action, drama, movie, movie review, western

February 27th, 2018 Movie – Tombstone

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

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action, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 19th, 2018 Movie – Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight

tales from the crypt-demon knight

Ahh, if there is one thing I remember during my late night TV viewing as a teenager, it is definitely the excitement I got when my parents got HBO and I was able to watch Tales From The Crypt. Being a horror movie fan, this was always a fun show to watch as I would get a short dose of horror that was usually a great way to unwind over the weekend. So when I heard that they were making a full length feature film episode, I was excited to go see it but never got the chance to see it in theaters. I did watch it when it came out on video and eventually got it on DVD when I had a chance. Now let’s see how well they did with today’s movie, Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight.

The plot: Prologue: A woman is talking to her lover on the phone and describing how she killed a man and placed him in a pot of boiling water. After inviting her lover over, she goes to take a bath but her victim returns to life and heads up the stairs with a small hatchet. Before he can kill her, the Crypt Keeper yells cut and berates the actor playing the dead man and orders everyone back to their places so they can reshoot it. As he heads back to his chair, the Crypt Keeper notices the audience and starts talking to them before showing them his latest work for Hollywood, Demon Knight.

Main Movie: Frank Brayker is driving down a dark road when he notices that he is being followed by another car. Brayker tries to avoid the other car but his car stalls out so he begins shooting the car, setting it on fire. When the other driver, The Collector, doesn’t stop heading for him, Brayker manages to get out of his car before the second car impacts it, causing both cars to explode and seemingly killing the other driver. As Brayker stands up, he looks at his hand, which has a star form next to 4 other stars already on it, and he quickly starts walking away. Brayker attempts to steal a car but a little kid sees him and calls out to his father, causing Brayker to run away before he is caught. As he catches his breath in an alley, Brayker encounters Uncle Willy, a local drunk, and Willy agrees to take Brayker to a place he can crash for the night. Back at the crash site, Sheriff Tupper and Deputy Bob are discussing the crash when The Collector appears and asks if they had seen Brayker. When the two confused officers attempt to question The Collector, he tells them that Brayker is dangerous and if he is in town, something bad will soon happen. Back in town, Willy takes Brayker to an old church, which has been turned into a boarding house and Brayker rents a room. While there, he meets the residents of the boarding house; the owner Irene, a prostitute named Cordelia, a postal worker named Wally, and a prisoner on work release named Jeryline. As Brayker is eating, a restaurant cook named Roach enters the church and as he prepares to spend time with Cordelia, he tells them about how someone had tried to kill his bosses car. Meanwhile, Tupper and Bob are interviewing the people about the attempted car theft when they get a call from the station, saying Irene called about Brayker, saying he was acting suspicious. When they arrive at the church, Brayker holds a knife to Jeryline’s throat and tells them to back away but The Collector says that he won’t kill her and Brayker reluctantly lets her go. After Tupper puts Brayker in handcuffs, The Collector sits down and asks him where his artifact is, telling Tupper and Bob that it is shaped like a key. Bob searches Brayker’s room but doesn’t find it and after they repeatedly question Brayker about it’s whereabouts, Willy says he knows where Brayker stashed it and pulls it out from underneath the table. As The Collector opens his suitcase and asks Willy to dump the liquid inside the artifact and place it inside, Tupper receives a call and grabs the key from Willy, saying that both cars were stolen and that he is taking both of them to the station to figure things out. The Collector punches his fist through Tupper’s face and as Bob goes for his gun, Brayker grabs the keys for the handcuffs and frees himself. Brayker uses the key to burn The Collector’s face, forcing him to jump out a nearby window. The Collector yells at Brayker and the others, then slices open his hand and begins splattering the ground with his blood, summoning demonic creatures from the ground where his blood touched. The creatures begin attacking  the hotel and Brayker defends the group, then uses the liquid from the key to form barriers on the doors and windows, killing the creatures if they try to cross. Roach wants to run, convincing Cordelia to come with him, but when they get attacked, he leaves Cordelia out there to die while he heads back inside. Wally, who is in love with Cordelia, manages to save her but he is injured in the process, and Brayker and Cordelia drag him back inside. After securing all the entrances, Brayker says they need to wait out the night cause if they step outside, the creatures will kill them, but Roach gets angry and says that the creatures are only after him and the key and they should just turn him over to them. As Brayker works on securing the upper floors, Jeryline tries talking to him and asks who he really is but he just answers that he is an old man running out of time. After Brayker is done, he heads back downstairs only to find that Jeryline’s cat has somehow made it back inside. Fearing it might be possessed, Brayker chases after it down to the basement, followed by Jeryline, Willy, and Irene, and after catching it, he determines it is safe, then discovers the crack that the cat had come in from and Bob and Willy say that there are some mine shafts that run under the town and it is probably one of them. Upstairs, Roach tries talking to Wally to convince him to work with him against Brayker but Wally refuses and Cordelia sticks up for Wally. Roach takes Cordelia to her room and smacks her and after he leaves, Cordelia hears The Collector talking to her in her head and she ends up being possessed. When Wally goes to check on Cordelia, she attacks and kills him, then attacks Brayker when he goes to investigate the noise. When Brayker goes for the key, Cordelia knocks it away from him and Irene grabs it and tries to use it but Cordelia rips her arm off. Brayker is finally able to kill Cordelia but the event causes everyone to rebel against Brayker and want to try and escape through the mines. Roach breaks down the wall and they head out, with Brayker forming a seal and following after them. As they are making their way through the mines, Jeryline finds Danny, the boy who had spotted Brayker trying to steal his dad’s car, hiding in the mine and as she goes to grab him, they are attacked by the boy’s parents, who have been possessed. They manage to escape and Brayker has everyone head back to the church, killing one of the demons as he leaves. After they are all safely inside, Roach decides to shoot his possessed boss but the resulting explosion from the demon destroys the seal, allowing them to enter the church. Brayker has everyone head upstairs to the second floor, where they are safe as some blood had created a seal when the key was knocked form Brayker’s hand during the fight with Cordelia. When everyone pressures Brayker to explain what is going on, he explains that during the creation of the Earth, the demons had 7 keys which they used to control the power of the cosmos to keep the world in darkness but God created light, which scattered the demons and the keys across the universe. The demons had managed to collect 6 of the keys and the 7th was on Earth but had been filled with the blood of Jesus and guarded by a thief. When the blood runs low, the guardian has to fill it with his own blood and hand it off to a new guardian, with Brayker himself having gotten it from his lieutenant in 1917 during WWI. After finishing his story, Jeryline notices Danny is missing and they split up to find him but Roach secretly steals the key from Brayker. As Jeryline looks for Danny, The Collector tries tempting her to help him but she refuses. Irene and Bob head up to the attic, where they find Willy up there drinking and Danny reading a comic book. Irene tells Willy to take Danny downstairs and get Brayker up there with the key, while she stays up there with Bob and they discover that Wally had a chest full of weapons that he was going to use to attack the post office. Brayker and Jeryline go looking for Willy and Danny only to have Brayker be attacked by a possessed Willy. Brayker manages to cut off Willy’s head but when the body keeps attacking him, Danny grabs the head and impales it’s eyes onto some deer antlers. Roach tries to bargain with The Collector for his life but after giving The Collector the key and erasing the seal on the stairs, The Collector has the demons kill Roach. As The Collector and the demons go after the others, Brayker shoots The Collector in the eye with an arrow, then grabs the case with the key. Bob and Irene tell Brayker, Jeryline, and Danny to head upstairs into the attic while they hold off the demons, then Irene pulls the pins on the grenades she is carrying, killing both her and Bob in order to kill the demons. In the attic, Danny ends up being possessed and mortally wounds Brayker before Jeryline can kill him. Brayker then tells Jeryline to refill the key with his blood and initiates her as the new Guardian. When Brayker dies, the seals he created all disappear and The Collector heads up to the attic. Jeryline attacks him with the key and heads downstairs to finish him off but The Collector attacks her and breaks her wrist. As he goes to finish her off, Jeryline stabs him in the eye with the key and while he is distracted, she takes a drink of blood from the key. The Collector continues to taunt her, saying he wants to take her with him back to Hell but Jeryline spits the blood into his face, causing him to explode. The next day, Jeryline boards a bus out of town, using some of the blood to form a seal on the doors. As the bus makes it’s way down the highway, it stops to pick up a man carrying a briefcase, the man starts to board the bus but stops and says he will wait for the next one, indicating that he is the new Collector. As the bus drives off, the man starts walking after it, whistling the Tales From The Crypt theme song.

