little used theme.

Rating: 3 out of 5

movie review

September 24th, 2015 Movie – Karate Kids, USA

karate kids usa

I am honestly shaking my head as I look at the poster for today’s movie because all it does is remind me of a different movie. See, when my little brothers were still kids, one of their favorite movies to watch was 3 Ninjas, and since I was usually the one babysitting them, I have lost track of the number of times I saw that movie. So looking at the poster and reading the short synopsis for this movie, the two thoughts that went through my mind were, “Oh God, it’s an early version of 3 Ninjas.” followed by “I wonder if Chase and Blake will like this one?”. Guess I will see how similar Karate Kids, USA is.

The plot: After attending their karate class, Zack and Woody are going on a weekend fishing trip with their grandfather, J.J. As they are driving down the highway, they are passed by an RV containing the Forbinger family, Dick, Ruth, and their daughter Carol. When Dick gets lost and accidentally gets his RV stuck off the road, Carol decides to go exploring with her dog, Rufus, but when she sees a strange man in the woods, she runs back to the RV. The man, Yancey, goes running back to his house, and after telling his mom, Angel, about the girl, Angel sends Yancey and his brother, Carl, back to investigate. When the two men get to the RV, Dick talks to them and, after they tell him how to get to the nearby lake, they offer to help get the RV back on the road, for which Dick offers to pay them $50. After they get the RV back on the road, Dick lets the two brothers take a look inside the RV before they are able to get back on their way. Meanwhile, Zack, Woody, and J.J. arrive at the lake and Zack and Woody are collecting some firewood when they come across a motorcycle gang that knocks them down. Later, as they are practicing karate, Woody attempts a jump kick but accidentally falls into the lake next to Carol. Carol talks with Zack, Woody, and J.J. until her mom shows up and takes her back to the RV but, as her parents begin to argue, Carol sneaks out and goes to the nearby hootenanny with Zack and Woody. At the hootenanny, Carol winds up getting brought up on stage to sing but afterwards, she goes looking for her dog with Zack and Woody. While Zack and Woody look in the woods, Carol goes to check by her family’s RV but when she gets there, she finds Rufus as well as Carl and Yancey, who grab her. Hearing Rufus barking, Zack sends Woody to the RV to get Carol and a flashlight while he keeps looking. When Woody gets to the RV, he goes inside but doesn’t see Carol so he goes to leave with the flashlight, and a radio he had picked up outside, when he runs into Carol’s parents. Woody explains to J.J. and Carol’s parents what had happened and then he leads them to where he last saw Zack. Meanwhile, Zack finds Carol tied up but when he goes to untie her, Yancey knocks him out then grabs Carol and leaves while Carl stays to deal with Zack. When Carl is distracted by Woody’s yelling out for Zack, Zack manages to trip Carl and escape. Zack follows Carl and Yancey as they carry Carol inside a mine and leave her their before going back to their mom. Angel is upset with her two sons but when Carl mentions how much money Dick paid for the RV, he figures that he would be willing to pay a lot more for his daughter. Meanwhile, Zack continues watching the mine but when the two men never leave, he figures there is another way out and goes inside to investigate. Meanwhile, Angel makes a ransom note and attaches it to Rufus’ collar, then has Carl and Yancey return the dog to Carol’s parents. Zack goes back to the camp and, not seeing anyone but Woody, gets Woody to go with him to find Carol. They manage to find her but when they attempt to rescue her, the board breaks. Zack goes to get help, leaving Woody to keep Carol company, but while he is gone, Carl and Yancey return, capture Woody, then take the two kids with them. When Zack brings the FBI and sheriff to where Carol and Woody were, and finds them missing, the FBI and sheriff believe Zack was playing a joke and head back to the camp, but J.J. believes his grandson and the two continue looking. They eventually find Carol’s shoe, leading them to a secret way out where they see Angel’s house in the distance. After seeing Carl and Yancey drive off to collect the ransom, J.J. keeps watch the house while Zack brings Carol’s shoe to the authorities. Unable to find anyone, Zack decides to drive J.J.’s van, but he winds up running into the biker gang from earlier and though the pick on him at first, when Zack stands up to them, they decide to help him. Meanwhile, Carl and Yancey manage to grab the ransom and trick the police into arresting two people carrying drugs. Zack arrives at a demonstration that his karate class is attending and manages to get his class to go with him to save Carol. As Carl and Yancey arrive back at their home with the ransom, Zack arrives with the rest of his class. As Angel and her kids prepare to get rid of Carol and Woody, the karate class, along with J.J. manages to stop them and rescue Carol. Sometime later, Carol is now a student of the karate class and, along with her parents and J.J., watch as Zack and Woody, along with some other kids, get promoted to their next belt.

