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October 31st, 2016 Movie – Poppy

poppy

Happy Halloween everybody. I am going to be completely honest here and say that I am having a hard time focusing right now. Part of that is that I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night. The other part is that I have a lot of things to do today and I am trying to figure out the best way to go about doing all of that. Luckily, today’s movie is a classic bit of W.C. Fields comedy so it isn’t a long movie to watch. Today’s movie is actually based off of a stage revue that Fields starred in,and the second movie version to be made, with Fields also starring in the first version. So here is hoping I can focus in on watching today’s movie, Poppy.

The plot: Professor Eustace P. McGargle and his adopted daughter Poppy are walking down a road when they stop to take a rest. As Poppy comments on their lack of money, a dog comes up to them and McGargle sets off to find the owner. Walking to a nearby bar, he places the bar and orders a drink, then uses ventriloquism to make it seem like the dog talks and when the barkeeper offers to buy it from him, McGargle quickly grabs the money and walks off. Meanwhile, two men are racing their one horse carts and cause Poppy to fall off the bridge she is waiting on. When one of the men stops and goes to help her, she gets angry at him and tells him to leave. Later, McGargle and Poppy hitch a ride into town with a carnival and when the carnival owner sees them, has McGargle thrown off the wagon. McGargle fakes an injury until the owner agrees to give him $10 and a spot where he can perform. For his act, McGargle first has Poppy sing a song, and he then starts peddling snake oil and playing the shell game among the patrons. In the back, Poppy works on filling bottles when she is approached by the man from the bridge, who introduces himself as Billy Farnsworth, the mayor’s son, and he invites her to walk around the carnival with him, which Poppy accepts. When the mayor shows up and starts walking the grounds, McGargle quickly hides the shell game and pretends to be lecturing against gambling. The mayor speaks with McGargle and introduces Countess Maggie Tubbs DePuizzi, who is fascinated with McGargle, and after they leave, McGargle learns some more about the Countess. As McGargle tries to get close to the Countess, Poppy enjoys spending time with Billy but when his parents show up and tell him to leave, they comment on his spending time with a carnival worker. As Poppy tries to figure out what to do for the night, a kind old woman named Sarah Tucker, takes Poppy to her house to eat, saying that her eyes reminded her of something. Later, McGargle is talking with a lawyer named Edward Whiffen, who explains that the Countess’s money comes from the Putnam estate and they decide to make it look like he had married Katherine Putnam, making Poppy the heir. Whiffen brings the mayor, who questions McGargle about Katherine and when McGargle is able to answer the questions, with Whiffen’s help, the mayor declares Poppy the heir. The next day, Poppy is sitting with Billy when the Countess and mayor show up and take her to the Putnam estate, saying it is all hers. That night, a big party is set up on Poppy’s behalf but she is overwhelmed by everything and heads back down to the river. Billy goes looking for her but Poppy ends up pushing him away, which upsets both of them. At the party, Whiffen approaches the Countess and after talking about his undying love for her, offers to help her get the Putnam estate. After McGargle entertains the crowd for a bit, Poppy approaches him and asks to leave, wanting things to go back the way they were. As the mayor goes to introduce Poppy, Whiffen shows up with the sheriff to stop the announcement, showing that the marriage certificate McGargle had was forged. Poppy and Billy help McGargle get away and the sheriff goes to arrest Poppy but Sarah and Billy stop him. When the Countess and another girl make a snide comment about Poppy, Poppy chastises the crowd before Sarah and Billy are able to walk her out. The next day, Sarah is helping Poppy pack up the clothes from the night before when she sees a locket and when she asks Poppy about it, Poppy tells her that her mother gave it to her. Sarah tells Poppy not to leave the house and starts to head outside but runs into Billy and she quickly tells him to get his father. Meanwhile, McGargle returns and asks Poppy to come with him but she tells him she can’t because she gave Sarah her word. McGargle then tells her that he is not her real father but found her in a circus. When the mayor arrives with the posse, McGargle quickly escapes on the mayor’s horse with the posse following after him. Meanwhile, Sarah shows the mayor Poppy’s locket and a locket that she has, each of them containing a picture of a young Sarah and Katherine Putnam, and Sarah explains the story behind the lockets, proving that Poppy is the rightful heir. Meanwhile, Bill talks with Poppy and says he doesn’t care what anyone thinks as he loves her and wants to marry her, and Poppy agrees. As Sarah and the mayor give Poppy the good news, Whiffen and the Countess show up, having just gotten married but when they learn that Poppy really is the heir, the Countess faints. The sheriff shows up with a captured McGargle but the mayor orders him released. Poppy tells her father the good news, saying that they can settle down now, and McGargle offers her some advise, “Never give a sucker an even break”, and then heads out the door.

This is not one of my favorite W.C. Fields’ movies. Fields was really good but, due to illness and an injury, was not in many of the scenes and during the scenes he was not in, several of the other actors seemed pretty terrible. The story was pretty good, with a whole fiction becoming truth aspect making for a nice ending to the movie. The comedy bits with Fields were really good, focusing more on slapstick than word of mouth but they were definitely in shorter supply than some of his other movies. Any W.C. Fields movie is a good movie to watch, but this one will probably be towards the bottom of the list.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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October 30th, 2016 Movie – The Pom Pom Girls

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So today has been a crazy, annoying day. It started off fairly normal, with my waking up and doing the normal morning routine. Then I wound up hanging out with a friend for a while and as plans were made for events going on tonight, I was going to go out when my car acted up. This is especially annoying because I just got it taken care of two days ago. Well it pretty much solidified my decision on getting a new car so I will most likely be taking care of that tomorrow. But enough about my problems. Now let’s get right into today’s movie, The Pom Pom Girls.

