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

November 11th, 2018 Movie – Tremors 6: A Cold Day In Hell

tremors 6

2018 was kind of a disappointment on the sci-fi front. See, there had been talk of a reboot of the Tremors TV series, with Kevin Bacon returning to star in it. They even made a trailer for the show but then Syfy decided to pass on it. The only bright spot on this bit of sad news is that we did get a new movie in the franchise. As soon as I heard that this movie was being made, I immediately made plans to purchase it as soon as it came out. So let’s see what new horrors are in store for us with today’s movie, Tremors 6: A Cold Day In Hell.

The plot: At the Nanavut Province in northern Canada, 3 scientist (Aussie, Yankee, and Dutch) are taking core samples of some ice when their drill hits something under the ice. As Yankee and Dutch work on the drill, a yellowish fluid starts seeping up, just as Aussie detects a seismic anomaly, as if something living was moving under the ice. Suddenly, a large graboid burst out of the ice and swallows Aussie, while whatever was struck by the drill begins moving, dragging Yankee with it. As the graboid burrow under the snow towards Dutch, he starts running and falls down an embankment, only to have the graboid kill him. Some time later in Perfection, New Mexico, Burt Gummer is approached by Special Agent Dalkwed of the U.S. Treasury Dept. Dalkwed tells him that due to Burt’s not paying taxes, the government is putting a lien on his property. As Dalkwed leaves, Burt’s son Travis shows up with supplies that he had gone to get and he argues with Burt over his not making more of an effort to work with him. Back in the arctic, Dr. Rita Sims, the head of the research team, heads out to the site of the attack with team members Valerie McKee and Aklark and when they see the carnage, Valerie recognizes what has happened. Back in Perfection, Burt is taking a nap on the roof of Chang’s store but is plagued by painful nightmares of the time he was swallowed by a graboid. As he falls out of his hammock, Travis tells him he has a phone call from a woman saying they have a graboid problem. Burt picks up the phone and speaks with Rita but when she tells him where they are located, he says that it can’t be a graboid attack as they are desert/tropical creatures. Valerie gets on the phone and tells Burt she is a graboid enthusiast, impressing him with her knowledge of the creatures, and tells him the site has all the markings of an attack and convinces him it is worth coming out there to investigate as it would be a new phenomenon for him to explore. Burt packs up for his trip and Travis packs to go with him, which Burt objects to his coming but Travis convinces him that he needs to teach him how to hunt and kill graboids for when the time comes that he is unable to do it anymore. The two head out to Canada and as they are flying to the site in a single prop plane piloted by Mac, they are attacked by an ass-blaster, which runs into the prop and forces them to land. On the ground, they are approached by Mr. Cutts, who is in charge of a DARPA facility next to the research station. Cutts confiscates the alcohol that Mac was smuggling into the area and warns Burt to stay out of his way, while Burt warns him that he should take his team and leave the area. As Cutts leaves, Valerie and Aklark show up and Valerie rushes up to hug Burt. Burt chastises her for not telling him about the ass-blasters and when she learns they saw one, she says her parents aren’t going to believe it, then reveals that she is the daughter of Valentine “Val” McKee and Rhonda LeBeck, whom Burt lost track of after they left town following the first Graboid attack. The head out to the Boite Canyon Arctic Research Facility, towing Mac’s plane behind them so she can repair the engine. They are approached by Rita and Dr. Charles Freezze, who is upset to learn that the plane is broken as he wants to leave as quickly as possible. Rita introduces Burt and Travis to the rest of the staff and Burt tries to tell them of the dangers they are now facing. Burt then asks Rita to step aside and asks her about Cutts and the DARPA facility and she tells him it is a joint US/Canada project but they are being secretive about it. Suddenly an ass-blaster appears at the site and kills a security guard while trapping Freezze underneath the communications tower, which it destroys while trying to get to him. Burt heads out to rescue Freezze, handing him an insulated pancho to hide his body heat from the ass-blaster when Burt suddenly has a seizure and collapses to the ground. As the ass-blaster flies towards Burt, Travis and Rita head out and start shooting at it and Burt recovers enough to shoot as well and they eventually kill the ass-blaster, but Burt passes out. When Burt regains consciousness, Valerie tells him he had surgery and the two talk for a bit before she leaves as Travis enters the room. Travis asks Burt how he is doing but Burt angrily asks him where he got the HK that he was using when they are interrupted by Rita, who says she has something Burt needs to see. Meanwhile, the DARPA team is at the Meltwater Hot Springs 8 miles from the camp taking reading of the water when they detect a high level of formic acid in the water. Suddenly, the scientist in the water hears something just before a graboid appears and kills her. Back at the research facility, Burt is told that he has a parasitic organism in his blood that is killing him and when they tell him that it came from a graboid, he figures he was infected when he was swallowed and had to cut his way out of one. Travis suggests that they kill a graboid to get the antibodies but they tell him they need a live graboid, which