comedy, drama, movie, movie review, romance

September 13th, 2017 Movie – Singles

singles

Sometimes when I think back to the movies I loved as a teenager, I find it hard to decide on if I loved it because of the movie itself, or the soundtrack. With regards to today’s movie, I think it was pretty equal in regards to how much I enjoyed them. This movie and soundtrack came out right when I was in high school, having just moved to another state, and starting to figure out who I was going to be and both of them just appealed to me on various levels. So let’s head back and get a glimpse of the Seattle scene during the blossoming “Grunge” era as I watch today’s movie, Singles.

The plot: Linda Powell is an environmentalist living in Seattle and happy to have her own place. One day she meets Luiz, a tourist from Spain who is only in the country for a few more days. After talking with her friend Ruth about Luiz, Linda decides to make the most of her time with Luiz and starts a brief relationship with him. The night before he is supposed to leave, Luiz gives Linda a ring to remember him by and she gives him her garage door opener, her most prized possession. The next night, Linda and Ruth go out dancing and as they stop to get a drink at the bar, she sees Luiz there with another girl and when he notices her, he just shrugs his shoulders. Linda and Ruth quickly leave the club, with Linda crying once she gets outside, and the next day, Linda buys herself a new garage door opener. Steve Dunne lives in an apartment complex which caters to mostly single bedroom apartments with his friends Janet Livermore and Cliff Poncier. While Steve is contemplating his love life and decides to focus on work, Janet is seeing Cliff, who is a musician as well as doing odd jobs to help pay the bills, but Cliff is not as serious about the relationship as Janet is. One night, Steve is at a club with his friend David Bailey and he sees Linda and Ruth there. Steve approaches Linda and tries talking to her but she dismisses him and as she is leaving , he tries asking her if she would like to go somewhere else but she refuses. Steve and David leave and stop at a newsstand, where David brags about getting 20 girls’ phone numbers, when they happen to see Linda and Ruth stop at the stand and Steve and Linda end up talking. Steve calls up Linda a few days later and they meet for lunch and end up talking the entire time. That night, Linda is doing laundry at Steve’s place since her machine is broken and she asks him about his neighbors at the complex and he tells her about Cliff, Janet, David, and Debbie. As her clothes are drying, Steve invites her in to his apartment and the connect even more and almost kiss but Linda pulls back and goes to get her clothes. As she is leaving, Linda freaks out when Steve offers her a garage door opener so she can use the underground garage the next time she comes over and quickly leaves. When she gets home, she thinks back on Steve and starts to smile when Steve shows up at her place, and she kisses him and brings him inside, where they have sex. The next day, Steve is talking with David, Janet, Cliff, and Debbie about how he should handle things with Linda and they convince him not to call right away and he ends up not calling for 4 days, which upsets Linda and she breaks things off with him. Meanwhile, Janet is feeling insecure in her relationship with Cliff and decides to get a boob job. However as she is about to be prepped for the procedure, she changes her mind and decides she want Cliff to love her for who she is so she cancels the surgery, helping the doctor get more confidence in himself at the same time, and breaks things off with Cliff. Debbie decides to use a video dating service to meet someone and has Steve, Janet, Cliff, and David choose the guy she should meet. When she arranges the date, there is confusion over the location to meet and she learns that her date left a message saying he will meet her at her apartment. When she gets there, she finds her date flirting with her roommate Pam, and learns that the two have a history, and she argues with Pam about this but Pam lets Pam have the guy in exchange for $80 and her doing the dishes for a month. Meanwhile, Linda calls Steve and tells him that she is late and after they do a home pregnancy test, she confirms that she is pregnant. Steve says they should get married and after they discuss things, Linda agrees to it but when they get in a car wreck, she ends up losing the baby. When she recovers, she tells Steve that she needs to get away for a while and collect her thoughts so she heads out on an oceanic environmental trip for a month. When she returns, things are uncomfortable between them and Steve says they don’t have to go back to how they were and can start over and Linda agrees. However, Steve knows he made a mistake and tries calling her to explain that he asked her to marry him because he loved her and he wants to be with her but her answering machine eats the tape and so she doesn’t hear it. Debbie flies to Cabo and ends up sitting next to an annoying kid but when she lands, she meets the kid’s father, who compliments her on her favorite earrings and they end up falling in love. The man wants her to move to Mexico and until she is able to get a job there, he sends her flowers every day. Steve ends up losing his job at the Department of Transportation when the Mayor rejects his plans for building a super train to help relieve the city’s traffic problem. Falling into a depression over everything that happened, he starts to turn into a shut in and Janet pays him a visit and tries to convince him that things will get better. Cliff realizes that he misses Janet and tries to win her back but she tells him that she is finally over him. Linda has moved back in with her ex-boyfriend Andy but when she breaks a plate, she thinks back to her time with Steve and goes to see him. The two end up getting back together and finding a place of their own while Cliff and Janet also end up back together after they end up on an elevator together and Cliff says “Bless You” when she sneezes, which is something that Janet had wanted him to do in the past.

