movie, movie review

November 30th, 2015 Movie – The Lego Movie

the lego movie

So, have you heard of a movie that is being filmed and thought to yourself, “Are they serious?”, but then you actually see the movie and are like “Wow, I want to see it again.” Well that is exactly what happened to me regarding today’s movie. See when I first heard about the movie, I had no idea what this movie was about, though sometime later I did hear that it involved a kid trying to play with his dad’s Legos. Well, I was absolutely captivated by that information and couldn’t wait to hear more (note the sarcasm). Since I don’t have cable, I don’t see very many commercials so I never saw any for this movie, but I do have friends with small children. Those friends went to see the movie with their children and not a single one of them had anything bad to say about it. So, needless to say, I went to go see The Lego Movie and was a big fan of it because everything is awesome.

The plot: In the Lego universe, the evil Lord Business has entered the lair of the wizard Vituvius and, after blinding the wizard, steal the Kragle (a tube of Krazy glue with some of the letters rubbed off) , the most powerful weapon in the world. However, as he is leaving, Vitruvius tells Lord Business about the prophecy, that a person known as “The Special” will find the Piece of Resistance (the cap to the glue) and put an end to the Kragle. 8 1/2 years later, Emmet Brickowski, a completely average Lego figure, is finishing work at a construction site when he notices someone strange on the site. He is about to report it when he realizes the stranger is a girl, who runs off when she notices Emmet. Emmet tries to follow her but ends up falling into a deep hole, where he sees a strange red object. Hearing a voice saying to touch the piece, Emmet touches it, and experiences some strange visions before he passes out. When he wakes up, he finds himself in handcuffs, being interrogated by Bad Cop/Good Cop about the Piece of Resistance, which has become attached to Emmet’s back. During the course of the interrogation, Emmet learns that Lord Business plans to destroy the world with the Kragle, and also find out that nobody really cares about him. Bad Cop/Good Cop orders Emmet to be melted but before that happens, the strange girl breaks into the lab and rescues Emmet. Introducing herself as Wyldstyle, she proceeds to build a motorcycle out of pieces of the alleyway and drives off with Emmet, with Bad Cop/Good Cop and the rest of the police in pursuit. Wyldstyle tells Emmet that she believes he is the Special, but as the are about to enter a secret tunnel, she finds out that there is nothing special about Emmet. Arriving in the Wild West, Wyldestyle gets some disguises for her and Emmet, then proceeds to tell him about the Master Builders and their fight against Lord Business. At Lord Business’ office, Lord Business meets with Bad Cop/Good Cop and, upset with the fact that he let the Special get away, tests out the Kragle, using the TAKOS delivery system, on Bad Cop/Good Cop’s parents. Then, believing that the Good Cop persona is making him soft, Lord Business erases Good Cop’s face, leaving only Bad Cop, who is ordered to find the Piece of Resistance. Back in the Wild West, Emmet and Wyldstyle meet up with Vitruvius, who is disappointed to learn that Emmet is not a Master Builder, but when they enter Emmet’s mind and learn that he has seen “The Man Upstairs”, Vitruvius believes that Emmet has the potential to become a master builder. Bad Cop shows up, forcing Emmet and the others to run but when Bad Cop blows up the the train bridge, they are rescued by Batman and make their way to Cloud Cuckoo Land, where Unikitty takes them to see the council of Master Builders. After Vitruvius introduces him, Emmet gets ready to speak to the Master Builders, a robotic pirate called Metalbeard tells everyone what happened the last time they stormed Lord Business’ office tower and asks how Emmet can do better. Emmet tells them all that he is not a Master Builder, causing Metalbeard and several other Master Builders to leave when suddenly, Bad Cop and his forces arrive and begin attacking Cloud Cuckoo Land. Emmet, Wyldstyle, Vitruvius, Batman, Unikitty, and Benny (an 80’s spaceman) build a submarine and manage to escape, but the eclectic nature of the sub causes it to break apart underwater. Bad Cop takes all of the captured Master Builders to Lord Business’ tower, where they are placed in Lord Business’ Think Tank. Meanwhile, Emmet and the others survived by climbing into the double decker couch that Emmet built and, after they are picked up be Metalbeard, they all realize that Emmet might be able to help them after all. Emmet tells them that the best way to get into Lord Business’ tower is if they build a ship exactly like all the other ships. However, Batman points out that they are missing a hyperdrive and when the Millennium Falcon shows up, Batman leaves with Han and Lando, much to Wyldstyle’s surprise, but he returns soon with the Falcon’s hyperdrive. Building the ship, they manage to sneak into the tower and after splitting up, Emmet and Wyldstyle head towards the Kragle, where Wyldstyle tells Emmet that her real name is Lucy. They manage to get the shield disabled but they all wind up captured by Lord Business. Lord Business cuts off Vitruvius’ head, but before he dies, Vitruvius tells Emmet that he made the prophecy up. Lord Business has Emmet strapped to a battery then removes the Piece of Resistance from Emmet’s back and tosses it out the window. He then heads out to use the Kragle on Emmet’s home town, while setting the self destruct to blow up the tower. After getting encouragement from the ghost of Vitruvius, Emmet, still attached to the battery, tells Lucy that it is her turn to be the hero, then hops out of the window, causing the battery to become unplugged and saving the Master Builders. Lucy and the others break into the TV station and Lucy encourages all of the Lego characters from all of the worlds to rise up and fight against Lord Business. When the robot guards surround them, Bad Cop saves them, and they go out to join the fight. Meanwhile, Emmet finds himself in the human world, where he sees a kid, Finn, playing with the Lego figures, when he suddenly sees Emmet and picks him up. Suddenly, Finn’s father shows up and after talking to Finn about playing with his (the father’s) Legos, he begins to fix everything just as he had it. Emmet manages to get Finn’s attention, who gives Emmet the Piece of Resistance, and sends him back to the city. Returning to the city, Emmet discovers that he has become a Master Builder and builds a giant robot to save his friends and make his way to Lord Business’ office. Emmet confronts Lord Business and talks to him, just as Finn talks to his dad after his dad notices what Finn built. Finn’s father decides to let his son play with the Legos, resulting in Lord Business changing his mind. The citizens of the Lego world celebrate as Lord Business uses the antidote to the Kragle (mineral spirits) to free everyone that was Kragled. As Finn and his dad are playing, his dad says that Finn’s sister will be allowed to play down there as well, resulting in creatures from the planet Duplo arriving in the city and threatening to destroy them.

