comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 18th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

sharknado 4

I have to admit, I am having a hard time focusing on writing today’s blog. Marvel’s The Defenders just debuted on Netflix today and I really want to start watching that. But that will be my reward so let’s finish the task at hand. It has been a whole year since the cliffhanger ending of Sharknado 3, and I don’t know about everyone else but I have been dying to find out if April lived or died. So when the time came, I did what I normally do in these situations and

The plot: Since Fin Shepard stopped the last sharknado that threatened the East Coast, a company called Astro-X has risen to prominence, using their space ship to rescue Colonel Gil Shepard from the moon while also preventing sharknadoes from forming by using their weather control pods to disperse tornadoes before they form. Fin Shepard now lives on a farm in Kansas called April’s Acres with his son Gil and his mom Raye. Fin’s cousin Gemini picks Fin up to go to Vegas, where they are meeting Fin’s son Matt, who is on leave from the military. At the same time, Astro-X founder Aston Reynolds is in Vegas for the grand opening of his new shark-themed hotel. As they wait for Matt in their hotel, Matt calls them from a plane overhead, where he is in the process of marrying his fiance Gabrielle before they parachute onto the hotel roof. As the plane flies over Las Vegas, a sand storm forms and the Astro-X pods are unable to stop it. Matt and Gabrielle jump out of the plane but are caught by the twister and separated. As the sand storm hits Aston’s hotel and sucks the sharks into it, forming a “sandnado”, Fin rescues Gabrielle while Gemini rescues some of the other guests. They make their way to the street and go looking for Matt but when they encounter a flood, they quickly hop onto a hotel’s pirate ship and use it to navigate the flood towards Matt. Matt is eventually able to make it onto the ship, where he hugs Fin and then kisses Gabrielle, while the sandnado leaves the city. As the news comments about the incident and Astro-X’s failure to stop it, Aston contacts his headquarters in San Francisco to have them tell Colonel Shepard that he needs to finish work on his mech suit. In San Francisco, Gil, or Colonel as he prefers to be called, is testing a flight suit for Wilford, a scientist working for Astro-X who also happens to be April’s father, when he is approached by Claudia, who also works there, and is told Aston’s message. Back in Vegas, Fin refuses to give an interview, wanting to hurry back to Kansas to be with Gil but the only way Gemini could find out of the city was by train so they all board the train and head out. Unknown to anyone else, April is still alive, having been remade into a cyborg by her father, who comments on the results on her latest tests as she is recharging. The sandnado makes it’s way through the desert and destroys Hoover Dam, picking up the boulders and debris into it and becoming a “bouldernado”. Gemini sees the bouldernado approaching the train and they work to save as many people as they can while Fin makes his way to the engine and stops the train. Meanwhile, Aston blows up part of the Grand Canyon in order to stop the flood from the Hoover Dam destroying the nearby cities. Aston has Fin and the others brought to see him and asks Fin for his help in reassuring the American public but Fin refuses to be Aston’s mouthpiece. They get a car and make their way to Texas but the bouldernado follows them, where it hits an oil field and becomes an “oilnado”, which quickly becomes a “firenado” when the oil ignites. Fin uses a trencher loaded with fire extinguishers to get close to the firenado, then blows it up in the hopes of putting out the fire. The plan works  and the sharknado changes course but it hits a power plant and becomes a “lightningnado”. Meanwhile, another Sharnado appears in San Francisco while a “lavanado” forms in Yellowstone. As Aston works out a way to take out these new sharknados, April sees a news report and learns that Fin is still alive. She confronts Wilford as to why he lied to her about her family, and Wilford tries to keep her in the lab but she breaks down the door and leaves. The sharknado in San Francisco is heading towards Astro-X, having transformed into a “hailnado”, and as the Colonel and Claudia try to escape, their car is picked up by the storm but they are rescued by April, and they are all surprised to see each other alive. The three head to Wilford’s lab to confront him about what he did, and he claims to have done it to protect them all, then shows the Colonel a completed Mech Suit to use against the sharknado. Meanwhile, Fin’s car gets a flat as they enter Kansas and he calls his friend Colton, who loans him a car named Christine. As they head towards the farm, the lightningnado follows after them and they quickly abandon Christine before it is run over by a shark infested ball of twine. With only a mile to go to the farm, the make a run for it, while Gil and Raye head into the storm shelter. The lightningnado picks up a herd of cows, becoming a “cownado”. Fin and the others reach the farm, where they head to the barn to get some weapons. Matt and Gabrielle head to the shelter but Gabrielle is killed before she can make it in while Gil runs out of the shelter to find his dad. With the storm fast approaching, Fin and Gil head back into the house, while Gemini holds onto the outside as the house is picked up by the storm. Fin is able to rescue Gil and Gemini makes it inside before the house crash lands in Chicago, landing on the mayor who had blamed Fin for the disasters. April, Claudia, and the Colonel learn about Fin’s location and they head there, where April rescues Fin and Gil from the debris, and Fin is shocked to see his wife is still alive. Meanwhile, Astro-X uses their new isotopes to destroy the hailnado and lavanado, but the lightningnado proves resistant and hits a nuclear power plant, becoming a nuclearnado. In  their plane, Fin and April are talking about what happened and April tells him that what her father did was temporary, and they have no idea how long she will live. Fin says he doesn’t care and hugs her, then goes to introduce her to Gil, but Gil says April isn’t his mom. Aston talks with Fin and Gil about the nuclearnado and, along with Wilford’s help, they come up with a plan to stop it. They head towards Niagara Falls, where Aston uses a squirrel suit to fly down to a camp that is set up there and set off a quantum box that will turn the nuclearnado back to a normal sharknado, so the pods can disperse it. Aston turns on the box but it isn’t powerful enough to work and he ends up falling off the cliff when the weakened ground collapses into the falls. When Fin tells the others what happened, the Colonel says that they have another battery in the mech suit they can use so they head to Niagara Falls with it. As the Colonel gets ready to use the mech suit to reach the quantum box, he is swallowed by a shark and the suit ends up falling down the cliff. Fin goes to retrieve it, and he and April head to the quantum box, telling the others to get to safety but Matt and Claudia get swallowed by sharks while Gil, who was placed in a barrel for safe keeping, ends up getting sucked up by the storm and falling into the falls. Fin is able to reach the quantum box and use the mech suit to power it enough to change the nuclearnado back into a regular sharknado but before they are able to disperse it, Fin is knocked off the cliff and swallowed by a shark, which is then swallowed by three more sharks before being swallowed by a blue whale. April manages to rescue Gil, who pulls his little chainsaw out of a rock and proceeds to climb into the whale and cut open the shark inside, rescuing Claudia, then repeating the process with the other sharks, freeing Matt and the Colonel but Fin is unresponsive, April cuts an opening into the whale so she can free the others and then attaches some cables from her power supply to a pair of small shark to serve as a makeshift defibrillator in order to revive Fin. Aston had managed to survive his fall and is alive at the bottom of the falls while the Shepards celebrate surviving another storm when they suddenly see the Eiffel Tower fly through the air before landing nearby, with Nova, who had been vacationing in Paris, standing atop it.

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens met was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens loses the ridiculous charm of its predecessors, leaving only clumsy social commentary and monotonous schtick that’s lost its bite.” While the previous movies had a lot of references to Jaws in them, this movie had numerous references to the Star Wars franchise, with the title itself being a spoof of the recent Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. While The Asylum and Syfy never made public the results of the twitter poll, the trailer for the movie kind of spoiled it by showing April in her training montage while the post credits scene set up a fifth movie, which was announced shortly after the 4th one premiered.

