comedy, horror, movie, movie review

May 12th, 2018 Movie – Waxwork

waxwork

Ahh, another bonus gem I got when buying a set for a specific movie. This is one of those movies that I first saw years ago, but have never seen the whole movie. I would almost always miss the first part of the movie, and sometimes the middle, but have seen the last 30 minutes of this movie numerous times over the years. The portion that I did watch was always entertaining and I had often thought about renting this movie but never got around to it. Luckily for me, it wound up being on the Horror collection that I had bought so I can finally watch the entirety of today’s movie, Waxwork.

The plot: At an old mansion, the owner is attacked and shoved face first into the fireplace of his study, setting his head ablaze, and as he flails around briefly before dying, his assailant quickly smashes the display cases in his study and grabs the jewels contained in them. Some time later, Mark Loftmore is having breakfast with his mother but gets upset with her controlling nature and leaves for school. Meanwhile, China Webster and Sarah Brightman are walking to school when they notice a strange house of wax that they don’t remember seeing before. They are startled by the sudden appearance of the owner David Lincoln, who invites them to a midnight showing and says they can bring some friends but no more than 6 can attend. At school, Mark is upset to find out that China, whom he had been dating, had gone out with Jonathan, the school’s quarterback. As Mark, China, and Sarah are hanging out with their friends James, Gemma, and Tony, China mentions the invitation to the waxworks and the group agrees to go to it, though Mark and China continue to argue about their relationship. When they arrive at the mansion, Gemma gets scared and decides to leave and James goes with her. As Mark and the others approach the door, they are startled when it opens seemingly on it’s own, only to see a dwarven butler opening it and inviting them in. The butler escorts them into the waiting room and after a few minutes, another door opens and they head through it. As they begin wandering through the displays on their own, Tony stops at a display and goes to light a cigarette, only for his lighter to slip from his hands. As he steps over the rope barricade to look for his lighter, he suddenly finds himself trapped in the display, with his appearance changed to match the display. Finding a cabin in the middle of the woods, he approaches it and knocks on the door only to have the man inside yell at him to go away. As Tony tries to argue with the man, the man suddenly has a change of heart and tells him to get some firewood but as Tony does so, the man suddenly changes into a werewolf. When Tony returns to the cabin, he is attacked an bitten by a werewolf, just as an old farmer and his son arrive. The son tries to distract the werewolf, who brushes off his attack and then rips him in half, but it allows the farmer time to load the silver bullets into his rifle and shoot the werewolf. Tony starts to transform so the farmer shoots him too and as he dies, he becomes part of the display just as Mark walks by it. Meanwhile, China is intrigued by the display of Count Dracula and when the rope suddenly drops, she moves forward to get a closer look and finds herself transported into Dracula’s castle. Confused at first, China is invited to sit for dinner by Dracula and his companions and after eating, he has his servants escort her to her room. As she looks about the room, Dracula’s male companion enters and attempts to attack her but she manages to escape him and run. Heading down into the wine cellar, she finds a man chained to a table, with the flesh removed from his left leg, and he tells her about the vampires and how to kill them. When the male and female vampires arrive, China is able to kill them all and tries to run but is soon confronted by Dracula, who mesmerizes her and then proceeds to bite her and drain her blood. Back in the real world, Mark finds Sarah staring at the display for the Marquis de Sade and as he goes looking for the others, the rope falls and Sarah starts to enter the display only to stop when Mark says the others are gone. As they leave, Mark complains about Tony and China leaving together and Sarah, who likes Mark, asks why he is so bothered by it. Meanwhile, Jonathan calls China’s house looking for her and when he learns she hasn’t returned from the showing, he heads over to the house. As he is escorted inside, he comments about the display for The Phantom Of The Opera and Lincoln pushes him into the display, where he is soon killed. Later, Mark escorts Sarah back to her place and goes to kiss her but she stops him and he says it’s okay and heads home. The next day, Mark tries calling China and Tony only to learn that they never came home. He talks about it with Sarah, Gemma, and James and says if nobody has heard from them by the afternoon, he will go to the police. At the police station, Inspector Roberts says that there have been 13 missing people in the last two weeks and Mark convinces him to go check out the wax museum. When they get there, Lincoln answers the door and tells Roberts that there was no showing last night, as the museum hasn’t opened yet, but invites him to take a look inside. Roberts does so and as he is looking around, he comments about the mummy display but when Lincoln tries to get him to take a closer look, he refuses and says he has to leave. Mark