Almost every critic loved The Lego Movie, as shown by it’s 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics was, “Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages.” The movie would earn an Academy Award for Best Original Song, for “Everything Is Awesome”, as well as several other award nominations for the animation. The movie was a box office success, holding the # 1 spot for three weeks in a row and earning over $468 million worldwide. Due to the success of the movie, there was actually a shortage of Lego products by September of 2014.

This is hands down one of the most enjoyable movies I watched in 2014. The voice acting was incredible, especially Chris Pratt (Emmet), Elizabeth Banks (Lucy), Morgan Freeman (Vitruvius), Liam Neeson (Bad Cop/Good Cop), and Will Ferrell (Lord Business). Kudos to the casting for getting a kid that really does look like he could be Will Ferrell’s son to play Finn. The writing was really good, with a lot of jokes and gags throughout the movie. The animation was good and actually made things look like they were actually Lego figures moving around. I will admit that, even though it was one of those feel good moments, I thought the ending was a little weak. Otherwise, this is just a fantastic movie. Even if you don’t have kids, you should watch this movie and enjoy it.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: March 15th, 2014 Movie – Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes

attack of the killer tomatoes

Whenever you hear the term “Cult Classic” or “B-Movie”, I am curious how many people think of this movie here. I mean, this is definitely one of the quintessential cult classics that everyone has heard of and are told they must see. That’s how it was for me at least, though I also wanted to see it when I heard about the end scene. So let me get right into the review for Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes.

