comedy, crime, movie, movie review

April 30th, 2017 Movie – Police Academy

police academy

Just so you know, you all have the Lavalantula movies to blame for my owning these next couple of movies. See, when I watched Lavalantula two years ago, one of the main draws for the movie was the fact that it was something of an impromptu reunion of several members from the Police Academy movies. When the sequel came out, I found myself having the urge to rewatch the Police Academy movie. As you can see, I decided to make sure they were some of the movies I bought after Christmas. So let’s start off the laughs with today’s movie, Police Academy.

The plot: On March 4th, newly elected Mayor Mary Sue Beal opened up the hiring requirements for the city’s police force, allowing more people who had never considered joining the police force to sign up, though many police officers did not agree with the mayor’s new policy. Among the people who sign up are Eugene Tackleberry, a gun enthused security guard and military veteran, and Leslie Barbara, an overweight photo developing booth attendant who is tired of being picked on by a gang of thugs. Carey Mahoney is a parking lot attendant who gets arrested after damaging an arrogant customer’s car. At the station, Mahoney is waiting to speak with Captain Reed and meets Larvell Jones, who was arrested for disturbing the peace due to his ability to make various sound effects. Captain Reed, who continuously kept Mahoney out of serious trouble due to his being friends with Mahoney’s father, who was a former cop, and says that this time Mahoney is going to county lock-up unless he joins the police academy and, with no option available, agrees to it and convinces Reed to let Jones come as well. At the academy, Henry Hurst, the Chief of Police, is not happy with the mayor’s new proposal and tells Commandant Eric Lassard, who is in charge of the academy, that he wants them to make the training as brutal as possible in order to get the new cadets to drop out and Lt. Thaddeus Harris readily agrees to do so, though Lassard actually likes the new program. When Mahoney and Jones arrive at the academy, they meet some of the other recruits including George Martin, a ladies man, Doug Fackler, a married man who tends to cause accidents to those near him, Karen Thompson, a wealthy socialite, Laverne Hooks, a soft-spoken African American woman, Moses Hightower, a tall, gentle African American man with surprising strength, and Kyle Blankes and Chad Copeland, two suck-ups that try to impress Hurst and Harris. Right off the bat, Mahoney tries to get himself kicked out, first by telling Barbara that he could pick up his uniform at the Commandant’s house, then impersonates one of the instructors to try and hit on Thompson but ends up getting on Harris’ bad boy. Meanwhile, Harris assigns Blankes and Copeland as squad leaders and tells them to let him know if anyone gets out of line, then assigns them to oversee Mahoney’s punishment that night. Meanwhile, Martin manages to sneak into the women’s dorm to fool around with some of the girls, unaware that Sgt. Callahan, one of the instructors, sees him doing this. As the training continues, Mahoney goes to see Lassard about getting kicked out but Lassard tells him that he promised Reed he would keep Mahoney there for the full 14 weeks so barring a supremely egregious infraction, Mahoney is stuck there. Mahoney continues to irritate Harris and he decides to call Reed and have Mahoney ask to be able to leave but Mahoney, having fallen for Thompson, doesn’t go through with it. As the cadets are given a weekend break, Harris tells Blankes and Copeland to keep an eye on them as he knows they will be throwing a party. The two squad leaders pick on Barbara to get him to find out where the party is so Barbara asks Mahoney. Mahoney, realizing Barbara is being forced to do tells him it is at a bar called the Blue Oyster but when Blankes and Copeland show up, they realize that it is a gay bar and end up forced to dance with the patrons all night. Meanwhile, the actual party is held at a nearby beach and Mahoney and Thompson end up wandering off to fool around by themselves. As everyone returns to the academy, Martin sneaks back into the girls dorm but ends up knocking on Callahan’s door and tries to quickly leave but she orders him back inside, calling him out for sneaking into the dorms for weeks before she throws him on the bed and proceeds to ravish him all night. Blankes and Copeland tell Barbara that they are going to get back at him for sending them to the wrong place for the party and when Harris and Callahan go to do room inspections, Barbara finds a hooker waiting in his bed. Barbara goes to Mahoney for help and Mahoney is able to sneak the hooker out of the dorm but before he can get her off of the academy grounds, they are forced to hide in a podium as Lassard leads some other police commandants around the academy before giving a presentation. During the presentation, the hooker proceeds to give Lassard a blow job and as he dismisses the attendees for lunch, he starts to leave but notices Mahoney ducking his head out of the podium and thinks he was the one to do it. Lassard heads to his office to find Harris there and asks what he is doing about Mahoney but when Harris asks what Mahoney did, Lassard refuses to say. Meanwhile, the training continues and the recruits are able to overcome some of the obstacles that they couldn’t when they first started. When the recruits are allowed to ride along with actual officers, Harris has Mahoney ride with him, but then has Mahoney get out of the car and jog behind it as Harris drives off. Later, Harris and Mahoney end up stuck in a traffic jam, Harris gets impatient and commandeers a dirt bike to find out what is going on but ends up losing control and getting his head stuck in a horse’s rear, causing the cadets, and Callahan, to laugh behind his back when he returns. That night, Hightower comes to see Mahoney and explains that he hasn’t driven a car since he was 12 and he won’t be able to pass the driving test in the morning. Mahoney agrees to help him and they steal Copeland’s car, with Hightower ripping out the front seat as he is too big to fit behind the wheel. The start off driving slow but after Hightower starts to get the hang of it, he begins driving faster and is forced to run from the police. The late night adventure worked and he easily passed his test and thanks Mahoney for his help. Hooks takes her test next but when she pulls up to let Copeland take his test, she accidentally runs over his feet. Copeland yells at her and calls her a racial slur, which angers Hightower and he proceeds to flip the car over with Copeland inside it and Harris expels him from the Academy. Blankes and Copeland find what is left of Copeland’s car and blame Mahoney for it and try to pick a fight with him in order to get him kicked out of the acadmey but Barbara uses his lunch tray to knock out Copeland, then Mahoney attacks Blankes after Blankes punches Barbara. Blankes and Mahoney are brought to Harris’ office and he asks who through the first punch and Blankes says Barbara. Harris says that he is expelled but Mahoney, knowing how much Barbara wanted to be a cop, says he did it and Harris gleefully kicks Mahoney out instead. Meanwhile, Facker accidentally causes a riot to start downtown and the cadets are assembled to help the police deal with the situation, and Mahoney dresses in his riot gear and sneaks onto the bus with the others. Lassard accidentally sends them to the heart of the riot zone and after Harris sends everybody to their assigned areas, he is told of the mix-up. Mahoney, Jones, and Martin are chased by a mob and take shelter in Lassard’s car when he pulls up and Jones uses the car’s PA system to chase them off by mimicking gunfire. Blankes and Copeland are taunting some thug on the other side of a chain link fence but when they come to a break in the fence, the leader of the men grabs their revolvers and the two cadets run and end up hiding in the Blue Oyster bar, much to their own horror. Barbara is also chased by some thugs and ends up running past Harris and Harris is captured by the man who took Blankes and Copeland’s guns. Barbara ends up running into the gang that bullied him as they are removing furniture from an apartment and when they try to make him leave, he ends up defending himself and knocks them all down, telling them to put the furniture back but they tell him it is their furniture. As Callahan tries to get in touch with Harris, Thompson, Hooks, and Facker show up when they suddenly begin taking fire and Thompson is pinned down. Mahoney and the others hear the gun shots and see the man using Harris as a shield so Mahoney runs off to try and find a way onto the roof where the shooter is. When he gets there, he manages to get the drop on the shooter and yells for Thompson to run to safety but the shooter puts his gun to Harris’ head and Mahoney is forced to drop his gun. The shooter pushes both of them against the wall and he plans on killing them when Hightower appears and says he wants to watch. The shooter allows Hightower to pick which one he shoots first and when he goes to look them over, Hightower chooses Harris but as the shooter prepares to kill Harris, Hightower punches the man, sending him flying through a door and down some stairs. Hightower grabs the guns the man dropped and hands them to Harris, noting Blankes and Copeland’s names written on the handles. Meanwhile, the shooter recovers and moves to grab another gun he had when he is confronted by Hooks, who yells at him not to move. Hightower and Mahoney are both reinstated into the academy and during the graduation ceremony, Lassard awards them both the highest commendation the academy can offer. Hightower and Mahoney both go to the podium to say a few words and when it is Mahoney’s turn, he starts to talk when suddenly, he feels the zipper of his pants being pulled down and looking down for a second, he quickly looks over at Lassard, who looks away with a grin on his face. Later, the new officers parade past the stage and salute Lassard, Harris, Hurst, and the other guests and Harris reluctantly offers a salute in return.