is upset when Roberts says he can’t do anything yet, as he has no proof, and when he leaves, Mark suddenly realizes something and goes to school to get Sarah, saying he recognized Lincoln. Meanwhile, Roberts is going over all of the missing persons reports when he realizes that he recognized some of them as being part of the displays at the museum. He heads back there and sneaks into the museum, and steps over the rope into the display with Dracula and China, and is not transported into the castle. Approaching China, he uses his knife to peel off a portion of her face and places it into an evidence bag. Meanwhile, Mark takes Sarah up to the attic of his house and after looking around, he finds a newspaper article about his grandfather’s death, where the only suspect was his assistant, David Lincoln. When he shows her the picture of Lincoln, Sarah comments that it is the same man that invited her and China to the museum, and is surprised that he hasn’t aged. When Sarah asks Mark what is going on, he tells her he doesn’t know but knows where they can get some answers. Back at the museum, Roberts goes to leave but accidentally winds up in the mummy display, where he is transported into an Egyptian tomb. As he helps to open the crypt, the exploration party is attacked by a mummy and Roberts ends up being trapped in the crypt with the party leader’s daughter. Robert’s partner gets tired of waiting for him and goes inside the museum to find him but he is killed by Junior, a tall butler that works there. Lincoln sees what Junior did and berates him for killing the detective, saying they still needed two more. Mark and Sarah go to see Sir Wilfred, a wheelchair bound friend of Mark’s grandfather, who tells them that he and Mark’s grandfather had been collecting trinkets from 18 of the most evil people in history. However, Lincoln had stolen the trinkets and sold his soul to the devil as part of a deal to revive the 18 deadly souls. Lincoln fashioned the displays to serve as traps and when all 18 scenes have received a soul, then the dead shall walk again and it will bring about the end of the world. Sir Wilfred tells them that the only way to stop this is to burn the museum and all of it’s displays, especially the ones that have not received a victim yet, and convinces Mark and Sarah to go, as he would be more of a hindrance to them but after they leave, he makes a phone call to get some help. Mark and Sarah break into the museum and find themselves in the wax room, where they find a vat of boiling wax inside. Heading into the display area, Mark finds Sarah drawn back to the display of the Marquis de Sade and tries to snap her out of her trance when she suddenly disappears and as he goes to look for her, Junior shoves him into the zombie display. Mark finds himself in a cemetery and when a zombie breaks out of it’s grave and grabs him, he uses a rock to break off it’s hand, then impales the hand on the top of the gate posts as it tries to attack him. When he goes to leave he is confronted by a barrier but realizes that if he doesn’t believe the display is real, it won’t hurt him and he is able to break free. Returning to the real world, Mark quickly jumps into the Marquis de Sade’s display before Junior and the dwarf can stop him. Once there, he knocks out a guard and then goes to confront the Marquis, who had been whipping Sarah. When Mark frees her from her restraints, Sarah throws herself at the Marquis’ feet and begs him not to let Mark take her and the Marquis proceeds to taunt Mark over how he pleasured her with pain. Mark reasons with Sarah, saying that the displays only have as much power as they give them and proves it by having the Marquis try to attack him and Sarah lets Mark take her away from there. When they return to the real world, they are grabbed by Lincoln and Junior and taken away, just as Gemma and James sneak into the museum. The two enter the zombie and the Marquis’s displays and are soon killed off and made part of the displays, completing the ritual. As the displays all start to come to life and move towards Mark and Sarah, they are saved by Sir Wilfred and Jenkins, as well as a group of armed people. Sir Wilfred says that they can let any of the creatures escape the museum or else they will contaminate the world with their evil, then leads the charge against the creatures. As the fight breaks out, Billy is confronted by China, who attempts to bite him but he is saved by Jenkins, who explains that she wasn’t human anymore. Sarah helps to kill James and Jonathan and Mark then kills Junior, who had stabbed Jenkins. As the fight continues, Lincoln heads off into the cellar and Mark, briefly being confronted by the Marquis, heads after him as the museum ends up set on fire. In the cellar, Mark is confronted by the Marquis again and the two fight, with the Marquis continuously toying with Mark, but as he goes to finish him, the Marquis is killed by Sarah, who throws an axe into his back. Sarah and Mark embrace when Lincoln goes to shoot him but Sir Wilfred shoots Lincoln, causing him to fall into the boiling wax. As the flames continue to engulf the museum, Sir Wilfred tells them to run for it, just as the werewolf rips his head off before they are consumed by the flames. Mark and Sarah manage to make it out of the museum, as do some of the fighters, and they watch as the museum is burnt to cinders before walking away, not noticing the severed zombie hand crawling free from the rubble and escaping through the grass.

