comedy, movie, movie review

May 31st, 2017 Movie – Road Trip

road trip

At the beginning, or end of the century/millennium depending on how you look at it, there were a number of things that came into being; some of them good, and some of them bad. One thing that became a huge hit in this time period was Tom Green, and I honestly just didn’t get it. I may be in the minority on this, but I honestly never really found Tom Green to be that funny. That being said, I will admit that there have been a few times that he has been funny, mostly in one or two scenes in a movie. Today’s movie happens to have one of those scenes in it so let’s go ahead and get started with Road Trip.

The plot: At the University of Ithaca, a student named Barry is giving a tour to some prospective students and their families, but the group mocks him for not knowing anything or having been anywhere outside of the school. When one of the prospects asks him if anything cool ever happens, Barry proceeds to start telling them the story of Josh and Tiffany, two childhood sweethearts who were in a long distance relationship as Josh was enrolled at the University of Ithaca while Tiffany was in school in Austin, Tx. They promised to stay true to each other and call every day but Josh begins having dreams of Tiffany cheating on him when he hasn’t been able to get in touch with her for a few days. As Josh is filming a tape to send to Tiffany, his roommate Rubin and Barry walk in and when Josh realizes he is late to class, he asks Rubin to mail the tape to Tiffany when it is done rewinding. Josh races across campus to class but is stopped by Beth, who talks to him for a bit before asking if he is going to a party that night. As they are talking, they are being observed by Jacob, who is interested in Beth and jealous of Josh. After the class, Jacob confronts Josh and tells him to stay away from Beth, before the professor approaches and says that Josh needs a B+ on his midterm to pass his class. Josh is talking with E.L. about the situation and E.L. says that he is screwed so he might as well come to his party and have fun and try to hook up with Beth. Josh says he doesn’t plan on cheating on Tiffany but when he tries calling Tiffany, her roommate says that she hasn’t slept there in days and if she wanted to talk to him, she would. Heartbroken, Josh goes to E.L.’s party and Beth asks him to outbid Jacob during E.L.’s auction. Josh is unable to outbid Jacob but E.L. chooses not to acknowledge Jacob’s last bid and declares Josh the winner. Josh and Beth dance for a while before heading back to Josh’s dorm room. Seeing a card from Tiffany, Beth asks Josh about her and Josh says that it was someone he used to date and the two begin kissing before Beth decides to use Josh’s camera to film them having sex. The next day, E.L., Rubin, and Barry are in Josh’s room when Josh comes in acting happy and tells them that he had sex with Beth. They don’t believe him but when Josh indicates that they filmed it, E.L. quickly grabs the tape and, after Josh tries to stop him, puts it in the VCR. When they see the tape that Josh made for Tiffany, Josh realizes that he sent the sex tape to Beth, just as Beth calls and says that her grandfather had died and she had been staying at her mom’s house. Realizing that he has three days to get to Austin and get the tape before Tiffany sees it, Josh decides to head out for the weekend. E.L. and Rubin decide to go with him and they go see Kyle, a sheltered student that has his own car and convince him to let them use his car for their trip, bringing him along to help him break out of his shell. Meanwhile, Barry is in Josh and Rubin’s room, eagerly anticipating Rubin’s snake the next day when Beth comes in looking for Josh. Barry says he went to see his girlfriend in Austin, MA and when Beth asks if he meant Boston, Barry says yes. Beth complains about what happened to some of her friends, thinking Josh just used her for sex, and they suggest she head up to Boston and tell Josh’s girlfriend about them. Meanwhile, the guys buy some supplies using Kyle’s credit card and make their way towards Austin via back roads but when they come to a broken down bridge, they decide to jump it and end up wrecking the car, which explodes as they walk away. They manage to walk to a motel and get a room for the night but the next morning, the front desk clerk informs Rubin that the credit card the used was over the limit. Meanwhile, Kyle’s parents, Earl and Cookie, are eating breakfast when they learn that their credit card, which is a joint card with Kyle’s, is maxed out when the police chief shows up and tells them that Kyle’s car was found blown up and that Kyle isn’t in school. While Rubin takes Josh and Kyle to get some breakfast, E.L. goes to get them some transportation and ends up stealing a bus from a school for the blind. Meanwhile, Beth arrives at the University of Boston and goes to see Tiffany Henderson, telling Tiffany that her boyfriend cheated on her with her. Tiffany flips out and begins smashing her boyfriend’s car with a bat before attacking her boyfriend and Beth realizes that it was the wrong Tiffany. As she catches the bus back to Ithaca, one of the passengers tries to suck her toes and she complains about there not being any normal guys. Back on the road, E.L. complains about them not really making this an enjoyable road trip and Josh calls his professor to try and get an extension for his mid-term but Jacob was the one to answer the phone and, disguising his voice, tells Josh that he will extend it a few days. Thinking they have extra time, the group stop at a fraternity house, with Rubin saying he knows the secret handshake but when they get inside, they realize it is an African American fraternity. The frat brothers pull a prank on the guys, saying they found a white hood in Kyle’s duffel bag and he ends up passing out but when he comes too, they tell him it was just a joke. The fraternity throws a party and Kyle ends up getting drunk and ends up having sex with one of the girls there, which he brags about to the guys the next day. When Rubin points out that they are running low on money, they head to a sperm bank and Rubin and Kyle are ineligible due to smoking marijuana and having sex respectively so E.L. and Josh end up donating sperm, with E.L. getting the nurse to help him by giving him a prostate massage. Beth returns to Ithaca and yells at Barry for sending her to the wrong place but Barry says that he told her Josh went to Austin because he likes her. Jacob shows up and tells Beth that because of him, Josh will be expelled but before Beth can respond, Rubin’s python Mitch bites Barry’s hand, as he was holding a mouse, and When Barry thrashes around to get it off of him, the snake ends up biting Jacob in the throat. Elsewhere, Kyle’s parents show up at the motel and after Earl threatens the desk clerk, he hands them the boys’ bill and they see that they had called Austin, Tx so they head over there. Meanwhile, the boys end up crashing at Barry’s grandparent’s house and laugh when they realize that Barry’s last name is Manilow. During the night, Rubin talks to Barry’s grandfather about how his near death experience has messed him up while Josh has a nightmare that Tiffany has already seen the tape. The next morning, they boys arrive at the University of Austin and head to Tiffany’s dorm to try and get the tape but the mail room attendant prevents them from doing so. E.L. and Rubin pull him off of Josh, allowing him to grab the tape but campus security, Kyle’s parents, and Tiffany all show up. As confusion breaks out, with Kyle standing up for himself against his father, Josh manages to grab Tiffany and they head to her room. Tiffany is surprised that Josh is there and mentions how she had been thinking that since they were in college, they should be trying to see other people when the phone rings and Tiffany answers it to find Beth on the other end. Tiffany hands the phone to Josh and Josh tells her that he is glad she called because he wanted to talk to her but couldn’t do it right there. Beth tells him what Jacob did and Josh realizes that he is screwed and quickly hangs up. Meanwhile, Tiffany had grabbed the tape and put it in but Josh realizes that Barry had taped over the part where he and Beth had sex. Later, Josh and Tiffany officially break up and the gang head back to Ithaca, with Rubin helping Josh learn a way to retain the knowledge he needs for his mid-term. When they get back to the university, Josh rushes to his class only to learn that a bomb threat had been called in so the class was delayed. After finally taking his final, Josh is leaving the class when Beth approaches him and admits that she called in the bomb threat when it looked like he wouldn’t make it back in time and Josh thanks her as the two embrace and kiss. Back in the present, Barry was so wrapped up in the story that he ends up kissing the mom of one of the prospects. Apologizing, Barry tells the tour group what happened to everyone. Josh and Beth continued dating and ended up making several more tapes of their exploits. Rubin would end up making a potent marijuana that was completely undetectable via testing. E.L., who got hooked on the prostate massage from the sperm bank, ended up dating a pre med student so she could give him one. Kyle ends up dating the girl he slept with at the fraternity and brings her with him when he goes to reconcile with his dad. Jacob ended up dropping out of school and forming a cult but when he tried to lead them in a mass suicide, he drank the kool-aid first and the rest of his cult left his body on the ground. Barry finishes his story, as well as the tour, and everyone thanks him and when the mother goes to thank Barry, they end up kissing again, with mother’s son calling out in shock at his mom.