Burt says is impossible to catch. Suddenly, graboid tendrils snake through the window and grab the doctor, yanking her outside to be swallowed  by the graboid. Burt orders everyone to secure the area and since they can’t get any seismograph readings due to their comm tower being down, he asks for a satellite phone only to discover that Freezze has taken it and fled. Travis radios Mac and Aklark, telling them to stop their work on the plane, just as the graboid moves under the lab and away from the area. Realizing that it is chasing after Freezze, they look outside to see him heading for the nearby truck. Hart rushes off to try and stop him but the graboid knocks the truck over and kills Freezze while Hart climbs up a nearby tower. Burt has everyone else get back inside and they try to come up with options. Swackhammer says they have some dynamite and supplies to rig up a bomb to feed down the graboids throat but Travis comes up with a better idea, using the generator to fashion an underground electrical fence to keep them away from some of the buildings. As Burt splits the group into teams to head out, Cutts and his men show up and Burt taunts him, believing that they were somehow responsible for this. Cutts tells Burt that they aren’t creating bioweapons, but are trying to access the water and figure out a way to transfer it to cities. Suddenly, the graboid breaks through the floor and attacks them, killing one of Cutts’ men. Burt tells the other to head out according to their plan and Burt tells Cutts to get somewhere on high ground and stay there. Travis sticks a makeshift fuse into the gas can on Aklark’s ATV and drives off to create a distraction and as the graboid chases after him, he jumps to safety while it swallows the ATV, only to be blown up. Burt yells for everyone to head to the hangar but when a second Graboid appears, they are forced to take shelter, with Burt and Swackhammer heading to the tower Hart is on while Travis and Rita are on the flipped over truck. Burt has Hart pee on the ground to lure the graboid towards them, then tells everyone to continue towards the hangar but as he makes a run for it, Burt suffers another seizure. Valerie and Vargas spot a third graboid heading towards Burt and he manages to make it onto some rocks before he collapses. Swaghammer manages to make the makeshift electric fence, which stops a graboid from entering the hangar but it instead heads over to the DARPA facility, attacking the building and people in there. While it is gone, Burt recovers enough to make it to the hangar and tells everyone to start prepping the bombs. Travis argues with Burt about their needing to capture one of the graboids in order to save him, then reveals that he had gone to see Heather, which is where he got the HK from. When the core sampler starts up automatically, the graboids approach the tower that Hart is on and Valerie rushes over to shut it off. Burt tells Swackhammer to shut off the fence while everyone else uses powertools to make some noise and lire the graboid towards them, then Swackhammer turns the fence back on, killing it. Valerie manages to shut off the fence as the third graboid takes off and they head towards the base. Inside the hangar, the generator gives out just as Burt has another seizure and collapses into a coma. Travis takes the lead and tells Mac to get the plane ready while they head to medical but before they leave, they hear Cutts calling out for help. Travis tells Rita and Aklark to get Burt to medical and keep him alive while he and Swackhammer head out to rescue Cutts. When they get there, Cutts demands that they get a ladder so he can get down but Travis refuses to do so unless Cutts arranges to remove the lien on Burt as well as ensure that neither Burt nor Travis have to pay federal taxes ever again and Cutts reluctantly agrees to it. Travis and Swackhammer return to the base with Cutts and he goes to see Burt, who tries to get out of bed but Travis argues with him that he needs to stay down and let him handle this as he has a plan. Travis has Swackhammer cut out the ends of a shipping container, fashioning a trap for the graboid. They then set some bait and as the graboid grabs it, Mac is able to use her plane and it’s own momentum to steer it into the container, where everyone pushes some steel bars through the slots to trap it in place. They then open the other end of the container to reveal steel bars are keeping it from closing it’s mouth and they attempt to sever the three proboscis tentacles, with Burt shooting them from the base camp before passing out again. Travis crawls inside the graboid’s mouth and extracts the venom from it’s gland sac and they take it back to medical to fashion the antibodies needed to save Burt’s life. With Burt fully recovered, he and Travis prepare to leave and Cutts shows up with the signed paperwork ensuring that Burt is clear of any tax penalties or owes any taxes ever again. Cutts then comments about the graboid being a good bioweapon but Burt has Hart fly one of his RC planes carrying a bomb into the graboid’s mouth, then detonates it, killing the graboid. Valerie says goodbye to Burt and comments about how she is going to have a great story to tell her parents and he tells her to tell Val and Rhonda he said hi. Travis and Rita, who had become attracted to each other, say goodbye, with Rita telling him she will be back in the states in 6 months. Travis kisses her on the cheek and as he joins back with Burt, Burt chastises him for simply kissing her on the cheek, prompting Travis to go back and fully embrace and kiss Rita, to the cheers of the other staff. As Travis rejoins Burt, Burt tells him it was better and that they should head back to Perfection.