The plot: After football practice at Rosedale High, some of the players notice a dummy wearing their school’s uniform hung up and burned in effigy by their town rivals, Harden High School, and they plan on getting even. Two of the players, Johnnie and Jesse, head to the beach where the cheerleaders were practicing and after flirting with several of them, drive off with Sally and a reluctant Laurie. After driving along for a while, they stop and Jesse proceeds to start making out with Sally, while Laurie and Johnnie get out of the car and start throwing pebbles at it. As they are driving the girls home the encounter Sally with a guy named Duane and Johnnie ends up getting in a fight with him. Back at school, the girls are holding tryouts for some new cheerleaders. After school, Sue Ann is at work when Jesse pulls up in his van and convinces her to get in the back, where they proceed to have sex, and she goes back to a parking lot full of angry customers. Johnnie goes to Sally to apologize for fighting with Duane and tries to impress her because he likes her. Some time later, Johnnie, Jesse, and some of the cheerleaders head over to Harden High, where Johnnie proceeds to spray paint “Rosedale” on the back windshields of several cars in the parking lot. When some of the Harden football players spot them and give chase, Johnnie waits till the last minute before they finally leave. The next day, the Harden players head to Rosedale and proceed to take the tires off Johnnie’s, Jesse’s, Laurie’s and some other cars. Johnnie and the others retaliate by stealing a fire truck and using it to spray down the players while they are at practice. As they are driving back, the sheriff attempts to get them to pull over but Laurie uses the hose to spray the sheriff’s car, causing him to get his car stuck, allowing the kids to drive off and abandon the truck. The principal tries to figure out who stole the fire truck but nobody admits to anything. Later, Jesse, Johnnie, Laurie, and Sally head to the beach, then rent some dirt bikes and the two couples end up pairing off; Johnnie with Sally and Jesse with Laurie. At school, Johnnie and Duane end up continually going at each other over Sally. Meanwhile, Jesse tries to get Laurie to skip class and go to the beach with him but when she refuses, he gets in his car to leave, only to be stopped by Sue Ann. Jesse and Sue Ann end up having sex in the back of his van, which is just out the window of Laurie’s classroom. Laurie sees Jesse’s van still in the parking lot and decides to leave class, not seeing Sue Ann leaving Jesse’s van. When Laurie gets there to go to the beach with Jesse, he asks why she didn’t come with him earlier and runs off. At the pep rally, Jesse tries to talk to Laurie but is unable too as she has to go on the field. Later, when the cheerleaders and football players are sitting on the stands, Johnnie is sitting next to Sally and, noticing Duane sitting behind them, starts taunting him behind Sally’s back, causing them to get in a fight. Later, Jesse and Johnnie are at the burger joint and Sue Ann tries flirting with Jesse but he tells her he is serious about someone else. When Laurie and Sally pull up, Johnnie invites Sally for a drive and she agrees, while Jesse goes with Laurie. Jesse and Laurie are at a gas station when Jesse gets jumped by some of the Harden players but Laurie quickly drives them out of there. Meanwhile, Johnnie and Sally are parked at a car dealership and notice some guys trying to steal some hubcaps so they scare them off, then head into the back seat to have sex. At the football game, between Harden and Rosedale, a fight breaks out on the very first play of the game between the opposing players, as well as the cheerleaders and the fans. After the game, the coach chastises Jesse for starting the fight and Jesse ends up punching him later and driving off. Johnnie, Laurie, and Sally go looking for him, running into Duane at one point, but can’t find him. Later that night, Jesse goes to Laurie’s house and sneaks into her window and after talking to her for a bit, asking her to run off with him, they end up having sex. The next morning, Jesse tries sneaking out but is caught by Laurie’s father, who thinks he is just showing up, and invites him in for breakfast. At school,Duane tries to get back with Sally but when she refuses, he challenges Johnnie to a suicide chicken race, which Johnnie accepts though Jesse and Laurie try to talk him out of it. Later, the coach and principal speak with Jesse about his punching the coach but after learning that he will not be suspended and that the matter will just be between him and the coach, Jesse decides to quit the team and leaves the office. At the site of the race, Johnnie and Duane trade cars and race to the edge of the cliff but as they get close to the edge, Duane hits the brakes but Johnnie drives over the edge. Sally cries out and everyone races to the edge to see the car explode into flames but Johnnie is seen walking over from the side, having jumped out before the car went over the edge. Sue Ann goes over to console Duane as Sally, Jesse, and Laurie race over to embrace Johnnie.

I knew exactly what I was going to be getting with this movie and sure enough, I got a cheap little 70’s sexploitation movie to watch. In all seriousness, while it was a little confusing at first, this wasn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty decent among the 4 main actors, but to be honest, I thought Bill Adler (Duane) was pretty boring. The story was a little convoluted and confusing at first but did seem to get things straightened out towards the end. There were a couple of events that didn’t seem to make much sense, like the three guys trying to jump Jesse at the gas station or the fight that breaks out during the game that ends up getting everyone involved. There wasn’t as many sex scenes as you would expect but the scenes that did occur actually helped to move the plot along, not just to take up space. A decent movie to watch if you are in the mood for such a movie.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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October 29th, 2016 Movie – Poison Ivy: The New Seduction

poison-ivy-the-new-seduction

So you make a movie and, while it doesn’t exactly make a splash at the box office, it does generate a decent amount of word of mouth to make it a popular rental. So a sequel is made and released on video, which doesn’t exactly do much better but again, gets word of mouth to make it a popular rental, mainly due to the main star. So a third movie is made and released to video and I started to wonder why they would do this. But of course, I keep forgetting the old cliche, “Sex sells”, and back in the mid-late 90’s, these types of movies were favorites for the late night premium channels and video rentals (before the internet made porn so easily accessible). As for me, my excuse is that I was bored and tend to make bad movie buying decisions when I am bored. So let’s see how bad this decision was as I watch today’s movie, Poison Ivy: The New Seduction.