The plot: The movie starts with a scrolling text, stating that when Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds was released in theaters, people laughed at the notion of flocks of birds attacking people until an attack occurred in 1975. The movie then cuts to a woman washing dishes in the sink when she notices a tomato coming up from the drain and start rolling towards her as she screams in terror. The police investigate her death, with one of them noting that the red substance she is covered in is not blood, but tomato juice. More and more people are shown getting killed by tomatoes, with one man dying after drinking some tomato juice and an old couple watching as a giant tomato crashes through the house and eats little Jimmy. At a Department of Agriculture testing site, the police are fighting off the advance of the tomatoes when a helicopter crashes. As Jim Richardson, the President’s press secretary, finds out the details from the nearby sheriff, two other government agents discuss the team they have assembled to keep things under wraps, with a man named Mason Dixon set to lead the team. The team of generals and scientists assemble in a small meeting room, where they discuss a Japanese scientist’s new cyborg that was built to fight the tomatoes. While the Head of Intelligence takes Mason to meet the team of agents assigned to him, the rest of the group go to see a test of the cyborg, which proceeds to jump out a nearby window. Mason is introduced to his team containing Sam Smith, a master of disguise, Gretta Attenbaum, a former Olympic swimmer, Greg Colburn, an underwater expert and diver, and Lt. Finletter, who meets up with Mason later. Meanwhile, some girls are swimming in a lake when they are attacked by a group of tomatoes. As Jim Richardson is giving a press conference trying to downplay the tomato menace, a copy of the senate report makes it’s way to a local newspaper, prompting the editor to send Lois Fairchild to follow the story. As more  people are being killed by tomatoes, Jim Richardson meets with the President, who sends him to an ad agency called Mind Makers, to help keep the tomato problem under wraps. As Mason interviews a witness to one of the attacks, Lois approaches him and tries to ask him some questions but he refuses to answer and leaves. Mason sends Gretta and Greg out on assignment then goes with Sam to meet Finletter, who parachutes down onto their car. Mason has Sam go and infiltrate the tomatoes while he and Finletter continue their own investigation on the cause of the attacks. They head to a nearby hotel, where Lois sees them and tries to sneak into their room but when she sees Finletter asleep on the rooms couch, she quickly leaves the room. In the morning, Mason receives a call that tomatoes are in the area that Gretta is in so he sends Finletter to warn her, but when Finletter gets there, she is already dead. As reports of tomatoes attacking other cities come in, Mason is driving around when he finds himself suddenly surrounded by giant tomatoes but they suddenly back off. Mason reports the occurrence to the scientific team, then receives a call from Finletter who says he is being followed by a spy, but it is in fact Lois, trying to get her story. As Mason heads back to the hotel, someone attempts to shoot him, but hits innocent bystanders instead. Meanwhile, Lois attempts to seduce Finletter but he ends up chasing her out of the room. Sam Smith has managed to infiltrate the tomatoes but blows his cover when he asks for ketchup. Back in the city, a masked gunman fires at Mason but when he misses, he runs from the scene, with Finletter giving chase, and manages to escape. The military is forced to make a last stand but the tomatoes break through and defeat the military. As Mason wanders the city after the battle, he notices a trail of red liquid and follows it only to find an injured tomato. As the tomato begins to chase him, Mason ends up at an apartment and inside the room of a boy, who is listening to music through his headphones. As Mason tries to escape the tomato, he ends up tripping over the headphone cord, pulling it out, and the tomato proceeds to leap from the window. Mason looks down to see if there is a body and spies the masked man tampering with his car. Mason chases after the man, dragging Finletter along behind him. As both cars begin to break down, Mason manages to catch up to the masked man but ends up getting knocked out by his own car. When Mason comes too, he finds himself facing Jim Richardson, who begins to tell him why he did this and is about to tell Mason how he can control the tomatoes, but before he can say anything, Finletter arrives and accidentally runs Richardson through with his sword. As Mason yells at Finletter, he notices a stack of records and realizes that the tomatoes ran from him when the song “Puberty Love” was playing. Assembling everyone left in the city at the local stadium, Mason lures all of the tomatoes to the stadium and proceeds to play “Puberty Love” over the loud speakers, causing the tomatoes to shrink and allowing everyone to begin squashing the rogue fruits. When Mason hears Lois crying out, he finds her being attacked by a tomato wearing giant earmuffs so Mason shows the tomato the sheet music for “Puberty Love”, killing the tomato. With the tomato menace over, Mason and Lois proclaim their love for each other while in a garden somewhere, a carrot rises up from the ground and says, “All right, you guys. They’re gone now.”

Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes was not exactly liked by the critics, only scoring a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie used up a large portion of it’s budget to pay for a helicopter that was rented but accidentally crashed, though the footage that was filmed would be used in the movie. The movie was a dud at the box office, only earning over $500,000, but it would wind up becoming a cult classic. The movie was so popular in pop culture that it would spawn three sequels, a cartoon series, and several video games.

If you want to laugh, watch this movie. It is so ridiculous, both intentional and unintentional, that you can’t help but to laugh. The acting was decent but I can’t really say that anyone really stood out. The writing was a lot better than some people will think, as there were a lot of play on words and sight gags that were really funny. The story itself was more or less a tribute to the giant movies from the 50’s. The bit with the helicopter was crazy, as you can see the helicopter’s tail rotor hit the ground and you just know it is going to crash but luckily, nobody was hurt either in the crash or from debris being thrown from the wreck. One thing I thought was pretty funny was the character of Finletter, as he was wearing a parachute which he used in his first appearance but, since nobody knew how to repack the chute, he spent the rest of the movie dragging the open chute behind him, becoming his trademark look. A funny movie that you should watch at least once, especially if you need a bit of silliness in your day.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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November 29th, 2015 Movie – Legend Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds

legend of dinosaurs and monster birds

As most of you reading this blog may have figured out, especially earlier this year when I was in the G’s, I am a fan of Japanese Kaiju films. However, several years ago I had a problem. I owned all of the Godzilla movies, as well as all of the other Toho Kaiju films plus the Gamera movies. This actually made me a bit sad. Still I occassionally scrolled through Ebay and Amazon looking for something new to catch my eye and I stumbled across today’s movie. I had honestly never heard of it before but I was familiar with the studio as they created the Dragonball anime as well as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. So I was curious to see what kind of monster movie they would make in Legend Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds.