Police Academy met with mixed to poor results, holding a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics several critics enjoyed the comedy but many cited the humor as being too sophomoric. The movie was a box office smash, earning $146 million off of a $4.5 million budget. Due to it’s popularity, it wound up spawning 6 sequels, as well as a live action and animated TV series.

This is one of those movies that I know is not a good movie in the critical sense, but I have always found funny. The acting was good, with Steve Guttenberg (Mahoney), Bubba Smith (Hightower), and G.W. Bailey (Harris) doing great jobs, while Michael Winslow (Jones) was comedic gold with his sound effects. The story was interesting and did a pretty good job of splitting between comedy and more serious themes, while also showcasing a fair amount of character development, particularly with Mahoney, Hightower, and Barbara (Donovan Scott). The comedy was admittedly a little hit or miss at times, with some things that I found funny as a kid no longer being as funny, while some of the subtler comedy parts were even funnier now. All in all, this is a great movie for some nostalgia viewing, but might not necessarily be for everyone.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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drama, horror, movie, movie review, mystery

April 29th, 2017 Movie – Point Of Terror

point of terror

I am starting to get back into the habit of sleeping in on Saturday’s. For the most part, this isn’t really a bad thing, but I have been trying to get more things done over the weekend so sleeping in kind of takes away from that. Now today I get to watch another movie from the Pure Terror box set and I will be honest, this doesn’t bode well for me in terms of being able to stay awake. Considering the two box sets that I bought from Mill Creek after Christmas, I find it funny how for all the praise I heap upon the Legends OF Terror set, I find myself slamming this set just as often. Well, let’s see what I get with today’s movie, Point Of Terror.

The plot: A lounge singer named Tony Trelos wakes up from a nightmare while laying on the beach and is approached by a woman named Andrea Hilliard. Andrea mentions that this is a private beach and flirts with Tony some before he leaves to go to work and she comments about possibly coming to see him, unaware that Andrea’s husband Martin, who is confined to wheelchair, observes them from the cliffs above. That night, Tony is singing and notices Andrea sitting by the stage watching him so after the set, he goes to speak with her. When she said she liked his act and asked if he considered cutting an album, he said he did once but it cost him a small fortune to make it. Andrea asks to hear it so Tony invites her to his place and plays it for her where, after making a few comments about it, tells him that she runs a record label and offers to help him make a better album. The two start kissing before Tony gets a phone call and Andrea gets his number and says that she will have her secretary draw up the paperwork as she leaves. Tony’s girlfriend Sally shows up and he tells her the good news but Sally warns him about Andrea and after talking for a while, they decide to go out for a swim. The next day, Martin is upset about a shipment being delayed while Andrea is having drinks by the pool with her friend Fran and ignores Martin when he tries calling her on the phone. Andrea is talking about Tony and invites Fran to hear him sing but Fran warns her to be careful with the affair around Martin, knowing how jealous he gets. When Martin comes down to the pool and starts arguing with Andrea about her drinking and not wanting to run the business. When Andrea protests that she has her own life, Martin says it is her fault that he is in the wheelchair, as well as commenting about how they are in this together as she was the one to kill his first wife while they were having an affair. That night, Andrea goes to see Tony and ends up having a brief confrontation with Sally while Tony is in the shower. Sally leaves and Tony speaks with Andrea and still feels like she is simply stringing him along with the record deal but Andrea calls the studio and arranges to have Tony come down and do a recording. As Tony works on recording some tracks, the studio manager contacts Martin, who says if the manager likes it to go ahead and release it but afterwards, he plans on ensuring that Tony never records another record again. Later, after celebrating, Andrea invites Tony back to her place for a swim and though Tony is nervous about Martin catching them, he joins her and the two end up having sex in the pool. When Tony leaves, Martin comes down and confronts Andrea over the affair and at first she denies it but then starts taunting him about it. As the argument escalates, with Andrea throwing things at Martin while he chases after her in his wheelchair, he ends up accidentally falling into the pool and drowns. At the funeral, Tony goes to pay his respects and sees Martin’s daughter Helayne arrive. Afterwards, While Andrea and Helayne are talking outside, Fran tells Tony about their relationship and how she was attending school in Europe. Later, Andrea and Tony get in an argument and when Tony threatens to call the cops and say that Martin’s death wasn’t an accident, she dares him to, threatening to reveal the affair which could cause him to be implicated as well and as an image of Helayne flashes through his mind, Tony hangs up the phone. The next day, Tony goes by the Lobster House to check on Sally, who he had been ignoring while he was seeing Andrea, and learns that she went home sick. A drunken Fran calls out to him and realizing she is in no shape to drive, takes her home. After bringing her inside Andrea’s guest house and directing her towards the bed, Tony is about to leave when he runs into Helayne, who invites him to stay for coffee but he refuses and heads home. The next day, Tony calls Helayne to check on Fran and then invites her out to go horseback riding. Helayne accepts and the two end up beginning to date. After a week goes by, Fran comments to Helayne about her being so happy and when Helayne tells her she has been seeing Tony, Fran warns her and tells her about Tony and Andrea. That night, Helayne says she is considering going back to Europe and when Tony asks about them, she asks him about his relationship with Andrea. Tony tells her it was over and they have a strictly business relationship now and that he loves her and convinces her to go with him to get married that night after his show and Helayne agrees. As Tony is packing his bags, Sally comes to see him and informs him she is pregnant but Tony tells her he can’t help her and leaves. Tony and Helayne head to Tijuana to get married, then return to the house to celebrate as Andrea is out of town on business. Unknown to them, Andrea has returned early and decides to relax by having some drinks and taking some pills. Helayne sees Andrea walking around outside by the cliffs and tells Tony, who goes to talk to her. Tony informs her that he married Helayne and Andrea laughs as she thinks he did so for the money and informs Tony that a clause in Martin’s will stated that if Helayne got married before she turned 25, then she would get married. When Tony says he can support her on his record sells, Andrea says that she can keep the record delayed indefinitely but Tony says they will find a way to make it work. Andrea suggests that he have a relationship with both of them but Tony spurns her and Andrea grabs onto him, refusing to let him go and as Tony tries to shake her loose, she ends up falling off the cliff to her death on the rocks below. Helayne had witnessed what occurred and rushes to Tony and hugs him as they head inside to call the police. The detectives rule it as an accidental death, noting the alcohol and pills in her system and that nobody knew she had come back in town. Tony and Helayne are packing to go on a trip after the funeral while Fran wonders what to do with her friend dead. Tony gets a call from Sally and agrees to go talk to her, asking Fran to take Helayne to the airport and telling her he will meet her there. When Tony gets to Sally’s house, she ends up shooting him repeatedly and as he lies bleeding on the ground, he screams out. Suddenly, Tony finds himself on the beach just as Andrea is introducing herself, as it seems that everything that had happened was just a premonition of what could happen.