Singles met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Smart, funny, and engagingly scruffy, Singles is a clear-eyed look at modern romance that doubles as a credible grunge-era time capsule.” The movie’s soundtrack, featuring several bands that were prominent in the upcoming Seattle music scene, came out 3 months before the movie was released and became a best selling CD. Singles was a modest hit at the box office, earning $18.5 million off of a $9 million budget.

Watching it now, I think I would have to give my appreciation to the soundtrack an edge over the movie but this is still a great movie to watch. The acting was great, with Kyra Sedgwick (Linda), Bridget Fonda (Janet), Campbell Scott (Steve), and Matt Dillon (Cliff) all doing great jobs in their roles. I will admit that it is a little sad to see Alice In Chains and Soundgarden performing in this movie, as both Chris Cornell and Layne Staley both died. The story was interesting as it kept jumping back and forth between the different people, with several times the characters would break the 4th wall and address the audience at times. I did like the relationship struggles that they presented in the movie and how they showed each characters way of dealing with their problems and resolutions. The soundtrack was amazing and is still something I listen to on a semi-regular basis, with almost all of the songs being from bands that were from Seattle or coming up in the Seattle scene. A great movie and a great soundtrack, both of which are worth watching and listening too.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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dark comedy, drama, movie, movie review, romance

June 20th, 2017 Movie – The Rules Of Attraction

the rules of attraction

Ahh, the memories of all of the random movies I was able to watch for free due to my old roommate. Back when she worked for Disney, my roommate would get advanced screening passes to all sorts of movies, even some that were not Disney films. Today’s movie was one of those movies and I remember enjoying it in the theaters so during a random movie buying binge several years ago, this wound up being one of those purchases. So let’s see if this movie is still enjoyable as I watch today’s movie, The Rules Of Attraction.

The plot: Lauren is attending the End of the World Party at Camden College and wants to lose her virginity to Victor but he had been having sex with her roommate Lara. So she ends up taking a film student upstairs to have sex with him but she passes out and when she comes too, she finds herself being raped by a “townie” while the film student films it on his camcorder. Paul is at the same party and stares across the room at Sean but ends up taking a jock up to his room to do some ecstasy. As the pills start to take effect, Paul tries to kiss the jock, who violently shoves him away and when Paul taunts him about being “closeted”, the jock throws him out of his room and spits on him. Sean sees Lauren taking the film student upstairs and rips up some letters written on purple paper. As he looks around the party, he heads towards a girl who he had sex with at the beginning of the term but when she asks him his name, he lies and says he is a freshman named Peter. Sean takes the girl back to his dorm and as they are having sex, he finds himself thinking that he can’t remember the last time he had sex while sober. Going back several months to the beginning of the school year, Sean checks his mail and receives a love letter written on purple paper. Later, Sean goes to see Rupert, his drug supplier, who is angry over the amount of money that Sean owes him and threatens to shoot him but Rupert’s friend, a Jamaican named Guest, tells him to leave Sean alone. When Sean says that all the new freshmen are coming to campus so he can charge them more for the drugs, Rupert agrees and allows Sean to leave but Sean has trouble getting his customers to pay the money that they owe him. At the Edge of the World Bonfire, Paul sees a guy, Mitchel, that he had flirted with before and continues flirting with him but Mitchel’s girlfriend shows up and tells Mitchel to take her back to her room. She invites Paul to join them but Mitchel tells her he can’t come. Paul goes to get a beer from the keg but Sean cuts in front of him and the two end up talking. Sean is only half paying attention to what Paul is saying and through miscommunication, Paul believes that Sean said he was bi and arranges to meet with him the next day. Saturday morning, Sean and Lauren both head to a Saturday morning class but the teacher is passed out in his office so the class is cancelled. Sean and Lauren start talking and after Lauren takes his sunglasses as she leaves, Sean pulls the letter from his pocket and thinks that she is the one writing to him. Meanwhile, Paul is getting ready for his supposed date with Sean when a friend bursts into his room saying another friend is overdosing and drags Paul away to help him. Paul reluctantly helps take the kid to the hospital and watches as his two friends panic over the fate of their friend. Elsewhere, Lauren is at her dorm looking through a book of venereal diseases in order to convince herself to not go to a party and hook up with a guy, though her roommate Lara tries to convince her to come. At the party, Lara talks with Sean for a while, who asks if Lauren is coming, and she explains about the book. Later, Sean is getting some more beer and Paul approaches him and apologizes for missing their date, then invites Sean back to his room to smoke pot. Lauren shows up at the party and asks Lara if she has seen Sean and when Lara tells her he went off with Paul, shoe worries at first but calms herself by thinking that he just went to sell Paul some pot. As Lara goes to hook up with a guy, Lauren’s teacher approaches her and asks about why she missed the tutorial on Saturday. Lauren accompanies him back to his house and they start making out but when she finds out he is married, she refuses to sleep with him but does end up giving him a blow job. Sean and Paul end up getting stoned in Paul’s room and Paul imagines sleeping with Sean. The next day, Paul receives a call from his mom telling him to come up to the city for the weekend and he asks Sean to give him a ride to the bus station. Returning to campus, Sean gets another love letter that says “Tonight is the night.” Meanwhile, Lauren and Lara are snorting cocaine in their dorm room and Lauren tells her that she plans on going all the way with Sean, saying that they have a connection. In the city, Paul meets up with Dick, the son of one of his mother’s friends, who will be joining them for dinner and ends up causing a scene at the restaurant before he leaves. Back at college, Sean attends a “dress to get laid” party and is talking to Lara as she snorts some more cocaine and when he asks about Lauren, she tells him that she isn’t coming and that she has a boyfriend. Sean ends up having sex with Lara but he imagines it is Lauren. Meanwhile, the girl who was writing the love letters is actually a student that works in the cafeteria. She sees Sean leave with Lara and ends up writing him a suicide note, then heads into the women’s bathroom and slits her wrists in one of the tubs. Lauren returns to her room and finds Sean finishing getting dressed and she slams the door as he tries to apologize and heads to the bathroom to cry, only to find the girl’s body. When Sean finds the suicide note, he tries talking to Lauren but she refuses to speak with him. When Lara tells him he is wasting his time, he ends up punching her, blaming her for what happened. Sean attempts to commit suicide through various methods but they all fail so he decides to fake it. Lauren shows up at his room and sees him lying in bed with fake blood and while Sean laughs at fooling her, she calls him sad and runs off. Victor, arrives back in town from Europe and he is telling Sean and Mitchel about his adventures in Europe. Victor asks Sean for some pot and Sean agrees to get him some but says Mitchel has to come with him. Sean and Mitchel head to Rupert’s house to get the pot but when they get there, Rupert demands his money. Sean gives him the money that Victor gave him but Rupert says it isn’t enough and ends up threatening Sean and Mitchel. A fight breaks out, with Sean cutting Guest’s hand, and Sean and Mitchel manage to escape and make it back to college, where Mitchel kicks Sean out of his car. Meanwhile, Lauren learns that Victor is back in town and heads to his dorm and runs into Sean, who tries to talk to her and asks to get to know her but she tells him he will never know her. Lauren reaches Victor’s dorm and knocks on the door and when he opens it, she hugs him and starts kissing him but Victor says he doesn’t know who she is and Lauren notices Lara jumping on Victor’s bed in her underwear. Paul sees Sean sitting on the steps at the stadium and tries talking to him, saying he wants to get to know him but Sean tells Paul that he will never know him and Paul starts yelling at Sean as he leaves. Sean goes and checks his mailbox but doesn’t find a letter inside. Rupert and Guest enter the mailroom and Sean tries to run but the stop him and proceed to give him a beating. Returning to the events at the beginning of the movie, Sean sees Lauren heading upstairs and then spies the blonde but it is shown that his sleeping with her was only a fantasy as Sean puts his drink down and leaves the party. Later, Lauren walks outside and runs into Paul, who is moping on the porch. The two start talking and Paul tells her that Sean loves her but Lauren says it doesn’t matter. Paul asks if she was the one writing Sean letters and Lauren tells him it was someone else, as the two watch Sean ride off on his motorcycle. As he rides, Sean starts a monologue about his thoughts on Lauren but it is cut off as the credits start to roll.

