comedy, fantasy, horror, movie, movie review

January 11th, 2018 Movie – My Name Is Bruce

my name is bruce

Before you get confused, yes, I know that I didn’t post a review for yesterday. There were some issues and everything I had written before I went to work didn’t save for some reason so I will redo it over the weekend. Now for today’s movie, this is the last movie in the Bruce Campbell three-pack of movies I got for Christmas and honestly my favorite one out of the bunch. I remember first seeing this a couple of years ago and laughing my as off as I watched it because of it’s over-the-top antics. So let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, My Name Is Bruce.

The plot: In the town of Gold Lick, Oregon, Jeff and Clayton are heading out to the cemetery to meet up with two girls, Big Debbie and Little Debbie, and Taylor is poking fun at Jeff’s fandom of Bruce Campbell. When they get there, the two pair off with the girls and try to hook up with them, though Little Debbie seems less than open to Jeff’s advances. As he is looking around the graveyard, Jeff notices a medallion on a mausoleum and removes it, unleashing Guan Di, a Chinese war god and protector of the dead. Jeff runs back to his car, warning Clayton and the Debbies that they need to leave, but Guan Di proceeds to kill Clayton and the two Debbies so Jeff drives off and tries to figure out what to do. Elsewhere, Bruce Campbell is finishing filming Cave Alien II and after signing some autographs for some fans, he leaves the set and heads to a nearby bar. At the bar, he argues with his agent, Mills Toddner, but makes up with him after Mills says that he got him a  birthday surprise. Returning to his trailer, Bruce proceeds to get drunk to celebrate his divorce being final but then gets depressed and calls his ex-wife Cheryl, who talks with him for a few minutes before hanging up so she can fool around with Mills. Later that night, Jeff knocks on Bruce’s trailer and begs for his help in dealing with Guan Di but Bruce refuses to help so Jeff hits him over the head with a baseball bat and kidnaps him. Back in Gold Lick, Guan Di continues to kill people in town, though he spares one kid who was eating some bean curd. When Jeff arrives in town with Bruce, Bruce is upset and starts yelling about them kidnapping him but when Jeff says his agent said he was free that day, Bruce thinks the whole thing is the surprise Mills planned for his birthday and treats it as if it is another movie, though he doesn’t see any cameras or a script. Bruce starts flirting with Kelly, Jeff’s mother, as the mayor gives a presentation about the history of the town and the legend of Guan Di. Heading to Jeff and Kelly’s place to get cleaned up, Bruce then heads to the local bar, where the town throws a feast in his honor. Bruce continues to try and flirt with Kelly, who is repulsed by his actions, but the mayor talks with her and tells her to be nice as Bruce is their last hope. Kelly starts being nicer to Bruce and they end up talking and getting closer but before they kiss, the mayor shows up with some other towns people and says it’s time to go kill Guan Di. Heading to the local gun store, Bruce has the town arm themselves and they head out to face Guan Di. When the mob finally confronts Guan Di, Bruce realizes that the whole situation is real and quickly runs away, stealing a kids bike and an old lady’s car to try and escape, only to find himself back in town. Bruce eventually is able to stow away in the back of a pick-up truck heading out of town as the rest of the town chases after him, calling hima  coward. Bruce returns to his trailer only to have his dog turn on him and Cheryl has asked for an increase in alimony and filed a restraining order against him. Hearing a knock on the door, Bruce opens it to find Kasey, a singing prostitute, which was the birthday surprise Mills had gotten him. As Bruce talks with Kasey, he gets a phone call from Jeff, who thanks Bruce for forcing him to own up to his mistakes and says that since he was the one who released Guan Di, he has to be the one to stop him. Feeling guilty for letting Jeff face Guan Di on his own, Bruce has Kasey take him back to Gold Lick, where he finds Kelly burning all of Jeff’s Bruce Campbell memorabilia. Bruce apologizes to Kelly for his actions and when he tells her that Jeff when off to face Guan Di on his own, She quickly gets in her truck and Bruce hops into the back to go rescue him. When they reach the graveyard, they see Guan Di about to kill Jeff and Bruce distracts it by shooting it. As Guan Di chases after Bruce, Jeff tries to come up with an idea to stop Guan Di by reading script ideas from the various movies Bruce was in. Meanwhile, Kelly remembers the story of Guan Di and heads to Wing’s shack and steals his bean curd. Kelly throws a container of bean curd to Bruce, saying that Guan Di was also the protector of bean curd, and Bruce uses it to safely get away. They then come up with a plan to use a cardboard likeness of him to lure Guan Di back to the mine, then blow it up with the dynamite that Jeff had brought with him. Bruce distracts Guan Di with the bean curd while Jeff and Kelly set up the dynamite but Guan Di doesn’t fall for the cardboard likeness so Bruce sacrifices himself and tackles Guan Di into the mine. Jeff is hesitant to blow up the mine with Bruce still in it but Kelly convinces him that it is the right thing to do and the blow up the mine. Bruce emerges from the rubble and places the medallion onto the debris, sealing Guan Di inside, then heads over to Jeff and Kelly to celebrate only for Guan Di to reemerge and come towards them. The scene freezes, as this was all a movie, and in the viewing room, Bruce talks with Ted Raimi about the cliched ending to the movie and suggest that they give a horror movie a happy ending for once. Bruce is then shown to have married Kelly and Jeff has been accepted to Harvard. As the movie ends, Bruce breaks the 4th wall and asks if there could be a better ending, only to have Guan Di burst through the wall and attack him.