Road Trip met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 57% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Some humor is hit or miss, depending on the audience tastes, but the movie is funny overall. Mixed reviews for the cast, especially for MTV’s Tom Green.” While the fictional University of Ithaca is based on Ithaca College and Cornell University in New York, the actual filming took place in Georgia, at Woodward Academy, Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the University of Georgia, while the aerial shot at the beginning of the movie is of Harvard. Even though it debuted at #3, Road Trip was a box office hit, earning $119.8 million off of a $16 million budget.

There have been dozens of college comedies to come out over the years and this one kind of ends up in the middle. The acting was good, with Breckin Meyer (Josh), Amy Smart (Beth) and DJ Qualls (Kyle) doing good jobs in their roles. Tom Green (Barry) didn’t really bother me that much because he wasn’t a central character but talk about some typecasting when it comes to Seann William Scott (E.L.), as he basically just played Stifler from American Pie all over again. The story was ok but not very original. In fact, the basic premise of the movie was very similar to Overnight Delivery, which had come out 2 years earlier. The comedy was a mixture of slapstick and adult/dirty humor, which did mix pretty well to provide laughs, but you definitely need to not be easily offended to really enjoy some of them. In all honesty, aside from one or two scenes, this is just another college comedy that will be lost among the masses as time goes on.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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action, movie, movie review, thriller

May 30th, 2017 Movie – Road House (1989)

road house

For all of you reading today’s blog, I have a bit of a story to tell you regarding today’s movie. Plus, there are pictures to go with this story so it might be a little lengthy but bear with me. First off, allow me to introduce you to two of my friends, Charles and Emilycharles roadhouse 0They have been friends since high school and are very close, to the point that Emily would be invited to Charles’ house for Christmas Eve dinner. Now, at some point in time, the subject of Roadhouse came up and Charles said that he had never seen it. Well, Emily, who loves how ridiculous that movie is, felt like this was a travesty and decided to get Charles a copy of it for Christmas one year. The next year, Emily learns that he still has not watched it so she warns him that he has one year to watch it or else she will force him to watch it. Well, another year passes and he still has not seen it so Emily begins planning to make good on her threat. Fast forward several months, and we come to my birthday weekend, and as part of the festivities, I decide to hold an impromptu campy movie night. Charles plans on showing up later that night so Emily tells everyone her plan and we all agree to help her. When Charles shows up, the only chair available to sit in happens to be a rolling office chair. As soon as he sits down, our friend Chad, who had gotten up under the pretense of making himself a drink, immediately plops down in Charles’ lap.charles roadhouse 1We then proceed to tie Charles to the chair, using pieces of a broken jump rope we found at the playground where we had a Nerf war earlier that day. charles roadhouse 2
Now, Emily tells Charles that he has to guess the movie we are about to watch, to which Charles replies, “Emily, I’m tied to a chair. I know what movie we are watching. ” So Charles was finally forced to watch Roadhouse, and as much as he hated to admit it, he actually enjoyed it.charles roadhouse 3Now while you all might think that story is pretty funny, or mean, that really isn’t the funny part of this story. The funny part is something that happened inadvertently when we tied Charles to the chair. If you look at the picture above, you might notice that his right arm is tied to his right leg. Well, it turns out that when Charles would go to take a drink, which we were nice enough to provide for him, he would lift up his leg, which caused all of us to laugh about that every time he did it. (The picture below was him exaggerating what had happened)charles roadhouse 4So whenever I think of Roadhouse, this memory will always pop into my head.

