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November 30th, 2016 Movie – Raging Sharks

raging-sharks

The last day of November and we get to play another round of one of my favorite movie games, “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Or Can He?”. Yes, today’s movie stars Corin Nemec which means I get to enjoy watching and seeing if he lives or dies during the movie. So far, in the 4 movies that he stars in and I have already watched for this blog, he has a pretty good record of 3-1 for Not Losing. But will he be able to improve that record with today’s movie, Raging Sharks? Let’s find out.

The plot: In outer space, a space ship collides with a space station, causing them both to explode and sending a container hurtling through space. The container eventually falls to Earth, where it crashes through a tanker ship before plunging deep into the ocean in the Bermuda Triangle. 5 years later, Dr. Mike Olsen and his wife Linda are heading up an underwater expedition in the area inside their underwater lab, Oshana. They notice some magnetic spikes in the area and an increased number of sharks but are unable to find any other results due to their outdated equipment. Mike is preparing to head to the surface for a meeting and talks with Linda about quitting what they are doing and settling down to start a family and Linda says they will talk about it more when he gets back. As one of the scientists, Jonas, studies some strange orange crystals that were found outside, two maintenance workers head outside to make some repairs. When a group of sharks attack the divers, Linda goes outside to try and help them but is too late and manages to stab one of the sharks in the eye and make it back inside before she is killed as well. Vera tries to radio to their support vessel, the Paradiso, but the sharks chew through the support cables, cutting off the radio and oxygen supply. In Boston, Mike is heading towards his meeting when he hears about the incident and is told to head to the docks to board a submarine, the U.S.S. Roosevelt, in order to head back and rescue the rest of the crew on the Oshana. On board, he meets with Captain Riley, who is not happy about his sub being used for the mission, as well as Ben Stiles, who works for the M.O.A. and is trying to find out if the accident was due to negligence on Mike’s part. Meanwhile, the Paradiso sends a diver down to inspect the cable and he is killed, as is a member of the coast guard when he is knocked off of their plane as it flies over the site. A group of sharks attack some people at a beach in Bermuda but one of the sharks gets caught in some netting and drowns and when the authorities dissect it, they find the same orange crystals in it’s stomach. Elsewhere, a film crew hears about the shark attack and heads towards the area in a boat but the sharks attack and sink their boat, then kill the film crew. Hearing about the shark attack, Mike asks for the test results to be sent to him and learns that they contain unknown elements. Reaching the Oshana, Mike learns that the Roosevelt doesn’t have any rescue apparatus and prepares to swim out to the Oshana along with Stiles, who threatens to have Mike detained if he doesn’t allow him to go. As they make their way towards the Oshana, Stiles starts taking pictures of the sharks activity, which causes the sharks to swim towards them and they are nearly attacked but manage to make it inside. Once inside, Mike tells everyone that they are abandoning the station and starts having them back-up all of their data so they can head towards the Roosevelt. When a surge from the container causes some of the Roosevelts systems to malfunction and preventing them from opening any hatch for 35 minutes,
Mike and another crew member, Carlo, are forced to go out to fix their oxygen reserves as they only have 20 minutes of air left. Taking one of their mini sub outside, they attempt to make the repairs but the sharks attack them, killing Carlo and trapping Mike in a reef. Mike has Linda send a message to the Roosevelt, asking them to fire a torpedo into the sharks in order to give Mike a chance at escaping and they reluctantly do. Mike survives the blast but as he is heading back to the Oshana, he notices the cylinder and takes a sample of the crystals back with him. Back on board, Mike argues with the chief engineer Harvey, who has a panic attack and steals the last mini sub to attempt to escape but he is attacked by the sharks and killed. Realizing that Stiles has disappeared, Mike asks Riley to make a call to the M.O.A. to find out about him. Meanwhile, Jonas examines the crystals Mike brought back and learns that they are stabilized cold fusion but when Mike and Linda get up to the room, they find Jonas is dead. When Riley contacts Mike to tell him that the M.O.A. has never heard of Stiles, Stiles suddenly appears and begins shooting at them, revealing himself to be military intelligence and that his mission is to silence the Oshana team. Stiles kills Vera, then Lou when he attacks him, and though Mike and Linda manage to get away, he grabs Simona but when he learns that she can’t help him escape, Stiles traps her in a room as it floods. With their oxygen running low, Mike and Linda fight with Stiles and eventually manage to kill him but with the Roosevelt ordered to leave, they resign themselves to their fate and sit back to die. Suddenly, a spaceship appears in the water and Mike sees two aliens on the oceans floor retrieving the cylinder and then flying off before the Oshana explodes. Riley tells the crew about the destruction of the Oshana but they are surprised when Mike suddenly begins knocking on the hatch and drags an unconscious Linda inside with him. After reviving Linda, Mike asks Riley if he saw the aliens and theorizes that the sharks were protecting the cylinder but Riley doesn’t believe him, thinking he is merely suffering from oxygen depletion, but Linda says she believes him as the two embrace.