Every time I watch this movie, I find myself going back and forth on how much I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie as much as the others, but it’s hard to tell if it was just that I liked certain parts as compared to the movie as a whole. The acting was good, with Ian Zeiring (Fin) and Tara Reid (April) doing good jobs in their roles. David Hasslehoff (Colonel) and Ryan Newman (Claudia) did a good job reprising their roles, while I loved the addition of Gary Busey as April’s dad and Masiela Lusha as Fin’s cousin Gemini. The story was interesting and I loved the fact that they set it 5 years after the last movie, to help explain whether April lived or died, but I honestly felt like there were other aspects of the plot that felt like they used various cultural references to joke about the fact that the main plot was pretty weak. The special effects were pretty good and they did have some very funny scenes in it, with the scene where Fin gets swallowed by a shark and the whole shark swallowing shark aspect until one gets swallowed by a whale still makes me laugh. All told, this is fun to watch but the sum of the various parts don’t quite add up to a great movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 17th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

sharknado 3

My apologies for being late with today’s post. I had to go in to work early today and spent 75% of the day in one meeting after another. Not exactly the best way to start off the day. So now I get to come home, fairly exhausted, and try and finish watching today’s movie (because I managed to watch a little bit of it this morning) and write up my review before I pass out on the couch. I know, this is not exactly a funny or endearing story about today’s movie. Well, to borrow the tagline from yesterday’s movie, Shark Happens. Now, onto today’s movie, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!.

The plot: Fin Shepherd is racing through the streets of Washington DC until he is met by a pair of Secret Service Agents, who are there to take him to the White House. As he is en route, Fin calls April, who is pregnant and currently in Orlando with her mother May and their daughter Claudia. As the car gets stuck in traffic, Fin chooses to get out and continue running to the White House, where security stops him until White House Chief of Staff Gary Martin Hayes shows up and escorts him inside, where President Marcus Robbins awards him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. At the banquet afterwards, Fin is making the rounds, stopping to say hello to his brother-in-law Martin, who is there as a guest, when he is surprised to see the Mayor of New York City there, who awards Fin with a golden chainsaw for his efforts in saving New York. Stepping outside, Fin checks some weather data he asked for and when the President joins him, Fin says he can sense when a sharknado is going to form and says that DC isn’t safe. Fin and President Robbins head back inside just as a sharknado forms and begins attacking DC. As the storm hits the White House, Martin manages to save Vice President Sonia Buck, while Fin and President Robbins are forced to shoot their way out after all of the President’s Secret Service are killed. As they make it outside, the storm suddenly dissipates and before Fin can wonder about it, he and the others quickly lift up a fallen flag to kill a shark that is falling towards them. With flights grounded in DC, Fin rents a car and starts driving to Orlando, calling April and Claudia on the way to tell them he will be there tomorrow. April, Claudia and May are at Universal Studios Resort and May for Claudia’s birthday and May gives Claudia some money as she leaves to go have fun with her friend Jess. Claudia is met by an employee and given VIP passes that allow her and Jess to skip to the front of the line on rides but Jess sees a boy, Chad, that she starts flirting with so Claudia ends up riding on the roller coaster with his friend Billy but as she leaves the roller coaster, Claudia accidentally forgets her phone. Meanwhile, Fin is driving when he encounters a dense fog and as people start running out of the fog in a panic, he realizes the fog is actually a “fognado”, with sharks swimming inside. As Fin fights off a shark that smashes through the window, an armored RV shows up and two masked people emerge, with one fighting off the sharks while the other takes out the fognado. As the fog clears, one of the people approaches the car and takes off the mask and Fin is surprised to see that it is Nova. As the two talk, Nova introduces Fin to her partner, Lucas Stevens, and she explains that the collect all the data they can on the sharknadoes in order to be better prepared, showing him a dead shark and explaining that they are finding birds in their stomachs now as well as ice crystals in their blood, indicating that they are staying in the atmosphere longer and able to survive. Nova asks Fin to help her but Fin says he can’t as he needs to get to Orlando, and Nova is upset to learn that he and April are back together and having a child but offers to give Fin a lift there. Lucas is upset at first but Nova tells him that they have been tracking the storm’s epicenter and it has been heading south so it is on their way. In Orlando, April and May are discussing baby names when a shark lands in a nearby pool. April goes to save a lifeguard, with her robotic hand able to turn into a chainsaw, but May stops her from doing so. Fin calls to check on April after hearing about the entire East Coast of the US is in jeopardy and April is not surprised to learn that Nova is with him. After hearing about the shark attack, tells her to get Claudia and get somewhere safe, then tells Nova that they need to hurry but they find the bridge is washed out. Since they are near Charleston, Fin tells Lucas to head towards the Charleston Air Force Base, where General Gottlieb, the base commanding officer, is a family friend. After being cleared to go inside, Fin talks with Gottlieb, who agrees to let him take their training plane to Orlando and Nova tells him that she can fly, as Fin’s son Matt had trained her how to fly before he deployed. As Fin and Nova get in the plane, a sharknado hits and Lucas heads towards the Beast to take car of it but he is severely wounded by sharks, which bite off one of his legs and arms. Crawling towards the fail safe device on the roof of the Beast, he loses his other arm and leg and is forced to hit the button with his chin, blowing up the RV and dispersing the sharknado. Nova sees what happens and cries out but Fin tells her that they have to leave or else Lucas would have died in vain. As they make their way towards Orlando, Nova asks Fin how he handles dealing with the sharks and he tells her he thinks about his family, which includes friends like her. As they pass over Daytona, they see a sharknado forming over the Daytona 500 and they use the extra fuel tank as a means to destroy the sharknado, or at least kill the sharks, but once they succeed, an errant shark hits the plane and they end up crashing into a lake but emerge unscathed (and without their clothes (seriously R.A.F.)). They head into the park to try and find April and Claudia, just as more sharks begin falling from the sky and attacking people. Meanwhile, April uses a tracking app to track Claudia’s phone to the roller coaster, and goes with the operator, Bruce, to see if she is stuck in the cars. Elsewhere, Claudia, Billy, Jess, and Chad are riding the “Disaster” ride when Chad is killed by a shark, while Jess gets killed as they run from the ride. Fin uses his app and meet April on the roller coaster but they find no sign of Claudia. Bruce realizes that they are talking about Claudia’s phone, which he hands to them, but a shark ends up killing him and activating the roller coaster. Fin is trapped in one of the cars and ends up flying off the course and crashing into the “Twister” ride, where he kills another shark before leaving. Fin meets back up with April and May, and they are then joined by Claudia, Billy, and Nova. Seeing the sharknado approaching, Fin has them all take shelter inside the Universal Globe, which is sent rolling around by the sharknado before landing on a nearby tower. Everyone is ok except for May, who had hit her head during the globes’ spinning, and she is taken away in an ambulance. Nova shows Fin and the others Lucas’ theories on dispersing the merged sharknadoes and rather than using several nuclear explosions, he chooses to call his father, Colonel Gil Shepard, and try to get him to use his contacts with NASA to help. Fin heads to the diner that Gil owns and works on convincing him to help by launching a space shuttle and detonating the fuel tanks to create a column of heat big enough to destroy the sharknadoes. As the sharknadoes form a massive storm wall that ranges the entire East Coast, Fin and Gil get ready to board the shuttle but April, who didn’t know Fin was going on the shuttle, pleads with him not to go but the sharknado destroys the gang plank and April is forced to board the shuttle with Fin. With more sharks falling, the national guard works on keeping the sharks away from the shuttle and when two guardsmen are killed, Claudia and Billy take up their weapons and start killing the sharks while Nova uses a jet to help clear a path. As the shuttle goes to launch, Claudia and Billy head back inside mission control but Billy is killed after he pushes Claudia inside to avoid a falling shark. The shuttle launches and they detonate the tanks but it does not dissipate the sharknado wall. Gil then says he has a Plan B, and heads towards a nearby satellite, which is a cover for part of the fabled Star Wars program, planning to use the laser to vaporize the storm wall. When they are unable to remotely activate the satellite, Gil does a space walk to the satellite in order to manually reboot the system and fire the laser. The laser succeeds in destroying the storm wall but Gil tells Fin that they only have enough fuel to either come get him, or enter re-orbit, but not both. Suddenly, some sharks that were blown up into space by the laser begin attacking the shuttle, and Fin works on killing them but one of the sharks swallows April, while a second one destroys the shuttle. Fin ends up swallowed as well but as the shark drops back to Earth, Fin is able to punch a hole into the charred flesh and use his emergency chute to safely land. Crawling out of the shark, Fin sees more sharks falling from the sky and hears a chainsaw coming from one of them. Heading towards the shark, Fin reaches inside to pull out April and instead sees his new born baby emerging from the shark. Fin grabs his baby, then pulls April out of the shark as well and the two hug each other and their newborn son. Claudia and Nova come running up to them and Fin introduces them to the baby, calling him Gil after his dad. They all look up towards the sky and Fin throws a salute at the moon, where unknown to them, Colonel Shepard has managed to make it to the moon’s surface. Fin looks for his dad’s wings that he had given him before they left and April sees them nearby and goes to pick them up when a piece of the shuttle falls towards her and as they all scream out, the debris lands on top of April as the screen goes black and the word “Fin?” appears on the screen.