Waxwork met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, many of the critics felt it was an entertaining movie but didn’t have anything special to make it stand out. The missing persons posters that Roberts is staring at when he realized the people were at the museum, were actually a copy of one of the missing persons poster from the beginning of The Lost Boys. They picture of a single person in Waxwork is shown on the poster but the information is for two missing children and has the Santa Clara Police Dept. information on it. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $808,114 off of a $1.5 million budget, but did manage to spawn a sequel 4 years later.

This is one of those ridiculous movies that you watch just to have some fun. The acting is ok, with Zach Galligan (Mark) and Deborah Foreman (Sarah) doing a good job in their roles while David Warner played Lincoln with the same style as almost every other villain he plays. Honestly, I think he doesn’t so much act out characters as just play himself because many of his characters just seem so similar to each other. The story was interesting, though I have to really wander about the “18 most evil characters” aspects and how Mark’s grandfather was able to collect trinkets from some of them. I mean, a space alien, a pod from Body Snatchers, and a talking plant (an obvious nod to Little Shop of Horrors), is a bit of a stretch on the believability scale. The special effects were decent and I liked the make up involved with a lot of the character designs. A fun bit of horro comedy that is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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action, adventure, movie, movie review, sci-fi, video game

March 25th, 2018 Movie – TRON

tron

When you think of Disney, everyone will always think of their animated features first and foremost, although recently some people might say that the MCU and Star Wars movies might be more prominent. However, even before they bought those franchises, Disney would occasionally make their own foray into the realm of science fiction. Today’s movie is probably Disney’s biggest cult classic film as I don’t think I have met too many people who have seen it that have not enjoyed this movie. I remember watching this on VHS years ago and 5 year old me thought that it was absolutely fantastic. To this day, I still enjoy it and as soon as it was available on DVD, I would buy a copy of it. So now let’s have some 80’s retro enjoyment with today’s movie, TRON.