Once again, Parker Lewis can’t lose. This was an entertaining movie for me to watch, for a number of reasons. The acting was pretty decent, with Corin Nemec (Mike) doing a good job in his role, as did Vanessa Angel (Linda) and Corbin Bernsen (Riley) but I thought Todd Jensen (Stiles) was too stiff in his role. The story was a little odd but I understand why they made the addition of the alien angle in order to explain the sharks acting as they did. The special effects were decent and the camp factor that you would expect in a low budget movie wasn’t as prevalent as I had hoped. Personally, one of my favorite parts of this movie is how they reused some footage from some of the other shark movies that Nu Image Films made, somewhat similar to how Raptor (which also starred Cobin Bernsen) used footage from the three Carnosaur movies. One of my favorite instances of this involved the scene with the film crew, where they reused footage from Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, but had new actors in the close ups wearing similar clothes as the people in the old footage so it did not look too bad, so long as you disregard the whole gender swapping that occurred with some of the characters. A decent sci-fi shark movie to watch if you have some time to kill, but there are some better ones out there, both in quality and campiness.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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November 29th, 2016 Movie – R.O.T.O.R.

rotor

Ahhh, the sound of rain. Something I haven’t hear in quite some time around here and all I can think about is how much I am not looking forward to going to work this morning. However, that is not for a couple of hours so instead, I am going to focus on today’s movie. As the year starts winding down I find myself at the letter “R” and what better way to start than with a robotic killer. Robots have always been a major factor in the sci-fi genre for decades and of course, it only makes sense to have several robot themed movies in the Sci-Fi Invasion box set. So let’s see how good of a movie I have today as I watch R.O.T.O.R.

The plot: A couple is driving along the road towards Lake Dallas when they hear an explosion and see two injured people, a man carrying a woman, emerging from the smoke. The man sets the woman down and asks the couple to call 911 but as they do, a hunter approaches the scene and points his shotgun at the injured man, saying that he had killed a motorcycle cop. When the police arrive, they take the man, Dr. Barrett Colyron, to Division, where he is questioned about what happens and Coldyron starts telling them what happened. Coldyron works for the police department in their robotics lab and attends a meeting where he showcases a prototype for a robotic police officer, dubbed R.O.T.O.R.,  that is able to learn in order to make it more effective. As the meeting winds down, Coldyron receives a call from Division Commander Earl Bugler, who tells him that he had received a call from their benefactor, Senator Donald D. Douglas, who wanted a progress report on their project. Bugler told the Senator that everything was on schedule but the Senator wants product to be ready in 60 days, so he can use it to help get into the White House. Coldyron tells Bugler that they are years from a finished product and that it can’t be done so Bugler fires Coldyron and puts his assistant, Dr. Houghtaling in charge of the project. Houghtaling tries to finish work on the project with the help of his robot, Willard, but unknown to them, a accident causes a surge in the system which ends up sending an impulse signal to R.O.T.O.R. Meanwhile, Coldyron meets up with his girlfriend Penny and then heads to the mini mart to get some items for dinner, when he observes some men preparing to rob the store and he proceeds to break up the robbery, killing one of the men who has taken a hostage. As Coldyron waits for the police to finish up with the crime scene, he is approached by Mokie Killion, a street cop, who has Coldyron sign the form and says he will fill it out, then tells Coldyron to stick to the labs and leave the streets to him. Back at the robotics lab, the R.O.T.O.R. unit has activated and dressing up in a police officers uniform, it steals the prototype bike meant for it and drives off into the night. Meanwhile, Hougtaling and Wilbur are trying to figure out how the battery packs in the vault were drained and decide to shut everything down and start fresh in the morning, not seeing the monitor showing that R.O.T.O.R. was active. Greg Hutchinson and his fiance Sonya Garren are driving along a deserted road outside of Dallas when they speed past the R.O.T.O.R. unit, which starts to follow them. When they get into an argument and pull over, R.O.T.O.R. stops and approaches them. Greg approaches R.O.T.O.R., expecting to receive a ticket, but R.O.T.O.R. shoots him and Greg falls forward, managing to rip the name tag off of R.O.T.O.R.’s uniform. R.O.T.O.R. approaches the car to kill Sonya but she presses down on the horn, which cause R.O.T.O.R. severe pain long enough for her to escape. After R.O.T.O.R. chases her down and attempts to attack her again, Sonya manages to lose it and calls the police but says she is unable to stay where she is and instead, tells them where she is headed so that they can find her. Meanwhile, a police officer arrives on the scene of Greg’s murder and after finding the name tag, calls Coldyron after his name comes up when they run the tag through the computer. Coldyron heads to the lab and tries to figure out what happened, even calling Wilbur to learn what happened after he left. Coldyron then calls Butler and tells him that the Senator got his wish early but it is out of control and has already killed one person. Sonya stops at a late night diner and order some coffee but R.O.T.O.R. shows up, attacking the cook before making his way into the restaurant to try and attack Sonya. Sonya manages to escape as R.O.T.O.R. makes it’s way through anyone that tries to help her. Coldyron shows up and tries to save Sonya, but he is overpowered by R.O.T.O.R. Sonya manages to escape and when R.O.T.O.R. moves to kill Coldyron, he is stopped when Coldyron holds up the deactivation key and chooses to chase after Sonya again, but not before Coldyron damages the motorcycle. Coldyron contacts Sonya and tells her to head towards Lake Dallas and hide there while he gets help in dealing with R.O.T.O.R., then contacts Dr. Steele, who designed R.O.T.O.R.’s chasis. Steele flies up from Houston and Coldyron picks her up and they discuss what they can do to stop R.O.T.O.R. Meanwhile, R.O.T.O.R. catches up to Sonya near the lake and she forces him off the road, then starts running through the woods towards the lake and gets on a boat but R.O.T.O.R. drags the boat back to shore. As R.O.T.O.R. prepares to shoot her, Steele shoots it in the back and starts fighting with it while Coldyron gets Sonya to safety. Coldyron uses the deactivation key to try and stop R.O.T.O.R. but when it fails, Steele continues fighting it while he has Sonya throw him his bag of detonating cords. Steele manages to pry open R.O.T.O.R.’s chest plate to expose it’s battery but is killed in the process. With Sonya’s help, Coldyron manages to trap R.O.T.O.R. with the detonating cord and sets it off, causing the robot to explode into pieces. Back at Division Headquarters, Coldyron finishes his report and leaves but is shot in the back by Butler. Some time later, Coldyron’s nephew, Brett, inherits all of Coldyron’s papers and notes about R.O.T.O.R. and starts work on a new unit, R.O.T.O.R. II, which is made to look like Steele.