Ok, this is one of the rare good movies in this set. There were a lot of good things about this movie but they were almost ruined by a poorly explained plot. The acting was good, with Peter Carpenter (Tony), Dyanne Thorne (Andrea), and Lory Hansen (Helayne) Doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Joel Marsten (Martin) and thought the bartender duo (Al Dunlap (Charlie) and Dana Diamond (Waitress)) made for some funny little segues. The basic premise was pretty good but the dialogue made the plot overly confusing at times and you are left to guess as to some of what had occurred. The special effects weren’t exactly the greatest and there was definitely an overdose of the 70’s in the movie, especially during the opening credits. A lot of potential but a bit disappointing as a final product.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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action, crime, movie, movie review, thriller

April 28th, 2017 Movie – Point Break (1991)

point break 1991

So this is an interesting movie for me to watch today. See, back in the days of VHS, I had this movie on VHS but I never got around to upgrading it to DVD. Then my friend Emily, who loves buying me movies she thinks I should own, such as Center Stage and Clueless, decided to buy this for me. Now I have no problem accepting this gift because I did enjoy this movie so let’s have some fun in the surf with today’s movie, Point Break (1991).

The plot: Rookie FBI Agent Johnny Utah has just been assigned to the L.A. branch’s Bank Robbery Division and partnered with Angelo Pappas, a 22 year veteran of the force. Angelo is trying to arrest a gang known as The Ex-Presidents, four men that rob banks wearing masks of Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter, only rob the cash drawers, and are in and out in 90 seconds. After checking out the scene of their latest robbery and drop car, Johnny convinces Angelo to tell him his theory on the gang and Angelo tells him he thinks they are surfers. After explaining his reasoning and the gang’s pattern, and with only one month left before they disappear until next summer, Johnny goes with Angelo and buys a surfboard to use as an undercover ploy. When Johnny wants to just walk around with it and asks questions, Angelo tells him that the surfers in the area are like their own tribe, with their own lingo and culture, so he has to get out there and interact with them. When Johnny tries to surf for the first time, he wipes out and almost drowns but he is saved by a female surfer, who helps him to the beach before yelling at him for being out there. Johnny gets the woman’s license plate and uses the FBI computers to learn her name, Tyler Endicott, and her background in order to figure out a way to approach her, figuring she would be his best bet to get accepted among the local surfers. Heading to where Tyler works, he manages to convince her to teach him how to surf, playing off the fact that her parents had died in a plane crash by saying his had died in a car crash. Tyler begins teaching Johnny how to surf and after several attempts, Johnny finally learns how to surf and makes it out on the waves. As they are walking back, Johnny sees another surfer out in the water and Tyler says that it is Bodhi. As Johnny and Tyler continue hanging out on the beach, they join in on a football game with Bodhi and his friends, Roach, Grommet and Nathaniel. When Johnny chases down and tackles Bodhi into the surf, the other guys get upset but Bodhi tells them to relax, as he recognizes Johnny as a former Ohio State quarterback. Johnny and Angelo’s superior, Ben Harp, is upset over the lack of progress they have shown, as the Ex-President’s have managed to rob another bank. One of the security guards had managed to grab some hairs from the pony tail of one of the robbers and Johnny tells Angelo that surfers are territorial. The two go out to some of the different beaches and get some hair samples from different people and manage to narrow down the beach that they robbers were last at. Johnny heads out there to surf and runs into a neo-nazo surfer named Bunker, who punches Johnny and later attacks him with 3 of his friends. Bodhi helps Johnny deal with them and as they are leaving, he invites Johnny to a party at his house. Angelo and Johnny follow Bunker and his gang back to their house, getting their criminal history in the process and stake them out all night, waiting for a warrant so they can raid the place in the morning. When they are relieved for the night, Johnny heads to Bodhi’s house with Tyler and as the party progresses, they end up at a bonfire talking about where the biggest waves are and Bodhi says it will be at Bells Beach in Australia next year, as he believes that the 50 year storm will hit that year. After the group go surfing at night, Johnny and Tyler end up having sex on the beach. The next morning, Johnny wakes up late and has to rush to make it to the raid on Bunker’s house. Johnny is told to stay in the back so he doesn’t blow his cover but while he is looking in through the back window, he sees Bunker’s crew grabbing several weapons. Johnny tries to warn the team not to pull their badges but nobody can hear him over a neighbor running his lawn mower. The raid commences and Bunker and another member of his gang are killed, a third member is injured, and the last member and another man are arrested while one of the FBI agents is injured when a woman stabs him. As Johnny and Angelo discuss the raid, they are interrupted by one of the suspects, who reveals himself to be a deep cover DEA agent that was after the Bunker’s group for drug smuggling and could vouch for the fact that they were not near the scene of the last bank robbery. After getting chewed out by Harp, Johnny heads home but he and Tyler are woken up early by Bodhi for some early morning surfing. As Johnny and Tyler are walking the beach, Johnny notices some of the antics of Bodhi and his gang and realize they are the same as the Ex-Presidents and tells Tyler he has to leave. Johnny ends up following Bodhi during the day and then tells Angelo that he thinks they are going to hit another bank the next day and Angelo agrees to stake it out with him the next day. The two watch the bank with no sign of the crooks at first but when Johnny goes to get some food from a nearby shop, the gang pulls up and heads in the bank. Johnny returns just as they are leaving and Angelo and Johnny chase after the robbers but they end up crashing and Johnny continues on foot. The Ex-President’s car is also damaged and they ditch it and grab another one but while Bodhi is using a gas pump to torch their first car, Johnny tackles him and they begin fighting. The others are forced to drive off when Angelo starts shooting at them and Bodhi makes a run for it with Johnny in pursuit. As they race through the neighborhood, Bodhi hops a fence and slides down a hill, then jumps down into an aquaduct but when Johnny jumps down after him, he aggravates his old football injury and is unable to continue pursuing him. Johnny pulls his gun to shoot Bodhi but after they stare at each other, Johnny fires his gun into the air while Bodhi continues to run away. Back at FBI Headquarters, Angelo chastises Johnny for getting to close to Bodhi and his gang, then sends him home to get cleaned up. Johnny heads home and Tyler tends to his wounds but later that night, she discovers he is an FBI agent and yells at him for lying to her about everything and storms out. Meanwhile, Roach and the others are arguing about how they should kill Johnny but Bodhi tells them he knows how to handle Johnny. The next morning, Bodhi and his gang show up at Johnny’s house and have him come with them as they go skydiving. After their jump, Bodhi takes Johnny to the back of a van and turns on a TV and VCR, playing a tape of their friend Rosie holding Tyler hostage and Bodhi explains that it is his insurance policy against Johnny. Bodhi and his gang take Johnny with them as they rob one more bank but Bodhi decides to rob the vault as well. One of the hostages is an off duty cop, who convinces one of the security guards to help him take out the robbers. Bodhi and Johnny are shot in the chest but survive due to their wearing bullet proof vests but the cop and security guard end up getting killed, as is Grommet. Upset at Grommet’s death, Bodhi pistol whips Johnny and leaves him at the scene, where he ends up being arrested as an accessory by Harp. Angelo arrives at the scene and talks Harp into letting him book Johnny, decking Harp as they leave, and when Johnny says he knows where they are going, Angelo says he figured as he unlocks the cuffs. They head to the airport and Johnny continues alone while Angelo goes to cover him. Johnny speaks with Bodhi and Nathaniel and tries to convince him to let Tyler go but when Roach catches Angelo by surprise and shoots him, a shoot out occurs and Angelo and Nathaniel are killed while Roach is seriously injured. Bodhi gets Roach onto the plane and then tells Johnny to get on as well and they take off before the police arrive and fly to Mexico. Helping Roach into his parachute and contacting Rosie, Bodhi prepares to make the jump and Johnny begs him to let Tyler go. Bodhi refuses and jumps out of the plane and Johnny, feeling like he has not other choice, jumps out of the plane after Bodhi, though he doesn’t have a chute. Johnny manages to grab onto Bodhi and tries to get him to pull the ripcord but with the ground getting closer, Johnny is forced to pull the cord before they hit the ground but he injures his knee again in the process. Bodhi manages to walk off as Rosie pulls up and he yells at Rosie to let Tyler go, who races to Johnny as Bodhi and Rosie collect Roach’s body and the money and drive off. One year later, Johnny makes his way to Bells Beach in Australia and confronts Bodhi there, saying he knew he wouldn’t miss the storm. Bodhi prepares to go out onto the waves but Johnny stops him and the two start fighting until Johnny manages to handcuff himself to Bodhi. As a helicopter with more officers approach, Bodhi begs Johnny to let him go out on one wave, as he knows there is no other place to go. Johnny lets Bodhi go and Bodhi heads out into the ocean and the authorities yell at Johnny and wait for Bodhi to come back ashore but Johnny says that Bodhi isn’t coming back and as the authorities watch Bodhi get wiped out, Johnny takes his badge and tosses it onto the beach.