This is such a funny spoof of B-movies that is always good for a laugh. Bruce Campbell was great in this movie, as was Grace Thorsen (Kelly) and Ted Raimi, who played multiple roles including Mills, Wing, and the Italian painter that was constantly fixing the sign to display the town’s population after people were killed. The story was really funny, spoofing B-movies for their over-the-top antics and essentially poking fun at itself the entire time. One of the funnier moments was when Frank, the gun store owner (played by Timothy Patrick Quill), and a Dirt Farmer (played by Dan Hicks) and they comment about how if Jeff was going to kidnap someone, it should have been the blacksmith from Army Of Darkness or Jake from Evil Dead 2, who were played by the actors respectively. The special effects were exactly what you would expect, which made the movie even funnier when Bruce, while filming Cave Alien II, commented on it being too over-the-top. It is incredibly stupid and silly but it is a lot of laughs and well worth watching for the humor in it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

adventure, comedy, movie, movie review, sci-fi

January 9th, 2018 Movie – Man With The Screaming Brain

man with the screaming brain

Time to say goodbye to the horror genre and get back to the good old fun campy B-movies that I love. Today’s movie is the second of two original movies made for Sci-Fi Channel (yes, back before they changed their name to Syfy for marketing purposes) that starred Bruce Campbell. I remember seeing the commercials for this movie before it’s debut and thinking it looked incredibly silly, but a lot of fun to watch. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch it when it debuted because of other things happening at the time but I would catch it when it was replayed and enjoyed it immensely. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Man With The Screaming Brain.

The plot: In Bulgaria, a gypsy named Tatoya is trying to find a husband but when the men she selects rejects her, she proceeds to kill them. Meanwhile, William Cole, a wealthy CEO, has arrived in Bulgaria with his wife Jackie for business but is unhappy at how “unAmerican” the country is. Tired of waiting for his ride to pick them up, he hires a Russian cab driver named Yegor to take them to their hotel. Elsewhere, Pavel is having fun with a robot creation when his boss, Dr. Ivanov, calls him over to show him he has succeeded in creating a drug that will allow two brain cells to be successfully and safely merged. With his trials looking successful, he tells Pavel that William Cole is going to be coming to their company and hopefully invest in it but as he celebrates with Pavel, he doesn’t notice the calls on his slide disintegrating. Back in the cab, William continues to complain about how things are in Bulgaria, insulting Yegor for not being more American. When they get stuck in traffic, William asks Yegor to find another way to the hotel and they end up driving through Gypsy Town. As they drive through the neighborhood, they almost hit Tatoya, who stares them all down before moving aside so they can keep driving. After an encounter with some would-be car thieves, Yegor arrives at the hotel and William offers him some more money to be his driver for the duration of his trip and asks that he take Jackie shopping after dropping him off at his meeting. After getting settled into the hotel, William leaves for his meeting and bumps into the maid, who happens to be Tatoya, and recognizes her but can’t remember from where. Learning that William is in town, Dr. Ivanov her Pavel type up a letter to send to him but after Ivanov leaves the room, Pavel decides to write a different letter instead. As William attends a meeting to complete an unfinished mass transportation system through the country, Yegor takes Jackie shopping but the two end up flirting and eventually having sex in Yegor’s cab. After his meeting, William tries to get a hold of Yegor but fails so he is given a ride back to his hotel. When he gets there, Pavel meets him outside and delivers his letter to him but William refuses to go with him. When William enters his room, he finds Tatoya in there and after talking for a few minutes, they end up kissing, but Tatoya uses the opportunity to pick William’s pockets. William pushes her away when she says they belong together just as Jackie shows up. Tatoya quickly leaves and as William and Jackie argue, William discovers he was robbed while Jackie decides to leave him. William heads down to the employee’s area of the hotel and confronts Tatoya, who runs away from him. When he follows her outside, Tatoya hits him in the head with a pipe, splitting open his head. Yegor, who had seen Jackie running from the hotel, goes to see what happened and finds Tatoya standing over William’s body. Yegor asks her what she has done and it is revealed that they were engaged and that the ring Yegor gave William was actually their wedding ring and Tatoya ends up killing Yegor as well. When the bodies are discovered, Jackie is told that they can keep his body alive with machines but the brain damage he suffered makes William essentially brain dead and so she tells them to pull the plug. Jackie then heads to Gypsy Town to confront Tatoya but as the two fight, Tatoya grabs Jackie and throws her down the stairs, killing her. Dr. Ivanov and Pavel grab the bodies of William and Yegor and use parts of Yegor’s brain to repair the damaged portions of William’s brain. After the surgery, Ivanov revives William and tries to explain what happened but William begins having flashbacks to his death, but seen through someone else’s eyes. A panicked William races out of the lab and as he wanders through the city, he starts hearing Yegor’s voice, and it is shown that Yegor is able to control the left half of his body. Deciding to try and work together to survive, Yegor instructs William into stealing a car, getting some clothes, and getting some food. As they are in a restaurant, they read a newspaper and see an article about William and Jackie’s deaths, causing William to remember who he is and who he is sharing the brain with. Suddenly, William screams out that his brain is on fire and works on trying to cool down, then comes to an agreement with Yegor to go get revenge on Tatoya for killing them both. Meanwhile, Ivanov and Pavel grab Jackie’s body and place her brain into a robot doll that Pavel had built. When they turn it on, Jackie gains control of the robot and heads off to get revenge on Tatoya and Ivanov sends Pavel off to recapture her. After mistakenly grabbing a woman who looks like the robot, Pavel sees Jackie get on a bus and tells Ivanov the bad news. Jackie eventually finds Tatoya trying on wedding dresses and attacks her but Tatoya manages to shoot Jackie and escape. As she is leaving, William sees her and chases after her, eventually jumping onto the hood of her car to try and stop her. Tatoya ends up wrecking her car to avoid running into Pavel’s van, who is knocked unconscious when he wrecks. William finds his leg pinned under the car, which is leaking fuel, and Tatoya lights it on fire in order to kill him. As the flames head towards the car, Jackie lifts the car off of William and tells him to run and he does before it explodes, seemingly killing Jackie. William follows Tatoya into a bar, where she tells the patrons that he raped her on her wedding day. The bar patrons proceed to beat up William but he manages to fight back and beat them but when he gets outside, he collapses as the serum starts to break down. Tatoya tries running but the damaged Jackie grabs her and attempts to throw her off the bridge but Tatoya stabs her in the head and then throws her off the bridge. Seeing this happen, William chases after Tatoya, who makes her way down into the sewers, and the two end up fighting. When Tatoya tries to stab William, she ends up falling over the railing and grabs on to keep from falling into the water below. William grabs her and lifts her back onto the edge but does so only to take the ring off of her finger before letting her fall to her death. As William exits the sewer, he sees Jackie’s body and goes to see her, finding her almost out of power. Pavel shows up and William begs him to help her so he tries to jump start her battery to preserve her life. Pavel is successful and Jackie has enough power to say goodbye to William before her power shuts down, with William collapsing shortly afterwards. Ivanov calls Pavel, saying he solved the problem with the serum breaking down and Pavel explains what happened. Ivanov tells Pavel to bring the bodies back to his lab and after Pavel hangs up, he sees Tatoya’s body floating down the water and quickly grabs her out to use as well. Some time later, it is shown that Ivanov’s procedure has worked, as William is returned to life, with Yegor’s voice still in his head, and that Jackie’s brain was placed in Tatoya’s body, with the two having renewed their love for each other.