You know, I read the reviews where some people call this a bad rip-off of Terminator or Robocop, and I have to agree with them on that. This was a pretty bad movie because you absolutely could not think anything else than how much of a rip-off this was. The acting was incredibly stiff and almost as robotic as the main killer. Especially bad was the dubbing job for Coldyron, who was played by Richard Gesswein but voiced by Loren Bivens, as there are several times where the voice was coming out while Coldyron’s mouth wasn’t moving. The plot really did seem a lot like Terminator, with a robot relentlessly pursuing a girl so it can kill her. In fact, all you really needed was some time travel and this would be The Terminator. As for the Robocop similarities, those were basically seen in the premise for R.O.T.O.R., that being a futuristic style cop to handle crimes and keep more people safe. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects, outside of some bad light effects but the action scenes were very poorly done and so slow paced that they were painful to watch. There are hundreds of robot movies out there so you really won’t be missing anything by not watching this one.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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November 28th, 2016 Movie – The Quiet

the-quiet

You know what I need more of in my life? Drama. I definitely need more drama in my life. Actually, that is an outright lie as I could actually use some less drama in my life. However, while I would like less real life drama, I actually do enjoy a good dramatic movie. Now today’s movie is a little known drama that I happened to stumble across years ago during a random Blockbuster outing. Not sure why exactly I got it but let’s see if it was worth getting as I watch today’s movie, The Quiet.

The plot: Dot is a deaf mute girl who has been sent to live with her godparents, Paul and Olivia Deer, after her father died in a car crash. Their daughter Nina is not happy about taking Dot in and, along with her friend Michelle, constantly teases and insults Dot. Meanwhile, Paul and Olivia are having their own problems and are constantly arguing about one thing or another. The next day at school, Dot is partnered up with Connor in their biology class, which upsets Michelle because she wants to sleep with him. Later in the day, she ducks into an empty music room and begins playing the piano unaware that Connor sees her as he walks by the classroom. That night, as her inner monologue explains how he died, Dot takes the box that contains her father’s ashes and, after sticking her finger’s in the bag, rubs some of them on her face in an attempt to stay close to her father. Dot goes to the bathroom to wash the ashes off but as she returns to bed, she sees Paul and Nina in Nina’s room and quickly runs back to bed. The next night, Nina says she is going to the movies with some of her friends then staying over at Michelle’s house and Paul gets upset about her not being home. Dot asks to go to the movie as well but sits by herself and watches as Nina and her friends watch the movie. That night, Dot sees Paul heading towards her room and pretends to be asleep when he enters. He sits on the bed and says that he is sick and had hoped that taking Dot in would make things better but it does not seem to be working. The next day, Michelle is pressuring Nina to sneak out of the house and meet up with her, Connor, and another friend, who wants to sleep with Nina, but Nina is reluctant to commit to doing it. After school, Dot is at home playing on the piano when the one of the piano wires snap, causing her to curse out loud. Nina, who had come home and was listening to Dot play, hears this and ducks out of sight, then goes back to the door and opens and closes it loudly to alert Dot she is there. The next day at lunch, Nina sits next to Dot and, knowing that she can hear her, begins talking to her, admitting to having an incestuous relationship with her father but tells Dot that she wants to kill Paul because she hates what he is doing with her and how controlling he is. Later on, Connor interrupts Dot as she is playing the school’s piano to talk about their lab report but Dot quickly hands him the report and runs off. That night during dinner, Connor shows up at the house and asks to take Dot to the library to work on their report and Paul, learning that Connor is not interested in Nina, agrees to let her go, which upsets Nina. Meanwhile, Michelle shows up with a bag, which Nina quickly hides in her backpack but Dot sees her do this and thinks it is a gun that Nina had mentioned. Dot goes with Connor but is nervous and when she sees an ambulance go by, she rushes home. Seeing the backpack on a chair, Dot opens it and finds that the bag contains a bunch of movies. Heading towards Nina’s room, she hears Nina and Paul talking and purposefully breaks a statue in order to keep Paul away from her, then climbs into bed to comfort Nina later that night. The next day, Nina tells Dot that she plans on burning Paul with her iron after the basketball game. Nina starts to call Child Welfare Services but can’t bring herself to talk so she goes to the game to keep an eye on Nina. Meanwhile, Olivia is taking some pills which makes her loopy and she undresses in front of Paul but he is too busy ranting about Nina and ends up ignoring her. After the game, Dot grabs Connor and takes him to the school pool and after Connor talks with her for a while, she takes her shirt off and proceeds to have sex with him. Nina returns home and Paul surprises her with a gift but she tells him she has to iron her cheerleader uniform. When Paul enters the room later, she tells him to close his eyes as she has a surprise for him, then gets the iron right up to his face but when they hear Dot returning home, she can’t go through with it. Instead, she tells Paul she is pregnant and that she needs $1000 for the abortion, which he says he will get for her tomorrow. The next day, Connor invites Dot to the school dance, which upsets Michelle, but when Dot tells him no, he grabs her as she walks away and tells her that he is taking her to the dance. Nina gives Dot a dress to wear for the dance but when Dot still refuses to go, Nina wonders why and asks to know how she does it. As the time for the dance draws closer, Paul goes to Nina’s room to give her the money but as he goes to put it in her purse, he notices tampons in there and realizes she lied about being pregnant. Paul confronts Nina about this and ends up assaulting her and attempts to rape her when he realizes she planned on leaving. Dot, who had been playing the piano, hears Nina’s screams and, grabbing the broken piano wire, goes into the room and strangles Paul with it. Nina is shocked and starts yelling at Dot for killing her father but when they see Olivia standing in the doorway in a drugged stupor, Olivia says it is a miracle that Dot could hear. Michelle arrives to pick Nina up for the dance and Nina and Dot go to the dance, taking Nina’s bloody dress in a backpack so they can bury it later. At the dance, Connor dances with Dot but she runs off shortly and he chases after her but when he learns that she can hear and talk, he calls her a psycho, saying what he had told her was private, and storms off. Dot grabs Nina and they run into the woods by the school until they come to a river bank. As they are digging a hole to bury the dress, Dot explains to Nina that she had pretended to be deaf and mute in order to get closer to her dad after her mom died. When they return home, they find the police are there and arresting Olivia and she tells them that she had killed Paul. Olivia then apologizes to Nina, saying she never meant for him to hurt her and begs Nina to forgive her before she is taken away. Nina and Dot go inside the house and the next day, the two girls start playing the piano together.