Point Break (1991) met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics were mostly torn as several of them praised the action scenes but the ones that didn’t like it were mainly critical of the “surf-speak” and a poor script. The scene with Johnny jumping out of the plane without a chute was listed as one of the 10 Craziest Action Sequences and the premise was tested on Mythbusters, with them proving that Johnny could have caught Bodhi but they would not be able to free-fall for 90 seconds or have a conversation. Point Break (1991) was a box office hit, earning $83.5 million off of a $24 million budget and a remake was made in 2015.

As cheesy as it may be, this is one of those movies that if I happen to catch it on, I will sit down and watch it. The acting is good, with Patrick Swayze (Bodhi) and Gary Busey (Angelo) both doing pretty good jobs, as did Lori Petty (Tyler). Keanu Reeves (Johnny) was doing his best to try and not be “Ted” here but there were too many times where it was hard not to think of him as that character. The story was decent and I liked the idea that the Ex-Presidents were basically a bunch of thrill seekers looking for an adrenaline rush and taking to far in the end but a lot of the dialogue was pretty cheesy. The surfing and skydiving scenes were definitely some of the best parts of the movie, as far as the action goes, as was the chase between Johnny and Bodhi but the gun fights themselves just felt too slow and staged to be really effective. Still, this is a fun bit of early 90’s nostalgia that is always entertaining to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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movie, movie review, sci-fi

April 27th, 2017 Movie – The Phantom Creeps

the phantom creeps

Now this is something I haven’t seen for a while. A serial that is condensed into a movie. Serials were definitely the way to get people into movie theaters back in the day. I mean, you show a small portion of a movie and then the next week, you show the next part, and repeat for several weeks. Of course, the fact that serials were usually about 3-4 hours long all-together also helped with that decision. Anyways, today’s movie serial stars Bela Lugosi so I am hoping that this means this will be an enjoyable movie. Only way to tell is to get right into today’s movie, The Phantom Creeps.