One thing I like about these movies is that even though the basic premise is the same, they manage to add a new twist to make things interesting. This movie was a lot of fun to watch. Michael Gross and Jamie Kennedy did great jobs reprising their roles of Burt and Travis respectively, and I liked that they still had the clash or personalities as Burt still struggled to accept Travis as his son. Tanya van Graan (Rita) and Jamie-Lee Money (Valerie) also did great jobs in their roles and I loved the interactions between them and Travis and Burt respectively. The story was good, with the new location being a nice twist, while also being a not so subtle nod to the climate change debate. Aside from the introduction of Valerie, there were also a couple of other nods to the original movie that were pretty funny if you caught them. The special effects in the movie were good and I liked that they used the new designs from the previous movie for the graboid and ass-blasters, as it felt like the right versions to use, as they were frozen in ice millennia ago and never thawed until the temperature warmed up along the Arctic, allowing them to move about. So a great entry into a fun franchise and hopefully they will continue on with the it, either with more movies or another attempts at a TV show.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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crime, drama, movie, movie review, thriller

Flashback Review: May 28th, 2014 Movie – Boiler Room

boiler room

One thing I hate when it comes to movies is when a movie comes out and people consider it to be, and sometimes call it, the unofficial sequel to another movie that has no real bearing on the movie. I will admit that I have been guilty of that a time or two, one such instance being with this particular movie. Now I did not see Boiler Room when it was in theaters but I heard several people talking about it, with some of them referring to this as an unofficial sequel to Wall Street. That actually got my attention and made me interested in seeing this movie so when it came out on DVD, I went ahead and rented it one weekend. Now it’s time to see if it is as good of a movie as I thought it was back then.

The plot: College drop-out Seth Davis runs an unlicensed casino out of his home near Queens College, catering to the kids on campus. One night, his cousin Adam shows up with a rich associate named Greg, who flaunts the amount of money he has. The next day, Seth heads over to dinner with his family, where his father, Judge Marty Davis, begins questioning him on what he is doing. When Seth admits that he dropped out of college but has a job, his father then chastises him for running an illegal casino and what it would do to his reputation is anyone found out. After talking with Adam and Greg that night, Seth decides to take Greg up on his offer to join his brokerage firm, J.T. Martin. Seth heads to the office the next day, and wanders into the main trading room, where one of the brokers, Chris Varick, yells at him to get out. He then speaks with the secretary, who tells him that they will be doing a group interview so to just wait. Seth is brought into a conference room with all the other applicants, where Jim Young dismisses a few people before giving his speech, telling them what is expected of them and how much money they will bring in once they pass their Series 7 test and become junior brokers. Seth meets his father for lunch to try and patch things up with him but Marty tells him that he needs to get his life together and get a real job. The next day, Seth shows up for his first day at work and starts off talking with Abbie Halpert, the secretary, before heading into the training room. Once at his table, Greg begins telling him what he needs to do, calling people to try and sell them stocks, with the two rules being never to sell to women and never give them a dead lead on a client. If he gets a client that wants to buy some stock, he is to put them on hold and yell “Reco” to signal a senior broker to come over and complete the sell. Seth talks to his family about his new job and Marty is actually happy for him, though he is a little skeptical that he hasn’t heard of the firm before and still wants Seth to close down his casino. Seth heads over to Greg’s house, where he sees several of the young brokers watching Wall Street, quoting lines from it and looking at Gordon Gekko as a role model. The next day, Seth manages to land a customer and after yelling out Reco, watches as the senior brokers all rush to grab the phone. Chris manages to grab the phone and convinces the client to buy 2000 shares of the stock. After closing the deal, Seth asks about why he capped the sale and Chris explains the practice and how they manage to make money off their sales. Later that night, Seth meets Abbie for a drink at a bar while elsewhere, some of the guys go out for drinks and end up getting kicked out after getting in an argument/fight with some guys from J.P. Morgan. As Seth continues with the training and starts prepping for his Series 7 test, he ends up having to shut down his casino while noticing some odd things going on at the office. Meanwhile, the FBI has been keeping watch on J.T. Martin and one of their agents, Agent David Drew, has singled out Seth as the man they want to make contact with concerning the firm, but they haven’t figured out how just yet. When Chris helps Seth close his first sell, Greg chastises Seth for breaking protocol and closing before he has passed his Series 7 test. AS he continues trying to figure out what is going on at the firm, Seth ends up hooking up with Abbie and tells her some of his concerns but she brushes them aside. The next day, Seth sells some stock to a man named Harry at $8 a share but as he continues trying to figure out what Michael Brantley, the owner of J.T. Martin, is up to, Abbie is picked up by the FBI and questioned about her relationship with Seth. When Seth closes his 40th account, he gets into an argument with Greg about who actually gets to keep the account. Some time later, Michael tells everyone at the firm about a new product/stock that they will be selling, then takes them all out for a night on the town. The next day, Seth investigates the company they will be selling and as he meets up with Abbie afterwards, she asks him what’s bothering him, trying to get some information out of him. Seth then tells her that he figured out how Michael is making his money, by selling stock in companies that don’t exist or have already failed. Harry has checked the price on the stock and when he notices the stock price is dropping, he calls Seth and tries to sell what he bought at a loss but Seth manages to convince him to buy more stock at the lower price, and Harry invests his family’s savings on buying more shares, which causes tensions between him and his wife. The next day, Marty meets with Seth, telling him how disappointed he is in the fact that Seth works for a chop shop brokerage and is basically stealing money from people, then tells Seth that he is done with him and he is not to call him or come by the house ever again. When Harry calls him, asking for his money back, Seth tells him he can’t give him his money back and hangs up, refusing to take any further calls. Seth goes to see Marty and tells he is quitting the firm but wants his help in pulling off an IPO scheme to get some money out of the company before he leaves. Marty refuses to help him and Seth breaks down, telling him that he had closed down the casino and taken the job because he thought it was what he wanted and Marty is shocked by that revelation. Seth goes to see Abbie and she tries to talk him out of doing the scheme but he tells her he has no choice and leaves before she can say anything else. The next day, Marty calls Seth and tells him that he can’t help him with the scheme but can try to help him not get caught and invites him to dinner to discuss it. Later, Seth is talking with Abbie in her car when the FBI show up and arrest Seth and reveal that Abbie was working with them, causing Abbie to leave before she can explain anything to Seth. When he arrives at the FBI office, Seth is shocked to see his father there and Marty goes to leave when Agent Drew plays a recording of the phone call Marty made to Seth. Drew offers Seth immunity in exchange for testifying against J.T. Martin but Seth refuses unless the deal includes no mention of his father in any way or hurts his career and the FBI agree. The next day, Seth is told to go to work like normal and download his client lists onto a floppy disk to give to them. When he gets there, Seth decides to try and come up with a way to get Harry his money back, trying to make some good out of the situation. He goes to Michael to tell him that Harry is unhappy with his account and is considering leaving and Michael agrees to give him 10,000 shares of the new IPO they plan on pushing but tells Seth that Harry can’t sell it until they do. When Seth gets a call from Drew telling him it is time, he quickly copies his files and then goes to lunch, passing a note to Chris on his way out. Chris meets him on the stairwell and Seth explains that he needs him to sign a sell ticket for Harry to get his money back, telling him the FBI is raiding the place in 20 minutes. Chris is upset at first but he decides to sign the ticket, then heads back to his desk and packs his stuff, making his way out of the office before the FBI shows up for the raid. Seth walks past Abbie, ignoring her when she calls his name, and asks himself a lot of “what if’s” in his life before realizing he will need to get another job, then gets in his car and leaves as the FBI shows up and enters the building.