The plot: A young woman is walking along the forest around Mt. Fuji when she falls into an underground cavern. When she comes to, she stumbles around in the chamber until she sees a giant egg, which begins to hatch, and she runs screaming from the cavern. The girl’s story is shown on the local news, which is seen by geologist Takashi Ashizawa, who skips out on his flight to Mexico and heads to Mt. Fuji. When he arrives at Mt. Fuji, he is warned of strange things that have been occurring in the area but he decides to press on. When he reaches the forest, he begins exploring the area when an earthquake occurs and knocks him unconscious. When Takashi wakes up, he finds that he was rescued Shohei Muku, an old friend of his father’s, and taken to his father’s old cabin. The two begin to talk but when Shohei finds out that Takashi is there to find the stone eggs and sell them, he refuses to help him. As Takashi drives through the nearby town, he sees Akiko, a diver that he used to have a relationship with, and her sister Junko and decides to visit with them. Later, a couple disappear on the lake when their paddleboat capsizes and an injured diver is pulled out of the lake. Coupled with the missing livestock, Takashi believes that the girl might have been telling the truth and a dinosaur might have hatched from the egg but he doesn’t have any proof. Later that evening, Junko is riding her bike alongside her dog when a horse gallops past them and her dog chases after it. Junko chases after her dog but she falls into a puddle of blood, next to the body of the horse, which is missing it’s head. Takashi hears her screams as he is driving by and takes her back to Akiko’s Winnebago, but when the authorities later say they didn’t see the body, Takashi goes back to the area and finds a strange track on the ground, as well as the body now up in a tree. The next day is the village’s Dragon Festival and a band is performing on a floating stage out on the lake when something bumps into the stage, sending the band falling into the lake while the people on the lake scramble to shore. During the chaos, a man named Jiro begins pointing out to the a large shape floating in the lake but it turns out to be two guys swimming with a fake monster fin as part of a stunt. Jiro heads over to meet with his two friends, and sees them attacked and killed by a Plesiosaur. Jiro heads to the city hall to report what he saw but they don’t believe him, thinking it is another of his stunts, until a foreign tourist comes in claiming that Nessie is in the lake. Meanwhile, the dinosaur has wandered over to a nearby campground, where it breaks through the wall of a cabin and kills a woman that was inside. Akiko goes diving in the lake, with Junko watching from a raft when the monster appears and grabs Junko by the leg, lifting her from the raft before dropping her into the lake, where she tries to swim to safety but the Plesiosaur drags her underwater. Akiko arrives back at the raft and wonders where Junko is but she soon sees a hand trying to grab onto the raft and, thinking Junko fell in, pulls on the hand and pulls up the upper half of Junko’s body. With Junko’s death, the JSDF begin to close off the lake and begin using sonar to try and locate the dinosaur. During a news conference, Takashi tells them that the dinosaur is the least of their concerns as he believes Mt. Fuji will erupt soon. With no further sightings of the creature, the JSDF begins to call off the search. Meanwhile, a man hires Shohei to guide him through the forest as he believes that a Rhamphorhynchus, a flying dinosaur, might have also survived. At the lake, Takashi decides to use Akiko’s scuba gear to look for the creature, unaware that the JSDF plans on using depth charges to try and lure the creature to the surface. The concussion from the explosions disorients Takashi but Akiko dives down to save him but instead of surfacing, they continue searching underwater, eventually finding an underwater cavern. Back at Mt. Fuji, Shohei and the stranger discover the egg chamber but a giant claw bursts from one of the eggs, grabbing the man. Takashi and Akiko surface from the underwater cavern and find themselves in the egg chamber, where they discover the mangled body of Shohei. Back at the lake, the JSDF notice a strange glow coming from the woods near Mt. Fuji and warns people that an earthquake will soon occur. Suddenly, they spot the Rhamphorhynchus, which swoops down and grabs a reporter, lifting it into the air before dropping him to the ground, causing the crowd to panic and accidentally end up setting off the remaining depth charges. Takashi and Akiko make their way out of the cavern, but soon come face to face with the Plesiosaur and the Rhamphorhynchus. As the two dinosaurs begin to fight each other, steam and magma begin erupting around the area as a massive earthquake occurs. Caught in the flames caused by the earthquake, the two dinosaurs end up falling into a chasm in the earth, apparently to their deaths, while Takashi manages to save Akiko from falling into the flowing lava.

To be honest, I am a little disappointed in this movie. The acting was ok but the story got a little confusing. I blame part of that on the writing as it seemed like the motivation for people kept changing during the course of the movie. I also have the same problem with this movie as I did with the new Godzilla movie, there needed to be more dinosaurs and less dealing with the people factor. As to the dinosaurs themselves, I didn’t have a problem with the Plesiosaur but they way they added the Rhamphorhynchus was just stupid. “Because one dinosaur survived it makes perfect sense that another one did.” Yup, children’s logic for the win on that one.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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November 28th, 2015 Movie – The Legend Of Boggy Creek

the legend of boggy creek

Today’s movie evokes a couple of different memories for me. The first one is my being a kid in the video store days and constantly seeing this movie on the shelf but never getting the chance to rent it, in spite of how cool the box looked. The second was a more recent memory from a B-movie panel at Dragoncon a couple of years ago. The reason this stuck out back then was because the panel was asked a question regarding what makes a successful B-movie, and they mentioned this movie as being a highly successful movie in terms of box office. But you will find out more on that later as I review today’s movie, The Legend Of Boggy Creek.