This is a really funny movie to watch and a great parody to some of the classic sci-fi movies from the 50’s, Bruce Campbell (William) was great, with equal parts physical comedy and tongue in cheek dialogue making for a lot of funny moments, especially when he would be arguing with Yegor about what they should do. Stacy Keach (Ivanov) and Ted Raimi (Pavel) were both great in their roles as well, doing good jobs as the mad scientist and bumbling assistant respectively. The story was pretty good and really seemed to have fun parodying some classic movies, such as The Thing With Two Heads and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. There wasn’t a lot of special effects involved but the few times they were involved looked really good. On the flip side, I thought the pure fakeness of the robot Jackie made for a lot of laughs and really added to the charm of the movie. A great movie worth watching if you need some laughs and are just in the mood for some mindless entertainment.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi

January 2nd, 2018 Movie – Alien Apocalypse

alien apocalypse

One thing I can count on my friends for is to help enable my movie addiction by buying me more movies. One of the DVD’s I got was a triple feature of movies starring Bruce Campbell. Now I have been a fan of Bruce Campbell ever since I first saw The Evil Dead many years ago. I have always thought he was an entertaining actor and enjoyed just about every movie or TV show he is. Today’s movie is one of two movies that were pitched to Sci-Fi back when they were cranking out original movies on a weekly basis. Let’s see how entertaining it is as I watch Alien Apocalypse.