Boiler Room met with positive results from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Its ending is disappointingly tidy, but Boiler Room boasts just enough sharp writing and brisk pacing to make getting there worthwhile.” In the scene where Chris and Seth are waiting outside Greg’s house, the car is never shown to have moved or even started. This is because Ben Affleck had been sitting in the car listening to music earlier in the day and had accidentally taken the keys with him when he left and could not be located when it was time to shoot the scene. The movie was a modest success, earning $28 million off of a $7 million budget.

You know, this actually still kind of holds up over the years as a good movie. The acting was pretty good, with Giovanni Ribisi (Seth) and Vin Diesel (Chris) doing a good job in their roles. I also liked Nia Long (Abbie), Ron Rifkin (Marty) and Nicky Katt (Greg) but thought that Ben Affleck (Jim) was kind of unnecessary and was kind of put in there just to add some name value to the movie. The story was pretty interesting, basically playing up the massive “Dot Com” stocks that popped up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and how millions of people tried to make it reach by investing in all of these start ups. The best part is that you actually do see quite a bit of character growth with Seth in the movie, especially towards the end where he does his best to protect his father from his own mistakes, even at the cost of his freedom. The drama in the movie had a very slow build up but got pretty intense at the end when Seth started trying to figure out what he should do. A good movie that is worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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

March 21st, 2018 Movie – Tremors 5: Bloodlines

tremors 5

11 years after the last movie, we are finally blessed with a new Tremors movie. When I first got wind that this was happening, I was excited to hear it and had pre-ordered it on Amazon. Now I will say that there was one aspect of the movie that I was worried about; Jamie Kennedy. My opinion of Jamie Kennedy kind of fluctuates between whether or not he is a good actor. I mean, I liked him in Scream and Scream 2 but not so much in anything else. So having him in a series that I liked was troubling as I might not like the movie because of him. My only hope was that Michael Gross would be able to counteract any negativity Jamie Kennedy might have. So let’s see if my hope was well placed as I watch today’s movie, Tremors 5: Bloodlines.

