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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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November 24th, 2015 Movie – The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

the league of extraordinary gentlemen

First, a brief rant. Damn you Marvel for making such awesome shows. If it wasn’t for you making Jessica Jones such a compelling show to watch, I wouldn’t be a day behind writing my reviews. That being said, everyone should watch Jessica Jones, but be advised, it is a bit on the dark side. Ok, now that I got that out of the way, on to more serious business.

Sean Connery is arguably one of the most famous actors of all time, or at least would easily make a top 25 list. Whether he was playing James Bond, or Dr. Henry Jones, Sr., or Jim Malone, or Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, the man has been entertaining people on screen for almost 50 years. Then, in 2004/2005, he decided to retire from Hollywood, a decision he has pretty much kept, except for one or two exceptions. Today’s movie, The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, is the last feature film the Sean Connery did before retiring.

The plot: In 1899’s London, an armored vehicle breaks into the Bank of England and men, wearing German uniforms ad led by a man known as The Fantom, proceed to rob the bank. Sometime later, the Fantom leads some men, wearing British uniforms, into a factory in Berlin, where they proceed to kidnap some scientists and destroy the factory. With both countries blaming the other for the incidents, the tensions could result in a war. Sanderson Reed, a member of the British Empire, heads down to Kenya to recruit Allan Quatermain to lead a special team to prevent the war, but Quatermain, mourning his son’s death refuses to help. Suddenly, a group of armed men arrive and attempt to kill Quartermain but he is able to kill them and agrees to go with Reed back to London in order to keep the war from spreading to Africa. In London, Quatermain meets with M, who informs Quatermain the the world leaders will be meeting in Venice in four days, and he must head to Venice to stop the Fantom from attacking the city. M then explains that Quatermain will be leading a 6 man team of unique individuals, which includes himself, Captain Nemo (a famed captain and inventor), Rodney Skinner (a thief who stole the formula for invisibility), Mina Harker (a chemist with some other “gifts”), and two others whom they must collect on the way. As they leave the meeting room, they get in Nemo’s vehicle, which he calls an automobile, and drive off, unaware that they are being watched. They head to a house near the London Docks and meet Dorian Grey, who was approached by M to be a member of the team but he turned him down. When Dorian sees Mina with them, he invites them inside and they make small talk, where Quatermain reveals that he met Dorian once before, when he was a boy at Eton College and Dorian was a guest lecturer. Suddenly, armed men appear in the balconies above them and the Fantom appears, telling the League to either join him, or die. When a stranger, disguised as one of the Fantom’s men, begins shooting at the armed men, the rest of the League begin fighting back. and in the process reveal both Dorian and Mina’s special abilities. The stranger introduces himself as Tom Sawyer, a member of the U.S. Secret Service, and Quatermain accepts him onto the team. The group then board Nemo’s submarine, the Nautilus, and head off to collect the last member of their team. In Paris, Quatermain and Sawyerchase the monstrous Mr. Hyde across the Paris rooftops, eventually managing to capture him and bring him aboard the Nautilus. Inside, Quartermain explains to Hyde that England will offer him amnesty for his past crimes if he helps them, and Hyde agrees, then shocks everyone as he transforms into Dr. Jekyll. On route to Venice, Nemo finds a strange powder on the bridge, which Mina identifies as flash powder from a camera, and a vial of Hyde’s formula is missing, which points towards a traitor being on board, and the group suspects Skinner. They also have figured out the Fantom’s plan, using blueprints that were stolen from the Bank of England, he plans to sink the entire city of Venice. When they arrive at Venice, they arrive just as bombs go off, causing the buildings to start collapsing. Quatermain, Sawyer, Mina, and Dorian take off in Nemo’s automobile in an attempt to stop the collapsing buildings. When the come under fire from the Fantom’s men, Dorian and Mina leave the car to handle the shooters, while Quatermain goes after the Fantom himself, leaving Sawyer to drive the automobile and signal the Nautilus to take out a building ahead of the destruction in order to stop the collapsing buildings. Quatermain battles the Fantom and manages to knock off his mask, revealing the Fantom to actually be M, who manages to escape. Quatermain heads back to the Nautilus, where he meets up with Mina, Sawyer and the others but there is no sign of Dorian or Skinner. Suddenly, Nemo’s first mate Ishmael, having been shot, staggers out from the ship and tells them that Dorian is actually the traitor. Dorian escapes in an exploration pod and Nemo and the other’s head off in pursuit, but a high pitched noise directs them to a record. On the record, M and Dorian explain their plan, how they assembled the League in order to get the secret to their abilities and then sell them to the highest bidder, just as bombs, armed by an ultrasonic signal from the record, explode and send the Nautilus sinking to the depths below. Jekyll transforms into Hyde and manages to drain the water from the ship, and with everyone pitching in, they are able to make repairs and continue after Dorian and M. They reach Northern Mongolia and meet up with Skinner, who had snuck aboard the pod with Dorian, who tells them what M is up to in his fortress. Quatermain assigns Nemo and Hyde to rescue the scientists and their families, Skinner plants explosives to blow the factory up, Mina deals with Dorian and while Sawyer and himself capture M. They make their way into the fortress then separate to go about their tasks. Nemo and Hyde start to rescue the hostages but a guard sounds an alert and they come under fire, but Hyde uses a metal door as a shield while Nemo and his men continue the rescue. Meanwhile, Mina confronts Dorian and the two begin to fight but when Mina spies Dorian’s painting, Dorian uses the distraction to stab her in the chest. Quatermain and Sawyer locate M, who Quatermain addresses as Prof. Moriarty, and M runs. Quatermain and Sawyer follow him but when Sawyer bumps into an invisible man, he tells Quatermain to keep going, thinking the man is Skinner. However, the invisible man turns out to be Sanderson, who attacks Sawyer but he manages to chase him off, just as an armored man with a flame thrower arrives and begins attacking Sawyer. Skinner shows up and pieces the fuel tank but gets set on fire in the process and Sawyer knocks the armored man down. Meanwhile, Hyde faces off against some of M’s soldiers but M’s enforcer, Dante, drinks a large vial of Hyde’s formula, transforming into an even larger monster than Hyde. Dorian pulls his sword from Mina’s chest but she recovers and stabs Dorian in the chest with his sword, pinning him to the wall, where she then shows him his painting, undoing the spell and causing him to age until he turns to dust. Sawyer goes to help Skinner but ends up captured by Sanderson. Nemo goes to help Hyde fight Dante, and but they find themselves overmatched and are saved when Skinner’s explosives go off, bringing the roof down on top of the creature. Meanwhile, Quatermain fights M and prepares to kill him, but when Moriarty points out that Sawyer is about to be killed, Quatermain kills Sanderson and M uses the opportunity to stab him in the back and then run. Quatermain hands Sawyer his rifle, which he uses to kill Moriarty, just as Quatermain dies from his wounds. Sawyer and the League carry Quatermain back to Africa, where he buries him next to his son, and then they head back to the Nautilus. After they leave, the witch doctor that blessed Quatermain begins to perform a ritual and the grave begins to shake, just as a bolt of lightning hits it.