The Rules Of Attraction met with mixed to poor results from the critics, holding a 43% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that it is, ” A tiresome movie about unsympathetic college kids engaging in self-destructive behaviors.” The movie originally received an NC-17 rating so the director made cuts to the film in order to get an R rating, however those cuts were retained in some of the foreign releases of the movie. The movie was a mild success at the box office, earning $11.8 million off of a $4 million budget and has since garnered a bit of a cult following.

This is a pretty dark look at an aspect of college life that most people don’t necessarily want to think about. The acting was good, with James Van Der Beek (Sean), Shannyn Sossamon (Lauren), and Ian Somerhalder (Paul) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was really good and from what I remember, followed the novel it was based on pretty closely. Like I said, this movie essentially focused on the other aspect of college life that did not involve grades or sports, sex and drug use, though some aspects of this felt like something out of the 70’s. Especially Lauren hooking up with her teacher, which felt similar to what happened in Animal House. There wasn’t much special effects work in this movie, but they did have a pretty effective use of split screen camera work a couple of times, especially when Sean and Lauren first meet. It’s probably not going to be your first choice for a college themed movie but it is worth watching.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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drama, Hitchcock, movie, movie review, romance, silent movie, sports

May 22nd, 2017 Movie – The Ring (1927)

the ring 1927

Two old school Hitchcock movies in a row. This is a great start to the week. So this is another of his early silent movies that had never heard of before. So this is going to be a little interesting for me because while I enjoy watching sports, I don’t necessarily like watching sports movies. Obviously there are some exceptions to that but in general, sports movies just don’t really hold my interest. So let’s see how this one does as I watch today’s movie, The Ring (1927).