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! met with negative reviews from the critics, holding a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! bites off more than it can chew, leaving viewers with an overlong mess that isn’t even bad enough to be good.” Once again, the movie featured several references to Jaws, but also had people make references to what they are most well known for, such as Lou Ferrigno telling someone “Don’t make me angry.”, or George R.R. Martin being killed next to a bride during a wedding. Sharknado 4 was announced during the premier of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! and fans were asked to use Twitter to vote on if April would survive for the 4th movie, using the hashtags #AprilLives or #AprilDies to cast their votes.

The Sharknado movies are still a lot of fun to watch, but I will admit that this one was a little lacking compared to the previous one. The acting was good, with Ian Ziering (Fin) and Cassandra Scerbo (Nova) doing a good job reprising their roles, while I actually liked Tara Reid (April) in this outing. Ryan Newman did a good job in taking over the role of Claudia Shepard, while David Hasselhoff and Bo Derek were great playing Fin’s father Gil and April’s mother May respectively. The story was honestly a little weak, as I felt like they could have done a better job in setting things up instead of just blatantly making it a doomsday scenario almost right from the start. The cameos definitely added a lot of humor to the movie; either by who they were or what they were doing in the movie, or an inside joke or reference to previous roles the people had. The cliffhanger at the end was actually a good way to keep people invested in the franchise, as I don’t recall as much hype over this movie compared to the previous two. The special effects were pretty good and I liked a lot of the shark scenes but there were definitely a couple of times where they looked too fake, with sometimes it being really funny, such as the guy being eaten by a shark hanging from a sign thinking it was the fake shark for the Jaws photo op, but a few times the fakeness hurt the scene. Still, everything together added up to a solid entry in the series and is well worth watching and laughing at.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 16th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado 2: The Second One

sharknado 2

When word of mouth causes a made for TV movie to get more viewers each time it aired, the idea for a sequel made perfect sense. After the success of Sharknado, I could hardly wait for it to occur. Then they announced the title and tag line for the movie, and it honestly felt like they were going to do a good job of keeping the advertising simple and letting word of mouth generate the buzz, which worked because I knew a lot of people were going to be tuning in to watch it. As for me, I did what has since become a tradition and went to my friend Emily and Mark’s house to watch this movie when it debuted and I was not disappointed in the least and quickly went online and pre-ordered it as soon as it became available to do so. So let’s get down to business with today’s movie, Sharknado 2: The Second One.

The plot: Fin Shepard and April Wexler, who are attempting to work things out after the events of the previous movie, are flying to New York for a book signing of April’s book that she wrote about the sharknado. As the plane starts to hit some rough weather, Fin sees some sharks flying through the sky and thinks he is seeing things at first. After a shark takes out one of the engines, the pilots start descending to a lower altitude only to have more sharks attack the plane. Several passengers are killed as sharks make it inside the plane and both of the pilots are sucked out of the cockpit when a shark breaks through and attacks one of them. Fin heads to the cockpit to try and land the plane and April follows after him but when the plane door is blown off it’s hinges, she is forced to grab onto to a nearby strap to keep from being blown out of the plane. The sky marshal goes to help her but ends up trapped by a food cart and, seeing a shark approaching April, throws her his gun to defend herself but the shark bites off her hand. The sky marshal is eventually able to pull April back in the plane while Fin manages to land the plane in New York. Downtown, Fin’s sister Ellen Brody and her husband Martin are there with their kids and arrange to meet at April and Fin’s hotel that night before they split up; with Ellen going to Liberty Island with their daughter Mora while Martin is going to a Mets game with their son Vaughn. Meanwhile, Fin is interviewed after the plane lands and he tries to warn the city about the coming storm but the police don’t seem to believe him. After accompanying April to the hospital, Fin is told by her doctor that she is stable and should make a full recovery. Fin heads to her room and they talk for a while before seeing a news report about the storm approaching New York. At Liberty Island, Ellen and Mora meet up with Ellen’s friends Polly and Chrissie, who ask Ellen about Fin and tell her about the plane crash. Ellen calls Fin and he tells her that she has to get off the island and when Mora can’t reach Martin, Ellen asks Fin to go get him and Vaughn, saying she had sent April a ticket for him. Fin agrees to go and kisses April before he leaves and hails a cab, where the driver, Ben, recognizes Fin and asks him some questions about being swallowed by a shark. Back at Liberty Island, Ellen, Mora, Polly, and Chrissie notice hundreds of sharks swimming in the waters around the island and when the ferry gets there, they quickly board it. Fin arrives at the ball park, with Ben giving him his card in case he needs another ride, and he heads up to find Martin and Vaughn when he runs into Skye, his old girlfriend who was at the game with Martin, Vaughn, and their friend Brian. Skye kisses Fin but he pulls back and tells her he is back with April and she apologizes. Fin heads to their seats and tells Martin and the others that they need to leave before the storm hits but Brian refuses to leave, believing that this is a simple rain delay. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker that the game is cancelled, the crowd boos in disappointment but when a sharknado appears heading towards the stadium, they all quickly flee the stadium and head to the subway station. AS the train leaves the station, two subway workers are heading into the sewer tunnels to shut off the valves so the tunnels don’t flood but one is killed by an alligator and the second is killed when the tunnel floods, with a shark killing the alligator. The flood hits the subway and sharks begin attacking the cars, with one killing Brian, but Vaughn hits the emergency brake and they are able to get everyone off the train before the flood waters push it down the tunnel. Heading back to the surface, they manage to get a ride from Ben, and Fin asks him to take him to a hardware store but the one Ben knew was closed so he takes them to Times Square, where they split up to find weapons and supplies for Fin to make bombs. Meanwhile, Chrissie is killed by a shark on the ferry and as Ellen, Mora, and Polly disembark and start heading to the hotel to meet the others, they are forced to run as the head of the Statue of Liberty is broken off by the storm and comes rolling down after them. After managing to avoid the rolling head, they keep making their way to the hotel, eventually grabbing some bikes so they can move faster. Back at the hospital, the patients are being evacuated to the basement as a sharknado heads towards them but April, after helping a scared girl to the basement, leaves the hospital to go find Fin and the others. Back at Times Square, the group meet back at Ben’s cab and head for the hotel but before they get there, the streets end up flooded. Using Ben’s tow rope, they throw it over a traffic light so they can use it to swing across to the hotel. Martin, Vaughn, and Sky make it safely across but Ben is killed as he tries to swing across, dragging the rope into the water with him. Martin says he will try to find some more rope but Fin says there is no time, and proceeds to jump on the sharks’ backs to make it across (prompting Martin to joke about him jumping the shark). Heading inside the hotel, Fin tells Martin and Vaughn to wait in the lobby for Ellen and the others while he and Skye head up to the roof and try to destroy the sharknadoes. Ellen and Mora reach the hotel but Polly, who had lagged behind them, is killed when a whale shark falls on her. Fin and Skye reach the roof and use a slingshot to try and destroy the sharknadoes before they merge but the sharknadoes are too cold. He decides to make a bigger bomb but all that does is cause the sharks to catch fire and he and Skye are forced to leave the roof and head back downstairs. Meanwhile, the lobby becomes flooded and Martin, Ellen, Vaughn, and Mora head up the stairs to escape the rising water. They meet Fin and Skye partway up and are forced to use the fire escape to get away from the danger on both fronts. They leave the hotel, where they are surprised to see April in a fire truck there to pick them up. The group heads to the empire state building, where the Mayor and Fire Chief have a command center made ready and hand him a chainsaw to use. Seeing that the merged sharknado is about to converge with a third sharknado, Fin decides to blow the Freon tanks atop the Empire State building to try and freeze out the sharknados and Skye goes with him to help. When they reach the observation deck, Skye goes to make the connection as Fin prepares to use the lightning to trigger the explosion. As a shark starts to fall towards him, Fin can’t get the chainsaw started but he is saved by April, who had Vaughn make her a make-shift handsaw gauntlet for her injured arm. When Skye is finished, Fin tells her to get April out of there while he triggers the explosion but the cable becomes disconnected and Skye is forced to hold the cable in place. The explosion occurs and Fin and Skye are thrown into the air, with Skye being killed by sharks, but the massive Sharknado is broken up, with the crowd below grabbing any weapons they can find to deal with the falling sharks. Fin uses his chainsaw to kill some of the sharks near him as he falls but when it is knocked from his hand, he grabs a chain and usesit to snare aThe popularity  shark and ride it down to the observation deck. As more sharks fall towards him and April, he looks for a weapon and notices the dead shark by April is the same one that bit off her hand. Reaching inside it’s mouth, he grabs her severed hand and uses the gun it is still holding to kill the falling sharks. Afterwards, he takes the ring off the severed hand and asks April to marry him again, which she happily accepts as the crowd below celebrates their victory.