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus seemed to be that while the effects and sets were good, the storyline wound up being too convoluted and fell into complete lunacy. The movie was not without it’s share of controversy either as a lawsuit was filed against 20th Century Fox, stating that the company plagiarized a script called Cast Of Characters, an idea that had been repeatedly pitched to Fox back in the mid 90’s. The case would wind up being settled out of court. In spite of the bad reviews, the movie was a box office success, earning over $179 million off a $78 million budget.

This is not a good movie but this an entertaining movie to watch and definitely a great “guilty pleasure” movie. The acting is decent among most of the cast, though I will say I was a little disappointed with Sean Connery’s performance as I thought he could have brought more to the character. That being said, I did like how the had Quatermain bonding with Sawyer, somewhat adopting him as a sort of surrogate son. The concept looked interesting, and it started out ok, but the plot ended up feeling like they were just throwing ideas on the wall to see what stuck. I am mixed on the special effects because I felt like several of the effects, particularly the monster version of Dante, looked really cheap, but some of the props and set designs, like the Nautilus, were incredible. It can be fun to watch, but you definitely have to be able to put your criticisms aside.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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November 23rd, 2015 Movie – Layer Cake

layer cake

Soooo, back when Casino Royale was in production, the studio announced Daniel Craig as the new James Bond. Now most people were not familiar with this actor and several movie sites and critics cited today’s movie as an example of his work. Me personally, I recognized him from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider but I was happy to watch another movie. Good thing I did as today’s movie gave a much better scope of Daniel Craigs acting abilities for most people. So without further ado, allow me to introduce today’s movie, Layer Cake.