The plot: Dr. Alex Zorka is working in his lab and decides to test his control for the giant robot he built but Monk, his assistant, worries that it might get loose again. Zorka chastises Monk, then use his control device to guide the robot across the room before sending it back to it’s storage chamber. When Monk sees a car pull up on their scanner, Zorka says that it is probably his wife to try and convince him to leave his lab. Outside the lab, Ann Zorka is talking with Dr. Fred Mallory, Zorka’s former partner, before she goes to see Zorka. Zorka happily greets Ann and shows her one of his latest inventions; a robot spider which can either kill or paralyze people. When Mallory reveals himself, Zorka is angered at his spying on him but Mallory says that he should turn his research over to the government as it is too dangerous to let it fall into the wrong hands. When Zarko refuses and heads back to his lab, Mallory tells Ann that he will contact some friends at the Defense Department to try and convince Zorka. In his lab, Zorka rants about Mallory and continues testing his inventions, chastising Monk when the invisibility belt malfunctions and almost injures him before fixing it himself and testing it. Some time later, Mallory returns to Zorka’s house and tells Ann he is waiting for Capt. Bob West to join them. When Bob flies in, he is greeted outside the house by Jean Drew, a reporter for the times, but he has his assistant escort her away. Entering the lab, they find the majority of the equipment is gone. Meanwhile, in his secret lab, Zorka shaves his beard and heads to his secret garage with Monk. As they are driving, they pick up a hitchhiker, as Zorka says he might be useful. When a speeding car causes them to veer off the road and crash, the hitchhiker is killed and Zorka decides to use the body to fake his death. Heading back to the house, Zorka uses his invisibility device to sneak inside and places a targeting disk for his spiders inside Ann’s purse, as he plans to paralyze her so she can’t identify the body in the morgue. As Bob and Ann make plans to fly out and examine the body, Jean was listening in at the window and sneaks onto the plane, as does Zorka, using his invisibility belt, in order to place the spider inside. As the plane is flying, Ann finds the disk in her bag and shows it to Bob, who ends up handing it to his assistant/pilot when he asks to see it. Unnoticed by all of them, the spider begins crawling towards the pilot and paralyzes him, causing the plane to begin falling from the sky. Bob goes to get Ann a parachute and finds Jean already wearing one and tells her to jump. Bob hands Ann another chute but Ann collapses from the spinning of the plane. The plane ends up crashing to the ground and Bob manages to survive and pulls Ann and his assistant from the wreckage. Meanwhile, Zorka and Monk are heading towards the site of the car crash when they see Jean parachuting down and getting stuck in a tree. The help free her and she tells them about the plane crash and they take her to it. Once there, Zorka passes himself off as a doctor in order to examine the bodies but realizes that his wife is dead. As the news reports broadcasts about the deaths of the Zorka’s make the headlines, Zorka blames Mallory and the government for Ann’s death and swears to get revenge. Meanwhile, a foreign government wants to find Mallory’s secrets and plan to use agents disguised as a foreign language school, to find them. In his secret lab, Zorka tells Monk where he found the meteorite, then leaves with his invisibility belt, as he plans to kill Mallory. Zorka sneaks into Mallory’s lab, as he is working with some chemicals, and causes an accident but Mallory manages to survive. Meanwhile, Monk had received word from the foreign government that they will give him $1 million for the meteor and Monk grabs the meteor and goes to leave but he is caught by Bob and his assistant, who were searching for signs of the meteor in the lab. As they drive towards town, Bob opens one of the panels in the box and causes the nearby power lines to fall and they end up crashing. Monk tries to get away with the box but Bob manages to shoot him in the arm, causing him to drop it. Zorka returns to the lab to find Monk and the meteor gone and he plans to use his robot for his revenge. When Monk returns, Zorka says he betrayed him and starts to have the robot attack him but Monk says that there were people searching the lab and he tried to hide the meteor, showing Zorka his injured arm as proof. Zorka believes him and heals Monk, then heads to Mallory’s lab, believing that is where they will take the meteor. Inside the lab, Zorka dons his invisibility belt and manages to steal back the meteor. Returning to the secret lab, Zorka shows Monk another invention, which he dubs the Z-ray, but they are surprised when Bob shows up and begins searching the house. Zorka uses the robot to attack Bob and knock him out but before he can kill him, some more men and Jean arrive. Zorka plans to use his Z-ray on them but Monk attempts to kill him with a spider and when that fails, grabs the invisibility belt and runs off. Zorka chases after him and uses the Z-ray on Monk when he becomes visible, then chastises him for being a traitor. After being checked out by the doctor, Bob is talking with Mallory and Jean and says he feels Zorka is still alive as someone sicced that robot on him. Meanwhile, Zorka has Monk acquire an office in the same building as Mallory’s office and the Foreign Language School, so that Zorka can keep tabs on everyone. As they are getting set up, two spies see Monk and knock him and Zorka out, then steal the meteor. The spies make plans to escape via submarine but Bob and Jean see them with the meteor and give chase. The spies believe they have managed to shake Bob and Jean due to a road crew doing some demolition work but when they see them still approaching, they go to get back in their car only to see it driving away by itself, and realize that an invisible Zorka is driving it. The spies disguise themselves and try to steal Bob’s car but Bob and Jean are able to capture the spies, and one of the spies tells them about Zorka. Bob organizes a squad to head to Zorka’s house and capture him and Zorka makes plans to deal with the attackers using his Z-ray and robot. When the soldiers storm the house, Zorka sends his robot to deal with them but they manage to destroy it. Zorka uses the invisibility belt to try and sneak back to his lab but Bob uses a device that Mallory created to make him visible, only for Zorka to destroy the device. Zorka and Monk leave through the secret tunnels and as Bob and the soldiers try to follow, Zorka drops some chemicals to cause a chemical fog to cover their escape. Zorka and Monk head to the airport, where they steal a bi-plane and begin terrorizing the countryside, dropping bombs and destroying a dirigible in the process. Bob orders a squadron of planes to chase after them and Zorka wants to continue fighting to the death but Monk would rather surrender. As Zorka kills Monk, their plane goes out of control and crashes to the ground, causing a massive explosion due to the meteor being with them. As the news spreads about Zorka’s death, Bob, Jean, and Mallory are taken to see the President, who thanks them for saving the country.

This was an interesting movie to watch but I will admit that since it was a serial condensed into a movie, it was a bit confusing. The acting was good, with Bela Lugosi (Zorka) and Jack C. Smith (Monk) doing a good job but I thought Robert Kent (Bob) was a little bland. The basic plot sounded good but due to this being condensed from 265 minutes to 78 minutes, it felt like a lot of scenes were left out that could have helped explain some parts of the movie better. The special effects did look on the cheap side, with a lot of stock footage being used for some scenes. A part of me kind of wants to see the entire serial, but not enough to make it a priority.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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action, crime, drama, movie, movie review

April 26th, 2017 Movie – Payback (Straight Up: Director’s Cut)

payback

Man, did I ever end up disappointing myself. You see, a while ago I had a couple of scenes from today’s movie going through my head. Since I saw this in theaters and rather enjoyed it, I didn’t think twice about going ahead and picking up a copy. So I did just that about a month ago but a hectic life caused me to be unable to watch until about a week ago, and it was just as enjoyable as remembered it…..until I got to the end. Suddenly, the movie ended in a completely different way than I remember it in the theaters. So I look at the DVD case and to my surprise, I got the director’s cut, which was about 10 minutes shorter and had a different ending. So yeh, I have to live with my disappointment, at least until I buy a normal copy of today’s movie, Payback.