The plot: At a New York club called Band Stand, a man named Frank Tilghman walks in and watches as Dalton, the lead cooler (bouncer) manages to handle two drunks and get them outside without any unnecessary violence, even after one of them cuts Dalton’s arm. As Dalton is stitching up his arm, Frank speaks with him and tells Dalton that he owns a bar in Jasper, Mo called the Double Deuce and he would like Dalton to help him clean the place up. Dalton suggests his mentor, Wade Garrett, but Frank says Wade is getting old and he wants Dalton. When Dalton names his price, Frank agrees to it and offers Dalton a plane ticket there but Dalton says he refuses to fly and will get there his way. After leaving the club, Dalton drives to a nearby garage and, after handing the keys to the car he was driving to a man sitting outside, Dalton gets into his real car, a 1986 Mercedes 560SEC and heads to Jasper. When Dalton gets there, he heads to the Double Deuce to see exactly what type of situation he is getting into. Standing by the bar, Dalton watches and notices what all is happening and as a fight breaks out, he stands there and watches, then notices Frank up in his office motioning for him to come up so he heads up to talk to him. When the bar closes, Dalton goes to leave and one of the bouncers, hearing who he is from one of the bartenders (Carrie), mocks him for not helping but Dalton ignores him and says goodbye to Cody, the lead singer for the house band and an old friend of Dalton’s. The next day, Dalton goes out and buys a 1965 Buick Rivera to drive around in and also buys some extra tires. He then heads over to the home of Emmet, who has a room for rent in the loft of his barn. As Dalton looks over the room, they see a helicopter flying taking off from the house across the lake, scaring Emmet’s horses, before landing back at the house. Emmet explains that the owner is a local business man named Brad Wesley, then offers Dalton the room and he accepts. Back at the Double Deuce, Frank is holding a staff meeting to explain his plans for the bar and why he hired Dalton to help ans says that he is in charge of all aspects of the bar. Dalton’s first order of business is to fire the head bouncer Morgan and one of the waitresses who had been selling drugs in the bathroom. Dalton then explains his rules for bouncing at his bar, telling the bouncers to be nice to the customers and try to take it outside unless it is absolutely necessary. That night, Dalton watches as one of the bouncers tries to calmly get a girl to stop dancing on one of the tables but when the guy she is with punches the bouncer and pulls out a knife, Dalton quickly steps in and smashes the guy’s face into the table before telling two bouncers to take him outside. Dalton then fires another bouncer, Steve, for having sex with a girl on the premises who isn’t 21, and after the bar closes, fires the bartender Pat for skimming money off of the sales. When Pat questions Frank about it, Franks backs up Dalton and tells Pat to leave. When Dalton leaves for the night, he laughs as he finds his windshield smashed, antennae broken, and two flat tires, knowing that the people he fired would get back at him. That night, as he is relaxing in his room, Dalton sees a huge party going on at Wesley’s house and several of the men he fired are attending. The next day, Dalton goes to get a new windshield and meets Red Webster, who owns an auto shop next to the bar. As they are talking, Wesley walks in with another man and introduces himself to Dalton and as Dalton leaves, Wesley speaks with Red. That night, Dalton heads up to Frank’s office to find Pat there with two other men, O’Connor and Tinker. When Dalton asks what is going on, O’Connor tells him that Frank changed his mind and gave Pat his job back, explaining that Pat actually worked for Wesley, who is his uncle and happens to supply the liquor for the Double Deuce. When Pat pulls out a knife and tries to start a fight with Dalton, Dalton breaks his nose and then throws him through a window. O’Connor and Tinker attack Dalton, with Tinker managing to cut Dalton with a knife, but Dalton, with the help of some of the other bouncers, manages to beat them and kick them all out. Dalton heads to the emergency room, where Dr. Elizabeth “Doc” Clay, tends to his wound and as they are talking, Dalton invites her to stop by the Double Deuce for some coffee one night. The next morning, Wesley sees what happened to Pat and chastises Tinker and O’Connor, repeatedly punching O’Connor for letting Pat get hurt, then telling his men to get rid of him. Later, Dalton stops by Red’s store and sees two of Wesley’s men leaving and when he goes in, the place is smashed and Red admits that Frank shakes down all of the businesses. Dalton calls Wade to ask if he ever heard of Wesley and when Wade asks if Dalton needs help, Dalton declines it. That night, some of Wesley’s men show up looking to cause trouble but Dalton and the bouncers quickly take them outside and proceed to beat them. As the men leave and the bar patrons head back inside, Dalton notices Doc and the two head to a nearby diner for coffee. The talk there for a while and Doc takes Dalton back to the Double Deuce to get his car, and he kisses her good night, then proceeds to fix his car after finding it damaged again. The next day, Tinker and O’Connor show up at the barn and tell Dalton that Wesley wants to see him and they escort him to Wesley’s house. Inside, Dalton sees Denise, a girl that had hit on him the night before, exercising and when she sees Dalton, she tries to hide her bruised face from him. Dalton is taken to see Wesley, who tries to hire Dalton to work for him and tells him he knows Dalton killed a man in Memphis but Dalton refuses to work for him. That night, the Double Deuce opens with it’s new look and Frank is happy to see it how he visioned it but informs Dalton that they are running out of liquor and nobody will deliver to him. Dalton says it is due to Wesley and makes a phone call, saying he will handle it. As Dalton goes to leave, he sees Doc waiting for him but they are spotted by Jimmy, who knows that Wesley won’t be happy. Doc takes Dalton back to his place, where they end up having sex, and afterwards, Doc asks if Dalton would be interested in staying before they end up having sex again, unaware that Wesley is observing them. The next day, Dalton heads to the bar and learns from Cody that Wesley was obsessed with Doc when she first lived in town and went crazy when she left. When a truck arrives with some liquor for the bar, Dalton heads out back to check on it but Tinker, O’Connor, Morgan, and Mountain show up and start smashing the crates. Dalton stops them but when they gang up and get the upper hand on Dalton, he is helped out by Wade, who had just come into town. After getting cleaned up, Dalton takes Wade and introduces him to Doc and the three go out for drinks. When they get a minute alone, Wade chastises Dalton for living in the past and that he should forget about what happened in Memphis as it wasn’t his fault. That night, Red’s place is set on fire and everyone rushes out of the bar to see just as the place explodes and falls to pieces. When Dalton heads back inside, he finds Wesley and his men there and after Wesley has Denise do a strip tease, he has Jimmy start a fight with the bouncers but as Dalton starts to get the upper hand, Wesley orders his men to leave. At Red’s house the next day, some of the other business owners are trying to talk Red out of leaving but Red says he is tired of watching Wesley get rich at the expense of the town. Frank says that Wesley was scared of Dalton last night but Dalton tells him he wasn’t. Later, Dalton, Doc, and Cody are driving through town when they see a commotion at Stroudenmire’s car dealership, where Wesley has one of his men drive a monster truck through the display window and crush the cars in the show room. As Wesley laughs about it, Doc approaches him and asks what is wrong with him and Wesley tells her to send Dalton out of town or else he will kill him. Dalton is upset over what is happening, as he is starting to become attached to the town, and ends up getting into an argument with Wade, who says they should just leave. That night, Doc shows up to try and talk Dalton into leaving but as they are talking, Emmet’s house explodes. Dalton races to the house and manages to save Emmet but as Doc is tending to him, Dalton sees Jimmy leaving and chases after him. Dalton catches up to Jimmy and after brutal fight, Jimmy tries to shoot Dalton but Dalton ends up killing Jimmy by ripping out his throat. Doc sees what Dalton did and leaves without saying a word, while Dalton yells out at Wesley, who is watching from his house. The next day, Dalton heads to the bar and as he walks inside, the phone rings and he answers it, only to hear Wesley say that either Wade or Doc will die that day. When Wade stumbles in saying he was jumped by some of Wesley’s men, Dalton says he has to go get Doc, telling Wade to stay there and they will leave when he gets back. When Dalton gets to the hospital, he tries to convince Doc to leave with him but she refuses to leave with him due to his violent nature. Dalton returns to the bar only to find Wade lying dead on the bar, a knife stuck in his chest, and Dalton grabs the knife and leaves. At Wesley’s place, Pat, Morgan, Tinker, O’Connor, and Gary are waiting outside Wesley’s house and see Dalton’s car speeding towards them. They begin shooting at it manage to blow it up but realize that Dalton isn’t inside. Spreading out to try and find him, Dalton takes them out one by one, killing most of them but just knocking out Tinker by pushing a stuffed polar bear on him. Wesley enters the trophy room and ends up fighting with Dalton, who gets the upper hand and is about to rip out his throat but decides against it. When Doc shows up, Dalton heads for her but when Wesley goes to shoot Dalton, Doc screams out. Suddenly, Wesley is shot by Red, Stroudenmire, Emmet, and finally Frank. As police sirens are heard, Red quickly gathers the shotguns and hides them and when the sheriff and his deputies ask what happened, everybody feigns innocence while Tinker simply says a polar bear fell on him. As the Double Deuce reopens, it is shown that Dalton ends up staying in town and continuing his relationship with Doc.

Roadhouse (1989) didn’t get much love from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that the violence in it mix well with the movie’s setting. The movie was a modest success at the box office, earning $30.1 million off of a $15 million budget but achieved greater success on home video, where it wound up garnering a cult following. A direct to DVD sequel came out in 2006, with the main character being Dalton’s adult son and a remake was announced with Ronda Rousey starring as the lead but after her loss to Holly Holm, the movie was taken out of production.

This is one of those great “so bad it’s good” movies to watch. The acting is decent, with Sam Eliot (Wade) probably giving the best performance. The story started off pretty simple but wound up getting rather ridiculous towards the end. I know that at one point,  it was mentioned that Wesley controls the sheriff, but when there is that much public destruction, even that goes a little too far to think the sheriff wouldn’t do anything. The mass fight scenes were a lot of chaotic fun but the one on one fights between Dalton and Jimmy, then Dalton and Wesley were a little over the top. Very few people will consider this a good movie, but it really is an entertaining movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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fantasy, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

May 29th, 2017 Movie – Rise Of The Gargoyles

rise of the gargoyles

I apologize for being late posting yesterday’s movie review. As it turns out, some friends decided that since my 40th birthday is coming up, they decided to take me out on the lake and have me go FlyBoarding yesterday. I will admit, I had a blast doing it, though I did face plant into the water several times. Anyways, it has been a long time since I have watched one of the “Maneater” series of movies for this blog so let’s get right into today’s movie, Rise Of The Gargoyles.

