action, drama, movie, movie review, western

February 27th, 2018 Movie – Tombstone


It’s been a while since I have watched a western. This is probably due to the fact that it is not a genre of movies that I particularly care for as a whole, but there are several standout movies that do catch my interest. I mean, there are a couple of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies that I have watched and enjoyed, while some more recent movies and remakes have also been entertaining. However, today’s movie is somewhat a first because it is the first western that I actually liked enough to buy on video/DVD, well maybe the second because I did buy Blazing Saddles first. Anyways, I remember going to see this movie in theaters and thinking it was a lot of fun and even though I own it on DVD, it has been a while since I have watched it. Now let’s see if the teenage memories do today’s movie justice as I watch Tombstone.

The plot: In 1879, a group of outlaws known as the Cochise County Cowboys ride into a Mexican town and interrupt a police officer’s wedding. Holding up two red sashes, which the Cowboys are known for wearing, their leader, William “Curly Bill” Brocius, tells the assembled officers that they killed two of his men, then he and his men proceed to kill all of the police officers there, including the newly married groom and his wife. When the priest starts saying that their acts will be avenged, quoting Revelations and it’s passage of Death riding on a pale horse, he is shot as well. Meanwhile, retired sheriff Wyatt Earp arrives in Tucson Arizona and is approached by two U.S. Marshals but he turns down their offer to work for them. He is then met by his brothers Morgan and Virgil and their wives Allie and Louisa. Wyatt introduces them to Mattie Blaylock, his common–law wife, and then starts putting his suitcases in the wagon for their trip, while Allie gives Mattie a bottle laudanum, which she says is for her headaches. Wyatt and his family eventually reach Tombstone, Arizona and are greeted by Johnny Behan, the town sheriff, who speaks with Wyatt and offers him the use of three cabins that just came up for rent. Later, Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil are talking with Marshall Fred White, who points out some Cowboys nearby and says they are really the “law” around there. He then talks about the various casinos in town and mentions one, the Oriental, that has fallen on hard times. Wyatt heads over to the Oriental and speaks with the bar tender, commenting on how nice it is and wondering why it is so dead. The bartender explains that a dealer had shown up and taken over one of the tables and essentially run everyone out so Wyatt confronts the man and gets rid of him, then offers his own services for 25% of the house. Wyatt rejoins his brothers to tell them about his good fortunes, not noticing the dealer coming up behind them with a shotgun. Suddenly, Doc Holliday appears, calling out the dealer, who he knows, then shakes hands with his friend Wyatt and the others. After chasing off the dealer, Wyatt introduces Doc to Behan just as a gunshot is heard at a nearby saloon and they see two associates, Texas Jack Vermillion and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson, involved. The two Jack’s say hello to their friends but Fred tells them they have to turn over their guns. When a theater troupe arrives in town, Wyatt finds himself attracted to Josephine Marcus, an actress in the troupe and attends the show that night with the rest of his family as well as Doc and his companion. After the show, Wyatt heads off to work and has an encounter with Curly Bill and his lieutenant Johnny Ringo. Ringo’s attention is focused on Doc, wanting to test his skill against Doc’s but Doc refuses to take the bait and things end up settling down as Curly Bill, Ringo, and the other Cowboys leave. The next day, Wyatt is on his way home when he runs into Josephine and the two end up riding together and talking, where Josephine asks him if he is happy with his life. The next night, Curly Bill gets drunk and ends up shooting his gun around town and when Behan refuses to do anything about it, Fred heads out and tells Curly Bill to turn in his guns but ends up getting shot. Wyatt knocks Curly Bill out and starts taking him to the jail but Ike and Billy Canton, and some of the other Cowboys tell him to let Curly Bill go. Wyatt refuses, saying Curly Bill will stand trial, then holds a gun to Ike’s head while Doc, Morgan, and Virgil back him up. The next day, Curly Bill is let go due to a lack of witnesses to the shooting and the U.S. Marshalls ask Wyatt and his brothers to become the new marshalls but they turn them down at first but later, after rescuing a boy from getting trampled by the Cowboys as they leave town, Virgil becomes the new marshall, and Morgan joins him. Virgil’s first act is to forbid guns from being carried in town, forcing people to check them when they enter. That night, a drunken Ike loses to Doc in a poker game and as he cusses him out, Doc collapses to the ground and Wyatt and Morgan carry him to the hotel. Ike gets his guns from the bartender and drunkenly declares he will kill Wyatt and Doc the next time he sees them but Virgil knocks him out and locks him in a cell. When some Cowboys show up to pick up Ike and get his weapons, they threaten retaliation and Wyatt has Virgil swear him in as a Marshall. Later, 6 Cowboys, including Billy and Ike, ride into town and head over to the O.K. Corral. Doc joins up with the Earps and Wyatt wants to just let them simmer down but Virgil wants to arrest them for carrying weapons as a show that they can’t break the law so Wyatt relents. The four men head over to the corral and are met by Behan, who says that he disarmed the Cowboys but when they continue, he quickly hides inside a nearby building. When they get to the corral, they discover that Behan lied and a gunfight ensues, with Morgan and Virgil getting wounded, Billy and most of the Cowboys getting killed while Ike manages to escape. The next day, a drunken Ringo tries calling out Wyatt and his brothers to fight but they refuse and Curly Bill pulls him away before he starts a fight with Doc, saying that the time isn’t right. A few nights later, Behan tells Josephine, whom he has been seeing, that he knows of the attraction between her and Wyatt but after tonight, he will be the only law in town. Josephine heads over to Virgil’s house to warn Mattie, Allie, and Louisa, then saves them when a Cowboy attempts to kill them. Meanwhile, Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil are eating dinner and Virgil leaves to go home but is ambushed by the Cowboys and stumbles back into the bar. Wyatt and Morgan carry him to his home and the doctor says he will lose his arm, prompting Morgan to storm off while Allie blames Wyatt for what happened. As Wyatt leaves, he runs into Sherman McMaster, who says he had no part in what happened and is no longer with the Cowboys, throwing his sash on the ground. Sherman is accompanied by the two Jacks, who tell Wyatt that if he needs them to let them know, then the three ride off. Morgan had gone to shoot pool but is shot in the back and ends up dying from the wound. The next day, Wyatt and Doc place Morgan’s coffin in a wagon and ride out of town, with Virgil and the wives following behind them. Wyatt stops to tell Curly Bill that it is over between them but after they leave, Curly Bill sends Ike and Stillwell to follow after them to kill Wyatt. Wyatt has Virgil and the women get on the train but when Stillwell and Ike show up to kill them, Wyatt kills Stillwell, then sends Ike with a message to the other Cowboys, saying that he is coming for anyone wearing a red sash and will kill them. Swearing in Doc, Sherman, and the two Jacks, Wyatt and his posse begin riding out and killing every Cowboy they find. When they come to a river, they get in an ambush set up by Curly Bill but Wyatt walks out into the river, untouched by any of the bullets, and kills Curly Bill, but afterwards Sherman says that Ringo will be coming out for blood. Some time later, Behan has deputized Ringo and the other cowboys to arrest Wyatt and his posse and they come across a stage coach containing Josephine and Mr. Fabian, who was shot by one of the Cowboys while preventing them from robbing them. Josephine chastises Behan for his actions and Behan’s deputy leaves, saying that there has to be some sort of law around there. When Doc’s condition worsens, Wyatt’s posse takes refuge at a farmhouse but a Cowboy appears, dragging Sherman’s body behind him, and tells Wyatt that Ringo is calling him out for a duel. Wyatt agrees and he and the two Jacks ride off, leaving Doc in the care of the rancher. When they get to the meeting place, Wyatt is told where Ringo is and before he leaves, he tells the two Jacks to take off for Mexico if things go south. At the oak tree, Ringo sees a figure approaching but is surprised to find that it is Doc, who had ridden there ahead of Wyatt. Ringo agrees to fight Doc but Doc quickly shoots him in the head then turns as Wyatt approaches and Wyatt says they should finish it. Wyatt and his posse head off to finish killing the Cowboys, with Ike being spared when he removes his sash and leaves the group. Some time later, Doc is placed in the Glenwood Sanatorium where he tells Wyatt to start a new life with Josephine before he ends up dying of his tuberculosis. Wyatt heads to the town that Josephine has moved to and speaks with her after her performance, asking her to go with him and she kisses him and they dance outside in the snow.

Tombstone met with positive results from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many critics felt it was one of the best Westerns to come out in years but others felt that there were too many characters to try and focus on  plot was unfocused while the plot was unfocused. The gunfight scene in the river is supposedly true, with Wyatt Earp actually walking out into the water unscathed and shooting Curly Bill point blank with a shotgun, then shooting a second person in the stomach. Unlike the movie, Johnny Barnes (the man that was gut shot) did not die right away but managed to escape and make it to a farmhouse, where he reported what happened and how Earp walked up to Curly Bill unscathed before killing him. The movie was a hit at the box office, earning $56.5 million off of a $25 million budget.

This is still a great Western and a highly enjoyable movie, but I will say that it does have it’s faults. The acting was really good, with Kurt Russel doing a really good job as Wyatt Earp, but I think Val Kilmer stole the show as Doc Holiday (in fact it might be his best performance in my opinion). Powers Boothe (Curly Bill), Michael Biehn (Ringo), Sam Eliott (Virgil), and Dana Delany (Josephine) were also very good in their roles as well. The story was pretty good and I liked how they tried to keep it fairly accurate to the events. However, one of my favorite, somewhat underrated scenes, was after Doc killed Ringo and placed his badge on top of him, telling Wyatt that his hypocricy can only go so far. This is because he knew what they were doing had nothing to do with the law or justice, but was simply revenge for the Cowboys killing Morgan, but was going along with it to help out his only friend, Wyatt. The one thing I didn’t like was that they had soo many characters that they introduced, that they couldn’t really do half of them any justice. There were several times a character would show up briefly, then you wouldn’t see him again till the very end but he is given a poignant moment in the movie (like the deputy). The special effects regarding the gun fights were pretty good, though a little flashy at times. A great movie and definitely something that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

action, martial arts, movie, movie review

February 26th, 2018 Movie – TNT Jackson

tnt jackson

Wow, it’s been a while since I have watched a Blaxploitation and I honestly don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I understand the need for them, as they helped give African-Americans characters that were the focus or hero of the movie, and not just a side character, but they did tend to stereotype them in a bad light sometimes. Now Roger Corman was known for doing plenty of exploitation movies during the 70’s and so it isn’t too surprising that he would do one or two Blaxploitation movies during that time. Today’s movie just happens to be one of them so let’s see what is in store for me as I watch TNT Jackson.