For a movie called Karate Kids, USA, there wasn’t a whole lot of karate. In fact, aside from the scenes in the class at the beginning and end of the movie, I think there was maybe 5 minutes of karate in the rest of the movie, and most of it was at the demonstration. As for the movie itself, this was honestly pretty boring. The acting was very bland, although there were times where Yancey and Carl were somewhat funny. The story was a total cliche and honestly, about as unoriginal as… know, I actually can’t come up with an ending to that sentence but yeh, it was unoriginal. There wasn’t a whole lot of action but the little bit there was was rather funny. Still, this didn’t make the movie any better to watch and there are better movies out there.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

movie review

September 23rd, 2015 Movie – Pulse (2006)


Good news, I didn’t have to work late today. Bad news, I am still pretty tired. But I know a few days of normal hours will help fix that. In the meantime, I can go ahead and watch today’s movie. Like I said yesterday, I went to see this movie when it came out in theaters and, knowing it was a remake, had to see the original. That actually has happened with most of these J-horror movies. I would watch the American version, then go watch the original Japanese version. So let’s continue with today’s movie, Pulse (2006).

The plot: Josh is heading to the university library to meet his friend Zieglar but when he gets there, he notices some strange things occurring just before he is attacked by a ghost. A week later, his girlfriend Mattie has returned from hanging out with some friends when she receives a strange message from Josh but when she tries calling him back, she gets no answer. She goes to see Josh the next day and notices a window in his apartment building that is covered in red tape. Letting herself in, she finds the place a mess and Josh somewhat distant. After finding his cat locked in the closet and severely malnourished, Mattie goes to tell Josh but she discovers that he has committed suicide by hanging himself. The next day, Mattie and her friends, Isabelle, Stone, and Tim, are chatting in a group message when they receive a message from Josh, continuously saying “Help Me.” Figuring that Josh’s computer is still logged on and a virus sent the message, Stone goes to Josh’s apartment to turn off the computer, only to discover that it is gone. As he is leaving, he decides to look around, and discovers that Josh’s bedroom door and windows are covered in red tape, just as a ghost appears and attacks him. Since she is still receiving the messages and Stone is acting depressed, Mattie decides to head to Josh’s apartment and turn the computer off herself. When she gets there, she discovers that the landlord had sold the computer to Dexter McCarthy, but when Mattie confronts Dexter, she learns that the computer is still sitting in the trunk of his car. Later that day, Dexter finally plugs in Josh’s computer and a message comes up, asking if he wants to meet a ghost appears, just before a bunch of strange videos start playing. Mattie receives a package that Josh mailed 2 days before he died containing rolls of red tape and a note saying that it keeps “them” out. Dexter runs into Mattie and shows her the videos that he found on Josh’s computer. As more and more people seem to be committing suicide, and the classes on campus are becoming more empty, Mattie keeps seeing a ghostly figure in her dreams and seemingly following her. Tim decides to go check on Stone but when he gets to Stone’s room, he finds Stone holding a knife and saying he doesn’t want to die as his body is dissolved into a dark, ashen spot on the wall. Tim goes back to his apartment and uses the red tape to cover his windows and door, but he runs out and a ghost attacks him through the peephole. Mattie begins getting the videos on her computer but when she shuts it off, her printer suddenly begins printing out sheets that form a giant, ghostly face. Mattie goes to see Dexter, who shows her a video diary of Josh that he recovered, where Josh keeps trying to contact Douglas Zieglar, saying that whatever Zieglar had on his computer, Josh let it out. Later that night, Isabelle begins getting the videos on her computer and when she goes to the building’s laundry room to do laundry, she is attacked by a ghost. Dexter manages to locate Zieglar, as well as a flash drive that Josh had hidden containing a file called Red.Tape. Mattie returns to her apartment, where she sees a video of Tim, just as she receives a call from him. She tries to locate Isabelle, and finds her in her bed, with half of her body turning black. Isabelle tells Mattie that the ghosts want life, and that they are coming for her, just before she says she’s sorry and turns into ash. Mattie calls Dexter, who picks her up and tells her that he saw what attacked Josh when he found the flash drive. He also tells her he found Zieglar and they are going there to get some answers, when they get in a car wreck. Continuing on foot, they reach Zieglar’s apartment and meet Zieglar, who tells them that he had been working on a telecom project when he discovered frequencies that they never knew existed. He discovered that those frequencies allowed spirits to travel to the realm of the living. He also tells them that if the ghosts get a hold of you, they will suck the will to live right out of you. Dexter tells Josh that they need to crash Zieglar’s system and he tells them where it is then, after they leave, he seals himself back into his room with red tape. Heading to the basement of the computer lab, Dexter and Mattie find themselves attacked by a swarm of ghosts and end up separated when a pair opf ghosts are between Dexter and Mattie, who was holding the elevator for him. Mattie continues into the basement, where she sees the Zieglar’s computer but she suddenly finds herself being attacked by a ghost until Dexter saves her. After getting her to safety, Dexter goes back to the server room and uploads Josh’s virus and the ghosts appear to leave, but the system suddenly reboots and the spirits reappear. Dexter and Mattie leave the building, just as a plane crashes nearby. Stealing a car, Dexter and Mattie drive out of the city, but as they stop to rest, they find themselves attacked by spirits until they manage to drive into a dead zone. As Dexter and Mattie drive to a safe zone, the movie ends with a voice over from Mattie, saying that the cities are theirs, as Josh’s ghost is seen looking out from an apartment.