The plot: In Paris, France, two construction workers are working underground on demolishing an old church and discover an ancient buried catacomb hidden behind a wall. As they explore the catacomb, thinking they can find something valuable inside, they find an iron grate covering an opening and pull off the grate to check inside only for a gargoyle to awaken and kill them both. The next day, Professor Jack Randall is teaching a class on gargoyles in the use of gothic architecture when his friend/agent Carol Beckham tells him that the draft for his book has been turned down. After speaking about his divorce, Carol tries cheering Jack by telling him about something interesting that was found underneath Saint Jean Andre Church. The two sneak onto the grounds and head down into the hidden chambers and begin exploring, As they separate to look around, Carol finds some strange oblong stones and places them in her purse. Meanwhile, Jack is taking video and pictures of everything when he hears something pounding against a wooden door and when he tries using the video camera to see what it is, he sees something charging at the door. Jack grabs Carol and they leave the catacombs but later, as they are at a cafe talking about everything inside there, Jack says he wants to go back during the day. Suddenly, they hear a car alarm going off and find that Jack’s car has been destroyed and as he approaches it, a body suddenly drops from the sky and lands on the car. Inspector Gibert questions them about what happened but they have no answers and tell the same thing to Nicole Ricard, a news reporter for a somewhat disreputable newspaper. That night, Carol is in her apartment when the power suddenly goes out and as she is stumbling in the dark, she is attacked by a gargoyle. Carol manages to escape onto the roof and tries to call for help but the gargoyle flies up behind her and decapitates her. The next day, Jack can’t reach Carol and decides to head over to her apartment, where he discovers the wreckage from the gargoyle attack and Carol’s body. At the police station, Gilbert questions Jack and tells him he is a suspect, not just in Carol’s murder and the man that fell on his car, but for several other similar murders that have occurred recently. Returning to his hotel, Jack gets drunk and the next day, he looks through the pictures of the church and notices a gargoyle that was on the side of the church in pamphlets for it, but not in the pictures he took the night before. Going to the church, he sees a priest, Father Gable, arguing with the workers who are tearing it down but the priest is angry and refuses to talk to Jack. Returning to his hotel room, Jack sees a news story from Nicole’s station and gives her a call, asking to meet with her in order to discuss Carol’s murder. As he is leaving, he is stopped by Gilbert, who takes Jack to breakfast and tells him another girl was murdered close to his hotel. As Gilbert suggests a motive for Jack killing Carol, as it was her pushing that lead to him writing a controversial book that ruined his career, Jack gets angry and leaves. Jack heads to the station to speak with Nicole and her cameraman, Walsh, and tries to explain his theory about what killed Carol and hands them his busted camera, suggesting they try to repair it and see if he has proof of his claim that a real life gargoyle exists and killed Carol and the others. When Jack leaves, Walsh thinks he is crazy but Nicole says they should see if he did see something and tells Walsh to work on the camera while she heads over to Carol’s apartment to see if she can find anything herself. As Nicole is looking around, she discovers the strange rocks that Carol had taken from the church only to discover that it glows in the dark but when she holds it to the sunlight to get a better look, it stops glowing. Nicole heads back to the station, where Walsh excitedly tells her that he restored the video and it shows the gargoyle hiding beneath the church. They try getting in touch with Jack but when they can’t Nicole decides to head to his hotel. Meanwhile, Jack, having gotten Walsh’s message, shows up at the studio just as Nicole calls as she is being attacked by the gargoyle. Nicole realizes it is after the stone, which is actually and egg, and rolls it out from under the car she is hiding under and the gargoyle grabs it and flies off just as Jack and Walsh arrive. Jack and Nicole try to explain what they saw to Gilbert but he doesn’t believe them so Jack says they have to stop the creature themselves. Meanwhile, Gilbert has the evidence from Carol’s apartment brought to him and finds another egg in one of the bags and takes it with him as he leaves. Jack, Nicole, and Walsh head to the catacomb under the church and find Father Gable there with a dead body. Gable had planned on using the body as bait to lure the gargoyle back to the catacomb and tells them that it has always been underneath the church. Elsewhere, Gilbert arrives at the scene of where the pizza boy was killed and looks around, finally discovering the body. As he pulls out the egg and notices it glowing, the gargoyle grabs him and kills him. Jack, Nicole, Walsh, and Gable make a plan for finding and killing the gargoyle when the gargoyle appears again and goes after, trying to grab the eggs she is carrying. When they see it go back into the church, Jack, Walsh, and Gable head inside, with Jack convincing Nicole to stay in the van.  Jack look inside to try and locate the creature and realize that it has gone back to the catacomb and make their way down there. Meanwhile, Nicole sees Gable grabbing several sets of explosives and realizes he plans on blowing up the creature, along with Jack and Walsh, and she heads out to follow him. As they all end up in the catacombs, Nicole finds Jack and warns him about Gable just as the gargoyle appears but Gable begins shooting at it and lures it away from them. Jack and Nicole find Walsh and they try to find their way out but the end up discovering the gargoyle’s nest, filled with more eggs.. Jack and Nicole explore the nest while they send Walsh to look for Gable but he finds no sign of him. Walsh rejoins Jack and Nicole and they use a powerful UV strobe light to begin smashing the eggs. When the gargoyle shows up, they manage to get away and head back into the church but the gargoyle attacks them, injuring Gable. They manage to use the strobe light to stop the gargoyle temporarily and Gable reveals he has the last egg, then tells Jack and the others to leave as he lures the gargoyle towards him and blows himself and the gargoyle up. As Jack, Nicole, and Walsh recover from the blast, Jack says that this would make for great material in a book, while Walsh reveals he has the tape of the gargoyle, saving his and Nicole’s career at the station.

To be honest, this was a decent movie, but a little disappointing on the whole. The acting was good, with Eric Balfour (Jack), Caroline Neron (Nicole), and Justin Salinger (Walsh) doing a good job in their roles. The story was ok but I honestly expected a bit more depth to it. I felt like they could have done more with the history of the gargoyle and the ancient church believing it to be a sign of Satan. I also didn’t really like the very end of the movie, not because the three lived through it all, but because it just kind of ends with “Oh, I’m going to write a new book.” “We are going to be famous.” The special effects were pretty good and a bit on the gory side, which honestly wasn’t really necessary for the movie. Not the best entry in the series but an enjoyable bit of time killing entertainment.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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May 28th, 2017 Movie – Rise Of The Dinosaurs (a.k.a. Jurassic Attack)

rise of the dinosaursIt’s time once again to play my favorite game when it comes to B-movies; “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Or Can He?” Corin Nemec has a pretty solid win record here at 4-1 going into today’s movie. Now I honestly had never seen this movie before I picked it up on DVD. In fact, the only reason I bought it was because of Jurassic World. See, when that movie came out, I went on a dinosaur movie buying spree and bought several dinosaur related B-movies that I did not already own. So let’s get right into today’s movie, Rise Of The Dinosaurs (a.k.a. Jurassic Attack).