The plot: A man named Porter heads into New York City and steals some money from a beggar, which he uses to buy some coffee and food at a diner. Afterwards, he pickpockets the wallet from a man that looks similar to him, and uses the man’s credit cards and ID to get some cash and buy a new suit and some expensive watches. Porter then pawns the watches in exchange for a gun and some cash, then continues using the cards until they are reported cancelled. That night, Porter follows his wife Lynn and breaks into her apartment, surprising Lynn as she believed Porter was dead, and when he asks her where Val was, she tells him she doesn’t know. They start to talk but when Lynn tries to attack him over his being with another girl, Val defends himself and then grabs the picture and says it was from before he had met her. He explains that he used to be the driver for the girl in the photo and would keep her safe while she worked, causing Lynn to collapse when she realizes she was wrong. Porter carries Lynn to their bedroom, where he discovers some heroin in her jewelry box and Lynn tries to grab it from him but Porter grabs it and locks her in the bedroom. The next morning, Porter goes to check on Lynn but finds that she had overdosed on some heroin she had hidden in a shoe. After grabbing the needle and jamming it into the wall, hanging his ring from it in the process, Porter lays down beside Lynn’s body and thinks about what brought him to this place. Months earlier, Porter met with his partner Val near Chinatown and the two watch as a Chinese syndicate is making one of their routine money pick-ups. As Val explains the routine and how much money is usually in the case, Porter asks him how much money he needs to pay off his debt to The Outfit, the criminal organization they work for, and Val admits he needs $130,000. That Friday, Porter and Val rob the Chinese by crashing a car into theirs, then Porter grabs the briefcase and gets in the getaway car that Lynn had pulled up in, yelling at Val as he was busy beating up one of the men in the car. After heading to a parking garage, Lynn begins counting the money and says it is $140,000 total. Val says that it isn’t enough but Porter says he doesn’t care, telling Lynn to put his share in a duffel bag. As Val starts acting more manic, Porter gets ready in case he tries to double cross him, Val tells Porter that he lied and that there is always $140,000 in the suitcase. Lynn pulls a gun on Porter and shoots him several times in the back and as Porter lies dying on the ground, Val tells Lynn to put all of the money in the car, then shows Porter the picture of him with another woman, admitting that he showed Lynn the picture in order to turn her against him. Val is broken out of his memories by a pounding on the door and finds the drop off man that brings Lynn her payment and heroin. Porter assaults the man and asks where Val is but the delivery boy says he gets the envelope from a man named Arthur Stegman. Porter heads to Stegman’s business, where he interrupts an illegal gambling ring in the back of it. Two crooked cops, Hicks and Leary, are gambling there and curious about Porter’s business but when Porter throws the heroin back at Stegman, Stegman quickly asks Porter to walk outside to talk. Porter asks Stegman where Val is but Stegman says he doesn’t know where he is, ust that he is still in the city, and Porter tells Stegman to get a message to Val saying that Porter is coming for his money. Meanwhile, Val is meeting up with a Chinese dominatrix named Pearl at his apartment when he receives word about Stegman trying to get in touch with him and goes to meet him. When Stegman tells Val that Porter was the one looking for him, Val gets upset, threatening some of the restaurant patrons in his anger. Meanwhile, Porter heads to a hotel and speaks with a bartender, who is The Outfit’s contact for their prostitution ring and has him contact a prostitute named Rosie, who is the girl from the picture. Porter heads to Rosie’s apartment and she embraces him as she is glad to know he is alive, then offers her condolences when he tells her Lynn was dead. Inviting him inside, she calls off her dog, which she had named Porter after him. Porter asks her about Val and she says that he is probably staying at the Outfit’s hotel but worries about what will happen if he gets caught and interrogated. Porter promises he won’t mention her, saying he will tell them he got the location from Stegman, and Rosie gives him the address. Porter breaks into Val’s apartment and surprises Val and Pearl as they are in bed. Porter asks for his money and when Val says he doesn’t have it, he allows Pearl to start beating him, then tells Val to meet him at noon with the money. As he goes to leave, he asks Val about the picture and knocks him out after Val says he beat her. The next day, Val goes to see Carter, his superior in the Outfit, and he is told to handle the Porter situation himself. After leaving the building, Val calls Pearl, who is part of the Chinese Triad, and she tells him her friends are there to get revenge for Porter stealing their money. When Porter goes to meet Val, the Triad hit him with their car and prepare to attack him but Hicks and Leary pull up and scare them off. Hicks and Leary help Porter up and tell him that unless he wants to go to jail for Lynn’s murder, then he will give them the money and they let him go but Porter manages to pickpocket Hick’s badge while they are pushing him around. Porter heads to Rosie’s apartment to get his wounds tended too but Val follows him without Porter realizing it. As Rosie tends to his wounds, she sees the picture of the two of them and asks Porter why he quit being her driver. She felt like it was because they slept together but Porter says it was the next day when he had to drive her to work. As Porter gets ready to leave, the two end up kissing but Porter breaks it off and leaves before they get too carried away. When Rosie hears a knock at the door, she opens it thinking it is Porter but Val is there holding a gun to her head. When he asks where Porter is, she tells him he is in the bedroom but when he heads there, he is attacked by her dog. Val shoots the dog and Rosie attacks him with a bat but he grabs it from her and strikes her. Recognizing her from the photo, he asks her about Porter but she refuses to tell him anything so he goes to shoot her but Porter shows up, having come back for his cigarettes, shoots Val. Porter questions Val about who leads the Outfit and he tells him that his superior is Carter and Porter eventually kills Val. Heading to see Carter, Porter sees Hicks and Leary waiting outside the hotel and puts the gun he killed Val with inside a newspaper. Leaning down to talk to them, he is surprised to see Stegman in the car, who informs Porter that he is getting cut into the money, and Porter has Leary hold onto the gun, saying he will be frisked inside. When Porter gets in to see Carter, he quickly takes out Carter’s bodyguards before holding a gun to Carter and demands his money. Carter says he can’t authorize a payment so Porter has Carter call the Outfit’s head, Bronson, which Carter says is a “she”. Speaking with Bronson, Porter asks for his money threatening to kill Carter if she doesn’t give it to him and when Bronson refuses, Porter shoots Carter. Leaving the building, Porter gets his gun back from Leary then returns to Rosie’s apartment, where he places the gun, as well as Hicks’ badge, next to the body. The next day, Porter heads out to see Carter’s boss Fairfax, who had returned to deal with the mess, and Porter catches him just as he enters his apartment. Porter has Fairfax call Bronson and when Porter threatens to kill Fairfax, Bronson relents and agrees to give Porter his money. Porter arranges the drop off location and leaves, with Hicks, Leary, Stegman, and Stegman’s assistant keeping watch on him. Before they can follow him, Hicks and Leary are approached by Internal Affairs and some officers, who are there to question them about Hick’s badge and Leary’s fingerprints being found on a gun at a murder scene. Stegman and his assistant pick up Porter and Stegman plans on turning him over to the Outfit but before they can, they are ambushed by Pearl and the Triad. Stegman and his assistant are killed but Porter manages to avoid being shot and shoots back at the Triad, killing the 4 men. Pearl gets the drop on Porter but her gun is out of bullets and When Porter goes to shoot her, his gun is also empty so he simply walks away. Heading to a train station, Porter takes care of the Outfit men that are there to kill him, then waits for the man carrying the money. When the money arrives, Porter is ambushed by some more of the Outfit’s hitmen but manages to take them out, though he is shot in the process. Stumbling down the stairs to the outside, Porter kills the last of the hitmen before collapsing onto the sidewalk. As Porter lays there dying, Rosie pulls up and slaps him into consciousness before getting him into her car and the two drive away from the city together.

Payback met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 54% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sadistic violence and rote humor saddle a predictable action premise.” When principal shooting had finished on the movie, the film was considered too dark for the mainstream public so the studio ordered a script rewrite and the director (Brian Helgeland) was replaced by the production designer to reshoot the scenes that would be released as the theatrical version, though Helgeland’s version would be released as a director’s cut on DVD and Blu-Ray. The movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning $161.6 million off of a $90 million budget.

I am kind of torn as to how to rate this movie. For the most part, it is pretty much like the theatrical version and I really enjoyed that, but I honestly didn’t care for the ending in this version. All told, the acting was pretty good, with Mel Gibson doing a good job as Porter. Maria Bello (Rosie), Gregg Henry (Val), and Lucy Liu (Pearl) were also good, though I was upset that we don’t get to see Kris Kristofferson as Bronson, as remember him being pretty good as well. The story was pretty good; with the somewhat methodical pacing mixing well with the action and the bit of dark humor that was found throughout the movie. I also liked the running gag throughout the movie of everyone thinking Porter is after $130,000 and he keeps telling them it is only $70,000. However, I honestly don’t like how the director’s cut ends as opposed to the theatrical version. True, the theatrical ending was a little more over the top but it actually felt like it resolved things a little more completely than the director’s cut ending did. The special effects mostly revolved around the fights and gun play but they were very well done, though a bit over the top at times. A bit dark and violent, but a good movie to watch.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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dark comedy, horror, movie, movie review

April 25th, 2017 Movie – Parents

parents

Sometimes, you have to wonder what happens to some actors. Take Randy Quaid, the star of today’s movie. Now while most people are more familiar with his younger brother Dennis, Randy is a well known actor in his own right; having earned a Golden Globe and even been nominated for an Academy Award. Then, numerous lawsuits, including one for illegally occupying a guest house, occurred and Randy and his wife wound up fleeing to Vancouver and begging for refugee asylum, saying that they feared for their lives as numerous actors were killed by a mysterious group called “The Hollywood Star Whackers”. Yeh, there is no explaining that bit of paranoia. So let’s watch him before all the craziness occurred with today’s movie, Parents.