The plot: In Hong Kong, an African-American man, Stan Jackson, is walking down the street when he is cornered by a gang, led by another African-American, Charlie. The gang leader strikes the man, claiming he stole something from him, and the man attempts to get away but the gang chases after him and ends up attacking him backstage in a theater. The next day, Diana “T.N.T.” Jackson arrives in Hong Kong and asks her taxi driver to take her to a place called Joe’s, but the driver refuses, saying it is in a dangerous part of town, but offers to take her as far as he can. When the taxi stops, the driver points Diana in the direction she wants to go and she makes her way through the area, witnessing an attempted rape and a murder. As she asks around for Joe’s place, a group of men attempt to mug her but she is able to fight them off. A woman named Elaine in a passing car stops and offers Diana a lift and tries making some small talk but Diana blows her off so Elaine tells her to finish her business and leave town before dropping her off at Joe’s. Inside, she finds Joe practicing karate in an upstairs room of his restaurant and asks if he has seen her brother, as this was the address she was given to contact him. Joe hands her an unopened letter she had sent and says he hasn’t been there for a while to collect his mail. When a waitress is being assaulted by one of the restaurant patrons, Joe goes to stop the man and as a fight breaks out, Diana helps him when he is overwhelmed. As the fight finishes, she is approached by Charlie, who offers her a job working with him. Diana says she will think about and after he leaves, she asks Joe about him. Elsewhere, Charlie is talking with Elaine, who asks his opinion about Diane, and they then head upstairs to see Elaine’s boyfriend Sid, who is busy making an arrangement to smuggle in some heroin. That night, Sid, Elaine, Charlie, and Sid’s assistant Ming head to Joe’s and ask Diana to meet with them. Diana sits with them and Sid speaks with her and offers her a job but as Elaine insults Diana, she gets up and leaves, later apologizing to Joe for blowing her chance at getting more information from them. Meanwhile, the heroin shipment is ambushed and stolen and Ming believes that Diana has something to do with it. Ming thinks she should be eliminated but Charlie and Elaine both argue that she might be useful. Charlie is sent out to hire some more men and when Diana hears about it, she decides to use the opportunity to try and work her way inside the gang. Going to the temple where Charlie is recruiting some fighters, she ends up sparring with Charlie, who offers her a drink after she beats him. The next day, Diana is wandering around when she ends up being attacked by Elaine, and as the two fight, Elaine ends up getting knocked out. Meanwhile, Charlie and his men are attacked and the shipment they were carrying was stolen. When Ming and Sid arrive, Ming renews his idea to eliminate Diana, as this started when she came to town. Meanwhile, Diana takes Elaine to Joe’s and as she figures out what to do with her, Elaine reveals that she knows about Diana and that she is actually an undercover cop working to break up Sid’s smuggling ring. Ming shows up at Joe’s to get Diana and sees Elaine there and Elaine tells Ming that Diana had nothing to do with the ambush as she was with her all day. Ming still has Diana accompany him as he takes Diana back to Sid’s place and he attempts to rape and torture her for information but Diana manages to turn off the lights and proceed to beat up Ming and his men. Meanwhile, Charlie is talking to Elaine about how he has his own plans to start a criminal empire when they see Ming walking by and comment on what happened. Charlie leaves and makes some arrangements of his own, then goes to see Diana and the two end up having sex. Afterwards, Diana notices the lighter that Charlie uses to light a cigarette as one that belonged to Stan and realizes that he is the one that killed Stan but she doesn’t confront him right then. The next day, Sid has a meeting planned with his heroin distributors and as they make the arrangements, Elaine goes out to enjoy the parade outside. Elaine secretly meets with her boss and tells him about the meeting but notices Diana and goes to talk to her. When Diana says she plans on killing Charlie, Elaine tells her boss to deal with Diana or else she will ruin their sting. The police arrest Diana but when Elaine returns to the hotel, she finds that Sid and Ming had found her contact and Sid knocks her out, then orders Ming to kill the officer, saying they will deal with Elaine after the meeting. Meanwhile, Joe helps break Diana out of jail and she heads to the hotel to find Charlie. At the meeting, the distributors say they won’t deliver any more product unless they get paid first and Charlie tells them that he will pay for the product, revealing that he was the one ambushing the shipments. When Sid confronts him, Charlie quickly knocks him out, then ends up fighting with Ming and some of his men. Elaine regains consciousness and manages to get away from her guards but as she tries to escape, she finds herself surrounded by more of Ming’s men and she is forced to fight them, and Diana shows up to help her. The police arrive and begin arresting the drug smugglers and Sid’s men and Diana sees Charlie sneaking off and goes after him. Sid regains consciousness and goes to leave but runs into Elaine, who fights with him and they both end up crashing through a window and falling to their deaths. Diane catches up to Charlie and when he starts talking with her, she strikes  him and tells him about her brother, and the two start fighting, with Diana eventually killing him.

Well, this was about what I expected it to be, and that is not a good thing. This movie was pretty terrible on a number of levels. The acting was lousy, with most of the people seeming to be too stiff and non organic in their interactions. The story should have been a straightforward revenge movie but the whole drug trade angle kind of muddied the plot some. The fight scenes were terrible, incredibly slow, most likely due to Jeannie Bell’s not knowing any martial arts and having to fake it, rather badly I might add. It was kind of funny, as they would slowly make the motions, then speed up the film at times to make it seem like Diana was moving faster in her attacks. This is a pretty lousy movie and not really worth watching unless you really want to watch one of these movies.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, movie, movie review, The Asylum

February 25th, 2018 Movie – Titanic II

titanic 2

As has become a recurring theme over the years, I have some of my friends to thank for today’s movie. I know it may come as a shock to most of you, but I really do enjoy the cheesy low budget B-movies, primarily of the sci-fi variety. To try and get my friends to enjoy them as much as I do, I have movie nights where I show numerous of these movies during the night. One such night several years ago, as we were about to watch one such movie, one of the trailers before the movie featured today’s movie. My three friends who were there at the time, Charles, Emily, and Kathy, asked me if I had it, then begin pressuring me to buy it when they learned that I didn’t own it. Needless to say, I ended up succumbing to the pressure and buying it on Amazon (it was only $9) but said that they had to watch it with me when it came in, which they agreed to. So the movie arrived, they came over to watch it, and fun was had by all. So now let’s see if history can repeat itself as I watch today’s movie, Titanic II.

The plot: Off the coast of the Helheim Glacier in Greenland, a man is surfing along the waves caused by pieces of the glacier falling into the ocean. Suddenly, a massive piece of the glacier breaks off, creating a massive wave to form that quickly knocks him off his board and drowns him. United States Coast Guard Captain James Maine receives a call from N.O.A.A. about the situation at the glacier and he contacts his regular pilot, Elliot Snipes, and has him fly him out there to investigate. Meanwhile, James’ daughter Amy and her friend Kelly Wade are in New York City waiting on James to see them off as they get ready to board the SS Titanic II, a new luxury cruise liner built by wealthy businessman Hayden Walsh. As they watch Hayden arrive, escorted by several models, Kelly questions Amy over her feelings for him, as they used to date, but Amy swears she is over him. As Kelly goes ahead and boards, Amy receives a call from James, telling her he can’t be there and telling her he doesn’t want her on the ship but she tells him everything will be fine. Amy boards the ship and runs into Hayden, where they have a brief and somewhat awkward conversation, before she heads to the infirmary where she and Kelly are working. On deck, Hayden is giving a speech to the assembled crowd and introduces Captain Howard before the ship begins it’s maiden voyage, sailing the same route the original RMS Titanic took, only in reverse. In Greenland, James reaches N.O.A.A.’s research site and is met by Dr. Kim Patterson. Kim explains that she requested his presence because of his reputation and she knew he would give her the benefit of the doubt when she explains what is happening. She tells him that the wave from the iceberg that broke off the glacier the day before had reached all the way to Canada and says that their is a chance an even bigger piece would break off soon, which could send a tsunami across the entire Atlantic Ocean. To illustrate her point, Kim takes James out to show him where the iceberg broke off and explains that global warming is making the ice melt at a faster pace than normal. Back on the ship, Hayden and Amy meet up on the deck and discuss the 6 months since the last spoke and what led to their breakup. Meanwhile, Captain Howard is overseeing the ship’s progress and one of his officers worries about being able to maneuver quick enough should they encounter ice as they near Greenland but Howard assures him that the ship is more capable than it’s predecessor. Back on the glacier, a sudden tremor occurs and cracks begin forming along the glacier. James and Kim manage to get on James’ helicopter but Kim’s team ends up falling in the cracks as the glacier breaks apart and falls into the ocean. James radios his base and speaks with Admiral Hadley and warns him of the approaching tsunami caused by the iceberg falling into the ocean. When Kim warns him about ice being a danger to ships at sea, James contacts Hadley again and has him place a warning out to ships at sea and alert the Navy to send someone to the Titanic II, as he feels it will be in danger. On board the ship, the radio operator receives the tsunami alert and tells Howard about it, who orders all passengers to be escorted to the lower decks as a precaution. After the infirmary is contacted about the situation, Amy heads to a ballroom to help just as Hayden is being informed of the situation. Hayden heads to the bridge, arguing with James over the radio that the ship can handle any ice that comes their way but James tells him that the tsunami is traveling at 800 mph and any ice moving with it will tear the ship apart. James tells Howard to move the ship south as quickly as he can but warns that the wave will reach them in 15 minutes or less. A Navy sub is traveling towards the Titanic II but encounters some icebergs under the water and ends up being destroyed when an iceberg collides with it. Back on the Titanic II, Hayden tells Howard to push the engines to 50 knots and Hayden’s second in command tells him that the engines haven’t been tested and might seize up but Howard says to go ahead and push them. James attempts to contact Amy but when she doesn’t answer, he leaves her a message telling her not to go to the lower decks and to stay in the center of the ship but if it starts taking on water, to get to the lifeboats. Snipes tells James that they are running low on fuel and they head to a Canadian Coast Guard Station to refuel. Back on the ship, one of the engines seize up as the wave approaches, sending a massive iceberg heading towards them. Captain Howard sounds the alarm as the iceberg and wave strike the ship, tearing a hole in the starboard side. As they assess the damage, they learn that all of the life boats on the starboard side were crushed by the wave’s pressure and the ship, having never been designed to withstand an impact from the side, is taking on too much water and will sink in 2-3 hours. Howard orders an evacuation and Hayden’s bodyguard ushers Hayden towards his private helicopter, rushing past Amy, who is on the deck tending to an injured passenger. When he reaches the helipad, Hayden tells his bodyguard to forget protocol and get as many injured people onto the helicopter and get them to safety first, then heads back towards the ship. Meanwhile, Kim tells James that according to the data she is receiving from N.O.A.A., tremors are still rocking the glacier and it has the chance of sending another tsunami that will dwarf the previous one. Hayden contacts Admiral Hadley and relays the information saying they need to get as many planes and helicopters into the air to get the people on the Titanic II off of the ship. However Kim receives an report that the entire front part of the glacier has fallen into the ocean and the wave is heading outward. Back on the Titanic II, evacuation procedures are commencing and after helping the injured passenger to the elevator, Amy goes to find Kelly and Hayden, who shows up to help get a fallen passenger off of her, goes with her. They find her in the infirmary pinned under a medical cabinet and bleeding from a laceration and Amy quickly makes a makeshift bandage to keep the wound sealed and they make their way to the life boats. Choosing to arrange for a mid-air refueling, James contacts the Titanic II and tells Howard not to put the lifeboats in the water as they will be deathtraps when this second wave hits. Before Howard can respond, the turbine room explodes, killing him and trapping Amy, Hayden, and Kelly in the elevator. In the helicopter, the refueling is commencing but Snipes sees the wave approaching and they disconnect and quickly fly over the wave but the refueling plane is struck by the wave and destroyed. James manages to get in touch with Amy, who tells him where they are, and he warns them about the second wave and says not to get in the lifeboat. James asks Hayden if he has any dive gear on the ship and when Hayden says they do, James says to head there and get the diving gear on so they have a better chance of staying alive. Hayden, Amy, and Kelly manage to get out of the elevator and climb up the shaft to the next floor. Making their way to the dive chamber, they find the door jammed and Hayden uses a fire axe to pry the door open and Amy tries to squeeze through but she gets stuck and as Kelly goes to push her free, the door slams closed as she does, crushing Kelly. Hayden makes it through the door and tells Amy they have to keep moving and they make their way to the dive chamber. Before they enter, they hear someone calling for help and attempt to rescue him but are unable to get the door open and the man suffocates to death from the smoke in the room. Amy and Hayden return to the dive chamber to find that there is only one tank and wet suit left so Hayden has Amy put it on. Seeing debris falling around them in the room, Hayden and Amy get into the dive locker just as the wave hits the ship, flipping it upside down while destroying all of the life rafts that had launched. Amy and Hayden find themselves trapped in the locker and with the water rising fast, Hayden makes sure that Amy has the tank on, turning on the emergency signal on the harness as he does, and tells her if they are rescued soon enough, he can be revived and Amy kisses him before they are completely submerged, then cries as Hayden drowns in front of her. James, Kim, and Snipes arrive at the site and, getting the signal from Kim’s vest, James dons some scuba gear and, after handing Kim some rope for him to use as a guide rope back, jumps into the water and makes his way to the ship. After he jumps, Snipes realizes they are almost out of fuel and has Kim throw a life raft into the water and jump for it, then crashes the helicopter away from the raft so it won’t be damaged. James makes his way to the dive chamber and frees Amy, who grabs Hayden’s body and they make their way to the surface. Kim helps them aboard the raft and Amy attempts to revive Hayden but to no avail as rescue helicopters arrive to pick them up, making Amy and the people that left in Hayden’s helicopter the only survivors.