The plot: A young boy is running across the fields and makes his way to the cafe in town, where he tells an old man named Willie that there is a wild man in the creek near their house. With the other men in the cafe laughing, Willie tells the boy to head back home and he will check it out in the morning, then tells the men, after the boy leaves, that it is the third time the boy’s mother has sent him up there saying there is some wild hairy man running around out in the woods. The narrator then begins to describe the town of Fouke, Arkansas, a small town near the borders of Louisiana and Texas. The movie then begins having people recall their experiences with the fabled creature that lives in Boggy Creek. One farmer talks about how he shot at the creature and it walked off on two legs, stepping over his fence. Another farmer talks about how two of his prize hogs had been killed so he placed them in an area away from the house so the smell won’t reach the house but the next day, he didn’t see any buzzards in the area so he went to check and discovered the bodies were gone, and had apparently been picked up and carried off. A hunter tells about how he saw a creature down by the creek and a few months later, his brother was out hunting and had a similar sighting near the same area. A girl is taking care of some laundry when hears her cat howling and sees something approaching the house and screams and the next day, the family discover their cat has died of fright. A teenage boy hears some dogs chasing something so he grabs his gun and heads into the woods but when he sees the creature, he shoots at it then drops his gun and runs back to his house. After all of the sightings, a major hunt was organized, with special dogs brought in from neighboring states to help out. However, though a man on horseback saw the creature as it spooked his horse, the dogs refused to track the creature. As months go by and sightings tapered off, several people thought the creature was gone. However, a couple saw it crossing the road and when dead animals were found in the woods and strange, three-toed tracks were found in a bean field owned by Willie Smith, the news begins reporting on it, with the reporters suggesting it might be a gorilla, an orangutan, or even a Sasquatch, but the tracks are different. Some time later, Willie’s grandchildren are playing in the bean field and come running back to the house claiming they saw something. They take their mom back out to the field and she sees the creature and they all run screaming back to the house. Three girls are having a sleepover and hear something prowling around outside and see the creature from the window. Charles Turner, his wife Ann and their child, as well as Ann’s brother Don Ford, his wife Sue and their child, movie into a house in Fouke due to Charles and Don being hired by a cattle ranch. A few days after they moved in, while Charles and Don are at work, Ann and Sue hear something moving around the house and attempt to open the door. When whatever it was leaves, they take their kids and head to their landlord’s place, who checks the house but doesn’t see anything. The next day, Don’s brother Bobby and their 12 year old cousin Corky Hill come to visit and the two go fishing near the house. While fishing, Corky sees some strange, three-toed tracks near the edge of the creek and Bobby decides they should head back to the house. That night, something begins creeping around the house again, but it disappears when Charles and Don pull up to the house. After everyone starts telling the two men what happened, Charles goes with Bobby to the landlord’s house to get a gun and they return, but as everybody starts getting ready to go back to bed, a large, hairy arm smashes through the screen window and almost grabs Bobby and Ann. The three men go outside, and with Charles holding the flashlight, Don begins shooting at something, but when they can’t tell if he hit anything, Don goes out to get the sheriff. The sheriff sees a panther track under the house and figures that is what was scaring everyone. After the sheriff leaves, they all get ready for bed, but as Bobby is using the restroom, the creature tries to break through the window. Once again, the men grab the gun and begin shooting at the creature, then follow it out in the woods. Bobby goes back to look after the women but he winds up being attacked by the creature on the porch and ends up crashing through the front door. They take Bobby to the hospital in Texarkana, then decide to leave the area. The narrator, who was the small boy at the beginning of the movie, returned to the town, which has become rundown, and wonders if the creature still wanders the swamps and woods near Boggy Creek.

The Legend Of Boggy Creek was based on a legendary creature that supposedly terrorized the small town of Fouke, Arkansas. The attack on a family, which wound up being the final scenes in the movie, was the basis for the movie as it wound up receiving the most press. The movie was a box office success, earning $20 million off of a $160,000 budget. Four movies were released in later years that are loosely considered sequels due to their names, but some of them had no similarities to the original film.