The plot: A man and his friend are walking along the grounds of a fair when they approach a tent where the barker is challenging members of the crowd to compete in a boxing match with the athletes. As the barker is promoting the talents of “One Round” Jack Sanders, the man becomes infatuated with the ticket girl, Mabel, and begins flirting with her. When Jack notices this, he challenges the man to be one of the fighters and the man agrees. Inside the tent, Jack easily defeats his first two opponents and then proceeds to fight the man, but the man is more of a challenge than Jack expected. When the fight last longer than one round, Mabel, who was watching the fight through a flap in the tent, informs the barker and he begins selling more tickets for people to watch it. The man eventually beats Jack and he leaves with his friend but as he starts flirting with Mabel again, she is upset because Jack and her were going to get married but Jack might have lost his job after he lost. The man’s friend hands her a card, revealing his name to be James Ware and that the man is the World Heavyweight Champion boxer Bob Corby, whom he manages. James and Bob approach Jack later that night as Mabel tends to his wounds and James offers Jack a job in becoming Bob’s sparring partner providing he win a trial fight. As they are talking, Bob continues flirting with Mabel and she leads him outside the tent, as some people were staring at them. Outside, they walk behind a trailer and Bob gives her a bracelet that he bought from the prize money as a gift. Mabel give his a quick peck as thanks but Bob kisses her again and she allows it but then reluctantly breaks it off when she notices Jack and James looking for them. As they are saying their goodbyes, Mabel does her best to keep the bracelet covered up, though Bob sees this and sneakily tries to get her to reveal it to Jack. After they leave, Mabel goes to the fortune teller’s tent and asks to have her fortune read but Jack shows up and believes the fortune is about him. The next day, Jack is washing his face in the pond behind his trailer and Mabel goes to talk to him when the bracelet falls off her arm and into the pond. When Jack retrieves it, he questions her about it and she admits that Bob bought it for her because he didn’t want to take their money. Later that day, Mabel receives a telegram from Jack stating that he won his fight and he would meet her at the church the next day so they can get married. Jack and Mabel get married, though Mabel appears a little reluctant to do so and at the reception, Bob, who had attended the wedding, jokes about wishing Mabel was the prize in their fight. Jack says he will fight any man to defend his wife’s honor and an exhibition match is arranged, which Bob ends up winning. Jack notices Mabel flirting and gets upset but his trainer has him take out his frustrations on the punching bag. Later, Jack tells James he wants to challenge Bob for the championship but James says that he is too far down on the list of contenders and will need to work his way up. Jack begins winning his fights and at a party at James’ house, James informs Jack that if he wins his next fight, he will be the #1 contender for Bob’s title. Jack worries about leaving Mabel alone while he goes to the fight, as he fears she is having an affair with Bob, but James says that he was doing this for her and to trust that she will be there for him. Jack wins his fight and afterwards, sees the barker and some of his friends from the fair were there to watch the fight. As the talk about the upcoming fight with Bob, Jack invites them back to his house to celebrate his win and surprise Mabel. When they get there, they find that Mabel is out and Jack pours some champagne, saying she should be back soon and they will drink when she gets there. As it gets late and Mabel still doesn’t show, their friends say their goodbyes and leave while Jack waits up for Mabel to return. Looking out the window, Jack sees Mabel getting out of Bob’s car and when she enters the apartment, they end up getting into an argument over her affections towards Bob. Jack then heads to the club to confront Bob over his spending so much time with Mabel and when Bob tries to punch him, Jack blocks it and knocks Bob down, then tells James that Bob can try and get revenge in the ring. When Jack returns home, he finds that Mabel is gone, having left a note saying she is staying with people that know how to treat her. On the night of the big fight, Jack’s trainer and the barker notice Mabel heading into Bob’s dressing room and they decide not to tell Jack that she is there. As the fight is about to start, Jack keeps looking out into the crowd to see if he can catch sight of Mabel but he doesn’t see her. As the fight commences, Jack notices Mabel sitting in the front row in Bob’s corner and it distracts him to where Bob is able to get the upper hand. As the fight continues, Mabel begins to get worried about Jack and starts making her way over tho his side of the ring. During the rest period before the final round, Mabel manages to reach Jack’s corner and tells him she is there in his corner and when he sees her there, he gets a second wind and manages to knock out Bob, winning the championship. As Jack celebrates his win, Mabel apologizes to him and he accepts and as they hug, she sees Bob watching them in the corner and takes off the bracelet he gave her and leaves it on the ground, which Bob’s trainer returns to him after the fight.

The Ring (1927) received high praise from the critics, holding a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all seem to feel like this was one of Hitchcock’s best silent films, praising all of the visual nuances and symbols used to tell a compelling story. Out of all of the movies that Hitchcock made over the years, this is the only original screenplay that Hitchcock wrote himself, having collaborated with other writers for all of his other films. The movie was a success during it’s initial release but when it received a more general release, it was considered a failure.