The plot: Dr. Ivan Hood and his associates Kelly, Captain Chuck Burkes, and Aida crash land back on Earth near Portland, Oregon after spending 40 years in cryo-sleep in space. After leaving their shuttle, they comment on the lack of radio communication as they were landing when they discover Portland in ruins and the forest surrounding it completely wiped from existence. They quickly hide when they see a group of human slaves being marched through the wasteland by some bounty hunters but are soon captured by some more bounty hunters. When Chuck tries to speak with the men, the men strike him and quickly gag Chuck and the others and start them marching with the other slaves, killing Aida when she falls behind due to her broken leg. They eventually reach a saw mill, where Ivan, Kelly, and Chuck notice some strange structures nearby while other slaves are cutting down trees and turning them into boards. The three are forced to work on moving some boards before the men that captured them take them to speak with the “Mites”, a race of humanoid locusts. Chuck tries to question the Mites about where they came from but the Mites’ leader says he isn’t showing them respect and has his subordinates kill him by biting off his head. Kelly explains that they had been in space for the past 40 years and the leader tells them that if they work hard then they will live, then dismisses them as he is brought a bowl of human fingers to eat. Outside, Ivan speaks with the bounty hunters and ask why they are helping the Mites and the bounty hunters say that it is better than being a slave before sending them down to the slaves’ underground sleeping pens. In the pens, Ivan and Kelly try to get some answers and speak with a man named Jeff, who explains what happened while they were gone. Jeff explains that the Mites dropped EMP bombs to shut down technology before they invaded 20 years ago and they were here for the planet’s wood, which they send back to their home planet. Alex, a young slave, tells them that the president is still alive and gathering an army to attack the Mites and free them all but Jeff says that is just a myth. Kelly agrees that 20 years is a long time to wait for a rescue and Ivan says they should work on trying to escape. Ivan and Kelly work on digging an escape tunnel at night while they are forced to continue working to log the trees during the day. After several days/weeks, Kelly is grabbed by some of the guards and locked onto a post to be punished when Ivan attacks the guards and frees her. After they knock out the guards, Ivan shouts out “Freedom” to the other slaves, hoping to rally them, but Alex is the only one willing to go with them. As they try to sneak out of camp, they encounter a Mite and Ivan kills it, shocking Alex, and grabs it’s weapon while Kelly grabs a bounty hunter’s rifle as they quickly make their way out of the camp, with the other bounty hunters giving chase. Kelly shoots some of their pursuers but is soon captured when she is knocked unconscious by an explosion. Meanwhile, Ivan and Alex manage to make it up to a cliff and Ivan tries to use the alien weapon on their pursuers but when it fires, the shock sends both Ivan and Alex falling into the water below them and the bounty hunters believe they have been killed. Ivan and Alex manage to swim to shore, where they encounter a woman named Bizzi, who shelters them before leading them to her village. In Bizzi’s village, Freedom Valley, Ivan speaks with Issac, the village leader, and they learns that President Demsky is supposed to be gathering his army in the nearby Cascade Mountains so Ivan wants to go there to either prove he is still alive or that he is dead, and if he is alive, return with his army to free Kelly and the other slaves. Meanwhile, Kelly is tortured and taken back to the slave pen but when she regains consciousness, Jeff tells her that the fact that Ivan had killed one of the Mites has gotten all of the other slaves talking, as well as the bounty hunters. Ivan, Alex, and Bizzi begin their journey and after witnessing some bounty hunters killing some slaves trying to escape, Ivan sees a wounded slave and manages to heal him after the bounty hunters leave. The slave, Tyler, joins them and they continue to the mountains, recruiting more members to their group including Fisherman Bob and a bounty hunter. When they reach the mountains, they are met by Mountain Man Bill, who says he knows where Demsky is and leads them to him. When they reach the camp where Demsky and the other surviving members of Washington are staying, they meet Demsky, who asks if Ivan was from the probe mission as the probe had warned them of the Mites approaching Earth. Ivan tells Demsky that they are there to join his fighting force to retake the Earth but Demsky admits that he is no longer a leader and fears the aliens are too powerful. Ivan tries to persuade him by saying he killed one, which surprises the other members of his group, but Demsky refuses so Ivan and the others leave. They head back to Freedom Village, breaking the news that there is no fighting force, and Ivan says that he plans on leading the rebellion himself but Issac and the other disheartened villagers refuse to follow him. That night, Alex tries to stop the bounty hunter from raping Bizzi and when Ivan questions what happens and speaks with the bounty hunter, the bounty hunter says he is going to go back to the saw mill and tell the Mites where they are so Ivan is forced to kill him. The next day, Ivan and the others lead an attack on the saw mill, killing the bounty hunter guards and forcing the surviving ones to take cover in the guard hut. When the Mites begin firing back at them, Ivan orders his men to fall back but as the Mites give chase, Ivan reveals that the retreat was a diversion as he uses hidden weapons to kill the aliens. As Ivan reunites with Kelly, who has lost a finger due to her escape attempt, the other slaves join in the revolt and capture the bounty hunters. As they decide what to do with them, the slaves all turn to Ivan for guidance and he tells the bounty hunters that they are free to join them if they can prove their intentions, then orders them locked into the guard hut. Suddenly, a tank shows up with some more Mites and though Ivan and the others kill some of the mites, the tanks begins firing rockets at the group and they are soon captured. When the Mites’ leader arrives and questions the captives as to who led the rebellion, everyone says they are the leader but the leader says he suspects Ivan to be the real leader and orders him to be executed. Suddenly, Demsky arrives with the people from his camp and Freedom Valley and leads them into a fight with the Mites, with Ivan and the others joining in. After they finish killing all of the Mites, Demsky speaks with Ivan and thanks him for showing him the will to fight and Ivan says they need to get ready to head to the next saw mill and liberate it and continue on to the next one until all of the Mites are killed. Alex is shown to be chronicling Ivan’s adventures and as Ivan continues to liberate saw mills in the Pacific Northwest and they make their way to California, he has become know as the Great Exterminator.