Just to clarify, I can respect Titanic for the film it is but personally, I hate it. That being said, this wasn’t that bad of a movie but it also wasn’t something that had me on the edge of my seat in suspense. Sadly, this was kind of an average film at best. The acting was decent, with Bruce Davison (James), Brooke Burns (Kim) and Shane Van Dyke (Hayden) doing decent jobs in their roles but I felt like Marie Westbrook (Amy) couldn’t quite get her character down right. The story was interesting and based on a bit of truth, as an Australian billionaire named Clive Palmer had plans to build a Titanic 2 but financial difficulties and other issues have currently put the project on hold. A second replica Titanic 2 is being built in China but that ship is not intended for travel but rather to serve as a docked museum. The special effects weren’t too bad, though some of the shots with the waves destroying the sub, plane, and life boats were a little on the cheesy side. It’s a good movie to watch and laugh at with friends, but that is about the only redeeming feature.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review

February 24th, 2018 Movie – The Tingler

the tingler

Now there is an rather funny story involving today’s movie and how it came to be in my collection. It starts with the YouTube video I had seen featuring clips of various B-monster movies, which I had been using as a shopping list for movies to purchase. Speaking of which, there are still some movies on there that I need to buy. Anyways, one of the clips shown featured Vincent Price but I didn’t recognize the movie so I went looking through the comments to see if someone listed it on there. After learning the name, I marked it on my list of movies to buy but couldn’t buy it right then as I was going to be heading to DragonCon later that week. At DragonCon, there are two rooms set up in one of the hotels, one which shows Anime 24/7 throughout the duration of the convention, and one that shows movies. I happened to be walking by the movie room and, lo and behold, today’s movie happened to be playing in it later in the day. I made a point to go back when it was showing and thought the movie was great so, as soon as I could, I went ahead and bought today’s movie, The Tingler.

The plot: The film opens with director William Castle warning the audience that certain members of the audience might be more susceptible to elements of the film than others. These people might feel a tingling sensation getting stronger and stronger and they should not hesitate to scream if the feel the need, as the person next to them might not be able to. The screen then fades to black as several faces are shown to be screaming. The movie then opens at the local prison, where a prisoner, constantly screaming out in fear, is put to death in the electric chair. As he is taken to autopsy, the man’s brother-in-law, Oliver “Ollie” Higgins, enters the room and speaks with Dr. Warren Chapin, the pathologist performing the autopsy. Warren discovers that the dead man’s vertebrae are cracked, which could not have occurred during the electrocution, and he discusses his theory with Ollie about how extreme fear could have caused this, calling the phenomenon “The Tingler”. As he finishes writing his report, Warren gives Ollie a ride back to his home, above the movie theater that he runs with his wife Martha. Inviting Warren upstairs for coffee, Ollie introduces him to Martha when she comes upstairs to put the receipts in the safe and informs Warren that she is deaf and mute. When Warren accidentally cuts his hand, Martha stares in shock at the blood before fainting and Warren has Ollie get his medical bag so he can attend to her. As Warren revives her, he comments about how rigid she was when she fainted and that her lack of being able to scream might be a factor. After regaining consciousness, Martha quickly checks on the safe, then apologizes to Warren for fainting as she did. As Ollie and Martha go to open the box office, Warren leaves and returns home to find his sister-in-law Lucy waiting to go on a date with her boyfriend Dave, who happens to be Warren’s assistant. As she waits for Dave to finish his work, they discuss Warren’s wife Isabel, who is out all the time and tries to control Lucy’s life. When Dave arrives, he apologizes to Lucy for being late and tells Warren that he caught the cat he asked for, then hands him the experimental drug he was asked to pick up. Dave warns Warren about using that drug on his own and Warren starts telling Dave about Martha and the two start discussing using her for their experiments but Lucy finally is able to get them to stop talking about work so she can go to dinner with Dave. Some time after midnight, Warren is reading a book when he hears a car pull up and sees Isabel outside kissing the man who brought her home. When she comes inside, Warren confronts her about her actions and her refusing to let Lucy and Dave marry. As the two argue, he comments about how she came into her money and threatens to prove that she poisoned her father to get his money. Pulling out a gun, he then forces Isabel to head downstairs to his lab, frightening her further and further before he finally shoots her. Isabel collapses to the ground and Warren quickly places her on a table and takes some x-rays of her before reviving her, revealing the gun was loaded with blanks. Warren then thanks her for helping with his experiment and Isabel comments that she will get even with him before leaving the lab. The next day, Warren shows Dave the x-rays they took, which shows a strange creature along her spine, which seemed to have grown larger the more frightened she became. Later, as Warren and Dave are discussing this with Lucy, Warren says that he wants to try and experience the Tingler himself, and Dave grows concerned over what he might do. When Warren heads back to the lab, Dave and Lucy follow and watch as he prepares a syringe full of LSD and injects himself with it. Speaking into a tape recorder, Warren starts describing the effects he feels of the LSD. As Dave and Lucy grow more concerned, Lucy goes to find another key to the lab while Warren continues describing the effects and eventually screams out. When Lucy and Dave enter the room, they check on Warren, who describes what he felt but assures them that he is all right and decides to head out, but they are still worried about him. Warren heads to the theater and speaks with Ollie for a bit before heading upstairs to check on Martha. When he gets upstairs, Martha and Warren startle each other and Warren then asks her permission to do a check up. Martha agrees and after examining her, Warren says she just needs plenty of rest and gives her a sedative to help her sleep, telling her that he will give Ollie a prescription for some sleeping pills to take. After leaving their apartment, Warren heads back to the ticket booth to give Ollie the prescription and leaves while Ollie goes to get the medicine. Later, Martha awakens and sees the rocking chair moving on it’s own, while the door and window close themselves. Going to wake Ollie, Martha discovers a disfigured man with a knife in his bed and as he approaches her, she manages to get the door open and leave the room. As more strange things begin occurring, such as blood pouring from the faucets and her death certificate being filled out in front of her, Martha eventually collapses onto the bathroom floor. Warren returns home and noticing two glasses in the study, comments to Isabel about her having a lover over while he was out but she simply mocks him. Ollie shows up, telling Warren that Martha might be dead and he brought her here for Warren to examine. Warren has Ollie bring Martha into the lab and after examing her, says that she is dead and starts asking Ollie some questions so he can fill out the report. Suddenly, they see Martha’s body sit up on the table before lying back down and Warren decides to investigate and removes a fully formed Tingler from along her spine. Warren shows it to Ollie and ask him for a cage to place it in when the Tingler suddenly latches onto Warren’s arm. Warren tries to get it off and as it increases the pressure on him, he screams out in pain, which causes the Tingler to loosen it’s grip and fall onto the table. Isabel, who was listening at the door, heads into the lab and asks what is going on and Ollie tells her that the Tingler attacked Warren, with Warren commenting it could easily kill a man. As Warren continues to recover, Isabel slyly grabs some drugs from the sink and offers her condolences to Ollie before she heads to the study and begins fixing two glasses of scotch, placing the drug in one of them. Back in the lab, Warren suggests Ollie call the funeral parlor but Ollie wants to wait until morning, as it is late at night, and he wants to take the body home so Warren relents. Warren heads upstairs and Isabel offers him a drink and he chooses to take hers, not completely trusting her, but unknowingly takes the drink with the sedative. As they drink, Isabel asks him about the Tingler and if it is really that dangerous and he describes it as feeling like being in a hydraulic press. Ollie calls to tell Warren that everything is ok but Warren succumbs to the sedative and passes out on the couch. Isabel quickly puts the glasses away and then grabs the cage with the Tingler and brings it into the room before opening it and quickly leaving. The Tingler gets out of the cage and makes it’s way towards Warren, eventually crawling onto his chest and attacking his neck. Warren struggles to breath as the Tingler chokes him but Lucy, returning home from a night out with Dave, hears him choking and when she enters the room, sees the Tingler and starts screaming, causing it to loosen it’s grip and fall to the floor. The next morning, Warren and Dave run tests on the Tingler and discover that it is indestructible. Dave thinks the other doctors will be fascinated about this but Warren says he isn’t going to tell the other doctors or right about it. He feels that they defied the laws of nature by removing the Tingler and now he hopes they can destroy it by putting it back in Martha’s body, as she is no longer able to experience fear due to being dead. Warren has Dave call Ollie to find out what funeral home Martha’s body was taken too and as he dials, Lucy enters the lab and tells Warren that Isabel has packed up some things and left for good. When Ollie doesn’t answer, Warren has Dave contact the police but they have no record of her death being reported. Warren heads over to Ollie’s house to find Ollie has packed a suitcase and emptied the safe. He then discovers the costumes and props Ollie used to scare Martha to death and Ollie tries to explain himself but when Warren goes to get the Tingler to place it back in Martha, he discovers that it has broken free of the cage. Noticing a loose floorboard in the corner of the room, Warren realizes that the Tingler is in the theater and he and Ollie head down and start looking for it. Inside one of the theaters, the Tingler drops down and makes it’s way toward a young woman and latches onto her leg but lets go when she starts screaming. Warren shuts the lights off to the theater and tells everyone not to panic, as the woman is being tended too, then he and Ollie head inside to look for it. As they look, the Tingler makes his way into the projection booth, moving across the screen. Warren shuts the lights off again and tells the audience to start screaming for their lives and screams are heard among the blackened screen. When the lights come back on, the projectionist is being attacked by the Tingler but he screams and it falls to the floor, where Warren is able to grab it and place it in a film canister. They head back upstairs and Warren places the Tingler back in Martha’s body but Ollie refuses to go to the police with him, pointing a gun at Warren. Warren leaves the apartment and Ollie grabs the suitcase and plans to leave but the doors suddenly closes on him. The Tingler then causes Martha’s body to rise up and approach Ollie, who is too terrified to scream. As the screen goes dark, Warren speaks to the audience and says that if they don’t believe that they have a Tingler inside them, then the next time they are scared, don’t scream.