I have to admit, this was a pretty good movie. The acting was good, with Carl Brisson (Jack), Lillian Hall-Davis (Mabel), and Ian Hunter (Bob) doing good jobs in their roles, though I also liked Gordon Harker, who made for some funny comedic breaks as Jack’s trainer. The story was very good, with the main three actors showing a lot of emotions to help showcase the drama of the situation. To be honest, some aspects of the story and fight, primarily the whole underdog aspect, kind of feel a little similar to Rocky and makes me wonder of this might have influenced Stallone a little when he wrote that movie. The fights and camera angles during them did look a little off at times and didn’t seem as clear as the rest of the movie but that could have been intentional. Regardless, this is a great movie in it’s own right and definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, Hitchcock, movie, movie review, romance, thriller

May 21st, 2017 Movie – Rich And Strange

rich and strange

Ahh, I do love starting the day with a Hitchcock movie. Once more I find myself watching an early Hitchcock movie from the Legends Of Horror box set and am reminded of just how much I have been enjoying this collection. The only bad thing about all of this, if you can call it that, is that it has really made me want to buy several of his more well known movies. Well, maybe I can work on that at another time but for now, I’m going to focus on today’s movie, Rich And Strange.

The plot: After a rough day where nothing seems to go right for him, Fred Hill returns home to his wife Emily. As the two start to argue over finances, they receive a telegram from Fred’s uncle, who has decided to give them an advance of their inheritance so that they may, in Fred’s words, enjoy life a little more. Fred quits his job and the two decide to go on a cruise but as they are crossing the English Channel to Paris, Fred ends up getting sea sick. While in Paris, they decide to attend a show at the Folies Bergère but Emily wants to leave when somebody pinches her on the butt so the end up at a bar, where they proceed to get drunk and when they finally make it back to their hotel, they end up falling asleep on the floor with their heads on the beds. The next day, they board the ship to head to the Orient but Fred once again feels sea sick and heads down to their cabin, leaving Emily alone on the deck. While on the deck, she ends up meeting Commander Gordon and starts a friendship with him but as they spend more time together, they end up getting closer and Gordon kisses Emily on the deck before she heads back to her cabin. When Fred starts feeling better and is able to move about the ship, he goes for a walk on the deck and meets a German princess, who apologizes to him when she accidentally hits him in the eye with a rope ring from one of the deck games. As the voyage continues, Fred and Emily end up spending more time with their new partners and less time with each other. As the boat makes a stop in Columbo, they all head ashore, and Fred and Emily both tell their new lovers that they intend to dissolve their marriage and start new lives with the princess and Gordon respectively. When the boat arrives in Singapore, Emily leaves with Gordon and heads to his house. Along the way, Gordon tells Emily that the princess is really a con artist who is merely after Fred’s money and Emily, feeling bad about the way things became with her husband, leaves Gordon and heads off to warn Fred. Emily heads to Fred’s hotel and tries to warn him about the princess but Fred doesn’t believe her. As the two start to argue over everything that has happened between them during the trip, Fred leaves Emily crying in his room while he goes to locate the princess. As she is sitting there, a telegram from Gordon is delivered to her, stating that he understands her reasoning to stay with her husband. Fred returns, saying that the princess had run off onto a train for Rangoon and he finds a note stating that she was a simple street walker whose father owned a laundry in Berlin. Realizing that the fake princess took most of Fred’s money, they use what little they have left to pay the hotel bill and then book passage on a tramp steamer in order to return home. During the journey, the ship strikes something in the middle of the night and as everyone aboard begins to abandon ship, Fred and Emily find themselves trapped in their cabin as they see the water rushing up over the porthole. As they await their watery end, Fred and Emily apologize for how they have acted. In the morning, Fred and Emily discover that they are still alive and Emily opens the porthole so that they can climb up onto the deck and see where they are. They head into a nearby cabin to find some clothes, unaware that water has now started seeping into their cabin through the open porthole. When a Chinese junk appears and the crew begin looting the steamer, Fred and Emily manage to board the junk and the crew feeds them and tends to leave them alone. Fred and Emily eventually manages to make it back to London but as they get reacquainted to being home, they start arguing in the same fashion that they were before the telegram had arrived some months earlier.

Rich And Strange met with mostly positive results from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most people felt that while it wasn’t one of his better films, it did provide a mature exploration of wandering affections and romantic betrayal. The movie was not a commercial success and most of this is attributed to the lack of dialogue, as the dialogue only occurs for about a quarter of the movie, and that there were several hold overs from the silent film style, such as scene captions and exaggerated acting styles.

Not exactly what I would prefer in a Hitchcock movie but it wasn’t that bad. The acting was decent, with Henry Kendall (Fred) and Joan Barry (Emily) doing good jobs in their roles for the most part. The story was interesting, pointing out something that can happen to every married couple if they stop paying attention to each other and work on strengthening their relationship, but the the mix between periods of dialogue and non speaking scenes and events made it a little difficult to fully grasp what all was going on. There wasn’t really any special effects as the movie used dialogue and situations to help carry the plot. An interesting take on relationships as only Hitchcock could tell.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, romance, zombie movie

May 16th, 2017 Movie – Return Of The Living Dead 3

return of the living dead 3

Another day, another zombie movie. Now today’s movie is one that I had actually chanced upon on cable back in the day, and honestly didn’t know that a third movie had come out in the series. I only got to watch a little bit of it at the time but I was curious enough to rent it so I could watch the whole thing. So let’s see if today’s movie was as entertaining as I remember as I watch Return Of The Living Dead 3.