Two days in a row with a “mockumentary” style movie about a Bigfoot type creature, but I will definitely take today’s movie over yesterdays. For as cheap of a budget that they had, this was a surprisingly well made movie. The interchange between the narrator and the people giving their accounts of their sightings mixed pretty well and helped make the movie flow a lot smoother. In some ways, you could view this movie as a look at rural southern culture, especially when they mention a young kid checking his trap lines before he goes to school every day. The scenes with the monster were brief and mostly shown through the “monster’s” perspective, primarily when it would be approaching a house. The attack on the Ford house, especially the attack on Bobby, had a bit of suspense to it, but also a bit of campiness which made it more memorable. A decent movie that is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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November 27th, 2015 Movie – The Legend Of Bigfoot

the legend of bigfoot

Happy Black Friday all you crazy shoppers out there. I did that once a few years ago to get a new computer but you know what, I think I would much rather sleep in and shop online instead of dealing with that hassle. Anyways, today’s movie is one of the more interesting movies that I own. To be honest, when I first watched this I thought somehow a home movie got mixed in with the rest of the movies in the Chilling Classics box set. But I will let you decide for yourself as I watch today’s movie, The Legend Of Bigfoot.

The plot: The movie starts with a man named Ivan Marx speaking to the camera, stating that the footage is all true and showcases his ten year search for Bigfoot. Ivan Marx is an animal tracker that primarily is called in to deal with renegades, animals that have been killing off herd animals. One time he is called up to Alaska, where some ranchers believe Kodiak bears are killing off their cattle. When Ivan gets up there, he discovers that the cattle are dying off due to poor nutrition or natural cause and the bears are just feeding on the carcasses, though one rancher swears Bigfoot is killing the cattle. When he gets back home, Ivan handles a job with his brother-in-law and mentions the Bigfoot story to him. His brother-in-law takes him to the Land of Petrified Wood, where he sees drawings of Bigfoot, that were over 700 years old, telling the story of how Bigfoot would steal children from the village and the village wound up being abandoned. Ivan dismisses the story but one day when he is tracking a mountain lion, he finds strange tracks in the snow that looked like a giant human-shaped footprint and strange hairs in and near the tracks. Ivan made casts of the tracks and took samples of the hairs and sent them to be tested but they came back as being from no known animal. Ivan was called up to the mountains to track a renegade bear, but when he finds it, the bear is lying dead of a broken neck, with the strange tracks by it’s body and strange hair in it’s teeth. He decides to do some research on Bigfoot and sometime later, as he is exploring the mountains near his home, he found a fresh track near a bridge and saw something moving in the woods across the stream. He chased after the creature and realized he had seen Bigfoot but a storm washed away the tracks before he could cast them. Ivan then goes hunting after any possible sighting of Bigfoot, but as each trip fails to pan out, and his money running out, he is forced to call a halt to his search. Then, when he is out getting video of a bear, he spies Bigfoot and manages to get some video of the creature, but the video merely calls the experts to ask even more questions. Ivan theorizes that Bigfoot might be a migratory animal and set out with his wife Peggy to prove and document his theory. They head north into Canada and the Arctic Circle, where and Eskimo says he will see Bigfoot and teaches him a chant that would summon the creature. Ivan heads out to a tundra plain, where he sees what appears to be glowing eyes, but they vanish behind a rainbow at dawn. He then decides to try and search from a plane and notices a young Bigfoot by a stream but by the time they land the plane, it vanishes. Ivan finally figures out the best place to locate Bigfoot and sees two creatures, a young one and an older one, and feels he has sufficiently proven his theory and plans to further study the mysterious creature.

I can sum up this movie in one word, boring. I know I dozed off at least once and it might have been even more than that. Ivan Marx, the narrator, sounded a bit like the narrator from A Christmas Story, but his droning voice just makes you lose interest and didn’t really get you involved in the “documentary.” The footage itself was ok, with the nature shots of the various wildlife actually more interesting than the “Bigfoot search or sightings.” I know there are lots of Bigfoot movies out there so just skip this one unless you need a sedative for a nap.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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November 26th, 2015 Movie – Legend

legend

You know, I find it kind of funny that this is today’s movie. The reason I find it funny is because I spent Thanksgiving with my mom and brothers, like I usually do. Now my mom is a HUGE Tom Cruise fan and as a kid growing up, I saw just about every one of his movies with her. However, just like everyone else, she has her favorite and her least favorite movies that people are in, and today’s movie happens to be one of her least favorite ones. So allow me to present a Tom Cruise movie that my mom doesn’t like, Legend.