The Quiet met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “This psychological thriller’s talented cast is undercut by leaden pacing and a problematic plot.” Elisha Cuthbert had signed on for the movie in an attempt to do something more character driven, instead of being typecast in the typical “hot girl” role. The movie had trouble finding a distributor until Sony Pictures picked it up, but they only gave it a limited release, causing it to only earn $381,420 back from it’s $900,000 budget.

This was an interesting, and slightly disturbing movie to watch. The acting was really good, with Elisha Cuthbert (Nina) and Camilla Belle (Dot) both doing a good job in their respective roles. I also thought Martin Donovan (Paul) did a good job but I felt like Edie Falco (Olivia) could have had more of a role in the movie, while Shawn Ashmore (Connor) and Katy Mixon (Michelle) were just annoying. The story was a little confusing because they didn’t do the best job of outright explaining things in the movie, but rather left them to be figured out by the audience. For instance, you are never really told why Olivia is constantly taking medication but it becomes apparent at the end that she was self medicating to either try and forget or at the very least deal with the guilt over what Paul was doing with Nina. Some of the situations with the different teenagers didn’t make a whole lot of sense at times but I just chalked it up to teenagers doing stupid things. A decent movie that is worth giving a chance.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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November 27th, 2016 Movie – Queen OF Outer Space

queen-of-outer-space

Ahh, some classic 50’s B-grade sci-fi. What a way to end the Thanksgiving weekend. Now I will be completely honest in that I had never heard of this movie until I bought it. In fact, the only reason I bought it was because it was part of a collection and I wanted the other two movies in the collection; Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman and The Giant Behemoth. Still, this stars Zsa Zsa Gabor, and as famous as she was, I don’t recall seeing a whole lot of her movies so this would be a fun experience for me. So let’s see what all I have to look forward to with today’s movie, Queen Of Outer Space.