Sharknado 2: The Second One met with mixed to positive review from the critics, holding a 61% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The schlock factor for Sharknado 2: The Second One is not as entertaining as its predecessor’s, though fans of the brand will likely enjoy it.” There were numerous nods to other movies throughout the film, primarily Jaws, Airplane, and Star Wars, while the original film’s popularity allowed The Asylum to use numerous people in cameo appearances as well. In it’s initial airing, it garnered 3.9 million viewers and prompted Syfy and The Asylum to almost immediately make plans for another sequel.

All the craziness from the first movie was amped up in the sequel and it paid off in a fun way. The acting was great, with Ian Ziering doing a great job as Fin, while Mark McGrath (Martin), Vivica A. Fox (Skye), and Kari Wuhrer (Ellen) doing good jobs in their roles as well. Tara Reid (April) didn’t seem as bad in this one as she was in the first movie but I have to admit that her screaming was just awful. The story was great, basically using the same concept from the first movie but doing a good job of trying to show how the tornadoes were forming with the different weather and pressure systems converging on New York City, while doing nothing to explain all the sharks (because where would the fun be in that). I also liked all the nods to the various movies that were used, as well as the cameos, but some of the funniest cameos were the ones that hinted at the actor’s previous roles; such as Robert Hays being the pilot (a nod to Airplane) and Judd Hirsch driving a cab (a nod to his character in Taxi). Even the short bit with Jared Fogle sitting underneath a sign for Subway while eating a Subway sandwich was pretty funny. The special effects were a little better than the original movie in regards to the sharknadoes, though I didn’t honestly see much improvement in the sharks themselves. Still, this movie was a lot of laughs and definitely something worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

August 15th, 2017 Movie – Sharknado

sharknado

Ahhh, the movie that quite literally took the internet by storm…well, Tweet storm that is. I don’t know if anyone would have predicted that the simple, yet ridiculous, premise of sharks in a tornado becoming a smash hit but that is exactly what happened. When word of this movie first came out, I had several of my friends asking if I heard about it. As a matter of fact, I had heard about it and couldn’t wait to watch it. Unfortunately, I ended up missing it’s initial airing but caught the repeat airing the following week and knew that I had to own this movie. So let’s strap in and have some fun with today’s movie, Sharknado.

The plot: In the pacific ocean, Hurricane David causes a large water spout forms, picking up a pod of nearby sharks and causing them to go swirling around in the water. Off the coast of Mexico, a fishing boat is catching sharks to collect their fins for shark fin soup, which the captain is making a deal to sell to an Asian restaurant, when the storm hits them and everyone is killed by the sharks in the storm as the boat is picked up by the water spout. In Los Angeles, Fin Shepherd and his friend Baz Hogan are walking along the beach and while Baz hops onto a ski-doo, Fin, a former champion surfer, goes surfing. When Fin gets knocked off his board by another surfer, he sees a shark swimming up behind her and tries to warn her but she is knocked off her board and eventually killed. As more sharks, driven there by the storm, close in on the beach, more people are attacked as lifeguards call out for people to get out of the water. A shark attacks Baz, biting into his leg, but Fin is able to save him then pilots the ski-doo back to the beach, where they are met by Nova, a waitress at Fin’s bar. After Baz is taken care of, Fin, Nova, and Baz head back to the bar, where Baz is telling George, a regular at the bar, about what happened. As Fin watches news coverage of the storm, he decides to call April Wexler, his ex-wife, to check on them but April is dismissive towards his concerns and refuses to let him take their daughter Claudia out of town. As the storm gets worse, Fin decides to close the bar and tells everyone to go home, arguing with Nova who refuses to leave Fin. When a storm surge sends a shark flying into the bar, Nova kills it with a pool cue and Fin grabs some weapons for him, Baz, and Nova while George grabs his bar stool as they leave. The storm sends more sharks onto the board walk as the nearby ferris wheel breaks free and smashes into a building. After the initial surge has finished, Fin decides to go check on April and Claudia and Nova, Baz, and George go with him. As they make their way towards Beverly Hills, they see the streets are flooding and sharks are swimming in the waters. Deciding to head onto the highway, they are forced to stop and help some stranded motorist that are in danger from the flooding and shark infested waters, where George ends up being killed when another surge washes over him, carrying more sharks with it. Fin continues on to his old house and when he knocks on the door, April refuses to let him in but when a shark burst out from a manhole, Nova quickly shoots it, then everyone quickly heads inside. Once inside the house, Fin calls out for Claudia, who is shocked to see him there and doesn’t want to leave when he tries to talk to her. April’s new boyfriend Collin shows up and chastises Fin for being there saying April and Claudia’s safety is no longer his concern, then mocks him about sharks being in the area. When a sudden wave floods the house and sends a shark through the window, Collin is killed despite Fin, Baz, and Nova trying to save him. They eventually manage to trap the shark long enough for Nova to kill it but when a second shark appears, they quickly head up the stairs. Claudia tells Fin that Matt, his son, is in Van Nuys attending flight school and Fin is upset that they never told him about it, due to Collin’s insistence that it was none of Fin’s business. Fin distracts the shark so that everyone can get out, then quickly joins them and they drive off as more waves destroy the house. As they head towards Van Nuys, Claudia listens to the emergency radio in the car, which is giving more details about the storm and the sharks being reported flooding the city. Seeing a school bus trapped with the shark filled water rising around it, Fin stops to help them, though April argues that he should be more concerned with his own children. Driving up to the overpass above the bus, Fin uses some rope from his jeep to rappel down onto the bus, where the driver and children inside cheer his arrival. Fin yells for another rope to be dropped down, and uses it to have the children pulled up onto the bridge, followed by the bus driver. Fin climbs back up last, cutting the rope to keep a shark that was tangled in it from attacking him, and when he reaches the top, Nova hugs him, causing April to feel jealous. After paramedics arrive to check on the kids, the winds pick up, blowing the Hollywood sign off the mountain and killing the bus driver with the letter H. Fin and the others continue towards Van Nuys, stopping to get a new car when a shark lands on the roof and tears into it. Reaching the flight school, they find Matt and the rest of his class hiding in a make shift shelter and the instructor is killed by the winds while everyone else manages to survive in the shelter. After the winds die down, Fin leads the others to a nearby hardware store and they proceed to arm themselves with supplies. Matt comes up with an idea to drop bombs into the three tornadoes, breaking up the tornadoes and killing the sharks inside them. Fin and April try to talk Matt out of it but Matt says it is the best way to save everyone and Nova agrees to help him. As Matt and Nova prep the nearby helicopter for their plan, Baz comes up with his own plan and builds a massive bomb and attaches it to the Humvee, along with some smaller bombs, planning on driving into the tornado and blowing it up. Matt and Nova manage to blow up the first two tornadoes but Baz and Matt’s classmates are killed by the sharks falling down from the sky. Fin, April, and Claudia head to a nearby retirement home, helping the elderly residents take shelter from the storm. When the third bomb does not destroy the tornado, Matt and Nova try to come up with a new plan when a shark grabs onto the helicopter. Nova manages to knock it loose but ends up falling out of the helicopter, where a giant great white swallows her whole, while Matt loses control of the helicopter and ends up crashing. Fin races out to check on Matt and after finding him ok, tells him to head to April and Claudia. Fin then gets into the Humvee and drives it towards the tornado, lighting a bomb before hitting the nitro and jumping out of the car. The Humvee is sucked into the tornado and explodes, destroying the tornado and sending sharks falling from the sky. Fin races back to check on the others and sees Claudia, who had gone to find him, in the path of a falling great white. Grabbing a chainsaw, Fin pushes Claudia out of the way and leaps head first into the shark. April, Matt, and Claudia stare in horror at the shark until they hear the chainsaw still running and see the blade emerge from the shark’s stomach. Fin emerges from the sharks stomach with Nova and as April and Claudia check on Fin, Matt goes to Nova and performs mouth to mouth, reviving her. As the group surveys the damage from the storm, April kisses Fin while Matt and Nova seem to be getting closer.