The plot: At a top secret army facility, Colonel John Reynolds is escorting a corpse that is being carried to a secured room when he meets up with Colonel Peck, who introduces him to Col. Sinclair. Reynolds says he heard about Sinclair’s research involving an exoskeleton to contain the corpses and make them more effective in combat but feels his approach is still better. As they reach the room, Reynolds must use one of the soldier’s key cards as he apparently misplaced his at home. Meanwhile, Julie Walker is hanging out at the beach with her friend Mindy and some other friends when her boyfriend Curt Reynolds shows up. When Julie asks about it, Curt reveals that he stole his dad’s key card and heard that a big test was occurring that day so they decide to head to the base. After getting on base, they sneak inside the building his dad works in and make their way up on top of some containers, which they notice are sealed up to be air tight. After seeing a man burning body parts in a furnace, they head over to another container and see Curt’s father overseeing an experiment. A corpse is strapped into a suspension harness and then a hose is attached to a drum containing a zombie, which allows them to release the Trioxin gas from the drum and reanimate the corpse. The scientists then shoot the zombie with a special round containing a paralytic agent, successfully rendering the zombie immobile. Curt and Julie are shocked at what they saw and when they accidentally attract the attention of a patrolling guard, they quickly leave before they get caught. Meanwhile, the scientists place the zombie on a tabe and start to examine it when it suddenly bites the fingers off of one of the scientist, then proceeds to bash his head against the glass of the control room, eventually killing him. The other two scientist shoot it again and manage to strap it onto the table, but the scientist that was bitten suddenly turns and crawls over to the table and bites one of the other scientists. Reynolds orders the room to be sealed as Peck demands to know what happened. Sinclair says she will make the call to Washington, as she told the general that she would give her opinion on the project. At his house, Curt and Julie are having sex but Julie can’t stop talking about what they saw. When Reynolds comes home, he tells Curt they need to talk and has him come into his office. Reynolds tells Curt that he is being reassigned to Oklahoma City and they leave in a week but Curt refuses to go, saying he wants to stay with Julie. As the two argue even more about it, Curt storms off and tells Julie they are leaving. As the two are riding on Curt’s motorcycle, Julie is teasing Curt and making him lose control of the bike and when he swerves to avoid hitting a semi, they end up wrecking and Julie is thrown into a telephone pole. When Curt goes to check on Julie, he discovers that she is dead and he calls out for help but there is nobody around. Grief stricken, Curt heads back to the facility and makes his way inside to the room where they saw the experiment. Putting on a biosuit, Curt tries to hook the hose up to the drum to release the gas but when that doesn’t work, he simply pries off the lid of the drum. The gas revives Julie and as Curt explains what happens, they hear something and discover that the zombie that was inside the drum has revived and tries to attack them. They manage to get away but as they are leaving, a guard sees them but he is attacked and killed and Julie asks if that is what she is going to become. As they watch the video footage of what happened, Peck tells Reynolds that he put a state wide APB out on Curt and Julie, and they have a containment team standing by. They theorize that due to the strong bond between Curt and Julie, Julie won’t attack Curt yet but that could change when her brain shuts down. Meanwhile, Curt and Julie are trying to leave town but Julie has Curt stop so she can get some food. Heading inside a market, Julie starts grabbing some food items and eating them but quickly spits them out. As Curt tries to get Julie to stop, he accidentally pisses off a group of thugs that were playing a game at the back of the store. As the store owner goes to ensure no fighting occurs, one of the thugs hops the counter and starts emptying the cash register. When the owner pulls a gun out to stop them, the thugs manage to shoot the owner with his gun. As they are leaving, Julie bites one of the thugs in the arm so they shoot Curt’s bike before they leave. Hearing sirens on the way, Curt and Julie go to leave but when they see his bike is ruined, they get in the store owner’s van. The owner appears and asks that they drive him to the hospital and Curt agrees, just as the police arrive and start shooting at them. As they drive off, the police follow and keep shooting at them, killing the store owner when he tries to get them to stop. Curt manages to lose the police but when he turns around, he sees Julie eating the brains of the store owner and he gets her to stop. The police eventually find the van and approach it and end up attacked by the store owner, who kills one of the cops. Reynolds and the containment team show up and manage to stun the store owner before he kills the second cop but they find no sign of Julie or Curt. Curt and Julie are making their way through the sewers and Julie starts stabbing and cutting herself, saying the pain helps her feel better. Curt and Julie argue and Julie moves to jump off the rail of a bridge and Curt apologizes for what he said but Julie says that he shouldn’t have brought her back, then jumps off the bridge into the water below. Meanwhile, the thugs that were at the store go looking for Curt and Julie, as the man that Julie bit is getting sicker. At the same time, Sinclair shows up, having managed to push ahead her taking over of the project and orders no discrimination when it comes to containment but Reynolds defies her orders and goes looking for Curt. Curt makes his way down to the river and encounters a homeless man called Riverman, who saw what happened. and as they search the river, they find Julie’s body. Just then, the gang shows up and Riverman leads Curt and Julie into the sewers and has them hide in his home. As Julie lies down, Riverman asks Curt what is going on and Curt tells him that the gang shot someone and is now after them. Riverman goes to keep watch and when Curt asks how he can repay him, Riverman hands him a coin and says that if he sees someone in need, he should help them, then give them the coin, always paying it forward. Julie and Curt have sex and afterwards, Julie begins shoving nails and other items through her body, making it so that the constant pain will help keep her in control. Meanwhile, the gang find Riverman and begin torturing him to find out where Curt and Julie are. Curt goes out to help them but they overpower him. Just then, Julie emerges and Curt is shocked at what she has done to herself. Julie seduces Santos, the gangs leader, and ends up killing him, then kills another gang member, while the female gang member is killed by the gang member that Julie bit. As the gang members come back as zombies, Riverman, Julie, and Curt take shelter in Riverman’s home, then Curt and Riverman work on barricading the door. When the zombies star to come through, Curt tells Riverman to take Julie and leave while he holds them off but when he meets up with them, he finds that Julie has killed Riverman. As the zombies start to attack them, Reynolds and his team show up and manage to subdue the zombies, then Reynolds tells Curt to move so they can shoot Julie and he reluctantly does, then holds her as the paralysis kicks in. At the facility, Reynolds attempts to come up with some sort of reconciliation with Curt but is unable to answer when Curt asks about Julie, saying she is part of Sinclair’s project now. As they are leaving, they are stopped by Peck and Sinclair, who ask Reynolds not submit his report on Julie, though Reynolds argues with them that Julie shows they are able to retain their memories. As Curt wanders through the facility, he comes to the room where Julie and the other zombies are being kept. When the scientist says they are going to be turned into bioweapons, Curt goes to free Julie, knocking out the scientist in the process and attracting the attention of Sinclair and two other scientists, who are working on placing Riverman in an exoskeleton. The distraction allows Riverman to go free and he begins attacking the scientists and Sinclair, eventually causing the other zombies to be released. Curt manages to get through to Riverman and has him help them escape the room but as they try to get out of the facility, a zombie manages to bite Curt. As the whole building undergoes lockdown, Curt and Julie see Reynolds, who is trying to keep a door open so Curt can escape. Curt tells his dad that he can’t leave as the door shuts and Peck drags Reynolds away before he is trapped inside the building. Curt and Julie head to the furnace room and Curt activates the furnace, then they both step inside, with Curt saying they are where they belong as they kiss one last time before being burned.