The plot: In 1954, Nick and Lily Laemle move to a new suburban neighborhood with their son Michael. After dinner, Nick goes to put Michael to bed but Michael is scared of the dark and Nick tries to tell him a story to help him overcome his fear but Michael ends up having a nightmare of him drowning in a pool of blood. In the morning, is helping his mom in the kitchen as she is trying to cook all of the meat they had brought with them. At his first day of school, the teacher, Miss Baxter, introduces Michael and another new student, Shelia, to the class but when she asks them to tell them something new, Michael tells the class about how to cook a cat, and the teacher tells the class not to try cooking their cats. After school lets out, Michael and Shelia are talking and she tells Michael that she is from the moon and Michael begins asking her questions about what it’s like there until she heads home. When Michael returns home, his father is coming up from the basement and his mother seems surprised to see him and makes a note to remember what time he will be home from school now. That night, Michael gets up to get a glass of water and sees his parents having sex in the living room but Lily quickly gets up and takes him back to bed. The next day at school, Michael tries to tell Shelia but Miss Baxter tells him to return to his seat. She then starts handing out workbooks and asks that they draw their family as their first assignment. When Michael draws his family covered in red, the school calls and Lily goes to meet with the school psychiatrist Millie Dew to talk about Michael. Meanwhile, Michael goes to his fathers work, where he is working on making a chemical defoliant that will kill off plants. That night, the Laemle’s have dinner with the Zellners, as Mr. Zellner is Nick’s boss and Shelia’s father, and Michael and Shelia sneak down to watch the adults, with Michael thinking they are acting weird. The next day at school, Michael is called into Millie Dew’s office and she tries to talk to him about his drawing but Michael refuses to talk. At Nick’s work, Nick head’s down to the morgue, where a fresh body has been delivered, and gets some liver and limb tissue to be used for testing. Back at his home, Michael is watching his mother prepare some meat and imagines himself being wrapped up by a giant sausage link. At dinner, Michael refuses to eat and asks his parents where the meat came from but they don’t answer. The next day at class, Michael overhears Millie talking to someone about Michael before he heads home, where he finds Shelia waiting for him. Though Michael says he’s not allowed to have people over, Shelia heads inside and they have fun but Nick catches them inside the freezer splashing wine over each other. That night, Nick tells a story to chastise Michael and forbids him to see Shelia Zellner again. Michael refuses to do that as he sneaks out to see Shelia the next day and as they discuss their parents, Shelia puts the idea in Michael’s head to find out what his father does at work. Michael sneaks over to Toxico, the company Nick works at, and he sees Nick in the morgue cutting into a body. Michael manages to sneak out of the building and is walking home but Nick drives up next to him and gives him a ride home. During dinner, Michael is fiddling with a pair of surgical scissors he grabbed from Toxico and drops them but Nick picks them up and questions Michael about where he got them. That night, Michael decides to sneak down to the basement and sees a meat cleaver and bloody table down there, and a human leg hanging from a hook. Michael rushes back to his room but finds Nick there, who asks what Michael was doing up and Michael pulls out a snack cake that he had grabbed from the kitchen as his excuse. The next day, Michael is in Millie’s office and she is asking him about what is bothering him but he can’t tell her. Millie drives Michael home and he rushes inside, with Millie following behind him as he heads down to the basement. When Millie sees a rat, she thinks that is what scared him and chases the rat away only to discover a human corpse there. Michael runs up to his room and gets in bed, leaving Millie alone just as Nick and Lily return home and kill Millie. As they cook dinner and bring it inside, Michael hits Nick in the stomach with a baseball bat but Nick recovers and ties Michael to a chair. He then tries to explain things to Michael as he unties him and attempts to feed him some of the meat they cooked but Michael grabs a knife and stabs it into Nick’s shoulder. Nick is angered and attempts to kill Michael, telling Lily they can have another one and raise it right but as Nick starts to carry Michael down to the basement, Lily stabs Nick in the back with a knife. Michael runs down to the basement while Nick kills Lily, then follows Michael into the basement but Michael trips him and he falls down the stairs. Michael attempts to head back upstairs but Nick grabs him and Michael manages to slip from his grasp and hide. As the injured Nick stumbles around in the basement, he accidentally breaks the gas line before knocking the wine rack down on top of him. Michael runs from the house as a fire in the kitchen ignites the gas and the house explodes. Later, Michael is seen living with his grandparents and as they tuck him into bed, his grandmother leaves a glass of milk and a sandwich full of meat on his end table, making it seem like cannibalism runs in the family.

Parents met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 50% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics that liked the movie seemed to think it was a clever dark comedy but didn’t live up to it’s full potential. The family name of Laemle is likely a nod to Carl Laemmle Jr., the producer for some of the classic horror movies such as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), and The Mummy (1932). The movie was a dud at the box office, earning only $870,532 off of a $3 million budget but wound up gaining a cult following .

This was kind of an odd movie to watch. The acting was ok for the most part, though felt a little stiff at times. Randy Quaid (Nick) was pretty good, as was Bryan Madorsky (Michael) and London Juno (Shelia). The story was interesting, acting more like a dark psychological comedy than an actual horror movie, though it did turn into a bit of the traditional horror movie towards the end. The special effects regarding Michael’s dreams were ok, though a bit basic to be honest as they mostly just involved a lot of blood flowing around. An interesting movie but not exactly one I would rush to see.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review

April 24th, 2017 Movie – The Oval Portrait

So this is a bit of an interesting situation for me. See, when I went to look up information on today’s movie, it was bringing me to a different movie, One Minute Before Death. Now that in itself is not that unusual because sometimes movies will show up listed as a different name but this one is supposedly two different movies. Either way, I couldn’t find a picture of a movie poster with the actual title, and didn’t want to use the one for One Minute Before Death in case they actually were different movies. So let’s get right into today’s movie, The Oval Portrait.