This is a pretty ridiculous, but highly entertaining movie to watch. The acting was good, with Vincent Price doing his normal fantastic job playing Warren. I also liked Patricia Cutts (Isabel), Judith Evelyn (Martha), and Philip Coolidge (Ollie) but thought Darryl Hickman (Dave) and Pamela Lincoln (Lucy) were kind of boring. The story was interesting, showing the typical scientist obsessed with his work and a wife scheming to get rid of him. I also liked the story around Ollie and his wife somewhat mirroring Warrens own relationship with Isabel, as the wife was the one who had the money and controlled the purse strings, so to speak. The funny thing about the movie was the times when the screen went black and Warren was speaking to the audience, both the ones watching the silent movie and the audience at home watching The Tingler, as 4th wall breaks make for some humor. The special effects concerning the Tingler where pretty laughable but I did like the visual effects about the movie; particularly how the movie is black and white except for the blood when Warren cut himself and the blood that poured out of the faucets. A silly bit of fun that is good for some laughs and some cheap thrills.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

movie, movie review, sci-fi

February 23rd, 2018 Movie – The Time Travellers

the time travellers

When watching a sci-fi movie, the most common theme is obviously some sort of alien invasion/visit to an alien planet. I think the second most common theme tends to involve some sort of time travel. Time travel movies are always interesting because you can either see the director’s or writer’s vision of a future, or their imagining of the past. Now I have never seen this movie before I bought it and the only reason I own it was because it was part of a 4-movie DVD set that I had bought. So let’s see how good of a movie I have on my hands as I watch The Time Travelers.

The plot: In a university lab, Dr. Erik von Steiner, Dr. Steve Connors, and their assistant Carol White, are working on their experimental time viewing device. As the test the device, Danny McKee, a worker for the local power plant stops by and tells Carol that he was chewed out for running the extra power cables to their lab and he is supposed to cut the power to the lab, but agrees to wait a while so they can finish their test. After testing the device on looking into the past, they decide to look into the future, and Steve decides to increase the power to it’s maximum settings, despite the protests of Erik and Carol. The dial for the machine ends up reaching 100,000 years into the future and as they dial it back, Carol notices some strange shadows quickly come and go. When the computers overload and fuse some of the circuits, the portal ends up stopped at the year 2071 and they see the university has become a barren wasteland. As Erik, Steve, and Carol work on repairing the circuits, Danny notices the screen is actually a doorway and brings it to their attention. Danny decides to go through and investigate the landscape and Erik heads after him to bring him back, telling Steve and Carol to man the controls and try to keep the portal stable. As they are working, Steve and Carol notice some strange, mutated humanoid figures moving about the screen and heading in the direction Erik and Danny went. Steve goes through the portal to try and find them and bring them back and when two of the strange figures notice the portal and head towards it, Carol uses a fire extinguisher to fend them off. Suddenly the power dies off in the building and Carol goes through the portal to alert the others that the portal is collapsing. Steve and Erik hear her and head back but just as they get there, the portal collapses. Seeing more of the mutated beings coming towards them, the three scientists run off and meet up with Danny, then start throwing rocks at the mutants until the back off. Danny takes them to a cave he discovered, where they prepare to fend off the humans again, and as they get ready, they find the mutants are unable to enter the cave and quickly run off. Going to see what happened, they discover that the opening has been sealed off by an electric barrier just as they are approached by a woman named Gadra and several androids. Gadra says not to worry and invites them into their city for safety and, seeing little choice, Erik and the others follow her. In the city, Gadra takes them to the city council, where the explain their situation to the city’s leader, Dr. Varno. Varno explains that they are in the year 2071 and the planet is dying due to nuclear war. Most of humanity was destroyed or mutated to the creatures they saw outside. The last remaining humans are in the city but know they won’t be able to survive so they plan to travel to another planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. As Varno shows them the rocket on a view screen, an explosion occurs in a fuel station and one android is damaged while a second is damaged. Varno takes them to the chamber where androids are built, explaining how the voyage to the new planet is so long, that the only way they will make it is to travel in suspended animation. He also explains that the mutants are constantly attacking and trying to find ways into the caves, so the androids also serve as their protections. As they leave, Danny stays behind to talk to Reena, one of the workers, who is attracted to him and asks him to meet her in her cubicle after her shift ends. Returning to the council room, Varno says that he will offer what ever help and supplies they need to build a new time viewing device so they can get back but warns them that they only have a month to do so, as that is when the rocket will blast off. Carol says they have to get back and warn humanity to try and stop the war but Councilman Willard, a pessimistic member of the council, says that they never make it back as the war obviously happened. Erik agrees that they can’t change the past and Varno suggests that they go with them on the rocket, which Erik and the others accept, but after they leave, Willard asks for a report on their supplies and what would happen if additional passengers where on the rocket. Erik joins Varno, who shows him the viewing room where they receive all of the data for the planet they hope to arrive on. Meanwhile, Danny heads to Reena’s room and watches as she plays a strange musical panel, while Steve and Carol follow Gadra, who works to explain the rocket and their flight plan. As she is explaining the engines, they will be using, she asks Willard to help but he refuses, being rude towards what he perceives as unwanted additions. Suddenly, an alarm sounds and Willard tells Steve to join him, saying they might need his help, while Carol is told to go to the council chamber for her safety. Carol ends up getting lost and discovers a deviant human in a storage chamber. She attempts to talk to the deviant and learns that he can understand her but can’t speak. Willard shows up and wants to shoot it but she refuses to let him, as Steve, Erik, and Varno arrive. Varno tries to explain the situation but they refuse to let them kill it and Varno agrees to let it be sent outside the barrier. Later, as Varno shows them their food supply/additional oxygen makers, Willard asks to speak with him privately and the two walk off. Later, Erik, Steve, Carol, and Danny are summoned to the chamber and given the bad news; that there is not room on the rocket for them to travel with the survivors and Willard refuses to delay the rocket’s launch to accommodate them as Steve argues that he is condemning them to their deaths. Realizing their only chance of survival is to rebuild their time viewing device, Varno offers whatever help he can, even showing them some new ways to improve the device. As the launch date gets closer, the mutants attack the city, overpowering many of the robots and humans in the city. Steve and Danny go out to rescue Carol and Reena, and bring them back to the lab, where the surviving humans and androids quickly barricade the room. Inside, the survivors watch as an explosion occurs on the launch pad and the rocket attempts to take off but explodes. Realizing their only chance is the portal, Erik activates it just as the mutants break through the barricade and start attacking them. Many of the survivors, along with Willard, are killed but Erik, Steve, Carol, Danny, Reena, Varno, Garda, and several other humans escape, then destroy the machine before the mutants can come through. As the surviving human stare at the campus grounds, Erik, Steve, Carol, and Danny head back to the lab to turn off the machine there only to discover that their past selves are still there but they are unable to affect anything. Varno and the others arrive and Varno says that they are somehow moving at an accelerated rate, and will soon die. Steve says their only hope is the portal, where the dial is stuck at 100,000 years into the future, and decides to test if the portal is open. Steve heads inside then returns and has the others follow him into the portal, where it is revealed to lead them to a lush landscape where they can rebuild a city for themselves. After they pass through the portal, time resumes on their past selves, with the accelerated people moving through the portal explaining the shadows Carol saw, and it is shown that they have ended up in a repeating loop of events.

This was a pretty decent movie but to be honest, felt a little generic. The acting was ok, with Preston Foster (Erik), Philip Carey (Steve), and John Hoyt (Varno). I also liked Joan Woodbury (Garda) but thought Merry Anders (Carol) and Delores Wells (Reena) parts were too stereotypical, while Steve Franken (Danny) was simple comic relief. The story was pretty good and honestly kind of reminded me a little of H.G. Wells “The Time Machine”, which I am sure was some inspiration for the story. The special effects were admittedly not the best, especially the androids, which had some very rubber-like masks on over the actors heads. It’s a decent time kill of a movie but there are some better stories out there to watch, or read for that matter.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

adventure, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review

February 22nd, 2018 Movie – Time Bandits

time bandits

With both my mom and step-dad working, I ended up having to go to day care after school and during the summers as a kid. Apparently I was not trusted to stay home by myself until I was in junior high (lame). The good thing about this, especially when I got older, was that I had a little more freedom at the day care than the other kids. Case in point, during the summer while all the other kids had to do nap time, I spent the time playing cards with the day care workers or watching TV. Anyways, One of the times that I was watching TV, I remember watching part of this movie and thought it was one of the craziest movies I had ever seen. I would see it many other times over the years and decided to buy it on DVD after catching part of it on TV a few years ago. So let’s have a bit of ridiculous to start the day as I watch today’s movie, Time Bandits.