The plot: At Flynns, a popular video arcade, people line up to play a series of popular games. Inside one of the games, a program called Sark is racing a light cycle against the player and ends up winning the race by crashing his opponent into the light wall. LAter, Sark returns to his control ship and speaks with Master Control, the main system program for Encom’s computers, tells him that he absorbed some military software and wants Sark to battle their programs and defeat them in order to fully integrate them into himself. Elsewhere, a banking program is placed into a cell, where he meets Ram, another program, and Ram explains that they are there for believing in the Users, the people that programmed them. Back in the real world, Kevin Flynn, a former programmer for Encom, sends his hacking program Clu into Encom’s systems looking for some files he needs. In the system, Clu, accompanied by his data sprite Bit, is riding in a tank into the high clearance memory when he is confronted by a squad of Recognizers. Clu attempts to fight his way through them but ends up crashing his tank, then yells at Bit to get out of there before he is captured. Clu is taken to see Master Control, who tortures Clu to find out who programmed him but when Clu refuses to talk, Master Control has him erased and then contacts Ed Dillinger, the Senior Executive Vice President of Encom. Dillinger returns to the home office and access his computer to talk with Master Control, who tells him that Flynn has been snooping around the system looking for the files and Dillinger suggest suspending the higher level access to try and keep Flynn out. In his cubicle, Alan Bradley finds his access has been suspended and goes to see Dillinger, who tells him the issue and says it will only be for a few days. He then asks what Alan is working on and Alan tells him his program is called Tron; a watchdog/security program that will ensure that systems are not accessing files they are not supposed to. After Alan leaves, Master Control contacts Dillinger and tells him that he doesn’t like the idea of an independent program running around in his system, as he has appropriated countless outside programs. Alan heads down to the research lab to see his girlfriend Lora, who is working on a project with her mentor Dr. Walter Gibbs that consists of  a laser and program that will digitize solid matter and reconstruct it into the computer. Alan tells Lora about level 7 access being suspended because someone was hacking the system and she says that Flynn had mentioned trying to get into the system and had the proper access. The two head to Flynn’s arcade and talk to him and he admits that he had been trying to hack into the system. He explains that he had invented the video game Space Paranoid and several others while he was working at Encom but one day he found his files missing and 3 months later, Dillinger presents the games to the board and advances up the ranks. Flynn has been trying to find the files in the Master Control Program’s memory to show as proof but with level 7 access suspended, he won’t be able to do so. When Alan mentions his Tron program, Flynn says he could forge a level 6 access if he had physical access to the system and Lora says they should go right now. Heading back to Encom, Flynn hacks the security door so they can get into the building unannounced then separate, with Alan heading to his terminal to get ready to activate Tron while Lora taking Flynn to her station so he can hack into the system. Meanwhile, Dillinger is meeting with Gibbs, who is arguing about cutting the programmers access and complains about how the company has changed since he first helped found it. Afterwards, Dillinger is talking to Master Control, who says he plans on hacking the Pentagon and Kremlin, threatening to release the file about Dillinger’s theft of Flynn’s intellectual property to the Times if Dillinger tries to stop him. Lora shows Flynn her terminal then heads up to meet with Alan, leaving Flynn to try to get into the system. As Flynn starts working at the terminal, Master Control speaks out to him and warns him to stop but when Flynn continues on his task, Master Control activates the laser and blasts Flynn, transporting him into the computer system, where he is captured by Sark’s men. Master Control contacts Sark and tells him he wants Flynn placed in the games so he can be killed and when Sark balks upon hearing that Flynn is a user, Master Control threatens to shut him down unless he does as instructed. Flynn is taken out of his cell along with the other newly captured programs, and Sark addresses them and says they will all be competing in the games for the chance to join his men in service to the MCP. As they are walking back to their cells, Flynn sees a program fighting against 4 of Sark’s men and asks Ram who he is and Ram tells him that it is Tron. Later, Flynn is forced to compete in a game against another free program, playing a form of paddle ball on a series of rings, which disappear when the ball hits them. Flynn manages to get the upper hand on his opponent but when Sark orders him to finish the game and kill his opponent, Flynn refuses. Sark then kills Flynn’s opponent and considers killing Flynn but recalls Master Control’s orders and has him escorted to the next game. Flynn meets up with Ram and Tron, who Flynn is surprised to see looks like Alan. When Flynn calls him Alan, Tron remarks that that is his user and Flynn lies, telling him that his