Unlike the original movie, Pulse (2006) was heavily panned by the critics, earning a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus was that it was a stale remake of the original, bypassing the emotional substance of the original and overcompensating with pumped-up visuals and every known horror cliche. The movie was a mild success, earning almost $28 million off of a budget of $20.5 million. The film also inspired 2 direct to video sequels that were both released in 2008.

On it’s own, this isn’t a bad movie but as a remake, it’s pretty weak. The acting was ok but in my opinion, the only person that remotely stood out was Ian Somerhalder (Dexter). I’m sure Kristen Bell was cast to cash in on the popularity of Veronica Mars, but she really could have been replaced by anyone. The story was different from the original movie, really focusing on the world’s growing reliance on technology/internet to stay connected whereas the original focused more on the loneliness generated in an overcrowded world. The special effects were kind of bland but the dark imagery in the movie did make them seem more effective. It’s decent, but if you really want to get the creeps from a movie, then you should watch the original.

Rating: 3 out of 5

movie review

September 22nd, 2015 Movie – Kairo


13 hour days at work are no fun and left me pretty exhausted. So tired that I didn’t feel like cooking and just grabbed some fast food for dinner. But regardless how tired I am, I am still able to watch and review today’s movie. Today I have moved on to the letter “K” and get to start with another J-Horror movie. Now I remember seeing Pulse when it came out in theaters and, knowing it was a remake, wanted to see the original. Due to the fact that technology can change a lot in five years, that made me really interested in watching today’s movie, Kairo.