The plot: 11 year old Kevin is busy reading about Ancient Greece and telling his parents various facts but his parents essentially ignore him and tell him to go to his bed. As he lays in bed, he imagines seeing a knight on horseback come crashing out of his wardrobe and go riding off into the woods where his wall was. Ducking under the covers, Kevin peeks back out to find everything is normal and goes to check the wall just as his father pokes his head in the room and asks what the noise was. The next day, Kevin’s mom complains about several appliances going haywire and Kevin makes plans to try and take a picture of what ever comes through his wardrobe that night. As he is about to fall asleep, 6 dwarves (Randall, Fidgit, Strutter, Og, Wally, and Vermin) step out of the wardrobe. When Kevin signs his flashlight on them, the dwarves get scared but after realizing that he is just a kid, they attack him and demand he show them the way out. When they accidentally push against the bedroom wall, it moves outward and the dwarves, realizing they found the way out, begin pushing on the wall and reveal a long hallway. Kevin watches them continue pushing on the wall when a ghostly face appears and tells the dwarves to return the map they stole. Frightened by what is happening, Kevin ends up helping the dwarves push on the wall until it opens up into a black void, which they all fall into. Kevin and the dwarves land in a farmhouse and as Randall (their leader) pulls out the map to figure out where they are, Kevin uses the opportunity to run away. He soon runs into some soldiers, as well as a group of injured men and women fleeing a city, and learns that he is in Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. Randall and the other dwarves catch up to Kevin, revealing that they had stolen the map from the Supreme Being, who they used to work for, and are now traveling through history to steal various treasures. Entering the nearby town, they make plans to steal Napoleon’s treasures, much to Kevin’s shock. Seeing Napoleon watching a theater production, the dwarves end up on stage and entertaining Napoleon, who ends up dismissing his generals and having Randall and the others replace them, due to their being shorter than himself. While they are eating dinner, Napoleon falls asleep and Randall has Strutter go look for the time hole out of there while he and the others begin looting the room. After Strutter finds the portal, they quickly leave but the guards get suspicious and chase after them only for Kevin and the dwarves to disappear in the portal. They end up crashing into a carriage and as the occupants quickly run away, Kevin realizes that they have landed in the middle ages. Fidgit and the others want to have Kevin join them and Randall asks Kevin if he really wants to before he agrees. Remembering that he has a camera, Kevin takes a picture of the dwarves holding the map when they hear a scream and find a group of bandits robbing the carriage occupants. Kevin and the dwarves follow them but end up being captured and, as Randall talks to the bandits and convinces them to let them go, asks to see their boss. The bandits take them to their camp, where Kevin and the others discover that the bandits’ leader is Robin Hood. Robin Hood invites them to join his gang but as Randall and the others see Robin Hood handing out their recently stolen treasure to the poor, they decide to leave, taking Kevin with them. Unbeknownst to Kevin and the dwarves, they are being observed by Evil. Evil feels the Supreme Being wasted his chance in creating reality and he wants to use the map to recreate it in his own image. Evil possesses Og and convinces Randall and the others to head to a place where the most fantastic item in the world is kept. Before they can head off, the Supreme Being appears in the woods and they are forced to try and find a way out. As they head for the portal, two of them open up but the dwarves find themselves stuck and Kevin ends up going through a portal on his own. Kevin ends up in Ancient Greece, landing on top of King Agamemnon, who was in the midst of fighting a warrior wearing a bull’s head. With the bull-headed warrior distracted by Kevin’s arrival, Agamemnon is able to kill the warrior and then asks Kevin if the Gods sent him. Thanking him for saving him, Agamemnon invites Kevin to head back to his city and Kevin refuses at first, saying he has to wait for his friends, but when Agamemnon goes to leave him in the desert, Kevin changes his mind. Agamemnon takes Kevin to Mycenae, and, with Kevin wanting to stay there, decides to adopt him and make him his heir. As a celebration is held in Kevin’s honor, Randall and the others show up, disguised as part of the entertainment, and claiming to be magicians, grab various treasures and Kevin and, hiding behind a cloth, disappear into a portal, with Agamemnon and his court believing it to be part of the act at first. Kevin and the others land on board the Titanic and Kevin is upset that they didn’t leave him in Ancient Greece, as it is his favorite period of history, but Randall tries to comfort him by saying he really didn’t belong there. When the Titanic sinks, Kevin and the dwarves find themselves floating on some of the debris and Evil takes the opportunity to have them reach the portal to his realm, the Time of Legends. Kevin and the dwarves are captured by an ogre and his wife and brought aboard their ship. As the wife heads down to make preparations to cook them, the ogre works on scaring Kevin and the dwarves while placing them in a pot but his back is bothering him. Kevin offers to help him and he and the dwarves start stretching the ogre’s back before throwing him overboard. When the ogre’s wife goes to check on him, they knock her overboard as well, then sail off in the ship. Suddenly, they find the boat is stuck on the head of a giant, who makes his way onto shore. Pulling up the planks to expose the giant’s head, Kevin uses the ogre’s sleeping potion and pours it into some fireplace bellows, then he and the dwarves jab it into the giant’s head and pour the potion into it, causing the giant to fall asleep. Leaving the boat, Kevin and the dwarves end up wandering through a desert until they come across an invisible barrier and Randall excitedly exclaims that the Fortress of Darkness is on the other side. Wally and the other dwarves think Randall has gone mad and want to leave, grabbing the map from him. As Randall and Wally argue, Randall throws a skull at Wally and ends up smashing the barrier, revealing the Fortress of Darkness. They head inside and a game show host appears, offering them the most fantastic item in the world. Randall and the other dwarves are overcome by greed and, despite Kevin warning them it is a trap, quickly rush off to reach the prize. When they get there, the host asks for the map and when Randall shows it, he grabs it, revealing himself to be Evil, then has Kevin and the dwarves trapped in a cage and suspended over a bottomless pit. As the dwarves despair over being captured, Kevin is looking through his pictures and sees the one with the dwarves holding the map. Showing it to Randall, they realize that there is a hole in the fortress they can use to escape. They manage to escape the cage and using some shavings from the rope holding the cage, manage to get to safety. Randall and the dwarves want to leave but Kevin convinces them that they have to get the map away from Evil. They manage to grab the map but Evil spots them and transforms Og into a pig-man, then sends his minions after them. Kevin and Og stay behind to distract Evil while he sends the others to go get help throughout time. Evil captures Kevin and Og, then destroys his creations as he gets the map back. Evil transforms Og completely into a pig and is about to kill Kevin when Randall and the others show up with the help they acquired. Evil easily kills the cowboys, archers, and knights that attack him, then takes control of the tank and space ship that Randall and Wally are in, making them attack each other. Fidgit is killed during the fight and Evil is about to kill the rest of them when he is suddenly engulfed in fire and reduced to an ashen statue. The Supreme Being shows up and, after restoring Og to human and reviving Fidgit, the Supreme Being orders them to start cleaning the mess up. As they work, Randall apologizes for stealing the map and the Supreme Being says that he allowed them to take it as he wanted to test his creation, Evil. When Kevin asks him why he created Evil, the Supreme Being tells him that it has to do with free will. When the dwarves knock over the statue of Evil, the Supreme Being says to pick up all the pieces, as it is concentrated Evil and could be deadly if not contained, but one piece goes unnoticed as it rolls under the tank. With all of the pieces picked up, the Supreme Being says that it is time to go and they leave but when Fidgit asks about Kevin, the Supreme Being says he can’t come with them as he has to continue the fight. Kevin asks them not to leave, as the last piece of Evil begins smoldering and filling the area with smoke. Suddenly, Kevin finds himself back in his room, as firefighters break down the door to rescue him. As one of the firefighters asks if Kevin is ok, Kevin is surprised to see that he looks just like Agamemnon. As the firefighter heads back to put out the fire, Kevin checks his satchel and finds the pictures that he took, realizing that the adventure that he had with the dwarves really happened. One of the firemen shows Kevin’s parents their new toaster oven, which was the cause of the fire, and when they open it, the piece of Evil is found inside. Kevin sees it and warns them not to touch it but they ignore him and as they touch it, they suddenly explode. As Kevin calls out for his parents in shock, the camera pans up from Kevin to show the neighborhood, planet, and eventually the map, which the Supreme Being then rolls up.

Time Bandits met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Time Bandits is a remarkable time-travel fantasy from Terry Gilliam, who utilizes fantastic set design and homemade special effects to create a vivid, original universe.” While filming the scenes in Sherwood Forest where Kevin and the dwarves crash through the carriage and land on Vincent and Pansy, Terry Gilliam had a scaffold built and was trying to instruct them on how to jump and land around Michael Palin without actually hitting them. However, when he decided to show them how to do it, he ended up landing on Shelley Duvall. The movie was a box office success, earning $42.3 million off of a $5 million budget, and would gain a cult following, especially among fans of Monty Python.

I know the critics love it but I honestly feel like this movie is somewhat under appreciated by the average movie goer as this is a really funny movie. The acting was really good, with Craig Warnock doing a great job as Kevin. The dwarves all had some good moments and bad, with my personal favorites being Kenny Baker (Fidgit), Malcolm Dixon (Strutter), and Jack Purvis (Wally), and this has nothing to do with the fact that they were all in the original Star Wars movies. The story was pretty interesting and honestly just showed Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin’s brilliance in comedy. I loved how they essentially made a movie from a child’s point of view and even though Kevin was meant to be the central focus of the movie, there were plenty of times that he was intentionally made out to be the secondary character in order to focus more on the dwarves. The somewhat biblical aspect of the Supreme Being, Evil, and the aspect of free will being the reason to have Evil, was written out very well and I liked how they wrote that plot line into the movie. The special effects were surprisingly good, especially considering the limited budget they had. A really good movie that is definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

action, martial arts, movie, movie review

February 21st, 2018 Movie – Tiger Love (1977)

tiger love

This should be an interesting movie to watch. It has been a while since I watched a movie from the Martial Arts box set and after seeing the title, I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I mean, I know that some Asian films can be pretty…..out there as far as subject matter goes and I am pretty sure there is nothing disturbing in the subject matter on this movie. So I am curious as to how the tiger works into this movie, as it is quite prominently featured on the poster/video box. Only way to find out is by watching today’s movie, Tiger Love (1977).