The plot: In the South African valley known as the Cradle of Humankind, two men, Johan Dreyer and Basson, are hunting in the area when Basson falls into a cave. As his Dreyer goes to get a rope to pull him out, Basson looks around and sees some cave drawings depicting Graboids just as he hears something moving around in the area. Dreyer throws down the rope and starts pulling Basson up but Basson is attacked by an Assblaster and killed. In Nevada, Burt Gummer is filming footage for his survivalist show when he is interrupted by the arrival of Travis B. Welker. Travis explains that he is taking over as Burt’s cameraman and wants to help him get more exposure using modern social media. As they are talking, they are approached by Erich Van Wyk, who introduces himself to Burt and says tells him about the Assblaster in Africa. Burt is skeptical, as he believed all known Graboids were confined to the North America continent but Van Wyk insists and tries to convince Burt to come to Africa to deal with it. Burt starts to agree but Travis interjects himself to the conversation and pulls Burt aside. He asks Burt to let him handle the negotiations, offering Burt an HK91 if he lets him come to Africa with him, and Burt agrees. Travis talks with Van Wyk and tells him that Burt is too busy to go to Africa but when Van Wyk offers to fund 3 years of Burt’s videos, Travis and Burt agree to the deal. They arrive in Africa and head to a game reserve, which has been set up as their base camp, and Burt befriends their helicopter pilot Dan Bravers but learns that his weapons have been held up in customs for 3 days. When they reach the reserve, Van Wyk introduces him to Dreyer, who shows him the tranquilizer gun that they will be using but Burt tells them that Graboids are immune to tranquilizers. Dreyer says that they are hunting an Assblaster, not a Graboid, but Burt tells them that if they have an Assblaster in the area, then they will have Graboids as well and scoffs at Van Wyk’s wanting to try and capture one. Burt and Travis arrive at the main lodge and Burt is shown the weapons that Van Wyk acquired for him but says that they won’t be much use against a Graboid. Meanwhile, Travis sees a little girl named Amahle and speaks with her for a little but before he is introduced to her mother, Dr. Nandi Montabu, who owns the reserve. Meanwhile, two paleontologists, Dr. Michael Swan and Lucia, have uncovered the fossilized remains of a Graboid out in the plains and are excited about their discovery but as they are showering later, they are attacked and killed. Back at the reserve, Burt is trying to get details from Dreyer on where the attack occurred when they are approached by Baruti, one of the game wardens, who tells them of the attack. They head to the dig site and Burt says that the fossilized Graboid is different than the North American counterparts. As night starts to fall, Nandi and Amahle invite Travis to a tribal dance and Travis ends up getting into an argument before Travis leaves. At the dance, Nandi helps translate the chief’s speech, telling Travis that their tribe has hunted the Assblasters for generations and the Assblasters hunt at night to make it easier to sense their prey. Back at the reserve, Baruti and Thaba are working on a jeep engine, with Baruti complaining about Travis getting too close to Nandi, when they are attacked by an Assblaster. Burt helps them try to find it off and kills it but a second one carries Thaba away. Burt and Dreyer head off to try and rescue Thaba and find him lying injured on a bridge. Burt dons a thermal cloaking poncho and then heads out onto the bridge but the Assblaster kills Thaba, then attacks the jeep with Dreyer in it before Burt is able to kill it. Burt and Dreyer head back to the reserve just as Travis, Nandi, and Amahle arrive and Burt chastises Travis for not being there, then Burt tells Nandi to evacuate the reserve while he, Dreyer, and Van Wyk go after the Assblaster. They eventually locate the Assblaster and Dreyer attempts to tranquilize it but it has no effect. Burt manages to kill it, with the flaming carcass falling on Dreyer and killing him, and Van Wyk is upset about Burt killing the Assblaster and Dreyer. When Burt finds a Graboid egg in the carcass, Van Wyk points a gun at Burt, revealing that he is actually a poacher and plans on selling the egg. Van Wyk locks Burt in the lion cage intended for the Assblaster and Burt suffers from mild exposure before Travis shows up and rescues him, dragging the cage along behind him on the way to the reserve. When the cage hits a rock and comes unhitched, Travis stops and frees Burt but they discover that Travis’ fuel line is busted so they are forced to walk. They come across the wreckage of Van Wyk’s land cruiser and grab some weapons from it then go hunting him. They eventually find an injured Van Wyk and tell him to get on the rocks but as he does, something grabs the cooler with the egg and carries it into a nearby cave. Van Wyk is then attacked by the Graboid’s tentacle tongues, which Burt realizes are able to detach from the main body. Realizing that the tentacles, and the Assblaster, are protectign the cave, Burt and Travis figure that it is a nest and Travis goes inside to deal with it while Burt uses Travis’ phone to call Bravers for help. Meanwhile, an Assblaster shows up at the reserve and begins attacking Amahle and Baruti but Nandi is able to kill it with a bow and arrow. Back at the cave, Travis sees the cave drawings and finds the nest just as he is attacked by an Assblaster so he throws a phosphorus grenade at it to kill it. He heads back outside just as Bravers shows up in his helicopter but Burt and Travis watch as the Graboid attacks and kills Braver’s copilot, then swallows Bravers whole. Burt feels like things are hopeless but Travis points out the missile pods on the helicopter that they can use to take out the nest. Using some nearby cattle to mask their presence, Burt and Travis make it to the helicopter and fire the missiles at the cave, blowing it and the nest up. Bravers shows up, having shot the Graboid in the mouth to get it to spit him out, and they quickly leave. Heading back to Travis’ jeep, Bravers gives them some fuel and then leaves while Burt and Travis head for the reserve. As they are driving, Burt asks Travis what he knows about his visit to Florida, as Travis has mentioned it several times, and Travis reveals that he is Burt’s son from a one night stand he had there, and Burt reacts in disbelief to the news. Meanwhile, Nandi, Baruti, and Amahle are attacked by another Assblaster and a second Graboid but they manage to kill them, then head to the village. As they head there, Nandi discovers that Amahle has a Graboid egg in her bag and realizes that is why they are being attacked. When they get to the village, they find it seemingly deserted and tell Nandi tells Amahle to stay in the car while she and Baruti look around. They head into the market and find someone being attacked by the Queen Graboid but are unable to save her. Hearing Amahle scream, they find her being attacked by the tentacles just as Burt and Travis arrive at the village. Seeing a dirt bike nearby, Burt has Travis use it to distract the tentacles and Graboid while Baruti rescues Amahle. As Travis lures the Graboid away, Burt, Nandi, and the villagers construct a lightning trap using the storms to electrocute the Graboid when Travis lures it into the trap. As the villagers celebrate, Burt reluctantly accepts Travis as his son and when Travis mentions going back to Florida, Burt stops him, saying that he promised to help him with his career. In a mid-credits scene, it is shown that Burt and Travis have partnered up and travel around hunting monsters worldwide.