The plot: In 1985, a pool boy goes to clean the pool at the home of Ivan and Catherine Greer. When he starts to head inside, the Greer’s housekeeper, Rebecca, sends her two daughters, Ivy and Violet, upstairs to play with the Greer’s daughter Joy so she can have sex with the pool boy. While Violet is content to play tea party with Joy, Ivy is dismissive of it and sits by herself but when Ivy sees Ivan come home early, she tells the others that there will be fireworks. Ivan discovers Rebecca having sex with the pool boy and after a brief scuffle, the pool boy leaves and Catherine learns that Ivan has been having an affair with Rebecca. Catherine kicks Rebecca and her daughters out of the house and Joy gives Violet one of her dolls as they drive off. Years later, Violet returns to town to attend a local junior college and goes to see Joy, who is thrilled to see her old friend. As she has dinner with Joy and Ivan, Joy offers to let Violet stay with them and while Ivan is initially against it, he reluctantly agrees and they let Violet stay. The next day, Violet hides from Joy and spends the day snooping around the house, going through Catherine’s clothes (as she has died some time ago), and finding some letters from Joy’s fiance Michael when he was in rehab. Some time later, Joy has a get together with Michael and some of their friends but their friends make fun of Violet and when she leaves, saying that she has to work the late shift at Denny’s, Joy tells her friends to leave Violet alone. Later, Joy and Michael head up to her room and start making out but when Michael tries to press for more, but when Joy tells him no, he says he understands why her father cheated but then apologizes and leaves. He encounters Violet downstairs dressed in some bondage gear, causing him to question where she works, but Violet says that they got off on the wrong foot and proceeds to give him oral sex. The next day, Mrs. B, the Greer’s housekeeper, yells at Violet for wearing Catherine’s robe but Violet ignores her and goes swimming topless in the pool, knowing that Ivan is watching her from his window. Later, Violet finds Mrs. B making her bed and tells her to stay out of her room, then checks her pager, which had gone off, and makes a phone call, which Mrs. B overhears. When Violet comes back, she sees Joy and Jamie, her tennis training partner, practicing on the court and decides to make some frozen drinks spiked with alcohol for them but as she is pouring them in the blender, Jamie comes in and adds some more rum to the mix. The two girls end up getting drunk and passing out and when Michael shows up and sees them like this, he asks Violet to help him get Joy inside before her father gets home. They manage to get Joy in her room and place Jamie in Violet’s room, then they go back outside and talk and Violet tricks Michael into thinking that Joy wants to see other people. Leaving Michael outside, Violet goes back inside and undresses Jamie and handcuffs her, then strips down to her underwear and gets into bed with her, making Jamie believe they had sex when she regains consciousness and causing her to quickly leave. Violet then goes back outside and after swimming in the pool naked, seduces Michael into having sex. The next day, Violet is tending to Joy’s hangover when Ivan enters the room, holding Michael’s jacket and saying that some drugs, which Violet had attempted to tempt Michael with, had fallen out of the pocket. Joy tries to defend Michael but after Ivan leaves, she gets upset because she feels Michael lied to her. When Michael shows up, Violet meets him at the door and tells him that Joy doesn’t want to talk to him and he believes Violet told her what happened. When Violet goes back upstairs, she tells Joy that Michael looked like he was still on drugs. That night, Ivan leaves to go on a date but just as he leaves, Joy answers the phone and takes a message from his date telling him where to pick her up but she doesn’t give Ivan the information. Later, Violet deletes a message from Ivan’s date when she was stood up, and when Ivan returns home, feeling like he was stood up, she shows up wearing one of Catherine’s dresses and begins to seduce him. They are briefly interrupted by Mrs. B coming back but when Ivan heads upstairs, Violet continues to press him and they end up having sex. The next day, Joy goes to leave for her tennis tournament when Michael pulls up to try and talk to her and convinces her to meet him after the tournament. Meanwhile, Mrs. B finds Violet’s dress in Ivan’s bed and takes a call from Gwen, Ivan’s date the night before, and confronts Violet about what she is doing but Violet says she can’t stop her. As Violet is walking the street in her “work outfit”, Michael pulls up and confronts her, saying he lost his job on suspicion of drug use and says he knows about Violet’s family. When Violet taunts Michael, he heads back to the house to look for Joy and finds Violet’s S&M equipment but Violet knocks him out and then gives him a lethal overdose of drugs. When Joy comes home, she is upset about losing the tournament and Michael not showing up and when she notices Violet wearing her mother’s earrings, she tells Violet she needs to find somewhere else to stay. Heading downstairs, she notices Michael’s jacket on the counter and realizing Violet lied to her, drives off to look for him. Ivan returns home and when he sees Violet, he tells her he spoke with Gwen, who told him about the messages she left for him, Violet tells him she did it because she was jealous. Ivan then admits that he never got over her mother and the two kiss. When Joy returns home, she receives a phone call from Michael’s dad, saying that Michael had been found dead and she goes to see her dad, only to find him and Violet practicing S&M. Joy quickly leaves and Ivan says that Violet needs to go but she gets upset with him, saying that he is treating her just like he treated her mom. When Ivan starts having chest problems, he goes to take his heart medication but finds the bottle empty, just as the power cuts out and he is unable to call for help because one of the phones is off the hook. He heads into his car but passes out inside and Violet starts the car, where he ends up dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. Joy returns home and as she tries to get the power back on, discovers the body of Mrs. B. As Joy goes looking for her dad, she encounters Violet, who makes her dress up and join her for tea. As Violet explains that they are going to kill themselves, Joy refuses and the two end up fighting but when the fight takes them to the edge of the stairs, Joy dodges and Violet ends up losing her balance on the edge of the steps. Joy grabs onto the pearl necklace Violet is wearing to keep her from falling and tells Violet to grab her hand but Violet refuses, choosing to lean her head back, causing the necklace to break and she falls down the stairs, breaking her neck during the fall. Joy heads into her room and briefly sits down but then shoves everything off her make up table and decides to leave the house.