user sent him here to help him take out the MCP. Flynn, Tron, and Ram are sent into the light cycle grid and compete in a team battle against 3 of Sark’s men in a 3 on 3 match. During the course of the match, one of Sark’s men crashes into the wall and causes an opening, which Flynn escapes through, following by Tron and Ram. The three manage to avoid the Recognizers and tanks that Sark sends after them and then look around the area. Seeing an input/output tower in the distance, Tron says he has to head there and make contact with Alan or else they won’t be able to get close the the MCP. As the three head out, they are attacked by a group of tanks and Flynn and Ram’s light cycles are destroyed while Tron, thinking they are dead, continues to escape, pursued by Sark and his men. Flynn and Ram survived, though Ram is seriously injured, and Flynn carries him into the wreckage of a Recognizer and lays him down before passing out himself. After resting for a bit, Flynn notices that some of the Recognizer’s systems have come online and he discovers he is able to rebuild it, using his knowledge as a User, to do so. Flying off to meet with Tron, Flynn tells Ram that he will get him some help but Ram motions for him to come closer. Stopping the Recognizer, Flynn approaches Ram, who recognizes him as a User and begs him to help Tron and as Flynn promises, Ram smiles before he derezzes. Meanwhile, Tron has reached the tower and contacts Yori, a program that looks like Lora in the real world, and when she recognizes him, she embraces Tron then leads him to Dumont, who can help him contact Alan. Back in the Recognizer, Flynn finds himself struggling to control it due to damage it had previously sustained, while a Bit begins floating around his head and commenting on his driving. Flynn eventually crashes into the outskirts of the tower and goes looking for Tron but is forced to hide when Sark and some of his men walk by. Noticing a straggler, Flynn knocks him out but as he goes to move the body, Flynn realizes that his circuitry has instinctively changed colors to mimic one of Sark’s men. Meanwhile, Tron and Yori manage to sneak into Dumont’s chamber and convince Dumont to help Tron contact Alan. With Dumont locking Sark’s forces out of the tower, Tron is able to contact Alan, who places the information needed to shut down the MCP onto Tron’s identity disk. Tron and Yori leave the chamber just as Sark and his men manage to break through and capture Dumont for helping Tron. Tron and Yori board a solar-sailer simulation to make their way to the MCP’s core and Tron fights off Sark’s men who try to stop him, unintentionally knocking Flynn off the ship, though he manages to cling to the simulation’s side. As they sail along the information beam, Sark’s control ship attempts to catch up to them but Lori is able to speed up the simulation and escape. As he heads back to Yori, Tron notices Flynn, who calls out to stop Tron from attacking him, and Tron helps him aboard and smiles to see his friend still alive but is saddened to learn of Ram’s death. Tron introduces Flynn to Yori and Flynn tells them that he is a User, which surprises Tron and Yori. When they find their progress stopped by a power surge from the MCP, Flynn uses his body as a gateway to link the simulation to another data stream, allowing the power surge to destroy the two Recognizers that were following them. Tron and Yori are surprised to find that Flynn isn’t derezzing and believe that he is a user but as they continue towards the MCP, Sark’s ship broadsides them and destroys the simulation, seemingly killing Tron while Flynn and Yori are captured. The two are placed in a cell with Dumont and when Sark enters, he is shocked to see Flynn is still alive. Sark orders Dumont taken to his landing shuttle, and tells Flynn that after he leaves, the ship will derezz, along with everyone left on board but unknown to Sark, Tron is still alive and clings to the outside of the shuttle. Sark leaves and the ship begins to derezz but Flynn is able to keep it from completely being destroyed, and saves Yori so she can help him. At the MCP, Sark has the religious zealots taken into the MCP, where Master Control begins to absorb them into himself. Tron shows up and begins fighting with Sark, eventually dealing him a fatal blow but when he goes to attack Master Control, the MCP brings up a shield, then uses his power to resurrect Sark into a giant. When Flynn and Yori arrive, Flynn has Yori steer the ship close to the information beam, then jumps into it, distracting the MCP long enough to expose an opening in the shield. Tron throws his disk through the opening and into the MCP, where it is eventually destroyed. As Tron, Yori, Dumont, and the others watch, the I/O Towers change colors, showing that they are no longer under the control of the MCP. Meanwhile, Flynn is blasted back into the real world and as he gets his bearings, a printer begins printing out the information Flynn had been looking for and he cheers at the success. The next day, Dillinger walks into his office and accesses his computer only to see the information about his stealing Flynn’s games has been displayed to every computer in the building and he sits down, realizing his career is ruined. Some time later, Alan and Lora are on the roof of Encom tower waiting for their new boss to arrive and as the helicopter lands, Flynn gets out and hugs his two friends, saying “Greetings programs”, referencing his time in The Grid.