I am on the fence as to how much of a parody of classic sci-fi this movie is but in either case, it is pretty entertaining. The acting was pretty good, with Bruce Campbell (Ivan) and Renee O’Connor (Kelly), reunited from their days of Xena, doing a great job with their roles. I also liked the chemistry between them but I am curious as to what would have happened if Lucy Lawless had taken the role instead of Renee, as she was initially offered it. The story honestly felt a little weak as it seemed patchworked from several classic sci-fi movies, primarily Planet Of The Apes, but there was also a nice little Spartacus moment towards the end of the movie. The special effects were laughably bad, and there were a couple of times where they reused footage in some of the battle scenes but that all added to some funny moments. It won’t end up in the annals of great sci-fi movies but it is worth a watch if you want some mindless, stupid entertainment.

Rating: 3 out of 5

action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 26th, 2017 Movie – Spider-Man 3

spider-man 3

There are times that I hate watching movie trailers, because they get me excited for movies that end up letting me down. When I first saw the trailer for today’s movie, I got super excited to see Spider-Man in the black suit, because the black suit means Venom. That should be reason enough for anyone to be excited, as even those that are not big comic book fans have at least some knowledge of the character. However, I didn’t get around to seeing this in theaters, as there were quite a few things happening in my personal life at the time, so I had to wait until it came out on DVD so I could buy and watch today’s movie, Spider-Man 3.

The plot: Peter’s life seems to be making a turn for the better as he attends a Broadway show that MJ is starring in. Harry is also in attendance and when Peter sees him leaving after the show, he tries to talk to him and explain what happened between him and Harry’s father but Harry refuses to listen. After picking up MJ, Peter takes her out to Central Park, where they are watching a meteor shower and as they start kissing, they miss a meteorite striking nearby. The meteorite breaks open and a strange, black substance emerges and makes it’s way towards Peter and MJ, latching onto Peter’s moped as the two leave. After dropping off MJ, Peter heads over to his Aunt May’s apartment, where he tells her that he plans on proposing to MJ and she tells him about when his Uncle Ben proposed to her, then hands him her engagement ring to give to MJ. As Peter heads home, he is attacked by Harry, who had undergone his father’s enhancement process and modified the Green Goblin gear to his own liking. After a vicious fight, Peter is finally able to stop Harry but after Harry falls to the ground and is unresponsive, Peter performs CPR on him and then takes him to the hospital. Meanwhile, Flint Marko escapes from Ryker’s Island prison and heads to his old home to see his severely ill daughter and after changing clothes, quickly leaves. The police catch up to him as he is trying to leave the city and Marko ends up in a particle physics testing facility, where he gets caught in one of the experiments and ends up being vaporized into sand. The next morning, the sand starts moving and Marko is shown to have been turned into living sand, able to solidify and disperse himself at will. Meanwhile, Peter and MJ go to see Harry, who has recovered but has no memory of Peter being Spider-Man and Peter feels relieved about that. Peter returns to his apartment but is soon visited by MJ, who shows him a review from a critic saying her performance was terrible and Peter tries to make her feel better, telling her his own experiences with the critics, but she feels like Peter is trying to make the situation about her. Hearing of an incident on the police scanner, Peter changes into Spider-Man and heads out and MJ leaves, not noticing the black substance moving around in Peter’s apartment. In the city, a malfunctioning crane damages a building where a photo shoot is taking place and Peter rescues Gwen Stacy, one of his classmates, and brings her safely to the ground, where he is photographed by Eddie Brock, a new photographer for the Daily Bugle. Later, Brock and Peter both try to turn photos in to Jameson and after he chooses Brock’s, he tells them that he has a staff opening and says that whichever one of them brings him a shot of Spider-Man being a criminal will get the job. Later, Peter accompanies Harry as he leaves the hospital and heads home, where he shows aspects of his enhanced abilities, which worries Peter. Meanwhile, MJ shows up to rehearsal only to find that she has been replaced, and starts feeling even more depressed. That afternoon, a ceremony is held to give Spider-Man the key to the city and Peter is there taking pictures and talks with MJ, asking her if she is ok, but she doesn’t tell him what happened. As the ceremony commences, Spider-Man swings down and ends up getting kissed by Gwen Stacy, who was presenting the key, which upsets MJ and she quickly leaves, with Harry following after her. Meanwhile, the cops spot Marko and go after him but he transforms into a giant sand storm and knocks them away before heading after an armored car. Spider-Man goes after him and the two fight inside the car but Marko is able to escape. Later that night, Peter takes MJ to a fancy restaurant, where he hopes to propose to her, but when Gwen appears and talks with Peter, MJ gets jealous and upset and leaves before Peter can propose. The next day, Peter and Aunt May are told that the man they thought killed Uncle Ben was actually an accomplice and Marko was the real killer, which angers Peter. After leaving the station, Peter heads back to his apartment and tries talking to him but his anger and desire for vengeance causes him to start shutting her out. That night, the black substance latches onto Peter as he is wearing his Spider-Man outfit, turning it black and enhancing his abilities. Peter takes a sample of the substance to Dr. Connors, who says it is some sort of symbiote and tells Peter not to let it touch him. That night, Peter hears about Marko robbing another armored car and he puts on the black suit and heads out after him, arriving at the scene as Marko is leaving through the subway tunnel. Brock shows up to try and take some pictures but Spider-Man smashes his camera then heads after Marko, leaving Brock to take some pictures of the scene with a spare digital camera. Spider-Man and Mark start fighting through the subway and eventually fall to the bottom of the sewer system, where Marko is shown to have a weakness to water and Spider-Man rips open a water main, washing Marko away and seemingly killing him. The next day, MJ gets a job at a nightclub and afterwards, calls Harry and goes to hang out with him, not wanting to tell Peter about her misfortunes. As they are eating and cleaning up, Harry tries to kiss MJ but she backs off and quickly leaves. Harry heads to his study and hears his father’s voice and after seeing him in the mirror, regains his memory and come up with a plan to attack Peter. Harry dons his Goblin gear and grabs MJ in her apartment, then forces her to break up with Peter, saying she fell in love with someone else. Later, Peter complains to Harry about what happened and Harry tells Peter that he is the man MJ fell in love with. Peter leaves but when he looks back, Harry winks at him before leaving himself. Realizing Harry regained his memory, Peter dons the black suit and goes to confront him at his home and the two fight, with Peter overpowering him and then telling him that his father despised him. Peter starts to leave and Harry throws a pumpkin bomb at him but Peter dodges it, then throws it back at Harry, where it explodes by his face. The next day, Peter sees the Bugle running a story about Spider-Man being a crook with a photo by Brock and Peter confronts Brock about the picture, then gives Robbie proof that the photo was faked. Robbie confirms the photo was doctored and Jameson fires Brock, then reluctantly prints a retraction. Peter, falling further under the suit’s influence, takes Gwen out on a date to the nightclub where MJ works, using her to make MJ jealous. Gwen realizes what he is doing and apologizes to MJ before leaving and when Peter argues with MJ, the bouncers try to kick him out of the club. Peter starts fighting with the bouncers and accidentally strikes MJ and as she stares at him in horror, he realizes what he is becoming and quickly leaves. Peter heads to a nearby church bell tower and tries to remove the suit but finds it refuses to come off. When he accidentally hits the bell, he notices the sound waves cause the suit’s hold to weaken so he continuously hits the bell and is finally able to rip off the suit, but the symbiote drops down from the tower and latches onto Brock, who was in the church praying for Peter’s death. Brock, now calling himself Venom, locates Sandman and convinces him to team up with him in order to kill Spider-Man, then kidnaps MJ to use as bait. Seeing what is happening on the news, Peter goes to see Harry to ask for his help but Harry, showing Peter the scars on his face from the bomb, refuses to help. After Peter leaves, Harry’s butler approaches him and tells him how he had cleaned Norman’s wounds and that he was killed by his own glider. Spider-Man heads to rescue MJ but he is attacked by Venom and Sandman and nearly killed before being saved by Harry. The two team up to fight and manage to save MJ but Venom grabs Spider-Man and is prepared to kill him. Harry intervenes and tries to stop Venom but Harry grabs his glider and prepares to impale Peter with it. Harry leaps in the path and gets impaled instead, falling to a lower level of the building and MJ rushes down to check on him. Peter frees himself from Venom’s webs and uses metal pipes to fashion a makeshift sound cage, trapping Venom inside and hits the pipes to create enough sound to weaken the symbiote and free Brock. Peter then grabs one of Harry’s bombs and throws it at the symbiote but Brock jumps inside the cage to grab the bomb and he is destroyed with the symbiote. Marko confronts Peter and explains how Uncle Ben’s death was an accident and Peter forgives him and allows Marko to escape. Peter then joins MJ with Harry, who apologizes for what he did before dying from his wounds. Some time later, Peter returns to the nightclub and watches MJ sing and when she sees him, the two approach and hug each other, reconciling over what all has happened.