Yeh, this is about as bad as I thought it was going to be. The acting was ok but nobody really stood out. I will say that after seeing Athena Massey (Rebecca) in this, it will make playing Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 a little interesting, as she played Eva Lee in the game. The story honestly felt like a hodgepodge of every other drama/thriller that has come out as there wasn’t really anything original to be found in the movie. The pacing was incredibly slow and honestly made the movie kind of drag on longer than it actually was. The thing about this that I find most baffling is that the decided to make another movie years later about 10 years later. Unless you absolutely have to see Jaime Pressly naked, find something else to watch.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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October 28th, 2016 Movie – Dragon Fighter

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One of these days, I am going to stop with my impulse buying of movies. I say that, but I know that it is a lost cause because it will happen again. Anyways, I was on eBay leaving feedback for a recent purchase when today’s movie popped up on my feed of items I might be interested in. Now I remember watching the movie on Sci-Fi/Syfy every now and then and always being entertained by it. So when I saw it was available for cheap, and with free shipping, well that was too good of a deal to pass up. Thus, I find myself watching today’s movie, Dragon Fighter.

The plot: In 1109, a group of knights are riding across the land when they see the burnt remains of a house with a woman clutching a dead baby lying just outside. The woman manages to ask about her baby before she dies from her wounds. When a dragon flies by overhead, the knights chase after it and track it to a mountain cave. The knights attempt to kill the dragon but when it’s fire breath causes a barrel of powder to explode, it ends up causing a cave in which kills all but one of the knights but traps the dragon inside the cave. In the present day, Captain David Carver is flying Dr. Ian Drackovitch to a secret underground research facility. During the flight, David tells Ian that he figured out that the facility is doing cloning experiments due to the high security clearance he was given, as well as all the medical supplies he was bringing in but no test animals for study. When David gets an alert about a problem with the fuel lines, he manages to land safely outside the facility and checks the problem but finds it isn’t serious. Ian leads David inside the facility, where he will be serving as the new head of security and military liaison to the project and they are met by Capt. Sergei Petrov, the current security officer, and Ian asks that Sergei show David around and calls for a team meeting. Sergei shows David to his quarters, where they run into Dr. Meredith Winter, who takes over showing David around and introducing him to the other members of the team; Dr. Greg Travis, Kevin Korisch, Bailey Kent, and Cookie (a deaf cook). During the meeting, Ian informs them that during an excavation in England, they discovered the remains of what appears to be an unknown dinosaur at the same ground level as some human remains and carbon dating tests show that the remains are only 1000 years old. The team is unsure about cloning a dinosaur but David theorizes that it could be a dragon, which most of the team scoffs at. David decides to work on fixing his helicopter in case they need it and Meredith goes to help him. Later, they begin the cloning experiment but are shocked when 3 hours later, the specimen has finished incubating. David asks if there are any weapons and Greg grabs a shotgun, saying that putting down animals is his responsibility. They head into the lab and Ian sends the specimen retrieval team inside to get the specimen but an explosion occurs and they lose the video feed inside the chamber. When their communications to the outside are severed, David grabs the shotgun from Greg and, despite Ian’s protests, Meredith opens the door, where they find the room covered in blood and a giant hole in the back of the wall, but no sign of the two men or the creature. Leaving the room, David goes with Greg to get what weapons they have, which consists of a second shotgun, and the two of them head into the tunnel after the creature, finding themselves in an underground basement. Forced to split up, Greg ends up being killed by the dragon and when David gets there, he tries shooting it but the shotgun has no effect. Running back into the lab with the dragon right behind him, David yells for them to open the door but Meredith is unable to open it. She asks Ian for the override code but he refuses to give it to her until Sergei points a gun at Ian’s head and forces him to do it. Outside the lab, David tells everyone that they are evacuating but Ian argues he is being rash as they have just made history. As David confronts Ian over his comments, they hear the dragon moving around in the chamber above them. David and Sergei head out to see if the elevator is secure before they bring the others with them but when the power is out for the elevator, Sergei goes to restore the power but is attacked by the dragon when it breaks through a nearby wall. David manages to get back to the lab and they notice that the dragon is moving around to where the ventilation system is active in order to stay cool. David asks if they can turn on the ventilation in one area so that the dragon will stay there and allow them to escape but Kevin says it can’t be done without a laptop from his room. When he refuses to go with him, David threatens to cut off his hand and Kevin reluctantly agrees to go. The two men make their way through the underground basement and make their way to Kevin’s room but after getting the laptop, Kevin decides to stay in his room and drink a bottle of scotch. When Kevin turns on his radio, the noise attracts the dragon, which attempts to attack David but he manages to get away although the laptop is burned. The dragon then heads to Kevin’s room and strikes the door and Kevin, thinking it is David opens it but sees nothing there at first but after closing it, he gets into a drunken anger over David threatening him and he opens it again only to find the dragon there, which kills him. David returns to the lab and they work on luring the dragon away from them but when they divert the ventilation from the lab, a warning goes off and Ian tells them that they have to cool the reactor or it will go critical and explode. David feels like that is a good thing as it will kill the dragon while they escape but Ian grabs the shotgun and shoots out the control board, trapping them unless David reroutes the power from another terminal. David has Cookie, who is not deaf but only lied about it to get a job, help him take off the ventilation panel and he makes his way through the vents to the auxiliary panel so he can restore the power but when he is attacked by the dragon, he is forced to hide in Ian’s room, where he discovers evidence that Ian knew what they were cloning all along. When he returns, he confronts Ian about what he found and Ian said that he felt the risk was worth the sacrifices. As the dragon heads off to the far side of the complex, David heads out to the elevator and the others follow, with Meredith stopping to grab one of the cloned dogs on her way out of the lab. They get in the elevator but the dragon knocks out the power, trapping them on the bottom floor. David tells them they have to climb out and Meredith follows him but the dragon appears and attacks the elevator. Ian manages to climb out but the doors open and the dragon kills Bailey and Cookie. David, Meredith, and Ian climb up the elevator shaft and take off in the helicopter just before the facility explodes, but unknown to them, the dragon had followed them up the shaft and escaped before the explosion. When the dragon starts attacking them in the air, Ian opens the side door to try and get a better look but ends up being thrown from the helicopter when the dragon attacks it. David manages to call the base for reinforcements and some fighter jets show up but the dragon manages to take out two of them. Since the jets are unable to get a lock on the dragon, David dumps his fuel onto the dragon then ignites it with a flare gun, allowing the jets to use a heat seeking missile to kill the dragon. Out of fuel, David manages to safely land the helicopter in a clearing and as they celebrate being alive, they end up deciding to go out for dinner. Meanwhile, a military clean up crew is sweeping the facility for biological materials when they discover a second cloning lab 100 feet underneath the first one, where another dragon specimen has come alive and attacks them.