The plot: Two recently eloped lovers, Xiaohou and Shinlian, are running through the jungle, being pursued by Shinlian’s father and several of his men. When they find themselves cornered at the edge of a cliff, Shinlian’s father tells her to come home and marry her cousin but she refuses, saying she loves Xiaohou. When Shinlian’s father grabs her, Xiaohou begins fighting with his men and ends up being overpowered and severley beaten and Shinlian, breaking free of her father’s grasp, rushes to his side. Thinking the Xiaohou is dead, Shinlian chooses to jump off the cliff and kill herself and her father and his men quickly head down the cliff to try and find the body, unaware that Xiaohou is still alive, as he crawls to the cliff’s edge and looks down to where Shinlian had jumped. Shinlian, had managed to survive by landing on a tree branch but when she regains consciousness, she sees a tiger staring up at her at the bottom of the tree, causing her to wet herself, some of which lands on the tiger. Shinlian passes out again and when she regains consciousness, she finds that the tiger had taken her to a cave and realizes that it has somehow become her slave. Making a home for herself in the jungle with the tiger, which she calls Uncle Tiger, Shinlian, who was pregnant with Xiaohou’s child, gives birth to a son, whom she calls Xiaochang. Twenty years pass and Xiaochang develops a martial arts style based on Uncle Tiger’s attacks and movements. Realizing he deserves to know the truth, Shinlian talks with Xiaochang and tells him the truth about his father and the events of what brought them to this valley. Xiaochang decides to go visit the village and see how other people live their life but as he watches from behind a cart, some villagers spot him and, noticing his leopard skin clothes, call him out for being a wild man. Several villagers begin harassing Xiaochang and as he tries to get away, start fighting with him, forcing Xiaochang to defend himself. The fight is eventually broken up by an older man, who questions Xiaochang about why he came to the village. Xiaochang said that he was there to see how people lived and technically he was a villager as his father lived there. When the man asks who his father was, Xiaochang tells him about his father and mother and the man reacts in shock, and it is revealed that he is Xiaohou. Xiaochang brings Xiaohou and his wife and son to the valley to see Shinlian, who is shocked to see her former husband. Xiaohou explains that he thought she had died so he married another woman and his wife says that they are all one family and asks Shinlian to come live with them. Shinlian refuses, saying she has grown used to living in the valley, but asks that they take Xiaochang with them so he can live with other people. Overcome with emotions, Shinlian heads back into her home and Xiaohou starts to go talk with her some more but Uncle Tiger appears and lays down in the doorway, preventing him from entering. Sometime later, a group of villagers, lef by Shinlian’s family, is going on a tiger hunt and two women, noticing a rabbit moving through the brush, become separated from the main group. As the women split up to look for the rabbit, one of them, Xiaoling, ends up being jokingly captured by Xiaochang and pulled up into the tree with him. Teasing her about capturing a lovely animal and planning on keeping her, Xiaochang talks with Xiaoling and eventually lets her free. Xiaoling attempts to kill Xiaochang but is eventually won over by his friendly manner and continues talking with him. Xiaochang tells her he is from the Lin family just as the hunting party starts calling out to try to locate Xiaoling. Xiaoling says that he has to go, as she is part of the Shi family and their families are enemies and she doesn’t want him to be killed, and then heads back to her family. Xiaochang heads back home, running into some of his family, who warn him to be careful as the Shi family is about. Xiaochang stops at a restaurant to get some food and overhears some of the Shi family discussing a celebration for their success in the hunt. Xiaochang decides to sneak over to the celebration and, locating Xiaoling watching some of the festivities, sneaks up to her and grabs her hand. Xiaoling is shocked to see him there but he motions her to keep quiet and she lets him drag her off to so they can be alone. Away from the rest of the family, Xiaochang admits that he has fallen in love with her and Xiaoling tells him that she has feelings for him as well. As they discuss possibly having a future together, Xiaoling’s cousin, who is in love with her, goes looking for her and eventually finds them. Learning that Xiaochang is from the Lin family, Xiaolin’s cousin starts attacking him, joined by several other family members, and Xiaochang is forced to defend himself, accidentally killing one of them before he is able to escape. Xiaoling’s father chastises her for talking to Xiaochang and has her confined to her room, ordering her cousin to keep watch over her. Meanwhile, Xiaohou chastises Xiaochang for falling in love with Xiaoling and when Xiaochang comments that Xiaohou had done the same thing, Xioahou says that it almost cost him his life. Xiaohou smacks Xiaochang and continues to chastise him, prompting Xiaochang to run off. Back at the Shi house, Xiaoling’s father and mother mourn the loss of their son, the man Xiaochang killed, and Xiaoling’s cousin suggests they enact a swift retribution on the Lin family for the death. A group of Shi men head to the Lin household and begin attacking and killing several of the Lin family. When Xiaohou shows up, he is confronted by Xiaoling’s father, who demands he turn over Xiaochang for the death of his son but Xiaohou refuses. As the fight continues, Xiaohou is killed and as they search for Xiaochang, Xiaoling’s cousin kills Xiaohou’s wife and other family members. When Xiaochang returns to the house, he discovers the memorials to Xiaohou and his family and drops to his knees, as the surviving members of the Lin family, who had been looking for Xiaochang, return as well and ask what happened. Xiaochang and the surviving Lin family members go to face the Shi family and when they confront them, Xianchang learns of Xianling’s brother’s death and says he didn’t kill him but if he did die it was an accident. The Lin and Shi begin fighting and, finding themselves overwhelmed, Xiaochang rescues his uncle and tells him to run, continuing to fight and hold off the Shi, then leaves as he himself starts to become overwhelmed. Xiaochang’s uncle makes his way to the valley and tells Shinlian what happened and she goes to the Shi household to try and stop the fighting and rescue Xiaochang. When she gets there, she is confronted by Xiaoling’s cousin, who says that Xiaochang isn’t there but when he learns who she is, plans to keep her there to use as bait. Shinlian attempts to fight free but is struck down before Xiaoling’s father appears and stops the fight. Recognizing Shinlian, he invites her in to talk but she says she must leave and he lets her go and when his nephew asks why he let her go, as she is Xiaochang’s mother, he responds that it is fate. Xiaochang returns to the valley and finds his mother near death from her wounds. She begs him not to seek revenge, as he is both a member of the Lin family and the Shi family, and when he promises not to fight anymore, she says that she can die in peace. After Shinlian dies, Uncle Tiger heads off and kills one of the Shi night watchmen. Returning to Shinlian’s grave, Uncle Tiger says that for 20 years he has not killed anyone and been happy but with her death, and her spell on him broken, he is free to kill again. The night watchman was his 100th human killed and he is now turned into a demon, intending on killing all of the Shi family for revenge. At the Shi household, they find the body of the night watchman and realize it is a tiger that killed him so they go looking for it but Uncle Tiger, now able to transform into an old woman, kills several of the men, including Xiaoling’s cousin. As news spreads about the tiger attacking them, Xiaoling’s father goes looking for it but is killed by Uncle Tiger, as is his wife several days later. As Uncle Tiger continues to kill the Shi family, Xiaoling and her sister are soon the only ones left. One night, Xiaoling is woken up by a crunching sound and finds Uncle Tiger, in his old woman form, feeding on her sister. Uncle Tiger then starts chasing after Xiaoling and attempts to kill her but Xiaochang appears and pleads with Uncle Tiger to leave her alone, as she is innocent. When Uncle Tiger refuses to back down, Xiaochang tells Xiaoling to run while he attempts to fend off Uncle Tiger, but Uncle Tiger easily knocks him away. Xiaoling sees a pot of boiling oil and as Uncle Tiger attempts to kill her, she pours the oil on him, killing him. Xiaochang goes to Xiaoling and expresses sorrow at seeing Uncle Tiger dead but says he doesn’t hate Xiaoling, as he feels that maneating tigers should be killed and they can be happy together.

First of all, I am surprised that there was not one, but two movies called Tiger Love. Second, in regards to today’s movie, it wasn’t that bad of an old martial arts movie. The acting was ok, and the dubbing was actually pretty decent, much better than what you usually find in these films. The story was kind of bizarre, not the whole warring families aspect but the whole part about the tiger. First of all, the whole peeing on the tiger making it fall under a spell was probably the most ridiculously plot line I have heard in a long time, and those of you who read my blog and knowing the movies I watch, that is REALLY saying something. Then you have the tiger transforming into a demon woman, which was just bizarre in it’s own right. The main story, that of two warring families and their children falling in love with each other, really was something taken straight out of “Romeo and Juliet”. The fight scenes were pretty well choreographed and while I felt like there could have been more, they had a good ratio of fight scenes and non-fighting to build up a good story. Definitely some bizarre elements to it, but a decent 70’s martial arts movie that is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

crime, drama, movie, movie review, thriller

February 20th, 2018 Movie – The Ticket Of Leave Man

the ticket of a leave man

Ahh, a nice little Tod Slaughter movie is a good way to start the day. This is another movie from the Legends of Horror box set and another one that I have never seen before. I have to admit that the Tod Slaughter movies I have seen in this box set have all been pretty entertaining and I really am interested in seeing some more of his films once I finish all of the ones in this set. But that is a story for another day, so let’s get on with today’s movie, The Ticket Of Leave Man.