The plot: Astronauts Captain Neal Patterson, Lt. Mike Cruze, and Lt. Larry Turner meet with their commanding officer, who assigns them a mission to escort Professor Konrad to the orbiting space station. The men are a little disappointed, as they wished to take part in the Mars exploration mission, but they get their rocket prepared and once they are all aboard, they take off for the station. As they get close to the station, they notice a strange beam flashing across space around the station before it suddenly strikes the station, blowing it up. When they notice the beam coming towards them, Neal has everyone strap in as he turns on the rocket’s thrusters to maximum but they are eventually hit by the beam and end up crashing on a strange, snow-covered planet. When they come too, they try to figure out where they are and Konrad has a theory but wants to explore the planet to verify it. Making their way past the snow line, they find a lush jungle and Konrad tells them that they have somehow landed on Venus, which the others believe to be impossible. As they continue to explore, they hear a strange, electronic signal, indicating intelligent life on the planet but they see no sign of anyone nearby. Deciding to make camp for the night, Mike is on guard duty but as he starts to doze off, a group of women approach and surround the men. When Mike wakes up, he is quickly taken prisoner and they others are held at bay when one of the women shoots Larry’s gun. The women order the men to march and they are taken to the capital city, where they are given an audience with Queen Yllana, the masked ruler of the planet. When Yllana asks why they are on Venus, the men  say it was an accident and that they will leave as soon as they repair their ship but Yllana says she doesn’t believe them and believes they came here to spy on Venus before returning to plan a war with them. As she orders the men locked up, one of her servants leaves the room and enters the lab where Talleah, one of the queen’s courtiers, works. the girl tells Talleah about the men and says she believes them when they say they came here by accident and Talleah decides to talk to them herself. The men are taken to a room and locked inside, where Neal and Konrad believe it was no accident that they landed on Venus. When Talleah enters with some food, she tells them that Yllana will want them killed and explains how she had taken power from the men on the planet while they were involved in a war with another planet. Yllana is aware of Earth’s scientific achievements and wants to destroy it before they can attack Venus and Neal and the others realize that the space station’s destruction was merely a test for Yllana’s weapon. One of the guards signal’s Talleah to hide as some women arrive to escort Neal to see Yllana, and the other men tell him to try and seduce Yllana into giving them their freedom, which makes Talleah jealous. Neal is escorted to Yllana’s chamber, who asks him to pour them some wine and they start talking, with Neal constantly trying to convince Yllana that there is no plan of attack from the Earth. Yllana takes him to a monitor and shows him the device she plans to use to destroy the Earth and Neal tries to get her to stop. When he takes off her mask, her ravaged face is revealed and Yllana says that it was radiation burns from men’s wars that did this to her. Asking Neal if he would be capable of loving someone disfigured like her, she approaches him but when he turns his head, she gets angry and has her guards escort him back to his cell, before sitting down and weeping. Later, Talleah and her two helpers, Motiya and Kaeel, help Neal and the others escape and choose to go with them in order to find the device and save the Earth. When they are attacked by radar guided weapons, Neal has the group hide in a cave, where they discover the cave is rich with gold deposits, but also a giant spider which they quickly kill when it attacks Larry. As the group waits, Neal and Talleah get closer to each other, as do Mike, Larry, Motiya, and Kaeel. Feeling like the odd man out, Konrad goes out to collect some more firewood and sees some guards following their trail. Quickly running back to the cave and warning the others, they realize that they won’t be able to hide but since nobody knows that Talleah and the others helped them, they make it seem that they recaptured the men. The men are taken back to Yllana’s chamber but when Yllana enters, Talleah quickly turns her gun on her and they take her captive. They try to force her to order the machine destroyed but when she refuses, Neal takes off her mask and gives it to Talleah so she can pretend to be the queen and give the command. They restrain Yllana and Talleah sends Motiya and Kaeel to get some help from the women that are against Yllanah’s rule. When some of Yllana’s guards arrive in the chamber, the real Yllana manages to knock over the screen she was behind and the guards quickly capture Talleah and the men. After being freed, Yllana takes them all to the weapon and has them watch as she fires it but Motiya and the other women signal to Talleah that the weapon had been sabotaged. As the weapon starts to malfunction, Yllana goes to try and fix it but ends up being killed in the explosion while the other women free Talleah, Neal, and the others from their guards. Later, Talleah has been made queen and offers her thanks to Neal and the others for helping to free them from Yllana’s rule, but expresses her sadness that they have to leave. As Talleah and the others say goodbye to the astronauts, one of the scientists approaches Talleah and says they repaired the fixed the long range communicator so they could contact Earth. Turning on the monitor, they see Colonel Ramsey, who tells them not to travel back on a hastily repaired ship and instead, act as their ambassadors until they can send a proper exploration mission, which would take a year, and the men happily accept their orders.

This definitely belonged in the box set of “Cult Camp Classics” but I will admit that I got exactly what I expected out of this, and then some. The acting was ok for the most part, with Eric Fleming (Neal), Zsa Zsa Gabor (Talleah), Laurie Mitchell (Yllana), and Paul Birch (Konrad) being fairly serious in their roles but the others came across as more “tongue-in-cheek”. The story was ok, if not very original, and it has some definite sexist tones by today’s standards. However, my biggest problem with the movie is that there were a lot of things that were not original in this movie. Many of the costumes and props were from other movies, like Forbidden Planet, and at first I thought they were copying Star Trek with the ideas for Yllana’s guards uniforms but since this came out before the TV show premiered, maybe the star fleet uniform colors were inspired by this. The special effects were pretty cheesy somewhat low budget, such as when the rocket was struck by the beam, I honestly couldn’t tell if the pieces were supposed to fall off or if they just did because they were cheaply made and they decided to roll with it. Meanwhile, the final fight scene where the girls rebel against Yllana’s guards was kind of painful and embarrassing to watch. In any case, this movie won’t be winning any awards but is good for some laughs.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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November 26th, 2016 Movie – Queen Of The Amazons

queen-of-the-amazons

Good morning everybody. Today’s bit of fun will involve a lot of driving for me as I am heading up to Nashville to see some family. The downside to this is that I will be driving back later that evening because I have to go in to work for a couple of hours tomorrow. Knowing that I had a lot of driving to do today, I went ahead and watched today’s movie yesterday because a) it was short and b) I had the time to do it. Now this is one of those movies from the Sci-Fi Classics set that has nothing to do with Sci-Fi, which makes it one of the movies I absolutely hate to watch. Let’s see how bad it is as I watch Queen Of The Amazons.