An entertaining movie, mostly because of some of the ridiculousness in it. The acting was decent and while Dean Cain was the star, I personally liked Robert Zachar a lot better, as he did a good job playing the self-serving Ian. The story was interesting, although it really felt like a a cheap Jurassic Park knock-off. One thing that I was a little annoyed with was a small sub-plot of Ian seeing what happened to Kevin but not telling anyone, but they never really had any follow-up with it. The dragon looked pretty good but some of the other special effects were pretty bad, like the opening shot of Dean Cain flying the helicopter. Several of the cutaways and the multiple camera angles overlapping in one scene also got very annoying very quickly. Good for some quick entertainment if you have the time to kill.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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October 27th, 2016 Movie -Poison Ivy II: Lily

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The second movie in the Poison Ivy franchise also happens to be the second movie that Alyssa Milano made to try and break the “good girl/child star” image she earned from Who’s The Boss. Now I will admit to watching this years ago (wow, it’s been 20 years) on Showtime and honestly not being really impressed with it, but I was just a stupid teenager back then. And while I can still be stupid at times, I am an adult now so maybe there was something in this movie I just didn’t get during my earlier viewing that will make it more enjoyable. Let’s find out as I watch today’s movie, Poison Ivy II: Lily.

The plot: Lily Leonetti is a shy girl from Michigan that is attending art school in California, though she has missed the first 2 weeks of class due to a family emergency. After attending classes, she heads to the apartment she is staying at, where one of the tenants, Gredin, helps her with her bags, while she meets the other roommates, Tanta, Bridgette, and Robert, inside. The next morning she receives a phone call from her parents, which she ends early to avoid getting in an argument with her mom about her choice to go to California. As she is moving things around in her closet, she finds a box of pictures, clothes, and a diary belonging to a girl named Ivy and she starts to read them. In class, Lily’s teacher, Donald Falk, is trying to get Lily to express herself more in her drawings but Gredin, who is also in the class, ends up embarrassing her and causing Lily to run from the class. Back at the apartment, Lily receives a call from someone hiring her as a babysitter and she tells Tanya, who has become her friend, the news. Gredin shows up to apologize to Lily and takes her out back to show her his sculpture and the two end up talking when Gredin starts kissing Lily and she quickly leaves. As Lily starts reading more and more of Ivy’s journal, she starts imagining herself as Ivy and decides to cut her hair to look more like her. Walking around the campus, she briefly talks with Gredin before heading in an art gallery, where she is approached by Donald. Donald speaks with Lily briefly before introducing Lily to his wife Angela, who had hired Lily as their babysitter. At the Falk’s home, Lily is playing hide and seek with their daughter, Daphna, and notices all the pictures that Angela has taken while Daphna says that her daddy doesn’t paint anymore because it makes him crazy. Donald takes her home and that night, Lily talks with Gredin and the two end up having sex. The next day, Lily goes to Donald’s office to get help with her drawings and comments about his teaching art but not wanting to paint anymore. When Lily proposes to help Donald overcome his fears as a way of helping her overcome her own, Donald agrees and has her pose semi-nude for him. Gredin gets jealous over the amount of time she is spending with Donald but she refuses to stop. When she sees Bridgette acting flirty with Gredin, Lily decides to make some more changes to herself, including getting her belly button pierced and starting to smoke. At a Halloween party in their apartment, Lily dresses up and ends up dancing with a masked man, which she does to try and make Gredin jealous, but when she kisses the guy, it turns out to be Robert, who quickly leaves. Gredin then approaches Lily and as the two dance, they start kissing, unaware of the fact that Donald is outside watching them, having grown obsessed with Lily. Lily and Gredin have sex and Gredin stays the night in Lily’s room but the next day, they get in an argument and he leaves, saying she has changed too much. Meanwhile, Angela shows up at Donald’s office to bring him lunch and notices his portrait of Lily and accuses him of sleeping with her and leaves. When Lily shows up, Donald asks about her an Gredin but when Lily starts to leave, he stops her and begins kissing her. Lilly tries telling him to stop but he leads her to a chaise lounge sofa and begins kissing and attempting to seduce her but when someone rings the doorbell for the office, Lily uses the opportunity to get her clothes back on and leave. Later that night, Gredin gives Lily a lift back to the apartment and she apologizes to him for how she has been acting and the two get back together. Some time later, Lily is invited to dinner at the Falk’s house and brings Gredin with her, which upsets Donald. After dinner, Donald goes to tuck Daphna into bed, and Lily accompanies him at Daphna’s request while Angela and Gredin work on cleaning up the dishes. After tucking in Daphna, Donald grabs Lily and starts to sexually assault her but Daphna and Angela catches him. Daphna runs out of the house and ends up getting hit by a car, and Lily is horrified by what happened and runs back to her apartment. When she gets there, she starts tearing up everything that has to do with Ivy. Gredin shows up and says that Daphna is going to be ok but as he leaves Lily’s room, he is attacked by Donald. Donald enters Lily’s room and says she can’t leave him. Gredin tries to stop Donald but Donald, in his manic state, overpowers him and attempts to stab him with a pair of scissiors but Lily manages to hit Donald with a board, causing him to drop the scissors. Lily runs out of the room and Donald follows after knocking out Gredin and attacking Robert, who informed Donald that he had called the police. On the roof, Donald grabs Lily then starts backing towards the edge but as he slips and falls off, he grabs onto Lily to keep from falling but Gredin pulls her away and Donald falls to his death. A few days later, Lily approaches Gredin and starts explaining what she was going through and is considering going back to Michigan but wanted to say that she loves him. Gredin tells her he loves her too and the two embrace and kiss underneath Gredin’s sculpture.