The plot: In 1930’s England, Detective Hawkshaw and some other officers arrive at the house of a wealthy family and Hawkshaw tells the patrolman outside the house to keep a look out for anything suspicious, as a thief known as The Tiger is planning to rob the place. Hearing a scream coming from the house, Hawkshaw leads some of his men inside, leaving the patrolman and another detective to keep watch. Meanwhile, The Tiger sneaks out of the house and strangles the patrolman, then clubs the detective over the head several times before running off. Hawkshaw and the other detectives hear the commotion and race outside to find the bodies and Hawkshaw vows to catch The Tiger. The next day, Hawkshaw meets with some of his men at a public garden and, under the guise of having some drinks, discuss the case while keeping an eye on the people there. They especially keep an eye on Melter Moss sitting at a far table, as he is a money lender who also doubles as a fence for stolen merchandise. Meanwhile, The Tiger shows up and sits with Moss, who is nervous about them being seen out in the open together. The Tiger says he is considering getting out of the game, as the pressure has been increasing and Hawkshaw is making things more difficult. After watching an incident where most of the waitstaff complaining to the manager about a coworker being a former convict (referred to as a Ticket of Leave Man), the man begs to be given a chance as he is trying to go straight but the manager fires him, The Tiger and the money lender watch May Edwards start singing and The Tiger becomes infatuated with her. After May finishes her set, The Tiger starts to approach her but stops when he sees her fiance, Robert Brierly, approach her and they sit down to start talking. The Tiger sits back down with the money lender and plans to frame Robert and have him arrested, then seduce May while he is gone. The Tiger has the lender give him some fake bank notes and as Robert is listening to May sing, he starts a conversation with Robert and uses it to slip the fake notes into Robert’s jacket while taking the envelope of real ones out. The former convict notices this as he is leaving and attempts to tell the manager but he refuses to listen and tells the man to leave. The Tiger convinces Robert to buy some cigars, then disappears as Robert is completing the purchase. Meanwhile, the lender is speaking with Hawkshaw and tells him that Robert is passing around counterfeit money and Hawkshaw approaches the cigar shop and asks to see the money Robert paid with. As The Tiger and the lender watch the proceedings, the former convict approaches them and says he saw what they did and wants half of the money, and The Tiger tells him to step into the alcove so they can discuss the matter. Hawkshaw approaches the table and arrests Robert for forgery when they hear someone cry out and, leaving Robert under the care of two officers, he goes to investigate and finds the former convict has been killed. When Hawkshaw says The Tiger has been there, a panic ensues and May ends up fainting, only to be carried out of the garden by The Tiger, to help him escape. Some time later, the money lender is revealed to be the actual forger and The Tiger meets him at his shop and they discuss their next plan. After several years, The Tiger sets himself up as a charitable foundation and has people donate money to him, which he uses to determine their wealth and rob them or kill them if necessary. He also controls the various criminals in the area, forcing those that attempt to go straight into becoming criminals for him by reporting to their bosses that they are Ticket of Leave Men. The Tiger is planning to commit a massive robbery and is trying to find a man to place inside when he is visited by May. The Tiger sends the lender away and greets May and kisses her, which shocks May, and when The Tiger says he wants to proceed further with her, she refuses as she is still in love with Robert and plans to be with him when he gets out of prison. Robert is released from prison and given a 10 pound note as his earnings from the workshop while incarcerated. He heads off to see May, who is living with Mrs. Willoughby and her grandson Sam, who owned the cigar shop Robert had bought the cigars from. May introduces Robert as her brother who had been in the military and Robert learns that the Willoughby’s lost their cigar shop because of the incident that got him arrested. Meanwhile, The Tiger approaches the bank owned by Joshua Gibson and tries to see if there are any openings there, explaining that his foundation tries to find jobs for Ticket of Leave Men to help them get back on their feet but the manager says that they can’t risk it due to the amount of money they keep there. At the Willoughby’s home, Mrs. Willoughby is worried about being able to pay their rent, as she is short on the money, when they find a note on the table with Robert’s money inside, which he secretly left for them saying it was to pay off an old debt. Outside, Robert and May meet Mr. Gibson, who was going there to collect the rent, and Gibson offers Robert a job but warns him that he expects honesty and says that if anyone is caught lying, they will immediately be fired without exception and Robert, reluctantly, continues the charade of being May’s brother. As time passes, Robert proves himself to Gibson, who gives him a promotion at work to being his personal clerk. When a messenger delivers a letter saying that they have lost some money due to forged bills, Gibson tasks Robert into tracking down the man who used the forged bills and getting their money back. Gibson and the other tellers leave as May enters the building and she talks with Robert, who feels bad for continuing to lie to Gibson and wants to come clean. The two share a kiss but unknown to them, The Tiger had stopped by and sees them. After May leaves, The Tiger enters and goes looking for a loan while talking with Robert and Robert recognizes the company name that The Tiger gives as the one that had used the forged bills. The Tiger leaves and returns to his business, where he speaks with Moss about Robert working for Gibson. The Tiger wants to send Robert back to prison so he can seduce May but Moss says they should use him to rob Gibson before that and The Tiger agrees. Robert had contacted Gibson about The Tiger, who contacted Hawkshaw to arrange a sting. When Hawkshaw arrives, Robert is nervous when Hawkshaw appears to recognize him and questions Gibson about him but Gibson assures Hawkshaw that Robert has been a trustworthy employee. Gibson leaves to take a deposit to the bank as The Tiger and Moss approach the building. The Tiger has Moss go inside to see if it is safe before he enters and Moss notices Hawkshaw and tries to leave but he is stopped by Gibson, after Hawkshaw says he could be trouble. The Tiger enters and Moss secretly passes him a note warning him about Hawkshaw just as Hawkshaw approaches and invites The Tiger into Gibson’s office. Inside, The Tiger says he discovered the forged notes had been used and had come there to pay the debts occurred as a result of them, playing off that he is innocent in the matter. Robert returns to the office to find Hawkshaw and Gibson talking and Gibson explains that The Tiger was caught off guard by the forgery and repaid the debt in full. When Robert enters Gibson’s office, he finds The Tiger trying to open the safe with a key and questions him about it but The Tiger, revealing he knows Robert’s real name, tells Robert that he will reveal the truth to Gibson unless Robert keeps quiet. When Gibson enters the room, Robert says he has something to tell him in private after he concludes his business with The Tiger. After Robert leaves, The Tiger tells Gibson the truth about Robert and says he saw Robert making a wax impression of the safe key. Gibson doesn’t believe him at first but when Robert enters and Gibson calls him Brierly, Robert admits that he is Brierly. He tries to explain himself but Gibson accuses him of trying to rob the place and orders him to leave before he calls the police. Later, May goes to see The Tiger, telling him that Robert lost his job and she is worried that he might become a criminal. The Tiger tells her to have Robert meet him at the garden and after she leaves, he has one of his men go fetch some supplies, then proceeds to start trashing his office. Moss sees him and questions what he is doing and The Tiger replies that after he robs Gibson, he will have enough money to do what he wants and no longer has to put up the charade. Moss threatens to tell Hawkshaw if The Tiger double crosses him and The Tiger kills him, then continues to ransack the office as his employee returns. The Tiger then sets the office on fire, then locks his employee inside with Moss’ body to be burned alive. At the garden, Robert is lamenting about being unable to find a job because he is a Ticket of Leave Man and May tells him not to give up before leaving to perform. The Tiger sits at the table and starts talking with Robert and convinces him to help him steal the money from Gibson’s safe and Robert agrees, telling him he will leave a note for May explaining that he is leaving her. He hands the note to the waiter to give to May but the waiter is a disguised Hawkshaw and the note actually tells her to contact Hawkshaw and explain that Gibson’s building is going to be robbed. When Robert and The Tiger enter the building, The Tiger reveals his true identity to Robert, who says he had contacted the police but plans to get his revenge himself. The two fight outside and The Tiger starts to strangle Robert but is interrupted by the arrival of Hawkshaw and the police. The Tiger pulls out a gun and threatens to shoot whoever approaches him but he slips into an open grave and breaks his neck. As Robert comes too, he apologizes to Gibson for lying and had hoped to pay back the kindness he shown him by stopping the robbery.

This was a really good movie, though it could only marginally be considered meeting the criteria for being in the Legends of Horror box set. The acting was really good, with Tod Slaughter putting in his usual over the top brilliant performance as The Tiger. I also liked John Warwick (Robert) and Robert Adir (Hawkshaw) but thought Frank Cochran was great as Moss but Marjorie Taylor (May) was kind of bland. The story was pretty good and I liked the idea of how The Tiger was basically taking advantage of other criminals to further his own greed, forcing them to continue being crooks even if they wanted to go straight. The mood and tone of this movie are pretty good and definitely helped sell the narrative of the story. Definitely something worth watching a credit to Slaughter’s career.

Rating: 4 out of 5


comedy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

February 19th, 2018 Movie – Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle

thumb wars

Man, 1999 was a crazy year for Star Wars fans. Everyone was getting ready to see The Phantom Menace and the marketing and merchandising for it, and Star Wars in general, was being promoted like crazy. One day before the movie came out, a TV special aired that had to be the absolutely craziest thing I had seen in years. I was honestly caught off guard by how ridiculous this thing was, but I ended up laughing at it the entire time I watched it. I ended up buying it on DVD sometime after it came out, as well as a couple of the other short spoofs that came out several years ago, so let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Thumb Wars: The Phantom Cuticle.

The plot: In outer space, a pair of Thumbellion ships are attacked by the evil Thumbpire. One of the ships is destroyed and the second one is captured and brought on board the Thumbpire ship, where soldiers breach the ship’s doors and begin attacking the Thumbellion soldiers inside. Two digits, Prissypeo and Beeboobeep, are trying to figure out a way to save themselves and decide to use Princess Bunhead as a bargaining chip. The tell her that they are escorting her to safety but secretly lead her towards Black Helmet Man and his soldiers, then quickly jump into a escape pod, after one of the soldiers reveals that they had led Bunhead to them, and launch themselves towards the planet’s surface below. When a soldier asks if they should follow after them, Black Helmet Man says no, as the freaky little hooded creatures will capture and sell them. He then turns to Bunhead and says that it is time for her to turn to the Nail Side of the Thumb but when she refuses, he says she will die and walks back to his ship, tripping over some debris as he does. On the planet’s surface, Prissypeo and Beeboobeep are captured by the freaky little hooded creatures and, after being dragged along behind their vehicle, are sold to Uncle Soondead. Inside their house, Loke Groundrunner is complaining to his Uncle Soondead and his Aunt Gonnabiteit about not feeling needed and Soondie tries to console him by saying that he needs him for the harvest but Loke just whines some more about how they don’t understand him and runs out of the house. Outside, Loke is crying as he stares at the sunset when he is approached by the man with the silliest name in the galaxy; Oobedoob Scoobi-Doobi Benubi. Benubi calls out Loke for being a cry baby and when Loke asks what he wants, Benubi says he is there to collect his digits and has Loke follow him back to his place. Inside, Benubi smacks Beeboobeep on the head a few times until he starts playing a video recording of Bunhead, who was picking her nose because she didn’t realize the recording was on. Bunhead then tells Benubi that the Thumbpire has built a big, dangerous weapon thing and she needs his help, but Benubi and Loke are busy looking up the hologram’s dress. Loke says that he would like to help but Soondead and Gonnabiteit need him and when Benubi calls attention to their names, Loke quickly rushes home only to find that they have been “clipped”. Loke says he will join Benubi to fight the Thumbpire and Benubi, after mocking Loke for joining after everyone he knows has died, tells Loke to touch his tongue to his (Benubi’s) to make it official but when Loke balks at it, he says to just come one. They head to a nearby settlement and meet up with Hand Duet and his copilot Crunchy, who is trying to keep a low profile as he owes Gabba the Butt a lot of money. Hand says he only accepts girly giggles and, seeing some Thumbpire troops approaching, Loke and Benubi quickly start giggling and Hand says that’s enough for the the advance and leads him to his ship, Hand’s Hand. As the Thumpire soldiers begin shooting at them, they quickly board it and take off. Above the planet Daldar, Black Helmet Man threatens to blow it up unless Bunhead tells him where the Thumbellion base is located and she reluctantly does so but Black Helmet Man still orders an attack on the planet, telling his men to make it spin. Inside the Hand’s Hand, Benubi feels the people of Daldar all getting nauseous from the spinning just as they are captured by the Thumbpire’s giant space station. Inside, they are confronted by Black Helmet Man and he and Benubi begin fighting with thumbsabers (which emerge from the top of their heads). As they fight, Black Helmet Man asks if Benubi is still easily tricked, and when Benubi says no, Black Helmet Man yells out “Touchdown.” Benubi throws up his hand and Black Helmet Man quickly slashes him with his thumbsaber. Loke and the others all scream out at the death but Loke hears Benubi’s spirit telling him to run and they do, joined by Bunhead, who escaped somehow. They quickly get onto Hand’s Hand and leave, hiding out in an asteroid until the heat dies down. Inside the asteroid, Loke feels a presence calling out to him and meets a Puppet, who offer to teach him the ways of the Thumb, asking Loke to touch his tongue to his in order to start the training. On board the Hand’s Hand, Loke starts training and the others all laugh at how awful he is doing but when Loke asks if he is a master now, the Puppet laughingly agrees. Heading to the Thumbellion base, they learn that the space station has a built in self destruct button, which is at the end of a corridor on the space station. Loke leads a group of fighters to take on the station but are attacked by the Thumbpire’s Fist Fighters. With the Thumbellion fighters being destroyed, Loke makes a run at the button and ends up being confronted by Black Helmet Man. The two engage in a thumbsaber battle on top of Loke’s fighter and Black Helmet Man reveals that he is Loke’s mother, revealing a pink dress underneath his cape but before he can attack, Hand’s Hand flies by and knocks Black Helmet Man off of Loke’s ship. Loke then says that he will trust his feelings to destroy the space station but he hears Benubi’s voice saying to use the instruments, as they are designed to hit small targets like the button. Loke uses the system to destroy the space station and they return to the Thumbellion base, where they hold a chili cook-off to celebrate their victory.