Sharknado surprisingly blew the critics away, holding an 82% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” Proudly, shamelessly, and gloriously brainless, Sharknado redefines “so bad it’s good” for a new generation.” The movie was a top trending theme on Twitter during it’s initial airing so subsequent, prompting Syfy to re-air it two additional times, each time generating more viewers and increasing it’s popularity. With everyone talking about the movie on Twitter, some sites jokingly discussed what you should do if you were ever caught in a Sharknado, while others were quick to point out that such an event would be impossible to occur. The movie’s popularity prompted The Asylum and Syfy to quickly announce plans for a sequel; which ended up becoming a franchise as there have been 4 sequels to date with plans for a 5th one underway.

This was such a ridiculously fun movie to watch, despite the one problem I had with it. The acting was pretty good, with Ian Ziering (Fin), Cassandra Scerbo (Nova), and John Heard (George) doing good jobs in their roles, though Tara Reid (April) was a little annoying. The plot was incredibly simple and to be honest, makes you wonder why nobody ever thought about using it before. The only problem I really had was that the actual Sharknado’s really didn’t appear until the last part of the movie, while the majority of the movie was mainly flooded streets and storm surges bringing sharks onto land. The special effects were actually a lot better than I thought they would be and the sharks looked pretty good, though there were some occasions where they were a little too ridiculous (such as the giant one that swallows Nova and Fin leaps into). All told, this is a lot of fun and only sets the stage for more ridiculousness in the future movies.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, comedy, horror, movie, movie review, zombie movie

July 15th, 2017 Movie – Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse.

scouts guide to the zombie apocalypse

I love how sometimes you can just look at the title of a movie and just know it is going to be absolutely ridiculous. Well, that is exactly what I thought when I saw a trailer for today’s movie on another DVD I own. Just from the trailer, I knew that this was going to be a juvenile mix of stupid high school comedy with some horror and T&A thrown in. At the time, I actually found myself craving a bit of mindless entertainment so this pretty much wound up fitting the bill. Needless to say, I have since learned that I should not go on Amazon while half asleep and drunk, but let’s see exactly how good or bad this purchase wound up being as I watch today’s movie, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.