Poison Ivy II: Lily met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the mojority of the critics felt like this was nothing more than softcore porn cashing in on Alyssa Milano’s name recognition. The director of this movie, Anne Goursaud, also directed Alyssa in Embrace Of The Vampire and worried that this wouldn’t be as daring of a film so they decided to make Johnathon Schaech (Gredin) the main sex symbol. Goursaud admitted that the movie had mostly male fans but did also have it’s share of female fans, which helped it do well in video sales.

Well, nothing much has changed regarding this movie in the years between viewings. I thought it was bad then and I think it is bad now. The acting was pretty stale all around, with Alyssa Milano doing a decent job in her role and showing the various changes she made as her character progressed but everyone else honestly felt completely stale and flat, especially Xander Berkeley, who honestly didn’t seem to change any from his normal self at the start of the movie to the more manic, obsessed self towards the end. The story was completely unoriginal and did absolutely nothing to really draw viewers in except for the possibility of sex. There were several random sub plots that are never explained and just seem to be disregarded at the end of the movie. Honestly not worth watching.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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October 26th, 2016 Movie – Poison Ivy

poison-ivy

I think I have a problem when it comes to buying movies for cheap. Well, actually, I don’t have that much of a problem anymore since Blockbuster isn’t around anymore. Anyways, this is another result of my tendency to wander around Blockbuster as they were going out of business while I was bored. For some reason when I passed by this movie and it’s sequels (well, two of them at least), it sparked a memory of watching the preview for this movie on the old PPV channels and for some reason, I decided to buy them. So here is today’s movie, Poison Ivy.