The plot: A man, known only as XXXX, has been thinking about the drug business, of which he is a successful cocaine dealer, and all of the ways it can go wrong. When XXXX is giving his payment for his supply of drugs to Gene, the right hand man of XXXX’s supplier Jimmy, Gene tells XXXX that Jimmy wants to meet him for lunch the next day. XXXX also owns stake in a letting company in order to provide some legal income while he has an accountant help launder the drug money, all so he can reach his goal of retiring on top. XXXX and his muscle/bodyguard Morty arrive at the country club where they are meeting Jimmy and Jimmy tells XXXX that he needs a favor. XXXX is asked to find Charlie, the daughter of Jimmy’s associate Eddie Temple, who ran away from the rehab center she was checked in. Jimmy also wants XXXX to go with Gene and help broker the sale of one million ecstacy pills from a local gangster called The Duke. XXXX, along with Gene and Morty, meets with The Duke, who believes the pills are worth 5 million, and he takes a sample of the pills and has Morty arrange a meeting with Trevor and Shanks, two gangsters that he is on good terms with. Later, XXXX meets up with Cody and Tiptoes, two crooked police officers, and gives the information on Charlie so they can track her down for him. As he is leaving, he runs into Sidney, The Duke’s nephew, and his girlfriend Tammy, who slips XXXX a piece if paper when Sidney isn’t looking. XXXX and Morty meet up with Trevor and Shanks, who refuse to buy the pills, and they let XXXX know that The Duke stole the pills from some Serbian war criminals, who have sent their best hitman, Dragan, to kill The Duke and everyone associated with him, including XXXX since The Duke had mentioned his name to the Serbians during the robbery. XXXX, Morty, and his men head back to the boatyard where they met The Duke, but find one of The Duke’s men dead, with an iron burning into his chest. The next day, XXXX gets a call from Cody, and shows up at the apartment, where they found Charlie’s boyfriend dead and there is no sign of Charlie. After they leave, Morty winds up running into a former acquaintance, who he proceeds to beat to a pulp, and XXXX meets with Gene, who explains why Morty did that, as well as offers XXXX a gun to protect himself with. XXXX receives a call from Dragan, while Gene receives a call from The Dukes second in command, Gazza, who says they have 48 hours before they give the pills back. XXXX calls Tammy and the two meet up in a hotel to have sex but before they do, XXXX is kidnapped by two men and taken to see Eddie Temple. Eddie explains that Jimmy had lost 13 million in a bad investment and then plays XXXX a CD, which proves that Jimmy had been an informant for Scotland Yard. That night, XXXX sneaks into Jimmy’s house and shoots him with the gun Gene gave him. The next day, he goes to see his accountant but finds out that his accountant embezzled all his money and lef tthe country. XXXX receives another call from Dragan, and they agree to meet the next day to talk. His men have followed Sidney and figured out where the pills are probably being held. XXXX manages to make a deal with Trevor, but then is summoned by Eddie Temple, who makes a better deal with XXX for the pills. XXXX and Morty go to see Gene, who proceeds to beat up XXXX for killing Jimmy, until XXXX informs them about Jimmy being an informant and has them listen to the CD as proof. XXXX has a sniper accompany him to the meeting with Dragan, but Dragan kills the sniper, then tells XXXX that he wants the pills and The Duke in one day. Gene and Morty yell at XXXX for being stupid but when XXXX wonders about where The Duke is, Gene tells him that he killed The Duke and his girlfriend when she threatened to go to the police. The next day, XXXX goes with Sidney and Gazza to make the deal for the pills when the police raid the place, seizing the drugs while XXXX and the others manage to get away. That night, XXXX meets with Dragan, giving him the severed head of The Duke and explaining that the pills were confiscated, satisfying Dragan, who takes the head and leaves. XXXX meets with Gene in a car park and Cody and Tiptoes  arrive soon with the confiscated drugs. However, when they go to sell the drugs to Eddie, he chooses to take the pills from him, as revenge for what Jimmy put Charlie through. As a consolation prize, Eddie offers XXXX a membership into the country club that he belongs too. XXXX has Trevor and Shanks steal the pills from Eddie’s men, plus paying him for his part in delivering the drugs, as a means of squaring things for killing their hitman. At the club, Gene, Morty, and the other men toast XXXX as the new boss, but XXXX turns it down, saying that he is retiring. Thinking about all of his associates that have died, he leaves the club with Tammy but ends up getting shot by Sidney.

Layer Cake was well liked by the critics, earning an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert praised the film itself and Daniel Craig’s acting, saying the character was “fascinating here as a criminal who is very smart, and finds that is not an advantage because while you might be able to figure out what another smart person is about to do, dumbos like the men he works for are likely to do anything.” The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning over $11 million off a $6.5 million budget.