The plot: Jean Preston, accompanied by Colonel Jones, Wayne Monroe, and the Professor, is in India searching for her fiance, the Colonel’s son Greg, who has been missing for a month. Despite Wayne’s warnings that they should turn back due to tensions between the Indian people and foreign travelers, Jean continues on and goes to check in to her hotel, where the Colonel and Professor notice a native girl looking particularly interested in them but when they look again, she has disappeared. After getting their room keys, Jean and the others head to their rooms and the desk clerk calls someone to tell him about the group looking for Greg. As Jean is putting her clothes up, Tondra, the young woman from earlier, knocks on her door and tells Jean that her husband was one of the men on Greg’s safari. Tondra says that one of the guides and Greg were attacked and killed by a Tiger but Jean doesn’t want to believe her and asks that Tondra bring her husband so she can question him and Tondra agrees after Jean offer her some money. That night, Tondra introduces Jean to Moya and Jean shows him a picture of Greg, Moya says that Greg was not on the safari attacked by a tiger. He tells her that Greg was looking for Ivory and had boarded a ship for Africa but before he can say much else, he is shot by an unknown assailant from outside. The mystery man contacts the front desk to tell him that a local was killed in Jean’s room and to report it to the police. Wayne returns to the hotel and heads to Jean’s room to find out what happened and as they all see the locals starting to riot in the streets, they fell it best to leave and head to Africa after Greg. When they arrive in Africa, Wayne feels like Jean is wasting their time but Jean is adamant to continue on. Hearing that the only available guide, Gary Lambert, has a problem with women, Jean goes to talk with him and impresses him with the fact that she is a skilled marksman, making him agree to lead the expedition. After Gary acquires the services of Gabby, a cook friend of his, the local commissioner approaches him and tells him he had a second reason for wanting him on the expedition; that being to investigate some contraband that has been smuggled out of the jungle in the area they are going. After traveling by boat as far upriver as they can, they reach a native village that Gary is on good terms with and ask the chief to spare some men to help them. Unfortunately, most of the men are scared of the white she-devils that they say live in the area, but they eventually are able to get enough men for the trip. After making their way through the jungle, the come across a native boy with a gold coin belonging to Greg, letting them know that they are on the right track. That night, while Gary and Jean are talking, a lion makes its way into the camp and attacks Gary. Wayne is able to fend it off with a torch but later tells the Colonel that he feels someone is actively trying to stop them from finding Greg. Meanwhile, Jean is tending to Gary’s wounds and Gary tells her that he felt a collar on the lion’s neck while he was struggling with it. As they continue talking, Jean admits to having feelings for Gary and is confused on what to do about them but before they can kiss, she chooses to head to her tent. The next day, they discover Wayne has been killed and someone is attempting to frame a native warrior for the crime. When their scout is killed by a lion, Tonga, the native leader, leads a hunting party out to kill the lion before the group is able to continue. Meanwhile, Greg is alive and living with Zita, the Amazon Queen, and the two are  shown to be in love with each other. When Zita notices that some of her pet lions are injured, one with a bullet wound, she realizes that there are strangers nearby and finds out more information about the safari. Greg says that he would like to meet the safari, as it has been a long time since he had seen anyone from the outside world but Zita insists it is best that he stay out of sight, as she plans on dealing with the intruders to keep the Amazon’s existence a secret. Three warriors approach the safari and deliver a note inviting three members of the safari to meet with Zita and Gary and the Colonel agree to go and, though they argue against it, Jean says that she wants to go as well. Meeting with Zita, they ask about Greg and she admits that he is there then asks to speak with Jean alone. Zita tells Jean that Greg is there and has chosen to remain because the two are in love and when Jean says that she holds no sway on what Greg does, Zita says she is happy as she would have killed Jean in order to keep Greg. Suddenly, they are interrupted by two women, who are carrying the Professor, and he explains that he was looking for insects when they caught him. Meanwhile, Gary asks Zita about the ivory smuggling and she asks if he will keep her and the tribe out of it if she tells him who is responsible but before she says anything else, Gabby reveals himself to be to smuggler. Gabby has his men take Gary, the Colonel, and the Professor away but Gary causes a distraction to allow them to get away. Meanwhile, Tonga and his men arrive and help Gary and the others fight with Gabby’s men and when Greg and some other natives arrive to help, Gary goes to rescue Jean and Zita. Inside Zita’s hut, Gabby prepares to kill Zita and Jean, throwing a spear at them which pins Zita to the side of the hut. Before he can kill her, Gary arrives and starts fighting with him and Gabby is eventually killed when one of the Amazons shoots him with a poisoned blow dart. With the ivory smuggling dealt with, a double wedding is held as Greg marries Zita and Jean marries Gary.

To be honest, this was a pretty boring movie. The acting was ok at best but nobody really did anything to stand out and instead, they seemed somewhat emotionless half the time. The story was totally unoriginal and completely predictable for the most part, though I will say that the ending with the double wedding was a slight surprise. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects but the parts with stock footage thrown in looked even cheaper than the movie budget probably was. Even if you do have an hour to kill, there are better ways to spend it than watching this movie.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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November 25th, 2016 Movie – Q: The Winged Serpent

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You know, thinking back on things, Denis Leary might have been right. During his “No Cure For Cancer” stand-up, one of his bits focused briefly on NyQuil and it’s use of a giant “Q” on the label to get people’s attention. Well, back in the video store days, that definitely worked with today’s movie, although it could also have been the winged monster holding a half naked woman on top of the Chrysler Building. Either way, I am starting off a new letter so let’s dive right into today’s movie, Q: The Winged Serpent.