The plot: At a research lab, a janitor is listening to his headphones while he is working and heads into a lab to mop the floors but the scientist tells him not to touch anything before he leaves to get a snack from the vending machine. The janitor notices a body in a curtained area and as he examines it, it twitches, causing the janitor to jump back into the heart monitoring machines. When the body flatlines, the janitor tries to do CPR but his hands end up going through the man’s chest, just as the man turns into a zombie and tries to attack the janitor. The janitor tries to get away but the zombie catches up to him and attacks him, while the scientist is oblivious to what happens but he ends up getting attacked by the now zombified janitor. At the local high school, Scout Leader Rodgers is trying to get some new recruits but nobody wants to join. Rogers then speaks with the three members of his scout troop, Ben, Carter, and Augie, and gives them their assignments for their upcoming camping trip, where Augie will be awarded the prestigious Condor Badge. As Carter and Ben are heading home, Carter is telling Ben that they have to tell Augie that they want to ditch scouts but Ben says they can’t tell him this weekend because it will kill him. The conversation stops when they notice a deer in the road just before Ben hits it with his car. After checking the deer, which was killed by the impact, Ben goes to check his car and discovers he has a flat tire. Ben works on changing it when Carter sees a car approaching and waves it down, as it is his sister Kendall, her friend Chloe, and Kendall’s boyfriend Jeff. Ben has a crush on Kendall but since she has been friends with Carter for so long, she just sees him as another little brother. While Carter talks with Jeff and Chloe, Kendall asks Ben how the recruiting went and he tells her that no one joined because they think it is a joke but she says she is impressed they stuck with scouts for this long. When Kendall mentions the deer is gone, Ben heads over to the spot that it had been lying then starts heading towards the side of the road to look for it. He is startled by Carter, who was given the location for a Super Secret Senior Party, and they wave as Kendall and the others drive off. As Ben drops off Carter, Carter convinces him to sneak out of the camp out and go to the party. Meanwhile, Scout Leader Rogers is hiking in the woods when he is attacked by the deer, which has become a zombie. He manages to kill it by stabbing it in the eye with his knife but he is then attacked and bitten by the scientist. Later that day, Ben picks up Carter and they stop at the liquor store to try and get some beer. Carter gives a bum outside $20 to get some beer but when he sees the bum grabbing anything but beer, Carter rushes in to try and stop him. Meanwhile, Ben sees Denise Russo, a former student at their school that now works at the strip club across the street, leaving the store when the strap on her purse breaks, dumping all of her stuff on the ground. Ben helps her pick it all up, then ties a not in the strap so that she can still use it. The two start talking and when she sees their predicament, she goes back in the store and buys the beer for them, then heads over to work. Ben and Carter arrive at the camp site to find Augie already setting up the campsite but there is no sign of Rogers. The three scouts continue setting up camp and having fun, though Augie does get down when he thinks about his dad. That night, Carter wakes up Ben and they head towards the car when they find Roger’s knife and Ben sees tracks that indicate that he was hurt but Carter says he probably went back home to tend to his injury. Reaching the car, Ben still feels bad about leaving to go to the party and feels worse when he turns on his headlights to find Augie standing in front of the car. Ben and Carter get out and try to talk to Augie but when Carter says that they want to quit scouts, Augie tells turns around and heads back to the camp, telling them to have fun at their party. Ben and Carter drive through town and notice that it appears deserted, which is odd since it is Friday night. Carter has Ben pull into the liquor store to change clothes but as Ben notices the store’s door has been smashed, Carter sees that the bouncer isn’t at the door of the strip club and convinces Ben that they should go inside. Ben and Carter head inside and while Carter goes to the ATM, Ben sits at the end of the runway and watches as a stripper approaches. As the stripper goes through her routine, she tries to bite Ben but backs off as Carter appears and starts using the money he got to “make it rain” on her. The stripper proceeds to climb up the pole but as she hangs upside down, her throat tips open, spraying the boys with her blood just as the bouncer, appears and charges at them. The boys try to run but find the door is locked and they are forced to hide, with Carter jumping behind the bar while Ben runs into the bathroom, with the zombie bouncer following after him. Carter gets attacked by the stripper but he ends up killing her by shoring a broken bottle into her skull, while Ben is saved by Denise, who kills the bouncer. Meanwhile, Augie has also left the campsite and makes his way to Rogers’ house to see if he is there and discovers it is a shrine to Dolly Parton. Back at the strip club, Ben and Carter ask Denise what is going on but they see the shop keeper approaching and after she shoots it and he gets back up, she shoots it in the head and they realize they really are zombies. When more zombies approach, they get in Ben’s car but as they try to drive away, his tire comes off the car and they are forced to put it back on while Denise holds off the zombies, then they drive off. They reach the police station, where they see a notice about an evacuation, but when the zombies show up, they quickly head inside. They encounter a zombie police man, who is wildly firing his pistol, and after Carter kills it, the zombie horde breaks into the station and they are forced to head downstairs and lock themselves in a cell. Back at Rogers’ house, Augie encounters the zombie Rogers and is chased down into the basement, where he manages to set Rogers on fire before knocking him unconscious with an oar, then tying him to a chair. Augie makes his way to town and sees Ben’s car in front of the police station, as well as all of the zombies, so he turns Ben’s stereo on loud in order to lure the zombies outside but accidentally sets off a car alarm as he tries to sneak by them. Augie finds Ben and the others and picks the lock to the cell and they all manage to escape the station and get away from the zombies. As they are walking down the highway, they see a truck and start moving towards it when they encounter the bum from the liquor store. Seeing the Britney Spears shirt he is wearing, Augie, along with Carter, starts singing “…Baby One More Time” to the zombie in order to distract it before it is shot in the head by Corporal Reeves. As they drive to the checkpoint with Reeves, he tells them what he knows about the zombies but when Ben asks about the people at the party, he doesn’t know anything about it. They head to the address that Jeff gave them but learn he sent them to the wrong place. Augie finds it ironic and the three scouts end up arguing and fighting but as Denise watches in disbelief, she notices that Reeves was bit and he suddenly turns. Hearing her screams, Ben and the others help her out of the Humvee, where she proceeds to kill Reeves by slamming the door on his head. When the radio suddenly comes alive, they hear that the military is going to bomb the city in two hours. Carter suggests going to his house to get Kendall’s diary, as she writes everything down in there. Seeing all of the zombies in front of the house, they quietly sneak in the back and head upstairs, unaware that Carter’s neighbor, Miss Fielder, has seen them and follows them in. As they search Kendall’s room for the diary, Ben hears a noise and Denise tells Carter and Augie to go check it out. While they are gone, she talks to Ben about his crush on Kendall and helps him build up his confidence by having him kiss her. Downstairs, Carter sees the back door open and shuts it, then tells Augie that Ben didn’t want to leave the camp site but Augie’s feelings are still hurt. As they go back upstairs, Miss Fielder attacks Carter, whose screams alert the other zombies and one of them crashes through a window to attack Augie. Augie manages to kill the zombie attacking him, then grabs Miss Fielder off of Carter and places her on the broken window frame, allowing Carter to decapitate her with the broken window. As more zombies come in, they run back upstairs with Ben and Denise and barricade the door. Ben says they have to jump out the window but when he opens it, a zombie grabs him but he manages to punch it off of him. Seeing the trampoline below him, Ben tells them they can use it to jump over the fence and they all do but as Ben gets ready to go, the zombies knock over the dresser and he sees the diary. Ben grabs it and prepares to jump but sees the trampoline is covered with zombies, just as a zombie tries to grab him. As Ben is dangling over the trampoline, Denise climbs back over the fence to lure the zombies off the trampoline, allowing Ben to safely drop onto it and jump over the fence. Sneaking into Miss Fielder’s house, Carter suggests using her car but as they make their way through the house, they are confronted by her zombie cats and barely manage to make it into the garage. Ben drives through the garage door and they see Scout Leader Rogers in front of them and he is forced to hit him with the car as they make their escape. Reaching the outskirts of town, they see a dirt bike on the side of the road and Ben helps Denise get it upright, allowing her to go and alert the military about the party and get help. Ben, Carter, and Augie head back to town to save the kids at the party but first, they break into a hardware store in order to arm themselves. At the party, Chloe and a guy named Travis sneak away to a private area to fool around but the both are attacked by a zombie. At the rave, Kendall is worried about Carter and the others and Jeff admits that he gave them the wrong address. Kendall slaps him, causing Jeff to shove her but he then gets attacked by a zombie Chloe. Kendall tries to run but when she opens the doors, she sees the zombie horde approaching and runs as they burst into the room and start attacking the kids inside. Suddenly a whistle is heard and everyone turns to see Ben, Carter, and Augie at the top of the stairs. The three scouts make their way down the stairs and start killing the zombies, rescuing Kendall and as many kids as they can. As they start running out of ammo and gas, Ben has Kendall and the others run, then locks the door, trapping the scouts in the building with the zombies. Racing up the stairs to the gym, they find themselves trapped and Augie reveals that he built a bomb, so they prepare to sacrifice themselves to kill the zombies. Before Augie lights the bomb, the scouts all apologize to each other when Denise shows up, revealing a way out. Augie lights the bomb as they all slide down the garbage chute and the bomb blows up the building and kills the zombies inside. As they celebrate, the see Scout Leader Rogers close by and they look for a weapon to finish him off when a grenade lands at his feet and explodes as the military finally arrive. At the evacuation center, Ben thanks Denise for saving them and asks if they can hang out, as he feels like the four of them are now a team. Denise says sure but says Ben has something else to take care of, motioning towards Kendall as she emerges from a nearby tent. Ben heads over to Kendall, who says she is glad he is ok, and he kisses her, which she willingly accepts. As they are kissing, Augie and Carter are watching and Augie jokingly gives him a hard time about Ben kissing his sister, to which Carter says he has no choice but to have sex with Ben’s mom in retaliation.

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse met with slightly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse fails to live up to its intriguingly wacky title, instead delivering yet another zombie comedy-thriller with a tired T&A twist.” The scene where the guys use a trampoline to escape from the zombies is actually from a Super Nintendo game called “Zombies Ate My Neighbors”, where the player uses a trampoline to travel from garden to garden. The movie was a box office dud, earning $16.1 million off of a $24 million budget.

Yep, this is just what I thought it would be; some silly, zombie killing fun with a splash of T&A. The acting was pretty decent, with Tye Sheridan (Ben), Logan Miller (Carter), Joey Morgan (Augie), and Sarah Dumont (Denise) all doing a great job. David Koechner was also made for some good comic relief as Scout Leader Rogers. The story was a little weak, as they left some gaps that would explain how the zombies got into the city or how the town was evacuated but more importantly, how the animals ended up infected. The special effects and make-up for the zombies was a lot better than I was expecting and they obviously had some fun with some of the zombies, especially Scout Leader Rogers and all the trauma he suffered. It’s no Shaun Of The Dead, but this can give you some laughs while getting your zombie fix in.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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July 14th, 2017 Movie – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

scott pilgrim vs the world

It’s Friday, and what better way to start the day than with a comic book movie. Now I remember seeing these books in Borders and Barnes & Noble all the time while wandering the graphic novel/manga area and always thought that they seemed pretty childish. When the trailer for the movie came out, it honestly looked pretty ridiculous, which meant I was more than likely going to enjoy it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see it in theaters so when it came out on DVD, I picked up a copy. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