Maybe time does make a difference because this was one of the better entries in the series since the first movie. Michael Gross was great reprising his role of Burt Gummer while Jamie Kennedy was surprisingly good as Travis, playing the role with the seriousness and dry humor that it actually warranted but not being silly funny with his role. The story was pretty good and I liked how the evolution of the Graboids differed in Africa, making a nice way of changing up the routine without having to introduce a new creature to the mix. I did like the not so subtle nod to Jurassic Park when Baruti and Amahle were being chased by the Assblaster in the kitchen. The special effects were pretty good and well used in regards to the new variants of the species. This is a good movie and definitely earned it’s spot in the franchise.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, mystery

July 16th, 2017 Movie – Scream

scream

While a couple of movies did come out in earlier years, the 80’s were truly the decade of the slasher movies as far as horror movies go. However, by the early and mid 90’s, the slasher movies had started to lose their appeal to the horror fans. Then along comes Wes Craven, one of the pioneers of the modern horror movie, to cause a major shake up in the genre. When this movie first came out, I have to admit that my interest was peaked for the first time about a new slasher movie in quite a while. So lets see what fun scares Wes Craven has in store for us with today’s movie, Scream.

The plot: High school student Casey Becker is at her house one night when she gets a phone call from someone with a mysterious voice. While the calls start off being somewhat flirty, Casey starts getting nervous when the caller says he is watching her. After continuing to scare her, Casey says that her boyfriend will kick the caller’s ass and the caller tells her to look outside, where Casey finds her boyfriend Steve bound to a chair on the deck. The caller then starts asking Casey questions about scary movies and when she says the wrong answer, Steve is killed. The killer then asks her which door he is at and when Casey refuses to answer, he proceeds to throw a chair through the back door. Casey runs and grabs a knife from the kitchen, then sneaks outside as she sees a hooded figure run through the house. When Casey sees her parents pulling up, she tries to sneak over to the front of the house but the killer, wearing a white, ghost-faced mask, sees her and attacks her. Casey manages to hit him with the phone but Ghostface tackles her and stabs her repeatedly. Casey’s parents head inside and see the mess in the house and when her mom tries to phone the police, she hears Casey’s gasping in pain. Casey’s father grabs the phone and hears one last gasp before the phone is hung up and he tells his wife to go to the neighbors to call the police but when she steps outside, she screams as she sees Casey’s gutted body hanging from a tree. Elsewhere, Sidney Prescott is doing her homework in her room when she is startled by her boyfriend Billy Loomis sneaking in her room through her window. After Sidney says goodnight to her father, who had come to check on her, Billy talks to Sidney about their relationship and how it has changed since her mother’s death and Sidney says she isn’t ready to go forward with it just yet but does tease him some. The next day, Sidney sees reporters and police around the school and is told by her friend Tatum Riley about Casey and Steve’s death. All of the students are questioned about the deaths and afterwards, Sidney is talking about it with Billy, Tatum, Tatum’s boyfriend Stuart “Stu” Macher, and their friend Randy Meeks. After school, Sidney calls Tatum and asks if she can stay at her place while her father is out of town and Tatum says it is ok and that she will pick her up later. After gathering some clothes together, Sidney watches some of the news reports but turns it off when she sees one reporter, Gail Weathers, mentioning her mother’s murder one year ago. Casey lays down to take a nap and wakes up after dark when Tatum calls to tell her she is on her way. When the phone rings again, Sidney thinks it is Randy messing with her but the caller says he isn’t Randy. When the caller says he is at the front door, Sidney goes outside to look and doesn’t see anyone but when she starts to hang up, the caller says she will die just like her mother. Sidney yells into the phone and quickly runs inside and locks the door, only to have Ghostface emerge from the closet and try to attack her. Sidney manages to get away and races upstairs to her room, blocking the door with the door to her closet so Ghostface can’t get in, but as she tries to contact the police, Ghostface disappears. Suddenly, Billy appears in the window and Sidney hugs him but when a cell phone drops from his pocket, she suspects him of being Ghostface. Sidney races downstairs to find Tatum’s older brother Dewey, a deputy in the police department, at the door holding the Ghostface mask. Billy is placed in handcuffs and taken away, while Sidney goes to the station to fill out a statement just as Gail, along with Kenny her cameraman, shows up and tries to get some answers on what happened from Tatum. At the station, Billy is answering the sheriff’s questions about why he was there while outside, Gail and other reporters are gathering at the front door of the station to try and interview Sidney. When Dewey takes Tatum and Sidney out the back, Gail confronts her and Sidney speaks to her briefly, asking about the book Gail is writing about the murder of Sidney’s mother and how she believes Sidney accused the wrong man for the crime and when Gail says she will send Sidney a copy, Sidney decks her. At Tatum’s house, Tatum is commenting about Sidney hitting Gail when Tatum’s mom says Sidney has a phone call. When Sidney picks up the phone, she hears Ghostface’s voice, mocking her for having Billy locked up and says she accused the wrong man again. The next day, Sidney sees Gail outside the school and goes to talk to her about Cotton Weary, the man Sidney accused of murdering her mother. As Sidney and Gail talk, Gail realizes that Sidney is no longer sure and that the murders might be connected. At school, Sidney encounters Billy and she tells him that she doesn’t think he is the killer anymore but things are still awkward between them. In the bathroom, Sidney overhears some girls talking about her and hide in