The plot: Professor Roxton and his pilot Bob are flying a small plane over a remote and unexplored valley in South America as Roxton tries to find what he is searching for. As they run the risk of running out of fuel, the plane suddenly stalls and they crash land in a clearing of the valley. As Roxton gets out to look around, he sees a Tyrannosaurus approaching the wreckage and kill Bob as he tries to run away, and Roxton makes a run for it as the large dinosaur is distracted. Some time later,  Colonel Carter gives a video briefing to a special operation team as they prepare for a halo drop into South America. Their mission is to rescue Angeles Ibanez, an biochemist who was abducted during a conference by rebels working for Gustavo Marquez, who had Ibanez making a hybrid biochemical agent which can be loaded onto a missile. Carter informs the team that if they fail, he has orders to initiate a bombing to level the place to ensure that Marquez’s missile is non-operational. Captain John Steakley, the team leader, tells his team that their mission is the girl but when Sarah Haldeman, his chief officer, questions him about taking out Marquez, Steakley reiterates to her that her mission is the girl. The team makes their jump and heads towards the camp but stop when they see Marquez making a weapon purchase from their inside man. As the deal concludes, one of Marquez’s men tries to kill their inside man but Steakley shoots him and a fire fight erupts. The inside man attempts to get Ibanez out of the camp but Marquez sneaks up behind him and kills him. Back in the states, Carter is keeping tabs on the operation via satellite when the get word that the missile may have been detonated. Agent Grimaldi, who is in the operation room with them, says that they can’t run the risk of the contagion getting out and demands that they bomb the area but Carter refuses to do so until his men are clear. Steakley finds the inside man’s body and sees Marquez leaving the area with Ibanez but he manages to cut him off. When Marquez refuses to drop the gun he has pointed at Ibanez, Steakley shoots him in the arm in order to disarm him, then frees Ibanez and takes Marquez prisoner. Meeting back up with his radioman, Steakley contacts Carter and tells him they have Ibanez and requests and evac but when Carter suggests a safe zone 4 km away, Steakley demands they bring the chopper to their position and despite Grimaldi’s protests, Carter agrees. The soldiers board the helicopter along with Ibanez and Marquez but as they are leaving the area, one of Marquez’s soldiers fires a Stinger missile at them, causing the helicopter to crash into the jungle. Two of Steakley’s men, Hudson and Dillinger, are thrown from the chopper, with Hudson being severely injured. Seeing the smoke from the helicopter, Dillinger leaves Hudson to go get some help but while he is gone, Hudson is killed by a Velociraptor. Hearing his screams, Dillinger heads back and chases off the Velociraptor but ends up being killed by another one. Back at the helicopter, Steakley notices that Marquez is missing and goes after him, leaving Haldeman in charge of getting everybody out of there. Haldeman orders everyone out of the helicopter, noticing that Felix, Edwards and Nuemeir, are dead. Steakley manages to catch up to Marquez and takes him back to the group, where they try to figure out their next move. Realizing that a rescue won’t be coming unless they are able to get a radio signal out, Steakley orders everyone to move out. Back at the headquarters, Grimaldi is attempting to go over Carter’s head and call in an air strike and when Carter asks for more time for Steakley to try and contact them, Grimaldi reluctantly gives him 24 hours. Back in the jungle, Steakley is leading the march when he stops and sees some bloody scraps from a uniform and a track that indicates some creature might have killed one or both of his men. As they keep moving, one of the men, Potter, is killed by a pair of Velociraptors as he stops to examine the tracks in the ground. As the group makes their way out of the brush, they notice that they are in a low valley, which explains why they can’t get a radio signal out. Steakley notices that Potter is missing but says they can’t go back and look for him, then grabs the radio to see if he can get to some higher ground to get a signal. As he tries using the radio, Steakley hears something stalking him in the jungle and decides to head back to the group, where he orders Rico and Flores to double back and see if they can spot what was stalking him. As Steakley and the others wait to hear back from Flores and Rico, Ibanez says she has a theory about where they are, telling them about a hidden crater that had been discovered which contained a prehistoric ecosystem, prompting Haldeman to comment about it’s similarities to “The Lost World”. As Steakley tells the group to get ready to move out, Tank uses his knife to kill a large beetle near him but forgets to grab it and Marquez notices this and secretly grabs it. Meanwhile, Flores and Rico hear movement in the brush and move forward to investigate it but they end up getting killed by the raptors. Hearing the brief sounds of gunfire, Steakley, Haldeman, and Crow head off to see what is happening, leaving Tank to watch Marquez and Ibanez, but all they find are the bloody remains of the two soldiers. Quickly making their way through the jungle, they come to a clearing and see a large herd of Tricerotops, along with a few sauropods, browsing along a river bank. Seeing someone moving among the herd, Steakley heads out to speak to the man, which turns out to be Roxton, but he tells Steakley to leave. When Steakley’s radio spooks one of the Triceratops, it charges at him and he goes to shoot it but Roxton tackles him to the ground as the animal misses them. Roxton explains that it was merely trying to scare Steakley away from the nest that is nearby, just as a Tyrannosaurus appears and begins trying to kill one of the animals. As the two dinosaurs begin fighting, Haldeman hands Ibanez a pistol, then leaves with Crow to go help Steakley but Marquez uses the distraction to escape. Steakley tells everyone to follow Roxton as the Tyrannosaurus kills the Triceratops, then starts heading towards him but Steakley manages to severely wound the dinosaur and Ibanez finishes it off when he runs out of ammo. Roxton leads the group to the cave he has been living and explains that he has been there for over 10 years. When Steakley asks if there is a way out of the crater, Roxton says that there is a way out but it is through a place he calls Death Valley and he warns them that they don’t want to go there but Steakley insists that if that is the way out, then that is where they need to go. Roxton agrees to lead them to Death Valley, wanting to get them out of the crater as quickly as possible, but Steakley chooses to go off mission to go find Marquez. Steakley eventually finds him and the two start fighting but it is interrupted by the appearance of a Velociraptor. When it attacks Marquez, Steakley saves him in order to bring him to justice and Marquez ends up saving Steakley’s life in return. When some more raptors appear, they start to run and are rescued when Haldeman and Crow show up and kill them. As they continue towards Death Valley, Roxton breaks from the group to use the restroom but secretly, heads to where he knows a Triceratops tends to rest and rouses it, causing the animal to rush through the brush and impale Crow as it runs through the ground. Roxton feigns ignorance about what happened but when Marquez starts laughing and saying that Roxton would do anything to keep them from leaving and telling others about the crater. Steakley grabs Roxton’s map and learns that he knew about the Triceratops and forces him to lead them to Death Valley. When they reach Death Valley, they discover that it is home to several Tyrannosaurus and they are running low on ammo. Steakley decides to head for a hill in the middle of the valley, figuring that they will be able to get a signal out through there. They use a flash bang to distract a nearby Tyrannosaur and make a run for the hill but Roxton falters and runs in a different direction and ends up being killed. As the group make their way up the hill, they are attacked by the Velociraptor pack and Tank ends up being killed but they manage to get a signal out to be picked up. Back at headquarters, Grimaldi says that time is up and orders an air strike to level the jungle but when they get a signal from Haldeman, Carter forces Grimaldi to call off the strike and then kicks him off of the base. Back in the crater, Marquez attempts to turn on the group but Steakley stops him, then boards the helicopter that Carter sent along with Haldeman and Ibanez. Marquez tries to get on board but he is killed by a Tyrannosaur and Steakley uses an RPG to kill it as they fly off to safety.

Ok, I honestly don’t know how to call this one. I mean, technically, Corin Nemec did survive but he was basically in the background and wasn’t really doing any fighting. I think I will have to put this as a draw, bringing his record to 4-1-1. Now, as to the movie itself, this was pretty entertaining in that charming way that most B-movies are. The acting was descent, with Gary Stetch (Steakley), Michael Worth (Roxton), Alicia Ziegler (Haldeman), and Israel Saez de Miguel (Marquez) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Corin Nemec (Carter) and Vernon Wells (Grimaldi) were also good but their limited role in the movie was a little disappointing. The story was interesting, mixing a typical action movie styled rescue movie with elements of “The Lost World”. The special effects were decent for the most part, though there were some times that they looked a little cheap, and the blue screen efforts were a little off. A decent movie to watch but not exactly worth hunting down.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review

May 27th, 2017 Movie – The Ring Two

the ring 2

A sequel to a remake. For some reason I feel like there should be a law against that sort of thing. So as successful as The Ring was, and with the other Japanese horror movie remakes starting to flood the theaters, it seemed obvious that a sequel would occur. Now even though I enjoyed the first movie, I didn’t feel like going to see this one in theaters. I also never rented it, though that was more from a mixture of indifference and desire to watch other things and not a refusal to watch this movie. So let’s see if this last Blockbuster purchase was worth it as I watch today’s movie, The Ring Two.