Since this directed by Matthew Vaughn, the man that produced Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Guns and Snatch, I knew this would be good, but I honestly had no idea how good this movie would wind up being. This is a great crime movie that honestly did not get enough credit. The acting was fantastic all around. Daniel Craig (XXXX) and Michael Gambon (Eddie Temple) were both incredible and Colm Meaney (Gene), George Harris (Morty), and Jamie Foreman (The Duke) were also really good. The story was g0od, with some quick back and forth among several plot lines towards the beginning that could be confusing, but the story became more focused as the movie progressed and things started to make more sense. There wasn’t a whole lot of action as this was more of a drama/thriller but story did it’s job in sucking you in and waiting to find out what would happen in the end. Definitely one of those movies that everyone should give a shot.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: March 14th, 2014 Movie – Attack Of The Giant Leeches

attack of the giant leeches

Watching a Roger Corman movie two days in a row is a good thing in my opinion. I know that some people will probably disagree with me but hear me out. First off, when it comes to his older movies, they are pretty short. Second, they are usually pretty funny, whether intentionally or not, so you will always be entertained. After all, isn’t that the point of watching a movie in the first place, to be entertained? So why not relax and enjoy Attack Of The Giant Leeches with me.

The plot: A local poacher, Lem, is hunting in the woods when he sees a strange creature in the swamp and shoots at it. When he gets back in town, he stops at the local market and tells some of his friends but they don’t believe him so he goes back out to check his traps. Meanwhile, the owner of the market, Dave Walker, is trying to talk to his wife, Liz, about her disrespecting him and dressing seductively in front of the other men but she ignores him and says she is going out. Back in the swamp, local game warden Steve Benton is searching for poacher traps when his girlfriend, Nan Greyson comes to visit him and they hear a scream coming from the swamp. Steve goes to investigate and finds a screaming Liz, who has found the body of Lem covered in strange wounds. Steve argues with the town sheriff Kovis about the cause of death and angrily leaves. Steve goes to talk with Nan’s father, Dr. Greyson, who believes that Lem might have seen something and Steve and Nan decide to go out and look for it but come up empty handed. The next day, Liz meets up with Dave’s friend Cal while Dave is out delivering groceries. The two lovers are laying on a blanket and kissing but as they begin talking about what they should do, Dave appears carrying a shotgun.  Dave forces them at gunpoint to enter the swamp in an attempt to scare them but suddenly, two human sized leeches come up from the water, grab Cal and Liz, and drag them back under water. Dave gets the sheriff, who searches the area for the bodies but when he doesn’t find them, he questions Dave, believing that Dave killed them and hid the bodies. Dave is taken to jail but he ends up hanging himself. At the Greyson’s house, Dr. Greyson talks about using dynamite to kill the creatures or bring the bodies back to the surface but Steve threatens to arrest him if he sees him in the swamp with explosives, much to Nan’s displeasure. Back at the swamp, two hunters are in a canoe searching for the bodies when they are attacked by the giant leeches and dragged underwater. The men are brought to an underwater cave, where Cal and Liz, who are weak but still alive, and the creatures begin sucking the blood from the various people. Dr. Greyson and Nan tell Steve about the men’s disappearance and Steve organizes a search party to look for the men. As they search around the lake, they are forced to call it off when it is too dark, and one of the searchers comments about the lack of gators in the area. The next day, Dr. Greyson heads out to the lake and throws some dynamite into the lake, which causes the bodies of Cal and the two hunters to surface. Dr. Greyson comes back from the autopsy and informs Steve about the condition of the bodies and says he believes Liz might still be alive in an underwater cave. Steve, along with his friend Mike, don some scuba gear and prepare to head underwater, though the sheriff thinks they are all crazy. Steve dives underwater and finds the cave, but when a giant leech heads towards him, he wounds it with a spear gun, then heads back to the surface to get another gun and head back down. Liz ends up falling into the water and floating up from the cave, where Mike recovers it. When Steve is attacked by the second leech, Mike dives down to help him kill the creature. Later, Mike heads back down to plant some explosives, which Steve detonates, killing the rest of the giant leeches.

Attack Of The Giant Leeches was met with mostly positive reviews, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus is that while it is cheaply made, it is a good, solid example of 50’s horror schlock. The movie was featured on MST3K, as well as several other horror host TV shows, and was remade in 2008.

This was a good example of Corman’s early works. While the acting was a mix of good and bad, with some people seeming rather stiff compared to others. The story was pretty good as was the writing. I thought the hostility that the sheriff showed to anyone challenging his authority was pretty good as it showed a common stereotype about some small town police officers. The monsters did look cheap, there is no denying that, but that is part of the fun in watching this movie. A good movie to just sit down and quickly watch in order to relax.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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