Spider-Man 3 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though there are more characters and plot lines, and the action sequences still dazzle, Spider-Man 3 nonetheless isn’t quite as refined as the first two.” The visual effects needed to portray Sandman took three years to create, meaning they started working on this almost as soon as Spider-Man 2 was finished. Despite the low critic approval, the movie was the most profitable movie out of Sam Raimi trilogy, earning $890.9 million off of a $258 million budget.

As great as the last movie was, this was kind of a let down but still a decent movie. The acting was good, with all of the returning characters doing good jobs with their roles. Thomas Haden Church did a good job as Marko, though I think made him more of a sympathetic character than how he was in the comics. Wow there were some aspects of Topher Grace’s portrayal of Eddie Brock that I liked, on the whole he kind of seemed more like a sniveling creep as opposed to the obsessed sociopath that Brock generally is. The story was a good, But I do think all of the different story lines they tried putting into the movie really hurt it. There were also a couple of scenes that really didn’t fit well with the pace of the movie. I understand how they were attempting to show the difference in Peter’s attitude after repeatedly wearing the black suit but that scene with him walking down the sidewalk and acting like an arrogant ass just looked stupid. The special effects were definitely great regarding Sandman but I was a little less thrilled with Venom, which isn’t necessarily a knock on the effects themselves but more my wishing they had done more with him. Not the best movie in the bunch but still a solid entry and worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, adventure, movie, movie review

October 24th, 2017 Movie – Spider-Man (2002)

spider-man 2002

The turn of the century and a time when the Superhero movies really began to take over Hollywood. I remember all the buzz (not sure if that is a pun or not) concerning this movie, made even more so due to the city it is set in after 9/11. Now there have been several attempts at a Spider-Man movie in the past and some scripts had been bounced around for years but nobody really wanted to attempt it. After Fox’s X-Men proved a success, Sony went ahead with their movie and thus, a popular franchise gained new life in today’s movie, Spider-Man (2002).