The plot: At a local teenage hangout, Sylvie Cooper is writing in a book while thinking about a girl, Ivy, swinging on a swing. She finds it odd that the girl is there because none of her friends know the girl. Suddenly, a boy comes up and tells them a dog got hit by a car and all of the kids run off to see it. As Sylvie kneels by the injured dog, someone says they should put it out of it’s misery and Ivy does just that, smashing the dog’s head with a pipe. The next day, Sylvie is sitting in the schools office for calling in a bomb threat to the TV station her dad, Darryl Cooper, works at when Ivy walks in and they start talking. When Sylvie’s dad shows up to pick her up, he chastises her for what she did, saying he almost lost his job over it, and as they go to leave, Ivy knocks on the car window and asks if she can get a ride. Darryl initially says no but Sylvie convinces him to give her a ride, and then goes to get in the back seat because Ivy said she gets car sick. As they are driving along, Sylvie and Ivy are talking about a school project they have to do, while Ivy is subtly teasing Darryl by constantly propping her feet on the dash, allowing her miniskirt to ride up so he can see her legs. The next day, Ivy is on the rope swing again when she loses one of her boots, which Sylvie points out when she gets there. Ivy tries to get Sylvie on the swing but Sylvie refuses and says she has to go as she is grounded. The two head towards Sylvie’s house, talking about their families as they do, and when they get there, Sylvie invites Ivy inside but says to be quiet as her mom, Georgie, is sick. As Sylvie shows Ivy around, the attract the attention of Georgie, who tells Sylvie she doesn’t want her hanging out with Ivy but Ivy ends up talking with Georgie after fixing her oxygen mask and Georgie warms up to her. As time goes on, Ivy starts hanging out at Sylvie’s house more and more, becoming part of their lives. Georgie starts treating her like a second daughter, while Darryl starts to notice her more and more. After her parents start arguing one morning, Sylvie decides to skip school and do something reckless so Ivy grabs her hand and convinces her to get a tattoo with her, saying it will make them blood sisters. When they return home, they find Georgie on the edge of the balcony and Sylvie asks her mom what she was thinking as Ivy helps Georgie back in her bed. A few days later, Darryl is hosting a dinner party and Sylvie had promised to help him with it but when Sylvie’s boss at a charity center shows up to pick up Sylvie for a trip, Sylvie learns that Ivy had taken the call and said she could work that day. When Darryl hears what is going on, Ivy offers to help at the party as a way of making up for things and Darryl agrees, telling Sylvie to go. That night, Ivy wears one of Georgie’s dresses and impresses many of the guests, as well as Darryl. After everyone leaves, Ivy is dancing by herself in the kitchen when Darryl walks in and begins danging with her while kissing her neck. Suddenly, the lights turn on and the two turn to see Georgie standing there calling herself a fool. Darryl takes her back to her bed and talks with her and Ivy brings her a glass of champagne and apologizes, saying that Darryl was only hugging her as he cried. Georgie accepts the apology and drinks the champagne, then immediately falls asleep due to the pills Ivy placed in the glass and then Ivy sits on the bed in front of Darryl and he starts kissing up her legs. The next day, Sylvie gets upset when she finds Ivy sitting in her mom’s car with her dog, Fred, and believes Ivy is trying to steal her dog from her, who has only been loyal to Sylvie in the past. She has Ivy stand at the other end of the driveway, and the two start calling out to Fred but Ivy rattles some dog treats she has in her pocket, which she has secretly been feeding Fred, and Fred comes running to her and ignores Sylvie. Sylvie decides to skip school and when Darryl shows up to give the girls a ride home, Ivy says that Sylvie isn’t there and he tells Ivy to get in the car. They drive off and eventually end up out in the woods, where they end up having sex on the hood of Darryl’s car while it is raining. The next day, Georgie is listening to a tape that Sylvie had made her and standing out on the balcony when Ivy comes up behind her and pushes her off the edge, then hides when Sylvie comes in the room looking for her mom. After the funeral, Sylvie complains to Ivy about not being able to say some things to her mom that she wanted to and when she finds Ivy in her mom’s bed that night, she gets upset at first but Ivy has her lay down and pretend she is her mom and say what she wants to say. The next day, Sylvie is washing her mom’s old sports car and Ivy convinces her to go for a drive in it with the urn carrying her mother’s ashes. As they are driving, Ivy starts humming the song from the tape and Sylvie realizes that Ivy was in her mom’s room and questions Ivy about it. The two start arguing and Ivy ends up crashing into a tree, then quickly drags an unconscious Sylvie into the driver’s seat so that it looked like she was driving. Darryl, who had been replaced at the TV station, shows up at the hospital and is told that Sylvie is being kept for observation as she has been hallucinating. Sylvie tries to tell her dad that Ivy killed her mom but Darryl doesn’t believe her, saying that Georgie committed suicide like she had talked about for years. That night, Sylvie has a hallucination of her mom holding the necklace her dad gave her and she sneaks out of the hospital and hitches a ride back home. When she gets there, she finds Fred chained up outside and sneaks in only to find Darryl and Ivy having sex. When the two spot her, Sylvie runs off and Darryl chases after her but slips on the stairs due to the rain. When Ivy goes to check on him, Darryl notices the bruise on Ivy’s chest and realizes that Sylvie was telling the truth about Ivy driving and drives off to look for her. Heading back inside, Ivy puts on Georgie’s robe and starts listening to the tape that Sylvie made then heads out to the balcony. Sylvie, who had been hiding, sees her and, due to the head injury, believes it is her mom and makes her way back inside and tells her mom that she loves her. When her mom says she loves her too and kisses her, Sylvie realizes that it is Ivy when she uses her tongue. Sylvie says that Ivy killed her mom and pushes her off the balcony but as Ivy teeters on the edge, she grabs onto Sylvie’s necklace and says she will take Sylvie with her but the necklace breaks and Ivy falls to her death. As the light from Darryl’s headlights shine on Ivy’s body, Sylvie narrates that she still loves and misses her, not indicating if she is speaking about her mother or Ivy.

Poison Ivy met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 37% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics seemed to feel that it was either a trumped up teen sleaze thriller or a daring, savvy drama. The movie debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and immediately became controversial, in part due to the fact that the director was female. It only received a limited release in theaters, where it made over $1.8 million, but due to word of mouth, became a big hit on cable and video rentals and would result in three direct to video sequels being filmed.

This was a pretty interesting movie to watch. The acting was good, with Drew Barrymore (Ivy) and Tom Skerritt (Darryl) doing a good job in their roles and I also liked Cheryl Ladd (Georgie) but I felt like Sara Gilbert was just playing her character of Darlene from Roseanne instead of someone new. The story was interesting, made more-so by the fact that it was supposedly based on a real event in the producer’s life. I do understand the controversy regarding the casting, since both Drew and Sara were 17 when this was released, but I think the fact that they were so young actually gave more impact to their roles. That being said, a lot of the story felt like something out of a bad teenage drama, meaning it was a little weak. Probably worth watching once but there are better wannabe noir thrillers out there.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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October 25th, 2016 Movie – Platoon

platoon

So this is something that is a little outside my norm as it comes to my movie owning. See, while I watch them from time to time, I generally don’t buy a lot of war movies. Actually, this might be the only war movie I own that does not have some sort of sci-fi or fantasy twist to it. Now I had seen this movie before and the main thing that I remember from the movie was Barber’s Adagio for Strings, mainly because I was in orchestra throughout junior high and high school and I played that piece many, many times. Then I was wandering around Target or Wal-Mart (honestly don’t remember which store) and saw a copy of the DVD in the bargain bin for $5 and decided what the heck. So here is to a random impulse buy as I watch today’s movie, Platoon.