TRON met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though perhaps not as strong dramatically as it is technologically, TRON is an original and visually stunning piece of science fiction that represents a landmark work in the history of computer animation.” The movie was considered a failure, despite earning $33 million off of a $17 million budget, but the video games developed based on the movie would prove to be a major hit and would actually out-gross the movie. Tron was actually disqualified from receiving an Oscar nomination for special effects because at the time, the Academy felt that using computers was “cheating”. TRON would develop a cult following and aside from various video games, it would get a film sequel almost 30 years later, as well as an animated TV series that would bridge somewhat bridge the gap and lead into the sequel.

Yes, this movie is somewhat dated but I still love this movie. The acting was great, with Jeff Bridges (Flynn/Clu), David Warner (Dillinger/Sark. Master Control), and Bruce Boxleitner (Alan/Tron) doing great jobs in their roles. I also thought that Condy Morgan (Lora/Yori) and Barnard Hughes (Gibbs/Dumont) were equally good, though they unfortunately seemed to come across more as supporting characters. The story was a pretty good action/sci-fi movie as a whole, while also doing a good job of showcasing the fears that some people felt in the 80’s, and still do today, about computers starting to gain more control and self autonomy, to the point where they could eventually replace people. The special effects for the time were incredible and considered groundbreaking, especially the blend of computer animation with human actors. I loved the color scheme used in The Grid, with the bright colors mixed with the bland backgrounds making for some vivid imagery during some scenes. Yes, there might be some nostalgia involved but this is still a movie that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, comedy, fantasy, movie, movie review

February 22nd, 2018 Movie – Time Bandits

time bandits

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4 out of 5

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action, adventure, comedy, movie, movie review, superhero

January 28th, 2018 Movie – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze

teenage mutant ninja turtles 2

As expected of any superhero movie, if the first one is successful, then a sequel is sure to follow. That was definitely the case for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as it seemed like the studio almost immediately got to work on a sequel when they realized how big of a hit the first movie was. When I first saw the trailers for this movie, I remember thinking that it didn’t look as good as the first one, seeming to focus more on the comedy, and making it seem stupider as a result. I didn’t go to see this in theaters but I do remember renting it on video so my little brothers could watch it. So let’s see how today’s movie stands up as I watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze.