one of the stalls until they leave but when she is alone, she hears a noise and is attacked by Ghostface but manages to get away. Outside the school, Gail is talking to Dewey about the murders when they hear the principal go on the PA system and announce that classes are suspended due to the antics of several students during the day. Stu decides to hold a party at his house since the police have issued a curfew and his parents are out of town and Tatum convinces Sidney to go. Meanwhile, Principal Himbry is in his office when he hears knocks at his door and when he goes to investigate, he ends up being killed. Elsewhere, Stu is at the video store when they see Billy there and Randy starts talking about his theories about the murders and how Billy is the prime suspect when Billy grabs him and says his love of horror movies makes him just as viable a suspect. As Sidney and Tatum go get food for the party, Dewey talks to the sheriff, who tells him they haven’t found any sign of Sidney’s father and that the phone calls to Sidney were made on a cell phone in his name. Dewey drops Sidney and Tatum off at the party but stays there to keep an eye on things, when he sees Gail and Kenny in their van nearby. When Dewey says he is going to check on things at the house, Gail asks to come with him but she grabs a small camera, which she secretly plants in the entertainment center in the den. At the party, Tatum goes to the garage to get some more beers when she encounters Ghostface, who she thinks is Randy at first, but when he attacks her, she tries to get away and crawl out the cat door on the garage door but Ghostface opens the garage door while she is stuck, breaking her neck when it hits the roof of the garage. Back inside, several kids are leaving the party when Billy shows up, hoping to talk to Sidney, and she agrees and leads him upstairs to Stu’s parent’s room to talk but after talking for a while, they end up having sex. Downstairs, the rest of the kids are watching Halloween and Randy starts explaining “The Rules” when it comes to horror movies. In the news van, Gail and Kenny are watching the video from the camera, though it is on a 30 second delay, when Dewey knocks on the door and invites Gail to go with him to check out a car that was parked down the road. Back in the house, Randy answers the phone when it rings and tells the kids still there that they found Principle Himbry dead and hanging from the goalposts at the school and the kids all leave to go see it. The kids race by Dewey and Gail, who are forced to jump to the side of the road. As the Dewey asks if she is ok, the two end up kissing when Gail notices a car parked in the bushes and Dewey recognizes it as Sidney’s father’s car and they race back to the house. At the house, Sidney asks Billy who he called when he was arrested and as Billy tries to convince her he isn’t the killer, Ghostface appears behind him and stabs him several times in the stomach. Ghostface chases after Sidney, who tries climbing out a window but ends up falling when Ghostface grabs her. Sidney lands on Stu’s family’s boat and when she recovers, she sees Tatum’s body still hanging from the garage. Sidney races to the news van and tells Kenny that the killer is inside the house and when Kenny says they have a camera in their and he hasn’t seen it, they see Ghostface approaching behind Randy as he watches Halloween. Kenny goes to race towards the house when he sees the door open and remembers the delay, just as Ghostface slits his throat. Sidney escapes, though Ghostface manages to stab her in the shoulder, and goes running for help. Meanwhile, Dewey and Gail return to the house and Dewey has Gail head to the news van to call for help while he goes inside to investigate. Gail gets to the van but finds a pool of blood but no sign of Kenny. Getting in the driver’s seat and starting the van, she is approached by Randy, who wants to know what is going on, but she screams and hits him with the phone. Turning on the headlights, she finds the windshield covered in blood and as she starts to drive, Kenny’s body is seen to be on the roof of the van. Gail drives down the road, where she sees Sidney trying to flag her down, but Gail swerves to avoid hitting her and ends up crashing the van down a hill. Sidney returns to the house to find Dewey but sees him stumbling from the house with a knife in his back. When Ghostface appears and grabs the knife, Sidney hides in Dewey’s car and manages to escape when he goes after her. Heading back to the house, Sidney grabs Dewey’s gun just as Randy and Stu appear, each blaming the other one as being the killer, causing Sidney locks both of them out of the house. Billy stumbles down the stairs and Sidney hugs him but is shocked when Billy opens the door and shoots Randy. Sidney tries to run and runs into Stu, who reveals he is working with Billy and they reveal themselves to be the killers. Explaining that they were the ones to kill Sidney’s mother, they then produce Sidney’s father, who has been held captive, and explain that they plan on framing him for all of the killings. Billy and Stu then stab each other to make it look like they were left for dead but Gail shows up, having grabbed the gun when Stu set it down, and threatens to shoot them. Billy knocks Gail out, as she had the safety on, but Sidney uses the distraction to disappear. Sidney then calls Stu’s phone and starts taunting them, saying she had called the police, and Billy goes crazy trying to find her. As he opens a closet, Sidney, wearing the Ghostface costume, stabs him repeatedly in the shoulder with an umbrella. Stu tackles her and tries to kill her but Sidney manages to fight him off, then kills him by dropping a TV on his head. As Sidney recovers, she sees Randy is still alive and hugs him but Billy knocks him down then tries to strangle Sidney. Sidney pushes her finger in his wound to get him off of her and as Billy goes to stab her, Gail shoots him in the upper chest. As Sidney takes the gun from Gail and they stair at him, Randy warns them that this is when the “supposedly dead killer comes back for one last scare” and when Billy does just that, Sidney shoots him in the head. Sidney then goes to tend to her dad and free him as the police and news reporters begins arriving at the house. Dewey, who is still alive, is taken away in an ambulance, as are Sidney, Randy, and Sidney’s father, and Gail begins doing a report on what happened at the house.