Return Of The Living Dead 3 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics that liked it said it was a fun bit of “schlock comedy” while the ones that didn’t like it called it boring and inept. According to director Brian Yuzna’s commentary, the studio did not require the movie to use the same actors or have the same comedic effect but the did want the zombies to eat brains. The movie only got a limited release in theaters, where it ended up flopping, only earning $54,207 of a $2 million budget.

Yeh, I honestly don’t know what to think of this movie. There were some good parts and some bad parts to this thing. The acting was ok, with Melinda Clarke (Julie) and J. Trevor Edmond (Curt) doing a good job in their roles. I also liked Sarah Douglas (Sinclair), but wish that she had a larger part than she did. The story was interesting, having some elements from the previous two movies, primarily the involvement of Trioxin and the zombies desiring brains, but unlike the previous movies, this time the bites would turn people into zombies. The main plot line of Curt and Julie’s relationship made for an interesting driving force for the movie but did get a bit overly sappy at times. The special effects were pretty good, as was the makeup for Julie when she turned herself into a zombie pincushion. There are better zombie movies out there, but at least this was better than the second movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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drama, Hitchcock, movie, movie review, romance

April 6th, 2017 Movie – The Manxman

the manxman

You know, it seems like every other movie in the Legends Of Horror box set is an early Hitchcock movie. Considering his film career, you could probably easily make a 50 movie box set of his movies alone. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying watching all of these old movies but I wish there was a little more variety in the set. But enough complaining, let’s get on with today’s movie, The Manxman.