The plot: In New York City, a pizza delivery boy name Keno is delivering some pizzas to April O’Neil’s new apartment when he notices some vans with several boxes parked across the street. Heading to the shopping center, he finds 3 guys stealing some stuff and after attracting their attention, uses his martial arts skills to knock them out, only to see several more men show up. Suddenly, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show up and place Keno in a trash can to keep him out of trouble, then proceed to deal with the crooks. When they are finished, they send Keno to call the police and when he gets back, he finds the Turtles gone, as well as the pizzas but the money for them is placed in the bag. April returns to her apartment just as the Turtles come back and asks if they have had any luck finding a new place to live and Raphael suggests they go to their old home but Leonardo says that would not be smart since the Foot knows where that is. As Raphael and Leonardo argue over why that matters, since Raphael believes the Foot isn’t a problem since Shredder is dead, Splinter shows up and says that they must return to the underground. Meanwhile, the remains of the Foot Clan are meeting in the junkyard and Tatsu, expressing his anger over the situation, says he is in charge now but they are all shocked when the Shredder appears. The Shredder tells Tatsu to send his best ninja to follow April, as she will lead them to Splinter and the Turtles, so that he can get his revenge on them. The next day, April is doing a report on TGRI’s (Techno Global Research Institute) efforts in cleaning up a toxic spill and interviews the head scientist, Professor Jordan Perry. At the apartment, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo are watching the news report and Raphael wants to change the channel but Splinter tells him not to touch the TV, as he stares intently at the screen. After the interview, some of the TGRI workers find some dandelions that have grown to gigantic proportions and go to alert Jordan, who says a canister must have been buried there and leaked, but unknown to them, Freddy, the Foot soldier that is undercover as part of April’s camera crew, finds one of the flowers and takes it to the junkyard to show Shredder. When Shredder sees the flower, he says that whatever caused this might be useful and orders Tatsu to gather his best men and grab Jordan. At April’s apartment, April returns to her apartment and the Turtles tell her that Splinter has been on the roof ever since he saw her report when Splinter comes down and asks that they join him. On the roof, Splinter reveals the broken canister that contained the ooze that transformed them and when he puts the pieces together, they learn that it came from TGRI, and Splinter says they have to find out if there are more canisters, as it could cause great trouble to the city. At TGRI, Jordan is working on getting rid of the remaining canisters of the ooze and as he prepares the last canister for disposal, Tatsu and the Foot show up and grab it and Jordan. The Turtles show up at TGRI and Donatello discovers that all of the canisters have been disposed of except for one. Suddenly, the see Tatsu and the Foot with the canister and they attempt to get it back from them but fail. Returning to April’s apartment, the Turtles decide to go ahead and move out, as they feel April isn’t safe if the Foot are still around and looking for them. Before they leave, Keno shows up with a free pizza and manages to get inside her apartment and discovers the Turtles and Splinter. Splinter explains how they came to be and Keno says that the Foot is recruiting any teenager that knows martial arts. He offers to infiltrate the Foot and find out where the ooze is and Raphael agrees with him but Splinter and the others say it is too dangerous. The Turtles head down into the sewers to find a new place to live but Raphael gets fed up and decides to leave. As the others keep looking for a new home, Michelangelo falls into an abandoned subway tunnel, which they feel will be perfect as their new home. Meanwhile, Shredder has Jordan use the ooze on a wolf and snapping turtle, causing them to mutate into giant creatures. However, the two creatures have the intelligence of infants, imprinting on Shredder as their surrogate mother. Shredder orders Tatsu to destroy them but Jordan appeals to Shredder, saying that they might not be smart but their great strength could be useful to him. The next day, Raphael meets with Keno and has him go try to sign up to be part of the Foot Clan, helping him pass the test to get in. Keno is taken to the Foot’s headquarters in the junkyard and Raphael says they should go tell the others when he sees the Shredder in a nearby building. Not believing what he saw, Raphael goes to take a closer look but they end up being spotted by Tatsu, so Raphael starts fighting the Foot to allow Keno to escape and tell the others, but Raphael ends up getting captured. Keno runs back to April’s apartment, where he meets her outside and tells her about Raphael being captured. The Turtles head to the junkyard to rescue Raphael but end up getting captured, and Shredder reveals himself and has them maneuvered over a bed of sharpened