The plot: On a senior trip to Columbia University, Peter is attempting to take pictures of the lab for the school newspaper but is being bullied by Flash Thompson and his friends. As their tour continues, Peter asks Mary Jane “MJ” Watson, his next door neighbor and the girl he has a crush on, if he can take her picture next to some of the spider cages and she agrees. As he is taking her picture, a genetically altered spider, which had escaped from it’s cage, drops down from it’s web onto Peter’s hand and bites him, scurrying away when he brushes it to the floor. Returning home, where he lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, Peter rushes upstairs to his room, where he ends up passing out on the floor. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn is attempting human performance enhancement treatments as part of a military contract but the general assigned to it says that he will pull their funding and give it to their competitor, who is testing their exo-skeleton in 2 weeks. Feeling pressured after his lead scientist said they should start over, Norman decides to test the procedure on himself but when his heart stops, the lead scientist cancels the procedure and tries to revive him only for Norman to regain consciousness and kill him, then steal the suit and glider from the lab. The next day, Peter finds that his body has undergone some changes and as he is sitting at lunch, he somehow shoots out a strand of web from his wrist, which sticks to a nearby lunch tray that he accidentally throws at Flash. Quickly leaving the cafeteria, Peter goes to his locker to get his books so he can leave when Flash tries to punch him from behind but Peter is able to sense the punch coming and avoid it, as well as the following punches, then knock Flash back with one punch. Leaving school, Peter realizes the spider bite must have changed him and he starts experimenting with what he can do; first by scaling a nearby building, then leaping from roof to roof before finally attempting to swing from one of his webs. When he gets home, he finds a note from his Uncle in the newly painted kitchen, which Peter was supposed to help with, and feels bad for not helping. As he takes the trash out, he hears MJ arguing with her father next door and when she comes outside, she ends up talking with Peter about their plans after graduation before leaving with Flash in his new car. Deciding to try and get a car for himself, Peter sees an ad in the newspaper offering $3000 for lasting 3 minutes in a wrestling match against Bone Saw McGraw and he decides to do it, making a costume for himself. Peter leaves to go to the wrestling ring, telling May and Ben that he is going to the downtown library, but his uncle decides to drive him there. When he gets to the library, Ben tries talking with Peter about what has been going on with him recently but Peter doesn’t want to to talk, yelling at Ben that he isn’t his father, and a hurt Ben drives off saying he will pick Peter up at 10. Peter heads to the wrestling ring to compete, with the announcer calling him the Amazing Spider-Man, and Peter finds himself in a steel cage match but he manages to beat Bone Saw. Backstage, Peter is only given $100, with the promoter saying that he didn’t last the full 3 minutes but Peter leaves, a man enters the room and robs the promoter. As the crook runs for the elevators, Peter stands aside and lets him leave, telling the promoter it wasn’t his problem when he asks why he didn’t try to stop him. Outside, Peter sees a crowds outside where his uncle was supposed to pick him up and he finds Ben lying on the ground, having been shot during a carjacking. Hearing on a nearby cop’s radio that the cops are chasing after him, Peter races off, donning his costume again and chases after the carjacker, managing to swing from his webs to finally catch up to him. Peter causes the car to crash into an old warehouse and he follows after the carjacker, only to realize that it is the same man that robbed the promoter and he let get away. The crook tries to shoot Peter but he breaks his wrist and the crook backs away from him and ends up falling to his death while a guilt ridden Peter returns home and tells Aunt May what happened. Meanwhile, Quest Aerospace is testing their exo-skeleton, with General Slocum in attendance, when a figure in a green suit and riding Oscorp’s glider flies down and destroys the exo-skeleton and then the observation bunker, killing the scientists and Slocum. After graduation, Peter moves into an apartment downtown with Harry and begins stopping crimes and helping save people in trouble. As he is walking around town, he runs into MJ, who is working at a diner and she asks him not to tell Harry, as they are secretly dating. Peter returns to his apartment to find Osborn there, who asks Peter if he knows who Harry’s girlfriend is but Peter tells him he has no idea. Osborn heads to his company and tells the board that Oscorp has now become the chief supplier for the military but the board tells him that they are accepting a buyout from Quest Aerospace and that he is being kicked out of the company. At the Oscorp Unity Festival, Peter is there taking pictures to sell for the Daily Bugle when he spots Harry and MJ on a balcony. Harry spots Peter in the crowd and tries to get MJ to head inside to avoid any discomfort when the Green Goblin attacks the festival, killing the board members of Oscorp before Spider-Man is finally able to fend him off, disabling his glider, then rescues MJ before she falls from the crumbling balcony. The next day, Osborn is reading in the paper about the deaths of the Board members in the paper when he starts hearing a voice in his head, revealing himself to be the Green Goblin and suffering from a sort of split personality due to the performance enhancers. Osborn attacks the Daily Bugle to find out who takes the pictures of Spider-Man for them but J. Jonah Jameson refuses to tell him. When Spider-Man shows up to stop Osborn, Green Goblin uses sleep gas on him and then carries him off and when he regains consciousness, Osborn tries to convince Spider-Man, telling him the city will turn on him eventually. Peter runs into MJ again after she had auditioned for a role and the two talk for a while before she leaves to go meet Harry but as she walks away, Peter notices some guys suddenly following after her. As the 4 men chase after MJ and attempt to rape her, a maskless Spider-Man rescues her then quickly disappears when she approaches him, only to reappear with his mask on but MJ pulls the mask down from his mouth so she can kiss him. The next day, Peter rescues a baby from a burning building when the police show up to try and arrest him but when they hear more screams coming from inside, they allow him to head back inside to rescue whoever is left. Peter heads back inside only to find the screams were actually a trap set by the Green Goblin, who attacks Peter with flying razor discs, cutting his arm but Peter is able to get away. Osborn heads to Harry and Peter’s apartment for Thanksgiving with Harry, Peter, MJ, and Aunt May and as they sit down for dinner, Aunt May notices the cut on Peter’s arm and Osborn realizes that Peter is Spider-Man. Osborn attacks Aunt May’s house, terrorizing her and sending her to the hospital in order to attack Peter’s spirit. Peter goes to the hospital to be with her and MJ stops by for a visit and as they talk, she mentions she might be in love with Spider-Man and as Peter talks to her about how “he described MJ to Spider-Man”, the two get closer but pull away when they see Harry has shown up and saw them. Harry returns to his father’s house, telling him about Peter and MJ and after learning that Peter loves MJ, Osborn realizes a better way to attack Peter. Back at the hospital, Peter is surprised to find Aunt May had been awake when MJ was there and when she mentions how everyone knows that he loves her, he realizes the Goblin might know as well and calls MJ to warn her only to hear the Goblin on the phone. Osborn has taken MJ to the Queensboro Bridge, where he has also taken a cable car full of children hostage and forces Peter to choose who he will save, releasing them both. Peter dives from the bridge and saves MJ, then grabs the cable for the cable car in one hand while webbing himself to the bridge with the other, saving everyone. The captain of a barge starts moving his barge underneath the cable car so Peter can lower it onto the barge and Peter tells MJ to climb down the cable and get on the cable car top safety. Osborn attacks Peter to try and get him to drop the cable car but the people on the bridge begin throwing things at the Goblin to keep him from stopping Spider-Man. Once the cable car is safe, Goblin grabs Spider-Man and drags him away, and the two begin fighting in an abandoned building but as Peter gets the upper hand, Osborn begs him to stop, revealing himself to be the Goblin, but as he talks with Peter, he secretly activates his glider and tries to impale Peter with is but Peter is able to dodge it and Osborn impales himself instead, begging Peter not to tell Harry before he dies. Peter removes the Goblin armor and takes Osborn back to his home but Harry sees him and accuses Spider-Man of killing his father. At the funeral, Peter offers his condolences to Harry, who wants vengeance on Spider-Man. Peter then goes to Uncle Ben’s grave, where MJ approaches him and tells him she loves him and kisses him but Peter tells her he will always be there as a friend and walks away from her but as he leaves, MJ thinks about the kiss and starts to wonder if he is Spider-Man.