The plot: A long time ago, the Lord of Darkness is tired of being forced to stay in the shadows and makes plans to force an eternal darkness on the world. He summons a goblin named Blix and orders him to go out with his goblins and kill the last two unicorns and bring back the horns. Elsewhere, Princess Lily grabs some food and heads out into the forest to meet her friend Jack, a forest boy that knows the language of the forest animals. Jack has been teaching Lily the languages of the animals and today he says he has a surprise for her, and takes her  deep into the forest, where they see the two unicorns. Though Jack begs her not to, Lily goes towards the unicorns, spooking one of them and causing it to run around her in an attempt to scare her off. When the unicorn calms down, Lily sings to it and reaches out to touch it, but Brix, who had been following Lily since she entered the forest, shoots the unicorn with a poisoned dart and the unicorns run off. As Lily tries to ease Jack’s fears by singing to him, the goblins chase after the unicorns. Lily discusses her feelings for Jack and, removing her ring from her finger, says she will marry whoever finds it. When the ring falls off a cliff into the pond below, Jack jumps into the water searching for it. However, the poisoned unicorn collapses and the goblins cut off it’s horn, causing the pond, and the forest, to freeze up. Jack manages to break free from the frozen water but Lily, frightened by the sudden storm, has already fled and finds shelter in a frozen cottage. Looking outside, she sees the goblins approaching and hides as they enter the cottage, talking about how they must find the other unicorn. Back in the forest, Jack is approached by an elf named Honeythorn Gump, who is angered when he learns about Jack taking Lily to see the unicorns. After solving a riddle to earn the fairyfolk’s forgiveness, Jack, Gump, and the others head off to see if the unicorns are alright. They soon discover the dead unicorn, with the second one standing guard over it. When Jack finds out from the unicorn what he must do, Gump has a dwarf named Brown Tom guard the last unicorn while he, a fairy named Oona, and another dwarf named Screwball lead Jack to where he can find some magic weapons. They reach a hidden treasure trove and Oona leads Jack inside, where she reveals her true form and begs Jack to save them. Darkness meets Blix and when he finds out that they only killed the stallion, he sends one of them, Blunder, flying into a pit and orders the others to capture the mare. Lily overhears this and tries to warn Brown Tom, but the goblins arrive and knock the dwarf out before capturing Lily and the mare. When Jack and the others arrive, Brown Tom tells them what happened and they follow the goblins, eventually reaching an ancient temple in the swamp. They are attacked by a hag named Meg, but Jack is able to defeat her. They continue to Darkness’ lair, but end up falling into a pit trap and land in a dungeon. They find Blunder, who is actually a dwarf, who tells them that they will be cooked if they are not quiet, just before he is grabbed by the cooks and cooked into a pie. Jack asks Oona to help them escape and she says she will if she kisses her, but he refuses and she gets angry, but still gets the keys and frees them from the cell and they split up to try to find the dungeons. Darkness finds himself attracted to Lily and makes plans to tempt her, in order to turn him into a creature of darkness. Lily finds herself running through the fortress when Oona spots her and begins following her. Lily winds up in Dakness’ chamber, where he tempts her with jewelry and gowns, but when Darkness appears, she rejects him. Jack, Gump, and Oona overhear their conversation, and hear Darkness say that sunlight can kill him, which gives Jack an idea. Meeting up with Brown Tom and Screwball, who have found the mare, the group head into the kitchen, where the rescue Blunder, then proceed to grab all of the platters from the shelves, which they plan to use to reflect sunlight. They accidentally wake the two cooks, but Jack is able to beat them and they continue with their plan, with Screwball offering to climb to the top of the tower in order to reflect the sunlight into the fortress. Meanwhile, Darkness continues to try and tempt Lily but she continues to refuse him. Suddenly, Lily agrees to marry Darkness, but only if she can kill the unicorn. As the wedding ceremony commences, Jack, Gump, and Brown Tom enter the chamber and see Lily prepared to kill the unicorn. Gump urges Jack to kill her but Jack refuses and when Lily frees the unicorn, Jack and Gump fire arrows into Darkness. Darkness knocks Lily unconscious and Jack begins to fight with Darkness, but finds himself overpowered. Seeing the unicorn horn, Jack throws it into Darkness’ stomach, just as Screwball and Oona reflect the sunlight into the fortress, sending Darkness flying towards the edge of the tower, but he is able to hold onto the the ledge. Darkness taunts Jack by saying everyone has some evil in them, but Jack cuts off the hand holding the unicorn’s horn and Darkness is sent hurtling into space. Finding Lily under a spell, Jack realizes that he has to find the ring Lily threw into the pond in order to break the spell. Jack finds the ring and places it on Lily’s finger and kisses her, causing her to wake. Meanwhile,  Gump places the horn back on the stallion, reviving the dead unicorn, and Jack waves goodbye to the unicorns and his friends.

Legend received mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 48% rating currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics praised the makeup and set design, but felt the movie itself was a bland retelling of every other sci-fi/fantasy movie out there. Roger Ebert actually praised the performance of Tom Cruise and Tim Curry, but said the effects were so good that just about anyone could have played the roles. The movie did not fare well at the box office, only earning over $15 million off a $24 million budget, but it would wind up becoming a cult classic and earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Makeup.