The plot: In September 1967, US Army volunteer Chris Taylor arrives in Vietnam near the Cambodian border and is assigned to a platoon led by Lt. Wolfe, though Wolfe himself defers to Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Elias, two of the more veteran soldiers in his unit. When the platoon had been in the field for a week, Barnes and Sgt. O’Neil arrive at the officers’ meeting with news of NVA movement. Wolfe asks Barnes for his recommendations and Barnes ends up giving out orders to everyone, after which Wolfe tells Barnes that he should be the one giving orders in front of the men. Chris is assigned to a nighttime ambush led by Elias and O’Neil and after taking his shift on watch, he wakes up Junior, the next man on guard duty, and gets some sleep. Sometime later, Chris wakes up and realizes that Junior had fallen asleep and he sees some NVA soldiers approaching. When the NVA hit a perimeter trap, a firefight ensues and Chris ends up getting grazed in the neck while another new recruit, Gardner, is killed and a third man loses his hand. When the fighting stops, Barnes blames Chris for falling asleep at his post, despite Chris saying that it was Junior’s turn at watch. Chris is sent to the hospital for a few days and when he comes back, he makes friends with King, who has Chris join him that night with some of the other guys that smoke marijuana, including Elias Big Harold. The next day, the platoon heads out on patrol and discovers a NVA bunker and stops to investigate it. Elias crawls down into a tunnel and finds a dead NVA soldier and shoots another one further down the tunnel. One of the soldiers finds some maps in a drop box but when he goes to move it, triggers a booby trap, killing himself and another soldier. Wolfe radios for support and then tells Elias to leave 4 men at the bunker site as they have been ordered to investigate a village up ahead. At the village, they find evidence that the NVA was using the village as a supply depot and Barnes interrogates the village chief and ends up shooting his wife. When Barnes threatens the chief’s daughter, Elias shows up and ends up fighting with Barnes until it is broken up by Wolfe, who tells them they are ordered to torch the village. As the soldiers start setting the village, and the supplies, on fire, Chris sees some of Barnes’ men attempting to rape two girls and quickly breaks it up. Returning to base camp, Barnes and Elias tell the company commander, Captain Harris, their version of what happens and Harris tells them that there will be an investigation and if there was an illegal kill, there will be a court martial but right now he needs every man in the field and orders the two men to quit the hostilities between them. On their next patrol, the soldiers end up getting ambushed and several men are wounded. As Wolfe starts ordering in an artillery strike, Elias tells him that they will be caught in a crossfire and takes three men, including Chris, to go with him and stop the NVA from flanking them. Wolfe accidentally orders the artillery strike on the men’s position, causing several more men to be wounded or killed and Barnes yells at Wolfe before ordering the men to fall back while he goes to get Elias and the others. Meanwhile, Elias has Chris and the others position themselves and then heads off alone down river. When the NVA appear, Chris and the others start shooting, killing three of them and scaring the others off but one of the soldiers is wounded. Barnes shows up and tells them to fall back while he gets Elias but when Barnes runs into Elias, he shoots him and leaves him for dead, telling Chris that the NVA killed him when BArnes runs into him. As the helicopters arrive to take the men out of there, Chris sees Elias being chased by the NVA soldiers and though the helicopter turns around to try and rescue him, he ends up being killed. Chris sees Barnes expression and, realizing that Barnes left Elias to die, tries to get some of Elias’ men to get revenge on Barnes. A drunken Barnes overhears the conversation and mocks them for believing Elias’ take on the war. Chris attacks Barnes but is quickly overpowered and Barnes threatens to kill him with a push dagger but is talked out of it and cuts him under the eye instead. The platoon is sent back out to maintain a defensive position after a recent NVA attack and Chris and the others are assigned to various foxholes around the base perimeter. As several of the soldiers talk about having a bad feeling about this current mission, King is told his orders came through and he says goodbye to Chris and gets on the helicopter so he can go home. That night, the NVA soldiers attack and start overrunning the defensive perimeter, attacking the base camp itself, with a suicide bomber taking out the command tent. With the chance of survival rapidly dwindling, Harris calls in an airstrike on his position while out in the jungle, Chris runs into Barnes and is almost killed as Barnes has gone crazy during the attack but before Barnes can kill him, they are rendered unconscious by the blast from the airstrike. When Chris comes too, he grabs an enemy weapon and approaches Barnes, who asks him to call a medic but when he sees Chris not moving, tells him to go ahead and Chris shoots him. As the soldiers go through to check for survivors and take Chris back to the camp, he sees Francis, who had stabbed himself in the leg before he was found, and Francis tells him that since they have been wounded twice, they are going to be sent home. As Chris is loaded into the helicopter, he sees some of the other survivors and waves to his friends. As the helicopter flies over a crater filled with dead bodies, Chris thinks about everything that happened while he was out there and says it is up to those that survived the war to rebuild and find meaning to this life.

Platoon was highly praised by the critics, currently holding a certified fresh rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Informed by director Oliver Stone’s personal experiences in Vietnam, Platoon forgoes easy sermonizing in favor of a harrowing, ground-level view of war, bolstered by no-holds-barred performances from Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe.” Platoon was the first Hollywood movie about the Vietnam War to be written and directed by someone who actually served in the war. The movie was a box office smash, earning $138.5 million off of a $6 million budget and wound up winning 4 out of the 7 Academy Awards that it was nominated for, including Best Picture and Best Director.

This was a very dark and gritty movie that really did deserve the awards it earned. The acting was really good, with Tom Berenger (Barnes)  and William Dafoe (Elias) were both great in their roles, especially serving as opposing role models that help form Charlie Sheen’s character of Chris. The story was really good and you could really feel Oliver Stone’s own experiences in the war being shown in Chris’ experiences in the field. The battle scenes were brief at times but very intense, made all the more haunting because of Adagio being played during the firefights. The scene were William Dafoe is being chased by the NVA and falls as he is shot, gets up on his knees and yells out while lifting his arms in the air before falling dead is one of the more iconic scenes from the 80’s. Definitely a movie that is well worth watching.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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