Spider-Man (2002) met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Not only does Spider-Man provide a good dose of web-swinging fun, it also has a heart, thanks to the combined charms of director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire.” After 9/11, Sony recalled all of the teaser posters that had Spider-Man’s face and the NYC skyline reflected in his mask, including the Twin Towers, but not all of the posters were recovered and the ones still at large are highly sought after collector’s items. The movie was the first movie to break $100 million in it’s opening weekend on it’s way to earning $821.7 million off of a $139 million budget and spawned two sequels.

This is definitely a fun movie to watch and a good way to kick-off to a series. The acting was good, with Tobey Maguire (Peter) and Willem Dafoe (Osborn) doing great jobs with their characters and had good chemistry working together. I also liked Rosemary Harris as Aunt May and James Franco as Harry but was honestly kind of indifferent to Kirsten Dunst as MJ. The story was pretty good, basically telling the origin of both Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, with some changes made to the story lines. Personally, I loved that the included the wrestling scene as I always thought that was an interesting aspect of his developement; showing that Peter really was just a teenager, in spite of his abilities, and would make the same selfish decisions that any teenager would make. One thing that I didn’t particularly care for was that they changed an iconic story line of Gwen Stacy’s death and inserted MJ into it but I do understand that most current fans (back then at least) were more familiar with MJ’s relationship with Peter as opposed to Gwen’s. The special effects were well done and a marked improvement to some of the superhero movies in the 90’s. A good movie and one that never fails to entertain me.

Rating: 4 out of 5