The plot: In Astoria, Oregon, high school seniors Jake and Emily are at a playground and Emily is chastising Jake for waiting so long to ask her out. Jake invites Emily back to his house and as he comments about late it is, he tells Emily that he has a movie for her to watch, then heads into the kitchen to get them some drinks while she goes to put the tape in the VCR. As it gets closer to 11, Jake yells at Emily to play the tape but he hears the sound of the movie and closes the door. When the phone rings, Jake thinks it might be Samara but it is his friend who had shown Jake the tape in the first place. As Jake is talking on the phone, he notices black water flowing underneath the kitchen door and quickly heads into the other room only to find that Emily had played the video but covered her eyes so she couldn’t watch it. As Jake turns to the TV, the video cuts to the well as Samara climbs out of the well and through the TV before she kills Jake. Elsewhere, Rachel and Aidan are living in Astoria, having moved from Seattle after sending the Aidan’s copy of the tape out to be watched. While working for The Daily Astorian, Rachel hears about Jake’s death and heads to his house to see if he died from Samara’s curse. When she gets to the house, she sees the body being loaded into the ambulance while Emily is taken away in a squad car. Sneaking inside the ambulance, Rachel unzips the body bag in order to see Jake’s face and is horrified to see that it looks just like Noah’s did when he died. As she goes to zip up the bag, Samara suddenly appears inside the bag grabs her arm, saying “I found you”, before Rachel is able to free herself. Rachel heads to the police station to try and talk to Emily and manages to ask her if she saw the tape and knows anyone else who has but Emily shakes her head no. Sneaking into Jake’s house, Rachel finds the tape and takes it out to a deserted area and burns it. Aidan has a nightmare about seeing the TV showing the well and Samara trying to drag him into the TV but when Rachel asks him to tell her about the nightmare, he says he doesn’t remember. The next day, they head to an open air market and Rachel runs into her boss, Max Rourke, who tries to find out more about why Rachel moved to Astoria. Meanwhile, Aidan heads into the restroom but finds that all of the water seems to have stopped working. As he stares into the mirror, he sees Samara approaching him and he starts taking pictures of his reflection. Rachel finds Aidan and notices how cold he is and they leave the fair and head home but along the way, Rachel has to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a deer. Aidan tells her not to stop and to keep driving but as Rachel waits for the deer to cross the road, it suddenly returns and starts attacking the car. When a second deer attacks from the other side, Rachel manages to start driving away only to have another deer charge the car and crash into the front of it, causing the car to spin out of control. When the car stops, Rachel and Aidan find themselves surrounded by deer but they make no further moves to attack and Rachel is slowly able to drive away from them. At the house, strange things begin occurring and when Rachel goes to check on Aidan, she sees Samara at first but when she looks again, sees it is Aidan but there is something on the wall behind him that starts growing so they quickly leave. Rachel takes Aidan to her work and when Max talks to her, she asks if they can stay at his place. When they get to Max’s house, Rachel tries to warm up Aidan by giving him a warm bath but Aidan seems scared of the water and Rachel has to force him into the tub. Asking Max to watch Aidan, Rachel returns to the house and grabs Aidan’s camera, where she sees the pictures Aidan took in the bathroom and realizes that Samara might have possessed Aidan. At Max’s house, Max is on the phone when the door to the bathroom suddenly closes and locks on it’s own and when he tries calling out to Aidan, he sees water pouring out from underneath the door. He goes to get something to open the door as Rachel returns and as she bangs on the door, it opens suddenly and she sees all of the water from the door is being driven out of the tub and floating in the air. As she approaches Aidan, she sees Samara holding him just as all of the water falls back into the tub and floor. When Rachel goes to pull Aidan out of the water, Samara appears and Rachel forces her back into the water but when Max enters the room, he sees Rachel trying to drown Aidan and stops her. They take Aidan to the hospital and the doctors work on stabilizing Aidan but he ends up unconscious and won’t wake up. Rachel tells Max about Samara but he doesn’t believe her and she asks that he take Aidan’s picture to prove that Samara possessed him. As Rachel looks over Aidan, she is approached by Dr. Emma Temple, a psychiatrist for Child Services who tells Rachel she needs to stay away from Aidan from the time being, as she questions Rachel about her having postpartum depression when Aidan was born and thinks that Rachel tried to deliberately harm Aidan. When Rachel leaves the room that Emma locked her in, Emma tells the nurse caring for Aidan that Rachel is not to be allowed inside the room. Rachel heads back to Moesko Island to try and find out more information about Samara and when she arrives at the Morgan’s ranch, she tricks the real estate agent into letting her look in the basement. She eventually finds an old photo album with newspaper clippings and learns that Samara’s birth mother, Evelyn, tried to drown her as an infant. Back at the hospital, Aidan wakes up but Samara is in control of his body and she has Emma kill herself after Emma had been questioning Aidan. Meanwhile, Rachel heads to the orphanage where Samara was adopted from and learns about Evelyn being institutionalized and heads there to speak with Evelyn. When Rachel tries talking to Evelyn, she starts yelling at Rachel, saying she let the dead get in and when Rachel asks her what she can do, Evelyn says to be a good mother. Aidan makes his way back home and Max shows up to check on him. When Max tries to take Aidan’s picture, Aidan tells him no and says he will explain why if he doesn’t take his picture so Max sets the camera down, but has it set on a timer, which Aidan notices. When Rachel gets home, Aidan surprises her and starts acting out of character, actually calling her “Mommy” instead of “Rachel” like he normally does. When she asks about Max, Aidan says he left but Rachel heads out to the car and finds Max’s body inside his truck. Heading back inside the house, Rachel is unsure what to do next and ends up falling asleep. She has a dream that Aidan is in bed next to her and he tells her she has to exorcise Samara in order to stop her. Waking up, Rachel heads downstairs to find Aidan awake and watching TV so she fixes him a snack but puts some sleeping pills inside the sandwich. When Aidan falls asleep, Rachel places him in the bathtub to temporarily drown him, forcing Samara out of Aidan’s body. Rachel then checks on Aidan and he manages to come around when they suddenly see the TV turn on showing the well. Rachel realizes that Samara is going to keep coming until she finds the mother she is looking for so she has Samara take her in order to spare Aidan. Samara grabs Rachel and drags her through the TV, where she ends up inside the well. As she is treading water, she looks up and notices that the well is open and realizes it is always open and allows Samara a way out. Rachel begins climbing the well but Samara emerges and tries to stop her. Rachel manages to dislodge some rocks, which sends some water pouring down and knocks Samara back down into the water below, allowing Rachel to make it out of the well and push the lid back on it. Rachel hears Aidan calling out to her and she follows the sound to the cliff where Anna Morgan had committed suicide. Rachel jumps off the cliff herself and ends up back in the real world, with a worried Aidan looking down at her. Rachel tells him that Samara is gone and won’t be coming back and as they hug, she asks him to call her Rachel, for the time being.

The Ring Two was panned by the critics, holding a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Ring Two serves up horror cliches, and not even Hideo Nakata, the director of the movies from which this one is based, can save the movie from a dull screenplay full of absurdities.” Even though director Hideo Nakata directed the original movie and it’s second sequel (Ringu and Ringu 2), this is not a remake of Ringu 2, but a sequel to The Ring (2002) and follows it’s own story line. The movie had a bigger opening weekend but failed to match the success of it’s predecessor, earning $161.5 million off of a $50 million budget.

This wasn’t bad but it definitely paled in comparison to the first movie. Naomi Watts and David Dorfman doing a good job of reprising their roles of Rachel and Aidan. Simon Baker (Max) and Elizabeth Perkins (Emma) were a little bland but Sissy Spacek was a nice surprise in her role as Evelyn. The story was interesting but didn’t really do a good job of explaining how things developed into the present movie. You are basically left to assume that Rachel got someone to watch Aidan’s copy, then either they told the person how to avoid dying, or that person randomly figured it out and they made someone else watch a copy, but that leaves an awful lot up for assumption. The special effects were definitely good, with the scene in the bathroom where the water is floating up to the ceiling being an incredible bit of special effects. A decent horror movie but there was potential for it to be a lot better.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, Uncategorized

May 26th, 2017 Movie – The Ring (2002)

the ring

So here we are. This is the movie that started the trend of remaking Japanese horror movies so we have it to thank for The Grudge, Pulse, and Dark Water. Now when this came out in theaters, I honestly had no real intention to go see it. However, after hearing about how successful it ended up being, I decided to rent it when it became available on DVD. So let’s see if the hype stands up with today’s movie, The Ring (2002).