The plot: On a stormy night, a carriage stops at an old house and lets off two women, the elderly Mrs. Buckingham and her adult daughter Lisa. Though the driver questions their wanting to stay there as the house is rumored to be haunted Mrs. Buckingham calls it nonsense and the carriage leaves but as they start to head inside, Lisa sees a woman in white approaching the house but she suddenly vanishes. Inside, they light some candles and Mrs. Buckingham goes to try and find the house’s caretaker, Mrs. Warren while Lisa looks around the ground floor of the house. Entering one of the rooms, Lisa becomes fixated on a portrait of a young woman in an oval frame and ends up being startled by Mrs. Warren. When Mrs. Buckingham arrives, Lisa says that they must leave as she knows the place is haunted but Mrs. Buckingham tells her not to be silly and they have no place else to go. Mrs. Warren shows them to their rooms and Lisa asks her mother to stay with her, still worried about the house and Mrs. Buckingham says she will feel better when Paul and Regina arrive. That night, Lisa hears the sound of a horse arriving and someone playing the piano downstairs. Going to check things out, Lisa sees a man playing the piano while talking to a woman named Rebecca. When he stops playing, he approaches a figure sitting in a chair, commenting about the portrait of her hanging over the fireplace, before he starts questioning what happened to them. When Lisa makes a sound, the man asks who is there, then notices that Rebecca is gone and asks Lisa why she came to the house. The next day, Lisa is reading a book and finds a note inside that was written by a man named Joseph Hudson for Rebecca, the woman in the painting, but when Lisa looks up, she sees the ghost of Rebecca approaching her and when it disappears, the note is gone as well. Meanwhile, Mrs. Buckingham is showing a friend of her late brother, Captain Jackson, around and he comments on the portrait of Rebecca. After Lisa is introduced to Captain Jackson, Mrs. Warren shows up with a telegram for Mrs. Buckingham but when she sees Captain Jackson, she yells at him and he decides to leave. Mrs. Buckingham tells off Mrs. Warren, after which she reads the letter and tells Lisa that Paul and Regina are delayed and won’t be there today. The next day, the new cook Doris arrives and Mrs. Buckingham shows her to the servant’s quarters. Meanwhile, Lisa found one of Rebecca’s dresses and puts it on before heading outside but when Joseph sees her, he thinks she is Rebecca and tries to kiss her. When Lisa pushes him away, he grows angry at her wearing Rebecca’s dress and tries to rip it from her. Lisa runs back inside and Mrs. Warren tries to comfort her but when she sees the dress, she tells Lisa to never wear any of Rebecca’s clothes, as they bring up painful memories for everyone that knew her. Lisa changes clothes and heads into the parlor looking for her mother but she suddenly sees the ghost of Rebecca exiting the picture and heading towards her, causing her to faint. When Mrs. Buckingham’s brother’s lawyer arrives, Mrs. Buckingham invites him into the parlor to talk and they find Lisa lying on the floor. after reviving her, the lawyer asks if he should fetch the doctor but Mrs. Warren says the only thing that can save her is to get her away from the house. When Lisa is revived, she asks Mrs. Warren to help her to her room and while there, asks about Joseph. Mrs. Warren explains that during the Civil War, Joseph was a Confederate soldier bring pursued by Union soldiers and had hidden in the house. The Union soldiers show up and ask to search the house but Rebecca’s father declares that no one is hiding in the house and they leave. Rebecca had noticed the man’s shoes hiding behind a curtain and after her father heads back upstairs, she gets Mrs. Warren to help her tend to his wounds. The next day, Rebecca’s father receives an invitation to attend a ball with Rebecca and he is angered over it while Rebecca wishes to go and he yells at her, saying she is just like her mother, who he called a whore. Mrs. Warren tries to apologize for Rebecca’s father, saying that he loved her mother so much that it ended up turning into bitter jealousy. As Joseph regains his strength, he wants to leave as he doesn’t wish to put Rebecca in any danger. When her father leaves to return to his regiment, Rebecca convinces Joseph to stay with her and be safe and the two end up falling in love. Joseph suggest that the get married and Rebecca eagerly agrees and asks what he did before he was a soldier. He tells her he was a painter and says he wants to paint a portrait of her. As they have a small wedding ceremony in the house, Union soldiers arrive and interrupt the wedding to arrest Joseph, having been alerted to it by the priest. Rebecca is saddened by the events and one night she keels over in pain, as she is pregnant with Joseph’s child, and Mrs. Warren helps her to her bed. Meanwhile, Rebecca’s father returns to the house and notices the painting in the parlor. When Mrs. Warren goes down to get the doctor, she sees Rebecca’s father and he asks her about the portrait. When Captain Jackson shows up at the house, Mrs. Warren begs him not to say anything but as he is leaving, he comments that they caught the soldier they were chasing and that he should ask Rebecca about where he was hiding. After questioning Mrs. Warren and realizing she had lied to him, Rebecca’s father rushes to Rebecca’s room and learns that what happened and becomes enraged, grabbing Rebecca and forcefully throwing her out of the house. Some time later, Rebecca’s father ends up catatonic and the doctor suggest having him placed in a hospital before going to check on Rebecca, who is heartbroken over losing her child and blames her father for the loss. Months later, Joseph returns to the house and asks to see Rebecca but Mrs. Warren directs him to the foyer, where he sees that Rebecca has died. After the funeral, Mrs. Warren tells Joseph that he is welcome to stay at the house until he figures out what he wants to do but when she leaves, Joseph hears Rebecca’s voice coming up from the grave. and he cries out in grief and ends up digging up her body. Mrs. Warren finishes telling her story and leaves the room as Lisa is asleep, but a voice is heard calling out to Lisa. Some time later, Regina arrives at the house and Mrs. Buckingham asks her to speak to Lisa, as she has been locked in her room for days but when Regina tries to talk to her, Lisa refuses to open the door. As everyone has gathered, the lawyer begins to read the will but Mrs. Warren says that the major had made a new will the day after kicking Rebecca out of the house and the doctor had signed as witness and when the lawyer asks her about it, she retrieves the will from the safety box. The new will gives Mrs. Warren the house while the rest of his estate is divided among his living relatives. Lisa enters the parlor and Mrs. Buckingham suggests that they leave like Mrs. Warren had suggested months ago but Lisa refuses to leave. When Mrs. Buckingham asks Doris to help her pack Lisa’s bags, the doors all suddenly begin opening and closing, while candles and vases begin hovering in the air. Rebecca’s laughter is heard while Lisa disappears and Paul, Regina’s husband, goes looking for her. Lisa is in her room and starts yelling at Rebecca that all of her things are hers now, then makes her way to Mrs. Warren’s room where she passes out, dropping the lantern she was carrying and setting the room on fire but Paul manages to save her. The next day, Mrs. Warren says goodbye to everyone and as Lisa leaves, she looks out the window to see Joseph watching her. That night, Joseph is playing the piano and dancing with Rebecca’s corpse and Mrs. Warren sees him doing this. As his madness overtakes him further, Mrs. Warren calls out to him and reveals that she is his mother and had forged the will to try and give him happiness but his madness is too far gone and she ends up shooting him. As Joseph lays dying in her arms, he calls her mother before passing away and his spirit joins Rebecca for eternity.

Man, this was kind of an exhausting movie to watch because the pacing was just weird. The acting was so-so, with Gisele MacKenzie (Mrs. Warren) being the most interesting character in the movie but that wasn’t by much as almost all of them were pretty bland. The story was interesting but the pacing was just weird. It starts off in the present, but then spends almost half of the time in a flashback, before returning to the present. This tended to kill any sort of mood that the opening segment tried to build up, then it felt like they rushed to try and recapture the mood in the end. The ending was also a bit of a weird twist and the whole reveal about Mrs. Warren being Joseph’s mother didn’t really seem necessary. The special effects regarding the floating candles at the end were incredibly cheesy and almost cheap looking. An interesting movie but the bad pacing keeps it from being too effective.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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