Scream met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that “Horror icon Wes Craven’s subversive deconstruction of the genre is sly, witty, and surprisingly effective as a slasher film itself, even if it’s a little too cheeky for some.” Due to the theme of the killer calling Sidney and other victims, the use of caller ID increased threefold after this movie was released. The movies was originally titled “Scary Movie” but Wes Craven changed it before filming was complete and a few years later, another movie was released titled Scary Movie, which was a parody of Scream. The movie was a smash hit at the box office, earning $173 million off of a $14 million budget, and spawned 3 sequels and a TV series.

Even after 21 years, this movie is still a lot of fun to watch. The acting was pretty good, with Neve Campbell (Sidney), Courtney Cox (Gail), David Arquette (Dewey), and Matthew Lillard (Stu) doing great jobs in their roles. I also liked Rose McGowan (Tatum) and Jamie Kennedy (Randy), but didn’t care much for Skeet Ulrich (Billy). The story was really good, with a lot of good twist and red herrings making for a great mystery as to who the real killer was, which gave this movie more depth than just relegating it as another slasher movie. I also loved the various references and allusions to some other horror movies, particularly Psycho (1960), Halloween (1978), and A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). My personal favorite involved Wes Craven’s cameo, when he played the school janitor Fred, who was dressed in a red and green stripped sweater and wearing a brown fedora, a reference to Freddy Krueger. The special effects involved with the deaths were pretty good and, at the time, were honestly a lot more brutal than I thought they would be. A fun horror movie to watch that still holds up today.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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