metal scraps. Splinter uses a bow and arrow to free the Turtles from the net, and they begin fighting the Foot to rescue Raphael when Shredder yells out for his new creations, Tokka and Rahzar. The two creatures easily overpower the Turtles and during the fight, Donatello is thrown into the building where Jordan is being held and he manages to rescue him. Michelangelo finds a manhole cover and the Turtles and Jordan manage to get away from Tokka and Rahzar. Afterwards, Shredder decides to send Tokka and Rahzar out into the city and have them begin destroying the area. The next day, April is interviewing Police Chief Sterns and afterwards, she is grabbed by a Foot soldier and dragged into an alley, where Freddy reveals himself and gives her a message for the Turtles. April contacts the Turtles, who bring her to their new home, and explains that Shredder wants them to head to a construction yard to face Tokka and Rahzar or else Shredder will unleash them on Central Park. Realizing they have no choice, the Turtles prepare to head to the construction yard but Jordan stops them, saying he has an idea. Having Keno go pick up some supplies, Jordan fashions an anti-mutagen to use against Tokka and Rahzar but says that they have to eat it. Michelangelo comes up with an idea and the Turtles head to the construction yard, where they find the Foot surrounding the open area. Shredder calls out Tokka and Rahzar but before they start fighting, Michelangelo offers them a pre-fight doughnut. Tokka and Rahzar each eat one but when Tokka grabs a second one, he discovers the frozen anti-mutagen inside it and begins fighting the Turtles. The Turtles are thrown out of the construction yard and into a nearby club, where Vanilla Ice is performing. As the crowd reacts in shock at the fight, Vanilla Ice begins singing about what is going on, calling it the Ninja Rap. Jordan shows up and speaks with Donatello, and realizes that Tokka and Rahzar’s burping is slowing the anti-mutagen’s affect but grabs a fire extinguisher, saying they can use that to introduce more CO2 into their system to speed up the anti-mutagen. The Turtles manage to knock Tokka and Rahzar down, then spray the extinguishers into their mouths, rendering the two unconscious. The Foot shows up and the Turtles easily defeat them, as well as Tatsu, then start dancing and make their way on stage. Shredder appears and holds up the last container of ooze, saying that he will make more mutants to fight the Turtles but Keno shows up and kicks the ooze out of his hand, which Jordan quickly grabs and leaves the club with it.. Shredder grabs a hostage and threatens to douse her with the small vial of ooze that he has but Raphael throws Keno into him, causing Shredder to release his hostage, and Michelangelo uses a keytar, with the speakers turned up, to send Shredder flying out of the club. The Turtles follow after him only to discover that Shredder has drank the ooze, turning him into a Super Shredder. Super Shredder begins to tear down the docks that they are on, sending it crashing down on top of him but the Turtles dive into the water and mange to swim to safety. Later, Splinter is watching the news, where April reads a note from Jordan thanking the Turtles by name. When the Turtles return home, Splinter asks if they were seen and they tell him no, as they practice the art of invisibility, but he holds up a newspaper, with their picture on the front page, and tells them to practice harder, quoting the Ninja Rap song as they start their punishment.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze met with negative results from the critics, holding a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Not only is the movie’s juvenile dialogue unbearable for adults, but the turtles’ dopey and casual attitude towards physical violence makes them poor kids’ role models.” Ernie Reyes Jr. was the fight double for Donatello in the original movie and the producers liked him so much that they wrote the character of Keno into the sequel just so they could have him in it and replace Casey Jones, who they felt was too violent. While it had a bigger budget, the movie was not as successful as it’s predecessor, earning $78.6 million off of a $25 million budget.

This movie is such a disappointment compared to the original one. I did like Paige Turco, who replaced Judith Hoag as April O’Neil, and I loved Ernie Reyes Jr. (Keno), who matched up incredibly well with Raphael in attitude and personality. The story honestly felt a little weak, as if they wanted to try and create Rocksteady and Bebop, the mutated villains from the cartoon, without actually using those characters. The fight scenes with the ninjas was pretty good, and Ernie Reyes Jr. was fantastic in his fight scenes, but the scenes with Tokka and Rahzar were just so slow paced in comparison that it wasn’t even funny. And of course, we have the whole scene in the club and “Ninja Rap”. Pardon my language for a minute but, fuck this movie for giving us that fucking song. Ok, got that out of my system. Anyways, there are some good parts but on the whole, it doesn’t come close to the original.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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