The plot: In Toronto, Canada, Scott Pilgrim is a 22 year old bassist for a band called Sex Bob-Omb. One morning he tells his band mates Stephen Stills and Kim Pine, as well as Stephen’s roommate Young Neil, that he is dating a 17 year old high schooler named Knives Chou and invites her over to listen to them practice. After she leaves, Stephen and Neil seem to like her but Kim, who is one of Scott’s ex-girlfriends, asks Scott if he is really happy dating her. When Scott tells his roommate Wallace about Knives, Wallace tells Scott’s sister Stacey, who proceeds to berate Scott for doing this to get over his ex Envy. Scott has a dream about an unknown girl and as he accompanies Knives to the library, he sees the girl delivering a package. At a party hosted by Stephen’s on/off girlfriend Julie, Scott learns that the girl, Ramona Flowers, will be there and eventually finds her and tries to talk to her but she doesn’t seem interested. Deciding to try to get to know her, Scott orders a package from Amazon so that Ramona has to deliver it and convinces her to go out with him. That night, the two walk and talk in the snow and after going back to Ramona’s place to warm up, they start making out, though Ramona says she won’t sleep with him that night. The next day, Scott invites her to a battle of the bands that he is playing in and Ramona agrees to go. Wallace tells Scott that he needs to break up with Knives but Scott doesn’t, then gets nervous when both Ramona and Knives show up at the concert. When Sex Bob-Omb start playing, they are interrupted by Matthew Patel, who starts fighting with Scott and says that he is the first of Ramona’s Seven Evil Exes. Despite Patel’s ability to summon demon hipster chicks, fly, and shoot fireballs, Scott is able to defeat Patel, who bursts into coins, and Ramona drags him out of the venue as the DJ announces that Sex-Bob-Omb won. On the bus, Ramona explains that if Scott wants to date her then he will have to date all of her exes, but Scott is happy with the fact that Ramona said they were dating and the two kiss. The next day, Wallace pressures Scott to break up with Knives if he wants to be with Ramona so Scott meets up with Knives and breaks up with her. Scott invites Ramona over for dinner and after an awkward conversation about Scott’s ex, they head over to the Castle to join Wallace in watching a movie that is being filmed there. When the lead actor, Lucas Lee, comes out of his trailer, Ramona says that he is one of her exes, just as Lucas challenges Scott. Lucas starts attacking Scott but when he goes to fight back, he ends up fighting Lucas’ stunt doubles. After Scott beats them, Lucas beats up Scott but Scott tricks him into doing a grind down a stair rail and Lucas ends up going to fast and crashes at the bottom of the stairs. Lucas explodes into a shower of coins but when Scott turns around, he finds that Ramona has disappeared. The next day, Scott is trying to get in touch with Ramona when his ex, Envy, calls and Scott lets slip that he is dating Ramona. Later, Scott goes to get some coffee when he is attacked by a strange girl, who is able to teleport, but when Scott says he doesn’t have time for this, the girl says she will see him later. Scott reaches the coffee shop, hoping to talk to his sister but she has already left and he sees Ramona there. She apologizes for leaving the night before but before they can say anything else, Envy shows up and admits to Scott she is jealous before saying she will see him again. Scott learns that Envy has asked Sex Bob-Omb to open for her band that night and Stephen had accepted and Scott worries about it but after talking with Ramona, says that he will be ok with it. Meanwhile, Knives believes that Ramona stole Scott from her and so she dyes her hair to try and emulate Ramona, then asks Neil out to try and make Scott jealous. After Sex Bob-Omb finishes their set, Scott and Ramona are talking as Envy’s band comes on stage and Ramona says that the bassist, Todd Ingram, is one of her exes. After the show, Scott and the others are invited back stage and after Todd punches Knives so hard that it knocks out her highlights, Scott tries to punch him but is stopped by Todd’s telekinetic powers. Todd says that he is a vegan, which gave him super powers, and begins using them to throw Scott up in the air and through walls. When Scott ends up back in the venue, he grabs a bass guitar and challenges Todd to a Bass Battle but Todd ends up winning it. Scott then grabs two cups of coffee and hands one to Todd but Todd says he can read Scott’s mind and knows he tried to trick him into drinking half & half so he grabs the other cup instead. Scott says that he actually put the half and half in the cup that Todd drank from, but thought really hard about putting it in the cup he is holding. The Vegan Police show up and since this is Todd’s third strike, as he previously ate gelato and a chicken parmesan, they strip Todd of his powers and then Scott headbutts him, causing him to explode into coins. Scott and Ramona leave, meeting up with the others at a pizza place before heading to an after party. At the after party, Scott is attacked by the mystery girl again, Roxanne “Roxy” Richter, who is revealed to be Ramona’s 4th ex. When Roxy goes to attack Scott again, Ramona stops her and the two end up fighting, as Scott doesn’t feel comfortable fighting a girl. When Roxy says that Scott has to beat her with his own fists, Ramona grabs Scott and moves his arms in order to guide him in his fight but Roxy separates them. As she goes to finish off Scott, Ramona tells Scott her weakness and he touches the back of Roxy’s knee, causing Roxy to collapse to the floor and explode into coins. Scott heads to the bar and starts drinking and ends up complaining to Ramona about her exes and so she breaks up with him, then hands him a list of her exes. Scott learns that her next to exes are the Katayanagi twins, who happen to be their opponents in the next part of the competition. At the competition, the two bands face off, with the Katayanagi twins using their music to summon mystical creatures to attack Scott. Seeing Ramona at the concert with Gideon, her last ex, Scott uses the anger to power his band and summon a monster of his own to battle their creatures and win, defeating the twins and gaining a 1-up. Afterwards, Scott chases after Ramona and tells her he loves her but she says that she is getting back with Gideon. Gideon then says that he doesn’t want to fight and offers Sex Bob-Omb a 3 album contract. Scott refuses to sell out to Gideon but the rest of the band sign the deal, getting Neil to become the new bassist. As Scott mopes at the house, he receives a phone call from Gideon inviting him to the grand opening of his club, Chaos Theater. Scott heads there to try and win Ramona back and as he professes his love for her, he gains “The Power Of Love” and a sword emerges out of his chest. Scott uses the sword to fight Gideon’s security forces, then goes after Gideon but Gideon easily knocks him back. As he goes for the final blow, Knives stops him, then challenges Ramona to a fight, claiming she stole Scott. As the two girls begin fighting, Scott continues fighting Gideon and manages to knock Gideon down, then stops the fight between the two girls, admitting that he started dating Ramona while he was still dating Knives, basically cheating on both of them, when Gideon stabs Scott in the back and kills him. Scott ends up in Limbo, where Ramona shows up and apologizes to Scott for dragging him into this and explains that Gideon has her under mind control. When she disappears, Scott remembers his 1-up and restores his life then heads back to the club, apologizing to his friends as he passes them. Scott gains the “Power Of Self Respect” and a new sword, which he uses to beat Gideon and free Ramona from his control. Knives attacks Ramona but Scott stops her and says that he is the one that hurt her, not Ramona. Gideon recovers and challenges Scott again and Knives and Ramona help Scott but Gideon knocks Ramona down. Scott and Knives team up to defeat Gideon and Scott ends up kicking his head off, causing a shower of coins to fall on everyone. As Scott, Ramona, and Knives catch their breath, Scott is confronted by his evil half, Nega-Scott, and he tells Ramona and Knives that he has to face him himself and they head outside. After some time passes, Scott and Nega-Scott emerge from the club and go their separate ways, with Scott saying they had a lot in common and were going to get brunch next week. Ramona tells Scott she is going to leave and after thanking him for being the nicest guy she ever dated, starts to walk away. Knives tells Scott to go after her and after he makes sure she is ok with it, he chases after Ramona and asks if he can go with her. Ramona smiles and takes his hand before leading him towards a doorway to their future.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Its script may not be as dazzling as its eye-popping visuals, but Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is fast, funny, and inventive.” When the first volume of “Scott Pilgrim” was finished, the publisher, Oni Press, contacted Marc Platt about making a film adaptation. When the film was finally ready to start shooting, the final volumes of the comic were not finished and while Bryan Lee O’Malley, the artist, gave some suggestions for the ending, he said the movie’s ending was “their ending.” The movie wound up being a failure at the box office, only earning $47.7 million off of a $60-$90 million budget.

It may be silly, and a little confusing, but this is a lot of fun to watch. The acting was pretty good, with Michael Cera doing a good job as Scott Pilgrim, though it honestly seemed like he was just playing the same character he always plays. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Ramona) and Ellen Wong (Knives) were also really good, as were all of the Exes. I don’t know how well this follows the comics but I personally thought that the story was pretty entertaining. My only problem was that it honestly felt too long, but considering they were trying to squeeze several graphic novels into one movie, this could have been a lot longer. The special effects were pretty good and just made the movie seem a lot more like a comic book, which only enhanced the entertainment value. Might not be what you were expecting, but it can be a ridiculously enjoyable movie to watch.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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action, adventure, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review

July 13th, 2017 Movie – The Scorpion King

the scorpion king

When The Mummy Returns was in theaters, one of the selling points that all the trailers referenced was that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in it, but his role actually ended up being pretty brief. Since his star power was beginning to break through outside of the wrestling world, it only made sense to do a spin-off with his character. Now while I am a wrestling fan and liked The Rock’s character, I honestly didn’t plan on going to see this movie. Honestly, the main thing I liked about the movie at the time was the soundtrack. Still, I did eventually end up watching it and it was more entertaining than I thought it would be so I wound up picking up a copy. Let’s see if that purchase was worth it as I watch The Scorpion King.