The plot: Katie and Becca are trying to watch TV but are bored because nothing good is on. Turning the TV off, Becca asks Katie if she heard the rumor of the cursed videotape, saying that when you watch it, you receive a phone call saying that you will die in 7 days. Katie asks Becca who told her that and admits that she had watched the tape with her boyfriend and two other friends last week. When the phone rings, Katie freaks out but it is only her mom so she talks with her while Katie heads back to her room. After hanging up the phone, Katie is frightened by the downstairs TV turning on by itself and when she unplugs it, she notices something moving behind her. After some other unexplained things occur, she heads back upstairs to her room to see the TV showing a scene from the video and she is killed by an unseen force. A few days later, Rachel, Katie’s aunt, is picking up her son Aiden and Aiden’s teacher talks to her about Aiden’s behavior, showing Rachel pictures he has drawn of a girl being buried and when Rachel says he is just reacting to Katie’s death, the teacher explains that he had started drawing them a week ago. At the memorial service for Katie, Rachel comforts her sister Ruth, who says she tried to figure out what could have happened to Katie and asks Rachel for her help. While outside smoking, Rachel learns about the tape and that Josh also died the same night that Rachel did. After picking up some pictures that Katie had taken to be developed, Rachel notices that a picture of the four kids has their faces all blurred. Learning that the other two kids died on the same day and the exact same time as Katie and Josh, Rachel heads up to the cabin to investigate. As she goes to rent the same cabin the kids did, Rachel notices an unmarked video tape in the video library and grabs it. When she gets to the cabin, she watches the tape, which shows some disturbing and surreal images, and when she ejects the tape after it’s done, the phone rings and a voice tells her “7 days”. The next day, Rachel has her ex-husband Noah, who works in photo and video editing, take her picture, revealing her face is also blurred. She has Noah watch the tape but he thinks it is some weird student film and when the phone rings, she refuses to answer it and deletes the message. Rachel makes a copy of the tape for Noah and they try to examine it further but when Noah’s assistant come into his studio, Rachel grabs the copy, as she doesn’t want anyone else to see it. Rachel examines the tape herself and notices a lighthouse in one of the images. After doing some research, Rachel finds out that the lighthouse is on Moesko Island and sees the woman featured in the video in a picture of a dedication for the lighthouse. Rachel learns that the woman’s name is Anna Morgan and that she had committed suicide after the majority of the horses on the Morgan family ranch died of a mysterious illness. Rachel begins having strange dreams involving a black haired girl in a white dress who is soaking wet and when she wakes up on Monday, she sees that Aidan has watched the tape. When Noah calls to say that he believes her, as his face is now blurred in pictures, Rachel tells him that Aidan watched the tape. Leaving Aidan with Ruth, Rachel asks Noah to try and get the records for Anna from the psychiatric hospital that she was committed to while she takes the ferry to Moesko Island and tries getting answers there. On the ferry, Rachel sees a horse in a trailer but as she tries to pet it, it freaks out, escapes the trailer, and runs around the ferry before jumping over the side and getting killed by the ferry’s propellers. Rachel heads to the Morgan ranch and speaks with Anna’s husband Richard about the horses and the tape but Richard is cryptic and denies that they had a daughter. When she goes to see the town doctor, the doctor admits that the Morgans could not conceive a child so the adopted Samara but says that the last she heard, Samara was at the psychiatric hospital and that things on the island have been better since she has been gone. Meanwhile, Noah breaks into the hospital and finds Anna’s records, but when he tries to call Rachel with what he knows, he doesn’t get an answer so he heads to the island himself. That night, Rachel sneaks into the Morgan’s house and finds the tape of Samara’s psychotherapy sessions, and learns how Samara had the ability to etch her thoughts onto objects and into the minds of people and animals. As she watches the tape, Richard sneaks up behind Rachel and strikes her, then grabs the TV. He takes it upstairs and tells Rachel that Samara will never stop, then electrocutes himself. Noah arrives at the house just as this happens and they head into the barn, where they find the loft that was converted into Samara’s room. Examining the room, Rachel and Noah find an image of a tree painted onto a wall that was covered by wallpaper and Rachel recognizes it not just as the tree in the tape, but from the cabin where she watched the tape. When they get to the cabin, Rachel starts to give up hope while Noah starts throwing things around but when they notice some glass beads rolling onto a particular spot on the floor, they tear up the floor boards to discover an old stone well. As they try to peer down into it, a swarm of flies fly out just as Rachel ends up getting knocked down into the well. As Noah goes to get some rope to help Rachel escape, the lid suddenly closes and Rachel sees how Anna had killed Samara and thrown her into the well but Samara had managed to survive and lived for 7 days before she finally died. Samara’s body floats to the surface and Rachel holds it and watches as it turns into a skeleton before she lets it sink back into the water. The authorities arrive and Noah tells Rachel that Samara will be buried next week and that it is over, as Rachel has survived the 7 days. Rachel and Noah go pick up Aidan and head back to Rachel’s place before Noah head home. The next morning, Rachel is talking with Aidan about Samara and she notices the hand prints on his arm that are similar to when Samara had grabbed her and Aidan tells her that Samara never sleeps. At his studio, Noah is looking over some pictures when his TV suddenly comes on and shows the image of the well. As Noah watches, he sees Samara climbing out of the well and then crawls out of the TV and approaches him. Rachel tries calling Noah but when he doesn’t answer, she rushes over to his studio only to find Noah dead in his chair, with a puddle of water on the floor around him. Returning to her apartment, Rachel burns the tape and tries to figure out why she was spared when she remembers the copy of the tape she made. Rachel takes Aidan with her and has him make a copy of the tape, which Rachel plans on showing to someone so that Aidan will be spared but Aidan asks what will happen to them and Rachel doesn’t have an answer for him.

The Ring (2002) met with mixed to positive results from the critics, holding a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “With little gore and a lot of creepy visuals, The Ring gets under your skin, thanks to director Gore Verbinski’s haunting sense of atmosphere and an impassioned performance from Naomi Watts.” The killer video in the movie was used in commercials for a month before any mention of the movie was made. The movie was a box office success, earning $249.3 million off of a $48 million budget.

This was a really good movie, and honestly just makes me want to watch the original movie that much more (I should really get on that). The acting was great, with Naomi Watts (Rachel), Martin Henderson (Noah), and Brian Cox (Richard) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was good, using a lot of suspense to help set the tone and keep you enthralled. The special effects were surprisingly better than I expected, and there were a couple of really great scenes in there. I especially liked the effects where Rachel was able to grab the fly out of the video and Samara exiting the TV. A great horror movie and definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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drama, horror, movie, movie review

May 25th, 2017 Movie – Ringu 0: Birthday

ringu 0

Man, what is it with popular movies coming out and then a prequel coming out some years later. I mean, Star Wars is one of the more obvious instances but there have been others, including today’s movie. With the popularity of Ringu and Ringu 2, another sequel was made only this time, they decided to focus on how Sadako came to be the spirit in the well. So let’s see how good they did with today’s movie, Ringu 0.