The plot: When a window washer high up on the Empire State Building is decapitated, Detective Shepard and Sergeant Powell are trying to figure out how it could have happened and what happened to the head. Meanwhile, Jimmy Quinn is attending a meeting with some crooks planning a jewel heist and want him to serve as the wheel man for the job. Sometime later, Powell is called to the scene of a murder where the victim had all of the skin removed. On a high-rise rooftop, a woman goes sunbathing topless when something swoops down and grabs her then flies away, showering the people on the streets below with blood as it passes. Jimmy goes to a bar and attempts to get a job playing the piano as Shepard walks in to get a drink but the bartender doesn’t care for Jimmy’s singing and puts money in the jukebox to showcase the point. Jimmy winds up doing the heist but instead of waiting in the car, the two men robbing the place force him to come with them. Inside the store, shots are heard and Jimmy walks out alone carrying a suitcase but since he no longer has the car keys, he starts walking away. After going a few blocks, he is clipped by a cab sending the suitcase goes flying down the street and Jimmy is forced to limp away without it. Jimmy heads to a nearby phone and calls a lawyer friend of his, then heads towards the Chrysler Building to meet with him. When he can’t get into his friend’s office and security is called on him, Jimmy heads towards the roof of the building to avoid them and discovers a large nest with a giant egg hidden in the roof as well as a skeleton and quickly leaves the building. As a construction crew goes to lunch, one of the workers stays behind to look for his lunch pail and is grabbed by the flying creature, with the man’s leg eventually falling to the ground below. Meanwhile, Shepard is talking to a historian about the murder, who suggest it’s similarities to a ritual sacrifice used by the Aztecs and Shepard borrows some books to learn more about the practice. Meanwhile, Jimmy goes to his girlfriend’s apartment and tells her what happened and the two argue about what he should do. When another body turns up with it’s heart cut out, and a second construction worker is killed by a flying creature, Shepard starts to give some credence to the thought that there might be something to the idea that someone is trying to summon  the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. The other two men that planned the heist go looking for Jimmy and catch up to him after he runs from the apartment. Asking where the case is, Jimmy takes them to the Chrysler Building and tricks them into going to the roof, where the creature kills them both. Jimmy leaves and returns to his apartment only to be picked up by Police and taken to the station. Overhearing Shepard and Powell talking to their Captain about another person being killed by a giant flying creature, Jimmy decides to cash in on his knowledge to get something for himself. Jimmy comes up with some unreasonable demands and as the papers are being written up, Shepard takes Jimmy to get some coffee and tries to trick him into revealing where the creature can be found but Jimmy stops talking when Powell shows up. After the paperwork is signed, Jimmy lads Shepard to the Chrysler building and they find the nest with the egg, which starts to hatch and they kill the baby creature but when there is no sign of the mother, Shepard tells Jimmy that he probably won’t be getting the money. Meanwhile, Powell and some other cops follow the museum curator and another person to an old warehouse, believing them to be responsible for the ritualistic killings. When they go to arrest them, they find the curator in the stages of being sacrificed and when the curator tries to stop the police, he is shot but the masked man escapes. As Powell heads to the roof to try and catch him, he is killed by Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl flies back to the Chrysler building, where Shepard and some other police officers are waiting for it and eventually manage to kill it. Jimmy returns to his girlfriend’s apartment and she kicks him out after he begins trashing it. After checking into a motel, Jimmy is assaulted by the masked man, who deems Jimmy a traitor that resulted in the death of Quetzalcoatl but Shepard shows up and manages to kill him. Shepard tells Jimmy to try and patch things up with his girlfriend and leaves, unaware that another egg is hatching at an unfinished construction site.

Q: The Winged Serpent met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many critics praised the performance of Michael Moriarty as Jimmy Quinn. Roger Ebert tells a story about when movie reviewer Rex Reed met Samuel Z Arkoff, the producer of the movie, and told him, “What a surprise! All that dreck—and right in the middle of it, a great Method performance by Michael Moriarty!”, Arkoff replied “The dreck was my idea.” The movie only received a limited release in the US, resulting in it only recouping $255,000 back from it’s $1.1 million budget.

A little confusing at times, but this was a pretty decent movie. Michael Moriarty (Jimmy) definitely stole the show while David Carradine (Shepard) seemed to treat his role as a joke and Richard Roundtree (Powell) was his usual character self. The story was a little confusing, jumping back and forth between three different sub-plots, and while the jewel heist and Quetzalcoatl stories did get tied together, they only haphazardly did so with the ritual murders story. The special effects were a mix of being good and being completely cheesy, mostly on the cheesy side but I did think the blood dripping from the sky and nobody able to see what is causing it due to the sun’s angle was a pretty good plot device to keep it. A fun movie that is good for some late night viewing.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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November 24th, 2016 Movie – Boa Vs. Python

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone. So before I get ready to stuff myself on turkey, dressing, I might as well get today’s movie review over with. Alas, it is time to finish up the letter “P”, and this particular series of giant snake movies. One thing you have to love about the Sci-Fi/SYFY channel is that they love to show a good “Vs.” movie, and of course, I love to watch a good “Vs.” movie. Today’s movie essentially ties together two giant snake movies that were produced by the same company; Boa and PythonSo let’s see how good of a movie they made as I watch Boa Vs Python.