The plot: Michi Kudo and her friends, Junko Sasano and Toshio Yabe, are gathered at the plant shop that Michi works at and commenting about how their friend Taguchi has been out of touch for the last week while he works on a computer disk. Feeling like something is wrong, Michi decides to go to Taguchi’s apartment to check on him. Using a hide-a-key, Michi enters the apartment and finds Taguchi acting somewhat distracted. Taguchi tells Michi where the disk is then, while she is looking for it, proceeds to make a noose and hang himself. When Michi, Junko, and Toshio examine the Taguchi’s disk, they see an image of Taguchi staring at his computer monitor, which is showing an image of Taguchi staring at his computer monitor, in an endless loop. They also notice what appears to be a ghostly face looking through another monitor out at Taguchi. While this is going on, Ryosuke Kawashima, an economic student at the same university the others go to, is signing onto a new ISP when his computer logs onto a website on it’s own. The website shows videos of people in dark rooms, exhibiting odd behavior, before the screen goes dark and a message appears, asking if he would like to meet a ghost. Ryosuke turns off his computer but while he is asleep, his computer turns back on and logs back into the website and when he wakes up, he finds the computer showing an image of a guy with his face obscured in shadow. Ryosuke goes to the computer lab to get some advise and he meets a graduate student named Harue Karasawa, suggest he bookmark the sight or print the images so she can look at them. Meanwhile, Toshio receives a call from what appears to be Taguchi, who continuously says “Help me.” Toshio goes to Taguchi’s apartment and after looking around, notices a black spot on the wall where Taguchi was hanging but when he looks again, he sees Taguchi standing there, before it turns back into the black spot. Leaving the apartment, Toshio notices another apartment nearby with it’s door sealed by red tape. He pulls the tape off the door and enters the apartment, where he winds up coming in contact with a ghost. The next day, Toshio is late for work, causing Michi and Junko to worry about him as he is acting very distant, while Michi also notices a neighbor taping up her door with red tape. Back to Ryosuke, whose computer once again connects to the website on it’s own. He tries to bookmark the site but his computer won’t let him, nor will it let him print the image, and as the video gets more disturbing, Ryosuke ultimately turns off and unplugs his computer. Returning to the computer lab, he runs into Harue and after he explains what happened, she decides to go with him to see it for herself. Worried about Toshio’s strange behavior, Michi confronts Toshio, who tells her about the “Forbidden Room”, and when she mentions the door with red tape, he warns her not to open it. As Michi heads home, she notices a woman committing suicide by falling off of a silo. Back to Ryosuke, who runs into Harue at the library where she is looking at a book about phantoms. She takes him back to the computer lab where she believes there is some similarities to what is talked about in the book and a computer program that a grad student wrote. Ryosuke heads back to the library, where he winds up talking with the grad student, Yoshizaki, who tells Ryosuke about his theory that the souls of the dead have begun to invade to world of the living. Back at the flower shop, Michi receives a call from Toshio asking for help and when she gets there, she sees Toshio standing in the corner but as she approaches, she realizes that it is just a large black spot on the wall, though she continues to hear Toshio’s voice asking for help. Worried about Junco, Michi goes looking for her, only to discover that Junco had opened a red-taped door and been attacked by a ghost. Michi rescues Junco and takes her back to her place, but when Michi goes to the store for some food, she finds the store empty and a ghostly image staring at her from the window, causing her to run from the store. Ryosuke tries calling Harue and failing to reach her, he goes to the computer lab and finally her apartment, where he finally finds her but she is acting weird. Harue wonders if the people in the videos are ghosts and that when you die you wind up lost in the internet but Ryosuke argues with her, saying that she should focus on living, not on the dead. Meanwhile, Michi continues to care for Junco, who is still traumatized by what happened. After falling asleep, Michi sees Junco standing near the window and she goes to make them some tea but when she turns back to Junco, she sees that Junco has turned into a black spot on the wall, which ends up turning to ash and blowing away in the wind. With more and more people disappearing, Ryosuke finds himself at a completely empty arcade, where he notices a ghost by one of the games. Leaving the arcade, he finds Harue acting even more weird and so he decides that they need to leave the city and the two get on the subway. When the train suddenly stops, Harue says that she needs to go back and leaves the train when Ryosuke isn’t looking. When Harue gets back to her apartment, she sees a video of a man killing himself before he disappears, then when she turns off her computer, she sees an image of her own room and heads towards where the image is coming from. Ryosuke goes back to her apartment to look for her but when he gets there, she isn’t there. As people continue to disappear and more red doors begin appearing all over the city, Ryosuke runs into Michi, who offers to help him look for Harue. Winding up in an abandoned factory, they see a ghostly figure standing on a rail above them but when they go there, they find some red tape and then they see Harue, who kills herself by shooting herself in the head, reenacting the video she saw. When their car won’t start, Ryosuke goes to get some gas and ends up going through a red-taped door that is open. In the room, he encounters a ghost, who tells him that death was eternal loneliness. Losing the will to live, Ryosuke is saved by Michi, who drags him out of the factory. As they drive through a desolate Tokyo, they see all sorts of disastrous and apocalyptic events, such as people falling from buildings, an Army cargo plane crashing, and the sky turning black. The end up boarding a boat that is leaving Tokyo, where the crew says similar events are happening all over the world. As the boat heads towards Latin America, Michi goes to her cabin, where she watches as Ryosuke dissolves into ash.

Kairo was received pretty favorably by the critics, earning a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While many critics praised the directors creepy and unnerving effect on the audience, some felt that the slow pacing and the length of the movie as keeping it from being a much better horror movie. Several authors, directors, and critics list this as one of the top 100 horror movies of all time and it would be remade in the US in 2006.

This is one of those really creepy, disturbing, and depressing movies that is really effective. The acting was pretty good, particularly among the two stories leads, Michi and Ryosuke. The story was pretty good, apparently being based on a novel with the same name (though i don’t know if the name was Kairo or Pulse), but the movie did seem to run a bit longer than necessary. There wasn’t really a lot in the way of special effects but the camera work really made the movie creepy as hell at times. A pretty decent horror movie to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5