The plot: A girl is talking on the phone to a friend, who is telling her about a video she watched, and when her friend mentions a well, the girl starts telling her about a dream she had. In the dream, she saw an old well, that was pitch black inside it, as well as an old house nearby. When she went into the house, she didn’t see anyone there and was about to check upstairs when she hears a scream and sees a man killing a woman and throwing her body down the well. 30 years earlier, a reporter named Akiko Miyaji is interviewing an elementary school principal named Mrs. Sudo about a former student named Sadako Yamamura. Akiko asks if Sadako had inherited her mother Shizuko’s powers and Sudo says she doesn’t know, but relates an incident that occurred on a class trip to the beach where 14 children had drowned and Sadako, who was terrified of the sea, had said if they went into the sea they would die. Meanwhile, Sadako, now 19 years old, has moved to Tokyo and joined a theater troupe, which was at her doctor’s suggestion as a way to deal with her nightmares. Aiko, the girl that Sadako is the understudy for, is not happy with Sadako being there, as the director seems to have become more critical of her since she joined. When one member comments on her looking pale, Aiko admits that she has been having bad dreams about a well and a house and the woman admits that she has had the same dream. Later, as the actors run through a scene, Aiko sees a barefoot girl in a white dress approaching her, though nobody else sees her. At the same time, Hiroshi Toyama, the sound director, hears a strange squealing sound coming from somewhere. When the director, Yusaku Shigemori, tells everyone to take a break, Aiko is seen slumped in a chair and when the woman she was talking to approaches her, she discovers that Aiko has died. Meanwhile, Akiko is interviewing an associate of Dr. Ikuma, Sadako’s father, and plays the recording of the incident that occured during Shizuko’s demonstration. Akiko informs him that while one reporter did die that day, all of the reporters have since died over the last 12 years and that the strange squealing noise can only be heard on that tape. Akiko asks if the man knows where Izuma or Sadako is but the doctor says he doesn’t know. Back at the theater, Sadako is named as Aiko’s replacement and while most of the actors shun or insult her, Toyama tells her to ignore them. After rehearsing her first scene, Shigemori calls it a day and Toyama approaches Sadako to congratulate her but Shigemori tells Toyama to finish editing the sound reels while he takes Sadako back to her apartment. As Toyama is checking the reels, he has his girlfriend Etsuko, the costume designer, listen and explains that the tape was on when Aiko died but the sound wasn’t there originally and Etsuko is shocked to hear what sounds like someone saying “You will die.” The next day, Etsuko is working on altering Sadako’s dress while some of the troupe members warn her that Toyama and Sadako are getting to close. As Etsuko takes a break, she sees what appears to be a young girl dressed in white walking across the room and she suddenly has a vision of the well and a forest by the sea before passing out. When she wakes up, she notices the dress is missing and when she sees Toyama walking down the hall, asks him if he has seen Sadako. The two go looking and eventually find Sadako holding the dress and Etsuko accuses her of taking it but Toyama tells her to stop. When Etsuko leaves, Sadako apologizes and says that sometimes she does things and doesn’t remember them, then starts to tell Toyama a little about her dreams. The next day, Etsuko looks up Sadako’s resume and goes to see her psychiatrist but he refuses to answer any questions as Etsuko leaves, the flyer for the play she was carrying is left on the ground and a man, who happens to be Akiko’s assistant, picks it up. Etsuko returns to the theater and goes to speak with Toyama, begging him to stay away from Sadako but Toyama refuses to listen. Akiko and her assistant show up as the troupe is preparing to rehearse and Akiko speaks with Shigemori for a few minutes about Sadako. Getting Shigemori’s permission, Akiko and her assistant approach Sadako and try to take some pictures but the camera breaks and Sadako runs off. Later, Akiko returns to office and finds Mrs. Sudo waiting for her. Mrs. Sudo explains that she couldn’t tell Akiko this earlier but she had paid a house visit to Sadako’s house shortly after Sadako was enrolled in her school. She said that Shizuke had begun her descent into madness at this point and she heard strange noise coming from the attic and when she looked up the stairs, she saw another child hiding there. From that point on, she was scared of Sadako because she didn’t know which child would actually be coming to school. Akiko goes to see how the pictures her assistant took turned out and they see that the entire troupe is cursed and that the pictures of the dead journalists are seen behind the picture of Sadako. The assistant says that Akiko will never be able to print this story but Akiko says it was never going to be a story, later revealing that the dead journalist during the demonstration was her fiance. Back at the theater, Shigemori confronts Sakado, saying he knows about her mother and her past and says she is the perfect actress. When nearby objects start shaking, Shigemori accuses Sadako of doing it and attacks her but Toyama, who was listening to their conversation, stops him. As the two struggle, Sadako hears a child’s laughter above them and yells for them to stop when there is a sudden crash and Toyama is shown to have accidentally killed Shigemori. Sadaku takes the wounded Toyama to Dr. Kuno but when he goes to treat Toyama’s injuries, he finds that they are already healing. As Toyama recovers, he tells Sadako that he will confess to Shigemori’s murder, saying that he will not let them hurt her. As Sadako waits for Toyama to be released, she sees a man in a wheelchair and touches his legs, enabling the man to stand up, which shocks the nurse attending him. Sadako and Toyama return to the theater and Toyama hides the body before the other troupe members arrive. When Shigemori is nowhere to be found, the troupe says that they can’t cancel and must perform the play. Sadako goes to see Toyama and he suggests they run away together after the show and Sadako agrees as they both profess their love to each other. Meanwhile, Akiko meets up with Etsuko and hands her a package, then heads inside the theater to watch the play while Dr. Kuno, having heard about what happened to the man in the wheelchair, also heads to the theater. As the play progresses, one of the stage hands discovers Shigemori’s body and one of the actors blames Sadako, causing rumors to start circulating. Etsuko gets Toyama to leave the sound booth, saying she will cover for him, and quickly switches the tape to the recording from Sizuke’s demonstration causing Sadako to have a breakdown. Dr. Kuno tries to get Sadako to calm down but she ends up accidentally killing him. The rest of the troupe chase after Sadako and while she pleads her innocence, several of the actors proceed to beat her to death while others hold Toyama at bay. When they are finished, Akiko approaches them and says that there is another Sadako and they must kill her as well or else they will all die from the curse. Akiko and the theater troupe head to Dr. Ikuma’s house and after he lets them inside, he explains that somehow Sadako had split into two people, with one of them taking after Shizuke while the other took after Sadako’s real father. This is what drove Shizuke mad and Ikuma explains that the only thing he could do was to use drugs from keeping it from growing up. Akiko heads up to the attic and goes to kill the other Sadako but finds the attic empty. Inside the truck, Toyama is holding onto Sadako’s hand when it suddenly starts grasping his, shocking both him and Etsuko, who was in the truck with him. Toyama tries to escape with Sadako and Etsuko, feeling guilty for her part in what happened, lets them go and tries to stop the others from chasing after them. Sadako tells Toyama to get away from her and heads to the edge of a cliff and as Toyama watches, he sees the other Sadako merge with Sadako and he tells her one last time that he loves her. As Toyama’s scream sounds through the air, Akiko and the theater troupe stop and look around in the woods as one by one, they all start dying. Akiko and Etsuko manage to make it to Ikuma’s old house to hide but Sadako approaches them and causes Akiko to shoot Etsuko and then herself. Ikuma, hearing all of the commotion, goes looking for Sadako and the others and finds Akiko and Etsuko’s bodies as well as Sadako, who is breaking down over what she had just done. Ikuma takes her back to the house to tend to her wounds and gives her some drugs to calm her down but then tells her that they should end this now. Sadako tries to escape but Ikuma chases her down and, catching up to her by the old well, strikes her in the head with a cleaver and throws the body down the well. Sadako has a dream of being reunited with Toyama but wakes up and screams as she realizes where she is and sees the lid being placed on top of the well, sealing her in.

This was a lot better than I thought it would be. The acting was pretty good, with Yukie Nakama doing a great job as Sadako while Seiichi Tanabe (Toyama), Kumiko Aso (Etsuko), and Kaoru Okunuki (Akiko) did good jobs as well. The story was interesting, with the part of there being two different Sadako’s being a good twist but they did a poor job of really explaining Sadako’s abilities, as the healing aspect seemed to come out of nowhere. I did like how the darker emotions in humanity, primarily jealousy, fear, and revenge, served as the real driving force in the movie and ended up forming Sadako into the spirit she would become. The special effects were pretty good and really helped focus the drama and tension in the scenes onto Sadako, painting her as a more tragic figure than she originally was portrayed. A surprisingly good prequel and a worthy entry into the franchise.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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