Epilogue – The Crypt Keeper says Jeryline lives happily ever after, as he received a post card from her saying she is traveling the world. The Crypt Keeper then heads out to the premier of his movie, only to have the producers place him in a guillotine and cut off his head, causing him to laugh.

Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all seemed to feel that it was lacking enough scares or substance to truly stand on it’s own. The movie was to be the first in a trilogy of Tales From The Crypt movies, with the Crypt Keeper giving the title of the next movie after the credits, but the original trilogy plan fell through and two different movies ended up finishing off the trilogy. The movie was a mild hit at the box office, earning $21.1 million off of a $12 million budget.

This is a pretty fun movie to watch and definitely fit well with the general theme of Tales From The Crypt. The acting was pretty good, with Billy Zane having a lot of fun as The Collector, while Thomas Haden Church did a great job as Roach but I was not too impressed with William Sadler, as I felt his portrayal of Brayker was kind of boring. The story was interesting, though I felt like the whole Biblical aspect was a little unnecessary. I also liked the open ended way the movie ended, as it really left it open for a sequel, like it was intended to be. The special effects were decent, but I honestly expected a little more since it was a feature film as most of them looked like it was basically from an episode of the show itself, not just a movie. As much as I enjoyed the movie, I probably enjoyed the soundtrack equally as much, if not more, and thought it fit perfectly with the movie. A fun movie to watch and definitely something any horror fan will want to watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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