This is actually a decent fantasy movie, made a little funnier since it is so different from Tom Cruise’s normal movies. Tom Cruise did a good job in this movie, but his fight scenes were definitely the weakest aspect in this movie. And though he only actually appeared for about the last 20-30 minutes of the movie, Tim Curry definitely made an excellent villain. I thought the plot was pretty good a bit more original than the critics claimed. The set designs and the makeup, particularly Tim Curry’s makeup to play Darkness, were definitely some of the best parts of this movie. Not your normal Tom Cruise movie, but it is worth a watch at least once.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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November 25th, 2015 Movie – The Leech Woman

the leech woman

I am almost back on track. Actually, I probably could have written this review last night except for one problem; my brain was complete mush and refused to think. Oh well, I have four days to get back into the groove of things and get ready to finish out the year. First things first, Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Hopefully you are all enjoying some time spent with family and/or friends. Now before I head off to eat my fill of turkey, let me introduce today’s movie, The Leech Woman.

The plot: An elderly woman walks into the office of an endocrinologist named Dr. Paul Tolbot, who is busy arguing with his wife, June, in his examination room. After yelling at each other for a while, June sadly states that she is going to give Paul a divorce and Paul tells her to go ahead and have the lawyer start the paperwork. As June leaves the office, she is stopped by the elderly woman, who says she will never divorce her husband as he will die and give her a new way of life and June runs from the office, with the woman saying she saw June in her dreams of blood. Inside the examination room, the woman, Malla, claims that she is over 140 years old and tells Paul that she is a member of a tribe called the Nando and they have discovered the secret of reversing the aging process. She shows him proof and says she will give him the last of her drug, if he will help her get back to Africa. At the Talbot house, June is talking with their lawyer about the division of their assets when Paul comes in saying he has found the secret to eternal life. He makes plans to go to Africa and asks June to come with him, saying he will call off the divorce and she agrees. In Africa, Paul and June ask Bertram Garvay to take them to the Nando and when he agrees, they set out. As they near the tribe, June questions Paul’s actions as he has started acting cruel towards her and she soon realizes that he just brought her along to be a test subject for the Nando’s drug. June goes running off into the jungle, where she winds up being chased by a leopard, but Bertram kills the animal and takes her back to camp. Seeing a group of vultures nearby, they check it out and find a covered litter with Malla’s cane inside, and dead porters nearby and the guide claims they were killed by the Nando. They head back to their camp but find themselves captured by the Nando and taken to their village. At the village, Malla meets with them and shows them the secret to her old age, a rare orchid that grows in the area, then offers Paul the chance to see her become young again. That night, a ceremony is performed and they witness Malla become young again, by using a special ring to harvest secretions from a man’s pineal gland through the back of the neck. Paul asks Malla to make June young again but June refuses to take another man’s life. However, when Paul says she should do it so that he and Bertram can escape and bring help, June agrees but chooses to get her revenge by making Paul her sacrifice. Pretending to get a necklace as payment for Mall, Bertram is able to sneak some dynamite from their supplies to use for their escape. The ceremony is performed and June has regained her youth but while she is brought outside to show to the villagers, Bertram takes the opportunity to steal the orchid pollen and the ring. He then uses the dynamite to make his escape with June. However, after a few days the effects begin wearing off and June looks even older than before. Bertram runs from her but ends up falling into some quicksand and June uses the opportunity to use the ring on him and restore her youth. She flies back to the U.S., where she is met by her lawyer Neil and his fiance Sally, but she introduces herself as Terry Hart, June’s niece. Arriving back at her house, June begins to seduce Neil and the two wind up kissing, but when she notices her hands beginning to age, she pushes him out of her room and begs him to leave. After meeting with Neil, as June, to get her jewelry out of his safe, she goes out looking for a man to kill and ends up killing a man that was trying to steal her jewels. She sets up an evening with Neil, but Sally shows up at the house and tries to get June to leave at gunpoint but June uses the ring on Sally to kill her. Later, as she is spending the evening with Neil, the police show up to investigate the murder of a man who had June’s card on him. When they discover the body of Sally in the hall closet, June tries to explain her actions but notices she is beginning to age again. She locks herself in her room and uses the secretions from Sally, but they merely speed up the aging so she chooses to kill herself by jumping from the balcony.

I love classic sci-fi movies but sometimes, I do question the writing. The acting was decent. Coleen Gray (June) did a good job going back and forth between her normal old self and her younger “niece”, but nobody else really stood out. The plot sounded good but there were some things that just didn’t get explained properly or left unanswered. The jungle scenes had some funny moments, particularly when at the begininning. As they make their way through the jungle, they see elephants, lions, water buffalo and more but keep on going straight, but when they see a python in a tree…”let’s go around it”. They didn’t actually say that but that was the impression they gave. I also thought it was funny during a scene with some crocodiles when the animals kept going back and forth from being alligators and crocodiles. A decent movie but it had potential to be much better.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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