The plot: In a small island fishing village, Pete Quilliam is a poor fisherman while his childhood friend Philip Christian is a up and coming lawyer. Whenever the fishermen come across legal troubles, Philip is always willing to help due to his friendship with Pete. The two head to the local tavern, where they are both interested in Kate Creegan, the owner’s daughter. Pete wants to ask Kate’s father, Old Caesar, for her hand in marriage and asks Philip to speak on his behalf. Philip speaks with Caesar about allowing Kate to marry Pete but Caesar refuses, telling Pete to leave because he is a penniless lout. Pete is angered over Caesar’s dismissal and vows to make him eat those words. Pete decides to travel to Africa and make his money abroad and rushes to tell Kate, with Philip reluctantly coming with him. Calling out to Kate until she answers, Pete stands on Philip’s shoulders so he can talk to Kate and tells her he is leaving for Africa and asks if she will wait for him. She agrees to wait for him and gives him a kiss before closing the blinds on him. As she peeks down on the two, she sees Pete telling Philip that she would wait for him and asking Philip to look after her but Kate suddenly seems nervous and goes to call out to them but the two men have already left. While Pete is gone, Philip begins calling on Kate almost every day and the two end up being attracted to one another. Philip’s mother says that his father ruined his career by marrying beneath him and she doesn’t want to see his chances of becoming Deemster, the island’s chief magistrate, and says he should break off his affair with Kate. Philip heads to the bar intending to do just that but he finds it full of the local fishermen and wonders what is going on. Caesar hands him a telegram, saying that Pete is dead, and Caesar says he might have been wrong about Pete and Kate as she hasn’t said a word to anyone. Philip goes to see Kate who tells him that they are now free and shouldn’t feel guilty about what they are doing. Meanwhile, Pete was still alive in Africa and had made his fortune. He writes a letter to Philip telling him he will be coming back and not to tell Kate, but Philip and Kate have begun to have a physical affair at an old mill. When Philip receives Pete’s telegram, he asks Kate to meet him and tells her the news. Kate says that she is glad Pete is alive but she doesn’t love him but Philip says she was promised to him and they have to end things as they watch the ship carrying Pete head towards port. Heading back to the tavern, Kate has Philip go inside first, as she is unable to face Pete just yet. Philip does and Pete embraces his friend before asking about Kate. Kate shows up and Pete embraces her before the two are led away by Caesar, who is happy to have Kate marry Pete now. The two are wed at the old mill where Philip and Kate had been having their affair and during the reception, Caesar gives a warning to them about dishonoring their vows, saying God will punish them. Kate goes through with the wedding but she can’t stand to be with Pete, as she is in love with Philip. Several weeks go by and Philip, who had gone on holiday after the wedding, is set to be appointed Deemster. Kate sends a note to Philip saying she must speak with him before the fishing fleet comes back. When Philip comes over, Kate begs him to take her away and when he asks why, she tells him she is pregnant with his child. Philip asks why she didn’t say anything sooner and she tells him he thought more of his career than her feelings. Kate insist that he take her away but Philip refuses, worrying about the shame they would face if what they did was known. Pete returns home and Kate starts to tell him the truth but seeing Philip walk away, she merely tells him that she is pregnant. Pete is excited and calls Philip back to tell him the news but as Pete turns his back, both Kate and Philip have sorrowful expressions on their faces. Time passes and Kate gives birth to a daughter, while Philip is made Deemster. After giving thanks to the crowd when he makes Deemster, Kate goes to see Philip and tells him that she left Pete and wants to be with him. Meanwhile, Pete returns home to find Kate missing and had left a note saying that she had loved another man and still loved him, leaving Pete with the baby. Pete is heartbroken but tells everyone that Kate had a rough time and was on vacation while he cares for the baby. Philip feels guilty when Pete tells him the news while Caesar finds the note Kate wrote but chooses not to say anything when Pete sees him with it. Meanwhile, Kate had been hiding in Philip’s office and wants Philip to run off with her but he refuses to ruin his career by doing so. Distraught, Kate returns to he home and Pete is excited to see her and have her back but she tells him she isn’t staying. Kate tells Pete that she is there for the baby and Pete refuses to let her have it. Kate then says that the baby isn’t his but he refuses to believe her and still won’t let her take the baby, grabbing the baby and locking themselves in the bedroom. Feeling completely hopeless, Kate leaves the house and decides to try and commit suicide by throwing herself off the harbor into the water below. Kate is rescued by a police officer and, charged with attempted suicide, brought before Philip’s court. Philip is shocked to see Kate there when suddenly, Pete, Caesar, and several of the fishermen enter the courtroom. Pete asks Philip to let him speak on her behalf and Philip agrees and after listening to Pete beg to have her released back to his care, Philip agrees to it but Kate refuses to go. Caesar, who figured out that Philip was the other man, accuses Philip and Philip admits to it, removing his powdered wig and vacating his position. Philip and Kate go to the house to pick up the baby and Pete kisses her goodbye and as Philip and Kate leave the island, facing the jeers of all the villagers who were watching from the windows, Pete sits at the table and cries as he has now lost everything, before returning to the sea with a haunted look in his eye.

The Manxman met with high praise from recent critics, holding a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics seem to feel that, several critics seemed to like the story but admit this isn’t one of Hitchcock’s masterpieces. Hitchcock’s last silent movie, he began filming this movie two weeks after his daughter Patricia was born. Two key lines in the movie, where Kate tells Philip, and later Pete, that she is haing a baby, did not have intertitles to go with them and instead, the audience was left to read her lips to know what was being said.

To be honest, I am feeling a little indifferent towards this movie, but it is not a bad movie. The acting was pretty good, with Carl Brisson (Pete), Malcolm Keen (Philip), and Anny Ondra (Kate) doing great jobs in their roles, putting a lot of expression and emotion into their performances. The story was ok, though pretty predictable for the most part. I know it was based on a novel by the same name, but I wished Hitchcock could have added a little more suspense to it. The camera work was pretty good, showing plenty of close ups to help emphasize the emotions from the main actors. Definitely not something you would expect from Hitchcock but worth giving a shot if you want to see some of his early works.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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