This is such a ridiculous spoof that you can’t help but find yourself laughing at it. The voice acting was great and I liked the way they imposed the actors faces onto the thumbs. The story was a great spoofing of Star Wars, mixing a little bit of Empire Strikes Back into it as well. One of my favorite parts was the introduction of Hand Duet, whose opening monologue was a a nonstop name drop of several Harrison Ford Films, while Gabba the Butt referred to him as Indiana Ford. The visual effects were pretty funny, doing their best to make everything possible finger/thumb/hand shapped. I thought the “fist-fighter’s” design of just being a fist holding a dumbbell was pretty ingenious. Definitely something that Star Wars fans will want to own just for the laughs out of it, while it is good for laughs even if you don’t like those movies.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Hitchcock, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

February 18th, 2018 Movie – The Thirty-Nine Steps

the thirty nine steps

Sunday morning and I find myself in for a treat with today’s movie. Today I find myself watching another of Hitchcock’s early movies from the Legends Of Horror box set. Seriously, they should have just called this set “Hitchcock & Friends”, as it seems like a high percentage of movies from here are Hitchcock movies. Based on the novel by the same name, today’s movie is actually the first of several film versions and yet another Hitchcock movie that I have never seen. So let’s see if this movie is as good as most of his earlier works have been as I watch today’s movie, The 39 Steps.

The plot: At a London theater, the audience is being entertained by the act of “Mr. Memory”, a man with an exceptional talent for recall, when a fight breaks out among the crowd. As the stage manager calls for everyone to calm down, shots ring out and the crowd panics and starts to flee. Richard Hannay, a man from Canada who is in town on business, ends up leaving the theater with a young woman named Miss Smith, who asks to come back to his place. When they get there, Smith acts very nervous, staying clear of the windows and asking Hannay not to answer the phone when it rings. Making their way to the kitchen, with Smith pulling the curtains closed before allowing Hannay to turn on the lights, she tells him she is a spy named Annabella and believes that assassins were after her in the theater. She tells him that she uncovered a plot to steal British military information, with the man in charge missing the tip of one of his fingers. She tells him that she plans to leave for Scotland in the morning, as there is a man there that can help her and Hannay offers to let her stay the night. That night, Smith bursts into Hannay’s bedroom and warns him to run or he will be next, then collapses onto the bed, having been stabbed in the back. Suddenly, the phone starts ringing and Hannay moves to pick it up when, recalling Smith’s words, he checks out the window and sees a man outside at the payphone across the street. Hannay goes over to Smith’s body and takes the piece of paper she was holding, discovering it is a map of the Killin area of Scotland, with a particular farm house circled on it. Feeling paranoid that someone might try to kill him too, Hannay convinces the milkman to trade jackets and hats with him so he can slup out unnoticed, then boards a train heading for Scotland. As the train stops at a station, one of the passengers in the car Hannay is in buys a newspaper, which has a story about the murder. Hannay asks to see the paper and after reading the story, he gets off the train and attempts to talk to a police officer but when he overhears the officer saying that there was enough evidence to hang him, he changes his mind and heads back to the train. Realizing that the police might be searching the train, Hannay ducks into another compartment and kisses the woman inside as they pass, then apologizes to her, but the police return and she tells them that Hannay is who they are looking for. HAnnay manages to give the police the slip and as the train is stopped on a bridge, manages to get off and cling to one of the bridge supports in order to avoid being seen until the train starts moving again. Making his way on foot, Hannay eventually reaches a farm house and learns that there is a professor staying at the house he is heading towards. Since he still has 40 miles to travel, Hannay pays the crofter to let him stay there the night and the crofter agrees and introduces Hannay to his young wife. As the wife gets Hannay’s bed ready and starts preparing for supper, Hannay asks to read the newspaper and sees a story about his escape from the police on the bridge. The crofter has him sit down for dinner and as he says grace, his wife notices the story in the paper and stares at Hannay but he mouths to her that he is innocent. Noticing the glances between Hannay and his wife, the crofter goes outside and looks in the window to see them talking. The next morning, the crofter’s wife notices a police car approaching down the road and she sneaks downstairs to warn Hannay, as he told her the situation. Before he can leave, the crofter enters the room, suspecting his wife of cheating on him, but they argue that it isn’t the case. Hannay offers the crofter some money to stall the police but as he goes to sneak out the back, the crofter’s wife says his light colored coat will stand out in the dark and gives him the crofter’s dark coat to wear. Thanking her, Hannay slips out the back and makes his way across the hillside, putting some distance between himself and the police before they find him. With the police hot on his tail, Hannay makes his way to the home of Professor Jordan, telling the maid that answers the door that he is there on behalf of Annabella Smith. After conferring with Jordan, the maid lets him in and when the police arrive, she tells them that they have guests there but no one has entered the house in the last half hour. Inside, Jordan tells Hannay to give him a few minutes to get rid of his guests and then they prepare to talk. Hannay tells him what Smith learned and the spy ring stealing the secrets and Jordan shows that he is missing the top half of his pinky, revealing himself to be the leader of the spy ring called the 39 steps. Jordan discusses what he should do with Hannay and ends up shooting him in the chest. However, it is revealed that the crofter’s coat that Hannay was wearing contained his hymn book, which ended up stopping the bullet. After Jordan had Hannay’s body moved, Hannay escaped out the window and made his way to the local sheriff’s station to tell him what happened. The sheriff doesn’t believe him, as Jordan is his best friend, and had summoned the London police to pick up Hannay. As they start to handcuff him, Hannay manages to get away and jump out the window, hiding among a Salvation Army march in order to avoid the police. After the bulk of the police pass him, he leaves the march but is forced to duck into a building in order to avoid some stragglers. Inside, Hannay is mistaken for a introductory speaker for a political candidate. As he is giving his speech, Pamela, the woman he had kissed on the train, enters the room and, recognizing him, goes to summon the police. After giving a rousing speech, Hannay is grabbed by the police when he heads offstage and he confronts Pamela about her turning him in and bags her to place a call to warn London about the secrets being stolen but she refuses. The police ask Pamela to accompany them to the station so she can formally identify Hannay and she reluctantly agrees but as they head out of town, she voices her displeasure when they say that they have orders to take Hannay to another station 2 hours away. When they reach a crossroads and proceed to go the wrong way, Hannay gets suspicious about the police actually being police. When a flock of sheep block the car, the “police” handcuff Pamela to Hannay while they leave the car to clear the sheep from the road. Hannay drags Pamela with him as he leaves the car and carries her with him, where they hide from the police. Making their way down the road, with Hannay constantly whistling a tune that is stuck in his head, Hannay plays upon Pamela’s suspicions about him to scare her into cooperating. The soon reach an inn and get a room for the night, doing their best to hide the handcuffs around their wrists. When they get to their room, Hannay tries to accommodate Pamela to the best of his ability and they talk briefly before they both end up falling asleep. During the night, Pamela wakes up and manages to slip her hand out of the handcuffs. She sneaks downstairs and, noticing the “police” starts to call out to them but she overhears them talking and realizes that Hannay was right. After the innkeeper’s wife kicks the men out for being there after hours, Pamela heads back to the room and lays down on the sofa. When Hannay wakes up, he is shocked to find Pamela no longer handcuffed to him but she sits up from the sofa and dissuades his fears. When Hannay asks why she didn’t run away, she tells him she was originally but heard the “police” talking and realized that Hannay was telling the truth. She tells him everything she overheard, about Jordan meeting someone at the London Palladium, and Hannay heads there to catch Jordan, telling Pamela to go to the police and tell them of the theft. Pamela tells the London police but they say they called the military and learned that no papers were missing so they dismiss her story and want to question her about Hannay’s location. Pamela says she doesn’t know and leaves the station but the chief has some men follow her, believing she will lead them to Hannay. As Hannay sits in the theater, he spots Jordan sitting in a balcony just as Pamela spots him and sits next to him. As they discuss what they should do, the orchestra plays the tune for the next act and Hannay recognizes it as the act for Mr. Memory, which was the tune he had stuck in his head. Realizing that they plan on using Mr. Memory to sneak the secrets out, Hannay approaches the police to tell them but they refuse to listen. Hannay yells out to Mr. Memory to tell him what the 39 Steps are and Mr. Memory, out of reflex, says that they are a spy organization working on behalf of a Foreign Office. Before he can say which country, Jordan shoots Mr. Memory, then tries to escape but he ends up being captured by the police. Hannay approaches the dying Mr. Memory and asks him about the secret he was carrying. Mr. Memory recites the specs for a silent aircraft engine, saying that he is glad to get it off his mind, then dies. As a dance line entertains the crowd, Hannay and Pamela watch from the side of the stage and their hands move towards each other until they are holding hands.

The 39 Steps met with high praise from modern critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Packed with twists and turns, this essential early Alfred Hitchcock feature hints at the dazzling heights he’d reach later in his career.” Coming off the success of The Man Who Knew Too Much, the movie was just as much an international success and would cement Hitchcock as a true box office draw. Since it’s release, the movie has been listed as one of the top British films of all time, and, even though there are some changes between the two formats, it is considered one of the best book-to-film adaptations of all times.

This is such a great movie, having all of the suspense and intrigue that you have come to expect out of a Hitchcock movie. The acting was really good, with Robert Donat (Hanay) and Madeleine Carroll (Pamela) doing great jobs in their roles. The story was great, with a lot of intrigue following around Hannay from the moment a dying Smith stumbles into his bedroom, as you wonder how he will be able to escape the police while alert the authorities to Smith’s mission. The suspense and drama in the movie were incredible and really helped propel the movie forward while keeping the viewer invested in the movie. Definitely a must see movie for any fan of cinema.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5