The plot: In York, Pennsylvania, a transport plane arrives and unloads a large container from the plane into a tractor trailer. Once the unloading is complete, the man in charge, Ramon, makes a call to Broddick, a wealthy businessman who is financing the operation. Ramon tells Broddick that his package has arrived from Asia and Broddick says to call if there are any problems, then turns his attention back to his girlfriend Eve as they watch a luchador match between two wrestlers named Boa and Python. As the truck and it’s convoy head off into the night, they are forced to stop when whatever is inside the container wakes up and begins thrashing about. Ramon grabs a tranquilizer gun and has one of his men open a hatch so he can use it but when the hatch is opened, a giant tail bursts out and begins whipping around, striking anyone close by. Some of Ramon’s men start shooting at the tail and accidentally hit the control panel, causing the cage to open and Ramon prepares a bomb to kill whatever is about to emerge but he ends up being killed and the bomb explodes underneath one of the escort cars. The next morning, Broddick and Eve are on Broddick’s private plane when they learn of the accident and Broddick is upset at first, as he has arranged to have several wealthy people hunt the giant snake he had captured but instead, he has Eve call the men and says they are rescheduling the hunt to occur where the accident happened. At the accident site, FBI Agent Sharp arrives on the scene and after avoiding talking to local reporter Kent Humphries, he examines the container and finds a large scale on the floor. Continuing looking around, he sees an access tunnel that had been torn open and learning that it leads to the water treatment plant, which had called in that some workers were attacked by a giant snake, he orders the plant closed down and asks his partner to pull up the files on the Larson Project, a CIA op that went bad. Agent Sharp contacts Monica Bonds, a marine biologist that works with Navy dolphins, and they head to West Virginia to meet with Dr. Emmett, a herpetologist who has bred and raised a 70 foot Scarlet Boa named Betty. Meanwhile, Broddick picks up the other hunters (Tex, Foley, Danner, James, and Littlefield) and the fly off towards Philadelphia to hunt the snake. Back in West Virginia, Sharpe explains what he wants to do and Emmett reluctantly agrees to allow Monica to attach her equipment in order for them to hunt and kill the python. As the surgery commences, the python manages to get out of the plant and kills two teenagers, as well as Kent Humphries. When the surgery is complete and Betty recovers, Sharp has Betty transported and released into the tunnels, while he follows with Monica, Emmett, and a group of soldiers. Meanwhile, Broddick and his hunters have arrived in Philadelphia and head off into the woods after the python. As they split up, Foley gets impatient and rushes ahead and Tex chases after him but when the two of them get separated, Tex encounters the python and is killed. When the rest of the hunters arrive where Tex was attacked, Eve shows up and shows them where the python has gone into the tunnels and they head back to the vans to get more equipment so they con go in after it. In the tunnels, Monica’s equipment malfunctions due to the tunnel walls and as she tries to get it working again, the soldiers go on ahead of them and encounter Betty. Betty kills two of the soldiers before Emmett is able to get them on the radio and have them shoot the pipes and use the steam to cover their escape. Once the soldiers are clear, Monica is able to get the video feed back and they see Betty mating with the python before she loses it again. Emmett gets an idea to trap the snakes in a drainage tunnel but when they notice some other GPS signals in the tunnel, they go to warn whoever is in there only for Sharpe to accidentally be killed by Foley. As Emmett, Monica, Danner, and James go to check on him, Foley is killed by the python, which then kills Danner as he tries to shoot it. James shoots at the python while Emmett and Monica make a run for it and Emmett tries to get James to come with them but he stands there as the water rushes into the tunnel. Meanwhile, Broddick, Eve, and Littlefield find a nest of eggs but when Betty shows up, Eve drops one of the eggs and Betty kills Eve. Broddick and Littlefield try attacking Betty but Betty kills Littlefield and stuns Broddick, but not before he shoots her in the head and damages her camera unit. Emmett and Monica manage to hide from the python and they start to head back to the surface when they run into Broddick, who attacks Emmett before he gets arrested. When they arrive at the FBI’s base camp, the learn about the nest and see a video feed of the python eating the eggs. Discovering that an underground rave is occurring in the evacuated area of the city, they go to stop it as they realize the snakes are heading there and that Broddick has escaped custody and gone after them. Reaching the club, they find Broddick there attacking the snakes, and the soldiers, with a flamethrower and when he goes to attack Monica, Emmett shoots him with a tranquilizer and the two snakes rip him in half and eat the pieces. As the snakes continue fighting, they end up crashing through into the subway tunnels and the python starts to get the upper hand. Emmett uses a control spike in Betty’s head to electrocute her, throwing her off the tracks just as a train strikes the python and decapitates it. Emmett and Monica embrace but then discover that Betty has disappeared so they gear up and head back into the tunnels to find her and the remaining eggs and take them back to Emmett’s lab.

Though it was panned by the critics, this was a pretty entertaining movie to watch. The acting was ok, with several actors doing good jobs in their different roles. Though he wasn’t there long, I really liked Kirk B.R. Woller, who kind of played his character the same way that Clark Gregg plays Agent Coulson on Agent’s Of S.H.I.E.L.D. The story was pretty simplistic and did a good job of tying it into the previous Python movies, though there really wasn’t much of a way to tie it in to Boa. The special effects were decent and definitely better than Python 2. All in all, a fun movie to watch and laugh at.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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