The plot: In the time before the pyramids, a barbarian tribe is in their main hut, where the leader is talking about all of the races they have fought and killed before approaching their prisoner, saying they have never killed an Akkadian before. The Akkadian, Jesup, warns them that his brother is coming for them, just as his half brother Mathayus enters the hut and begins killing the warriors in order to free his brother. Meanwhile, a warlord named Memnon leads his horde of invaders to conquer the ancient lands and only a few tribes are left to oppose him as he has a sorcerer that is able to predict the battles’ outcomes. King Pheron, one of the last leaders of the free tribes, is holding a meeting with the other leaders when Mathayus, Jesup, and Rama, the last of the Akkadians, appear and Pheron explains that he hired them to kill the sorcerer. While most of the assembled men are happy with the news, as the Akkadians are known for their assassination skills, Pheron’s son Takmet is upset that his father used the last of their treasure to hire them while another leader, King Balthazar, doesn’t like the Akkadians due to their mercenary nature. The Akkadians make their way to Memnon’s camp, taking out the sentry’s and saving a horse thief named Arpid from being executed. As they make their way towards the sorcerer’s tent, Mathayus notices movement in some of the other tents and calls out a warning just as the tents open to reveal Memnon’s men. Jesup and Rama are shot with arrows but Mathayus manages to escape and makes his way into the sorcerer’s tent. As he is about to kill the sorcerer, the sorcerer is revealed to be a sorceress named Cassandra, who says she knows why Mathayus is there and that he has been betrayed. Instead of killing her, Mathayus begins killing Memnon’s soldiers that appear but he is eventually captured. Mathayus then sees Takmet enter the tent, who admits to killing his father and swears his allegiance to Memnon. Memnon then has Jesup, who is still alive, brought to him and he proceeds to kill him in front of Mathayus but when he goes to kill Mathayus, Cassandra stops him. She says that the gods wish him to survive the night and that he won’t be killed by Memnon or any of his soldier’s hands so Memnon has Mathayus knocked out. When he regains consciousness, Mathayus finds himself buried up to his neck in the sand next to Aprid, as one of Memnon’s guards begins putting small torches down some ant hills to coax the fire ants out to kill them. Aprid manages to escape and knock out the guards, then rescues Mathayus after getting his word that he won’t kill him. They head towards Memnon’s city, and Mathayus knocks out Aprid and uses the bounty on his head to get access to the city. Once inside, Mathayus revives Aprid and buys him some wine to apologize for hitting him, then heads towards Memnon’s palace. Along the way, he encounters some street urchins, who steal the pouch with the blood rubies, but Mathayus is able to get it back, then offers one to the urchin he caught if he can get him inside the palace. The urchin leads him inside and the reach the workshop of Philos, Memnon’s court magician, who tells Mathayus where Memnon is. Mathayus pays the urchin then takes up a position to shoot Memnon but when he sees the urchin was captured and about to have his hand cut off, Mathayus saves him, exposing his position in the process. As the guards try to kill Mathayus, he runs back into Philos’ workshop, then uses a catapult that Philos built to escape the room. Mathayus ends up landing in Memnon’s harem room but as the women distract him, they secretly take all of his weapons and proceed to alert the guards. Mathayus is able to escape and ends up in Cassandra’s room, where he quickly takes her prisoner as he escapes the city. Mathayus rejoins Aprid, who was trying to take Mathayus’ camel, and they head towards the Valley of the Dead, with Cassandra explaining she was Memnon’s prisoner along the way. Meanwhile, Memnon sends his general Thorak to retrieve Cassandra and kill Mathayus, handing him an arrow laced with scorpion venom to kill him with. Mathayus, Cassandra, and Aprid reach the valley and when Mathayus sees Thorak approaching, he has Cassandra and Aprid take shelter, then rides out to face Thorak and his men, using an oncoming sandstorm as cover. Mathayus is able to kill several men in the storm and when they try to take shelter in a cave, starts picking them off one by one. He eventually fatally stabs Thorak but when he goes to kill the last of Thorak’s men, Thoraks stabs him in the leg with the poisoned arrow. When the storm passes, Cassandra and Aprid go to find Mathayus and Cassandra is able to use her powers to save Mathayus’ life. MAthayus and the others soon meet up with Philos, who had escaped the city after being accused of being a traitor, and he happily tells them he found the secret to his magic powder (gunpowder). As the group stop at an oasis to rest, they are captured by rebel forces and taken to the main camp. Once there, Balthazar plans on killing them but Mathayus is able to get free and fights Balthazar, eventually beating him. That night, Cassandra has a vision of the village being massacred by Memnon’s men and she goes to tell Mathayus what she saw. He sees this as a way to kill Memnon but she has a vision and tells him that he will die if he faces Memnon. Mathayus says that he chooses to make his own destiny and kisses her. Mathayus and Cassandra end up sleeping together, after which she wakes up and takes Mathayus’ camel and rides back to Memnon’s city in order to spare the village. When Mathayus wakes, he plans on going after her and Balthazar stops him at first but then accompanies him with some of his warriors. At the city, Memnon is having a feast to celebrate his army’s impending victory in the morning but one of his generals says the men are talking about Cassandra not being there as a sign the gods are not with them. When Cassandra appears, she tells the men that she sees victory for them and Memnon kills the general that questioned him, then says the feast is over. Memnon then tells Takmet to seal the city while he takes Cassandra into his chambers. Once there, he says he feels something is different about her and has his men place four cobras in some vases, then has them spun around before making her choose the two vases that are free from the cobras. Meanwhile, Mathayus and the others make their way into the city before separating to go on their own missions. In Memnon’s chamber, Cassandra correctly picks one vase but when she chooses the next one, she grabs the cobra that is in it and threatens Memnon with it. Memnon easily kills the cobra but when he goes to kill her, Mathayus bursts into the room and begins fighting with Memnon. Meanwhile, Philos and Aprid head underneath the city and place sacks of gunpowder around the main support column for the temple. On the palace grounds, Balthazar and the Amazon warriors fend off the palace guards, with Balthazar killing Takmet during the fights. Memnon manages to grab Cassandra and exits the chamber but Mathayus follows after him. When Memnon gets the upperhand on Mathayas and one of his guards shoots him in the back, just as Cassandra had seen. As the rest of Memnon’s soldiers arrive at the scene, Aprid sets the gunpowder on fire, just as Mathayus stands up, pulls the arrow from his back, and shoots Memnon with it. Memnon is consumed in the explosion before crashing to the ground in front of his army and as they see Mathayus standing atop the temple, they kneel and declare him their new king as per their tradition. The next day, Balthazar and his people leave, with Balthazar telling Mathayus he is a king now but they will be watching him. Cassandra says that she foresees a time of peace and prosperity for his kingdom and when he asks how long it will last, she says nothing lasts forever but Mathayus says that he will make his own destiny.

The Scorpion King met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Action adventure doesn’t get much cheesier than The Scorpion King.” Dwayne Johnson said that he intentionally shied away from using any of his signature moves as The Rock in the movie, with the only exception being “The People’s Eyebrow”, which he used after he landed in Memnon’s harem. The movie was a box office hit, earning $165.3 million off of a $60 million budget, and ended up spawning 3 direct to video sequels.

This is a pretty basic over-the-top action movie but it can be entertaining. The acting was good, with Dwayne Johnson (Mathayus), Kelly Hu (Cassandra), and Michael Clarke Duncan (Balthazar) doing good jobs in their roles, while Grant Heslov (Aprid) and Bernard Hill (Philos) making for some good comic relief. The story was interesting, since it was a prequel to a movie, which in turn was a sequel to another movie. As for the actual plot itself, it was pretty basic to be honest with nothing really special or original to it. The special effects were ok but I honestly thought they could have been better for a big budget picture like this. It is interesting to watch to learn about the character’s history but unless you are just in the mood for an mindless action movie, there isn’t much reason to watch this movie.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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